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Nightmare Eater

Chapter Text

When Madara breathed out his last words, full of heartbreak and heavy with acceptance, he did not foresee getting up ever again.

With his gradually dimming vision, he envisages Hashirama's optimistic appeal to drinking together before submitting to eternal damnation. The image in his head, of Hashirama's joyous laughter and his quiet amusement as they toasted for a final time, was appealing.

Madara unexpectedly only feels a certain fondness for the man, not an ounce of bitterness clouding his sight at the impossible proposal. Hashirama has always had a way with words, always the romanticist, always the dreamer. The corners of his chapped lips gave the barest of upwards tilt as he observes Hashirama's undead visage slowly wane from his peripherals, his surroundings turning obscure.

"Well... I suppose... if you... insist... that's fine... by m-"

He would have preferred to openly enunciate his agreement, or perhaps even respond with a simple yes, that sounds nice, but it plainly wasn't meant to be.

Human emotions were such tricky things to control, and even when at death's door, Madara's agreement to Hashirama's conciliatory offer remained abstruse and petulant at best. As a soldier trained by a callous father since the day he could remember, other than rage, he was never given the chance to express himself with words alone, lest he desired the taste of his father's fists.

Ah, Madara muses with a touch of regret, such a shame. It would have been gratifying to emote with clarity for once in his life.

If his soul had not departed by then, Madara would have laughed wearily at Hashirama's mournful response to his choice of final words, cracked eyelids with an undertone of grey lowered as if he was crying despite his undead body's incapability to produce tears.

"Stubborn 'til the very end... That sounds just like you, old friend." The painfully affectionate whisper, rather than being heard by its intended, fell onto deaf ears.

Madara, by all accounts, should not have regained any sort of awareness after that debacle he called a master plan.

(He does.)

Madara was startled awake by the sudden hooting of an owl, the rustling sound of leaves on trees, and the nostalgic scent of rainforests in a place where nature should be barren as only ruins were left following the wake of chaos which ensued the Fourth Shinobi World War. His level of alertness jumped from zero to ten in a matter of seconds.

Shinobi instinct took over.

He simulates unconsciousness whilst simultaneously checking his body's condition, searching for internal damages and debilitating wounds that could prevent him from ensuring his safety. The first sign that something was amiss was the noticeable lack of chakra in his veins, a cold sort of sensation having replaced the burning lava he often employs. What followed immediately after was an overwhelming kind of hunger that could render a man temporarily hors de combat.

Without caring for subtlety, he scrunches his eyelids tighter, a groan leaving his lips as he curls into himself, akin to a shriveled shrimp. Which was already odd in itself since Madara was someone with a partiality for blood and pain, borderline masochistic even. He thrives in melees, craves pain like no other as it brought forth feelings of euphoria and aliveness.

This gut-wrenching hunger, however, was a different matter altogether. It made him crave for death, and Madara has never been suicidal despite how much his mental state deteriorates over time and how manic he behaves in battle. When one dies, he fancies going out in a blaze of glory (not that he did, but beggars can't be choosers). For him to even consider taking his own life... it made him snarl in unadulterated rage.

By sheer stubbornness, Madara uncurls from his foetal position and moves to claw his way to his feet in search of sustenance, only to falter at the hoof that appeared in his sight. A four-toed-hoof, to be more specific. Pain forgotten for the moment, Madara stares. Intensely.

If Madara was a lesser man, he would've fainted by now. Thankfully, he was not. He only shrieked a little.

In hindsight, he should have realized how wrong his body felt in the first place. He blames the hunger for his lack of insight, it was making him delirious.

Shinobi training grounds him enough to compartmentalize, his focus sharpening as he raises rather unsteadily on all fours. With how near the grassy ground was in parallel to his sight, Madara could only assume that he was no taller than a domestic cat.

A once-over was enough to conclude that he was in the body of a Malayan tapir, and he was bipedal no more. But somehow, unlike other tapirs, Madara has a bushy mane that was styled similar to when he had still been human.

As much of a confident person he is, Madara wasn't entirely certain how to feel about his rebirth. He had somewhat been anticipating eternal damnation upon death, but reality, once again, proved to be more puzzling than man's wildest expectations.

Honestly, if he had been given the option to choose which animal he was to be reincarnated into, he would've preferred to be a feline. Cats were, at the very least, sophisticated creatures filled with the utmost grace. Tapirs, on the other hand, were lumbering blubbers that weren't at all pleasing to the eye.

Although, he grudgingly concurs, that shaping him into a meek type of animal was certainly a fitting punishment for a dominating battle maniac like Uchiha Madara. He sighs ruefully at that. What a shame that tapirs have no tusks or opposable thumbs. However, that didn't mean that Madara was going to accept the fate of being a herbivorous animal at the bottom of the food chain.

Madara would've proceeded to endeavouring self-discovery in order to be more confident in this new body of his. Unfortunately for him, his stomach refuses to cooperate and this left Madara with no choice but to swallow his pride. Sneering at the low branches of a hulking tree nearby, he stumbles towards it. Tapirs feed on vegetation, and as much as this pains him to act upon his primal instincts, the hunger was killing him, literally.

As he begrudgingly gnaws on the branches, he idly wonders why a tapir - which was a crepuscular animal - has night vision, his eyes flicker back and forth to scrutinize his surroundings whilst he simultaneously ponders on his next course of action.

Somehow, Madara has a feeling that he knows this forest, a feeling as if he had traverse through this location hundreds of times before, yet not at the same time. An odd sense of Déjà Vu, if you will.

"Oh dear, what a rare find! A newborn yōkai with that much yōki and without a guardian? It must be this one's lucky day!"

Snapping his head upward to glare into the leafy canopy above him, Madara was alarmed into doing a double-take, backtracking at the sight of the humanoid creature wearing a faded blue yukata.

If its gleeful voice filled with malicious intentions did not put Madara on guard, the creature's greyish skin tone, a lack of a face, and inhumanly long limbs would've inevitably done so. Even Zetsu had not been this unnerving in its appearance. Madara couldn't help but question if his eyes were playing tricks on him, or if this creature was a demonic being and Madara was currently in Hell.

The demonic creature cocked its head to one side, and although its lack of facial features gave nothing away, it was no doubt enjoying Madara's wary response to its presence.

The tangled mess that was its blonde hair was floating by itself as if gravity meant nothing, the thin branch it was leisurely sitting on had not shifted despite how hefty the creature must weigh. It was as if the creature wasn't chained by the laws of the universe like humans were, as if the world does not register its presence into elements needed to form the mass that was a living creature's body.

Now that unearthly creature has made itself known, Madara became hyperaware of the spine-chilling cold that was radiating from it. How he had not noticed beforehand, he faulted it on his hunger pangs, which were still distractingly ongoing.

"Is the little one scared? Don't worry, this one won't allow the little one to suffer. This one is very merciful towards this one's food and will swallow the little one whole," It cooed giddily as it shifted into an unsightly crouch, as if a predator ready to pounce on its prey, the branch still unmoving underneath it. "It's good that the little one woke this one up - this one had been injured by that hateful onmyoji and needs to replenish this one's yōki."

Madara didn't wait for it to finish whatever it was it wanted to say. He had already bolted as soon as it uttered the word 'food' from its mouthless face. Despite that, he could still hear its voice echoing from the surroundings.

Fleeing was not something he was proud of doing. But alas, as a tapir, he did not have horns or claws of any kind to defend himself with. Not even chakra.

When he hears the creature's gleefull laughter as it chases after him, he peers back. He regrets it almost immediately. The sight of the creature flying to catch him left him chilled to the bone. Its body was bent in an inhuman angle. It was eerie. He decided to focus more on his limbs' coordination, lest he trips over a wayward root.

Whilst his body worked its hardest to escape from that monstrous abomination, Madara's mind did not falter, it continues to develop hypothesis after hypothesis. With what little he had on hand, he could only come up with a probable answer that was riddled with a plenitude of holes.

When that faceless creature had made itself known, it had directed its unseeing gaze at him whilst praising itself for having good luck at finding a newborn yōkai. It made Madara wonder if his regrets in life were intense enough to turn his soul into a yōkai.

However, from what Madara knows, yōkai and ayakashi were myths told from elders to children as mere bedtime stories. They weren't supposed to be real, along with their onmyoji counterparts. The creature had also complimented him on his abundance of yōki demonic force, his mind auto-translated for him - which was most definitely the chilling not-chakra he was currently feeling in his veins.

As much as he'd rather not be in such a precarious situation in the first place, this did, however, bring forth satisfactory revelations. Madara still holds power, not chakra, but something wholly unnatural in a human (or tapir, in his case). Now, he just needed a way to survive this encounter long enough to utilize this power within him.

His cunning mind was distracted when his stomach, yet again, made its complaints. He stumbles slightly, and the sudden and raw sensation of the organ in question eating itself from the inside out made Madara fall snout first into the grassy ground. He groans whilst inwardly shouting profanities.

"Oh dear, is the little one done playing onigokko? Then, itadakimasu."

Madara blanches when a shadow soon fell upon his tiny body, a sticky-like fluid dripping to the ground just slightly away from his face. Wearily, he peers at the faceless creatu-youkai that was looming above him, a fanged grin was on its neck, its head tilted heavenwards as its salivating mouth drew nearer.

Madara's current body couldn't resist its herbivorous nature to quiver. And he hates himself for it.

Pathetic, he berates.

With a grunt, he raises to his feet and snarls, blunt teeth on full display. Uchiha Madara has never backed down even at the face of death, and he would not start doing so now!

Unaware that his wrathful nature had triggered awake this body's unearthly bloodline, Madara lost control of his senses and blackout. The last thing he saw was the faceless youkai rearing back and a purple hue lighting up the shadowed canopy above them.

When Madara came to, disorientated but refreshed at the same time, it was already dawn.

As soon as the memory of the previous night was recalled, his eyes snap open and he promptly jumps into a flight-or-fight stance. Unexpectedly, rather than come face-to-face with the faceless youkai, he was hit by the familiar and heavy stench of fresh blood.

There was a faded blue yukata on the grassy ground, almost dyed fully red, along with his surroundings. He could only assume that it used to belong to that faceless youkai's, blood and all.

(Did he... eat it...? With that amount of blood... He did, didn't he...?)

When Madara dazedly realizes that he could see two human appendages held defensively in front of him, sticky with blood, he turns his gaze downwards, his mind in turmoil. A sound of confusion was released from his throat as he studies his body, small and pudgy like a toddler's, and exposed. He was, once again, bipedal, and not a tapir. He could also feel chakra in his system, the same amount he had at his prime.

Madara was confounded enough to fall back into his childhood habit of pulling at his hair whenever he was troubled.

Shaking his head to rid himself of the 'whys' and 'hows' since this was not the time for it, he grabs the only article of clothing available and wraps it around his body, uncaring that it was practically drenched in youkai blood. It was only blood. He had worn worst.

Due to to the garment's long length, he tore at it until it was a suitable length for him. Raising a hand to inspect the sleeves, he realizes that it was trembling. He was trembling.

(He feels ill. He ate it. He ate it.)

Madara didn't have time for this. He wasn't a weakminded civilian and he wouldn't go into shock just because of this. He was a shinobi. He knows to compartmentalize and prioritize.

Clenching his fists in a white knuckle grip, he left the area and took to the trees with the finesse of a veteran shinobi long used to tree traveling. The only way for him to understand where he was and what the youkai was, was to find someone - something. Or a village. Civilization meant information. And information meant comprehension.

He didn't ponder too deeply into why he wasn't feeling hungry anymore.

(The back of his tongue tasted like blood and rotten beef. He ignores it.)

Chapter Text

Madara was crouching on the bank of a naturally formed spring at the base of a waterfall, idly washing his hands from bodily fluids as bodies of kappas lay unmoving behind him, all mangled and missing a webbed limb or three. He had just finished yet another grueling session of interrogation for the nth time this day. And it wasn't even noon yet.

Although he had sought after these creatures in search of answers at the beginning, he had long stopped pursuing after a few days of learning about youkai common knowledge and what little they knew of either humans or onmyoji. However, new ones kept appearing non-stop despite his inclination to avoid them, all uncouth in their desire to eat him.

Madara finds their persistence and lack of self-preservation highly unpleasant.

After the initial phase of learning how to deal with them, random encounters with these unearthly monsters became tedious at best, akin to pests and parasites.

With a displeased air clinging to his scrawny shoulders, he stares vacantly at the water's surface, hands having unknowingly stopped as he scrutinizes the surly face staring back at him. It was young, so very young, with baby fats still clinging onto the cheeks and unruly medium-length hair spiked everywhere, undeterred by his previous efforts at taming them into a ponytail. Madara guestimates that he was physically (give or take) five-years-old. At the very least, he retained his features. A familiar face was better than something else entirely.

The body, on the other hand, despite its human appearance, was anything but familiar.

A five-year-old should not have the stamina of a battle-scarred shinobi. A five-year-old should not be able to punch through a boulder. A five-year-old human should start to have cuts on their feet after a while of walking barefoot on rough terrain. A human should not be able to see clearly in the dark. A human should not be able to endure two whole months without sleep with nil signs of apparent sleepiness.

Many additional unearthly indications led Madara to believe that he was human no more. He wasn't even a tapir. He was a youkai; a powerful one that exudes an abundance of yōki, which was, by all accounts, mouth-watering to the youkai population. Because of his childish appearance and tiny body, an irksome number of gluttonous bastards would underestimate him. Those fools continually contribute blood to his already blood-stained yukata.

Embarrassingly enough, Madara hasn't yet figured out how to fully erase his yōki from being sensed like he had his chakra. They were too dissimilar. Whereas chakra was akin to flowing lava in his coils, yōki was frost that was crusting it, causing Madara to initially believe he had chakra no more.

(Oddly enough, all the youkai he had encountered did not have chakra coils in them, evidenced by dissection and their immunity against genjutsu).

Offhandedly, during his periods of undisturbed rests, he had discovered an aptitude for shapeshifting. Madara could shift from a human child to a tapir and vice versa. However, there was a downside to each form.

In his human form, he wasn't able to wield yōki as efficiently as he did chakra. In his tapir form, it was the opposite. Of course, there were benefits as well. For one, normal foods such as wild fruits and animal meat were enough to diminish The Hunger he feels whilst in human form. And yes, that needed to be capitalized.

(To retain what was left of his minuscule sanity, he avoids thinking too deeply about what he did to satisfy The Hunger in his tapir form.)

Stretching to a stand, he ignores the lone kappa that was cowering at the bottom of the spring and lightly shakes loose the drops of water clinging to his hands. Following his nose, he walks to the campfire he has going on, smokeless as adherence to shinobi training. There were two fat carps skewered on a long stick, roasting above the flames and whetting his appetite.

After determining that his fishes were still partially uncooked, he turns his attention to the unmoving bodies near the campsite. Madara has long been desensitized to eating near corpses, so when he makes his way over, it wasn't to drag the bodies away but to loot his spoils.

Interestingly enough, he discovered the use of youkai blood not long after he donned the then blood-soaked, blue yukata. It made an exceptional repellant against wildlife.

In all likelihood, the animals must have associated the scent of youkai blood with danger, their primal instincts inducing them to keep at least half a kilometer distance from the source. Madara had a laborious time hunting for quarry thanks to that (one time he got so frustrated he stripped to his birthday suit to catch that damn, too perceptive, squirrel. From then onward, he decided on a fish-only diet to spare himself the humiliation of running around butt naked).

The products of pillaging were a handful of wild berries, some herbs, and a hand-drawn map that was yellow and wrinkled from age. Whilst sitting on a flat rock gnawing on his newly acquired edible berries, he studies the map... and finds it lacking. What a waste of his precious time.

Lazily tossing the trash over his shoulder, he proceeds to reach for his cooked fishes.

Time to eat.

"Aren't you going to share?"

Glowering, he mechanically turns his head to the speaker.

The speaker was a youkai in the form of a mature human woman in her mid-twenties, whose height was twice that of Madara's, enviable to him who was currently standing at only a meter tall (3'3 inches).

The youkai has long, dark blue hair which was fashioned to chin-length by golden ornaments, the fringe obscuring the right side of her face. Her lips and nails were painted a different shade of violet, along with the lids of her red, upturned eyes. She was cloth in a traditional kimono with overlaying purples and patterned with flowers and butterflies, which highlights her ghostly pale skin and willowy body nicely. Her feet were covered by a pair of white woolen socks and she wore geta sandals.

Perched on a low branch above him, she languidly brings her kiseru pipe to her painted lips, eyes never once leaving his.

This wasn't Madara's first encounter with this annoying youkai he calls a menace.

Initially, he would see her ever so often like this; sitting in trees as she smokes the day away. Every time he passed by her chosen tree for the day, they would both ignore one another, minding their own business, and would have remained that way if not for Madara's loud outburst.

He had grown immensely frustrated at his lack of progress at finding the borders of the forest, but the breaking point was when he realized he had walked in circles for an entire day. He should have noticed after passing the female youkai numerous times, but he somehow didn't; as if something was playing with his sense of direction.

Following the days after that, she professedly got curious about the 'baby' youkai that had gotten lost in this wretched forest and had taken the initiative to inform him about the kekkai (barrier) set by an onmyoji clan that resides at the east outer border of this forest, acting as their pseudo warden.

The kekkai they had raised was a strong one that had been here for half a century - one which allows youkai entry but forbids them from leaving. In other words, this nameless forest was initially a youkai trap turned prison.

Madara wasn't naive enough to believe a stranger without evident proof, so he had threatened to kill her if she wouldn't guide him to where the culprits of their imprisonment reside. She had agreed.

Thinking back to it now, he had been rather foolish to trust a youkai to be amenable. Rather than showing him to the border, she had led him near a swamp, pushed him in, and floated away cackling like a demented duck on crack.

Madara had shrieked like a banshee, cussing up a storm. But unfortunately, even if he was Uchiha fucking Madara, defying the laws of gravity was not something he could accomplish without being the Juubi's Jinchuuriki. Their cat and mouse game continued for days until he decided that expanding energy to shout futilely at her floating figure wasn't productive and proceeded to pretend she was air.

However, Madara being Madara, the kind of insects he attracts were stubborn; Hashirama being the prime example. The beautiful youkai had introduced herself as Hinoe without a family name, and after a whole month of persistent stalking, she had grown on him like a fungus, her twisted sense of humor and extensive knowledge of Curses alighted a curiosity in him. He could do away with her constant whinging of being bored, though.

With a huff, he jumps into a stand and storms away with his stick of fishes, intending to find somewhere quiet to eat. Naturally, Hinoe would never allow him to walk away from her when she was in one of her whimsical moods. She floats above him just to blow smoke into his face. The bitch.

"Stop brooding, chibikkoi. It'll ruin your cute face."

Madara's left eye twitched at the name-calling. "Go away, Hinoe!"

"Telling your guardian to go away, really rude," Hinoe sighs dramatically, slender fingers tapping the front of her kimono in a mockingly hurt manner. "This isn't how I've raised you."

('Guardian'. A loose term these demons use to describe someone willing enough to protect a newborn youkai from those that desire an easy meal.)

Madara snaps back, exasperated, "You didn't. In the first place, didn't you disappear somewhen to prank on that one-eyed youkai or something? Why are you following me?"

"My, you would think me so cruel as to prank someone whenever I'm bored?" At Madara's deadpan, Hinoe's teasing smile turns wicked. "We've only just started to familiarize ourselves with each other, yet you already know me so well. Consider me impressed. But no, I got hungry after watching that idiot trip all over himself, so give me half."

"No. Catch your own."

"Come on, don't be stingy. I'll even graciously share my stash of saké with you."

"Shut up, you drunkard."

"So young yet so ill-mannered."

"Damn hag, I'll show you ill-mannered-!"

"H-hey! Who are you calling a hag, you damn brat?!"

"Seaweed hair!"


They bickered back and forth (reminding him much of his time with Izuna) until they reached a ginormous tree with a hollowed trunk. Madara entered his temporary home with one fish less whilst Hinoe perched herself on one of its lower branches, gleefully feasting on the fish she had managed to wring from him.

How very overbearing of her, he petulantly huffs.

As they ate in amicable silence, Madara ponders on a way to leave this accursed forest for the nth time. He instinctively knows that chakra was the key, it was just that his knowledge regarding onmyoji and their spells were too inadequate for him to attempt at slipping out of the spiritual barrier undetected.

Additionally, Madara needs a sure way to measure his strength and weaknesses. He needed to know, worst-case scenario, if he would be strong enough to face down a clan of onmyoji on his own, what with being a youkai who was susceptible to being sealed like a Bijuu or made into a shikigami against his will.

"That's a serious face you have on," Hinoe suddenly spoke, her upside-down face peering into the trunk's hollow, curly hair askew. "What has you so stumped, chibikkoi?"

Madara sets his half-eaten fish aside with a frown, slightly peeved that he hadn't been aware of her movements. It seems that he needed further yōki sensing training.

Rather than answer her question, Madara asks his own, "How strong would you say you are against common youkai, Hinoe?" And what of onmyoji? But he left that out, not wanting to hint her until his plan has fully formed.

Hinoe raises a brow, seemingly startled.

With a contemplative hum, the blue-haired youkai crawled into the trunk's hollow to sit next to him, a picture of inelegance despite her aristocratic appearance and demeanor. To an extent, this disparity between behavior and bearing reminds him of Hashirama (he feels sentimental all of a sudden).

Between the two of them, it was a tight fit.

"Chibikkoi really doesn't know anything, huh?" At Hinoe's deliberately loud musing, Madara shoves an elbow. She dodges his gangly joint easily, a smile gracing her lips as she laughs like tinkling bells in the wind. "I am a daiyoukai."

"A great demon," Madara repeats in a murmur, comparing the knowledge he had gained from all the previous interrogations and putting them into a prodding summary. "Youkai are supernatural beings, innumerable and diverse with varying species. When considering hierarchies, a daiyoukai would be a higher level being. Indeed, from what I've observed, you do feel dissimilar to the others I've encountered. But what is it that makes you a daiyoukai, Hinoe?" Is it because you have a chakra network like I do? He left that part unsaid. There was no need to give her additional information in case he had deduced wrongly. Besides, he could find that out by himself.

Hinoe continues to smoke her pipe as she stares at him with unblinking eyes. "Hmm. Are you curious about yourself?"

Madara hadn't been going in that particular direction, but he has to admit that such information would benefit him greatly. So he left his previous topic behind (for now) and nodded. Hinoe exhales a puff of smoke, hazing the interior of his little tree hollow and shrouding their seated figures in a blanket of translucent white. Madara refrains from coughing, but he did scowl harder.

"Considering how strong your yōki is despite still being in your infancy, I had presumed you to be one of them rarely borne daiyoukai with a pure bloodline. Indulge me, Madara, is this your original form? I was under the assumption that shapeshifting is an ability that would take at least a decade to master, but when it comes to you, it's hard to say."

"Is this not yours?" He retorts, falling back on shinobi instinct to never give away any sort of personal information.

"Honestly, chibikkoi, you are far too tight-lipped. We need to loosen you up a bit. Here, drink this."

The blue-haired daiyoukai produced a bottle of saké from seemingly nowhere whilst two ceramic ochoko floated in front of his face, steadied by a plume of smoke underneath them.

Madara clicks his tongue even as he takes one offered cup. "Tsk. It's somewhat spectacular that you can say such words with a straight face. Hypocrite." Just because he didn't point it out, it didn't mean that he didn't notice her deliberately changing the flow of their conversation. His questions of how strong she was and what was it that makes her a daiyoukai were still left unanswered.

"I wouldn't be a demon if I'm always honest and straightforward, yes?" Hinoe smirks prettily, purple painted lips already chugging down her drink as if he needed further proof of her being a drunkard.

He huffs, reluctantly amused as he takes a tentative sip. As expected of a spiritual drink, its alcohol content was so strong it burned to his stomach. He blinks away the unshed tears and clears his throat to hide his discomfort. "Point. I suppose I could indulge you with a bit of information. No, this isn't my original form."

"I'll show mine if you show yours?"

Madara snorts. The way she phrased it was truly Hashirama-like; crude, uncouth, and so easily misinterpreted. How nostalgic.

"Ladies first."

"Really stubborn," Hinoe laughs. "But that's one of your charming points. I'm an enenra."

At the revelation, Madara looks pointedly at her kiseru pipe. Her only response was to smile coyly as she exhales a hefty amount of smoke from her lips. As if to demonstrate one of her abilities, the smoke that continues to drift from her pipe began to twirl into intricate patterns, as if it were alive. The wisps danced to an unheard tune, wrapping themselves playfully around his fingers. They were tangible.

Madara could think of more than a hundred creative ways to kill someone as an enenra. He made a mental note to be more aware of Hinoe and her movements from then onwards. Her danger level just went up tenfold.

"Now, spill. What type of youkai are you, chibikkoi?"

Madara contemplates whether it would benefit him from being honest with her. Hinoe did not, after all, show him as she had said she would. She had merely told him what she was - and that could also be a possible lie. After a moment of pensive silence, he sighs silently in defeat.

Hinoe has been helpful thus far. So for the purpose of learning more about himself, he decides to, as she puts it, loosens up.

"A tapir."

Unexpectedly, Hinoe's eyes bulged as she did a spit take, spewing saké everywhere. She shrieked, uncaring of the beads of saké trickling down her chin, "YOU'RE THE NEW NIGHTMARE EATER?!"

Madara let out a strangled sound, his nose wrinkling in disgust as he grimaces at his drenched yukata sleeve. At this rate, his stolen garment would bear a funky odor from all the blood and alcohol it was continuously doused in.

"Woman, that's distasteful," Was Madara's distracted response to Hinoe's startled exclamation, completely unaware that his presence and identity had long started to cause chaos in the youkai and onmyoji community.