Fifteen Years after Shadows of the Menschilche
Yoshiro sat within his home back in the Kitsune Kingdom, he was with his wife and their new son, Balthoron. Yoshiro looked up at Elbereth with a smile, "We really outdone ourselves with this one. Then again after raising six of them, we should really know what we're doing by this point." Elbereth chuckled as Balthoron looked at Yoshiro, "He has Lenwe's eyes." Yoshiro heard a knock at the door, "I'll get it." Yoshiro stood up and placed his hand on Balthoron's tiny shoulder, "Hey kiddo, Daddy's gonna be right back, alright?" Balthoron looked up at him and spoke, "Dada." Yoshiro nodded slightly and removed his hand from Balthoron's shoulder as he turned around. He walked over to the door and opened it up to see a Kitsune maid standing there, "An-anko!?" Anko looked at him, "Hello Master Yoshiro." Yoshiro's brow furrowed and he frowned, "Please do not call me that."
Anko frowned, "But Master Yoshiro." Yoshiro sighed, "I swear, this is going to be like Rogelio, isn't it... speaking of which, where is he?" Anko sighed, "Well Master Yoshiro, that's the thing, Sir Rogelio has been looking for Lilah recently." Yoshiro nodded, "Yeah, she sort of went missing recently, but if that was anything new then I'd be out there myself. Odd that Rogelio went looking for her though, now that I think about it. Oh well, he's a grown man and a Knight, he can take care of himself." Anko frowned, "But he's your best friend." Yoshiro sighed and stepped out of the way, "Why don't you enter, Auntie Anko, it looks weird with you standing here out in the street." Anko nodded and entered the house, "Oh, is that little Master Balthoron over there?" Elbereth looked up, "I thought we weren't hiring any help?"
Yoshiro closed the door and was going to answer when Anko spoke up, "Oh, I'm the Sano family maid. Lady Amaterasu gave me a job with Lady Minako. When Minako became a handmaiden herself, feeling that she could finally afford to hang up her sword..." Yoshiro interrupted, "Wait, hang up her sword?" Anko looked over her shoulder towards Yoshiro and nodded, "Yes, Master Yoshiro, Lady Minako was quite the swordswoman back before you were born." Yoshiro couldn't believe what he was hearing, "My mother is..." Anko smiled, "A Kensei, yes. She was one of the best and it was an honor serving her, but now I'm here to serve you, since you are her oldest." Yoshiro sighed, "Absolutely not." Anko frowned and turned around, "Why not, I mean after all, when your mother wasn't home and you needed feeding, I fed you straight from my own..."
Yoshiro became visibly nervous and motioned to kill that train of thought, but Elbereth started laughing, "I've never seen my husband so flustered before. She's staying with us, Yoshiro." Yoshiro looked at her, "Elbereth, I don't want her here. She... she..." Anko walked over to Yoshiro and started singing in the Kitsune language, "Obasan Anko wa koko ni sukoshi Kitsune anata no tamedesu. Anata no okāsan wa anata no kea, chīsana ichi de kanojo o itaku shimashita. Kanojo to watashi wa ryōhō no watashitachi no kokoro no subete de anata o aishiteimasu. Ima sugu anata no mewotojite, yoku sukoshi kitto nemurimasu." Yoshiro looked at her, "That lullaby... why did you... that's not the point, you always tease me, like..." Anko pulled out a stuffed Kitsune, "Remember this?" Yoshiro looked at the stuffed Kitsune and his face under his fur turned a bright red, "I-I don't know what you're talking about!"
Elbereth giggled and Balthoron started clapping and laughing and Yoshiro felt defeated in that moment, but Anko smirked and took it a step further, "Does little Yoshiro want Ame?" Yoshiro frowned, "N-n-no! I-I d-don't!" Anko slowly extended the stuffed Kitsune towards Yoshiro while Elbereth giggled. Elbereth looked at Balthoron and then back at Yoshiro, "I've never seen you so flustered before, Yoshiro, it's okay if you want to take the stuffed Kitsune." Yoshiro shook his head and backed away, "I-I d-don't want it! I don't want it!" Anko frowned, "Aww, are you sure, Yoshiro? I've been taking real good care of Ame since you left for the academy." Yoshiro watched as Ame got within reach and Yoshiro looked at Anko, "Okay... what are your terms..." Anko smiled, "You let me work for you and I'll stop teasing you." Yoshiro closed his eyes and swore under his breath in draconic.
Anko frowned, "I didn't quite hear you." Yoshiro shrugged, "That was deliberate as my choice of language was inappropriate for my infant son to hear." Anko frowned and wagged her finger, "Shame on you Yoshiro, you shouldn't be swearing in front of a child." Yoshiro looked at her, "Are you my mother now?" Anko smirked, "Well I did feed you from my..." Yoshiro placed his hand on his face, utterly defeated, "Fine... fine, you win. You can stay here and help, you will not be a mere servant in this house." Anko sighed, "Why do you insist on rejecting your own noble lineage, Master Yoshiro." Yoshiro shook his head, "It's not my lineage that I take issue with, Auntie, it's the being a noble that I have issues with. I don't see myself as any better than the people." Elbereth chimed in, "It's true, he really doesn't. It's what made him such an effective king, back before he abdicated the throne to Hiromi."
Anko frowned, "But you'll always be nobility, whether you like it or not." Yoshiro sighed, "Just... just give me Ame." Anko shook her head, "Give me Ame, please." Yoshiro placed his hand on his hip and tried to take Ame from Anko, without any success. Anko smiled slightly, "We could do this all day." Yoshiro shook his head, "My bodyguard is literally an assassin, what's stopping me from having her just steal it from you." Anko looked at him sternly, "Do you wish for me to bend you over my knee and paddle you, young man?" Yoshiro looked at her in shock, "I am a grown man!" Anko folded her arms, "That doesn't mean anything! I'll discipline you still if I have to." Yoshiro knew that this was one fight he wasn't going to win, this is one fight he never won, so he just gave up, "May I please have Ame?"
Anko smiled and handed the stuffed Kitsune to Yoshiro, "See, that's better." Anko walked over to Elbereth and Balthoron, "Oh, Master Balthoron, it's good to see you for the first time." Yoshiro sighed slightly as he hugged Ame, "Well, at least he isn't crying." Anko frowned, "What's that supposed to mean?" Yoshiro shook his head, "Balthoron isn't fond of most people that aren't his immediate family or close friends of his father." Anko nodded, "I see, so I'm the first person that he hasn't cried at when meeting?" Before Yoshiro could answer, Balthoron started crying and Yoshiro smirked, wanting to take advantage of this moment, "Well, since you volunteered so graciously, you get to change his diaper." Anko frowned, "It's not his diaper, Elbereth, do you have a bottle?" Elbereth nodded and grabbed a bottle full of milk, "Here you go." Anko picked Balthoron up and placed the bottle in his mouth, "There you go little one, drink up." Yoshiro sighed, though having Anko here was great help with Balthoron, he couldn't help but wonder how Rogelio and Lilah were doing.
A few hours had passed and Yoshiro sat down for lunch when he heard a knock at the door, he then heard Anko speak up, "I'll get it." Yoshiro stood up, "I'll answer my door, Auntie." Anko frowned, "As the Sano Family Maid... you know this is my duty." Yoshiro shrugged and walked over to the door. He looked through the peephole and upon seeing who it was, he opened the door, "Lilah!" Lilah looked at Yoshiro and hugged him, "My stomach is upset, I've been throwing up all morning." Yoshiro was confused as to why Lilah was hugging him, "Are... are you alright?" Lilah closed her eyes, "Please, Yoshiro... just let me rest right here." Yoshiro looked down at her, "Alright, can you at least give me a clue as to where you were the past week?" Lilah spoke softly, "I was at a bar... and I met this really nice person, at least he seemed nice."
Yoshiro arched a brow, "That's a little out of character for you." Lilah nodded, "Yeah, we got drunk and we hit it off. It was a blur but... but..." Lilah suddenly went silent, causing Yoshiro to realize what was about to happen. He had a choice, let go of Lilah and risk losing her trust as she falls to the floor, or let it happen. He closed his eyes and grit his teeth as Lilah threw up on him. Yoshiro sighed slightly and pat Lilah on the back as she continued puking on him. Lilah frowned, "Why won't it stop." Yoshiro started to pull her away from the door, "Come on, we're going to take you to the bathroom... you can throw up in the toilet and I need to change my clothes." Lilah looked up into his eyes, "Please, Yoshiro, you're the only one I can trust right now to look after me."
Yoshiro felt sorry for Lilah, she never seemed so vulnerable in her life and he closed his eyes, "I promise that it won't take long." Lilah nodded, tears in her eyes, "It hurts." Yoshiro sighed and looked over his shoulder, "Aunt Anko, Elbereth, I'm taking Lilah upstairs, alright?" Elbereth nodded slightly, "Alright." Yoshiro smiled and moved to the side of Lilah, "Come on, Lilah." Lilah nodded and walked with Yoshiro, the two of them slowly approaching the stairs, "If it helps, Lilah, I can carry you up there." Lilah nodded slightly and Yoshiro leaned down and grabbed her behind her knees, lifting her off the ground, "There we go." Lilah looked up at him, "Thank you." Yoshiro smiled, "Not a problem, you're my friend." Yoshiro climbed the steps with little issue and carried Lilah to the bathroom.
He placed her on the floor in front of the toilet, "Alright, throw up in that. I'll be right back." Lilah nodded and put her face to the toilet as Yoshiro left and walked over to his and Elbereth's room. He quickly got undressed and tossed his clothing in the hamper with a frown, "The sad part is, this isn't even new..." Yoshiro got out some new clothes and was halfway done looping his belt when he came to the realization, "By the graces of Amaterasu, Lilah's pregnant..." Yoshiro finished getting dressed and walked over to the bathroom, where Lilah was retching loudly. Yoshiro sighed and rubbed her back, "Lilah, I got bad news..." Lilah turned and looked at him, her hair was a mess, "What's that?" Yoshiro sighed, "You're pregnant." Lilah shook her head, "I can't be pregnant..." Yoshiro folded his arms, "You've been there with me as I went through this four times..."
Lilah looked down at the toilet, "By the shadows of my mother, I'm pregnant, but the only person that could've gotten me pregnant was that assassin..." Yoshiro looked at her, "Wait, assassin?" Lilah nodded, "He bought me drinks and we had a great time and we slept together..." Yoshiro placed his hand on his head, "The two of you slept together alright. Well, the good news is, is that if he's an assassin, your mother will be able to find out who it is." Lilah nodded slightly, "Yeah, let's go see her." Yoshiro shook his head, "No, I'll go see her, you're in no condition to be moving." A voice sounded from down stairs, "Lord Yoshiro, what smells like vomit?" Yoshiro called out, "Up here, Rogelio!" Lilah looked at Yoshiro, "Please... don't have him come up here..." Rogelio walked into the bathroom, "Lilah, what happened?"
Lilah frowned, "I'm pregnant, Rogelio. Feel free to call me a cheap whore." Rogelio frowned, "I'm going to write that off as you being hormonal and not really meaning that." Lilah looked at him angrily and Rogelio sighed, "Tell me, Lilah. Why would I bother slandering you at this moment? It doesn't matter how you got pregnant, but right now you're a friend of my Lord's that has nausea and is throwing up." Yoshiro nodded, "Lilah, Rogelio actually does care about you, very much. Even if he shows it in his own... Rogelio way." Lilah closed her eyes, "I doubt that." Rogelio shook his head and frowned, "Lady Lilah, you..." Lilah interrupted with a scoff, "No one calls me Lady in a serious manner." Rogelio sighed, "I'm not being sarcastic. You are a friend of milord." Yoshiro showed visible annoyance at being called lord, but didn't comment on it. Lilah nodded, "That's what he said."
Yoshiro sighed slightly and leaned against the tub, "Well, Lilah, take all the time you need to, Rogelio, can you go and brew her up something that will stop her nausea?" Rogelio nodded slightly, "A Mofetian Herbal Tea would do the trick." Yoshiro nodded, "Thanks." Rogelio nodded and left the room as Lilah sat up, "Yoshiro, why are you doing this for me?" Yoshiro looked at her, "You said it yourself, I'm the only one close that you can trust. It's because you know that no matter what, I'll stick by your side." Lilah nodded slightly and hugged her knees, "I'm scared..." Yoshiro extended his hand, "Lilah, I promise that you'll get through this, and when you do, you'll have a beautiful baby that you'll be able to call you own." Lilah frowned, "But... what if I'm not a good mother?" Yoshiro shook his head, "Nonsense. And don't worry, I'll help you raise your child, as if they were my own."
Lilah looked into his eyes, "Do you really mean that, Yoshiro?" Yoshiro nodded with a slight smile, "Of course, I wouldn't dream of doing otherwise, Lilah." Lilah took Yoshiro's hand, "Thank you, Yoshiro. You're a good friend." Yoshiro nodded slightly, "I know, but I'm just being the man that my mom raised me to be." Lilah smirked and looked up at the ceiling, "So what if the man who got me pregnant turns out to be the infamous Butcher that I've heard so much about." Yoshiro closed his eyes, "Then I'll be the one to kill him. I'll refuse to let him hurt you or your child." Lilah blinked slightly, "But no one has ever been able to kill the Butcher." Yoshiro nodded, "No one tried using a sniper rifle. Trust me Lilah, if it comes to that, I'll figure something out." Lilah nodded and looked out the window, "If it does... I hope you do."
After Lilah's stomach finally settled from Rogelio's tea, Lilah looked at Yoshiro, "Why did you ask him to help me?" Yoshiro sighed, "Because we're friends. Think you can stand up without, you know?" Lilah nodded, "Yeah, sorry about your plumbing." Yoshiro sighed, "I'm just more worried about the fact that you probably have nothing in your stomach, you just spent three hours vomiting... I'm starting to think that you don't just have morning sickness." Lilah looked at him and leaned against the sink, "What do you think it is?" Yoshiro placed his hand on his chin, "I'm not a doctor, but considering you kept throwing up whatever Rogelio brought up to you, there's a good chance that you have a stomach virus. Rogelio, get some ice water, nothing more, nothing less." Rogelio nodded and walked out of the room. Lilah looked at him, "You let this go on for three hours?"
Yoshiro shook his head, "No, I wasn't quite aware of what was going on until now. I'm sorry." Lilah nodded slightly, she looked weakened and Yoshiro motioned towards himself, "Come here, Lilah." Lilah crawled over to him and rested her head on his chest, Yoshiro absentmindedly stroked the back of her head, "Don't worry, it's a long process, but..." Something crossed Yoshiro's mind, "Wait, you said that an assassin was the person you slept with, correct?" Lilah nodded slightly and grabbed onto Yoshiro's shirt, burying her face into it, "I hate being seen vulnerable like this." Rogelio walked in, "Lady Lilah, here you go, take little sips of this every few minutes, alright?" Lilah looked up at Rogelio, "Why are you being so nice to me... I'm an assassin and you're a knight." Rogelio smiled softly as he knelt to hand her the glass, "Because Lilah, you are Lord Yoshiro's friend. He trusts you."
Lilah nodded and took a small sip of the water and put the glass down as Elbereth came up the stairs, "Oh, Lilah, you poor dear." Lilah looked up at Elbereth, "Even you?" Elbereth nodded, "While I didn't approve of the fact that an assassin was in the house, you proved yourself to be far more than just trustworthy, you're a friend of this family." Lilah nodded slightly, "Thanks everyone." Elbereth smiled and Yoshiro looked at her, "Wait if you're up here, who's looking after Balthoron?" Elbereth smirked, "Anko is, though she might be a bit overly enthusiastic about it." Yoshiro sighed, "I guess I'm going to go make sure that nothing's happening to my kid." As Yoshiro went to get up, he felt Lilah grab his arm, "Please, don't go see my mother without me, Yoshiro." Yoshiro turned to look at her, "I promise you that I won't. We'll go together."
Yoshiro stood up and walked out of the bathroom, but before he did he looked at Elbereth, "Can you take her to her bedroom. It'd be far more comfortable than the cold bathroom floor." Elbereth nodded, "Rogelio, can you help Lilah up." Yoshiro walked away from the situation and grabbed the railing. Elbereth looked at him, "Yoshiro, are you..." Yoshiro shook his head, "There's a table underneath that I really like, so no, I'm not jumping over the railing. Not to mention the landing would be terrible and the shock could break my leg. I'm going to take the stairs, just stretching out my legs is all." Elbereth nodded as Rogelio walked out with Lilah, "I'm going to go with them, make sure nothing bad happens." Yoshiro nodded and kissed Elbereth on the cheek, "I love you." Elbereth smirked, "I love you, too."
Yoshiro walked down the stairs and looked around, when he heard giggling in a room and Yoshiro recognized that as Balthoron's giggling. Yoshiro followed it to a bedroom that Yoshiro had set aside for guests, and he pressed himself against the wall to listen to what was going on, he heard Anko speak to Balthoron, "You know, when your father was your age, he used to get really fussy about his mommy being gone, but you're a really good boy, you know. You're very calm and accepting of me. Though I guess that's because your mom trusts me, though I can't be so sure about your father." Yoshiro didn't like the emphasis that she put on the word father. Anko spoke up, "Yoshiro, would you like to be put in the corner?" Yoshiro closed his eyes and didn't speak, but Anko sighed, "I can smell you, you know... it's not like you're doing a good job of hiding."
Yoshiro didn't even hear her move, but the door opened, startling him and he watched as her hand reached out and grabbed him by the face. She then walked out of the room, "You're very bad, you know!" Yoshiro shrugged, "I would appreciate you getting your hand off my face." Anko shook her head, "Tell me why you were spying on me." Yoshiro sighed, "I wasn't, I was seeing how well my son reacted to you without knowing that I'm there." Anko took her hand off his face, "Oh... you really mean that?" Yoshiro nodded, "The reason I don't want you to be around isn't because I don't like you... I do... I love you. You helped raise me, Anko, and for that I'll forever be grateful. It's just that... I hate being a Count... I hate being a noble." Anko nodded, "I understand, then maybe I'm not your maid. I'm your aunt."
Yoshiro was stunned as he didn't think of that, "Wait, really?" Anko nodded, "Ultimately, I serve Lady Amaterasu and it was both her and Lady Minako's idea to send me here to help out." Yoshiro blinked, "I have Rogelio, though." Anko shook her head, "The last several children you raised, you had help from other people aside from Rogelio. In fact, four of your children grew up as royalty and were taken care of by the castle staff." Yoshiro couldn't deny that fact and thus stayed silent. Anko frowned, "Look, you can tell me if something's wrong." Yoshiro shook his head, "Just, I got this feeling in my gut is all." Anko nodded and Yoshiro walked into the doorway to look at Balthoron who smiled at him, "Dada!" Yoshiro closed his eyes, "Hey little buddy. Your grandaunt and I need to talk in private, I won't be long."
Yoshiro closed the door and looked Anko in the eye, "Listen, if I don't come back, I want you to raise my kid with Elbereth." Anko shook her head, "Don't speak like that." Yoshiro looked at her, "Listen auntie, I already almost died once. I accept the possibility that I may die. But I'm going to go with Lilah tomorrow to see if we can't figure out what assassin impregnated her. If it's the Butcher that I've heard so much about... well, the only way I'll be able to put him down for good is if I accept that if I fail, he will show me no mercy and end my life." Anko frowned, "But if it is, won't he come here?" Yoshiro smirked, "Lilah's here, he won't dare." Anko nodded and looked Yoshiro in the eye, "Promise me you'll return." Yoshiro sighed, "Alright, I promise." Anko nodded, "Thank you. I promise that I'll look after Balthoron while you're away."