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Within the Blooming Flowers

Chapter Text

Once upon a time, on the land of some weird country, stood a kingdom, wise, tall and proud. 

within the castle, sat the princess; Minami Kotori. Her personality wasn't really fit to rule a whole kingdom, since she was so carefree... But the king and queen had no other children, and so she was forced to. She was currently 16 years old, but she seemed to be much mature, and her mind wandered around into stuff she shouldn't be interested in at her age... Even though she was forced to be a queen in 2~3 years, she didn't mind it at all. Instead, she liked the outside. She liked looking at the citizens, listen to them, and learn more about others. She didn't like the 'cage' she was kept in, so she'd convince the guards to let her wander around freely. She did it so often that even the citizens got used to seeing her. She wasn't wearing clothes that were too fancy, so the people around her felt comfortable speaking to her like to every single person.

And as the days went by, she was just wandering around town as usual, waving over to anyone greeting her with the warmest smile one could ever give.

"Ah! Kotoriiiiiii!!~"

An orange haired girl came running over to Kotori. She looked around her age, though her attitude was definitely the one of a 10 year old. She even had a ponytail tied at the side of her head. It was cute, but very childish. It suited her perfectly! Her name was Kousaka Honoka. Her family worked as blacksmiths, so her arms were very skilled. Today she looked more happy than usual, too

"Oh, hello, Honoka! It's been a while long time since I've seen you! (It's been three days.)"

"Yeah, sorry, I had a small fight with a friend... Would you mind coming with me, though? I'd like you to meet her! She was meaning to meet you too, y'know!"

"M-Me? If..if you say so! I don't mind going with you"

And so the two started making their way too Honoka's house. It was quite far from the town, but it's only because they had a ranch and a huge field for cows and horses. It's been quite a while since Kotori visited Honoka, she was pretty happy. But...this strange thought wouldn't leave her aside; who is this girl Honoka wants her to meet? Is she sweet? Is she mean? Is she just her sister that she haven't told her about? ...No, that couldn't be. Honoka would never keep a secret from her like this. She knew she had one sister, who was around two years younger than her, she knew her father was a very skilled blacksmith, and her mother mother took care of the ranch and tamed horses. But she never knew there was another person so close to her aside from her family! It was strange, and she was very nervous to meet her. She didn't even notice her friend speaking to her right now. She was still in her thoughts..

"HEY! Kotoriiiiiii!!!!"
Honoka even had to softly yell into her ear after a while.

"A-Ah! I'm sorry!! I'm here! M-My bad! Wh-What were you saying?"

"I asked how were you? And now I definitely want to know what were you thinking about!"

"E-Eh? I...It's really nothing! I was just thinking about the person you mentioned... Maybe you could tell me about her a little before I meet her?"

"Weeeeell, she's kinda tall, her hair is more blue... Her eyes look almost like yours but a little bit darker... She's good with horses and archery! And she's very shy! That's what I can say about her!"

"And... Why haven't you told me about her before? We've known each other for 9 years, Honoka-chan..."

Kotori looked at Honoka with quite a sad look. They were good friends, after all.

"Oh, well, she didn't really want me to tell you about her! Every time you'd come over she would hide herself in her room and refuse to meet you... She was scared, is all!
Honoka said, with a smile of course. She felt proud of herself for finally meeting these two.

"Is...she a part of your family?"
Kotori was more than curious, but scared to know at the same time.

"I mean... You could call her that! But now's not the time to be sad, you can ask her about her past when you meet her. For now!"

Suddenly, Honoka ran ahead and turned back to Kotori

"Welcome to my house, again!"

 

Chapter Text

After greeting Kotori into her house, Honoka just rushed upstairs, saying hello to her parents in the process. Kotori followed her, but was rather slow. She stopped to greet Honoka's parents, who, immediately greeted her back with a bow. But she insisted them to act normally around her. After that, she went upstairs to Honoka.
Even from downstairs though, a few yells and a very angry voice could be heard.

"I can't believe it! You went and actually did that?! I told you not to! I'm definitely not ready! This is shameless! YOU'RE absolutely SHAMELESS, Honoka!!!"

Hearing that, Kotori even got a little scared to get in. But, she had to. So, she carefully knocked on the door

"H-Honoka? Is...is everything okay? Sh-Should I go home...?" Her voice cracked. 

Honoka opened the door again. She looked absolutely exhausted.

"N-No! No, please come in!"

"O-Okay..." Kotori paced through the door, but no one was there beside Honoka.

"Uh..."

"Ah! Bastard!! She ran off!" Honoka quickly ran to the window, only to see the blue haired girl riding away on one of the horses. This was so embarrassing

"The blue hair... Could it be.."

"Who? do you know her?"

"A-Ah...no, she just.. reminds me of someone who I once saw...

"So you assumed she's be the one you saw? Could be!" Honoka patted Kotori's shoulder.

"You should go after her, Kotori! She probably went to the open field. We put up a lot of targets there so she could practice with her bow, after all. She always goes there. So, let's go get you a horse!"

Honoka grabbed Kotori's hand, dragging her to the horses. There, she got her the horse she remembered Kotori liked. It was a grey horse, with whitish, long hair.
So, Kotori quickly climbed on the horse, and took off towards the open field.
It took her 10 minutes, before she finally found her. Riding around on a brown horse and shooting the targets around. She looked super serious, until she saw Kotori simply staring at her. They both stopped everything they did to gaze at each other, but Umi suddenly looked like she saw her worst nightmare when she looked at her. She pulled the strings, taking off to the opposite direction.

"W...Wait, hold on! Please don't run away!!"
Kotori tried to say, and continued to chase Umi. After a short time she was very close behind, but suddenly, Umi turned around and pointed her bow at the ground near the horse Kotori was riding on legs.

"I'm sorry."

She said in a very low voice, and shot the ground to scare the horse. And successfully, since the horse stopped, but also threw Kotori off at the process. She let out a faint scream, and at that exact moment, Umi seemed to look at her sharply, and with a look of complete guilt. But she hesitantly turned her head back around and rode off.

Ever since that moment, Kotori was just staring at the distance where Umi was riding. Of course, she was gone now, but Kotori couldn't get up. Both from shock, and her now broken leg. Her dress got really dirty, too. Which she didn't care about, but a princess walking around with a super dirty dress isn't really the best thing anyone wants to see.

After about 20 minutes of sitting in agonizing pain, Honoka came riding on her horse to Kotori. She looked mad, sad, and even disappointed in something

"K-Kotori!!!" She quickly jumped off her horse, and rushed to the so shocked Kotori. "What happened?! How long have you been here?! C-Can you walk?!"

But Kotori was still in shock. It took her a few moments to respond, too "N...No, I... can't really walk... I've been here for...15-20 minutes..I suppose...

"Gosh... You probably broke something... Let me help!" Honoka carefully lifted Kotori up, and began walking back to her house

"B-But...what about..the horses?"
"Don't worry, I'll come get them after I bring you back to my house. I'm so sorry this had to happen... It's because of her, isn't it..."

All Kotori could do is keep quiet. She didn't want to blame Umi. It wasn't even her fault, since she herself was the one who chased her in the first place. She felt guilty now and now it was all she could think about.

"Don't worry, I'll take care of h-"

"N-No!! Please, don't..." Kotori broke her silence. Though right after it, she lowered her head and continued it. Honoka felt even more angry at Umi. After they arrived back to her house, Honoka's parents just freaked out. First they looked at Honoka as if she was the one responsible for this, but Honoka looked so serious it was almost creepy to look at.

"Where'd Umi go? Is she anywhere around here?"

"Upstairs. She didn't say anything to us, so please check on her... And let us take care of the Princess, we'll bring her to the hospital!"

"She has her own doctor. Just call them." Honoka gave her mother a piece of paper, and put Kotori on the sofa so she could rest.

Suddenly, her mom sounded scared too. She didn't know what's going on, and now her daughter was acting suspicious. Without even saying a word anymore, Honoka left upstairs.

"My, what were you doing to break your leg like this? It's at least the third time you break something within these two months, princess..."

Speaking, was Kotori's assistant; Ayase Eli. She was kind, caring and mostly a funny and calm person, but at moments like these,  she'd turn all her attitude around and become the most strict person Kotori ever knew.

"I-I wasn't doing anything bad! I just found out Honoka had another family member that I never knew about, so I tried to talk to her, but she ran off and I chased her..."

"Chased her? Why would you? If she wasn't interested in seeing you, you should've let her go. You're not to force one to communicate with you, Princess.

"I-I...I know that... But I really wanted to meet her! The way Honoka described her made her even cooler... She even has blue hair, and golden eyes like me!"

"...Blue hair?" It rang in Eli's ears. It was too strange, since there wasn't a single person with blue hair around. It was more than suspicious, and she looked like she was terrified

"Eli...? Are you okay? You look scary..."

"Y..Yeah! Yeah, forgive me for a moment." Eli rushed out the room and into the queen's room.
"Your Highness! We found it... What shall I do now?"

"...Move out and ask for the help of the magician in our town. She might have some tools to help you kill that thing with."

"...Roger that. I shall take Nishikino with me, as well. She might be able to help me.

"As you wish, you shall take her." The queen said, and relaxed in he chair. Somehow, she seemed happy now.

"Thank you, Your Highness. Now, I shall get going."

Meanwhile, somewhere around town though..

"..."
"Ahhh, they're coming, Nicocchi... Brace yourself, because they won't immediately like you~"

"Shut it. I don't feel good about their visit. Obviously, they're here for that golden eyed cutie."

"The cards told me, don't worry. We'll just have to wait and see what happens..."

Chapter Text

"Maki!~" Eli came running to her young partner; Nishikino Maki. She was quite new in the royal and when her parents signed her up they claimed she 'Had to socialize with other people, instead of her precious piano.'

"Wh-What do you want, Eli--"

That was sudden, and Maki was playing on her piano. She really didn't have the energy for Eli and her foolish mind.

But Eli seemed really excited with her words. Almost proud of herself for dragging Maki into this mess. "Haha~The Queen ordered us to go to the magician in our town. Come on!" She came beside her and placed her hands on her shoulders

"I heard that she might be able to see your future, too! Come oooooon~"

"FINE! Fine! Just get your hands off me!" Maki snapped and stood up, putting on her white gloves angrily and exiting the room she was in. And after that, they made their way to where the town's magician was. Even before they entered, they felt something wasn't that good inside... 

"Welcome, ladies!~" What they felt, was the magician's presence. The look on her face was as if she knew exactly what they were about to say, and the first thing she did was to stare at them right in the eyes. She was scary..

"Good afternoon, Miss. Toujou. We've come fo-"

"You've found the poor creature? What do you want me to do about it?"

Eli took her time to process how did she even knew what were they about to say, but then continued. "We need your help in capturing it... We heard you have a tool to do so"

"Of course! Give me a second~"

She stood up and excused herself out of the room. After she did, hisses, screams and curses were thrown all over. , she came back carrying a cage with what seemed like an angry cat

"Meet Nico! She's a demon I myself created, and she might help you on this mission. She's a little angry because I forgot to tell her you were coming to take her, but she'll be the one helping you."

"....You mean this..thing is going to help us hunt down something as dangerous as that golden-eyed beast? Are you kidding me?"
Maki, unlike Eli, complained about that. No way in hell something so small could kill anything at all! She was really mad about this.

"Oi, shut that pretty mouth of yours, miss princess! I can kill YOU if I want to!" Nico hissed at Maki, and tried to reach her with her claw. She was like a cat, but much more annoying. Not only that, she seemed to have some pretty daring attitude, talking as much as she wants and as rudely as ever. Maki was even more annoyed by that.

"...If anything, we should keep this a secret from the Princess... She seems to like the girl... Do you have any recommendations about what should we do with this issue, Tou-?" Ignoring Maki and Nico, Eli proceed to speak with the magician, but she stopped her before she could say her name.

"Nozomi, call me Nozomi. Come, I shall help you with your problem!"
Then, she just handed Nico to Maki and grabbed Eli's hand "Keep an eye on her for now, okaay?~ thanks~" She then ran off with Eli to the other room before Maki could open her mouth to complain.

"...Say, are you really, really sure that she could help us? We're talking about the golden-eyed beast here, not some human we ourselves could catch..."

"Of course! Don't you worry, she can help. You don't even know her, though. How do you know she's bad at all? You should consider that."
While Nozomi was talking, she took a set of cards and showed them to Eli
"These, my dear, are Tarot cards. They shall show you what's ahead of you. Now, pick a card~"

"...Sure...." Eli was definitely not sure. She didn't know anything about this, and it was scary. But, she picked a card. What she got, was the devil.

"...If anything, you need to understand why you joined the military at all, Ayase. You're missing out who's the bad and who's the good here. I'm suggesting you to reconsider your thoughts."

"W...What do you m-" Before Eli could continue, chaos seemed to unfold once again.
"WHO ARE YOU CALLING A SHORTY, YOU DAMN REDHEAD?!"

"...I guess I should really go, before those two kill each other. Thanks for...telling my fortune, I guess? And thank you for the big help you have up. Have a good day."
Eli then stood up and left the room to get Nico and Maki. After that, they just exited the house and went back into the castle. "Listen, I have absolutely no idea what or who you are, but please cooperate with us for a while. We must put an end to the people's suffering."

Now Nico only got angrier. "People's suffering? What is she even doing? Living her damn life? Jeez, you humans sure are complete idiots. What a lucky creature I am not to be a part of your stupid specie."

"You better shut your tiny mouth before I stab you, demon." But Maki was even more annoyed now. Nico sure had a daring language.

"....She harms other people's lives. She-" Eli began speaking, but Nico completely ignored Maki and stopped her.

"When was the last time you heard about someone getting hurt by her?" "...12 years ago.."

"TWELVE YEARS, AND YOU WANT TO DESTROY HER FOR DOING NOTHING?" She knew Nico was right here, but she ignored her. She looked really guilty all of a sudden, but she accepted a mission, and so she had to complete it.

"...It doesn't matter how many years passed, I hate her. I want to kill her. I want to revenge for what she did to other people."
With that, she grabbed the cage, and exited with Maki.

"...Are you really sure this...disgusting creature can help us? All she does is complain and she's probably on that girl's side, too..."

"...Toujou-san said so. And she wouldn't lie... She's a wise woman."

"Woman? She's still a teen, like us, Eli..."

"Huh?! How ol-"

"Seventeen."

"....Crap, but... isn't it-"

"Illegal? Yeah. Let's just let this one slip, she's helping us, after all..."

And so, both Maki and Eli looked at Nico, and Maki lifted it up to her eye level
"So, where is she now?"

"Y'know Kousaka's house? There."

"Kousaka... Isn't it the name of the princess' friend?!" Eli was shocked. Could the princess' closest friend be a traitor? Now she was mad just like Maki was, but for different reasons.

"Let's go! We must destroy her before she does anything!" Eli hopped on her horse and began moving to Honoka's house. And Maki followed behind, since she had to hold the cage as well.

"...Umi-chan! The military! Hide..!" Honoka could already sense them. The disgusting aura every soldier had around... Umi immediately fled without a problem, and Honoka stayed the way she was to possibly distract them. When they knocked on the door, she opened it with a forced smile.

"Yes...? How may I help?"

"May we come in, please? We must check something, for your and everyone else's safety." Eli acted friendly, hoping it will be easy. But little did she know, Honoka wasn't an idiot.

"Of course! Come in..."

They came inside, and let out Nico to examine the place. Honoka backed up, though, holding her hands behind her back.
Nico examined the place, sort of sniffed the air around and looked back at the two soldiers "She's not here. Probably left the place a minute ago."

"Let's g-" Maki was about to say, but then Honoka yanked her back and pressed a sword to her throat, drawing some blood as well.

"I won't let you hurt my friend. Move and I'll slice your miserable throat into pieces like bread." She was a blacksmith, after all. She knew how to fight and make swords. Maki wasn't prepared for this, but she acted as cold as she could. But didn't move at all. Eli was ready to pull out her gun, but Honoka pressed the sword even more when she did. She decided not to risk it.

"...Are you kidding me? Threatening with a sword when there's a demon in the room? You sure are an idiot." Nico smirked, and snapped her fingers together. At first nothing happened, before Honoka was sent back into a wall. Her head was bleeding from how hard she hit the wall, and she was trembling from pain, but she tried to stand up.

"S...Stupid cowards... You won't stand a chance a-against her! You...b-better jus...." But after that, she just fainted. Eli looked even more guilty now, seeing a person suffer like this, especially because she only tried protecting someone...

They left to keep looking for Umi.

Chapter Text

About 6 minutes passed, and Eli got lost. They followed Nico's words into the Dark Forest, but couldn't find Umi anymore. The forest wasn't named for nothing, since no one could even see anything in it. It was too dark, and Nico looked as calm as ever.

"...Seems to be in various places... You should stop for a bit." At this point, Maki was so done with Nico’s antics so she just wished she could stab her. But she was a demon, and that's not a way to do that, is it...

"Stop? She could ea-" Before Maki could finish her sentence, something jumped at her and dragged her away. It was a quick yellow flash through her eyelids and Maki didn't really have any time to even react. She was gone in a second. Eventually, Eli stopped and looked around.. she only noticed everything was so dark, and despite being one of the best soldiers of the empire, she was pretty scared of the dark. And so she slightly panicked...

"...M..Maki? Maki, are you here? Where-"

"Close your eyes, I'm going to light this place up." Nico warned, and cracked her fingers a little...
Eli covered her eyes and suddenly, with a snap of Nico's fingers, the whole forest lightened up immediately. Followed by a loud scream, and some various trees were possibly knocked out. Nico smirked.

"Got her. Go north, fast. Even though I hate that stupid redhead, Nozomi told me not to let any of you die, so I guess I have no choice. Come on."

"R-Right..." Eli was beyond scared at this point. She didn't know what to fear anymore; that yellow creature, the darkness, or Nico and her sadistic behavior. But she followed her, and there, Maki was sitting right next to the tree, panting and wheezing. Her arm was bitten and it was all covered in blood. Across her, there was laying sort of an animal. It had a deep blue fur, and a skull covering its face. Though it was practically burning right now, and soon enough it revealed it's other form...
It was Umi. Her skin all burnt as well, but regardless, she tried to escape. Before she could get up, Eli jumped off her horse and stabbed her leg with all the power she had. Umi hissed and cried in pain, but that didn't stop Eli to take another sword and stab her other leg as well. In that way, she couldn't walk at all, and all she could do was scream in agony and beg whoever was in the sky to help her.

"K..Kill..me al..ready! Wh-Why ar-"

"Because I want you to die SLOWLY, so much you'll regret ever breathing or setting a foot in this land! Now suffer for me and DIE."
Eli took one of the swords, and only made the wound bigger, making Umi scream even louder and cry out for her to stop. But she couldn't hear it. All she could see and hear was a pure hate. At this point, even Maki started pity the poor creature, and Nico seemed disgusted. So much blood got spilled out, and after a few minutes, Umi had no power to scream anymore. She was dying, and Eli was looking down at her the whole time, simply waiting for her to lose any last droplet of her bloodless body now. She liked it. She enjoyed seeing her die, and that was the worst scene one could ever even experience.

"Oi, just leave her to die... That's even worse than a demon could’ve ever done, you asshole." Nico tried to touch Eli, but she violently turned her head with a look that showed pure hate she was having this whole time. It looked like she was a serial killer.. Or even worse. She looked like a psychopath. And even Nico got scared from that. Not only her, but Maki couldn't be careless anymore. Of course, that creature might just bite half of her arm off, but no one deserved to die like that, and even she thought so, the one who never  even cared about anyone by now..

"STOP!"
A yell broke from afar, as Kotori came with Nozomi, who helped her walk. They both looked terrified, but Nozomi had a look of a very disappointed mother rather than a terrified one.

"H-How...dare you do such a thing to her?! Leave her for once!!"
Kotori yelled, and she tried to continue to exert all her powers to go over Umi's side

"My apologies, princess, but please do NOT interfere in my business. I will h-" But without letting her speak, Nozomi used her wand to throw Eli away from Umi, and went over to Maki.

"I'm sorry, Ayase...cards never lie...but it's the first time I'm disappointed in their decision... You're no real soldier if you dare do such a heartless thing. Especially to someone who didn't even do anything bad to anyone, or you..."

"This chick sure is a psychopath. Can't believe you sent me out to help them, Nozomi." Nico tsked, as she walked over to Nozomi. She climbed on her shoulder, and stayed there.

"How dare y-" Eli tried to speak again, but Kotori slapped her immediately. She was crying, and she looked mad like she had never been before. That slap could be probably heard through the whole forest, and everything went silent for a split second. Even Maki was surprised. Luckily, she managed to wrap a cloth she had around her arm to not bleed to death, but that sound sure was powerful.

"How dare YOU hurt others in such a heartless way?! That look you had... It was a look of a killer! It's disappointing...to have someone so skillful and good at her job wasted like this... Just look at what you've done!" towards her last words, her tone arose as she pointed at Umi, whom Nozomi was trying to heal with the powers she had. Umi had her half skull, covering her face in shame. She was shivering as well, trying to crawl away as fast as she could... But Nico was holding her arms so she wouldn't move. Healing hurt 50% of how much It'd hurt to be stabbed the way she was, so it wasn't the most pleasant thing. Eli looked around to see if anyone was on her side and understood her rage, but no one agreed. No one looked directly at her. She finally understood she was wrong, but didn't really want to accept it. She just lowered her head in shame, and  didn't speak, but Kotori understood that Eli calmed down.

"I want you to take a break, Eli..." Kotori smiled sadly, knowing what it'll she had caused. But she had no choice.

"B-But-"

"It's for the best of all of us. A few days off might set you back on track. You injured someone innocent almost to a state of death. That's not something a royal soldier should do. I was in the wrong to tell you about her... I thought you could keep what I told you about yourself, and not tell anything about it to my mom..."

"I can be with you if you wanna be distracted."
Nozomi smiled at Eli... She was too nice, despite Eli threatening to hurt her a few minutes ago. But now that Nozomi offered it, Eli nodded her head in even more shame.

"We could also get to know each other better that way, y'know."

"....Yeah..."

Eventually, Nozomi finished healing Umi, and went to help Maki and her bitten arm. Though, the moment Nozomi and Nico were away enough from Umi, she tried escaping again. This time she did succeed, but before she could move further, she fell back to the ground, her legs completely giving in. Her skull bounced a few steps away, and she just laid there, waiting for her death to come at last.
Kotori came beside her, and reached for her skull to give it back to her.

"Please don't run away... I won't hurt you, I swear! Please..."

She put her hand on her head, and pet her gently. The moment she did, Umi began to shake uncontrollably. She was scared. Scared of herself. Her whole body was against her at the moment.

"Woah, talk about a good reaction." Nico slipped a joke, but Nozomi looked at her with a death glare and shot her a fake smile, so she stopped immediately and shut up. Some time passed, and Maki was healed as well.

"...Umi, right? ...hey, can you look at me? Please... I want to help..."

"Why..wou..ld a p...rince..ss like y..ou..help som..eone...like..me?  You sho..uld've let...me die...bu..t you stopp..ed her? I don't..under...stand..yo..ur log..ic... Why me...o..ut of everyo..ne….else?” Umi hid her face behind her mask, as she continued to look at the ground.

"Because... No creature deserves to die. No matter what you've done, it doesn't mean you have to die. I'm not forgiving you for biting Maki, though! You'll have to apologize... But for now, you need to rest, and so does Maki. So, let's go back to Honoka's place, alright? Eli will carry you there! Right, Eli?"
Kotori looked at Eli with the obvious evil smile that meant she had to suffer the consequences of acting the way she did, and Eli sighed.

"...I don't have a choice...do I? Are you sure she won't try escaping if I touch her?"

"I'm sure. ..You didn't touch Honoka, right?"

"...about that-"  Maki hissed and looked away..

"She threatened Maki with a sword. We had to knock her out."

"What?!"  Kotori rose up, but accidentally stepped on her broken leg, which made her squeal in pain that startled everyone. Both Eli and Maki rushed to help, but Nozomi asked them not to.
"I'll teleport us all right away. Don't worry."

They reached Honoka's place. Honoka was still knocked out on the floor, a puddle of blood on the floor. This was really bad, she wasn't breathing.

"HONOKA-!!!!"

Chapter Text

"Honoka?! Honoka!!! Answer me!!" Umi was trying to shake Honoka by her shoulders, but got no response from her. She tried to check her heartbeat, but that didn't work either.

"Bring her to the hospital. I'll take care of the rest.’’ Maki said calmly, and looked at Eli. "You pick her up, and I'll go quickly to inform my parents of the situation. Come on!"

"...Fine."  Eli really didn't want to do it. She had enough of Umi, and now she has to deal with her friend? But when Maki was this serious, she had to do what she would say. Most of the time, at least. We'll see what we can do. ....She's your friend, right, princess?"

"Yes! Please do whatever you can to save her!"

"...It'll be my honor to. Eli! What are you waiting for? Don't waste any time!"  Maki snapped at Eli, who was simply standing across Honoka and staring down at her, she ran outside to get her horse and go to the hospital as quickly as she could possible.

"...Eli? Are you okay?"

"...Ah, no, nothing. I'll get going!"

...
Two hours passed, but they couldn't bring back Honoka. That was, when they decided to call for someone else to help.
In the other half of town, lived a witch that Nozomi knew..
Her name was Koizumi Hanayo, and she was a second year wizard, and was pretty much way too shy to get known in this town. But Nozomi met her, and adored her.

"...H-Huh? My help? B-But...But I'm really bad with my magic! I can't possibly bring a dead person back!"  Hanayo mumbled, hiding her face in her hands

"Course you can! I saw it in your spell book!" Nozomi replied in a laughing voice and firmly patted Hanayo's back.

"B-But--"

"You can do it, Kayochin!~ I'm here to help you, too, nya!!~"
Suddenly, a cat-looking girl jumped into the room, and two soldiers who tried to not let her in.

"R-Rin! I-I asked you to wait outside!"

"But I'm not an animal! I'm only a half cat, nya..."

"What is this creature?!"  Maki got angry right off the bat.

"A-Ah! Sh..She's with me! Please don't throw her out!" Hanayo pulled Rin closer to herself and slightly brought her hands around her waist.
"...Please?"

"Of course she can stay! Rin's a big cutie, anyways~"  Nozomi went right beside her and patted her head. Rin started purring and rubbed her head against Nozomi's hand when she patted her.

"Nozomiiiii!~"

"...Fine! She can stay, but just bring her back already, for god's sake!"
Again, Maki was really annoyed with everyone in the room.

"...Please.. Please just do it..."  Umi added, looking down at Honoka's body... She was holding her skull the whole time, which made everyone in the hospital a bit uncomfortable, but Kotori was stuck with her, so no one really asked anything about her.

"O-Of course! Rin..please help me for this one... Here I go!!!"

...
After a while, waiting for what was coming, Honoka's heartbeat began to raise. She coughed some blood out of her mouth.

"Honoka!!"  Both Kotori and Umi exclaimed, rushing to her bed. Now that she was alive, Hanayo got on her knees in shock. She did it! Her own hands brought back someone alive! The first thing after what she did was to cry.

"Kayochin! What's wrong? We did it, nya!"  Rin rushed to Hanayo and wiped off her tears with her paws "Come on, don't be so emotional right now, nya.." She nuzzled her cheek and purred, telling Hanayo that everything went well.

"A-Ah...Huh? Umi..? Kotori? Did...did you die too? No waaaaaaay..."
Honoka laughed weakly, obviously not aware of the situation she was in.
"No..you dummy Honoka! We brought you back!"
Kotori took her hand, and sat down on the chair beside her. Umi did too, suddenly looking much more calm and happy. "I'm glad you're back... I wouldn't be able to live without you, Honoka.."

"Seeeeee? Hanayo did such a good job!" Nozomi laughed and patted Hanayo's back (Again)

"Hey, where the hell are we?"  Suddenly, Nico appeared behind Nozomi's back and climbed up onto her shoulder again.
The moment she did, Honoka pointed at her with a terrified look.

"T...T-T...This thing! This thing killed me!!"

"What...is it?" Even Kotori was a little scared, and Umi looked at her with a death glare as well. She knew Nico was the one after her anyways. She could sense her evil aura from miles away.

"Heeey, calm down, you fat orange. You threatened the redhead, so I had to get you away!"

"Don’t call me fat!"
"Don't call me a redhead!"
Both Honoka and Maki fret, immediately snapping at Nico.

"Now, now girls... Calm down, she's a nice, little creature! Don't worry~"

"Little creature?! I just told you!! She was the one who sent me straight to the wall! She's evil!!"

"Oi! I'm a demon! Leave me alone, dammit!"  Now Nico snapped too. She hated when humans called her evil. To the point when it actually hurt her.

"...Honoka, right?" Nozomi assured herself, and stepped closer to her. "Does she look like the devil? Look at her closely."

Honoka got a bit scared, but she looked up to Nico anyways. She looked sad. She looked hurt. "...Th..Then why would she try to kill me?"

"It's not like she planned it. You threatened Maki with sword, and so she had nothing to do but to take you away. She tried to do that as gently as she could possible, but being gentle doesn’t apply the same for humans. And so she accidentally hurt you. Of course, Mrs. Perfect there could help you after you were unconscious, but she was full of herself at the moment."  Nozomi pointed at Eli to refer to her as the Mrs. Perfect. Eli got a bit offended, but she was busy with guarding the entrance, so she didn't even bother to look or say something. Maki got a bit worried, too. Just an hour or two ago she was about to kill Umi, and now she was unable to talk ever since then. Honestly, it wasn't comfortable to talk to her, either. So not talking with her was the best for now.

"Honoka... Shouldn't we inform your parents? They went on a vacation, right?"
Kotori broke the silence, and looked back at Honoka again

"O-Oh...uh..yeah! Yeah we sh-"

"She's coming." Interrupting them, Eli spoke in a bad temper.

"What-"

"The queen!! Quickly, hide that skulled girl!!"

Umi quickly dove under the bed, hugging her skull
And after that, the door opened.

"Mom..."

Everyone bowed in front of the queen when she entered the room, and everyone became silent as well.

"My... I heard about what happened to you, Honoka...are you okay right now?"

"Y...Yes, thank you, Your Highness... I'm completely fine!" Honoka replied, trying her best to talk without a tremor in her voice.

"I'm glad. Now, Ayase... I'd like you to come with me." The expression on the Queen's face completely changed to a serious face when she looked at Eli, and Eli already knew she was in trouble.

"...Yes, your Highness..."

The two of them exited the room after they stared at each for a good while.


 

"Did you kill it?"

"...Not yet. The princess...she seems to like it. I can't kill it if the princess adores it."

"Even so, my daughter isn't the ruler yet. This creature is threatening the lives of the empire, and I command you to destroy it. My daughter adores a lot of things, and I let you and your partner to be with her so you could help her get over it, aside from guarding her from any harm."

"I...know that, but-" Eli tried to deny, but the queen wouldn't let her continue.

"No. It is your duty as a soldier. And so you must do it."

"...Yes...Your Highness." Eli looked down, as she spun around to go and open the door again. After that, the queen left and let the girls be alone again.

"Honoka...I want to go home..." Umi whimpered under the bed, now not even getting out from where she was.

"...Miss Toujou, can you please take Umi home? I need to stay here for a few more hours before I get out of here, and I don't want her to hide here at this time."

"Of course I don't mind!~ come out, Umiii~"  Nozomi knelt down to Umi, seeing how scared she was right now

"...Okay.."  Umi stood up, and stepped closer to Nozomi

"....Stop right there." Eli suddenly pointed her sword at Nozomi's head, frowning

"Eli! What are you doing?!" Kotori got up, but Maki put her hands on her shoulders to stop her. "Please don't worry."

"....Give me that creature." 

Chapter Text

"....Give me that creature." 


 

"..."
As a response, Nozomi just hugged Umi close to her and smiled
"I'm sorry, but I can't do that. You see, the cards to-"

"I don't care what your tarot cards told you!"
Eli yelled out, stepping closer to her with the sword

"...Before pointing your sharp sword at me, please look around yourself. You want to kill this poor girl, and you still look like a ruthless murderer. I'm sorry, again, but I cannot do that." Nozomi lost her smile, and within a moment, the two were gone.

"Eli! What was that?!" Kotori freaked out and stepped closer to Eli, but from the view she had seen, Eli looked like she'd kill anyone right now.

"...I'm really sorry. You'll need to stay out of my way for a while, Princess. It's an order. You stay with your friend." Eli turned around, and moved over Maki to follow her as well. And so Maki didn't really have anything else to do but to listen to Eli, and left the room with her.

Meanwhile, back in Honoka's house...
"She's coming after me... Something's definitely wrong with her, and I can feel it! She's...she's not a human, and I'm sure!" Umi was drawing circles by walking around the living room. Nozomi was sitting on the couch, watching her with Nico on her shoulder.

"Ahh, don't worry! I'll hold her from harming you. The princess likes you, after all. And I bet your friend can't just allow you to die out because of who you are. You didn't even hurt anyone, but Ayase doesn't really want to understand that. But don't worry, again! I'll get it into her head. The cards told me to protect you." Nozomi stated, and crossed her arms

Umi then stopped and looked at Nozomi. "Th...The cards.... But..but what if-"

"Don't 'what if' me, just trust me and my flirting skills!" ("Don't." Said Nico from the side.) Now Nozomi looked so proud of herself.

"...Flirting skills?"

That was the moment when Umi understood she shouldn't have asked that question.
Within a few seconds, Umi was pinned to the wall by Nozomi, and her chin was slightly lifted by Nozomi's fingers. It made Umi shiver and blush, but she didn't dare to move.

"Wh-Wh-What are you-!! That's....That's shameless!!! P-Please get off of me!" Umi looked like was actually about to cry. She wasn't used to be engaged in a conversation or even intimacy.

"HEY! Nozomi! Get your ass away from her! She's mentally unable to react!" Nico got concerned about Umi, and flew to Nozomi to try and get her away. But without success...

"Huuuh?~ what's wrong?~ are my skills too strong for you?~ hehe, sorry, honey~" Nozomi giggled, and stepped away from Umi.

The moment she did, Umi hid behind the couch in complete fear. "Y-You're....you're completely shameless!!! N-Not mention how inappropriate it is! A-And you're going to do that to that soldier too?! I'm scared to know what else you're planning to do..." Umi frowned and hid completely behind the couch now.

"Oh, you shouldn't worry about what I'm gonna do to her~ it may be shameless, but I enjoy it, and I'll also distract for you!"

"...A...Alright...." Umi sighed, and so Nozomi came back to sit on the couch. Until the door suddenly got kicked off, and Eli entered with the most deadliest look she had ever had.

"....You." Eli glared at Nozomi, and started walking slowly towards her.

"Me! Are you here after Umi?" Nozomi replied with a smile, but Nico slightly hissed at Eli and got behind Nozomi. If the devil's afraid of Eli, then it's not a good sign.

"Where is she? I don't have time for your games, Toujou."

"Please, call me Nozomi! Your name is Eli, right? It's nice to meet you, Eli~" Nozomi stood up, and walked towards Eli.

"...Then, Nozomi, please move aside and allow me to take that creature away. It's the queen's order, and so you must obey!"

"Hmmm, but Eli~ didn't the princess tell you to take a break? C'mon, let's go get that grumpy expression erased from your face!~" Without Eli noticing, she was now behind her, hugging around her and pressing herself against her.

"...What are you doing... I told you to ob-" Eli turned around, really pissed off, but Nozomi shushed her by placing her finger on her lips.

"Be quiet for a moment, huh? C'mon, let's go, Elicchi~" Nozomi wiggled her eyebrows slightly, tightening her grip around her

"...Elicchi? ...Whatever! Jus-" But then, again, Nozomi shushed her. This time with a much different way. She somehow made her way under Eli's armor, and groped her around her breasts. "I told you to be quiet, didn't I?~ I'll do much more if you won't listen to me, Elicchi~"

"Oi, Nozomi... don't you thi-" Nico tried to say, but Nozomi gave her a look she knew all too well, and immediately hid behind Umi, who was behind the couch. Double shelter!

"H-Hey...don't...don't touch me!" Eli tried struggling, but Nozomi only gripped her breasts even harder.

"A-Ah-!!" Eli let out a small whimper, but then Maki ran inside

"Hey I hope someone's getting k- ...what????" When Maki entered, she automatically stepped away back outside the door. "What the hell?!"

"If you don't hide, you'll be next!" Nico yelled across the room, but then she hid back behind the couch

"H-Huh?" Maki frowned, but then Nozomi turned to her with a smug smile.

"Oh, you're Maki, right? Would you like to be the next?~" After that statement, Maki was no longer seen.

"...Now, do you still want to hurt my little girl, Eli?"

"I-I...told you...it's the Queen's o-"

"Wrooong answer~" Nozomi spread Eli's legs with hers, and shoved her knee between them. That, Eli couldn't bare anymore, and just fell down on her knees. Nozomi, of course, let her, and kneed beside her.

"Now... Would you like to come with me, Elicchi?~ Come on, I'll treat you to some goods too~"

"N-N-No...I...I can't...do th-" Eli started, but then Maki peeked again from behind the door

"The Princess told you to take a break, Eli... You should listen to her before she does more..."

"...But...th...this is wro-" Again, Eli tried complaining, but Nozomi cut her by shushing her with her finger once again. "Shh~ come with me." She helped her up, and then they both walked to the door. Nozomi helping Eli walk, of course. Her legs were shaking... But before they exited, Umi peeked from the couch, and Eli gave her the death glare of her life. Though after that, Nozomi turned her head back to her and closed the door after her.

"...Man, that asshole really hates you, huh? You sure are screwed. ...you got that she's somewhat around the same specie as you, yeah?" Nico peeked from the couch as well, and looked at Umi.

"... That's exactly why I'm concerned... She's powerful.. much powerful than me, but I think I know her weakness, so I can survive. I just need to inform Honoka..." Umi responded and went to sit back on the couch

"Can't believe such a thing can even disguise itself to become a soldier... Do you think the Queen knows?" Then Nico flew on her shoulder. At first Umi flinched, but then calmed down.

"....Doubt that. She looks like a Russian would look... Her disguise is pretty good."Umi sighed, and looked around...
"Say... What did Nozomi went to do to Eli...?"

"bad stuff."

"...Bad stuff?"

"naughty stuff. 

"WHAT?!"

Chapter Text

"Kayochiiin... Kayochiiiiiin... You're spacing out!"
Hanayo and Rin were still with Kotori and Honoka to check if Honoka was alright, but Hanayo's head was going kinda fuzzy… She was feeling kinda dizzy.

"A-Ah!! I-I'm...I'm so sorry! I..haven't been feeling so good since when we helped here..."
Hanayo replied, holding her head

"It's probably because it's a very hard spell, nya! And you did great! I'll go bring you water, please sit and relax, nya-!!"
Rin immediately jumped up from her chair, and then looked around..
"...Where can I get water here, nya?"

"Ah...please, I'll go bring it. If you wander around here, people might feel uncomfortable and you'll be forced to be thrown out... You see...cat's aren't really allo-"
Kotori started, but then Hanayo quickly stood up

"She's not just a stray cat!! She's a living creature and she should be treated as equally as humans!!"
But after that, she understood what kind of situation she dragged herself into. Talking to the princess like that could get her in real trouble. So she slowly and carefully sat back down, and lowered her head
"I-I...mean...I...I'm...I'm so sorry...please forgive m-me-"
She looked like she was about to cry, and Rin dashed back to her and put her hands on her shoulders
"K-Kayochin! Y..You don't need to stand out for me like that, nya! I can accept it all by myself... I'm a big girl now!"

"...I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to treat her like a stray cat at all! And please don't be afraid to speak clearly your mind. I definitely won't get mad or anything like that! And...I'll definitely speak to the hospital staff about this matter. I won't leave you sad like this. Cats are a precious creature, after all. Now, please relax and I'll go bring you two water. Honoka, do you want anything as well?"
Kotori said, and turned back to Honoka, who was crying along with Hanayo for some reason

"S-Some food would be great...and tissues...too..please..."

"A-Ah! O-Okay! I'll be right back with everything!!"
Kotori got a bit scared, and quickly walked out the room to get everything.

"...H-Hey, but- she's the princess! W-We should be doing this, not her!"
Hanayo slightly panicked, and somehow felt bad for Kotori as well. But Honoka just smiled at her and wiped her own tears away

"Kotori doesn't like when others treat her as someone more important. She never wants someone to do something for her, and says that as long as her arms aren't wings, she can stand on the ground by herself and serve herself just like anyone else."

"...I..see...."
Hanayo was simply happy by that.  She didn't understand the whole wings issue, but she did understand everything else. And so she smiled and nodded
"I totally understand!"

A few minutes later, Kotori came back with everything ready
"I'm back! Missed me?~"
She joked, giving the water to both Hanayo and Rin, and a whole plate of curry to Honoka, along with the tissues she asked for

"Kotori!~"
Honoka smiled as brightly as she could, but it was probably because of the food she got.
"Wait...no bread? Awhhh.... But Kotoriiiiiiiiiiiii..."
Her expression changed too quickly to a slightly disappointed one

"White bread isn't healthy for you, Honoka! Now enjoy the food and don't complain like a little child!"
Kotori crossed her arms, and sat back on her chair
"Now...Hanayo, how come you thought I treat Rin as a stray cat?

"A-Ah...that....I..I-I....it's a really...long story, I don't really want to bother you with it.."
Hanayo played with her fingers, swirling them around each other

"Well, we have all the time to speak! So please tell me! I really like hearing stories! And so does Honoka! So come on, don't be afraid!"

"...Is it okay if  I tell them, Rin?"
Hanayo looked at Rin, slightly concerned

"Of course, nya! Go ahead and tell them anything, nya!~"
Rin replied, and patted Hanayo's head slightly
"I'm completely fine with it, nya."

"...You see.... Rin was originally born a full cat, and her parents were half cats, and so they couldn't keep her because even they weren't legal here. They're still somewhat forbidden, but no one will kill them for being existent. And so her parents brought her to my mother back then so she could help them turn her into a regular girl, and claimed they didn't want her to suffer the same faith as they had..."

"...What was their faith?"

"....They were executed. Executed for...existing..."

At that moment, Kotori and Honoka received terrible chills up their spines...

"...Anyways... my mother was only able to turn her into a half cat like her parents, but they thanked her anyways, and went on. They took Rin with her, but..."

"...Hanayo, dear? Are you okay? ...Don't fear, I'm sure it'll be alright."
Hanayo's mother patted Hanayo's head and smiled down at her daughter. She just turned 5 not too long ago!

"Momma...will they really be okay? What does the word execute means? Is it something bad?"

"...Yes, it's not a good word. You shouldn't know or worry about it. So, let's go eat something, shall we?"
Her mother picked her up and went with her to the kitchen
"What would you like me to make?"

"Rice!"
Hanayo said without hesitation, raising her arms up and forgetting about whatever happened before it.

...
Not a while after it, her mother told her to go play with other kids outside. It was a sunny day, after all. Hanayo had no friends, though. And so her mother was very worried.
And so Hanayo was barely forced to go outside.
She did, but automatically went to one of the big trees around and sat down, playing with a stick as if she could do magic with it. Her mother was a witch, and so she wanted to become as great as her. But what could a five year old do? She was too aware of that fact, and so she tried her best to change it.

Suddenly, she heard meowing behind her. At first, she thought she just misheard something. But then right behind the tree, fell out the little cat girl. She remembered her clearly. It was the little kitten her mother's friends brought! Although, she was all dirty, her clothes were a bit reddish and her eyes were a bit red as well, as if she cried for at least 10 minutes. All that, and she was only five, so Hanayo didn't understand what happened.

"Y...You... What..happened to you? Is everything alright?!"
Of course, as a five year old, Hanayo panicked when seeing someone else at this state. In fact, she never saw something in this state the cat girl was in..
The poor girl couldn't speak, though. She was out of breath and injured in almost all her body.
They stared at each other for a while, but then some yells were heard, and the cat girl began crying again. These were guards, and Hanayo really didn't like them. So she carefully grabbed the cat's little hand and ran to hide with her. They were both scared, but at least they lost the guards.

"...Come... My momma can heal you!"
Hanayo said, and hurried to the back door they had to the house. After they entered the house, the cat girl immediately ran and hid under their sofa.

"What's going on?!"
Hanayo's mother peeked from the kitchen, really confused

"Momma!!! I found the little kitten your friends brought! She's injured!!"
Hanayo came running to her mother, crying
"She's scared...those bullies they call guards were chasing her!"

"My...I see what happened..."
She sighed, and went to the sofa, kneeling down..
"Come on out, little Rin... Everything is okay, I won't harm you."

"..."
Indeed, the cat named Rin slowly crawled out to look up at Hanayo's worried mother.

"Momma...?"
Hanayo came beside her, looking down at Rin
Eventually, Rin came out and jumped into the mother's arms. She was trembling, crying... Bleeding, too... She was truly hated by life itself.
And so she went with her to her working room, but told Hanayo to stay out.
Around 10 minutes went by, and she finally exited the room.
"Please come in, Hanayo."
She said, and smiled at her daughter.

"Okay..."
Hanayo nodded slowly, and carefully entered the room
The moment she did, Rin jumped at her and hugged her. She still seemed to be scared, but not enough to be scared of someone who saved her.
"You're Hanayo, r-right? Nice to meet you, nya!!~"
She said, and purred against her

"A-Ah! M-Momma... what-"
Hanayo was scared. She didn't expect someone to jump at her like this.

"I found you a new friend, Hanayo. Meet Rin. She'll be living here with us from now on, okay? Please treat her well~"
Her mother kneed down to the two girls, and hugged them both
"I know you'll be great friends."

".....And... that's pretty much how we met...."
Back to the hospital room, Kotori and Honoka were just tearing up at Hanayo's story.
"Th...That's amazing! You're...wow...I- the kingdom sure sucks, huh..."
Honoka frowned, crossing her arms. She had bread crumbs all over her mouth, but she was pretty mad at the soldiers right now that she didn't care.

"Honoka! Don't be like that..."
Kotori followed up, grabbing one of the tissues and wiped Honoka's mouth for her
"Yeah...my mom is a little too strict, but it's not so bad!"

"Kayochin! You're starting to cry again, nya!!!"
Rin kinda panicked because Hanayo began crying, and Rin didn't like when Hanayo cried...

"I-I'm sorry..i-it's...just that you've grown so much..and you're so lively now... When back then you sometimes were so depressed you refused to eat... Seeing you like this now makes me so happy...."
Hanayo said, wiping her tears and smiling at Rin

"And I'll make sure everyone in this kingdom treats her and you right, Miss Hanayo!"
Kotori stood up, wiping her tears as well

"Th...Thank you! So much...please do ask to treat Rin like all of us... She did nothing to anyone, and the whole world still hates her..."

"...Just like Umi...."
Honoka looked up, frowning

"Huh?"
Both Hanayo and Rin asked, confused

"Ah! N...Nothing. Nevermind..."

Then, the doctor came back into the room
"Miss Kousaka... We'll have to do a few more checks, and then you can return to your home. I'd like to ask everyone else to exit the room, please."
And so they did.

About half an hour passed, and Honoka was free to go. So, she rushed back home to see how Umi was.
"Umi! I'm ho- huh? Where's--?? Nozomi?!"

Chapter Text

On the couch, where Nozomi and Eli, both were half naked.... What? Honoka was kinda mad, and confused.... But didn't care right now

"Eli!! What's going on?!"
Kotori peeked from behind Honoka, and covered her eyes. So did Hanayo to Rin.

"Don't bother talkin' to her, she's under my spell~"
Nozomi giggled, teasingly taking off more of Eli's armor

"That's pretty gay, nya.."
Rin said with a smug face, and Hanayo looked down at her like she was about to kill her. And cry...

"Wh-Where's Maki?!"
Kotori continued

"Upstaiiirs~"
Nozomi replied, and continued to do her job around Eli.

"Th-Thanks..."
Kotori said quietly, and rushed upstairs with the others

"Oh, hey, can I help you, princess?"
Maki said, sitting on Honoka's bed. Umi was sitting against the bed, simply reading a book. She looked calm.

"Maki...? Why...?"
Kotori walked over, kinda concerned

"Ah, you mean downstairs? Yeah, I didn't really ask or care enough to stop her, so she told us to go upstairs and ignore her. So, we did. She wouldn't let me exit the house, so I had to stay."
Maki said, getting up and stretching her body a little bit.

"Hey...aren't you after Umi just like your friend?"
Honoka added, following Kotori

"No, I don't really like blood on my hands, you see.... So, I didn't even try doing anything to her."
Maki said and crossed her arms in slight frustration.

"...Say, u-uh...pri...koto....uh.."
Hanayo did her best to take Kotori’s attention and address her name, but she was kinda lost as to how to do that. Since she thought she was unable to do that, she decided to just hide behind Rin again, who wasn't even paying attention to anything around her at the moment

"Call me Kotori, it's okay! I don't like when others address me as a princess anyways."
Kotori said, and sat down on the bed beside Umi. For some reason, Umi was surprisingly quiet. She didn't really speak to anyone, and Honoka kinda understood her for doing so. Honoka came and sat beside Umi to accompany her.

"Th-Then...Ko..tori... Do you, by any chance, know why this kingdom hates cats so much?"
Hanayo stepped beside Rin, leaning against a wall

"Eh? Uh...no, I don't...sorry..."
Kotori lowered her head, a little disappointed for not knowing such a rhing

"....May I please explain, princess?"
Maki suggested, looking at Hanayo directly, which made Hanayo quite scared somehow.

"Of course! Go ahead!"
Kotori replied and smiled brightly at Maki

"...Well, you see, Her Highness has a reason why she never allows cats in here. As it’s often told that they are a creature which is close to the devil."

Maki stopped for a secons, and then continued again.

"That aside, the fact that Kotori is represented as a bird. Her name means a little bird in the Japanese culture, as well. We believe the birds are closer to the Gods, and just like everyone knows, cats eat birds. And so Her Highness tried to forbid what causes the worry among the citizens."

"I...see.."
Hanayo said quietly and awkwardly stopped talking.

"...Closer to the devil? What nonsense, nya... Do...do I look like a demon to you?"
Rin frowned, walking over to Maki.

"Don't ask me. To me, it doesn't matter. None of you look harmful to me, but who am I to speak? I'm only fifteen and--"

"Wait, you're only fifteen?! Wh...Why would a fifteen year old want to become a soldier? And who would even accept it?!"
Hanayo raised her head up

"Well, Her Highness wanted someone suitable for her daughter’s age.. I myself think it's not a bad idea, since me and Eli need to guard her wherever she goes."

"But when they know it's safe for me to be alone, they give me private time, so don't be afraid."
Kotori added

Then, Eli stepped in, already fully clothed and wore a discontented expression on her face. The moment she came in, Umi glared at her with all her soul.

"....What is the matter here? Princess-"
Eli began saying, but noticed Umi, and got quite annoyed by the fact Kotori was close to her.

"...If you lay a finger on her, I'll cut it off."
Honoka glared at her as well, and stole the glance from Eli towards Umi.

"You dare speak to me like that? Watch your filthy mouth."
Eli responded with the same glare, then Kotori stood up.

"Stop fighting already, will you two?!"
Kotori raising her voice wasn't a usual occasion, and everyone was surprised. Even Eli was.
"Please... For me, and for all of us..."

"...Yes, princess."
Eli tsked quietly to herself and averted her look away from Kotori.
Eventually, the whole room went quiet, and everyone felt too awkward to speak.

"...We should go... It's getting dark and it won't be good if we stay here longer than we already do."
Maki broke the silence, walking towards the door then she placed her hand on Eli's shoulder
"Come on. And you too, Princess.”

"Okay.."
Kotori simply agreed and stood up, following after Eli and Maki. She felt too awkward to even talk to Honoka. After the following minutes, Rin and Hanayo left as well.

"Umi... Are you okay?"
Honoka looked at Umi, obviously concerned

"...Why is she so eager to help me? She doesn't even know me..."
Umi frowned, closing her book as she gave a sigh.

"You mean Kotori? Ah... Kotori is just a very sweet and cheerful person! I think she wants to know you better, Umi. You should give her a chance. She won't harm you, really! I know her for as long as I can remember myself. She wouldn't even hurt a fly."

"...If you say so. But what if-"
Umi began speaking, but Honoka shushed her with her finger

"When it comes to Kotori, there's nothing as 'what if' in her. So please trust me."
Honoka giggled and jumped on her bed
"That, and Kotori just wants to be your friend! Again, you should give her a chance to get to know you. Besides, what will you lose if you open up a bit? It's no big deal--"

"It is, Honoka. I can't open up to her... If I do, I'm risking my life on it. After all, her mother is the one who's after me. And with that blonde maniac around her, I'll be dead in no time. There's just no way I can let myself get killed."

"But... Y’know, a forbidden friendship is even more thrilling!"
Honoka looked up at the ceiling, smiling calmly

"...Thrilling? You're not making any sense, Honoka. Guess you never change, huh?"
That made Umi laugh a bit, and hearing Honoka like this cheered her up too. Truly, she's too childish for her age. Thought Umi, at least.

"...Oh, by the way! Mom and dad are coming back tomorrow from the trip they took... So, when they do..."
Honoka started, and then Umi nodded

"Got it, won't tell a thing about what happened. ...And the sword you stole from dad."
Suddenly, Umi's smile changed into a smirk, and she glanced back at Honoka

"Ah! Don't remind me that... He'll kill me if he finds I touched his stuff!"
Honoka whimpered, turning away from her

"Anyways..."
Umi started and got up
"You should rest. Today was probably a really hard day for you. It's pretty late, too."

"But it's only 9 in the evening.."
Honoka turned back around to her, with the most pitiful expression she could put on, but Umi didn't buy it.
"Right! It's 9 in the evening! It's time for people to sleep"

"...Fuuiiiiiine..."
Honoka moaned out and stood up
"I'll go brush my teeth. Oh, but did you eat?"

"I'm not hungry. I'll eat tomorrow morning before I feed the cows, promise."
Umi walked up to the door
"Now, let's go."

And so they went to sleep soon enough.

... Next morning, Umi fulfilled her promise she made to Honoka, and she immediately went to feed the cows and other animals they had in their farm

"Oh... You're Umi, right?"
Suddenly, a voice said, and Umi quickly turned to the source of the voice came from, and there, Maki was standing.
"Yeah, I remember you. No one answered the door so I figured at least one of you would be here."

"...Is..there anything you need from me?"
Umi was a little scared of her, but remembered clearly that Maki stated that she had no reason to hurt Umi. So she wasn't as much as scared as she was yesterday.

"Y'see... The princess asked me to hand out you this letter, and to your friend as well."
Maki said, pressing a letter to Umi's chest

"What's...in there?"
Umi looked down at the letter, again, in a very scared way

"You'll see. ...You better not disappoint her."
Maki frowned a bit, and walked away back to hee horse, riding her way back where she came from.

"..."
She opened the letter, and after a few moments of reading, she dropped everything in complete fear. She couldn't believe it... It was horrible!
"HONOKA!!!"
She came back from running and made her way to the house to wake Honoka up

"Hnghhh... Not now, Yukihooooo...."

"HONOKA!! Th...This letter!! Wake up!!"
Umi shook Honoka, and Honoka...barely woke up from it
"Whaaat..."

"Read it!!!"
Umi threw the letter at her, and crossed her arms with a frown on her face

"....Heeeeh? That's actually cool!"
Honoka closed the letter after reading it and smiled at Umi

"Cool?! Are you insane?! It's terrible!"
She covered her face and shook her head
"No..."
Umi was super scared... The letter talked, after all, about...
"I can't go to a ball!"

Chapter Text

"You gave them the letter I asked to you, right? I'm so eager to see their reactions!"
Kotori was still on her bed in her pyjamas, smiling at Maki.

"Yeah, yeah... It's just that I...don’t understand why you would risk it so much. Eli will be there, and so will be the queen and maybe even Tsubasa. The chances of her walking around there without being killed there are very low, Kotori..."
Maki sat on a chair nearby and relaxed herself a little bit.

"Don't worry, I'm aware of that already. But! I got a plan~"
Kotori giggled and jumped out of her bed.

"...Really? What's your plan?"
Maki raised her eyebrow, crossing her arms.

"It's a secret! Because if you know what it is, anyone will chase after you when they find you suspicious!"
Kotori skipped over to her huge closet and opened it cheerfully
"Noooow!~ what shall I wear? I need to pick up Honoka and Umi to go shopping with them!"

"...Then wear something casual? You sure look and sound super happy about this, I hope your plan goes well..."
Maki looked away, swirling her hair around her finger.

"Okaay! Can you leave the room so I could change?"
Kotori picked up a bunch of clothes and threw them on her bed to decide what to wear, while Maki quietly exited the room.
About an hour passed, and Kotori finally finished dressing up. She then walked out of the room to start her journey around the town.

"Maki.... Can I go alone, maybe? Again, I don't want anyone to know about my plan, so I'd rather you don’t follow me."
She smiled and took Maki's hands in hers.

"Fine, I guess... It's not like anything could happen there anyways. Just please be careful, I don't want Eli or your mom getting mad at me for leaving you by yourself..."
Maki pouted, but she blushed slightly and looked away from kotori.

"Thank you!"
Kotori quickly said and left as soon and as quietly as possible.

With that, she made her way to Honoka's house and knocked on the door.
Surprisingly, Honoka opened up immediately.

"Oh! Kotori... What do yo-"
Honoka started saying, and Kotori was too excited to listen. So she interrupted her before Honoka even questioned.

"Let's go shopping! And take Umi with you!"

"E-Eh? Ah! Riiiight... You see... Umi said she didn’t wanna go, and not to the ball, either…”
Honoka looked away, scratching her neck a bit.

"..."
Kotori looked a little confused, but then smiled calmly.
"I see. I thought that would eventually happen. And that's exactly why I need to go shopping with you two. I really, really want to help her, and I even got a plan! Can I go talk to her?"

"Sure! She's upstairs in the last room from the right."
Honoka let Kotori in, and closed the door after her.
Kotori seemed to be extremely nervous, but she could follow what Honoka told her and knocked on the door she assumed was the right one.
"...Umi? You're... In there, right?"

There has been a complete silence for a few minutes, but Umi eventually opened the door slightly to peek at whom she could face.
"...Is there anything I can...help you with?"

"A-Ah! Uh... May I come in, please? There's something I'd like to talk to you about."

"...There's nothing important you could talk to me about--"
Umi frowned and left the door ajar, but Kotori quickly put her foot to prevent Umi from doing more so.

"I want you to be happy just like everyone else! If Eli wants to hurt you, it means the kingdom doesn't like you. I know somewhere deep down in my heart that I've already known you since I was little. When Honoka started talking about you, I began remembering dreams I've had all these years, as if they were not just dreams but my past memories! So, I know in fact you're not a bad person and I believe in my instincts. Please let me help you!!”

"...I don't ne--"
I know somewhere deep down in my heart that I've already known you since I was little. Honoka started to get while I was sleeping as if they were not just dreams but my past memories... so I know in fact you're not a bad person and I believe in my instincts. Please let me help you!”
"You can't always rely on Honoka to hide you away from everyone. We're all humans! We need to communicate with each other...even if it’s for a little bit!"
Kotori said in a harsh tone, leaning against the door

"...All humans, you say..."
Umi got stuck on these words, but after some moments, she opened the door for Kotori.
"...Fine.."

"R..Really? You truly mean it? ...You won't run away like the last time, right?"
Kotori said suspiciously, crossing her arms.

"...Promise. But please don't have your hopes up, or else I might disappoint you.”
Umi sat on her bed firmly, looking at Kotori.

"...Anyways! Would you please come out with me and Honoka to buy you two clothes? The ball will be a full of of people, after all."

"...If I go to the town, I'll probably be in a very high risk of getting killed. I'd rather not..."
Umi said, looking down. But then Kotori came and sat beside her.

 

"When I told Eli about your appearance, she immediately knew who you are and where to get you... So it's your appearance that causes you to stand out like that... That's why I brought these!"
Kotori pulled out a little box and opened it to show Umi what was inside.
Inside there were a pair of light blue colored eye contacts.
"Tada!"

"What..are these? Are those real eyes?!"
With having the knowledge of what eye contacts were, Umi panicked when she saw.

"N-No! They're not real, dummy! They're made to change your eye color. Just trust me here, okay? I know what I'm doing."
Kotori smiled at her as sweetly as she could to maybe assure Umi that she wouldn’t harm her.

"...F...Fine..."
Umi then said in hesitation, looking away again.

"Yay! Now... I need to open your eye a little more. Is it okay?"

"Yeah, it's..fine."

"Thanks--"
Kotori slid closer to Umi and carefully stretched her eyelids a little. After making sure Umi was calm, she slowly inserted the eye contact.
"Now close your eye for a little while-"
And Umi did exactly as she said.

"M-My eye hurts..."
Umi was timid again and opened her eye. Luckily, she saw everything clearly and didn't seem to have much problems with this vision.

"See? Everything's fine! Now, let me do the same thing with your other eye..."
Kotori leaned back to Umi and did the same with her other eye, this time with Umi much calmer. If their bodies weren’t so close, Umi wouldn't be worried about anything at all. Eventually, what she was scared of was over, and she had her now light blue eyes.

"You look gorgeous! I knew picking this color for you would be the right choice! Now, will you agree to come with me and Honoka?"
Kotori smiled and stood up, looking down at Umi with a cheerful smile.

"I...guess."
She stood up and returned Kotori with a half smile, but then quickly walked towards the door.

"..."
"..."
"Too...many..people...staring at me.... Honoka, hide me..."
Within around ten minutes, the three were already in town.
Despite Umi wearing contacts, people stared at her in suspicion. She never went to town, so this was also a new experience for her. Which, she really hated to go through.

"Eh..? Don't worry! Just act normal and ignore it!"
Honoka said, patting Umi's back in reassurance.
Then Kotori peeked at Umi from Honoka's other shoulder, smiling.
"Maybe they're just staring at you because you're beautiful?"
She decided to tease Umi, and it seemed to be working as well.

"....Beautiful....?"
Umi's mind suddenly went blank. The princess calling her beautiful? That was definitely not something anyone would expect to hear.
"Th..Thanks..."

"Ah...! There it is!"
Kotori pointed at a specific shop, and she rushed over there.

"Woah... It looks fancy-- are you sure we can pay for this kind of--"
Honoka stared at the shop, quite concerned, but Kotori cut her sentence short.
"It's all on me, don't worry!~"

"No! This- we can't do that! It wouldn't be fair of us to do so!"
Umi snapped from her brain freeze when hearing such a thing. She was even worried about it.

"This is the best clothing shop for events like this, and the people around here were invited as well, so almost all the shops around lowered their prices! Besides, you're my friends! I want you two to look the best! So, come on in~"
Kotori said, and entered the store. So did Honoka, pulling Umi after her

"Ah! Honoka, Umi! Look!~"
Kotori skipped over to the two girls and showed them a tuxedo and soft orange dress.
The dress was full of white flowers and a double layer of white clothes under it, and the tuxedo had a soft blue tone to it. Not only that, it had a rather long end to it behind. It looked fancier than it really was.

"...Wait- what?"
Honoka looked closely at the clothes, frowning at them
"A tuxedo? Who-"

"Umi!"
Kotori answered, smirking at them both

"Why do I need to wear a tuxedo?"
Umi pouted quietly even at the thought of wearing it. She's a girl, why would she dress like a boy?"

"Just come with me, you two~"
Kotori grabbed their hands and dragged them to the changing rooms
"So, I thought... Just to not make you stand out too much, to let people think you're with me!"

"...With you?"
Umi didn't know what it meant, and she wasn't sure she even wanted to know at this point.

"Y...You mean for real?! Kotori, that's so unfair! Think about me too!"
Honoka knew what she meant, and she pouted. If anything, even jealous.

"Don't worry, Honoka! I thought about you, too! Are you okay with Maki?"
Kotori said, giving the tuxedo to Umi and the dress to Honoka.

"Who???????”
Honoka was confused. But Kotori just sighed at it.
“Nevermind, we'll find a solution for you, now go change!”
Kotori pushed both of them forward.

A little bit longer than five minutes passed and Honoka came out in her dress. Kotori even got excited about it.
"You look gorgeous, Honoka! It fits you so well!"
She said, hovering closer to her.

"Really? That's cool! Man, I really just wanna go there for some good food..."
Kotori thought Honoka would say that, and a smug smile plastered on her face.

"I know, Honoka~ I picked the best chefs who can make the food you like, so don't worry!"

"You're the best, Kotoriii!~"
Honoka hugged her tightly, and Kotori patted her head.
"Of course~"

"Wait.."
Honoka suddenly realized something, and let go of Kotori.
"Wasn't Umi supposed to finish putting her clothes on? It's extremely quiet..."

Then, Honoka went to the cabin Umi was in and opened the curtain. There, Umi was sitting on the floor, shivering.

"U-Umi! Are you okay?! What happened?"
Honoka sat down beside her, patting her back.

"Scared..."
Umi mumbled, sobbing. But Honoka didn't understand.
"...Huh?"

"....I'm...scared.."
Umi repeated louder.

"Ehh? But Umi, I'll be there with you! And Kotori will be with you too! We won't let you be alone no matter what! Promise!"
Honoka smiled, hugging Umi's side.

"...Y…You mean it?"
Umi then looked up at her with a worried, yet a hopeful look.

"Of course! Now let's go show Kotori how you look, because you sure look sexy in it!"
Honoka partially joked to trigger her senses, and it worked.

"I'll smack you."
Umi took a deep breath and stood back up, turning around.
"...Okay.."
After her, Honoka stood as well, and they both walked out of there.

"Woaaahhh!! You look so cute and beautiful, Umi!~"
Kotori came to Umi, examining the clothes all over. Umi didn't feel so good about it, but she didn't want to do anything about it. She was blushing so madly right now.

"Umi, you'll have to get used to Kotori being around you like this! After all-"
Honoka sighed, crossing her arms. But Kotori cut her teasing short.

"Shh, Honoka~"
Kotori shushed her, smirking.
"Don't spoil the surprises!"

"S-Surprises? What surprises?"
Umi panicked slightly, looking from Kotori to Honoka quickly

"You'll see~"
Kotori giggled and put a hand over her arm to hide her smirk.

"Now, go change back so I could get you those clothes, and then go get ready for the evening! It'll be a huge event and I'm looking forward to it!"

"G-Got it..."
"Alrighty!"
Honoka and Umi said, and went back to change.

 

"..."
"....Nicocchi... The cards are telling me something bad's gonna happen.."
Meanwhile at Nozomi's place, both her and Nico were in her room, looking at her tarot cards.

"The Devil and The Tower? Maybe we should warn the princess?”

Chapter Text

Finally, the evening came faster than anticipated. Everyone was starting to get into the castle in excitement. Kotori herself was especially excited!

"Kotori, dear, are you ready?"
The Queen entered Kotori's room, she was wearing her own clothes for the ball already

"Of course! Is Honoka there already?"
Kotori turned to her mother, already dressed as well. She was wearing a green, long dress with flowers elaborated all over her body, similar to Honoka's dress. Except it was more vivid and had a cyanish ribbon tugged from behind. Her hair was rather curly from its end and for once, she wore her crown on her head. Though she placed it around her tied hair on her side, so she looked quite silly with it. But nonetheless, she was beautiful no matter what she wore. She even put some makeup, which made her look even better!

"Yes, she came with a boy... Is he her boyfriend?"

"B-Boyfriend?!"
Kotori jumped slightly, quite not sure about her mother's sudden remark... But didn't really mind it.
"N...No, it's just her good friend! He's my partner..."

"Your partner? And why I never heard of him yet? What a shame, Kotori..."
The queen crossed her arms, puffing her cheeks a bit. Kotori laughed about it, and walked over to her.
"I didn't want to worry you, that’s all!"
She chuckled, while hugging her mother to make sure she wasn’t getting suspicious about anything.

"Now, come when you're ready, Kotori. The ball will start soon. Maybe you can even introduce your partner to me later."

"A-Alright..."

With that being said, the queen left Kotori's room and Kotori was alone again.
"....What should I do..."
She thought, as she sighed.
"Right, Let's go!"
She said after dwelling on what she was going to from now on.

"...Ah! Kotori!"
Suddenly, Honoka came into her room, already with full plate of food.
"There you aaaare!"

"Honoka! Sorry to keep you waiting, I was just talking with my mom- ... Where's Umi?"
Kotori looked at Honoka, tilting her head slightly in curious.

"She's right here!"
Honoka said, pulling Umi closer from the corner and giving her some space.

"D-Don't pull me like that, Hon-"
Before she could complain, she was stunned by Kotori's attire and her beautiful face. Suddenly her expression completely changed from a frown to astonishment. She didn't even seem to breathe.

"U-Umi? Are you okay?"
Kotori got worried, and went closer to Umi, but Umi backed away in surprise. Her face was slightly red...
"I-I-I'm fine! I'm fine! Y...You just...l-look...b...b-b..."

"....b?"
Honoka lifted her eyebrow in confusion, looking at Umi in a worried look just like Kotori.
"...Ahh! You mean beautiful? Of course!"
Honoka figured out and patted Umi's back, laughing.

"Ah, thank you, Umi! You look beautiful too! Especially with how your hair looks like!"
Yes, Umi's hair was tied in a high ponytail, and her bangs were taken back by some hair gel Honoka stole from her father. With her contacts, she looked even more beautiful.

"Th...Thanks. It's all thanks to Honoka... And mostly mom."

"Heyyy, I tried too! It’s not my fault. I have no idea how to do this! At least I worked on your hair!"
Honoka pouted.

"That was mom's work too. You just messed it up..."
Umi sighed.

"....Jeeez, you're so cruel, Umi... Are you sure you'll survive through it, Kotori?"

"Survive through it?"
Umi asked, but was ignored

"Of course! Don't worry, Honoka, I'll take good care of her~"
Kotori giggled and quickly moved beside Umi, grabbing her arm and linked their arms together. For her next move, she pressed her breasts against her arm, which left Umi speechless.

"Oh, right, we kept it a secret from you, didn' we? You're gonna dance with Kotori, Umi!"

"......huh?"
Was all Umi could say, and even that was in a shaky voice.

"Come on, let's go girls!~"
Kotori said and yanked Umi with her. Honoka came along with them from behind.
When they exited and went to the main room in the castle, every single thing they saw alive or not became quiet. The three didn't understand what was going on, until they looked behind.

"Princess...."
Behind her, there was Eli standing. All dressed up in a suit just like Umi. She looked quite mad, and everyone knew nothing good came out of Ayase Eli being mad.
"Who is this? Why are they with you?"
She didn't even call Umi a boy. She knew it was her. She felt her presence.
Umi felt her heart drop at that moment. She couldn't move, she couldn't speak. She was terrified and scared.

"Alright! Enough of this staring competition! Everyone, please continue with what you were doing before!"
Suddenly Nozomi came in with a purple dress halfly swaying down from her right thigh to knee
She grabbed Eli and just pushed her away. She was wearing of a fake smile, which could be interpreted as a mad one.

"Hey! Nozomi- I-"
Eli frowned, trying to stop Nozomi, but Nozomi grabbed her arms and forced them behind her back.
Everyone was shocked. Nozomi was the first person ever to treat Eli like that without Eli snapping, or the other person being scared of her. For Nozomi it was just a simple chill woman.
"You sure are a big, energetic horse, Elicchi~"
She said quietly to her, and with that, they went away.

"....Woah."
Honoka said, quite amused.
"Anyways! You two enjoy, I'll go eat~"

After Honoka left them alone, the music continued and everyone went to what they were doing. Except Umi. She was still stunned and confused. Both by Eli seeing through her disguise and Kotori wanting to dance with her.
"...i"
"mi?"
"Uuuumiiii?"
Suddenly, she jumped back into the reality. Kotori was waving her hand in front of her face, quite worried about her.

"S....S-Sorry... B-But I ca-"
She wanted to say she couldn't dance with Kotori, but Honoka shot her a glare she knew wasn't good.

"...Don’t you want to dance with me, Umi?"
Kotori looked up at her, a little sad.

"O...Of course I do! It...It's my honor to do so!"
Umi nodded quickly.

"Then, follow me"
Kotori grabbed her hand and pulled her into the crowd. Umi hesitated, but followed her without giving any more thoughts. Everyone was staring at her. She didn't like it. She was scared since she wasn't used to being a center of attention at all.

"Umi, just focus on me, okay?"
Kotori said softly, pulling Umi closer to herself.
Umi nodded slightly and kept going, until they reached the center of the hall.
"A...Are you su-"
Umi sounded nervous, but Kotori pulled her closer to her and shushed her with her finger, as they stopped around. That left Umi with a bright face again.

"Look at me, alright? Ignore everyone around. Think of them as...as vegetables!"
Kotori said jokingly, but Umi took it quite seriously. And now she looked rather terrified since there was this ‘’crowd’’ looking at them enviously which didn’t help the situation either...
"O-Okay...you don't really need to see them as vegetables..."
Kotori said in a worried voice, and placed her arms around Umi's neck.
"Hold my waist, Umi...
She grabbed Umi's arms and placed them around her waist, smiling up at her in such a way Umi couldn't even concentrate enough. Her face was even brighter. So much her ears felt hot.
She gripped Kotori's waist a bit, and Kotori put her arms back around Umi's waist. They moved at a steady pace and movements, carefully progressing around with slow steps. The music was calm and the atmosphere was even better. Eventually, Umi found herself closer to Kotori. Her smell, her small smile, her...everything, felt so nice. Umi never felt such a strong feeling before, and the new sensation made her quite excited. She felt so good...

"Did you calm down, Umi? You look so cool right now..."
Kotori said softly, looking Umi in the eyes.

"Y...Yes. I feel calm, thanks to you..princ-"

"My name is Kotori, Umi. We're friends now, you don't need to be formal with me at all."
Kotori cut Umi through her sentence, shushing her with her finger again.

"Please, I want you to treat me like a good friend now. It's so important for me."
Kotori continued, as she leant over Umi's chest, and held onto her tightly. She felt so safe with her... Umi's chest was so warm, so calm... Hearing her rapidly increasing heartbeat felt so soothing as if it was trying to escape its way out. Ah...this feeling was strange... Kotori thought to herself. Umi felt the same, but in a much more nervous way. Having Kotori so close to herself was so exciting and captivating. They only met two days ago and they were dancing in one of the greatest balls this kingdom had ever held. Not only that, but feeling Kotori's hot breath brushing against her chest felt so... New. So weird, yet amazing. All of those feelings made her blush only harder.
Was this... What they called love? Umi thought, but refused to think much further. She never liked the word 'love'. Ever since she was born, all she knew was hatred and sadness.
Umi looked around to see if anyone was looking at her. Luckily, no one was, which gave her more confidence.

"Umi... Are you cold?"
Kotori looked up, again, smiling softly at Umi. Every time Umi saw her during this evening, she was smiling at her with the brightest one. She was a little confused about it because something weird was churning in her stomach...
"No, I'm completely fine... You?"
Umi replied with the same calm voice, trying her best to smile brightest she could manage to for Kotori. Of course, it worked.

"I was a little cold, but with your smile, I feel like I could survive a storm!
Kotori laughed lightly.
That statement alone made Umi even warmer. She was hearing her own heartbeat, and she was sure Kotori noticed how loud it was as well.

"...Umi, what are you feeling right now?"
Kotori suddenly looked down to hide her face, trying her best to hide the blush suffusing her face.

"What...am I feeling? What do you mean...?"
Umi tilted her head slightly, unable to understand what Kotori was talking about

"Like... Th-This...feeling! I...I don't know..."
Kotori pressed herself even harder on Umi, and her ears were pretty red... Umi figured she was also embarrassed, so she didn't protest being so close. But she knew nothing about someone else’s own feelings... She couldn't read much of Kotori's behavior.

"This...feeling.."
Umi tried to understand what it meant, but without success.
"What do you mean, Kotori? Is there something wrong?
Umi looked at Kotori with a worried face.

"...Umi... Come with me, okay?"
Kotori said quietly, and carefully dancing her way with Umi away from the crowd to the one of the walls.

"Umi... I want to do something really, really important right now... And I just hope you'll understand"
Kotori said quietly, and held onto Umi's shirt collar firmly.

"S...Sure."
Umi said in a doubt, and looked at Kotori.
"What i-"
She began to say, but Kotori did something no one would expect her to do.
And, it was, indeed,
A kiss.

Chapter Text

At the moment they kissed, everything froze. The people around them, the inaudible rumours. The time itself didn't seem to move.
Umi felt like she was about to die. Not only that, but it was the most shameless action anyone could ever do...
Some seconds turned into 20, and slowly into 30 as well. Still, Umi couldn't react or move at all. After those 30 seconds, Kotori let her go with a sigh

"I...I hope you don't ha-"
Kotori began speaking, but Umi suddenly backed up against the wall as if she was dying or something.
"U...Umi? Are yo-"
Kotori tried to say again, but Umi stopped her
"Pl...Please do...don't get c-closer..I- I...I-I'm-"
Umi stuttered, but then quickly grabbed onto her throat, again, as if she was dying.
"B-But-"
Then, Umi dashed away, pushing various people aside to run away from the crowd. No matter what, Kotori ran after her. She was worried, it was obvious she would go after Umi to check her.
Eventually, even Honoka noticed that one was running after the other so she quickly hurried after them. But mainly Kotori, since she knew exactly what was going on with Umi.

"K-Kotori!"
She called out, rushing after her as fast as she could. Eventually, Umi found a random room and quickly got inside.
"Umi, please open up! I need to know what's wrong!
Kotori tried opening the door, but without success.
Umi didn't seem to lock the door, but it felt unusually heavy.

"Kotori! Y...You need to stop! Please!"
Came Honoka running to her

But Kotori refused to stop.
"No! I can't! I want t-"
Kotori started saying, but suddenly there were noises of clothes ripping and a few loud thuds around the room Umi got inside.
Both Kotori and Honoka found themselves speechless, Honoka looking concerned and Kotori being puzzled instead.
Kotori tried opening the door again, and this time it went well.

"...U...Umi?"
Kotori said in a cracked voice and looked into the room. Unfortunately, it was too dark for her to see much, and she definitely couldn't see Umi inside.

"Kotori...please-"
Honoka grabbed Kotori's arm, forcing her to focus her mind on her instead of Umi
"Please don't..."
It was the first time Kotori saw Honoka with a serious face, she never thought she would. The expression Honoka made left her both speechless and concerned again, but then, a low growl came from the room, which stole Kotori's attention again. She noticed a small honey-colored light somewhere in the room, which was definitely pointing at her direction. The same color as Umi's eyes where Kotori focused on deeply

"Kotori-"
Again, Honoka tried speaking to her, but Kotori completely ignored her. She found herself eventually walking towards the light.
The growling increased, the light became much clearer. She realized it was some sort of a creature, and even saw a bit of itsit's fur. She even recognized the fabric of the clothes that were ripped apart.
"..Umi's clothes..."
Kotori said softly, picking up a small piece of it.
"...Umi? Is that..you?"
She then looked up at the honey-colored eyes, trying to see even more
The creature didn't respond.

"...Kotori.."
Honoka said calmly yet sadly, walking inside the room
"Come on.."

"..."
Kotori frowned, and went to the window in the room. She grabbed the curtains and opened them wide to let in the light of the moon at least. The street lights entered, but it wasn't too much.


The creature was, as Kotori expected, completely revealed by the moonlight. Covering its skulled face, it only backed away against the nearest wall. The dark blue fur, a skull Kotori was sure she saw it before...
She realized that, it was no other than Umi. It was wearing the suit Umi was wearing before. Some of it, at least. Mostly the sleeves and a small part of the pants. And she knew she saw a little bit of an amber color in the eyes.

"U...Umi..."

It didn't respond. Instead, it slowly sat down against the wall and hugged the skull tightly. It was obviously full of guilt right now...
"I'm doomed, right... It's the end? It mu-"
Umi said in her head, but her skull suddenly felt warm and tight. She slowly uncovered her eyes, that instantly narrowed.
Kotori was hugging her. She couldn't believe it. Why would the princess help such a monster like her? Why did she deserve this whole evening? She thought of it, but just couldn't figure it out.

"Is this why you were hiding from me? You didn't want to show this side of you so I wouldn't be scared of you? That's why Eli wants to hunt you down, right? I won't do anything bad to you. In fact, I really don't mind you being like this. Everything is okay, Umi."
Kotori explained with a calm smile, and sat down.

"K-Kotori..."
Honoka said from behind, walking inside the room with a smile as well
"I can't believe I doubted you all this time... I didn't want to tell you..because I was scared you'd report this information to the military and...and that they'll take her away...a-and...and..."
Honoka tried continuing, but eventually found her words replaced with tears. With that sentiment rushing over her body, she came running to Kotori and tackled her down into a hug.

"A-Ah! H-Honokkaaaa, why would I do that? No creature deserves death, no matter what they've done or who they are!"
Kotori turned around to Honoka, hugging and patting her head gently

"I-I'm so glad!!"
Honoka cried out and hugged Kotori even harder.
But Kotori asked her to let go of her for a second, in this way she could face Umi again.

"But...you know, I really don't regret what I did, either!"

Umi was confused, but then Kotori got up and kissed the tip of her skull. Umi was obviously nervous and embarrassed about the warm contact now, and Honoka just didn't understand what was going on.

"What did you do, Kotori?"
Honoka asked, sitting up and wiping her runny nose with her arm. Even trying to sniff back in

"Oh, y-you didn't see it, did you-"
Kotori’s face received a red tone as well, and she looked back at Honoka

"Of course not! You know how I am when I'm eating! I was busy with food, and especially made by your chefs! They're amazing!"
The topic went to food now... But Kotori stopped and changed the topic again

"...Y-Y...You see... I...I really, really like Umi... So I-"
Kotori was ready to finish her sentence, but then Honoka gasped loudly

"D-Don't tell me you screwed her there?!"

Honoka looked as serious as ever, and that made Kotori's face even redder, but it made Umi glare at Honoka with obvious anger.

"W-W-W-Why would I d-do such a...thing in the ball with this many people watching us?!”
Kotori answered back in a rush, trying to calm herself down.

"I seee~"
Honoka put a hand on her mouth, mischievously grinning.
"Fufu, are you sure?~"
With all the teasing, Kotori just groaned and shook her head
"P-Please stop, Honokaaaaa..."

"...Ko...tori..."
Suddenly, Umi spoke in a low voice. It seemed as if it was very hard to even speak in her state.

"A-Ah? Yes, Umi?"
Kotori looked up with a small amount of concern in her eyes

"D...id..you rea...lly...mea..n what...you sa..id?"
Umi looked down at her directly

"Do I look like the type of person who lies, Umi?"
Kotori smiled and hugged Umi, resting her head on her fur
"E..ven...the..ki..ss?"
Umi said, lowering her tone even more, as she found herself more embarrassed.


"Of course!" She laughed as she nuzzled against her

"Ooooh... You kissed- now I get it all!"
Honoka interrupted their romantic mood, but at some point she'd have to do it anyways.
"Umi, can't you turn back now?"

"...."
Umi quickly shook her head at that question.

"Oooh, right.."
Honoka hissed, crossing her arms in despair

"Why can't you turn back?"
Kotori asked, looking up again at Umi

"Her clothes were ripped apart because she didn't have the time to take them off before the transformation... So if she transforms back into her human form, she'll be naked... Though, I don't see a reason why not~"
Honoka explained, and she went back to teasing.
Umi honestly looked mad...

"Oh...I see... Then, how about we go up to my room and I give you some clothes to change into?"
Kotori suggested, completely ignoring Honoka's tease

"..."
Umi thought for a while, and slowly nodded. But she looked at Honoka in hope she would explain Kotori everything else. At first, Honoka was confused, then she understood what Umi meant.

"A-Ah, Kotori, Umi can't be in the light when she's in this form..."

"Eh? Why not?"
Kotori asked

"It's just how her body works, I guess? Could you maybe bring the clothes here?"
Honoka said back, and sat on the floor beside them

"Ah! Of course!"
Kotori quickly got up and went to the door
"I'll be back in a minute!"
With that being said, she left the room.

After a beat of silence, she came back with a simple shirt and an average skirt and a pair of underwears as well. She sat down beside her two friends and handed the clothes to Umi
"There you go!"

"Th...ank..yo..u..."
Umi said, and took the clothes

"Now, let's turn away while she's dressing, we don't need to see that yet!"
Honoka said, and turned around. So did Kotori.
And so Umi turned back into her human form, and quickly got dressed.
"...Thanks..."
After that, Honoka and Kotori turned back around
"But I still can't go outside this room... Someone might notice and recognize me..."

"Ah...right..."
Kotori sighed and looked down. Then the penny dropped. She suddenly got an idea.
"Oh, I know!"
Luckily for them, they had a full armor in the room. But..whose room was it?
"Wait..."
Kotori thought, and quickly went to turn the light on.
"Oh...no-"

"What happened?"
Honoka stood up, looking around curiously

"It's..Eli's room..."
Kotori's voice sounded very scared while saying that...and after hearing that, all the color Umi had on her face turned white.
Then, Kotori quickly took the armor that was hanging on the wall and handed it to Umi. Or, more like shoved it at her.

"C-Come on, put it on! We need to get out of here before she comes!"
Kotori said in a rush and waited for the two to move on.

"S-Sorry-"
Umi apologized out of fear and quickly got inside the armor. It was a little tall for her, but she managed to stretch herself enough to fit completely inside. After it, she put the helmet on and walked towards Kotori with Honoka.
So, after a little while of wandering around the castle, they got to Kotori's room and locked the door after everyone entered.

"Thank god..."
Kotori flopped down on her bed, taking her crown off then simply laying there in peace.
"We really made it!"

"Of course we did.."
Umi took off the helmet, tossing it aside and beginning to take the armor off

"Well, hey, I wanna go eat, so I'm gonna leave you two here to get to know each other a lil bit better~"
Honoka went back to the door and winked at them on the way, then she received a death glare from Umi. Unlike Umi, Kotori was just so embarrassed again.
"Hehe, sorry~"
Honoka said for the last time, and left the room.

So now, Honoka was simply wandering around the castle, checking some rooms and looking around curiously.
But then, she suddenly stopped.
"...E-Eh?"

Right in front of her, her own copy was standing.

Chapter Text

Back in Kotori's room, everything was quiet. Umi was sitting against the wall, still trying to get the armor parts off of her, and Kotori was laying on her bed, examining her crown all over. It was quiet, until Kotori broke the silence between them both by a low groan.  "Umi... Do you like anyone?" Asking, she slowly turned her head to Umi.

"...You say that after kissing me, Kotori..."
Sighing, Umi looked at Eli's armor as to examine it from every angle possible

"Yeah, but... Do you even like me, Umi? You're just... So tied to Honoka, I thought that-"

"I see her as my saviour. I don't intend to develop any further feelings towards her in any way but platonically."
Umi said, and took the helmet into her hands to further examine it too

"I...I see..." Kotori mumbled quietly, hugging her favorite pillow.
Everything became silent once again.
Kotori really disliked it. Especially after what happened between them... She felt she had to do something about it.

"...Umi, can you please help me unzip this dress? It feels a little uncomfortable after a while..."  Kotori sat up, desperately looking at Umi.

Umi, though, looked at her in a very confused way.  "Sure.."  She stood up, and walked over to Kotori. Fortunately, she didn't worry too much about it, and everything went well in Kotori's plan.
Kotori brushed her hair aside to reveal the zipper of the dress, and quietly waited for Umi to fall into her sly trap.
With how quiet everything was around them, the zipping sound could be heard across the whole room, and Umi didn't feel too comfortable with it... But after unzipping it, she stepped away  "There you go.."

"Thanks, Umi!"  Kotori said with a smile, and after that, Umi found herself on Kotori's bed. She didn't understand what was going on, why it was happening or when did Kotori manage to do so, but if anything, she was embarrassed.

"Wh-Wh-Wh-"  Umi stuttered, trying to speak. But Kotori shushed her with her finger

"Please don't worry! I won't hurt you! I...I just... can't hold myself anymore... I must.."
Kotori was sitting on Umi's crotch with her hands on her abs, closer to Umi's chest
"I'm sorry, Umi.."
She said, as she began undressing herself by taking off the huge, greenish dress she wore this whole time. After finally struggling out of it, Kotori looked down at Umi, who looked both amused and scared of what was waiting for her now.

"Umi... I love you..." continuing to whisper, Kotori  leaned down on her to now kiss and nibble on her neck. Umi let out a small whimper, and moved her head away

"Wa...Wait, Ko-Koto..ri--"  Umi couldn't speak anymore. Her words were swallowed back down into her throat and all she could let out were small whimpers here and there. After about a minute or two of doing so, Kotori sat back up

"Can I continue, Umi?" 

"....yes.."
Umi replied, but in the most quiet voice she could let out. Her body felt so hot, and she didn't know why. She was surprised she didn't turn into her beast form at this situation, and she didn't exactly want to accept this new feeling either. Until Umi was met with Kotori's melting gaze, causing her to completely forget whatever she thought about.

"Hey, Umi... Make me feel a bit good, too, okay?"
Kotori said those words, and grabbed Umi's wrists. Her next action left Umi completely stunned. Taking Umi's shaky hands in her palms, she forcefully pressed them against her bra, which prevented her from meeting Kotori's soft and slightly plump breasts.

"Hold your hands like this for a bit, okay?"
Kotori said, and slowly reached behind her to her bra. After struggling with it for half a minute, she finally heard a soft click behind her and let it fall down on Umi's stomach. Umi's eyes squinted, as if she has never seen such a beauty in her life before. The only breasts she ever saw in her life were her own, and even that wasn't in any sexual way. She felt her blood rush up to her head a little too much, and her cheeks received a pair of rose colored circles around themselves. With that, Kotori grabbed her wrists again and pressed her hands to her now freed breasts

"Please..."
Kotori said softly, holding Umi's fists in her own hands. she caressed them with her thumb as if to imply something sexual she has been desiring longer than she had expected

"Please accept this love, Umi..."

Unable to resist this suggestive voice and the breasts dangling around her eyes, Umi's breath became faster while her hands were trembling in fear. But eventually, she released her hands from the fists and let them slowly reach Kotori's breasts.

Kotori smiled at her, but then continued speaking.  "Now, squeeze them a bit, oka--"  Kotori said, and was about to finish her sentence, before Umi fulfilled her request and slowly squeezed her breasts, causing Kotori to let out a quiet moan. Kotori wasn't used to this, and with her excitement, any touch Umi would plant on her body would cause the same reaction. Umi could feel how moist she was against her slightly bare stomach... She was soaking wet.
That alone made Umi surprised, and she felt her cheeks become an even darker shade of red.

Suddenly, Umi felt weird. Weird in a way as if her self-control had begun to fade away. even Kotori felt it, but was confused as to what it was.

"L-L...Let's stop this, K-Kotori...I don't feel good-"  Umi turned away, covering her face. Her blush grew redder as she saw Kotori's intense focus on the bulge that began growing under her skirt.

"What's this...?"  Kotori looked behind her, completely ignoring Umi, and noticed where the problem came from. Umi's skirt was a little swollen, and Kotori was super curious of it. She then got off of her and examined the now swollen skirt, before touching the tip of the small hill-like bulge that began growing. As a response, Umi threw her head back in sheer pleasure, but tried her best to be quiet by covering her mouth.  Kotori took this response as something she could relate to.

It clicked her a few seconds later so she tried lifting Umi's skirt to expose what was underneath
Much to Kotori's surprise, what she saw in front of her eyes wasn't what she expected at all. It made her blush…
It was a piece that was never found on any woman's body.

"...Umi, lift up your shirt for me?"  Kotori's eyes sway down to Umi's extra member

"N-No, I can't do such a shamel-"  Umi frowned, but then Kotori interrupted her.

"Please?"  She begged in a cuter way, which captured Umi's heart way faster than she expected.

"..."  Umi sighed, and slowly lifted her shirt to reveal her own bra. Seeing that, Kotori was even more confused.  "What is this? If she's a girl... How can this even be possible? ... Unless-"  Her thought was cut short after Umi shifted back in her place a bit, since Kotori was staring at her so intensively... 

"K-Kotori...you're staring at me..."  Umi muttered

"A-Ah! I'm...I'm so sorry-"  Kotori stuttered in response, but then recovered and quickly smiled up at Umi.  "Then... Let's take care of it together, shall we?"

"B-But- I can't- I don't...know how to-"  Umi tried to find an excuse, but Kotori wrapped her hand around Umi's panties, which made her choke on her words and let out quite a loud moan. Her shaft was twitching and shivering against Kotori's hand, wanting her full attention now.   Umi felt so ashamed... She quickly covered her face and shook her head in denial
"N-No...No... This is wrong... K-Kotori..--"  Umi tried telling Kotori to stop, but Kotori was already pulling her skirt off.

"I can't, Umi..."  Kotori mounted up to her and looked at her panties.  "There's no going back now.."
She gripped the sides of her panties, and slowly pulled it down, revealing her wetness. So much there was a thin string connecting between her panties and body. Seeing Kotori's swollen slit on displayed and her juices dripping down her thighs, Umi's boner only rose higher, and now stood straight (gay) and proud.

"See? It's asking for my attention, Umi!"  Kotori laughed at her body's reaction, and slowly crawled her way down. She also slid her panties off, and simply threw them aside. Wrapping  both of her hands around Umi's member, she scooted closer to it with her head.  "I'm going to pleasure you, okay?"  She warned, and began to stroke it softly

"W-W-W-W-Wa..wait!!!"  Umi jolted up, panting,  "Th...The door-"

"...Ah, right!"  Kotori quickly got up, and rushed to the door to lock it. On the way, of course, Umi couldn't help but stare at her. Her body was so well built... Her skin even looked so soft and amazing…so graciously well-shown in front of Umi's longing eyes...And her butt-- Realisation dawning on her, Umi slapped herself out of her naughty thoughts and looked away from Kotori. After, of course, Kotori noticed her.

"Do you like my body, Umi?"

"I...I-I-"  Umi stuttered again, now covering her boner instead, which was still twitching and even releasing some pre-cum  "Y-Your...body is beautiful whether..y-you're naked or not..."  Umi frowned slightly, but Kotori found it pretty cute.

With that, she crawled back onto the bed and laid down in front of Umi's member.
"Then, let's get down to business~"
Kotori said, before carefully taking it in her mouth. In a second, Umi felt like she was gonna die from Kotori's wet tongue twirling around her member.

Kotori looked up at the embarrassed Umi, and slowly began bobbing her head to see her reaction. Just as she thought, Umi bucked her hips upwards as if she was in heaven with this pleasure. She moaned loudly. Her hand forked fistfuls of Kotori's hair and pushed her head in between her own legs, without even realizing. Due to sheer embarrassment, she covered her face with both of her arms in an x shape.

Kotori has taken a liking to her cute reactions, even feeling herself getting wetter from them. So much it was dripping down her legs now. But again, with Umi's reaction, she only wanted to make her like that more. So she wrapped two of her fingers around her member below her mouth, and stroked it while also doing her best to make Umi show more of this side of her.

"K-K...Kotori..Kotori-!!"  Umi growled and arched her back, releasing her seed into Kotori's warm mouth.  Kotori choked on it, but tried her best to swallow what she could. After it, though, she sat back up and spat out most of it into her hands.

"Bweehh... It's salty..”  Kotori whined and looked around to find a place to dump this mess into. Eventually, she just gave up and let it drip down through the window and into the garden below. After that, she simply grabbed some tissues that were beside her bed and wiped her hands dry.

"Umi, are you alright?"  Then, she remembered Umi was still there. She was panting and huffing, trying her best to catch her breath.  "Y...Yes..."

"...It's still standing... Does that mean you want more?"  Kotori sounded happy somehow, and crawled above her, leaving Umi's member to press against her butt.

"U-Uh... I- I don't...want to take the v-virginity of someone as important as y-"  Umi looked away, but then Kotori grabbed her head and turned her back around, only to meet their lips together in a passionate kiss.  "I'm not someone more important than you, Umi. If anything, I really want my virginity to be taken away by you!"

That last sentence alone made Umi slightly cum again, making Kotori squeak when her back met the thick white liquid.  Umi looked like terrified.  "I-I-I...I'm so...so sorry!!!"

"Oh, Umi~"  Kotori laughed, leaning down on Umi and hugging her.  "You're so sensitive, I swear~"  She then kissed her lips and swayed her legs back and forth

"K-Kotori...are you sure you want to do it?"

"More than anything, Umi!"  Kotori replied, and sat back up.  "I'll be okay, I promise!"

"...O-Okay..."

"Wait... I want to try a different position. Can I?"

"O-Of course..."  Umi got up, desperately searching for Kotori's golden orbs to meet again

"Thanks!"  Kotori smiled in return, then she laid beside Umi

"I want you to top! And...take that shirt off, will you?"

“N-Ngh…” Umi sighed, and positioned herself above Kotori before slowly lifting her shirt to reveal her upper body. Kotori focused on her bra, which looked amazing to her. But she then lowered it back. Kotori ground against Umi's body, craving for more of Umi's member, pleading to gain it's attention again. 

 Now she  looked hesitant, but eventually wrapped her hands around Kotori's waist gently, and pressed herself against her.  "H...Here I go..."
She said, and slowly began pushing herself further inside the bird's nest. When that happened, Kotori whimpered, and gritted her teeth slightly in a quite pain.

"K-Kotori!!! A-Are...are you okay?!"  Umi panicked slightly, and then felt something dripping down from Kotori... When she looked down, she blinked a few times to process what was happening. It was blood. Now she panicked even more, so she slightly pulled out. But Kotori put a finger on Umi's lips to silence her and tried to calm her down.

"D...Don't worry, Umi! I'm not injured! It's...It's just my hymen!"  Kotori waved her hands in front of her face, concerned that Umi would misunderstand.

"Y...Your...hymen.."  Umi didn't even know this word. Who would teach her such a word anyways?  "What's...th-that...?"

"I-It's..what keeps women virgin, I-I guess… It's normal to bleed after the hymen is broken! So...p-please continue.."  Kotori looked embarrassed now too, and Umi wanted to treasure this moment forever.  Eventually, she began to pick a pace and slowly thrust into Kotori. She was super scared to hurt her, but Kotori seemed to endure it pretty well.

"It...It feels good...Umi! Pl..please keep..going..."  Kotori moaned softly, letting out whimpers every time Umi dag deeper into her body. Eventually, Kotori took every single fiber of Umi in her, and they were fully connected now.

"Umi..."  Kotori shot her a soft smile, then she spread out her arms for Umi.  "Hug me?" 

Even though, she didn't have to wait for too long, as Umi hugged her almost immediately. In the process, she also rocked forward even further into Kotori, which made kotori moan in response.

"C...Can I...move?"  Umi leaned down on her and slowly but quickly planted a kiss on Kotori's lips. After that, she buried her face in her chest.

"Of course!~" Kotori then wrapped her legs around her, only to pull their bodies even closer. A soft moan of surprise escaped from Umi as the nether regions freshly met for once.

"But... Do you maybe mind taking that shirt off? I want to see your body, too!"

"B-But..."
Umi said worryingly, resting her chin on Kotori's breasts

"Isn't it normal for lovers to be naked while making out?"
Without even noticing, Kotori already assigned them both as lovers.

"....F..Fine."
Umi sighed and got herself back up. Before taking her shirt off, she noticed how desperate Kotori looked now, and honestly felt super embarrassed about it now, but she eventually took the shirt off and carefully tossed it aside.
"Th...There..."

Much to Kotori's surprise, Umi had abs. Not just abs, but her whole body build was amazing. Kotori's eyes lit up so much it could light the whole room. She was surprised she didn't notice them when Umi lifted her shirt up.

"S...So...beautiful..."
Kotori said, as her voice grew deeper and deeper as the lust began to consume her and slowly reached out her arms to feel Umi's body, but Umi quickly backed away in much fear

"P-Please don't touch me there, I...I'm very sensitive..."
Umi said, and looked away, but Kotori pulled her back down to her and kissed her nose

"Then I'll get to feel them later~ right now, let's focus on what we were doing, alright?"
Kotori said, and looked down to her crotch

"Y...Yeah.."
Umi did too, and slowly began to pull out of her until she could see the tip, but then thrusted it back inside in quite a pace, which made Kotori gasp in pleasure.
Seeing that this is the reaction she received, she repeated the action a few times before it eventually became spontaneous.

"U-Umi... Kiss me?" Kotori asked, putting a finger on her own lips and gazing up at now new lover.
Umi, of course, felt super embarrassed about it. Even if the situation itself was shameless in the highest levels of shamelessness, kissing will forever top it all. But she figured out doing it might calm her down, and so she took her cheeks and tried her best to kiss her as much as she knew how to. Which, wasn't enough.
Kotori found it funny, and rather cute.

"Y-You're...so cute, Umi~" She said softly, and grabbed her cheeks.
"Here, let me teach you how to do it properly." She then pushed their lips together and touched Umi's lips with the flick of her tongue, asking for entrance into her mouth

At first, Umi was super confused, and didn't really understand why Kotori would want to lick her lips like that, but then understood she had to actually open her mouth to make progress in this kiss. And so, she did, but very slowly...
The moment Kotori had enough space to push her tongue through, she slid it inside Umi's mouth.
Again, Umi was shocked by this action. She never knew a kiss could be so aggressive and intense, but she rolled with it anyways. It made her lose consciousness of what was going on, too. Kotori's scent... Her breath brushed against Umi's skin with passion... She eventually found herself thrusting faster too. All that because of a single kiss.
Kotori didn't expect that, though, and it made her moan right into the kiss, which sent vibrations across Umi's whole mouth

"M-Mmph.." Umi moaned back in response, closing her eyes to be led by this intimacy. Little to no time after it, Kotori broke the kiss with a long string of saliva connecting between the two.

"U-Umi...please g-go faster!!" She pleaded, trying to brush herself against Umi to get more of her goods, but Umi didn't know how to speed up. She was on the verge of dying before she knew how to do things in the back of her head. glancing scarcely, Kotori decided to take the lead and make it more intense. She grabbed Umi's waist, and roughly pushed her down on her back. Now, she was on top of her, giving a seductive look at her, Umi found it quite desirable even though she would refuse to admit

"I'm sorry, Umi, but I'll take the lead now~" She cut in Umi's non-dominant travel to her body, and then applied her body on Umi. It was so rough that the whole room was filled with slaps and gasps. They didn't even know if anyone was listening, but they were sure of one thing; they weren't stopping now.
Kotori's moans drove Umi crazy, and she soon felt herself getting closer to her orgasm.
Kotori then grabbed Umi's hands and intertwined their hands together, just to have Umi support her balance.

"Umi... U-Umi..! I... F-Feel like I'm close-!!~" She moaned, throwing her head back and increasing her speed even more.
Umi herself began buckling her hips up to support Kotori as well

"S...So am...I... Kotori.." Umi moaned back, completely fixated on her super hot body. Kotori's breasts were bouncing and the increasing lust and passion in her were just making it worse, and Kotori was caught by the pair of eyes staring at her.

Kotori then looked directly into her eyes, playing with her own breasts

"D...Do you like..m-my breasts, Umi?~"

"I-It's- it...it's not like th-that--" Umi tried to give an excuse, but Kotori leaned down on her and pressed her breasts against Umi's abs.

"I see, then...~"  Kotori copped a feel of Umi's breasts and passionately began sucking on one of them.
That drove Umi on edge, which made her squeal internally. Her body was sensitive, and so her nipples were even more erect.
She slid down her arms around Kotori's lower back and slammed into her roughly a few more times, before finally finishing off and releasing her seed into Kotori's stomach
Kotori moaned loudly in response. Infrequent pants grew as they both left speechless.

Half a minute passed, and Umi finally finished pumping her soul into Kotori. They both looked exhausted, and Kotori obviously couldn't move her limbs since her body wasn’t used to being penetrated so deeply. Umi was about to pull out, but Kotori whimpered and nuzzled against her

"D-Don't...move.."  Kotori sounded awfully tired as she poked Umi’s collarbone with her nose.

Umi gasped for a moment, but obeyed Kotori's orders. She has recovered back quicker than Kotori from her orgasmic daze.

"A...Are you...alright?" She asked in a soft voice, tilting her head to the side to see her lover's cute face
But sadly, she didn't receive any response. Eventually, Umi understood that Kotori fell asleep. Kotori's peacefully sleeping face was so cute to her, which instantly put a smile on her face. Although the position was awkward and a little uncomfortable, Umi wanted Kotori to feel safe and good. But she was still inside, so she slowly pulled out her member. Umi could see the white liquid dripping out of Kotori's opening on the now soaked sheets. She honestly felt ashamed of herself for doing such a thing... Especially at a young age like this! But... She was somehow happy to have an intimate bond. She slowly moved herself to the pillow, and rested her head with Kotori was still on the top of her.

"Good night, my dear princess."
Umi muttered under her breath, and closed her eyes to sleep just like Kotori.
With that, the two decided to call it a day and spend the night together.

Chapter Text

"Ehh?"
Honoka and someone who has the same features like her looked at each other in confusion, mouths agape, as if they were made to mirror each other's gestures at this time.

They both arched an eyebrow and crossed their arms, tilting their heads to the same direction. They then slowly walked closer to each other, and pressed their hands to each others

"What are you?"
Honoka asked, perplexed. Why was she even seeing herself in front of her eyes?

"What are YOU?"
The other repeated, she was about to burst which would freak out anyone, but Honoka was an exception.
Then, they both kept their looks long with each other.  Honoka wasn’t fazed at this moment, so she started to question whoever she was that had same look.
"What do I like most?!"

"Food!"

"When is my birthday?!"

"3rd of August!"

"What did I do after I finished preparing Umi for the ball?!"

"Slapped her ass and said she's sexy!"

"Oh... Right, I did that..."

After they went through a few more rounds, they both seemed tired from asking and answering to each other.

"What..are you.."
Honoka frowned, backing away

"I'm you, what else would I be?"  With a smug on her face, the second Honoka answered without hesitation.

"No, you're not me... If you were me, the universe would explode!"
Honoka said in a more excited voice. Her eyes lit up as she threw her arms in the air.

"That's bullshit-"  The other one hissed slightly

"Ah hah! You disagreed with me!"
Then, Honoka pointed her finger at her other self and laughed along with it, as if she won something more serious than what it really was.


"...Fine, you caught me, Kousaka."  The other Honoka smirked and crossed her arms.  "But you're slower than me, that's for sure~"

"What-"  Suddenly, Honoka couldn't see anything, and she couldn't tell what was going anymore. Her vision got from blurry, to complete dark.  The next time she saw the dim light in a different room, with someone strange sitting in front of her

"You-!!"
Honoka snapped back, her eyebrows furrowed in guarded curiosity. Then she stopped talking since it wouldn’t solve any problems while her hands were being tied behind a chair,
In front of her, there was a girl sitting who looked like in her age. Her hair was in a beautiful hazel color, and her eyes were as green as an emerald

"Good evening, Kousaka."
She said, standing up from her chair and slowly making her way to Honoka.

"Who...who are you?!" Honoka scoffed, trying to struggle out of the chair. Unfortunately, again, it was too tight.

"Me? I'm Tsubasa Kira, but call me Tsubasa. I’m one of the best soldiers in our kingdom. You must've heard of me, haven't you?"
Tsubasa smirked and stopped one step ahead of Honoka.

"A soldier? Then you must be like any other of them, huh? Ridiculous, stupid and evil!" Honoka said firmly.

"Oh? How come you jump to this misleading conclusion, dear?" Tsubasa gently placed her finger on Honoka's chin, and lifted her head up so she'd look into her eyes. "You're a cute girl, I don't see why would you care about what the military does. Or is it because of your dear friend?"

"... You're even more disgusting." Honoka moved her head away from Tsubasa's grasp, discontented.

"Then, how about we have a match? If you win, I let you go and we forget everything that ever happened. Not only that, but I'll send the military back to their own way and leave  your friend and her problems alone"

After Honoka heard that, she looked fired up. It was no wonder that she was willing to win and end this suffering for her friend.

"But! If I win, you get to do whatever I say for a while without any complaints."

Honoka went completely quiet for a while, but then quickly nodded. "I accept!"

"Understood." Tsubasa said, and snapped her fingers together. after that magical finger move, Honoka's hands were Immediately released from the chair, and she could once again stand up.

"I'm gonna beat your ass, pal..." Honoka cracked her fists, getting ready

"Hmmm, but don't you think you should take this fancy dress off first?" Tsubasa then pointed at Honoka's dress, smirking. "I wouldn't mind if you took it off."

"Wh-Wha-" Honoka blushed slightly, but before she knew it, Tsubasa had her pinned down to the ground.

"I won. You're too slow."

Before more words being said, their eyes locked with each other in a split second as if now they were encased in their own world. Nothing was said as their heartbeats could be heard with this close contact. Honoka didn't even understand what was going on. She felt weird, but in many ways she wasn't sure how to describe.

The room was quiet. So much the two could even hear the crickets outside. The silence wasn’t long enough until their beautiful moment was interrupted when someone barged in. Nozomi was standing at the door, while Eli was behind her with a guarded look.

“Ooh? Did I miss anything out? That's kind of surprising!” Nozomi said in a teasing voice, covering her mouth as if holding back her soft laughter. Behind her, Eli just sighed in complete discomfort.

At first, both Honoka and Tsubasa kept quiet. They didn't expect to be interrupted like that, and especially after such an unexpected moment. By this time Tsubasa got herself off of Honoka, dusting off her royal suit.

“Ayase.” Tsubasa started, fixing her white gloves on her hands “Why must you be so cruel? I didn't interrupt you in any of your moments, if I recall correctly.”

“...There are other issues I should be taking care of. I'd suggest you to agree to anything we're about to say.” Eli averted her glance towards the hall, tapping her foot on the ground.

“My, leave the two alone, will you, Elicchi? They haven't done anything wrong to you!” Nozomi said, nudging Eli's shoulder softly.

“...We'll meet again, Kousaka.” Tsubasa completely ignored Nozomi and Eli, looking down at Honoka beside her with a half dissatisfied face. “Don't forget what our deal was.” With that being said, she exited the room and went on her own way.

“...Honoka? Are you alright?” After Tsubasa left, Nozomi rushed ovwr to Honoka’s side to check if she was okay. While Nozomi and Eli were thinking such a strong person like Honoka wouldn't get beaten that easily, Her red face was a whole mess, and she simply refused to move.

“Her reaction is even worse than Umi's”

“How do you even remember their names so well?” Eli stepped closer to her, glancing down at the befuddled Honoka.

“It's a secret, Elicchi~” Nozomi giggled, kneeling down to feel Honoka's forehead since she wanted to check if it was a cold. “Ahh, this evening is probably too much for her. We should get her home, probably.”

“Can't the princess and that disgusting creature take care of her?” Eli frowned, as she remembered Umi again and how much she hated her. Such a creature like Umi wouldn’t exist in her own book.

“Hmmm, wish that was possible, but they're currently busy~” Nozomi returned to her teasing voice. Her instincts would tell that she exactly knew what was happening right in Kotori’s room.

“Busy? ...Don't tell me it's your doing-” Eli's expression slowly turned more and more angry, and she crossed her arms in quite discomfort.

“I only wanted them to get along, nothing more than that~” Nozomi then stood up and patted Eli's back, as if to reassure that nothing would be harmful . “I see someone's jealous here?~”

“You wish. Let's get this food lover back to her home now.” Eli sighed, and slowly picked Honoka up. Her body was still in complete shock, and at this point, Eli kinda felt bad for her. But a job was a job, and she had to do it before anything else. And so, they left with Honoka to leave her to her house.

“...”

“Erena, I think I like her.”

“Oh, do you? That's quite surprising..”

“Oooh!~ love at first glance? So romantic~”

In another room, three girls were talking and gossip has become unavoidable One of them was Tsubasa, and the other two her assistants; Anju and Erena.

“If not Ayase, everything would go well… it's actually kind of depressing.”

Tsubasa said, taking a sip of her drink

“Weren't you supposed to get some information out of her?”

Erena frowned, resting her head in the palm of her hand

“I was… But I told you what happened.”

Tsubasa answered, looking down in a more ashamed way

“You should focus on your job, Kira. Right now really isn't a good time to be like this.”

Erena said, looking away

“Oh, come on. She can't always focus on job like this, Erena! She needs to have other emotions in her life~”

Anju scooted closer to Tsubasa, putting her hands on her shoulders to fully support her now.

“I say you go for it!”

“...You praise her too much, Anju.”

Erena murmured, standing up

But then, Tsubasa just laughed quietly at her two assistants.

“Oh, don't you worry… Everything has just begun.”

Chapter Text

“Am I.. lost?”
Kotori said in a shaky voice, looking around the giant trees and complete darkness around her...
She ran away from the castle to explore the other parts of the town, but apparently found herself inside of the Dark Forest, where many dangerous creatures wandered. At first, she didn't need to worry about it, and thought no one would harm her because she was a princess, but she soon came to realise that it didn't exactly work that way.

Everything was too dark, she couldn't even see her own two hands anymore.

Nothing seemed to be moving around. The whole place was completely quiet. Not even birds dared setting their beaks around this forest. People often told it was a dangerous place, but Kotori didn't believe them.

She never thought the rumors would be true to prove otherwise, until now. She was scared, she didn't even know where she was or how far from the exit. She just quietly continued wandering around in hope of finding a way out now.

Suddenly, Kotori noticed a pair of eyes begun following her. They glowed in a strong amber light, similar to Kotori's eyes. At first, she tried to ignore them, and quickened her pace, after a while, her heart began to beat faster as fear slowly took over her.

The eyes only continued following her, until Kotori found herself running away from them.

“H-Help! Somebody! Ple-” She cried out, but unfortunately, ran into a tree. She was in fear and trembling, and the eyes stopped right behind her. She could hear the creature’s hungry huffs, but she knew well she couldn't do anything about that. She injured her ankle pretty badly while running into this tree. Slowly but carefully, Kotori raised her head and looked back at the amber eyes…

“P-Please..don't eat me.…” She said in a high pitched voice, as tears began running down her cheeks.

Seeing Kotori vulnerable, the creature stepped back from her, and seemed to sit next to her. “You're...you're not going to...eat me?” Kotori asked, her voice still shaky and loud as if she’d scare that creature that almost looked like it was approaching.

The creature responded back by shaking its head from side to side

“Who are you?” Kotori continued asking, but the creature just stared at her in return. Kotori understood it didn't want to tell her who they were.

“...You really won't eat me, right?”

This time, the creature nodded its head.

“So do you want to be my friend?”

The creature stared at her. It didn't shake its head, but it didn't want to respond to this question either.

“Awh… But..this place is so empty... don't you get lonely around here?”

The creature didn't respond again.

“...Hey, what's your name?”

Finally, the creature piped up “U..mi.” It quietly responded, almost to the point it wasn't heard.

“Umi? What a lovely name! My name is Kotori!” At this point, Kotori completely forgot about her wounded ankle, and enjoyed her time with the mysterious creature. “Are you sure you don't want to be friends? We can get along really well!” Kotori then continued, and scooted closer to Umi

“I ca..n't.” Umi murmured, and pointed her head down

“Why not?” 

“We..'re...diff..erent.” Umi said in a more quiet voice, and stood up. “Come…” Umi carefully took Kotori's hand and helped her stand up, but Kotori's ankle was aching when she stood up, and so she whimpered and fell down on Umi in the meantime. She was a big ball of fur… Kotori actually preferred leaning on her like that her puffy and warm body, which was like a fluffy bear….

“U-Umi...can you carry me?” Kotori begged, looking deeply into Umi's glowing, amber eyes

“...” Umi then sighed, and slowly picked Kotori into her arms. Her fluffy fur felt so good… Kotori nuzzled her, and closed her eyes

“Your fur feels so nice, it makes me feel safe…” Kotori said, and buried her face into it. Surprisingly, Umi didn't mind her at all, and simply began walking outside of the forest.

Eventually, Kotori fell asleep in her arms, thanks to her warm and comfortable fur. She felt serene. After Umi strolled around the dark place, the two finally reached to the end of the forest, and they were welcomed with the bright sun shining through the trees. Umi didn't step into that part, but looked down at Kotori with the hope in her eyes that this small girl  would wake up.

“Ko...tori.” Umi tried shaking her gently, and luckily, it woke Kotori up.

“Huh…?” She whined slightly, looking at her surroundings, and then up to Umi. Now, her skin, her body, everything about her was more visible. She had a huge, weird skull on her head. But Kotori found it funny. “Hey… what's with that thing on your head?”

“Do...esn't...matt..er.” Umi looked away, and carefully let Kotori down. Yet Kotori wasn’t most interested to let go anyway. She hugged Umi again and looked up to her “No, I don't wanna leave you! Your soft fur is so comfortable, velvety and you're so big too! I want to stay with you!”

“....Bu..t-” Umi stuttered a reply in complaint, but Kotori hugged her tighter. “Please?” She begged again, giving Umi a sad look.

“...” Umi sighed again, and put her so big hand on Kotori's head. “...Fine.”

Suddenly, the creature in front of her turned into a petite girl. Her dark blue hair swayed down on her shoulders, and her eyes had the same color with Umi's.

“...Huh?” Kotori stared at her and blinked a few times in disbelief, just to make sure this girl in front of  her wasn't just an illusion. 

“...I'm...Umi.” Umi said in a soft voice, holding out her hand  for Kotori to handshake. This time she said everything in her human form. “Nice to..meet you.”

“Umi…?” Kotori was quite shocked at first, but without even any kind of warning, hugged Umi as tight as she could. “...Does that mean you want to be my friend now?”

“..Y-Yeah...sure…”  Umi mumbled, but didn't return Kotori's hug. Which made Kotori quite annoyed. And so she took her wrists and placed around her waist. “Come on, Umi! Return the hug!” Kotori smiled and looked into Umi's eyes, which were a mix of hesitation and embarrassment.

“S...Sorry.” Umi said quietly, and slowly wrapped her arms around Kotori's back. “I'm not used to it…”

“It's completely alright! But, can we maybe go sit somewhere? My ankle hurts…” Kotori then looked at her slightly bleeding ankle, sighing.

“Ah...yes, sure…” Umi broke the hug, and led Kotori to the tree nearby to sit down.

They talked about all sorts of stuff; from friendship to dreams, from dreams to goals… from goals back to friendship… They enjoyed each other's company a lot. So much that they forgot time really existed. And so, their time was over, and they eventually realised the sun has already descended.

“Kotori… it's getting darker… don't you think you should go back to your house?” Umi looked around with a worried look, scooting closer to Kotori to fully protect her from anything dangerous around them.

“Don't worry! My momma probably knows where I am now, and the guards will probably come to pick me soon! I wanna stay here with you as long as I can” Kotori nuzzled herself against Umi, but Umi backed away from Kotori's touch

“The...guards?” Umi said in a shaky voice, slowly standing up

“Oh… I forgot to tell you, didn't I… I'm the princess, Umi!” Kotori didn't see anything bad in her own words but was slightly worried about Umi's reaction. What she said, didn't help her at all. Instead, it only made Umi even more scared.

“No...no, you..you can't be-” Umi only began walking back towards the darker part of the forest

“Umi…? What's wrong?” Kotori said in a concerned voice, and tried to stand up, but Umi glared at her in such a way she just couldn't move. It was, as if she was trying to scare her away now

“Go away!!” Umi yelled, when some guards huddled to their direction with weapons and torches.

“Princess!” One of them yelled, and noticed Umi as well. But before any light could reach her, it was no longer her, it was the same huge, skulled creature.

“You-!!” Before anyone could reach her, Umi began running back into the forest.

“Wait! Umi!!” Kotori cried out, and tried chasing after Umi.

The guards slowly began disappearing behind Kotori, and she continued running after Umi. Unfortunately, her vision began to blur, and she no longer could even see Umi. She tried yelling out her name, but it was only echoed throughout the void. She just kept running and running, before she found herself falling into a dark pit.

 

“Aah-!!”

Suddenly, her eyes opened, and she found herself back in her own room. She was panting and sweating slightly, but then the realization came to her… It was only a dream, or a memory she's been keeping somewhere in her head. She wasn't entirely sure...

 

“Ngh..”

Said a voice underneath and Kotori flinched in her bed. There was a mix of perplexity and fear in her eyes. Until she looked down, and noticed it was still Umi. Seeing that person was her, Kotori became all smiles. No wonder her dream was about the two of them. She knew they met somewhere in the past, and that memory began coming back to her. But then, she realized something else. Umi looked quite uncomfortable… She was squinting her eyes when she looked troubled by something.  And it was soon seen that was because Kotori was hugging her so hard, she probably mistook her as her favorite pillow in her sleep, and due to being so scared in that dream, she accidentally hugged Umi a little too tight.

She didn't want to wake Umi up.. her sleeping face was so cute and precious, Kotori felt the need to treasure this moment forever. And so, she slowly released her from the hug, and continued laying on her

Soon enough, Umi began to slowly open her eyes, and eventually noticed the weight on her whole body. At first she was confused, but then realized it was Kotori on the top of her. Once Umi was able to process what was happening, her face became completely red, Kotori was worried if it was a fever.

“Oh, good morning, Umi!” Before asking anything, Kotori reached to Umi's forehead and lightly kissed it, which only made Umi's face redder

“G….G-Good..morning…” Umi replied in a soft voice, calming herself down. Hearing that soft voice again, Kotori's smile only grew bigger

“Are you blushing or is this a cold?” Kotori asked, resting her head on Umi's chest

“B..Blush. I..I didn't expect you to be on me first thing in the morning… I don't really remember much from yesterday.. w...w-we made love, didn't we?” Umi said more quietly, and looked away when saying what happened last night.

“We did! You suddenly had a penis, though..” Kotori remembered that feature too clearly, and her cheeks began to grow redder as well

“...Huh?” Umi suddenly sounded scared. A penis? She didn't remember anything THIS shameless.

“And… And you did it inside, too…” Kotori continued in a more embarrassed voice, but she didn’t think it would harm any of them . ...Unlike Umi, who was not only shocked, and now terrified.

Suddenly, something knocked on her window.

“Huh? ...Nozomi?!” Kotori said, surprised. So much she forgot she was naked. But Umi cared about it more than anything, so she quickly grabbed Kotori and wrapped her in a blanket. Her face was so red…

“Heeey~ open up!” Nozomi whined, pressing herself against the glass And so Kotori reached out to the window, and opened it.

“Mornin’ princess! How was last night?” Nozomi teased, leaning against the handrails of the window. She then shot up a mischievous grin, specifically at Umi, too.

“A...Ah...fine! Thanks, Nozomi… But what are you doing here?” Kotori was still surprised, so it took her a few seconds before she understood what Nozomi was doing here.

“Well, I heard what happened at the end, and just wanted to tell ya two you don't need to worry, because thanks to our sexy monster here being female, she can't do anything with that useless 'stick'." Nozomi explained, and laughed slightly at the end

“So…. SO IT WAS YOUR DOING?!” Umi only snapped. She completely ignored the fact she was naked, and hopped off the bed, to now stomp over to Nozomi. She then grabbed her shirt's collar, and pulled her closer. “I can't believe you've done something so shameful to my body!! I didn't agree to any of it!!” Umi continued saying, her face growing red again

“Well, would you prefer the princess to have such a thing on her body, instead?~ tell me you didn't like it, darling~” Nozomi smirked, and looked directly into Umi's eyes.

“I- w...well...I-I...uh..” But Umi didn't expect to be asked such a thing. Though, Kotori looked at her with a sad expression. “Didn't you like it, Umi?” Kotori sounded sad, too. Umi's face only became redder.

“N-No! I...I really...really did…” With that, Umi lost her grip of Nozomi's collar, and looked down in shame. After that, she finally remembered she was naked, and that Nozomi was still there, staring at her. That coming to her realization, she drew back to the bed and dove under the blankets, and Kotori laughed at her behavior. 

“You're so cute, Umi!~” She chuckled, and looked back to Nozomi, who laughed along with her.

“Man, I wanna grope those tiny breasts now. Can I, princess?”

“No! Only I can do it to her!” Kotori puffed out her cheeks and crossed her arms, slightly frowning at Nozomi.

“...Wait, Hanayo? What are you-” Kotori suddenly noticed Hanayo was behind Nozomi, and then realized how Nozomi even reached to her window. She used Hanayo’s broom to fly. “Oooh, I see…”

“G….G-Good...good morning, princess!” Hanayo bowed her head quickly, fixing her glasses a bit

“You don't have too formal, just call me Kotori!” Kotori smiled, and leaned against the window as well

“S...Sorry..” Hanayo said quietly, and Nozomi patted her head with another laugh.

“Anyways, we'll be going to study magic together. I'm thinking about doing something big later on~ so, if you'd like me to give you the same thing I gave Umi, just ask and I'll help you, hehe~” She said that, and waited for Kotori's reaction. Much to her expectations, her cheeks burned hot with the sheer embarrassment.

“M...M-M-Maybe...maybe in another time…”

“Sure, princess~ now, have a good day!” With that, the two flew away.

“...Did you request her to do such a shameful act on my body, Kotori?” Umi mumbled, and Kotori crawled back on the bed to join her under her giant blanket.

“I...I asked Nozomi to help us compensate the time how long we haven’t seen each other like this! B-but I...I didn't know she'd give you a penis…” Kotori said sadly, and kissed Umi's cheek “I'm sorry, Umiiii… I promise I won't do it ever again!”

“...” Umi just sighed, and hugged Kotori, burying her head between her breasts. “...Kotori… I love...you too.” Umi mumbled again

But Kotori was confused as to why Umi was saying it all of a sudden. Either way, she smiled and patted her head. “I'm glad, Umi.”

Suddenly, their romantic moment was interrupted by a simple knock and a voice they both feared. They could even hear the slightly Russian accept behind it.

“Princess, are you awake?” Asked Eli, now so ready to break the door. She sounded quite annoyed by something, and they both thought they knew why. But Umi was more afraid than ever at the moment.

“A-Ah! Yes! I am!”

Kotori answered, quickly jumping out of her bed to dress up. She then looked back to Umi in much concern, trying to find a way to maybe hide her… But she just decided to cover her completely and asked her to lay down firmly under the blankets without making any noise. After finally wearing some casual clothes on herself, she unlocked the door and greeted the suspicious Eli.

 

“Good morning, Eli!” She said with bated breath.. It only got Eli more suspicious.

“Princess… Is anyone else in this room?” Eli tried to be nice at first, kindly asking Kotori to get her answer.

“Eh? No, not at all! Nozomi was here just a few moments ago, though…!” Kotori said, and visibly tried to block the room behind her

“...And where's that..guy you were with yesterday? I didn't see him leaving, princess.” Eli's expression slowly turned from suspicious to pissed off, and she tried to look into the room. Since she was taller than Kotori, she could clearly see it was a mess, and that even the dress was on the floor. ...Eli’s armor too.

“E-Eh? Oh...well, he left very late, when yo-” Kotori tried to give an excuse, but Eli cut in right before Kotori could continue.

“I was awake to check when everyone left up until 2 in the morning. If he would have left, I would've noticed him doing that so. You're hiding something, and if you don't tell me what's going on, I'll have to inform that to the queen.”

“...Kotori, step aside.” Suddenly, Umi was standing behind her, half dressed already.

Chapter Text

“You-” 
Eli grit her teeth as she flared up at Umi, and gripped the sheath of her sword.

“U-Umi? Wh-” 
Kotori tried to understand why Eli would be acting so reckless, but Umi only gently moved Kotori’s side

“You want my head, don't you?”
Umi glared up at Eli. It was no wonder that it wouldn't end well in Umi’s side even though Umi was unfazed for the first time.

“Eli-”
Kotori tried to say her name again, but received a death glare from Eli in return

“Princess, please do not interrupt us.” Eli then moved her gaze at Umi. “I chal-”

“Both of you, shut up!!”

Kotori suddenly yelled, and stepped in between them to push them apart from each other. “You need to put some clothes on, and you need to do your duty!! Now stop trying to kill each other! It's an order! She's my love, and you won't take her away from me like that!” Kotori simply grabbed Umi's hand and dragged her back into the room, slamming the door right in Eli's face.

“B-But...but Kotori… She'll eventually go against you too! She's evil! She's the true definition of evil!” Umi tried to explain to Kotori, but anger boiled deep in Kotori's system so much that she wouldn't listen to her surroundings anymore. With that happening so quickly, she flopped down into her bed.
Umi tried to find a solution, even if she was so shy to admit everything that happened last night, she made her way up to Kotori as well, quietly sitting on the bed beside her. “Kotori… Please look at me for a second.” Her eyes were full of determination and seriousness.

“What?”  Kotori said in a very annoyed tone, and shot up a glare at Umi. But instead, Umi pulled her closer and pushed her lips to Kotori's in a rush.  “I'm... sorry, Kotori.”

Completely not expecting such a sudden kiss from Umi, Kotori's cheeks quickly received a red tone, and she buried her face in her blankets. She didn't even say anything back.

“...Kotori? Are y-” Umi scooted closer, eager to check if her 'magic trick’ worked well, but she was welcomed with a response from her to their previous lip action.

“That's unfair, Umi…”  Kotori said with bated breath, before continuing their kiss session more.

“Wa-wai- wait, k-kotori!” Umi said between the kisses, trying to catch her breath.

“What is it, Umi? Don't you like it?”  Kotori then said in a more teasing voice, and continued with her tongue to travel down to her neck. After that, Umi let out a quiet moan, but that didn't really do much to stop Kotori from enjoying and desiring more.

Suddenly, the door slammed open, and the eating disaster entered their not-so surprising make-out session..

“Umi!! Kotori!! Good morni--!!”  If anything, Honoka showed up, and she honestly never expected to find something explicit like this. She froze in her position as her face got stuck on the cheerful smile she always put, but she obviously didn't look like it.  “....Ah-”

“H-Honoka! It's...it's not what y-”

Kotori immediately got up, afraid Honoka would judge them, but instead, Honoka leaned on the wall and tried her best to hold back her laughs.

“B-But...but yesterday you said you wouldn't do anything like that, Kotori..”

“Honoka!!!”

Umi got up as well, so ready to punch Honoka for laughing on this matter, but misfortune strike upon her, as she tripped on the blanket and fell down on the floor.

"Oh my, Umi, are you alive? Pfft, now you can't punch me~" Honoka didn't want to laugh at Umi being so powerless, but she couldn't help teasing her for doing something she never gave a thought for herself before.

“Oh do you want me to remind you of YOUR OWN fantasies and shameless acts, HONOKA?!”

Umi got up, now grabbing onto Honoka's shirt collar.

“But I didn't do lewd stuff with Kotori like you did! I know everything about your fantasies too, Umi!!”  Honoka smirked, and crossed her arms. Umi was completely powerless, and they both knew it well enough.

“Now I want to hear about those fantasies too, Umi…” Kotori said in a more shy voice, which made Umi become even more powerless. With the amount of power Umi had left, she simply fell down on her knees and held onto Honoka's leg.

“I'm...I'm shameless… So shameless...shameless...shameless..shamel-”

“Poor Umi… Here, lemme help you.” Honoka sighed, and picked her up. She looked up at Kotori, who patted the spot on the bed beside her with a big smile, and Honoka came to sit down beside her with Umi in her arms.

“Nozomi told me what happened too, so I brought some clothes for her.”

“Great! But...Honoka, ...did we lose her?”  Kotori then looked at Umi, concerned about her state.

“For now, definitely. But don't worry, she'll snap out of it! Look, she's just tired. She fell asleep, even."

“Aww, she looks so cute…” Kotori gave a sigh of relief, now staring at Umi

“Hey...Kotori, aren't you already…”  Honoka asked, but refused to finish what she wanted to say. Suddenly, Kotori's expression completely dropped. She now looked regretful, too.

“...Yes. I am... And I'm planning to fight for it to promulgate. I don't want it… I'm scared, Honoka…” Kotori let herself lean on Honoka's shoulder, and held onto her arm.

“Don't worry! We'll find a solution to it! We have Umi now, too… We can definitely make your mom reconsider the situation!” Honoka tried to cheer Kotori up, but she didn't seem to answer anymore.

“...I doubt momma will accept any of it…” Kotori said sadly, and looked out the window. She was deep in thoughts now. Only thing she wanted was peace and, of course, Umi.

 


“....”

“....Eli, you know you can't just do what you want to do after the princess has made up her mind. The queen may have the power, but the princess has almost the same amount of it.”
Somewhere else, Maki and Eli were sitting. They were outside to breathe fresh air, but Eli didn't seem to be receiving that air into her brain. She was staring at her sword; the same one she stabbed Umi with. It wasn't necessary, but Eli was thinking about that just a bit.

“Love, the princess calls it… Hah. What a good joke, Maki. Don't you think so? Liking such a disgusting creature... I can't believe it's our princess. Do-” Eli then looked at Maki, but instead of replying, Maki slapped her. And so hard that it was heard from the whole garden (of glass)

“...You even SOUND insane, Eli. I can't believe it.” Maki crossed her arms, standing up. “Honestly, even that demon is better than you, and I hate that demon. Maybe you should go to that magician again to soothe you, before you destroy half of the kingdom with a single snap.

"Ha..ha." Eli's expression dropped, as her head went down as well. Maki, on the other side, decided to ignore Eli, and slowly made her way back to the castle, disappearing from Eli's view... Eli was left alone now, with various thoughts in her head.

“Elicchi, don't you think you should calm down a lil bit?”

Suddenly, not too far from Eli, Nozomi was leaning against a tree, reading a book. But with how Eli was at the moment, she reacted by throwing her sword a few centimeters away from Nozomi's face. It cut some of her hair, but Nozomi didn't mind it at all.

“Happy now? You gave me a nice haircut, hehe.”

“What do you want?” Eli stormed over to Nozomi, taking her sword out of its sheath to shove into the tree nearby Nozomi.

“You have to calm down just like Nishikino said, Elicchi.” Nozomi smiled softly at Eli, closing her book and putting it away.

“And who are YOU to tell me what to do?” Eli snarled at Nozomi, shoving her own face into Nozomi's now.

“Someone you may not want, but need in your life~” Nozomi teased, as she brought her hand right on Eli's chin, but Eli completely ignored it.  Eli tried her best to be nice, but the purple-haired girl didn't seem to listen to her warnings and signals. Instead, she ignored them.

“Oh? Are you mad now? I'm only trying to be nice to you, Elicchi~ ” Nozomi wrapped her arms around Eli's waist, and pulled her closer.

“...” At this point, Eli was holding onto her sword so hard that she briskly squirted some blood out of her hand, and her glare was more than scary, but Nozomi seemed to be calm even with that.

“What's wrong? Are you thinking about saying something back? Come on, don't be so stubboooorn~” Nozomi only continued to tease. “Come on, Elicchi, say something back. I love hearing your voice~”

"Knock it off. I do NOT want to cause you any damage because of your stupidity."

"Hm? Would you stab me with this fancy sword of yours now?"

"No."

"Then?"

"...."

"What exactly do you hate in the princess's lover? She hasn't done anything to you, yet you never get along."  Nozomi asked unexpectedly, her expression changing completely serious despite her teasing mood.
At first, Eli refused to speak, turning her gaze away from Nozomi, but Nozomi didn't go easy on her. Knowing Eli was afraid of hurting her, she had a big opportunity to take the information out of her mouth.  As Eli turned her gaze away, Nozomi clasped her cheeks in her hands and turned her head back around, now bumping their foreheads together.

"Elicchi, I won't go easy on you anymore." Nozomi quickly claimed, as Eli only responded with a shocked expression towards the mysterious purple haired girl in front of her.  Upon seeing Nozomi didn't have the intention to stop, Eli gave up.

"Fine, Then. I'll tell you why I dislike that blue idiot." Eli began her speech, bringing the sword back into its sheet. She proceeded with a sigh and quickly continued explaining, “that creature is from the Umbraes, which had been living in the woods for several decades until they were chased down and erased from the history by humans. Up until then, the Umbrae race had won the war against the Lucis, the race I belong to. The race that was harshly teared apart by Umbraes. The race Umbraes unkindly annihilated in the existence just like how my family was slaughtered 450 years ago.''
Nozomi's eyes widened with this new information, wanting to erase that horrified expression on Eli's face but only blinked.

Eli continued, gritting her teeth as she brought the past memories into the surface more. ''I hate Umbraes. They had me watch my family killed in front my eyes. I can't simply like any single thing that belongs to them.'' A tear ran down her face before she sniffled. ''I-I don't need anyone's sympathy here, but you have to know my intentions Nozomi. This is not some sort of 'let's be friends' kinda kid's play.''

Nozomi wiped off Eli's one single tear from her face before she piped up. ''You do know she never harmed any of us right? It isn't something to do with races. She simply loves a human being and she does anything to protect her.”

“She didn’t. Her parents did.”

“You knew her parents?”

“Hmhm...what a question,” Eli chuckled, but immediately dropped and replaced her expression with rage and hate.
“I killed them.”

 

Chapter Text

“Umi~”

A whisper blew in Umi's ear, who seemed to have fallen asleep while reading countless books. Kotori simply enjoyed watching her. Ever since Honoka had left the castle, Umi dug herself into the books and started reading to get rid of the embarrassment so she had some quality time with the books. But it was quite hard with someone staring at her dreamily all this time. Eventually, she herself was lost in the time until she fell asleep. Kotori didn't seem to stop her from doing so, until it was time for dinner.

But for Umi, after hearing such a velvety whisper, she got up within a second.

“Wh-Wh...what?!” She said in a panicked voice, covering her ear. Kotori giggled at her response, and leaned against the table. “It's time to eat, and we'll eventually have to find you a way to get back to your home safely.”

“A...Ah... It's..fine I'm not really hungry-” Umi gently rejected the offer, and sat back to close the book. Until Kotori placed her hands on Umi's cheeks and smiled sweetly at her “We’re lovers now, Umi. You should trust me more, you know?”

Hearing the word 'lover’, Umi's face flushed further and she instantly looked away.

“I’m...s-sorry, I'm not...u-used to this.”

“My, you're so cute, Umi~” Giggly and happy as Kotori was, she placed a soft kiss on Umi's reddened cheek. Umi's expression and face color only grew more and more intense, until she couldn't bare it anymore. She buried her face back into the books and hoped she could hide under them.
After satisfying herself with the light teasing, Kotori stood up and went to the door. “I'll go bring you the meal, so just bare with it a lil longer, okay?~” Kotori waved at her, and left the room to head forward to the kitchen.

Now, Umi could focus her eyes on the room around her. She never realized that after all this time she only focused on Kotori and never checked out her surroundings. The room was pretty clean and neat, and had a lot of plushies around, for some reason... a lot of them were various kinds of different birds. She assumed Kotori really liked birds. Her pillow looked super soft, too. Umi began to stare at it...

“Kotori sleeps on this pillow everyday... It's her favorite one...”

Umi reminded herself, before slowly making her way to it. She looked to the door a few times to check if Kotori was there, and after confirming she wasn't there, she turned off the lights, and flopped down on the bed. She then shoved her face in Kotori's pillow, and sniffed it a little bit

“Smells...so good...”

She continued sniffing, until the door opened, and she flinched from the bed as fast as she could, while also turning into her beast form in the process.

“...Umi? Were you just smelling my pillow?” Kotori stood at the entrance, tilting her head. She was holding a plate full of various foods, in case Umi wouldn't like something from it. But Umi quickly shook her head, gesturing with her hands that it was not what happened. But all the facts were on display in front of Kotori's eyes.. and so, she got in, closed the door after her and grinned at Umi.

“You were, weren't you?~” Kotori teased, before skipping over to Umi and pressing herself to her furry body. “I'm glad you like it, Umi~” She giggled, and went to the table. “Come on now, you need to eat.” Kotori gave Umi another one of her charming smiles.

“S-Su...re...” Umi said with a sigh, turning back into her human form then she headed over to Kotori. After she ate with pure pleasure, Kotori got up and massaged Umi's shoulders.

“Hey, I got an idea how you can make your way back, Umi~” She said happily, and pointed at the window. “Just exit this window in your beast form around 3 in the morning. That's the hour I know no one's outside and you can make your way without any light being in your way!”

“But... it's such a late hour... I might fall asleep...” Umi looked back at Kotori with a quite concerned expression, but Kotori only cupped her cheeks in her hands, grinning the same way she did back before she left the room. Umi was even more concerned now because whenever Kotori gave her that look, her stomach would churn any time.

“Well, if you don't wanna fall asleep, we can have fun again~” Kotori mostly teased, planting a quick kiss on Umi's lips. In response, Umi's face immediately heated up, and she covered her face as she guard herself from any possible kiss attacks. 
“N-No! Never! It's shameless!” She continued with protests and pouts, yet Kotori kept that seductive grin on her face, and simply stared at Umi with it. Just as she thought, Umi looked embarrassed again.

“........I-” Umi opened her mouth to speak, but Kotori placed her finger on her lips.

“If we can't do it, we should take a bath together!” Kotori suggested, and removed her finger from Umi's lips.

“B-Bathe...together?” Umi said in a slightly shaky voice, hoping she misheard that word. Unfortunately for her, she didn't.

“Yeah! It's okay, right?” Kotori looked at Umi curiously, hoping for a straight 'yes’. unfortunately, even for her, it didn't go as she wanted.

“...W...W-Well.. I..y-you see...-” Umi shifted in the chair, looking down at herself.

“What is it...?” Kotori tilted her head, now concerned that something happened to her. Maybe Nozomi had done her magic on Umi again and she was just embarrassed? ...No way, couldn't be.

“....f-fine, let's go...” Umi shook her head, and gave Kotori an extremely serious expression, suddenly even having sparkles in her eyes.

“Yay!” With that, Kotori finally took Umi and led her to the door. But when she opened it, Nozomi and Eli were standing in front of it.

“Heard ya need your loyal soldier's help?~” Nozomi said teasingly, crossing her arms

“N-Nozomi!”

Eli and Umi, on the other hand, simply glared into each other's soul.

“You.” Eli said in a low voice, and Umi responded in the same tone “You.”

“Here they go again…” Nozomi rolled her eyes, crossing her arms in annoyance. Kotori got worried, though, and held onto Umi's shoulders. “Umi...please-”

“Anyways! Let's get you to the bathroom, shall we?” Nozomi smiled, and pushed Eli aside from the lovers.

“How are we going to get Umi through the hall? Guards are everywhere now…” Kotori looked around to check for even more guards, hoping no guard would come.

“Easily! Elicchi and I will distract them, while you two pass through!” Nozomi laughed, and pushed Eli even further into the hall.

“Come on, Umi” Kotori smiled at Umi, and took her hands to focus the attention on herself. “Let's take a good, hot bath together, shall we?”

“Y...Yeah..” Umi's face burned red, as she forced herself to look away. But little did they know, Nozomi was grinning at their direction the whole time, holding her wand in her hand.

And so, Eli and Nozomi distracted the guards around so Umi and Kotori could make their way to the bathroom. Luckily, everything went completely well, and the two successfully made their way to the bathroom. But Umi felt like dying while doing so. After they entered the bathroom, she felt a little better, until Nozomi peeked at them through the door with a mischievous grin.

“Y'know, I also heard your talk bout the 3 in the morning issue~” Nozomi said, and held her wand firmly

“The talk about...3 in the morning is..-” Umi tried to remember, and when she did, her face became pale. “P-P-P...Please...don't-” She tried begging. But unfortunately, 

“Too late for you~” Nozomi giggled, and swung her wand in some weird circular motion.. After about five seconds of doing so, Umi dropped down to the ground. Kotori even got scared.

“Umi!!” She panicked, rushing beside her and checking if she was okay. Instead, Umi hid herself and refused to look at Kotori. “Nozomi, what did you do to her?!” Kotori wore a worried look when she shot a frown at Nozomi, but Nozomi's grin only widened. “I just added something to her. Not a big deal~ you'll like it, Kotori!” Nozomi teased again, and closed the door. After that, Kotori went over there and locked it.

“Umi...are you alright?” She then decided to check on Umi again, and Umi looked up with a scared expression. She was sweating and her eyes shifted from Kotori to the ground from time to time. “I-I... don't want to take a bath... I'll just sit there...” She crawled away and curled up into a ball in the corner of the room.

“Hmph...” Kotori pouted, crossing her arms, “Fine.” She faked her voice as angry as possible, and turned around. After she did, Umi peeked at her, but regretted it all seconds later. Kotori began undressing, but it was so attractive that even made Umi's world dazzling. 
Umi felt like dying even more. Something definitely switched on her body as everything in front her eyes became more tempting and inviting. Her face lit up, and she quickly covered her body.

“Hmm? Do you like this, Umi?” Kotori turned around to her, now topless. The whole day, she wasn't wearing a bra either. Her chest was completely on display. Umi set her sights on Kotori's curvy figure as well.

“P-P-Please cover yourself, Kotori!” She mumbled, turning away to hide herself from Kotori.

“But, Umi... we're lovers! Lovers can see each others’ bodies~ so come on, join in!” Kotori tried to lure Umi to join her, But she curled back into a ball, trying her best to avoid her.

“I-I can't! Especially not right now! I'm so shameless…!” Umi cried out, hugging on her knees.

“Nnn..” Kotori pouted again, and completely undressed herself. After that, she went over to the giant tub in front of her, and began filling it with hot water.

A few minutes passed in complete silence, and Kotori was finally able to get into the now full tub of water. When she did, she sighed in relief and looked over to Umi, who was still refusing to look back at her. Her smile eventually turned into a frown, and after sinking completely into the tub, she rested her head on the tub's wall with her arms crossed under it.

“Umi...” She said in less energy, and luckily, Umi answered this time.

“...What is it...”

“...Did Nozomi give you that thing again?” 

Umi jolted up at this question. She began to sweat too. But she didn't answer. She simply gulped.

“...Thought so. Come on, I won't do anything! But you need to take a bath.” Kotori giggled at Umi's reaction, and after that, Umi actually stood up. Still covering herself, she slowly took her shirt off. But after doing so, she stopped to think for a moment.

“...I...I-Is it...really okay? Will you really not do anything?” Umi said shakily, her voice filled with concern and insecure, glancing back at the daydreaming Kotori. After a few seconds, she snapped back into reality, as her face reddened up.

“Eh? Oh! Of course I won't do anything! It's a promise of a princess!” Kotori laughed weakly, trying to hide her blush. Though she sounded completely unsure and not convincing since she seemed not to assure that something wouldn't happen.

“...You better keep it.” Umi looked over at her with a suspicious look, and slowly crawled over to her to now get into the tub. And she tried to do that as quickly as she could, so that Kotori wouldn't stare at her now so messed up body again.

“You're so cruel, Umi... I said I won't do anything, so you should relax!” Kotori mumbled, while so suspiciously scooting closer to Umi. Fortunately, Umi noticed it pretty quickly, and squeezed Kotori's cheeks to stop her. “Stop. Or else I'll get angry!!”

“Bhut Ouumiiiii…” Kotori pouted sadly, trying to reach out her hands to touch Umi. “I vwannha…”

“No! The water will get dirty and...and it's shameless! I don't want to be shameless!” Umi knitted her brows and covered her body with her hands again. “I'll get out if you won't stop!” Umi raised her voice with a strict volume, but as soon as she looked into Kotori’s eyes, she could only see the ones of a puppy, begging for love and attention. Umi tried to look tough and strong, but eventually gave up because of Kotori's pleading eyes.

“Wh...What..do you want from me?” She said quietly, looking away with her fake frown.

“Please?” Kotori made her way even closer to Umi, and pressed herself to her completely. Umi felt like dying, again.

“N-No- I can't! It's shameless!!!” Umi shook her head, and tried to get away from the horny bird in front of her. Unfortunately, she was weak. Kotori ended up doing what she wanted anyways.

....

 

“Ahhh~ so warm and good~ thank you, Umi!~” 
Finally after roughly 30 minutes, Kotori said in ecstasy, resting her whole body on Umi's. Umi, on the other hand, was not only exhausted, but sick of her own body as well. She had a very sour expression that Kotori managed well to ignore.

“...Y..Yeah.” She replied, and slowly wrapped her arms around Kotori's waist.

“Are..you okay, Umi?” Kotori looked at her with half lidded eyes, tilting her head in confusion.

“I can't believe… you actually did it to me again. I'm going to kill that magician girl as soon as I possibly can…” Umi looked up at the ceiling, and relaxed her body at last.

“But Nozomi only tried helping us! C'mon, enjoy this, even if for a bit?” Kotori suggested and got off of Umi, going to sit across her.

 

“....Hey, Umi… What if we COULD make babies?”

“That'd be shameless, Kotori. We're so young, being parents is just impossible. Kids are a pain, and I have to deal with one everyday since I was 5.

“Awh, Honoka isn't so bad, Umi. You're just too strict on her, and then she refuses to learn what you tell her because she thinks it's too much.”

“....So she told you that? I see.” Umi put a fake smile, and Kotori saw right through it

 

“U-Umi, please don't scold her now because of what I said!”

Kotori quickly hugged Umi, and nuzzled on her chest

“She's like a little child. You need to treat her well if you want her to listen! Otherwise she'll be scared of you. I'd be scared too if I were her...” Kotori patted Umi's head, and stood up. “Anyways, I'll get out first and check if any guards are around. You stay and relax some more after such a hard work~” Kotori blew Umi a kiss, and Umi's face reddened up again.

“S...Sure...”

Kotori simply laughed at her lover's reaction, and got out to get a towel. While she was drying herself, Umi couldn't help but stare at her beauty, again. 
“Shameless…” She whispered to herself.

“Hm? Did you say anything, Umi?” Kotori smiled back at her, wrapping the towel around her body.

“A-Ah...no, I didn't. Keep doing what you were before...” Umi lowered herself into the water, until all Kotori could see was her nose, embarrassed eyes and her blue hair.

“Alrighty~” Kotori giggled again, and grabbed a toothbrush with toothpaste already applied on it, and gave it to Umi. “Here, use this.”

“Thanks…” Umi said calmly, and began brushing her teeth.

“....” The moment Umi did that, Kotori turned around and squeezed her own cheeks. “Kyaa~ you used my toothbrush!~”

“MHHP?!” Umi almost choked on it, and looked over to Kotori with a scared face.

She then quickly brushed her teeth and spat out the cream, as she looked up at Kotori. 
“Th...That's cruel, Kotori… I almost choked!”

“Sorry~” Kotori went to the door, and looked back at Umi.

“Now, take your time. There aren't any guards around for sure, and I need to go get dressed and eat.”

And so, Kotori left Umi to relax after a long day of teasing. And Umi did manage to do that, until about 10 minutes later, when Kotori opened the door swiftly and burst in the room while she was wearing a helpless look.

“Umi!!!!” She called, and Umi jumped up in such a surprise her heart might've stopped for a second.

“Wh-What?”

“Nozomi came and said it worked this time!!!” Kotori said in a rush, and Umi got super confused.

“What worked?”

“Your thing!! I'm pregnant with your baby, Umi!!!”

“Wh-” Umi had to stop every other thought she had in her head to proceed what she just heard. After that, she looked at Kotori with a very surprised look.

“WHAT?!”

Chapter Text

“Wh...What do...you mean...you're-” Umi tried to figure out whether it was a joke or not, but Kotori's face looked more than just serious about it.

“Nozomi...said she forgot to put a spell on that… I-” Kotori tried explaining, but in the middle of her words, Umi suddenly fell down.

“Umi-!!” Kotori ran over to her to check what was wrong with her…
She fainted.

 

“...”

“Mmngh..”

Umi slowly opened her eyes and found herself on Kotori's bed again.  Her hair was dry, and she was in clean clothes now. She squinted her eyes to look around, trying to interpret what was happening.

“What's...going on?” She then sat up, rubbing her hurting eyes.

“Umi!!” Suddenly, Kotori jumped at Umi with a hug, and that sure surprised her. “I thought something horrible happened to you! You scared me so much…”

“...Something horrible? Why? What happened??” Umi hugged Kotori back to calm her down, and Kotori only tightened her grip.

“Y...You fainted after...I told you that I was pregnant…” Kotori said quieter this time, and when she looked at Umi again, she got even more concerned. Umi’s expression was duly plain and her face was pale.

“U-Umi? Umi, are you okay?” She poked her cheek, and Umi's head fell to the side. She was frozen. Would that make her father? Wow. She was completely stunned as she rooted in her place.

“So it...wasn't..just a dream…”

“A dream..? Why? Isn't it a good thing that we'll be having a child together, Umi?” Kotori tilted her head, her expression was so far from happiness because of one word Umi told. She could feel the tears threatening to fall down in the corner of her eyes soon.
Umi saw Kotori hesitate and barely let out a word to her once she noticed what she said to her. Harsh. “I-It's...not like that… It's just...wrong to have a kid at such a young age! And I'm definitely not ready for this role… and the queen will probably execute me for such a shameless thing… A part of me wants to be with you like this, in such a strong bond. I can understand that after all we finally reunited and this kid may be the proof of how we can share the same feelings, and how we show our love, but we’ve already skipped many steps ahead of us and raising a child is not supposedly needed in such a young age. I didn’t mean to push it as a problem but at this rate, we’ll be having a lot of problem awaiting right away. Not just your mother but all kingdom will be against us.”

“...But...in that way...maybe, my mom will decline the other kingdom's offer and-” Kotori tried saying, but her words got caught up in her throat. She couldn't speak anymore.

“The other kingdom's offer? What do you-” Umi tried to understand, but then the door opened, and Eli came in again. This time, holding her sword in her hand. “You…” She said in a low voice, glaring at the couple.

“E-Eli?! What are you doing?!” Kotori got up, protecting Umi with her own body now

“Elicchi!! I told you not to interfere, for the millionth time!!”  Nozomi came running after her, and get in the way to  stop Eli from moving or even attacking the Umbrae she had met her eyes with.

“What's going on-” Umi frowned, especially glaring back at Eli.

“Princess! You can't do that…! This monster doesn't deserve to be treated from you, and especially what you've done with her!! This is unacceptable!! Not to mention when the Gholt kingdom will find about this--”

“How do you know about this, Eli?! I don't care about the Gholt but how-”  Kotori interrupted her from giving any further information, and quickly walked to her to lower the sword that was aimed at Umi.

“I-” Eli looked down at Kotori, before she could continue to blabber more, they heard a mature voice coming from the front door. Kotori and Umi quickly found their clothes on the ground to wear.

“What may the two of you be doing at my daughter's room?” The queen was making her way to Kotori's room as well, and Eli and Nozomi quickly bowed their heads down to her, but they blocked  the way to Kotori's room.

“Erm… you see, Your Highness… I'm not sure you wanna go in the the princess’ room!”  Nozomi said as calmly as ever, and nudged Eli's side to support her. Eli stayed focused and slightly serene.

The Queen turned her way to look at Eli.

“A-Ah, yes. We'd rather you not entering right now…”Eli stood straight, but looked rather scared. She was trembling at the thoughts of being discovered by now.

“Ayase… Is something wrong with my daughter? Why won't you let me get in?” The queen asked, crossing her arms in confusion and slight annoyance.

“Well… she asked me to guard her room no matter what, even if it's you, your Highness.”  Eli said, but the queen wouldn't listen anyways.

“Please let me pass, Ayase. It is an order.” She said in a cold tone, and waited for Eli's response. She reached her hand towards Eli’s shoulder to gently push her away, before the door creaked open.  Fortunately for her, Eli didn't complain much, and she let her pass through Kotori's room.

“Kotori-” The queen opened the ajar door, and her eyes witnessed that her daughter was hugging Umi. She looked down at her with a frown.

“Kotori-?!” She squealed, then she rather calmly glared at Umi.
Dark blue hair, honey-colored eyes… It was definitely the one she was trying to hunt for a while. “...What is the meaning of this, Kotori?” The queen asked, backing away.

“Mom… I love her!! Please… Please just let me be with her-” Kotori begged, but the queen turned away.

“Get her.” The queen said, and suddenly, about 5 soldiers entered the room, separating Umi away from Kotori.

“Wait- no!! Mom!” Kotori tried to break free, and so did Umi, but eventually, the soldiers managed to pin her down to the floor.

“L...Light..” Umi mumbled.

“H-Huh?” Kotori looked down, stopping her struggling for a while.

“The light!!” Umi yelled, now kicking and struggling even harder to break free. Her need to transform was unbearable. It was worse than being stabbed heart and soul.  After that seen with bare eyes by Kotori, Kotori quickly tried to break free, and she did. Unfortunately, she was knocked out skillfully by no other than, Eli. After checking she was alright, she carefully set her down to rest against the wall.

“Kotori!!” Umi yelled, then Eli walked over to Umi as well. Umi looked up at her then, flamed in anger.

“Elicchi…” Nozomi said quietly by the door, looking at Eli in worry. Her eyes were telling her to cut her crap.

“Take her to the prison underground. In tomorrow morning, execute her.” The queen looked back at the soldiers, and they simply took Umi away.

“...It's the first time you weren't able to fulfill your mission, Ayase…I’m quite disappointed.” She continued, and glanced back at Eli, contemptuous at her failing attempts of keeping her away from the room.

“...My apologies, Your Highness…” Eli lowered her head, clutching her fists. She never meant to be failed, but for the first time she had listened to her heart, and Nozomi’s words. Something about her would make changes inside her and her conflicting nature.

“Let my daughter rest on her bed, and be sure to lock the door.. I'm ordering you and Nishikino to guard this entrance until tomorrow morning.

“Yes...Your Highness.’’ Eli said in a whisper, and picked Kotori up to now rest her on the bed. 
With that being said, the queen left, and Nozomi and Eli were now left alone in Kotori's room.  By the following seconds, Nozomi began to walk away as well.

“Where are you going?” Eli asked in a calm voice, looking up at Nozomi.

“To inform Honoka, of course.” Nozomi smiled sadly, looking down. “You might hate her, but we all love her. You should really reconsider your side, Elicchi.”

Eli wanted to stop Nozomi, but she knew she couldn't do that. And so, she got out of the room and locked it.

After Nozomi was gone, she let herself lean on the wall, and slowly slid down to now sit on the ground. She was feeling so many things at once. Being the Queen’s side or the magician’s side? She couldn’t decide yet, her headache was killing her at that moment. After a while, Maki accompanied her as well.  Maki saw the painful look Eli was giving. “Gotcha, I won't ask.” Maki mumbled, and sat beside Eli.

Meanwhile, Nozomi already made her way to Honoka's house, but when Honoka opened the front door, Nozomi was standing there with a very mischievous grin “You're coming with me, hun~” She said, as she dragged Honoka with her. 
But Honoka was only in her pajamas, and she definitely didn't expect someone to take her out of her house so suddenly.

“E-Eh?! What's wrong?!” Honoka said in a cracked voice, trying her best to follow Nozomi.

“No time to explain! We gotta hurry, before it's too late!” Nozomi said excitingly, and eventually, she got in front of her own house, and swung the door open.  “Nicocchiiiii!~” She called, and received an unsatisfied groan in response.

“Please tell me what's going on, Miss To-” Honoka wanted to ask, but Nozomi stopped her.  “My name isn't miss, my name's Nozomi! So call me that, please.” The smirk on her face was as wide as she dragged Honoka inside the house.

“Th-Then, please explain what's going on, Nozomi!”  Honoka tried to stop her, but Nozomi was just way too powerful.

“I'll explain to you later. Right now, we gotta hurry!” Looking back at Honoka, Nozomi smiled with the same mischievous grin as before.  Before Honoka knew it, she was tied to a chair in a room full of chemical objects such as flasks, books, beakers, and all sorts of things. She was so confused, and scared more than anything.

“Wh-What's going on?!” Honoka looked around in a pure panic, her voice trembling.

“Calm down, dammit! We won't be able to do anything if you panic like that! You want to help your friends right?” Suddenly, Nico popped up in front of Honoka, glaring into her eyes with such annoyance.

“O...Okay..”  Honoka said in a scared voice, and shut her mouth completely. Of course, she wanted to help her friends, but she wasn’t sure what mess she got herself in yet.

“Now now, Nicocchi. Don't scare her even more, nothing will work if you keep doing that.” Nozomi said, as she walked over with a book and her wand in her hand. “Honoka, dear, we won't hurt you! We only wanna save your dear friends!”

“..Save? What do you mean? Did something happen to Umi and Kotori?!” Honoka asked in an even more panicked voice. She started to shake her body to loosen the ropes around her body.

“Well, ya see… the queen saw Umi with Kotori in the princess’ room, and she immediately demanded her to be executed next morning.” Nozomi hissed after explaining, and looked down into her book.

“WHAT?!” Honoka yelled out without even noticing. And Nico glared at her again, which made her pipe down.

“Don't worry! My plan is perfect, for everyone! I won't let her die that easily.” Nozomi then closed the book, and grabbed her wand. “In fact, we'll depend on you, Honoka~”

“Eh? What do you...mean..” Honoka asked, but Nozomi showed her the spellbook before she could even talk properly. After what Honoka saw in disbelief, her concerned expression slowly turned into an excited one.

“Really?! You mean, I'm gonna be something like this?! That means I'll be basically the strongest creature alive!” Honoka said, and shifted slightly in the chair to settle into her seat more comfortably.

“Nuh, Nicocchi's still stronger than you.” Nozomi grinned, and put away her spellbook after she found the spell she wanted to cast upon Honoka.

“Ehh? No way…” Honoka scoffed at Nico, as if to scare her.

“Anyways, let's get down to the business, girls! Gotta save the princess’ future...husband! Yeah, yeah. That's the word I was searching for.” Nozomi nodded, as if convincing herself now.

“Husband? But Umi's a girl like the rest of us…” Honoka tilted her head, now questioning the word’s itself.

“Hehe, you'll see later! Now let's do this if you don't want her to die. It takes at least 5 hours until you fully transform, and we need to get you as far from this place as we can in the shortest possible time.” Nozomi now untied Honoka from the chair, and showed a test tube to her. “Drink this, and let's begin our journey!”

“S...Sure!” Honoka said, and without any worries, she drank the whole thing in a few seconds. 
She didn't feel good. Her stomach was rumbling and hurting.

“What's goi-” Honoka started, but in the middle, she let out a pretty loud burp.   Immediately, she covered her mouth with a now red face “S-Sorry-”

“Good. Now let's go!”  Nozomi smiled, and helped Honoka get up.

“Alright! Let's do this, then!”  Honoka joined in Nozomi's antics, and followed her outside the house along with Nico since she joined to them as well, of course.

“Now...we need a place where no one dares to go into…”  Nozomi thought, as she locked the door behind her.

“Ah! The Dark Forest! I've been there countless times, I can stay there!”  Honoka suggested, looking even more excited.

“Oooh~ I like that idea! I've never been there, so that's kind of exciting~” Nozomi agreed, and looked back at Nico, “You comin’ with us, Nicocchi?”

“Yeah, yeah.” Nico sighed, and walked beside Honoka, a slight concern was on her face.

“...Why's she coming with us? She's a demon…” Honoka said, not even minding Nico's presence.

“Because if you go wild, she can stop you.” Nozomi picked Nico up. Nico didn't even seemed to mind that. She looked as if at this point, she didn't even care.

“Oh… I see-” Honoka simply agreed, began walking towards the Dark Forest.

And so, when they arrived, Honoka stopped in front of the entrance. “Not sure you wanna enter it. I know some creatures there, and they're not the nicest guys towards humans!”

“Then why the hell are YOU entering it, genius?” Nico raised her eyebrow and crossed her arms.

“Because I already know them and they won't hurt me because I'm with Umi!”  Honoka said proudly, grinning down at the angry demon.

“Oooh, you got a point there! Then, we'll stay here just in case something happens. Good luck, and stay calm when the potion starts to kick in! It's very, very important!” Nozomi gave Honoka a pat on her head.

“Understood!” Honoka thumbed up, and made her way into the forest.

The two watched her as she slowly disappeared into the dark void, until everything went quiet again. All they were left to do is wait.

Chapter Text

Since Honoka entered the forest, she's been sitting right beside one of the trees, deep inside the forest. Like anyone else, she couldn't see anything. Not even her own body anymore.

Sometimes, a creature would pass by and she would greet it happily. Most of the creatures that have been living in the forest already knew Honoka, and so nothing really harmed her. Her happy-go-lucky personality worked on other creatures it seemed. The time passed so slowly that Honoka couldn't hold back anymore. A minute turned into an hour, and an hour turned into three, but nothing happened to Honoka. Perhaps Nozomi’s spell just didn't work? She wasn't sure. 
It's been way longer than Honoka could count to. Her energy was draining with every passing minute.

Though, as luck would tend to be on her side, something began happening. She felt something growing out of her forehead.  She panicked slightly and brought her hand to feel what was that thing, then her hand stopped when she managed to grasp onto something rather pointy.

“Horns…?”  She mumbled, her sleepy voice cracking up. She yawned immediately after it. She suddenly felt something growing on her back as well, along with what felt to be like a tail. Something in her body wasn't feeling right. She couldn't see much, but she sweared she could feel herself growing. 


 

“...Do you really think it's gonna work? We never tried it before…” Nico sighed, sitting upright on Nozomi's lap as the two of them waited for their magic to work.

“Of course! When was the last time i failed a magic spell?”  Nozomi quickly responded with a chuckling, expecting a positive feedback from Nico. But instead, Nico stabbed her right where it hurts the most; her face.

“Two days ago.” She reminded Nozomi of an accident she caused, and Nozomi stopped laughing immediately. Her cheeky smile turned into a dissatisfied look within a second. And Nico knew exactly what it meant. Her unpleasant experience was yet to begin.

“Nicocchi…” Nozomi said in a low voice, and eventually after how she sounded like she would punish her, Nico tried escaping her gaze from Nozomi. Before she could move on, Nozomi wrapped her arms around her chest and groped her so small-sized breasts. Nico was used to this sensation, Nico simply let it happen while growling casually.

“Oi, you can't ignore your failures…” Nico said, slowly trying to move herself from Nozomi's hands.

“You're such a bad girl, Nicocchi… Now I really wanna pu-” Nozomi was about to finish her sentence, before her words were interrupted by a loud rumble, as the trees and ground began to shake along with it. “...Did you forget to eat, Nicocchi?” Nozomi took her time to say that, and Nico shot her a death glare. “I'll eat you and your flirty ass if you won't shut up” She warned, but they both stopped when an unfamiliar voice spoke completely out of nowhere.

“Guys...” A concerned voice suddenly spoke. The two looked around to see where the source of the voice came from... After a while of glancing at every possible place a human could appear at, they decided to point their head up.  In front of them, there was a 40 meter tall orange-colored dragon sitting on the ground.  And it was, No other than Honoka. Even her ginger hair was still there.

“It worked!” Nozomi saluted, standing up without even warning Nico, which resulted in her falling down on the ground. 
“Dumbass…” Nico mumbled once again as she stood up with a suspicious raise of her eyebrow.

“I think I just destroyed half of the dark forest...” Honoka said sadly, as she looked around her and the mess she caused. She was lucky the moon was shiny, as she knew no creature could be harmed.

“Don't worry! I'll return her to normal with my magic!” Nozomi thumbed up as she reassured in confidence.

“But...I'm sleepy... You didn't let me sleep..” Honoka tried her best to walk towards Nozomi, but seemed to be stuck. And that was the moment, when she realized she also had wings. “...How do I use these?”

“I don't know? How do birds use their wings?”  Nozomi shrugged.

“But I have arms too! Birds only have wings!”  Honoka complained, crossing her arms over her chest with a pout. Now that Nozomi noticed, she was indeed a pretty fat and big dragon...

“...You need a diet...” Nozomi said hopelessly, sitting back down and putting Nico on her lap again.

“Huh?!” Honoka frowned, now trying to reach Nozomi with her claws. Sadly, she couldn't.  “I'm not fat!!”  She whined, flapping her wings furiously. Within seconds, she found herself in the air.

“Hehe, see? Making you mad is the best way to get you on working! ... Anyways, the sun's gonna rise soon, and when that happens, we'll fly to the castle. I bet this is the place where Umi will be executed.” Nozomi frowned and looked away. “...I wonder if Elicchi will be there…too..”

“She will.” Honoka sat beside the two, and lowered her head down to them to see them better. After all, her neck was long enough to reach over there. “So... What's the plan?”

“Alright… First, you gotta get Umi out of there, and then take the princess out of her room. She's locked in there so she is unable to intervene the execution. You'll need to drop Umi in here so no one could ever reach her, and I'll stay here to heal her from whatever those idiots did to her. And after that happens, you should take the princess to the abandoned castle not too far from here, in that way it'll look like you're keeping her like a hostage. Does that sound clear to you?”  Nozomi explained proudly, and smiled up at Honoka. Though, most of the time what she saw was none other than her big and long mouth.

“Got it!” Honoka brought her neck back up, and looked around to search for the abandoned castle Nozomi had been talking about. “Ehh? I can't see it…”

“Yes, that's because it is kinda far, but not for you. For a normal human, it would take a few days until they reach to that castle. But since you're so big, it won't take you a while. Just follow the biggest trees that line like a road in the forest, got it?”

“Alright! So...Can I maybe...take a nap right now? I'm so tired..” Honoka rested her head back on the ground, her voice deeper as she began dozing off.

“Oh, sure. We'll wake you up when it'll be the time. Now, take a rest and enjoy your time~” And without  further ado,  Honoka has already fallen asleep. She felt kind of bad for not letting her sleep at all.

“Heh... Isn't it cute, Nicocchi?” She said as she patted Honoka's muzzle.

“Yeah, yeah. Whatever you say, Nozomi.” Nico tsked and looked away. She wouldn't admit such a thing

“Awhh, are you jealous? Don't worry, you're cute too, Nicocchi.” Nozomi laughed and patted Nico's head as well. With that, even Nico managed to fall asleep. And so, they rested until it was time for the execution. A few more hours went by restlessly. Kotori finally woke up, as the sun shone brightly and everything seemed as normal as any morning. She thought Umi would be with her, but instead, she was met with the coldness rooted of her empty side. Everything happened too quickly and Kotori hardly recalled anything from yesterday so she didn't even understand why she wasn't on her side. She then rubbed the sleep from her eyes, and looked out of the window.

"A guillotine... Wonder what's that doing up again." She wondered, leaning against the glass of the window.

"And who would even deserve such a thing..."  She mumbled out loud. Sadly, her calm morning couldn’t survive as her gaze slid down the device's floor, where Umi was suddenly standing.  Bruised, bloodied and beaten. Her clothes were ripped enough to see complete parts of her body. Kotori couldn't even imagine what she’s gone through.

“N...No..NO!” Kotori cried out, banging on the glass with her fists as if she could break it . In a rush, she tried to open the door, but she couldn't. Instead, she began to repeatedly hit on it.

“Please! Anyone!! Let me out!!” She howled, with how hard she was punching, her fists turned red soon. Eventually, her punches weakened as well. The blood was evident in her fists, she hardly continued it with the excruciating pain.

“...We can't. It's an order.” Eli's strict voice could be heard.

“Eli!! Please! This is wrong, she hasn't done anything bad to anyone!! It's not fair!”  Kotori slid down against the door, roughly pressing her head to it.

“Please...You don't understand… I'm-” Kotori began sobbing, covering her face with her arms

“We do, actually. Eli won't admit it, but she knows she feels bad about it too.” Maki’s voice followed calmly.

“N-No...I don't want her to die...and..and to think it's all because of me... If only I never tried to convince my mom to let me be with her, none of this would have happened...” Kotori's voice began cracking up, and Eli felt even worse about it.  Outside, the people's reactions were quite normal as if Umi was a serial killer. Thinking as if justice has been served with this cruel punishment. The true punishment before death was never told to anyone. But quickly, the  crowd's attention swiftly turned to a loud roar, that certainly broke Kotori's window, and probably others as well. With that happening so suddenly, Kotori rushed to the window to see what was going on. Maki and Eli joined her as well. How? Strength and agility, maybe.

“A...d-dragon…?” Kotori continued with her cracked voice, wiping her tears away.

“This is impossible! What the hell?!” Maki frowned, but didn't complain much further.

“Wait... Isn't it that demon on the dragon's back?” Eli walked closer to the window, squinting her eyes to be able to see clearly. “That bastard... It's probably Nozomi's again!!” Eli slammed her fist on the windowsill.

On Honoka's side, she noticed that the three were looking at her, and when noticing Kotori, she remembered that Nozomi told her to take her as well. In her hand, she held Umi. She seemed really scared, but when Kotori saw she was alright, a smile spread across her whole face.  That was the moment when she also realized those big, dragon eyes were looking directly at her. Her glowing blue eyes, her orange skin, even her one-side ponytail... “...Honoka?” Kotori whispered to herself, her mind's panicking.

“You think so?” Maki looked at Kotori, who flinched at the sudden question.

“E-Eek! Th..That was only a thought! Sh..She looks like her!” Kotori quickly glanced back at Maki, waving her hands in denial of what she just blurted out.

“...Hey, isn't it getting closer to us?” Eli said, but her voice definitely wasn't the calm and strict one everyone was used to. Instead, it was very unrestrained.

“Huh?” Both Kotori and Maki protested, but after seeing what Eli did, their expressions changed to the same one as hers. The fat, big dragon was coming at them, which eventually poked its big nose into Kotori's room.

“Hey!” Honoka said joyfully, her genki attitude obviously showing.  But unfortunately, the two soldiers weren't too fond of her appearance.

“Hey! Don't point your swords at me! It's me! Honoka!”

“HONOKA?!” Both Eli and Maki yelled in disbelief , but Kotori soothed the tension in the atmosphere.

“H-Honoka!! I-Is Umi with you? What happened?!” She said desperately, coming closer to Honoka.

“Oh, of course! Here you go!” Honoka laughed as she carefully set Umi inside the room. She looked so frightened and confused, the look in her eyes was almost unbearable. “Oh dear...y...you must've gone through a lot of horrible things...”

Umi couldn’t even speak, she was looking at the ground. Seeing how rarely she reacted, Kotori grabbed her hands and brought them up with her own. Her wrists and arms looks horribly abused. Bruised, dirty, and a lot of dry blood was all over her hands and arms. Kotori couldn't bare with it.

“...This is all my fault... Umi..I'm so, so sorry...” She said in a cracked voice again, before pulled Umi into a tight hug. With that, she began sobbing.

“Princess..." Eli started in hope of drawing her attention, but Kotori completely ignored everything else. Everything was suddenly quiet, and only Kotori's sobs were heard across the room.

Umi slowly wrapped her arms around Kotori, and finally returned the hug. “...It's not your fault.” She said quietly, patting her head and kissing her forehead. She let the words slip out of her mouth with a warm smile now. She seemed to calm down after the hug.

“U...Umi..” Kotori looked at her, smiling. Her eyes softened as she met her gaze again.  “I love you...” She murmured and pressed her lips to Umi's with a smile.  Sadly enough, their romantic moment was cut short when a few guards ran inside the room.  As soon as Honoka saw she'd get in trouble, she simply squeezed Umi and Kotori in her giant hand and flew away to make her way towards the forest.

“Princess-” Maki reached out, but her reaction was too slow. Before she knew it, nothing was left of any of the three.

“Umi! I'm gonna drop you in the forest so Nozomi could heal you, alright? She'll explain everything!”  Honoka lifted Umi and Kotori closer to her, and glanced down at the two of them.

“But Honoka! Do you have to separate us? I don't want to be away from Umi again...!” Kotori gently scoffed at Honoka and hugged Umi tightly.

“As much as you wanna fuck her, we got other stuff to take care of!!” On top of Honoka's head, Nico coldly scoffed the lovebirds.

“A..Anyways! Nozomi told me to do that, so that's what I'm doing!” Honoka whined, and flew above the dark forest. “She told me to 'kidnap’ Kotori, so you could save her and earn the queen's trust!”

“...”  With Honoka leaving her no other choice, Kotori slowly let go of Umi. “Then...please come save me as soon as possible, Umi!”

“Wait, wh-” Umi tried questioning it, but Honoka let her down on one of the trees and waved at her. “See ya!~” She laughed, and flew away with Kotori towards her destination.

“...Bastard..” Umi frowned at Honoka, and hugged the tree tightly.

“Heeeey, Umi! Down here!~” Suddenly, a voice called, and when Umi looked down, she saw it was Nozomi waving at her, and Maki standing beside her. “Jump down here! I'll catch you!”

“Catch me? Are you insane?! I'll break something if I do that!” Umi yelled back, hugging the tree even tighter.

“C'mon, Ummiiiii!” Nozomi replied back again, this time Umi sighed.  Within a few seconds, she slowly let go of the tree, and fell down. Surprisingly, Nozomi did catch her. She even hugged her.

“Umiiiii~” She giggled, patting her head. “Welcome back, bud.”

“Th...Thanks.” Umi looked away, and quietly tried to find a way off of Nozomi.

“Anyways, enough with your little chit-chat, we need to hurry.” Suddenly, Maki butted herself into their view.

“Sorry, sorry~” Nozomi laughed, and let Umi down.

“..How can you even walk with your body in such a state?” Maki mumbled out, glancing at her up and down. Despite her horrible bruises and pained body, Umi seemed to be just fine with it.

"Oh...that.” Umi looked at herself, somehow looking even surprised that the soldiers managed to abuse her body this much. “I don't feel this kind of pain.”

“What do you mean you don't feel this kind of pain?!” Maki ragged, but Nozomi put a hand on her shoulder to stop her.

“My body is much stronger than a regular human's body. (not sexually apparently)” Umi explained in a calm voice and simply waited for Maki to respond.

"What the hell... I don't get this at all.” Maki crossed her arms, pouting angrily.

“Wait.. weren't you in the castle moments ago? How are you here?” Umi shot her question at Maki, who apparently wasn't as ready to answer.

“I- uh..”

“Same way I got here, dumbass.” Nico raised her hand, suddenly standing beside Maki.

“Anyways! We need your help, Umi! Let’s go save your princess!~” Nozomi clasped her hands together, stealing the girls’ attention.

“I was going to do this anyways. Honoka said you know her location, right?” Umi frowned, and looked up at Nozomi with her most serious face she had.

“Well, too bad, I'm not sending you alone. We're gonna come with you. I sent her to the abandoned castle not too far from here. But…” Nozomi walked even closer to Umi, crossing her arms behind her back “Don't you want to gain the queen's trust to be with the princess?” A grin crept on Nozomi's face while saying that, and Umi seemed uncomfortable about it.

“I do...but, just a few minutes ago, she was trying to execute me... How am I even going to stand near her view sight?” Umi looked away again, holding onto her shirt.  “I want to be with Kotori... I want it so badly! But...everyone would just be against it. Not to mention that this kind of relationship is even forbidden! In my situation, I'm only further digging my grave.”

“Not if you'll save the princess from the evil dragon and its filthy claws~” Nozomi's grin widened even more with that sentence.

“.....you bastard-” Umi frowned, but her attempts to get Nozomi away from her were only failing. It only fired her up, in fact.

“...Shouldn't we get you clean and ready first? You're barely wearing clothes, not to mention all the dried blood on your body.” Maki mentioned, judging Umi from all sides like the mom friend she secretly is.

“...Ohoho, I think I'm even seeing parts I favor a lot~” Nozomi pointed towards Umi's almost visible upper body. If there would be any way to make the situation more awkward, she was succeeding in finding it.

“...I'm this close to sending you to the same torture cells as she was sent, Nozomi.” Maki pointed her spear at Nozomi, her expression disappointed and disgusted.

“Geez, not even a tiny sense of humor. Let's go.”

Well, Nozomi had her set of plans for this as well. With a few swings, Umi seemed to be dressed in her previous clothes already. Magic sure was useful when you're not wearing much.  After finishing, Nozomi coughed to catch the two girls’ attention.

“So! We gotta get to the queen.” She clapped, looking at the two. Weird? No, she was something different. The two could tell.

“Come, let me show you how magic works, then.” With a touch, they appeared in the castle.  Guards surrounding them, they weren't as pleased. Especially with Umi. She was sweating. Going through what she did would be a nightmare, if not traumatizing now.

“Yo” Nozomi waved at them, and began walking towards the throne room. Maki had to take Umi by her hand at this point to drag her across the place. When they finally got the place, the queen sure looked at her worst times.

“...Your highness.” Maki called, bowing her head down along with Nozomi, but Umi only glared at her, until Maki and Nozomi forced her head down as well.

“You-!!” The queen shot a glare at Umi, but calmed herself in order to stay steady. “....What is she doing here? And what do you want?” She  angrily as she walked back to sit on her throne.

“We want to help rescue the princess from the dragon, and we plan on taking her with us.”

Maki commented instead of Umi, and carefully lifted her head up to now look at the queen “She might be very useful in this mission. And miss.Toujou here might know where the princess is located.”

“...This is a dangerous mission for such young women to be wandering to. I'd rather send the soldiers to look for her.”

“But they don't know where she is, nor do they know how to defeat a 40 meter long fire breathing dragon.” Nozomi pointed out, and the queen was left speechless. She knew more than anyone, that no one could really defeat a dragon, because no one ever saw one in any place but books and old tales.

“...I see. So do you agree to take this mission upon yourself?”

“If we do, will you reconsider this monster's fate?” Maki glanced at Umi, who only shot her a glare in return.

“....I'll think about it. I don't care much of her right now, and definitely don't have the nerves to take care of her, so you are free to take her for your journey. ...Call Ayase, as well.”

“We already did, your highness.” Nozomi smiled, and finally let go of Umi's head with Maki. “But let me reassure you, this cute monster here might be really useful for you! The princess really likes her, you know?”

“...My daughter likes many things she later on forgets about. This is nothing new, Toujou.”

“It's not like that, your highness. It's different.”  Nozomi's smile slowly turned into a grin, and she hugged Umi under her arm. “They're in something much bigger than a simple romantic story.”

Chapter Text

“And what might you be talking about, Toujou?” Hearing such a thing, the queen never expected it. Her daughter even falling in love with a monster? She was shocked.

“Their relationship is deeper than you think, your highness.” Nozomi rubbed Umi's head, her grin widening.

As for Umi, terrified would be the only possible expression she could show. The queen hated her enough already. Now shockingly finding out her daughter has fallen for her.. It was the worst scenario.

“Ah! Right! They even fu-” As expected, Nozomi was about to say exactly what she wished she wouldn't, and within a second, completely covered her mouth with a nervous laugh.

“Haha...yea, Nozomi.” Umi muttered to Nozomi, and shot her a slight death glare.

“You did what?” Unfortunately, the queen was now interested, and she looked rather impatient about it.

“W...W-We..” Umi stuttered, sweating now. As she was about to speak, Maki cut in.
“If you'd excuse me, your highness, the princess is being held hostage by the giant dragon. Are you sure you want to chat about what they did or they didn't?”

“True enough. Please leave the town at once, and don't forget to take Ayase with you.”

“Understood.” Maki bowed her head again, and dragged Umi and Nozomi with her. The moment the three of them got outside Nozomi began cracking up. “Y'know you'll eventually have to tell her that, yeah? It isn't that bad! And besides, your reactions are so cute~”

“...I sometimes wonder who's actually the monster here.” Umi glared at Nozomi, crossing her arms.

“Anyways, let's go get Eli, maybe we need more hands so call that witch and her cat too since we'll need more hands to help us with this little adventure.”

“Ah! Then let me go grab my tarot cards! I'll need them!” Nozomi excitedly babbled, now dragging Umi after her. “Go get Elicchi, I'll bring the others!”

Maki went back into the castle to find Eli, and it wasn't so hard. She was in her room, and when she entered, she looked surprised for a second, before constantly inhaling and exhaling.

“You need to calm down, Eli. Getting angry at this situation won't help anyone, and especially to you.”

Eli just groaned back, and sat in the corner “I hate this..” She stuttered her words out, hugging herself.

“I know it's hard, but you need to get over it. You can't let it bother you this much.” Maki walked over to Eli, and offered her a hand. “Come on, now. We gotta save the princess from the damn dragon, just like in any other fairy tale stories for kids.”

“...Heh..” Eli cheered up a little bit with the joke Maki made, and used her hand to stand up. She coughed for a while, before her voice finally came back. “Thank you, Maki. You're the best.” she murmured, and patted Maki's back. “Let me just put my armor on and let's go.’’

“Sure, sure.” Maki sighed. Meanwhile, Nozomi dragged Umi all the way to Hanayo's house.

“Why am I going too?!” Umi glared up at Nozomi again. Her body was still full of wounds and dried blood, and people around them were staring at them with concern and confusion.

“Ehh? Because I can't leave you with Elicchi and Maki! And because why not?” Nozomi grinned at Umi, and stopped in front of Hanayo's door. She was about to knock on it, but the door was opened before she could even touch it. Without any warning, Rin suddenly jumped at her with excitement, and Nozomi didn't even move when she did.

“Heeey, Rin!” Nozomi patted Rin's head, playfully ruffling her hair a bit as well, and Rin laughed in response.

“Nozomiii!~” She murmured happily, and nuzzled her. As Hanayo came running with a bowl full of rice, wearing an apron.

“W-Wait, Rin! P-Please don't attack people like that!! It's dangerous!!” She finally made her way to Nozomi, but Nozomi assured her she's fine. Then, she noticed how badly Umi was damaged, and immediately got worried again

“Wh...What happened to you? Are you alright?!” She asked, but Umi gave her a small smile.

“It's nothing. I don't feel this pain.”

“O...Oh… I see..” Hanayo looked down slightly, and Nozomi knitted her brows slightly.

“Oi, don't get all sad, Hanayo! She's really fine. Anyways, would you two like to go and save the princess with us? Nico is coming too, you know!”

“The demon is coming with you?! I'm in, nya!!~” Rin quickly jumped off of Nozomi, and stood in front of her “Can I, nya?”

“Of course you can! Your funny personality can make everything much happier! Especially for our lil Umi here.”

“T...Then I'll go too! I want..to help you out, too…” Hanayo mumbled quietly as she shyly smiled.

“Good! Go pack your things, we're going on an adventure!”

“Yay!” The two cheered with Nozomi. Everyone knew this was a really bad idea. But well, they couldn't do much about it.

 


 

Finally making their way to Nozomi's house, Nico opened the door lazily. Unfortunately for her, Rin attacked her with a hug just like she did to Nozomi, but they both ended up falling down due to how Nico couldn’t handle the oversized cat upon her small body.

“Satan!!~” Rin gushed with excitement. But to everyone else, it was completely terrifying.

“R-Rin!!! She's not satan!! She's Nico!!” Hanayo cut in, trying to get Rin off of Nico.

“...Hehe, I bet I'm even better than sa-” Nico started, but Nozomi cut through her words with a simple “You’re not even a real demon.”

After snapping from her disappointed expression, Nozomi clasped her hands together. “Anyways, we're going to save the princess, Nicocchi!”

Nico frowned. “Seriously? Why though? You're the one who-” Nozomi suddenly picked her up and covered her mouth forcefully.

“Haha, that's some unnecessary information, Nicocchi!”

“...Huh?” Umi and Hanayo asked, curious of what Nozomi planned.

“Nothing you need to know! We gotta hurry to the princess!” Nozomi grabbed Nico, shoved her under her arm and dashed upstairs to get ready. When she returned, she had her wand in her hand. The moment Umi saw that stick, her eyes lit with wrath. Fire arose as she glared at it.

“Put that thing away...” Umi hissed at the magical wand, backing away behind Hanayo. “Get this stick away from me...”

“Fine, fine~” Nozomi laughed, and put Nico down. Only then did she actually put her wand back into her bag. “Umi, you know we're going on an adventure… Don't you want to take anything with you?” She continued, glancing over at the petit girl in front of her.

“...Huh? It's not that kind of adventure I'm excited about. If we could be climbing mountains, maybe-”

“Heeeh? We sort of are, though. The princess’ location is on a mou-” As Nozomi explained, Umi was no longer there.

“....That was pretty fast, nya…”

“Ya think so?! She's insane…”

And it was the conversation between Rin and Nico, who just looked at each other with opposite expressions.

 


 

Everyone gathered at the entrance of the forest. Eli and Maki wore their armors, which Nozomi didn't really like to see. Armors were for protection, and protection meant Nozomi wouldn't be able to attack their chests either.

“Elicchiiii… why do you need to put your armor on? I wanna have fun…” Nozomi pouted, crossing her arms.  Eli, completely annoyed by it, simply sighed. “It's an order from the queen. We're still young, and so our health is important. We were ordered to save the princess, after all-” Umi cut through her words.

“She...ordered you to save her?”

Eli turned to Umi, completely confused. "...Yes?”

“...I see.” Umi mumbled, and turned around towards the town.

“Umi? What's wron-” Nozomi tried asking, but before she could continue, Umi began making her way towards the castle. “Hey-” Nozomi frowned slightly, following her. “Where are you going?”

“To the queen. I'm the one who's going to save Kotori, not her.”

“Oooh, I see your point. True love! So romantic of you~” Nozomi looked back at the others, signalling them to follow as well.

"NO, THERE'S ABSOLUTELY NO REASON TO DO THAT!" Maki snarled, as she decided to chase after the two love-driven beasts.

 

Back in the castle, Queen Minami has lost the hope in her eyes as they wandered where the dragon kidnapped her daughter, until one of the guards knocked on the door. ''My Queen. I've big news.''

''Did you find my daughter?!'' Her voice raised as she heard the word 'news'.

''No, my queen. But I have another option.''

The queen spun around and faced the guard with a sad face. ''How?''  Umi walked in. ''By cooperating with me.''

The queen's eyes widened in sheer shock. Wasn’t she sent with the rest of them? What was she doing here again?
 Umi was serene, she closed her eyes and breathed the whole air to muster up her courage. ''I was able to escape from that dragon because I was strong enough.... And no matter what you think, I do love your daughter more than anything else even that means I have to sacrifice my own life.''

“...Your own life, you say.” The queen murmured to herself, turning back around to the big broken window where she could see her only daughter was taken from. “I see. But how can you be sure you won't just die in the middle of the journey? With your body’s state…”

“You forgot I'm not human unlike most of you are.” Umi proceeded to explain.

The queen was left speechless, as she thought of what could possibly happen. Her daughter was in love with a monster. A monster who was capable of eating humans. And, at the end, capable of eating(:3) her daughter as well. But she didn't have a choice. Without a word being said, she made her way to Umi and glanced down at her.

“I accept your offer. I'm giving such a monster like you the responsibility upon my daughter. Do you understand the meaning of your responsibility?”

“Yes, I do, my Queen.” Umi bowed her head, lowering herself on one knee. After a beat of silence, Umi stood up and Queen Minami made her way back to her throne.

“...Now that we're cooperating, I'd like to ask you something.”

“...Yes?” Umi raised her head, somewhat scared of whatever the queen had in mind.

“At the evening of the ball, were you the one who was with my daughter?”

At that moment, Umi was left speechless. Regardless, though, she didn't see any reason to hide anything at this point. “Yes, it was me.”

“I see..” The queen leaned forward, resting her head on her hand before continuing. “And… Ever since then, I haven't seen you, and I've been reported that no one was left inside the castle ever since. But yesterday, you were in my daughter's room. My question is... What is your involvement in my daughter's actions?"

Umi could feel her heart sink. What was she going to answer? No way she could just say something so absurd and unbelievable.
But she need to. She had to.

"me and Kotori took more steps last night." She stated with a calm voice. But the queen was having non of it.

"Such  creature as you with a member of the royal family? Impossible."

"Can you prove me wrong? You misunderstand my nature as a member of the Umbrae race. I never meant any harm unless I was just protecting myself. Kotori was able to see this sight and she became closer to me. We fall in love just like you humans do."

The Queen was sure quite surprised by the turn of events, especially when she heard it was her daughter's will that made things more complicated. She was beginning to believe this monster in front of her was just fooling around with her charades. Once she met Umi's determinant eyes, the light she once saw it in her husband's, every single bad thought swooshed. She couldn't help but trust her at the moment. Better than just waiting for her to come back was futile indeed. She closed her eyes and,

“Then why are you wasting your time here?! Go out to save her, all of you, at once!” The queen demanded, and pointed towards the door. Umi's eyes widened, but she got up a full head of steam

“Yes, my queen..” Umi responded, her voice as hopeless as ever. Her secret..now out to the person she mostly hates.

Their adventure was yet to begin again.

Chapter Text

While the seven girls were traveling across the forest, the princess and her dragon were told to simply wait for them.  Honoka flew around the place to make sure it was safe, while Kotori just wandered around the ruins of the castle to explore.

“Kotoriii! This place is cleeear!” Looking through a huge wall in the roof, Honoka shouted at Kotori. She was surprised Honoka even managed to make such a big hole in the first place. Some blocks were even falling from the roof.

“Oh, Honoka...how silly can you possibly be?” Kotori decided to ignore the mess she has done, and giggled as she made her way up the stairs to get closer to Honoka.

“Huh? Did I do something funny?” Honoka then asked, not even aware of what she had just even done.

“Nope! Just you being yourself makes me happy.” Kotori finally made her way to Honoka, and patted her huge nose, which made Honoka quite flustered.

“O-Oh? I see! Uh...I'll go collect some ingredients around here so we can cook! See ya!” Honoka excused herself, as she flopped her wings and flew her way into the forest.  Kotori giggled at her reaction again, and continued her exploration around the ruined castle.  It was so huge, probably bigger than the castle she lives in. 

Kotori sighed, as she began wandering around the place. What's even the deal with it? The castle was between her kingdom and Gholt's, meaning it must've been one of them ruining this place.

“So cruel… Why would there be a reason to fight against each other this brutally?”

scratches, dry blood and subsided areas lingering on the wall, she began to notice all of it. The place was screaming a war.
After a while of traveling around, she decided to sit on what seemed to be a throne, leaning on it with a lengthy, frustrated sigh.

“I wonder... when will Umi come…” She lifted her legs on the throne, hugging her knees. Until Honoka returned and poked her head through the hole she did before.

“Koootori!” She yelled, her shouting bringing Kotori back into reality.

“A-Ah! Yes, Honoka?”

Honoka's excitement only grew. She clumsily inserted her arm into the hole in the rood and eagerly held her hand in front of Kotori. 

“I found a soldier!” She declared with pride. All Kotori could see was his face, which looked profoundly terrified.

“...Honoka, why did you catch him?” Kotori looked up at Honoka in a concerned way.

“Because he was coming here! And with a sword and shield! And I have no idea if he's from our kingdom or not, so I decided to bring him here!”

Luckily for Kotori, she could remember and recognize the faces of the soldiers of her kingdom. Her memory was really good.  “This soldier isn't from our kingdom...”

“...Then can I eat him?" Honoka smiled creepily, eyeing the terrified soldier.

"No, Honoka! Eating humans is bad!"

"But he probably wanted to do bad things to you, Kotori!"

"Then..then let's turn him back to his kingdom and ask them nicely not to attack us?" Kotori suggested more quietly, but her voice sounded unsure.

“...Awhhh, fine... I can’t eat him then...” Honoka pouted with a frown and grumpily looked back outside. Where could she possibly dump this confused soldier? “Can I just throw him to that castle over there?”

“No, Honoka! You'll kill him if you do! And killing people isn't the answer!” Thinking of that sort of incident made Kotori's body completely tense, and Honoka couldn't ignore it.

“F...Fine! Fine, I'll find a different way! How about-” As Honoka came up with more
ludicrous ideas to get rid of the soldier, Kotori decided to suggest something else.

“How about we just try talking to him and sort things out like this?”

“But...But he's a bad guy! He's from our rival kingdom!"

“I appreciate your efforts to protect me but believe me when I say that everything will be fine! I promise that for you, Honoka.”

“....Fine. But only in my hand!” Honoka pouted again and reached her hand to Kotori with the long gone soldier in it.

“Okay...” Kotori took a deep breath, and calmed herself down. “For what reason did you come here?" She asked the soldier with a sweet voice, giving him her brightest smile. Sadly, he refused to talk, while Honoka began losing her patience.

“Kotoriiiiiii...are you sure I can’t eat him?” Frustrated, she rested her giant head on the roof.

“No, Honoka! You can’t just eat a living person like this! He probably has a family and maybe children, you wouldn’t like if one of your parents was eaten by a dragon, would you?”

“N...No, but he came to hurt you!”

“Even so, it’s not his choice! He’s just a soldier, he probably got an order, and he has to fulfill it. I say we let him go.” Kotori explained, and looked back at the soldier. “Will you kindly leave this place? We really don’t want to hurt you!”  Hearing all that, the soldier simply nodded in response. And so Honoka released him from her claws to outside of the castle and watched him as he wandered off back into the forest where he came from.

“...What are we gonna do now? This place is so boring...and we’re out of food..”

“Hmm, you’re so big it wouldn’t be a problem for you to collect fruits and flowers, right?”

“....” Honoka looked at herself for a little bit, and then shoved her head back into the castle. “Yeah, I think so! I can catch us some meat too, if you want!”

“Promise me not to eat it raw and make sure to eat with me. I’m getting hungry here, too...” Kotori pouted, sitting back on the throne.

“...I'll try!” Honoka gave Kotori a cheeky smile, before flying off to hunt.

“Jeez, that Honoka..” Kotori pouted to herself again, and went back to exploring the castle.  Eventually, she found a bedroom as well. Somehow, it wasn't as ruined as the other rooms she saw. There was a wooden bed at the side, but she feared it might break if she touched it. It looked like a child's bed, anyways.

Realization finally hit her, And it hit hard. This room was a child's one.

There was a shelf beside the bed as well, with a few toys on it. Although, they were quite burned and ruined, some of them seemed to get wet with some sort of liquid as well. It smelled like blood, and Kotori felt like puking because of it. People were killed in a children's bedroom... Just the thought of it disgusted her.

At the end, she decided to sit on the bed. Luckily, it wasn’t broken, and she was able to rest on it for a bit.

...What is she going to do? Everything was falling apart  in her life. Her mother hates her lover, she got a child inside her, and her life's in danger because of her rival kingdom. She was scared.  But with all those problems aside, she got a different kind of problem now, as well.

Her stomach was rumbling.

“Ahhh...Honokaaa...where in the world are you?” Asking herself, she slowly curled into a ball on the bed, letting out a long sigh.  “What am I going to do...” She rolled on the bed, whining. But sadly for her, nothing happened.

Half an hour passed, and Honoka finally decided to return.  “Koooootoriiiii?” She called looking around the throne room. Kotori quickly ran over.

“Honoka!!”

“Yeah?”

“Can you please bring your head down here?”

“Oh, sure?” Just as Kotori said, Honoka brought her head down in front of her. When she did, Kotori launched at it with a tight hug. She quietly mumbled “...Don't leave me like this again. I was lonely...”

“Awhhh, you missed me!” Honoka laughed, her cheeks reddening up.

“Of course I did, Honoka! How can I not miss someone like you?” Kotori kissed Honoka's nose, which immediately fired Honoka's alarm.

“Wh-What was that for? You can't just do that!” Pouting, Honoka let down all the food she collected and covered her face, but her smile only widened. “You can't cheat on Umi like that, she'll kill me!”

With how flustered Honoka seemed, Kotori couldn't help but laugh. “It's just a kiss to your nose, silly! Who said I'm cheating?” She patted her with a big, reassuring smile, which eventually calmed the gigantic dragon in front of her.

“A...Anyways, I brought us food! Look!” Honoka then smiled, and pointed at the huge pile of fruits, flowers and some deer and boars laying not so  far from them. Kotori felt a little bad for them, but in the end, they all knew they didn't have a choice.

“Ah...how will I take it to the kitchen?”

“Uh...I can help you? But I don't know where it is, or how to get there…”

“And I'm not strong enough to get everything here... Maybe we just bring some wood and cook it here?”

“Sure!”

Kotori dragged a pot to the middle of the room. After successfully doing so, Honoka picked it up and filled it with water from a nearby lake. In addition, she caught some fish too! 
After laughs and a lot of food, time has finally mattered to them. It was around the time for the sunset, and Kotori got really excited about it. But the castle was huge, and she didn't remember how to exit it to see the sunset. And so, Honoka decided to suggest a better way.

“Wanna sit on my head, maybe? I'm so big I'm sure you won't fall! And you can hold onto my horns, too!”

“Ehhh? Really?! Yes! Please do, Honoka!”

“Got iiit~” With that, Honoka picked Kotori up and placed her down on her head. E verything was finally visible. The sunset, the wind around them, the view Honoka could now see anytime. Kotori wondered how she could become a dragon too, so that she would also be able to witness such a beautiful scenery..  Kotori decided it was a nice time to speak about other issues. After all, she had some news. And so, with a big smile, she said, “Honoka, did you know I'm pregnant?”

 

Unfortunately, the reaction she thought Honoka would give her didn't come as she expected. “....WHAT?! FROM WHO?!” Instead, she freaked out. At its most terrifying, her unprecedented news sent shivers up and down to her spine. Her reaction was so similar to a child's.

“Please calm down, Honoka!!! It's Umi! Umiii!”

“....Umi? What do you mean? But she's a girl!”

“W-Weeeell, I asked Nozomi to...do a little trick on her…”

“But I don't see how would Umi agree to such a thing! She'd call it shameless and hide herself, no?”

“...She did, but it didn't really stop me from doing stuff..”

Laughing, Honoka casually ripped a tree out of the ground and picked it up to find the fruits on it. “Hehe, she'd call you shameless too now, Kotori…”

“Hm? Would she really? I think she'd love it! She gets so embarrassed, and it's really cute!” But Kotori began to daydream, and Honoka didn't really like it. She knows so much about Umi herself and hearing Kotori blabbering about her day and night didn't really make her feel nice. Since, after all, she doesn't even want to know about what lewd things Kotori was thinking or accidentally spilling or even imagining. She proceeded lowering the tree she picked up at Kotori, which made her squeak in fear.

“H-Honoka!! What are you doing?!”

“You won't stop talking about Umi...and I know enough about her! Knowing my best friend doing very unexpected things is quite irksome. I wanna hear other stuff from you...”

It took Kotori a little while to understand, and even blinks, but she soon enough began realizing  what she was actually talking about. “O-Oh! I'm sorry-” She hid herself behind Honoka's horn, her face now completely red from the pure embarrassment.

“Hehe, now you understand?” Honoka giggled again, and put the tree down.  They continued talking about all sort of stuff, before dawn has fallen upon them. Kotori found herself nodding off quite easily now. Honoka even had to get her off of her head so she wouldn’t fall down from it. Fortunately, Kotori found Honoka's huge claw fitting enough to sleep in, and she eventually did exactly that. Honoka just had to find a place big enough to locate in. She looked around her, no sign of Umi anywhere in the distance... She just wanted to be back to her own self. She wanted to be able to eat bread the way she did before, she wanted to be able to look her friends in the eyes and see what they feel. She wanted to be Kousaka Honoka once again.

But as she was lost in her own mind, her train of thoughts interrupted by a sudden voice below.

“Huh? Rin? Nozomi?? Wh...Where are you all guys?!” She instantly got scared, but then saw what it really was. It was just Nozomi's friend, "Hanayo!”  And so gushing, Honoka tapped the ground with her claws beside Hanayo so she'd look at her.

"Heeey~” She called, waving as Hanayo glanced up. She yelled.

"PLEASE DON'T EAT ME I'M NOT A TASTY RICEBALL!!!!" She sat down and covered her head. ...She certainly looked like a tasty rice ball, if you'd ask Honoka.

"No, it's me, Honoka! Kotori's friend!"

“M...Miss...K-Kousaka?” Hanayo stuttered her name out, fixing her glasses on her nose.

“Yeah! That's me! Now get on!” Honoka quickly nodded her head, and opened her clawed hand for Hanayo to hop on.

Hanayo slowly and embarrassingly got in, as Honoka was now able to pick her up. Then, Hanayo saw the sleeping Kotori in her other hand.

“Th-The princess! Is...Is she alright?” Hanayo looked up at Honoka again, but in a quite worried look.

“Yeah! Yeah, don't worry! She was just reaaaally tired, so she fell asleep in my hand! Isn't she cute?"

“S..She is, but may I ask...where am I?”

“What do you mean? At the haunted castle!”

Hanayo lost Honoka at the word haunted. Despite being a witch and having to deal with various spooky stuff, her whole body began shaking. “H-H-Haunted..?!”

“That's what Nozomi said, I don't really know.”

“I...I see...”

“Then, how'd you get here?”

"...I..I don't know! We were all getting ready to go to sleep, before everyone just disappeared! A...And..and then everything became dark..t-too..and-” Despite her full attempts to keep calm, Hanayo broke down into tears. Honoka got quite alarmed, too.

“H..Hey, don't cry! We're here with you! Just relax and take a deep breath!”

“S...Sorry, I'm...just really scared…”

“It's alright! Just lay down on my hand and relax. I'm pretty comfy!”

“R...Really? Thank you so much…”

With that, Hanayo managed to fall asleep on Honoka as well. The plan was working accordingly but the three didn’t know what was coming up next time.

"Guess I'm a pillow now, huh.." Honoka huffed. Nothing to do about it now, as she could only watch the rest of the drowning sunset.

Chapter Text

The next day seemed to finally arrive. a hint of a breeze in the air was still tickling skins, the sun was shining, and birds were chirping.

Unfortunately, the birds were on Honoka's head. The poor dragon girl couldn't even close her eyes for a full minute. Her huge size attracted way too many creatures. She was tired, even a little grumpy-looking. 
But she was so tired of everything. The sun rays were already seen between two hills, and so she decided to wake the two sleeping girls in her palms. She lifted her arms up carefully, exposing them both to the sunlight. Almost immediately, Kotori groaned and opened one of her eyes to look around her.

“...Mmmnh?” She groaned again, rubbing her eyes as she sat up. If anything, she was confused. What was she doing so high up in the air? Until she finally embraced her brain cells together to look down at the cranky Honoka.

..No good morning from Honoka? She looked back. Her tail was flapping the earth below her. She was obviously excited her childhood friend decided to wake up.

Kotori decided to call for her, at least. “Honoka...?” But Honoka didn't answer. Instead, she brought her hands closer, showing Kotori the sleeping girl in her other hand. When Kotori saw Hanayo, she only got even more confused. “E-Eh?! How'd--” She tried to collect all of her thoughts together, before Honoka glared up at her with all of her tiredness and impatience for sleep. Kotori understood what Honoka meant, and simply closed her mouth with a smile.

A short time passed, and Hanayo began waking up as well. She carefully sat up, rubbing her eyes. “...Mmm....huh? Rin..?”

No Rin. She remembered she saw a castle and a dragon, but hoped it was just a dream. Unfortunately, it wasn't. She found herself back in the same place she ended her day with. A dragon and it's princess.

“Ah! You're Hanayo, aren't you? Good morning!” Kotori immediately greeted Hanayo, but Hanayo had too many thoughts on her mind. Instead of answering, her eyes began watering.

“P-P-P...Princess..M-Minami?”

“Crap I think we broke her, Kotori...” Honoka commented, hissing slightly. In advance, Kotori panicked.

“H-Hey, please don't cry! We're sorry!”   She tried calming her a few times, explaining her exactly where they were and making sure to remind her everything was fine.

“Are you feeling better now that we explained?”

“Y...Yeah. Thank you so much...”

“....Welp! Now that you're all done talking...!” Honoka said, and carefully set them back into the castle. “Nighty night.” Done with that, she flopped down into a woodland and fell asleep.

“She was up all night because we fell asleep on her..poor thing…” Hanayo sighed. “S...She stayed up for both of us, we should probably do something for her...? A-Ah! Wait, no, I'll do it al-”

“Alone? Why? She's my friend too, and I can't let you do anything alone, especially if it's Honoka! She'd want food...”

“O-Oh..then what would you suggest, your highness-”

“Please call me Kotori, I'm not any different from you, so, please?”

Mistaking something like that really scared Hanayo. She unconsciously bowed her head down and apologized, “A-Ah! Yes! I'm really sorry!” ..But seeing how Hanayo reacted, Kotori couldn't help but let out a soft giggle.

“You're way too serious about it! Just calm down and let's go gather some ingredients.” Kotori took Hanayo's trembling hands into hers, and walked her to the entrance of the castle.

“O...Oh.. a-are you sure?”

“Of course~ it'll be fun!”

“A...Alright!”

The two went off to try and find what Honoka would like to actually eat.  They tried gathering various fruits and such, but when they looked at what they collected again, they finally realized. Honoka wouldn't like it. Instead, Kotori thought about hunting an animal. But..neither of them could do it.  They caught a bunny. Now what? They couldn't kill it. As much as they tried; they even got a knife to open its skin it. But before Kotori stabbed it, Hanayo grabbed the bunny and began crying. She couldn't let it die, and Kotori felt the same way as well. After looking at the bunny for a while, Kotori began crying too.

They decided to take a break now, especially with the two of them feeling so bad for the bunny they tried to kill. So they tried talking it out.

“H-Hey, let's calm down, okay? I'm sure we both know how this bunny feels, but...-” Kotori tried to be positive, but after speaking, she began crying again.

“E-Eh? A...Are you okay-?”

“It's just- I don't know, and-” as Kotori tried to speak, her sickness kicked in. Something in her wasn't the same, and so she suddenly got up and ran behind the bushes to puke.

“What's wrong?!” Hanayo yelled in a rather cracked voice, rushing to Kotori's side.

“I don't...feel so good...my stomach-”

“L-Let's sit down and examine it!”

They found themselves a place to sit, and Hanayo began examining her.

“Uh...can I...have a look at your stomach?”

“O-Of course!”

“O-Okay...” Hanayo said quietly, and let Kotori unbutton her shirt.

"Have you eaten any weird things like herbs these days?" Hanayo flicked her wand for a few strokes to check her heartbeat and blood pressure.

"No. Apparently all I've eaten was the royal dish that's made by the best cook in this field." Kotori tried to hold back as she covered her mouth by her hand.

"Have you taken any medicine more than you should have?" Hanayo looked worried.

"I was all fine so I never needed any medicine to take in my body." Kotori held her breath for a second, then her next nausea passed by quickly.  Hanayo looked around to gather some ingredients to make a potion for her until something kicked in her. Her face began blushing before she could even ask.

"Perhaps you've had any sexual intercourse lately?"

“Uh-” At that moment the question reached Kotori's ear, she threw up a little bit to her side.

“Ah...” The expression on Hanayo's face was kind of disappointed. She waited until Kotori was able to speak again. “At this age?”

“Uuuuh...Umi said the same!”

“U-Umi?! You mean…-”

“I... I used a spell! B-But..it broke, and then it happened--" Kotori mumbled, swirling some hair around her finger.

“I...see- w..well, I always helped animals give birth and examined their behavior in the process, but...I never helped a human do it. I'm not so sure about this...”

“Mmnh...but my lower parts feel so heavy and full…” Kotori whined, holding onto her lower stomach.

“I'll be here with you until Umi comes!” Hanayo beamed, excited as ever to be helping her princess.

“Hehe... that's so sweet of you, Hanayo!” Kotori let out a giggle, and pulled Hanayo into a tight hug.

“N...No..p-problem..” Hanayo said shyly, laughing awkwardly. They talked a little more, before the ground began rumbling. Hanayo immediately panicked, while Kotori already knew what happened. “Nghhh? Kotorii? Umiiii?” Honoka's voice spoke. She slowly raised her long neck up to search for her beloved friends.

“...Ah...still a dragon? Awh...”

“Honokaaaa! Down here!”

“Huh?! Kotori?! Where-?!” Honoka tried to figure out where the voice came from, before eventually noticing the two girls sitting under the trees. In much excitement, she shoved her head down into the pile of trees and smiled at them. “Here you are!!”

“Hehe, how was your sleep, Honoka?”

“I wanna eat, Kotoriii… when will Nozomi come to turn me back to normal?”

“Mmmm, maybe you know, Hanayo?”

“W...Well, when we stopped to rest, we could see this ruined castle on the hill...but it was pretty far and Nozomi said it'd probably take us a few days…”

“A few days?! No waaay… fiiiine..then I'll go eat some sheep...”

At this moment, both Kotori's and Hanayo's animal loving instincts were triggered. “WAIT!” They tried yelling at Honoka, but at this point stopping her was completely impossible.

 


 

A while passed, and Kotori and Hanayo seemed to collect themselves food as well as Honoka managed. Unfortunately, something else also happened.

“Uhm... Kotori? Why..are you building bird nests?”

“Uuh...I don't know!” Kotori whimpered, as she continued to collect sticks and glue them together.

It's that, Kotori was starting to build a huge bird nest in the middle of the throne room in the castle. When Hanayo commented on it, she even seemed surprised, but also sad. They simply continued their doings, despite Kotori's urge to build her nest now.

Chapter Text

“SHE'S GONE! SHE'S GONE, NYA!!!” Something was heard across the whole forest now.  It was, of course, Rin. Freaking out all over the place. She looked as bad as a stray cat who just lost its everything in a fight.

“Ahhh, Rin! Calm down, please! We'll find her!” Nozomi tried to catch Rin, but could only catch a few strands out of her tail. She stood and watched as Rin continued to freak out, while everyone else simply had to hide from being scratched all over their bodies. ..like Maki's armor, for example. Luckily, she was able to put it on before Rin woke up. When she did, Maki tried to stop her when she was freaked out, but sadly, her armor got scratched all over. Even more sadly, her face got a few scratches as well. Not too many to count, but Rin sure left marks. And that was the moment she gave up.

“Ah! Look, Rin! Hanayo is there!” Nozomi pointed at Eli, who immediately shot her a death glare.

“NYA?!” Rin turned her head to Eli's direction, but before she could continue moving, she was knocked out.

“Phew… Finally. I thought it wouldn't even end.” Nico leaned against one of the trees, which Umi seemed to hide behind too. “....Oi, shouldn't you be that great hero who comes to save the princess? Pfft-” Nico laughed, but was suddenly pulled up by the back of her shirt, only to meet Eli's deadly glare.

“As if you're any better. She can pull off a small fight against me unlike you.”

“HAH?! How would you know that?” Nico laughed, glaring the same way at Eli.

But without any doubt, “Elicchi! Nicocchi!! Stop fighting already!” Nozomi butted herself between them and yanked Nico out of Eli's grip.  Nico then crawled up on Nozomi and stuck her tongue out at Eli, but in return, received an even more deadly glare from her.

"This dumb creature is getting on my nerves. When can I end its existence?"

“Never! Nicocchi is super nice and friendly! Besides, I created her! I won't throw away my own successful creations."

“....” Eli simply sighed. “Fine. Now that this is over…..Maki? Are you alright?”

“No. My face hurts.”

“Ah...” Nozomi laughed nervously, making her way to Maki slowly. “Lemme heal you then!”

“No way. I don’t trust your magic. You gave this poor thing a dong.” She pointed at Umi, who choked on air. “Who knows what you will do to me?”

“Oho… We got a smartie here?~” Nozomi smirked, lifting her wand up as if to scare Maki off by casting a spell quickly, but Maki only glared at it. “Try me.” Maki said, crossing her arms.

“Hehe, here I g-!” Nozomi wanted to push her wand forward, but when she did, it wasn't in her hand anymore. Instead, it was forcibly taken by Eli. 

“I'm not letting you do the same to Maki. Keep your lewd experiences on her.” Eli pointed at Umi again, who, again, had to be so ashamed and embarrassed.

“H-H-How do..you all even know about this incident?! This is impossible! Nozomi!!!” Umi yelled bashfully.

“Ehh? It's so obvious after you put your thoughts into it!” Nozomi smirked in return.

“...Nozomi, you're the one who told us all about this.” Eli frowned, crossing her arms over her chest while Nozomi's wand was still out of the purple haired girl’s reach.

“....You.” Umi looked down as she grit her teeth in a slight anger. Nozomi knew she screwed up.

“E-Ehhh? I never said anything about this incident! Never in my life!”

“YOU-!!” Umi spoke up, but just like Rin, got knocked out. Even as she fell down, Eli just continued glaring at her.

“Asshole.”

“Hey! Elicchi, don't call her like that. It's kinda my fault for dragging her into this mess…”

“Doesn't matter. Either way it's her fault for doing whatever she does. Touching the princess, doing unacceptable things with her like that, too…”

“Eh? The princess's the one who has started it, Elicchi. You're just dead set against Umi! Calm down… Right, Makiiiii?~”

"What do I have to do with this? Eli is always angry at everything. I just want to play my piano. If anything, you take care of these two.” Maki rolled her eyes, pointing at Umi and Rin, who were still knocked out on the floor. With that, she went to organize and get ready to continue their adventure around the forest. Nico seemed to jump on Nozomi's shoulder in the process. So swiftly Maki didn't even mind her. With that, the two went back into one of the tents they built for the night.

“...What do you want?” Maki said calmly as their little space they had in the tent felt smaller and smaller...

“You have something on your mind, dont'cha?”

“Oh, really? Didn't know creatures like you could know this.”

“Weeelll, I can guess what your thoughts are, I can definitely sense that they're not good ones as one soldier should have had.”

“....Fine, you got me. So it's not the best thought. But Why should I tell you what I’m thinking though anyway”

“Hehe…” Nico held onto Maki's shoulders, a mischievous grin crept up on her face. “Because I can help you, that’s why.”

“....Fine. I'm simply tired of being a human, is all.”

“Oh? That's rare. What do you want to be instead?”

“...someone like what you are.”

“A demon? Pshh, you're really complimenting yourself here. Then, I'll tell you what.” She stopped, and jumped in front of Maki to now fully face her. “I'll make a deal with you. How about it?”

“A deal with a demon? Sounds fun. Let me hear it.” Frankly, Maki didn't even to hesitate there. It even surprised Nico, if anything.

“As you wish, then.”  After Nico’s speech, Maki found herself around nothing. A nothingness like a dark void she strangely felt comfortable in.

“How are you feeling about surrounded by nothing?” Nico's voice was heard, but all Maki could see was pitch dark  all around. She tsked, and crossed her arms. “I'm feeling fine. It’s not a big deal.. Tell me your deal already, dammit.”

“Oi, let’s not rush things anyway!”  Within seconds, the big, dark gap turned into white. Maki would expect something to come out, but there was nothing again just like before. The gap was filled with nothingness, nothing except Nico who was standing in front of her.

“The deal is; I will let you drink a legendary demon's blood. It's not just the normal demon blood where the chances of being survived were only fifty-fifty. It's guaranteed to succeed. Not only that, but you will become much more powerful in that form. Sounds promising, eh? Buuut~ youwill be under MY order, meaning no matter how strong you are, no matter how much you hate me..."

Maki seemed to hit on something but she didn’t seem to mind after all. “Is that all? Wow. I'm in. Where's the blood?-”

“Waaait. I need to make sure you won't abandon me.” In a very harsh laughing tone, Nico reached out her hand to Maki’s. “Let's  make a deal.

Again, without hesitation, Maki simply agreed and held onto Nico's hand. The second time she did, a red colored ring appeared on her hand. “Oooh, fancy.” Maki whistled, examining the ring all over. 

“This ring will automatically let me know exactly what you're doing, where you are, and with who you are. It'll also hurt you if you disobey my orders. Can't let you use this power against me, right?”

“Mhm, sure. Anyways, the goblet-”

“Here. It'll be painful, but hope you don't mind some bones crushing in your body for a few minutes. They'll return to normal, demons always get this benefit.” Nico gave Maki quite a devilish smirk and simply headed her a goblet filled with the legendary demon's blood. It smelled horrible, and Maki already felt like she would puke anytime.

“Isn't there any other way to make this deal? This thing stinks.”

“Being a demon is tough, you asshole. Just take this and drink.”

“Ehh...fine.” Maki frowned, and quickly took the goblet out of Nico's hand. If it already smelled horrible from Nico's hands, now it was even worse. Its slightly dark red color was boiling, too. It just looked so disgusting, all Maki could do was stare at it.

“Stare at it all you want, you have to drink it after all.”

“Seriously?!”

“Mhm. Now, go ahead.”

“...” Maki then brought the goblet closer to her lips, completely taking her time to decide whether or not to do it. After hesitating for a short while, she decided to finally drink it. Seconds after she did, she fell down. Her body began shaking uncontrollably. She even began throwing up some blood, along with the previous dinner she’s eaten.. Even Nico found it kinda disturbing. But... that was it. Nico kneeled beside her, patting her shoulder to pacify that it was just part of the deal so she needed to deal with it. 

“Say...would you like to keep your heart to yourself? Or would you rather become emotionless? Demons don't supposed to have anything but fierce and hate only emotions they feel, but I'm giving you a choice. Your soul might be useful.”

“....r..rather keep..my emotions to myself.” Maki mumbled, now completely collapsing. Her body could no longer move an inch, and her brain couldn't function either. But Nico found this weak form of her pretty funny.

“You're a desperate one, I like it. C'mon, if you don't stand up right now, you will be too weak to be a demon after then.”

“I...can do it.” Maki insisted, but the moment she tried to get up, she ended up throwing up more blood, falling back down on the already so messy floor.

“Say it again? I couldn't hear it.” Nico smirked this time, kneeling beside Maki.

“I...c-can do...it. Don't un..underestimate me.”

“Hehe, really though? You can barely even stand up.”

The moment Nico finished speaking, she found herself laying on the floor with a sudden force upon her shoulders Maki had against. 

“What- AH!” Nico suddenly screamed, as Maki flopped down on her lap.

“I said...don't underestimate me.” Maki whispered in Nico's ear, which quickly gave her skin goosebumps all over. Her hair fell down on Nico’s face as well, blocking any view of the place she had before.

“I don’t remember underestimating your power. I wouldn’t offer you something this overpowered if I’d be underestimating you, would I?” 

Nico’s expression changed into a straight face. Maki had to think twice before she could speak. The room was filled with complete silence for a few moments.

“...But I..feel like something else’s going on--” Maki doubted, before she could feel the unbearable pain returning to her again. Feeling it all over her limbs, she fell on top of Nico. She felt like her back would rip apart anytime soon. Something was growing, and it was unbearable. So much she simply ripped her shirt apart.

“WHY DOES IT HURT SO MUCH?! WHAT IS THIS?!” She yelled at Nico, ready to launch at her with all the anger she was accumulating.

“Deal with it.”

“DE-” Maki started, but the pain consumed way too much of her energy. All she was able to do was scream and struggle, before  a pair of bones began growing from her back eventually.   All covered in blood and muscles built up, it began growing the skin on itself, now giving it a dark-reddish color.

All this transformation took at least fives minutes in the life span. But Maki felt like hours passed with the pain she was experiencing. It was so unbearable she just couldn't deal with it any longer. But she knew she had to.  It felt so unbecoming of her, what she felt around her back. It was so out of place. Everything she felt was so new yet possibly pointless.

When the wings fully grew, Maki finally felt relieved. The pain was over. At least she hoped it had. But once again, she collapsed down on the floor due to out of energy.

“Don't worry. They won't show up when you're around the others. That, unless you'd want them to. Now that the transformation is over, welcome to my dark side, Nishikino~” Nico kneeled down in front of Maki, patting her head.

“...Fuck you.”

“OI! No cursing like this! How rude of you. Anyways, let's get back to the others, shall we? To them, we're still packing the things.”

“Why do you care about humans so much? Shouldn't you--”

“A human made me. I'm just grateful to her. Dunno what any of the others want or need, but if Nozomi cares about them, so will I. ...Except that blonde one. I ain't trust such a monstrous person like her.”

“...I wonder, how do you know?”

“Obvious. But I don't want to waste our time on this. A Lucis like her just gotta control her anger sometimes.” 

With that, the two seemed to return back to the tent. Did time completely stop? ...well, yes. But as they returned, the time continued as well.

“Maki! Nicocchi! What's taking you so long, jeez?" Nozomi pouted, opening the tent. Nico was sitting in Maki's arms, casually whistling to herself while carelessly looking at her fingernails.

"Nicocchi..what have you done?"

Nozomi didn't even want to know, she knew it definitely wasn't something good. ...She wasn't wrong.

Chapter Text

As of now, the team arrived at a far more...stranger part of the forest. The trees began swirling around themselves, and the sky was no longer blue, instead a variety of dark purple hues painted the whole horizon. 

Rin and Umi both regained their consciousness back, but in sheer shock of what was going on. They were barely understanding the fact that both of them were tied up.. Luckily, they were able to discard the rope and were now set on track.  As the sky was getting darker by each time, Eli seemed to be more alert, always keeping her sword close to her hand in case anything would happen.

Umi, on the other hand, she was acting more and more careless, sometimes even losing the direction of her sense. The two were acting rather strange, and it was impossible to get missed out by others.

The group was silent. All that before Maki decided to break it.

“How long have we been walking?”

“Hours, I think.” Nozomi mumbled out.

“And are we getting any closer to that castle we’re heading to? I don’t know how much longer our food supply will last.”  Maki said in a sulk, as she knitted her brows furiously.

“Don't worry, we'll be there before you notice, probably.”

“...I feel like something is happening...but where...” Umi mumbled, supposedly to herself. Except;

“Really?? What is it, Nya?” Rin decided to ask. As Umi was thinking, talking out loud was her biggest mistake so far.

“Ah-! I...I don't know. But it must be related to the princess. I can feel her..”

 


 

“Mouuu, Kotori! Quit building this nest! It's taking up all my place to sleep in!” In a completely hopeless voice, Honoka whimpered at her childhood friend.

“No, Honoka! I can't stop!” Kotori answered back in annoyance much to Honoka’s dismay. She was instinctively taking the brushwoods in a circle.

“Why not?!”

“It's for the baby!!”

“What do you mean for the baby??? Your baby won't need a nest, even I know it!”

“H...Hey, why d-don't you both calm down? V-Violence is never the answer!” Hanayo suddenly jumped between the two, determined to prevent their upcoming fight.

“Jeez! I'm tired of being this creature! When am I going back?!” Honoka fiercely stomped, but only causing the already collapsing castle to rumble.

“H-Honoka!!” Hanayo hissed. In this case she was afraid that as emotional and worried Kotori, it would be traumatized, or at least to whatever was inside her. Touching the bump in her hand Hanayo could feel it was alive and kicking. ..Maybe too much.

“HONOKA!” She suddenly yelled. Honoka went quiet.  Placing her hands onto her stomach, Kotori began panting rapidly. “H-Honoka...please, don't stomp so loudly, I'm going to be upset.” She looked up at her, her smile hiding her obvious death glare. Mood swings sure had no good influence  on Kotori..or at least Honoka thought so. were that those mood swings you have during pregnancy?

“S-Sorry, Kotori!” Honoka clasped her clawed hands together, laying down around Kotori's giant nest.  “Then I'll guard your nest for you!”

“Then...is it okay if I sleep? I've been..too tired..lately.”  The sleep already consumed most of her body. She was on the verge of passing out at this point.  Even if the nest was made of brushwood, as seeming impossible for any human to sleep in such a cosy way, Kotori had managed to lay against the walls. With that, she slowly closed her eyes. A smile crept its way up to her face. She finally looked calm..but only when she was asleep. Honoka has decided to re-position herself to hover her face around  Kotori. Her tail was wrapping itself around the whole nest as if shielding it from any harm.

A dragon and its princess… Such a beautiful sight. In fairytales, it was always the opposite, but this time they were friends from start and Hanayo's eyes shone with admiration.  She only sat against the outer shell, surveying the broken entrance of the castle.   Honoka's tail slowly wrapped around Hanayo out of the blue, letting her stay warm as well as Kotori too.. She considered them a family member. Finally.

 

 


 

An arm reached Nozomi's sleeve. Umi softly whispered to her by the side, “...Nozomi. I feel like something's going to happen soon. ..we should hurry..” She said, almost embarrassed. Maybe because of the magical bond they shared together a few nights ago, Umi felt that her lover was somehow physically and emotionally connected to her. At that time, only her instincts were telling her she’d be in danger anytime even though she couldn’t put her finger on what was going on in her mind yet.

“Hmm? What is it? Is it about Kotori?” Nozomi decided to play along, now replying back with a genuine smile on her face.

“...Yes. S-Something's telling me I must be there.. by her side.” Umi’s cheeks were burning as she accentuated the last part of the sentence bashfully. 

“...It doesn't seem like it's just something, heh~ you actually know what's about to happen, don't you?”

Umi's blood all reached her cheeks. Her face was completely tinted red.  Her hunch was telling her to be there. A myriad of emotions blended together, she wasn't sure. Nozomi herself could figure out what occupied Umi's enigmatic mind.

“...I wonder what it would look like. Don't you think about it too, Umi?” Nozomi shot her a questioning gaze. Umi on the other hand scratched the nape of her neck.

“...Yeah, I do think about it like every elapsed second, but I'm afraid it's soon. ...With me not even being a human being. It would cause many problems ahead of time for both races, human and Umbrae. It must live that given live in-between... I hate to put her through such a rough ride.. That’s my main concern, not the thing what happens to me. I do care about the baby.” Umi continued speaking, but Nozomi patted her head to to make her feel better. She watched Umi was continuing her dully depressing speech. She dropped the depressing tone, her eyes gleaming this time. ‘’I’m just wishing the baby takes after their mother.

“The princess wanted it. She's the kind of a person who can endure any pain if it means achieving her goals eventually. I bet you know it too. I'm certain she realized the consequences of her actions  wouldn't end up as normal. But she didn't care just like you.” Nozomi suddenly stopped, completely dropping her smile. She turned to Umi in order to continue her talk, “Do you know why?”

“...” Umi tried to reply, but decided to stay quiet. Maybe, deep down in her heart, she actually wanted it? Who knows. “Please, go ahead.”

“She wants to be with you, and a baby was the only way to keep you by her side. . Since considering taking care of a child… is not fun alone.”

“She wants a future with you , Umi,”

“...I- but I..” Umi stumbled upon her own words, struggling to deny such a shameless truth.  “But..I'm a monster...humans aren't supposed to like me at all!! It..it just doesn't..make any sense..”

“Now, what does it matter if you're a monster or a human? We all like you, Umi. Kotori didn’t choose you for nothing. She might seem so cheerful and friendly but she’d never been so close or infatuated with anyone by now. You're her first true love.”

Umi’s thoughts were jumbled, but her heart got warmer at the thought of Kotori being in love with her. She was still denying though. “N-No, it doesn't make any kind of sense-!!”

“Heeey, I like Umi too, nya!!” Rin suddenly jumped at her from behind, fortunately not making her fall over.

“You're fine, I guess. I'm better than you, though.” Nico joined in, and Maki sighed with a slight huff by her side. ‘’Yeah.”

“...E-li-cchi.” Nozomi addressed the knight softly, giving her the efficient smile she mastered to make.

Eli rolled her eyes. “...She's my enemy. I can't like her.”

“I guess Elicchi is still as stubborn as always.’’

“...S-Stop it, you all..” Umi blushed, hiding her face in her hands. She honestly just looked like a little child. Nothing different from Honoka at all. Nozomi could see a small smile in between the hands.

 


 

Peaceful, quiet and calm. They’d wish they could call it that.

Since Kotori fell asleep, things went quiet. All, until she woke up Honoka with a shriek.  In that form, Honoka wasn’t sure she could help much so she flicked her tail to gingerly wake up Hanayo even though the olive-haired girl seemed to be in a deep slumber. As Hanayo stood up noticing the princess’ non-stop cryings had wake up all creatures around them, she swung her wand to cast a spell.

‘’Honoka, take this basket in your mouth and spill over her face when I say on right time.’’ 

‘’PUSH KOTORI!’’ Honoka growled.  Kotori was sweating way too much, she was on the verge of fainting due to excruciating pain underneath, as she exerted the whole strength in herself while bearing the child. Hanayo widely opened her legs to take a look, the head was already outside but anything else was still inside

She again used her wand to write words in a different language around Kotori, then shout to Honoka. ‘’NOW HONOKA!’’  Honoka tilted her head and spilled the whole blessed water, then Kotori shrieked one last time to push and this time the baby was on the surface. ...But it didn’t seem like a baby body.

Finally, after an hour of more agonizing pain… Wait, an egg?

“Kotori, is that a bird?!” Honoka said in a surprise, staring at the medium sized egg. “But..it's been a few days! How does it make sense?!”

“I-It doesn't… That's not a normal egg…” Hanayo glanced around the egg, trying to find out how her friend could give birth in such a short period of time and it was such a big egg.

“H..Honoka..” Kotori finally let out a wispy voice, her body almost unable to move an inch. 

“A-Ah! Kotori! You did well, don't worry!!” Additionally, Honoka said to cheer up her exhausted friend. But Kotori asked her to get closer, and the moment Honoka was close enough, she grasped onto her horn.

“T-The..baby..”

“Ah! Right, here!” In an excited voice, Honoka finally handed the egg over to Kotori.   An egg? We're both mammals, aren't we?! This is so confusing!” She thought in panic, until Honoka placed her hand on her head.

“We'll sort everything out when Umi comes here. Just hang in there, okay?” 

 


 

“..It happened..” Umi bitterly whispered to herself, but she was unaware of how loud that it could be heard clearly.

“I can send you there, if you insist.” Nozomi came beside her, wrapping AN arm around Umi's shoulder.

“Wh..What do you mean, send me there?” Umi’s eyes widened. She loved to hear she could be in time to see her again, but fear was fueling her. She can’t even take care of herself, how come she could take care of a baby?

“My magic is strong enough to teleport you to their exact location. But.. only for a limited time!”

“Are..you sure about it?” With all the excitement, Umi couldn't shake off her fears just as much.

“I wouldn't suggest it if I wasn't sure. Come on, let me help you.”

“Y-Yes, please, then!”

“Got it~” Nozomi took out her wand, tapping Umi's nose with it.  ...Nothing happened? Except maybe Umi's nose becoming a little red.

“What--” As Umi asked, she could no longer find herself in the forest. Instead in a familiar ruined castle? It felt nostalgic, for some reasons. Reminding her of her parents, as well as where she used to live.

“Jeez, I'm hungry! When can I go hunt more?” A voice spoke, it was more like growling. It sounded utterly familiar to Umi. 

“Y-You can't eat sheep! They're not food for dragons, Honoka!!” Another voice said. As Umi heard the name she knew, Umi rushed to where that meek voice came from. 

“H..Honoka?” She asked, looking up at the giant orange colored dragon in front of her eyes.

“...Umi?!” Honoka answered, skipping over to her childhood friend. “Jeez!! You missed everything, you dummy!!” She whimpered, but Umi glared up at her, confused as to what she meant by ‘missing’. What she felt was true after all?.

“Where is she?” Umi’s voice trembled. 

“Right here!” Honoka said in a joyous tone, stepping aside to reveal the giant nest under her huge tail. Umi's eyes widened at the sight. But more about what was inside the nest. Kotori was resting, as of that moment she turned her gaze to who came. Their eyes finally met, and Umi's stomach was filled with butterflies. She couldn't move as she gulped.

“Hey, stop staring at each other like that! Get in!” Honoka said in a cheerful voice, before grabbing Umi's shirt from the back and lifting her up, only to drop her beside Kotori.  Immediately, a smile curled up to Kotori’s face.. Holding the egg close to her body, she simply muttered, “I missed you, Umi.”

“I...I missed you too, Kotori…” Umi replied in the same, shaken tone, slowly sitting on her knees beside Kotori. “Uhm,” She started, staring at the medium sized egg in her arms. “This is…?”

“Our child!” Kotori chirped, handing the egg into Umi's hands now.

“...An egg?”

“It was hard to get it out, for sure--” Honoka said from the side, obviously almost busting out of laughter.

“H-Honoka!” Kotori whimpered, her face red from embarrassment.

“...We're so young.. how is this even happening?” Umi lowered her head, clutching her hands into fists on her thighs.

“...Do you regret this, Umi?” Kotori smiled at her, reaching out her hand to hold her cheek. Such a reassuring smile..Umi never saw one in her whole 16 years.

“With you..? No. I love it.” She handed the egg back to Kotori, and slowly reached down to her face. Their lips a few centimeters apart, they could feel each other's breath.   Finally touching, their kiss felt like forever. Nothing mattered, time seemed to almost stop.  One second after, Umi was beginning to disappear.

“Kotori..I'm coming to save you. Please wait for me.” She said her last words, before finally fading away.

“Umi…” Kotori whispered, softly placing a finger on her lips. A smile came back, this feeling could never disappear anymore. 

The feeling of love.

 

BONUS:

 

“I k-kissed her…” Umi said, trembling while covering her mouth. A shock on her face could be displayed, unlike the cool Umi back with Kotori. Nozomi even found it amusing.

“Hmm, yeah? What else?”

“I-I told her to wait for me..a-and that I'm on my way to save her!!” Umi continued, this time with much more pride and boldness.

“Mhm mhm. And what about the baby? What is it like?” At this point, everyone else were listening too.

“I...It's..an egg.”

“AN EGG?!” Everyone said at the same time, but received a death glare from Umi for butting into her and Nozomi's conversation. That made them turn back to their own tracks. Even Eli, for some surprising reasons.

“I-I'm confused...how come we have an egg? And it was so big, too! It can't be a bird or an alligator! But then, what is it?!”

“Mmm, I don't know! But don't think of it too much, will ya? It's not good for your health!”

“B-But what about our age? We're so young, h-having a baby at this age…”

“I see you forgot how the world works, Umi..” Nozomi laughed, pressing her hand in a laying L on her chin. You could almost see the sparks coming from her.  “You're considered an adult from this age! It's your own decision what to do with life at this point.” (middle age kinda shit)

“...This is ridiculous. I don't see the point of becoming a parent at such an age!”

Now hearing how much the heating conversation, Maki's interest suddenly rose.   “You're saying this, but you're going to be one yourself.” She silently commented, swirling her hair around her finger.

“S-Still!” Umi quickly defended herself as much as possible, but her strong blush was only telling otherwise.

“...Your ugly face didn't look regretful back at the castle with the princess, either.” Eli added, before Nozomi punched her side for the insult.

“So insulting..” Nico covered her mouth, completely disgusted of Eli.

“...Well, you'll never top her anyways. You totally looked like you could top there, Umi. Good job trying next time.” Nozomi joked, But Umi seemed to take it too seriously.


“Oh, I will top. You just wait.”

Chapter Text

Greedy and playful. You couldn't call the voice otherwise.  Such a proud pose, even a smirk would always be displayed on her face. Kira Tsubasa couldn't be described otherwise. Only walking around the castle would gain her glares.

The Queen's one of the favorite and most trusted soldier… No one really knew what her motive really was. Her poker face shone perfectly, let alone her ignorance towards the hate and attempts to put her down. She was, as everyone else called her, ‘ a war machine. ’”

“Your Highness,” She began, bowing down. “Have you called for me?”

“Yes. I have, Tsubasa.” The queen answered, sitting comfortably on her throne. “...About my daughter.”

“Ah, do not worry, then. There's no men after her. There's her friends with her. And..her pregnancy seems to be over already.”

“What do you mean about the last part?”

“My queen..it's an egg.”

For her third time throughout life, the Queen was thrown out of the universe for a few seconds. “....Egg?”

“No one knows what would be inside it. ..You could call it a surprise egg, actually.”

“O-Okay. What about Ayase and Nishikino?” Now back to earth, the queen coughed into her hand to return her normal tone.

“Confused. It'll probably take them a few more days to get to their destination, even though they're merely a single day away.”

“...Why's that?” 

“As you know, the forest belongs to the mythical creatures. You never know what they can really do. And so, I assume they're tricked.”

“Tsubasa…” The queen started in a concerned voice, her expression showing the clear longing for her dear daughter. “You know where they are, why don't you navigate them?”

“Sadly, I cannot interfere in the girls’ journey. My sudden appearance would cause a lot of suspicion, and the Gholts are still waiting for an answer. They could attack if they found out about this issue.”

The queen clutched her hand into her fist. Nothing was going as she originally planned, and it was beginning to get on her nerves, as well as her head.

As luck was swept away from her hand's reach, a firm knock “Your Majesty, the Kingdom of Gholt is here. Can we let them in?”

Tsubasa quickly found her place beside the queen. Her face was unreadable as usual.

“Your majesty! Long time no see.” A playful voice echoed across the room. A man walked in. His eyes in a deep lavender hue, his hair was a light shade of ginger. He was, the supposed prince of Gholt.

"Welcome." The queen stood up, bowing in front of her incoming guest.

"Now, why so formal, my queen?" He laughed, bowing as well before lifting his head back up. "No one is watching us, I think dropping the nice expression is fine now."

"You don't need to be so open about everything, Anju." Tsubasa glared at the figure, the queen now turning to face her as well. The figure turned into another form, now a woman.

"Then, what is it you want?"

"I brought Anju here because I have a plan to propose, my queen. You see, we are shape shifters after all. If the princess' 'prince charming' would sense this danger around her, it'd be no good for us."

Anju continued her, "I'll disguise myself as the one she calls her love. Pretending to be her won't be a problem."

"You two know there's a dragon, as well as my loyal knights in their way, right?"

"The dragon is a childhood friend of the Umbrae girl. She may be stupidly overpowered, but as long as we keep distance, we'll be alright."

"And where exactly is that beast now?"

"They're a day away."

"...I wish you luck in your mission."

 


 

A new day arose. The sunrise was washing the earth with its rays once again. 

"Honoka.." Kotori's faint voice called. Honoka lazily slid her head closer to her, yawning loudly. "What happened?"

"...No, nothing. I just wanted to see you." Kotori hugged Honoka's muzzle, cuddling up to it. "I want to go home.."

"I want that too..but if we leave the other kingdom might capture you..and," Honoka yawned again, picking Kotori into her hands. "We might not ever see you again…!"

"..." Kotori sighed, completely defeated. "I guess we have nowhere to run.."

"Shouldn't Rin and the rest be coming around now?" Hanayo said from the ground, gently glaring at the oh-so broken gated doors of the ruins.

"Lemme check.." Honoka lazily lifted her head outside the same hole she made in the roof to look around.
Quiet.. Maybe a little too much.. nevertheless, no Umi around.

"I don't see any of them.."

"Hello, Kousaka." Honoka looked around quickly. She stopped, as Umi appeared in front of her eyes. 

Her eyes shone in a deep red tone. A big, mischievous grin plastered on her face. Honoka couldn't move. Nor could she speak. She was shocked, more than anything.

"--!!!" Before Honoka could speak again, Umi disappeared.

The broken doors were suddenly opened. Kotori's and Hanayo's heads quickly turned towards whatever was behind it, Kotori hugged the egg in her arm closely to her chest.

"AH--" Umi fell down, panting heavily. Kotori gasped, and rushed towards her to help. "Umi-!!"

Kotori tried to cry out, before Honoka picked her up into her hands.

"Honoka?" Umi looked up, slowly rising from the ground. "What's wrong?" 

Honoka covered Kotori with her other hand, eyes burning with fury. "You're not Umi."

"Wh..what are you saying, Honoka?! Who else would I be?" She dusted off the dirt, wiping the sweat off her forehead. 

"H-Honoka-!" Kotori yelped, opening Honoka's palm gently. "What's wrong? Is everything okay?"

"Kotori.." Honoka hissed, taking her away from Umi. "That's not Umi!!!"

"It isn't? Then..who?"

"...I..I don't...know…" Honoka shook her head to keep everything together. Something about that person definitely felt off. "my hunch tells me that she’s someone else I already acknowledged," she ruminated over and over.

"It must be Umi! Please, Honoka…!" Kotori looked up at her with a determined look. Honoka couldn't resist this. "...Fine." She let Kotori down, watching her run over to Umi. Umi embraced her tightly. Everything seemed well.

When Kotori hugged the blue-haired girl, she couldn’t feel the sense of touch nor the warmth she had been accustomed to. Whether Honoka’s word true or not, she couldn’t let this chance slip by her hand so easily.

‘’Umi…’’

Guided by her dragon instinct, Honoka basically threw Umi by her muzzle and broke their hug instantly.   

Even if Kotori felt a weird sensation just by hugging her, she thought Umi didn’t deserve such a treat by her closest friend. ‘’Honoka?! W-What are you doing?’’ 

‘’I’m still convinced that it’s not Umi!’’ Honoka breathed heavily, as the whole air was out by her muzzle and some birds were thrown out. She wasn’t used to this form yet.

Kotori took Honoka’s words badly and the effects of it slowly knocked her stomach. She slowly hugged the egg in her hands. 

When Umi paced back to her, Kotori finally saw the look she wished to see from her. This warm, comforting smile she used to see.
Umi opened her arms, welcoming Kotori for another hug. "Kotori...I missed you."

Hearing those words, Kotori's eyes began to water. "Umi…" She cuddled closely to her, feeling Umi's gentle touch on her hair. Her heart was filled with warmth once again.

"Kotori, the egg..how is it?" Umi’s gentle eyes looked at her, the concern was evident in her tone.

Kotori smiled, nodding happily. "It's completely fine. Would you maybe like to hold it?"

"A...Are you sure you want me to hold it? I'm..scared."

"Wait, Kotori!!" Honoka snarled, her tail swinging from side to side in anger. Kotori turned around with a smile, "Honoka, it's okay." She reached out to hand the egg into Umi's shaking hands..before drawing it back to herself.

Then suddenly Kotori remembered how Umi was like when she was teleported just for a second and saw her beloved. ‘’U-Umi… I don’t think you’re the Umi I know… even though you’re exactly the same in every aspect. My heart is in agony…"

Umi stopped trembling like a coward and stood upright, now facing Kotori. ‘’Kotori…’’

‘’Just one thing I’m going to ask.’’

Umi nodded weakly. 

‘’Do you remember what you told me after we had sex?’’

Umi was baffled, looking right and left to understand. ‘’Eh?’’

Kotori smiled sadly. "Umi would remember."

Umi chuckled. "I suppose there's no point in this dumb game, then."

"NO!" A familiar, hoarse voice called from the entrance. Kotori swiftly turned around.

"Umi…?" Her voice was caught in her throat. Her skin half burnt, fierce expression and body posture… "It's Umi.."

"Oh? So you're approaching me?" The Umi in front of Kotori chuckled, her voice completely changing. Kotori hugged her egg, backing up behind Honoka. "I told you." Honoka lowered her head to Kotori, her expression as soar as ever. 

"I don't know what you mean by approaching." 

"I'm really sorry, then. Just a second--" The Umi coughed into her hand, before disappearing.

"Then, hello, once again." She appeared back behind Kotori.

"T-TSU-" Kotori squeaked, before being quickly shushed.

"Screaming my name isn't really useful." Tsubasa chuckled, backing up with Kotori from Honoka.

Umi clutched the heavy sword in her arms. "NO YOU WON'T-" She started, before a loud crack was heard through the castle. Kotori looked down. A hole has formed in the egg she was holding. Everyone laid their eyes on her.

"K...Kotori-" Umi's voice softened, before gripping her blade again. Honoka sided her, lowering herself to her level.

Kotori turned her head around, as Tsubasa released her from her tight grip. "What..have you done..?"

"My apologies, princess. My answer would be irrelevant."

The egg in Kotori's hands cracked even harder, before breaking into two parts. Out of it came a black fog, which contained nothing but an empty space. Kotori's hands trembled. "Was...this..my--" Before she could finish her question, Umi launched herself at Tsubasa. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough, as she was knocked out to Honoka before even reaching Tsubasa. 

"YOU MURDERED IT!" Umi growled, blood dripping down her arm as her grip tightened around her sword. 

"That's a bold accusation. I didn't murder anything." Tsubasa lifted Kotori's tense chin, without even a fight from Kotori's side. Her look was worse than deviated. Her body gave up trying to hold itself, as she simply fell into Tsubasa's arms.

"Well, we shall take our leave. Have a good life, the three of you." Tsubasa winked, and before Umi could move, the two were gone.

She suddenly didn't feel good. Her mind and body were barely moving. The same was true with Honoka and Hanayo, who suffered the same symptoms.

"No...Kot..o-" She breathed out, before passing out.

 


 

Umi woke up to see her ceiling again. Early in the morning once again, she was ready for another casual day of practice and archery. 

"My head hurts..and my skin is a bit burned...what in the name of the gods have I been doing for the past few days?" She asked herself, as she slowly pulled herself up from the warm and welcoming bed.

"UMI!!" A familiar, loud voice called from outside. Before Umi could open the window, it was thrusted open. Inside, shoved itself a muzzle. "Good morning, Umi!~" 

"Honoka….?" Umi quickly gained her consciousness from her dormant state, as she knitted her brows. "Since when did you become a dragon?!"

"Hmmm? No idea! Actually...what happened for the past week? Everything is so foggy in my mind, I can't remember anything at all!"

Umi sighed heavily. "Neither can I…."

"You know what they say, if you can't remember it, means it wasn't important enough!"

"Fine, fine. I got you. Did mom and dad return from their trip yet? It's been several weeks."

"Oh, no, they sent a letter saying they'll be staying in Gholt for a while, y'know, selling goods and everything!"

"I see… Well, another day, here we go. And get your giant face out of my room." Umi pushed Honoka's face back outside, and got down to have her breakfast. But wait. Honoka was too big to have a regular breakfast. Umi let out another heavy sigh, as she walked outside to the backyard where Honoka has been sitting for who knows how long.

"Honoka, what are you going to eat?"

"Oh, don't worry, I already went and grabbed some sheep-"

"YOU GRABBED SHEEP FROM THE VILLAGE?"

"...N-"

"No bread for you." Umi walked back inside and slammed the door shut.

"WAIT NO UMI I'M SORRY! PLEASE DON'T TAKE MY BREAD AWAY!!" Honoka flapped her tail, ruining whatever breakfast Umi was trying to have. Umi opened the window. "FINE, please stop breaking stuff in the house! Your tail is too big and it's ruining everything inside.

"...fine." Honoka crossed her arms, and looked away.

But Umi still couldn't remember what happened. She tried going back to past memories. Horse riding... patrolling the forest, archery, helping forge weapons, but... something was missing. She simply couldn't find it.

Chapter Text

“Once upon a time, on the land of some weird country, stood a kingdom, wise, tall and proud.”

“Within the castle, sat the princess-- wait..who was she again? I don't recall any princess inheriting the throne. How strange... I'm sure I remembered there was someone in that place. But who? Why can't I remember her? Is she someone I knew?”

Umi's eyes opened. Sweaty and lacking the oxygen in her lungs, she woke up to the dark room in front of her. She surveyed the area around her.. yeah, that was indeed her room.

"What...was this?" Umi held onto her head, her heavy pants were slowly calming down as she sat in quietness.

"UMI!!" A roaring voice called from her window. She jumped up, getting a hold of her training wooden sword. 

"Honoka!! It's Honoka!! Don't point your sword at me! I didn't do anything wrong.." Honoka sighed.

"Why...why are you a dragon, Honoka?" Umi frowned, her voice sorrowed in suspicion. Honoka thought as hard as she could, but nothing came to mind.
"No idea." She shrugged, before her face returned with her usual cheeky smile. "But mom said she baked a new type of bread!! You should go down to check it! But mom and dad are out again...And bring some bread for me too please!!"

"You're too big for a piece of bread to taste like something. I'll bake you more of it later to fit some of your size at least.." Umi got up from her bed. She looked at her arms.. bruised. "Did I do anything yesterday? My arms don't look the best. I don't remember getting outside the house.." She looked at Honoka with concern. Honoka shoved her face inside the room, examining Umi's body. It looked bad. She looked as if she just ran a whole forest in her weak form.  

 

"Are you sure you don't remember anything? Not even a tiny little detail of yesterday?"

 

"Lonely my love. lonely my heart.."

 

"...No..not really." Umi tried to think harder. Who was this person? Those bruises were from the sun. But what reason did she have to turn out like this? She couldn't understand. "And who's this.." Her head hurt. She couldn't think. "Ugh... I'll...go downstairs. Get out of my room along with your giant face.." Umi gripped her head, using the wall to support her unbalanced body. She stumbled downstairs, checking the house once again. Something was missing.

"As per usual.." She sighed, sitting beside the dining table. "Honoka!" She called in a very sharp voice that would cut a tree into two.

Something was missing.. A lot was missing. In fact, everything was missing. But what was missing?

"Umi…" Honoka lowered her head to the ground, looking at Umi in her weakest state. Umi snapped out of her thoughts, lifting her head to look at Honoka's concerned eyes outside the window. "Oh, I'm..sorry. I spaced out.

"Yeah you bet, you've been sitting like this for at least 5 minutes without moving.."

Umi blinked. "Was I?" Honoka nodded in response. Umi sighed, lowering her head on the table. "I don't.. feel well. My head hurts..and my heart even more.."

"I don't feel that much different, actually.." Honoka scoffed. Something was bothering her, yet she couldn't figure it out. It was missing, but WHAT was missing? She had no idea.

"Wait, hold on actually." Honoka got up. What's gotten into her? She couldn't control her body at all. Without any hesitation, she flew to the castle. Umi gasped, pushing the chair down as she rushed after her. "HONOKA!!" Honoka didn't answer.

She landed in front of it. People around were terrified. What was a big dragon like this doing around the castle? Since WHEN is there a dragon roaming around the area? The knights tried to back her off, but with no success. She looked around, scanning it fully. She checked the garden, staring down at the maze that formed due to the leaf walls that grew throughout the years and decades. Something was missing. Wasn't she there in her childhood? She couldn't remember. She looked inside one of the rooms through the window. She had an urge too, at least. But the room was empty. As white as the light, yet as dark as the night. Why did she check this room anyways? It looked so familiar. She felt as if she spent most of her life in this room, yet, where were those memories? Blurry...

"Honoka.." Umi whined, holding onto her tail.

"Umi!!" Honoka tried not to wag her tail too much, before letting Umi hop down into her palm. Umi sighed, sitting down. "Why did you rush here?!" 

"I.." Honoka gulped, looking down. "I don't know.." Maybe her instincts led her unconsciously to this place. Who knows?

"Come here.." Umi opened her arms, welcoming Honoka to bring her head down. She did, as Umi hugged around her snout. "It's okay. I'm here with you."

"Umi..what is this room?" Honoka then lifted Umi to the room she was looking at. Umi froze. It was the same feeling as before. She held onto the bars of the window, her eyes quickly watering.

"Umi!! What happened?!" Honoka panicked, nudging Umi with her snout. 

"I don't..know. My heart hurts." She looked at the walls. Where was the door? "The door...there isn't even one.." She squinted her eyes, tightening her grip around the bars. "Hold on--" she let go of the bars, finally. "What's that over there? Honoka, please let me into the room."

"Gotcha" Honoka easily ripped the bars off, letting Umi jump onto it through the window. She walked to the further corner, kneeling down. "A nest.."
A single egg was inside, comfortably sitting in the corner. Umi's eyes wandered around, as she noticed a bird. It was trapped inside a cage. "How did this cage even get here..?" Umi frowned. What was even going on at this point? Well, it doesn't matter. She opened the cage, letting the poor bird fly over to her nest. Umi smiled at the scene. At least she was able to help a tiny creature in need.

"Umi?" Honoka shoved her head inside. "What are you doing?"

"I just helped a bird--" 

"What do you mean? There's nothing and no one in this room." Honoka frowned. "Umi, are you okay?"

Umi's heart stopped. She looked in front of her; nothing was there. What did she see? "B-B-But--" she held onto her head, hissing in pain. "I swear.. there was a nest right in front of me..and a cage--"

"Umi.. let's go home.." Honoka nudged Umi with her snout. "Please.."

"..." Umi sighed, holding onto Honoka. "Let's go…" 

"Maybe...I should get more sleep. It must be it, yes."

 

"I'm not a flower bud."

 

"Umi.." Honoka nudged her again. They were at home again, Umi spaced out the rest of this day. Honoka shoved a manjuu into her face. "Here, eat this…" Umi woke up from her daydream, looking hungrily at the manjuu in front of her. "Y..Yes.." she nodded, as she reached both of her hands towards the manjuu.

"Please go rest, today is really just confusing.." Honoka whined, laying on the grass of their backyard. "I don't even...know how I became a dragon. I want to go back to being a human… This..I don't get it at all Umi!!" Honoka cried flapping her tail in anger. 

"I..I know, I'll try looking for a mage to help you, maybe. There must be one around the town, I think I know it." 

"Are..you sure you want to go into town?"

Umi sighed. "No, I vhreally dhon't. Bhut thish is for hou, not mhysvelf. I mhust at reast thry." She said, her mouth full with the manjuu she received. Honoka laughed. "You're so serious, and I barely understood anything."

Umi blushed deeply, covering her mouth. "S...Sorry.." She finished, before coughing to catch Honoka's short span of attention. "I said, this is for you. I'll try searching for them tomorrow."

A day passed.

Umi entered the town, her upper body covered with a cloak. She wobbled through the many people walking in that block, before stopping by a shop. She could see the clothes inside through the glass, which was containing fancy dresses and suits such as tuxedos. 

"Why did I stop here? My head hurts.." She held onto her head as she continued on her way. "I must've come around here with Honoka once..but something else..is missing in this picture.." She stumbled to a wall, getting a hold of it. As she lifted her head up, a house was visible in front of her. It looked weird. "This must be it." She knitted her brows, before she decided to knock on the door.

The door opened. "What?" A voice called, but Umi didn't see anyone in front of her. That, before she looked down. A girl barely half her height was in front of her. Was that a kid?

"Oh-- uhm, is this the witch's house?"

"Yeah, whatchu need?" She said, frowning at Umi.

"Well, you see--"

"Hold on, I'll call her here." The girl turned around, "NOZOMI!" She shouted, as something inside the house fell down.

"This name...why does it sound familiar.." Umi hissed, her head hurting only more.

"Helloo~" A cheeky brunette came in front of her, picking up the girl in front of her. "Sorry 'bout her, she has no manners~"

"It's... okay."

"So, what's up? Is there anything you need from me? I've never seen you around here." The brunette leaned on the doorway, her smile never leaving her face.

"U-Uhm, yeah.. actually..my friend became a dragon." Umi looked down.

"Oh, so that dragon yesterday was your friend? Neat! So what about 'em?"

"I wondered..if you have any way to turn her back.." Umi looked into her eyes, her look as desperate as ever. The brunette froze in her place. "Mmmm...I don't know. I'm not that good at spells yet, especially turning someone back from a creature.."

"Oh..is that so.." Umi lowered her head back, holding onto her cloak. "I apologise for disturbing your day like this--"

 

"Lonely my love, lonely my heart.."

 

"Mmm, no, don't worry. Please have a good day! Maybe come in a few days."

A week passed. 

"It's been 3 days since Umi even left her room..did she herself or something?" Honoka sat in front of the closed window, holding onto her tail. No matter where Umi went to, her head always hurt and she couldn't even think clearly. Her state was only worsening, to the point she wouldn't even leave the house. Honoka was beginning to worry. The only time she'd go out the house is to bring Honoka food so she wouldn't eat the animals around accidentally.

"Heyoo~" a voice called from afar, Honoka quickly turned her head to where the voice came from. 

"Oh! Are you the witch?" Honoka's tail wagged even in her hands.

"Yup! Where's your friend?"

"Oh, she's inside-- wait a second!" Honoka knocked on Umi's window, before opening it rather rudely. "Umi! The person you were talking about is here! She needs you to open th-" Honoka shut her mouth. Honoka turned her head back to the witch. “She doesn’t feel good, maybe you should chat with me for a while..” 

“No probs! Is she okay?” The witch tilted her head, her smile, once again, never leaving her face.

“I’m not sure.” Honoka held onto her tail once again. “She won’t move from her bed, and-- actually, can you check her? Pretty please?” Honoka lowered her face to the witch, her blue narrowed eyes glowing in determination. 

"S-Sure, though I'm not sure how much of a help I can be.." The witch knitted her brows in concern. She wasn't a medic, how could she even help?

She looked inside. The scene in front of her wasn't the best one. She didn't imagine she'd ever come across something as such.

 

A monster.  

 

The magician looked up at Honoka. "You say it's been a week since you two woke up with this unusual feeling, right?" 

Honoka nodded. Her face turned even more concerned. "Why? What's wrong with Umi?"

"Ah… well, I suppose you can just leave her be for now. I'm afraid my magic can't help it."

"..Say, don't you have a demon in your house?" Honoka tilted her head. Her eyes looked dull for a moment.

The magician looked shocked. "Huh..? And where'd you get that information from?" 

"..ah!!" Honoka shook her head, blinking. "I-I- I have no idea..did I say that out loud?" 
The magician nodded.

"A-Ah...I'm so sorry, I have no idea what got into me!

The magician smiled. "It's okay, no worries. Anyways, your friend just needs a rest! I bet she'll be fine soon. I'll come to check on her for you, alright?"

 

"I want to be picked."

 

Honoka nodded her head quickly. "P-Please do! If..it's really okay with you-"

It really is, don't worry!"

 


 

Several days had passed.

“Umi won't go outside..what should I do? Should I maybe lift the roof and see what's up? No...no she'd be mad!!”

"..............." She sat for a few minutes staring at the roof. "Yeah, no, maybe I shouldn't do it."

“....or maybe I should? Oh! I'll just shove my face into her window, it'll probably wake her up!”

"UUMI!" Honoka happily roared, smashing into Umi's window. But the room was empty. What was going on? 

 


 

Honoka looked everywhere. Every room she could see through the windows, checked the fields behind their house- maybe in the ranch? No, not there either.

 


 

Another week passed.

“Umi returned home..yet she wouldn't tell me where she went..no matter what. How am I supposed to help..?”

 


 

Months passed by. The cycle remained the same.

"Umi.." Honoka whined, nuzzling Umi's head. Umi wouldn't talk to her much either. 

But Umi suddenly turned to face her. She wore a gentle smile..one that Honoka hasn't seen who knows how long. She suddenly felt relieved. 

"Yes…?" 

She asked calmly. Honoka almost began to tear up.

"Are you okay?"

"Why wouldn't I be?" Umi sat down, putting the ladle she was holding on the table. Honoka brought her a whole, once again, dead animal to cook. She claimed eating them raw wasn't tasty.

But Honoka was more confused than even Umi was. She blinked a few times before shoving her whole face inside the house. "What do you mean? You keep disappearing lately and act totally out of your character.. you wouldn't eat, talk or look at me when you do come home..and now you're completely fine and back to normal! What's going on?"

Umi was taken aback. "Are you sure that was me?"

Honoka paused. She began counting her fingers. "Blue hair..seemingly yellow-orange eye color.. cold attitude.. 'why are people still trying to enter my forest?'..uh..yeah, that was you." 

"I don't... remember anything like this." 

"...you sure you're not with Alzheimer or anything?"

"I'd slap you if I could. This isn't time for a joke. If it was a thief we must find them immediately. Do you know where this 'me' might've gone?"

"Hmm.." Honoka scratched her nape, looking around. Her eyes suddenly glew. "Ah! Right, the forest--"

"Why would anyone risk going there? That's ridiculous." Umi scoffed, picking the ladle back into her hands. The lamb finally seemed ready to be served. 

"I'm telling you! She went straight to the forest and disappeared there!! You know..I haven't seen you in months…" Honoka's smile disappeared. She laid down in the tall grass, sighing. "I don't know..what to feel every time you come back home, Umi.."

"..." Umi turned off the fire. "I don't even remember what I've been doing for the past few weeks. I have no idea how to answer you, Honoka."

Umi quickly walked outside, hugging Honoka's arm. "I don't feel..alive. I'm scared, Honoka.."

Honoka moved her head down to Umi, nudging her head. "Then do you feel dead?"

"No.. that's not it either. I feel..dead inside rather than really dead. Something is missing. It's been months since I regained my consciousness and actually remember anything..and the past months are wiped clean for me."

"There must be a cure for something like this! Maybe--"

A familiar voice suddenly spoke. "Heyyo~" 

Honoka quickly turned her head to the voice, her tail flapping in excitement. "The magician!!"

"You can call me Nozomi, just so you know~"

"...Who are you?" Umi knitted her eyebrows. Someone Honoka knew but she didn't?

"Hm? I'm the witch/magician in this city. You came to me to ask for help since your friend became a dragon..?" Nozomi leaned on the fence separating the road from the fields which belong to the family.

"I...don't remember ever seeing you." Umi stumbled up, dusting off her clothes from the grass. She was wearing the same clothes she'd use when practicing on her horse, since it's a dirty job to cook a whole lamb. Nozomi quickly scanned her fashion(zonestyle)as well. "Hmm.." She sighed, looking at Honoka. "So a girl that turned into a dragon, and another one who loses her memory too often..so much she doesn't ever remember meeting other people. I'll come back later, I'm bringing my tools and my assistant. I'll help you solve your problem." She smiled, and waved the two a goodbye.

The two waved back, as Umi turned back to Honoka. Her look was the look of a scared wolf. One who's been separated from their pack. She looked confused; out of everything. 

Honoka gulped. "Umi..she'll help us find answers! Don't worry, okay? We'll overcome it! Fighto dayo!!" She wrapped her tail around Umi, pulling her in for a hug.

"Honoka, I.."

"I'd rather you stop questioning what's goin' on. I'm starving too, y'know." Honoka whined, letting Umi out of her embrace. Umi looked down for a long single minute. "Yeah, you're right. I'll go finish your food.

 


 

Honoka finally ate as well. The magician returned soon enough. An olive haired girl and a weird looking cat were by her side.

"Sup?" Honoka's smile came back upon seeing the magician. The olive haired girl quickly hid behind Nozomi

"Th-The dragon can talk?! B-By itself?! I've never seen a dragon..t-talk…" The girl whispered to Nozomi, seemingly trembling in fear. 

"Hey," Honoka lowered her head down to the girl, smiling her brightest smile. "I'm not scary, am I?"

The girl began tearing up.

"KAYO-CHIN!! ARE YOU OKAY NYA?!" The weird cat jumped to her side, immediately hissing at Honoka. 

"Now now," Nozomi pushed the catgirl away. "No need to go bizarre here, she's nice~" She patted the cat's head with a success of immediate tranquility

"So I am scary?! Awh.." Honoka sulked. "Umi!!" She suddenly cheered up as she saw her childhood friend walk outside. But her smile dropped rather quickly. The look on Umi's face was as if she's seen a ghost in front of her. A definition of pale face. The moment she heard Honoka, her expression changed from dead to legit terrified.

"...Honoka?"

"Yeah?"

"...Is it really, truly you?"

".......Yeah?"

"...How?"

"Huh--"

"Didn't...didn't you.." Umi choked on her words, holding onto her shirt. Her heart was pounding faster and harder than an actual pumper. “ ...Didn't you die?

Chapter Text

"...Didn't you die?"

 

Honoka blinked. Never has she heard Umi say something so absurdly dumb. Dead? She never died. Well, maybe almost once from anemia, but she was saved! So..when did she die again?

The rest seemed confused as well. Umi noticed the rest. She suddenly pulled a dagger. Her eyes looked murderous. 

"W-Who...WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE?!" Umi hissed, blocking Honoka with her hand so as to protect her from any harm. The catgirl hissed back, but Nozomi blocked her from launching an attack. "I don't think you want to get stabbed and die this young, Rin. She looks skilled with that dagger

The olive haired girl bumped in behind Nozomi's back. "Wh-Why are we fighting??????" 

Honoka was still confused. "Did I die??" 

Umi looked back at Honoka. But she looked at her belly, rather than her face. As if she was in her original human form.

"Uhm..Umi, my face's here"

"Huh?" Umi knitted her brows again. She rubbed her eyes in disbelief. What was a dragon doing in front of her? She was terrified by the huge presence. But without noticing, she was captured. Nozomi wrapped her body up in with a blanket and dragged her into the house.

 


 

"WHAT DO YOU MEAN A WAR NEVER HAPPENED?!" Umi yelled at the purple haired girl while trying in vain to shake off where she was sitting. She was tied to a chair, her hands kept  together behind her back. The two other girls who came with Nozomi held the chair so that Umi wouldn't fall with it. 

"What's up with her?" Nozomi groaned, turning around to Honoka who was silently looking in through the window.

"I-I...don't know!! Don't ask me, I'm as confused as she is!!"

"The war..the war killed so many lives..how's this house suddenly back to ? How's Honoka suddenly back?! I've..seen so many deaths, some of them in my own hands..and how DARE you capture me like this?!"

"Yeah, nya." The catgirl sat on the bed. Why was it so dusty? Jeez.

"Th-This house..was in ruins just a moment ago..why is it just like it used to look???" Umi panicked. She scanned the area with her slightly redcolored eyes, before spotting the wall. "See!! There! There's a hole in the wall! Don't.. don't you see it?!"

Nozomi looked at the wall Umi pointed at. It was painted nicely - a blue tint to the beautifully laid wood planks. It was the wall connecting between her and Honoka's room. But a hole? There was none before.
She touched the wall, feeling it. "I see no hole in this fine wall, y'know?" 
Umi's eyes widened. Did the hole just disappear? She swore..she saw a hole in that wall just a moment ago. After all, their house was attacked during the war. But where did the hole go?

Nozomi sighed. "I need my buddy. Maybe she'll help us figure out what's goin' on with this fella. Will you girls keep an eye on her when I'm gone?"

"Aye aye nya!" The catgirl held up her hand to salute Nozomi. After that, the magician left.

"Please..let me..go." Umi trembled as she dropped her head down. Her pants were so loud and rapid that anyone could hear in the room.

"Umi-- please calm down!! Miss Nozomi will be back soon and I'm sure she--"

"I have no idea..how you came back. You're..just a-as stubborn as you were back then." 
She stopped moving. Her trembling ceased as well. 

"... I knew your attitude would bring you upon your end."

Honoka was taken aback. Her attitude? Without her, Umi wouldn't even be alive at the moment Umi should be grateful for that.

She didn't say anything back at the end. Her sparkling blue eyes, her disappointed curve of her muzzle, and her low growl could curse Umi forever. But it seemed everyone but her understood the curses. But Honoka didn't want to let her frustration out. After all, her size would cause a lot of damage to the property. 
Instead, she flied off and settled on a nearby mountain.

 


 

"...Tsk. Would you kindly let me out now, miss Nozomi?"

"Nuh, we ain' letting you out. Enjoy sittin here forever. Rin, tighter!"

"Aye, nya~" Rin got up and walked behind Umi.

"Hey, ple- GAH-"

Umi choked as Rin tightened the rope around her. She coughed badly.

"Not THAT tight… We don't need her to die.."

"I...I-I think..uhm-" Hanayo suddenly stood up. "We should let her out."

"HUH?! What'd you mean, Kayochin!! It’s dangerous to let her out, nya..”

“Rin..”

“I don’t even get who you lot are. I don’t know how I got here, but even Honoka isn’t supposed to be here. This is--”

Umi wished she could continue to speak.
Instead, her cheek was burning red with a mark. She was shocked. 

“Y-You...don't get it at all do you?!"

Hanayo raised her voice. Her hand was trembling after she seemingly slapped Umi's cheek with all the force she was holding back.

Rin stepped a foot closer to Hanayo. She was as surprised as everyone else was.

"Kayochin.." 

"You...you don't even remember who she is.."

Hanayo took a deep breath. 

"Over the hill...at the ruined castle.."

"...Isn't that the Umbrae's castle?"

Nozomi crossed her arms. Umi tsked and looked down. But it didn't take long until Hanayo stepped even closer. This time Umi raised her head quickly.

"You'll go there." Hanayo's voice dropped a whole octave.

"K...Kayochin really can get scary when she's into it.." Rin gulped, stepping back.

"Then we'll let her out. I hope Honoka won't eat us, haha." Nozomi sighed, smiling. She walked over to Hanayo to pat her back. "It's okay, we'll take it from here. Please rest.."

"I'm going with her." Hanayo insisted, untying Umi from the chair.

"...She's not herself at all. What's gotten into her..I wonder, nya." Rin frowned.

"Please don't follow us, Rin."

"HUH?!" 

"I know what to do.."

"....Kayochin...alright." Rin sat down, her ears drooped. Hanayo would never act this way. She was worried, if anything. Yet, as she was sulking, Nozomi put a hand on her back.

Hanayo left with Umi.

"Awh c'mon, it'll be okay." Nozomi gave Rin her cheekiest smile.

"....YEAH!! IT'LL BE ALRIGHT!! I'M SURE OF IT, NYA!"

"Of course it'll be~ silly cat."

 


 

"...Uhm- excuse me..but where are we going?"

Umi had her hand pulled so forcefully..yet so gently. Why was this girl angry at her anyways? She doesn't know her at all.

"...Because I remember."

"...We're just walking to the fields behind the Kousaka's house. Why?"

"Please...figure this out..yourself." Hanayo lowered her head. She sucked in the air, biting on her lower lip.

"...Okay?"

Umi was released from Hanayo's grip. She felt as if a leash had been taken off of her.
She looked around. 

"Ah...the ruined ranch. I miss my horse." She sighed.

"Did something happen? You...you look down."

"...This used to be the ranch I took care of. It's such a pity..everything got destroyed.
Blood was still present from the horses who died inside.

"Uhm..but that's a fine looking ranch?"

"What?" Umi tsked. "You're clearly out of your mind."

"What did your horse look like?"

"...She was a brown one..with black spots on her face and back."

"Hmm.." Hanayo walked over to the ranch. She sighed, looking back at Umi. "May I take your hand?"

Umi gave her her hand. There was nothing but ruins in front of her. Why was she taking her hand anyways? ...wait..

Hanayo placed her hand on something. But Umi couldn't make what it was.

"...What am I touching?"

"...You're touching your horse, miss Umi.."

".........?" Umi felt her eyes water. Huh? What was her horse doing in front of her? She saw her lay lifelessly just a few blocks away. Why..why was she alive now? What happened to the ranch? Wasn't it destroyed during the war…?

She bumped her head with the horse's. A crooked smile appeared on her face. Hanayo hasn't seen her smile like this until now..

"Jeez.. and here I thought I'd never see you again."

Hanayo felt her heart break. If only Umi could remember her as well. Nature was telling her what to do..yet she couldn't ignore the pain trapped in her chest.

"...You didn't come from here..after all." Hanayo looked at Umi's shaking hands. Umi closed her eyes and dropped her smile.

"I don't know what's happening. I was resting after a war. And suddenly I woke up..to thi s. The horse in front of me..the ranch, everything around should be in blood and bones of animals. Yet..here they are...alive. ….Even Honoka.."

"...Ah..so that's what the world would look like without her."

"...Miss Umi, I'd like you to continue looking around. Maybe you'll figure something out."

"...Alright. Ah..may I ask for a favor though? It's just..It's been a while since they've been fed normally...they probably lived off of whatever they had left there.."

"I'll take care of the horses. Please focus on your mission."

"Eh..you don't have to call it a mission. All I'm doing is looking around.."

Umi began scattering around the area. It was empty. She felt the green, freshly watered grass..yet all she saw was a burned ground with logs and blood all over. She didn't understand what's going on. She was used to the brutal scenes of a battlefield..but this wasn't the case.
She knelt down to touch the ground.

Suddenly, everything seemed to be back to normal. What in mother nature's name was going on around here?

She looked around her once again. Nothing out of the ordinary..so why did she feel a sudden stab in her heart?

"A piece of cloth..huh." Umi looked beside her to see a piece of a seemingly dress. It was green..it was pretty. She could almost imagine how it looked entirely.

Wait.. But..how could she imagine what it looked like? She never saw this before. Yet..her eyes were tearing up once again.

"...the forest..I must go there.."

Umi took the piece of cloth with her. Why? She didn't know. She felt it had a meaning.

 


 

The forest..looked the same. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary there. Everything was as peaceful as ever. ...well, except the huge spot of light in front of her. What the hell happened here? (That was Honoka's ass back when she only became a dragon.)

"..my…." Umi hissed. As she walked further, she could smell blood again. She looked down. Dried blood was everywhere. A piece of sword was stuck inside the ground. Umi felt a sharp stab into her stomach suddenly. This gut feeling wasn't good..she didn't like it here at all.

Yet, "Ah.." Umi noticed a bunch of bandages scattered around. She felt she knew those… Oh well.

 

"How dare YOU hurt others in such a heartless way?! That look you had... It was a look of a killer! It's disappointing...to have someone so skillful and good at her job wasted like this... Just look at what you've done!"

 

"...But who said that..? ...my head hurts.." Umi held onto her head, sitting down under a tree. She turned into her natural form as she carefully took off the skull covering her head. Shd looked at it. 

 

Please don't run away... I won't hurt you, I swear! Please..."

 

"Ngh.." Umi growled, covering her face with her paws.

 

"... No creature deserves to die. No matter what you've done, it doesn't mean you have to die. I'm not forgiving you for biting Maki, though! You'll have to apologize... But for now, you need to rest, and so does Maki. So, let's go back to Honoka's place, alright? Eli will carry you there! Right, Eli?"

 

"...Just..who are..you.."

 

"....help."

 

Umi could hear a faint cry. Such a fragile voice..she has never heard such a voice in her life. The amount of desperation put into it..Umi felt chills run down her spine. She quickly got up and rushed after the voice. She had to turn back to human form, as sunlight shone directly down her back. She was out of the forest..but the cries and whimpers wouldn't stop. 
She finally looked up from her feet. Her eyes widened.

"... This castle.." She gulped. 

The Umbrae castle. - A completely ruined piece of a castle once served by the Umbrae..yet she couldn't recall a thing from it.
She carefully pushed the giant doors.

She couldn't believe her eyes.

A nest..as big as half of the castle's floor was laying in front of her.
Umi fell on her knees, holding onto the nest.

"H..H-Hold on...no...something's not right.." Once again, for a third time, her eyes began watering as if her mind and heart knew exactly what was wrong with the scene.

 

“I missed you, Umi.”

 

"...Ah.."

Umi suddenly felt warmth. It's been far too long since she felt this pain in her chest. She felt warmth embrace her, yet nothing was in front of her but a bunch of branches collected into a nest. She buried her face in her hands, her back only bending further.

"...Kotori.."