I layed on a small red, comfty couch in the basement, relaxing on its plush surface. Earlier when I'd entered the home, I was surprised to find that despite the fact that they were royalty, they had a regular sized home (from the outside) and lived in a regular community. At my shocked loook, Daniel explained that anything bigger was being wasteful towards their land, and having royalty around encouraged positive thoughts about the leader, showing her trust in others. In addition, they had several hidden rooms in the house for emergencies, as well as three floors below the ground, out of sight, with a tunnel that lead outdoors with a certain combination key- again, in case of emergencies.
He let me go in a small room in the basement with what was called a "couch," which turned out to be quite luxurious, and wondrous to the touch. There was a small light on an unused desk in the southeast corner of the room, and a line of books on a tall shelf in the southwest corner of the room. Among that was a small empty notebook with a quill and blue ink sitting beside it.
Noting my interest in the item, Daniel asked, "Do you write?"
"No," I answered, picking up the book and flipping through it, "Though I do enjoy drawing. Can I use this?"
"Go ahead, it's yours. Everything else in this room, too. We've never used this room much, so it's nice to have someone in it for a change. Oh-" he added, "Alicia left me some money in the kitchen for extra furniture. I was thinking of buying a television, we have only one in this entire house. It's pretty expensive though, even for us, so if there was any other furniture you had in mind...?"
He looked like his eyes were about to pop out of his head, "You don't know what a television is?!" I shook my head, and he shouted, "How have you lived?!"
I found his expression rather funny, and shrugged, "We survive through instinct. By only surviving, not using entertainment or luxorious items...though I have to say, I would rather enjoy having these things than to not...also," I added, remembering a word used while passing a small group of people in the streets, "What is this 'pizza' thing I've heard about?"
If I thought he looked shocked before, I was dead wrong. "You haven't had pizza either? No wonder Demonic and Air-lits can never get along- oh, no offense."
"Well, I'm heading out to the city to buy us a television...and some pizza," he mumbled under his breath something about no villagers here would live without pizza, "with pepperoni." He added, "If you're a demon, you've got to love meat. Plus, pepperoni is like, the most famous flavor anywhere. I'll be back in a few hours. Don't go anywhere, okay?" he smiled.
I nodded, "Okay." I said, watching him lock the door behind him just in case. It hurt a little bit to see him lock it, as if he didn't trust me not to leave, but I guess I couldn't blame him...
Just as that thought left, I felt a wave of nausea roll over me, and gripped my stomach tightly to keep from throwing up. Regular humans would've had this days ago from pent-up anxiety, but I was no regular human, and this was not an anxiety attack. Oh god, not now...please not now, go away...please go away! I begged. To my relief, the pain left, but I knew it would be back. Guess I'd have to find my escape route by then. Poor guys...I felt bad for deceiving them.
I waited until I heard the door to the house shut, and looked around the first room, but could find nothing other than the door Daniel had locked for means of escape. Thinking hard, I tried to remember the exact words he'd said, "There are sevral hidden rooms in the house in case of emergencies...you know, like if hidden ninjas bombed the house or something," he laughed. ~ Hidden rooms, that's it!
I went down on all fours and searched the floors for a crack of some kind, moving the shelves and desk in my search. Finally while checking the floors, my hands came across a large tear in the carpet, well hidden under the couch that shouldn't have been there. I pushed it to the side, and pulled up the removable carpet, finding a thick wooden door with a black handle on the side. I pulled it up, exposing another room, and jumped down below. Again I searched, finding nothing in the room but a single window with a plant growing in its light, and a painting with nothing behind it. Wait a minute...a window? Aren't we underground? I pried open the window, finding the light was just a heat lamp, disguised as the sun through the foggy window, and past that heat lamp was a small tunnel about three feet in height.
Unafraid of enclosed spaces or of darkness (due to my demonic side) I hurried inside, finding the tunnel grew taller the farther you went until it was about 7 feet in height, 3 feet in width, stretching a good quarter mile until you found a thick, heavy steel door with the numbers 0-9 and the symbols x, #, and *, with a thin 10 number bar displaying the keys picked as well as an enter and delete button to the side. It took only a moment to realize that this was the door with the combination lock he was talking about that led to the outside world.
Pleased with my findings, I was about to try a couple of numbers when I thought I heard a quiet, thump! and remembered that Daniel was going to be back any minute now. He came back already?! No, I have to make it back before I'm caught! I placed my feet against the door and kicked off of it, carefully spreading my wings and speeding down the tunnel, flying even through the smaller portion of it, and through the window. I shut the window, and flew into the room above, shutting the hidden door, replacing the carpet atop, and rearranging the furniture to the exact spots they were before.
As soon as I managed to catch my breath, Daniel walked through the door with a square box in his hand. "Here, I stole a few pieces, but I saved you a slice." he said, handing me a strange triangular object covered in yellow mold.
I sniffed it, and winced, "This is...mold." I said accusingly.
He smiled, "It's called cheese. It's a topping we use commonly on food. It's okay, it's safe to eat, promise." he said, sitting down next to me.
I hesitated, so he took the object and but into one of the edges, chewed it, and swallowed, "See? It's safe, you can eat it."
I nodded slowly, and took a bite. It was warm, and the red goo that oozed out of it, the 'sauce' as he explained, had a strange but nice taste, and blended together with the salty mold, it created a wondrous delight that was a sensation to eat. I couldn't believe such a creation even existed! "Mmm...." I sighed in delight as I took another bite.
He smiled, pleased with my reaction, "See? Isn't it good?"
"Wonderfur! It's dericious!" I said, mouth full of food. I smiled, a little embarrassed that I'd done that, and swallowed, "Sorry. Do all Air-lit foods taste so extravagant?" I asked as I finished the pizza, my tastebuds still crying for more.
He laughed, "Actually, that was just one of them. And they get better! Maybe sometime I'll bring you cake or ice cream or...or rice cakes!" his eyes sparkled as he added that last one.
I crinkled my eyebrows, I've tried ricecakes before, but they weren't that great...perhaps they are different here?
Before I could ask, the door opened and Alicia walked in, "Sorry I'm late, I got held up by reporters on my way home, apparently one of the guards leaked that there was a demonic among us. I had to say you were a hostage for a prisoner exchange. Sorry."
"No problem." I told her.
"Besides," Daniel added, "You weren't lying, she is our hostage!" he laughed and put his arms around my neck, leaning close enough to me that I could feel his breath. "Aren't you?" he laughed again.
I smiled, feeling my face warm just a little from embarrassment, and hoped I wasn't blushing. "Right," I giggled quietly.
Alicia smiled at us, her eyes saying she knew- or thought she knew- something about us we didn't know. (Basically, she thought we liked each other. Figures she would go ahead and think a loveless demonic like me and an over-friendly guy like him would be that way. Not that it really mattered.) "Oh yes, Daniel, I heard from someone you bought a television in the marketplace?" she asked, "You know I told you that one was enough."
"Yeeeeeah," he said innocently, "But it's all the way in your room. Besides, this is for Suki, you know she can't leave here." he batted his eyes oh-so-sweetly at her.
She rolled her eyes, "Fine. But no sneaking down here in the middle of the night and bugging her just to 'watch tv' okay? I know what's really going on."
I didn't get to see Daniel's reaction because I- stupidly- asked, "What?" being raised without affection as I had. She laughed hard at my serious expression, and even held her stomach to keep from falling over. "Huh? What's so funny?" I asked.
"Nothing, n-nothing." she said, still smirking. "Good luck with her, brother, I think you're going to need it." From this close, I felt him give a silent laugh, and he let me go, sitting back down in his place beside me.
"I'm going back up to my room now, it's getting late, and a princess like moi needs her beauty sleep," Alicia said, making Dan snort with laughter. She- again- rolled her eyes, and opened the door, "Don't do anything too serious while I'm gone, okay? One Halffa is plenty. Nighty-night kids!" she waved and left.
"Halffa?" It took me a moment to realize she was calling me halffa- as in half demon, half air-lit, and another minute to realize what she meant by 'one was plenty'. I spun towards Daniel, "She doesn't really think we'd...?"
"No." he laughed, "She was just joking, don't worry about it...though we could..."
I hit him in the head with the back of my hand, "Not on your life, human."
"Owch, ha ha ha, come on, I was just joking."
"I know," I smiled, laughing with him.
After a minute, he stopped just a little short, "Hey, I'm going to try and set up your tv for you, okay? Think you can sit tight until then?"
"Sure, what else would I do?" I asked.
His eyes said he knew what, and he pulled open the equipment from the box, and a manual telling him how to put it together. After a few minutes, I grabbed the notebook and quill off the shelf and started doodling a while beside the couch, a little bored, and a little anxious for him to leave. (Not that I minded his staying of course, but it probably wouldn't appease him to watch me leave the house with him standing right there.) An hour passed...and then another, but still, he would not go, continuing his mystery of putting the light-up music box together. After I'd finally lost track of how long we'd sat there, his eyes started to droop, and he gave a heavy yawn. I knew it wouldn't be long before he fell asleep, and I was quite right. Several minutes later, he was fast asleep, head resting against his crossed arms not two feet from the half-built machine.
I decided to play it safe and wait a full hour before I moved the couch and hurried back underground until I found the door again. For a while, I sat there wondering what it could be, until a thought hit me. I gently tapped every key on the pad without pressing it, and sniffed my hand after each time, scenting which ones were and were not pressed before. Demonics, as many know, have great sense of smell, and the scent of an Air-lit is strong. I knew automatically that only the keys x, 1,3,4, and * were pressed, but not in the order. I sniffed them again, and decided x, the key with the strongest smell, had probably been used quite a few times in the code.
It took roughly an hour before I'd cracked the code, but the door opened, and I managed to make it through, and just in time. I held my stomach tightly, this time, the pain was so intense I gagged, and it took me to the floor. I crawled about 10 feet, and flew another 4 stories up, and through a hidden door into the beautiful moon-lit skies above. Unluckily for me, the moon was red, a symbol for the demonics' feeding time.
A red moon- a blood moon to us, also known as a harvest moon to humans, comes only once in a while to our world, and is very much uncommon, but when it is there, no demon can deny their bloodlust. All demons have a certain lust for blood, and the blood moon has a strange gravitational pull that increases our hunger one thousand-fold, until our needs are met. Generally, I can survive off of little blood, perhaps a spoonful every week, approximately the same amount found in a steak cooked medium rare. Normal demons need ten times that amount, feeding daily off of animals they're lucky enough to find. But even for me, I cannot deny my need for blood during the blood moon cycle, and feel I might die without it.
Worst of all, during a blood moon, those of us "lucky" enough to be granted special powers each get a 5% chance of having to go through a horrid transformation in this time. Guess who got to be apart of that lucky 5%?
I shut the door so they could not hear me, and let out a loud, blood-wrenching scream that was a kind of mix of a thunderous roar and a loud piercing scream. Either way, it was enough to make your heart stop. My body became covered in black and red feathers, from head to toes, my claws changing into large, lion-like paws. In between each feather, a small, but sharp black thorn grew, sparkling red in the moon, folding down on the feathers to keep them from blowing away. (Not that that could happen...) My skin hardened into a diamond-like substance, my eyes grew white, the pupils slitting into that of a cats, a long, thin tail growing with a ball of thorns and feathers sitting on the edge. Fangs emerged from my mouth, changing me into a beastly black and red panther-like creature with large, formidable wings.
I let out another loud roar, this time like that of an enraged lion or bear, and charged through the wood just before me, the scent of animals itching at my nose. Something was there, I could smell it...and I wouldn't stop until I found it. It smelled meaty, a carnivore, and that thought excited me. I sprinted through the forest quickly, half running, half flying, until I'd spotted it. A wounded bear lay at its side, a pack of wolves surrounding it, somehow having taken it down. I let out a long, deep growl, and a wolf growled back. Taking it as a challenge, I pounced on him, snapping his neck in a matter of seconds, eating his fleshy body, and licking the blood off the dark diamond-encrusted skin from the pad of my paws.
The other wolves, being quite smarter than the first, took off, allowing me the freedom to eat my half-finished meal in peace. The bear squirmed as though hoping to run away, but let out a half roar, half squeal as if in pain. It seemed to have 3 broken bones- 2 of them ribs, one an arm. I nodded my head gracefully, and put it out of its misery in just two seconds, eating as much of it as I could- skin, meat, bones, it was all the same to me: food.
When I'd finished, the sun was halfway arisen, and I knew I'd change back to my human form soon. I'd had enough blood, now I had only to survive with this body for a while longer. I rested my head against my paws, until I scented flesh, and a somewhat familiar smell of human. A twig snapped behind me and I jumped to my feet, growling as the thing approached. It was a human, as I'd thought, with a stunned and exausted look on his face. Daniel was there, cold, and shivering in his thin brown jacket, inching forward slowly, somehow recognizing me despite my appearence.
"Ket-Ketsueki...that...is that really you?" he asked, his voice revealing his fear.
I quieted my growling slightly, knowing him as a friend, but still continuing it, cautioning him. He saw the recognition in my eyes, and his fear still grew, but he continued to walk forwards until he was within killing distance. "Suki...it really is you..." he said in awe.
He came just a step closer, and I let out a roar, scaring him senseless, and he took a step back. He's too close to me now, I could kill him. I'm a demonic, doesn't he know that?! He knows what I am, if I scare him, he might not come back...but fearing me is better than being dead.
I roared louder now, and stepped towards him to warn him off, but he would not budge. "Suki quit roaring, you'll wake the Air-lits up, and they'll find you!"
I was stunned, in this form, I could kill him, but not only was he not running in fear, he was worried for me. How strange...what kind of human cannot fear me in this form? I scare demons, yet, he stays?
He cautiously took another step forward, so I kept control of myself and permitted it. I hesitated when he raised a hand, but after seeing he only was trying to pet me, that, too, I allowed. He pet my head, right between my eyes, just before my cat-like ears, and continued it down to my feathered back where my wings sat. "Suki..." he said calmly with a quiet voice, "I know you must be surprised to see me. I admit, I came home and saw the hidden door open. I thought you really must've been a spy, so I tried to watch you, in case you were going to run away again." he said.
I was a little surprised he hadn't said anything earlier, but I nodded in understandment, "I fell asleep, on accident, but I saw where you went. You...there were hand prints in the dirt as if you were crawling, I thought you were hurt. Then I saw you kill the bear and...I thought you were a just a monster."
I lowered my head, I fully expected this, but hearing the words were still a stab to the heart, until he said, "But when I see you this close up, I know I was wrong."
Immediatly, I poked my head up to meet his eyes, they looked gentle and kind and compassionate...and truthful. No more fear in those eyes, no more questions. He smiled, "You...you know, you're kind of beautiful like this. The way your skin shines, and reflects the moon like that...and your feathers...are very soft."
Really? I whispered in my mind. He thinks...I looks beautiful? I've never heard those words said to me before...especially not when...when I look like this.
As if he read my mind, he said, "I mean it. Owch-" he said quickly, accidently cutting himself on one of my thorns. I took a step back, preparing myself to run because I knew once I smelled the blood I'd want to go after it...but it never hit. I smelled the blood, but my bloodlust...either I wasn't paying attention to it or it was gone.
I crinkled my eyebrows and he took another step closer, "Sorry, I must've scared you." he said.
I felt heat touch my body, and looked up to see the sun finally arisen in the sky, its rays just touching my skin. My body slowly changed back to its original form, my paws being exchanged for hands with claw-like fingertips, my fangs changing to a manageable size, but not quite leaving, my thorns and feathers returning to skin, my wings changing to a smaller size, and my eyes changing last.
I covered whatever spots were showing through my tattered clothes, ripped from the change in size and shape, and looked longingly at Daniel. "R-really? You...you weren't scared of me? Truly?"
He smiled, "No. Well, I was scared at first, I wasn't sure if you'd hurt me or not, but then I realized I didn't care. If you wanted to hurt me, you'd have done it the instant you saw me. But you didn't. So...sorry for not trusting you earlier. And...I meant what I said, you really...do look beautiful."
I felt my cheeks redden, and he took his jacket off and put it around me. "It's cold out." he said simply, "And you look like you might want that. Come on," he held out his hand, "Let's head back. We don't want Alicia finding out about this, do we?"
I blinked, "You...won't tell her?"
"Do you want me to?"
"No," I shook my head,
"Then I won't. Come on, if we hurry, I can steal some of my sister's clothes before she wakes up. Let's get going."
He grabbed my hand and helped me up, but didn't let go as he led me back to the house...I was just glad he was looking at the road and not at me, else he might've seen that I was still blushing...and smiling.
(((I'm going to try and draw her in her demonic form sometime, but for now, this is all I have as a reference. )))
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A world opposite ours, where darkness and corruption conquers all, and light flees at the symbol of the dark. There alone, one begins to wonder if this world is really the best their life has to offer, and if; perhaps, they could ever dream of more.