Chapter 1- Falling Star
In the Kalkan kingdom, occupying the land that once belonged to the great Kingdom of Kizilalem, separated by portals from human kingdoms, resided the demon race.
Because of this Kalkan is known as demon kingdom. It existed alongside the other races that occupied the many realms of the world. Of course it was located in a remote realm that exists further than the human territories. Human realm exists in a separate dimension and space than the demon realm. Both realities are separated by the barrier that prevents anything from each realm from invading the realm next to it. Universe is vast, but due to countless realities being separated by barriers many assumed that they knew the true size of the world. Only few knew that the end of the corner of one world meant the beginning of the next. Not in a sense like dying, of course, but in a sense that there is a different realm connected to the other realities. The only way of safely traveling to other realities was through the portal that was located near the barrier. The portal itself looks like large mound of earth, which the people who were unaware are a portal would just pass by without touching. Due to this the portal hasn’t been used for the last hundreds of years. Even the scholarly depictions of the portal were not accurate, leading many people searching for the next world return without finding anything. Of course the barrier separating the two realms was not perfect; if an object moving at a speed faster than the speed of sound it can potentially cross over from one realm to the next. While it is potentially possible, it was not safe and furthermore there weren’t many means of producing such speed.
One day there was a falling star. Unlike others it looked crimson in color rather than the ordinary blue shine. The star was coming closer and closer to the earth as if it wanted to touch it. For the ones watching it from far away it looked as though it was the star that announced the beginning of the end, or rather the end of the beginning. Either way, it was the star that has decided the fate of the Kizilalem on that day for it was the one responsible for the events that followed.
The crimson falling star violently hit against the barrier separating the demon world from the human world. The barrier separating two realms was strong, but the star pierced it with such speed and power that it managed to somehow puncture it allowing it to enter into the next realm. Clashing with the barrier made the falling star lose most of its momentum. It slowed down enough to reveal that within it was concealed a form of a living being. A man inside of it was clothed in rags, he himself was unconscious. After a long flight the man finally crashed into the side of a mountain. Luckily he landed on the softer part of the mountain covered almost completely by soft grasses which have made his fall so much less painful. Of course his body was bruised and scratched, but overall he was whole and unhurt. He just lay on the spot he landed on, with his body sensing the numb sensation through all of his body. He felt the warmth of the earth beneath him, more like the heat of it. The heat was more intense than the heat his body used to feel. The suffocating sensation in his lungs caused him to be unable to stay in peace. As if clinging to dear life by a thread the man opened his eyes. The air itself was too intense to breath. He tore off the rag that was clinging to his left shoulder and put it against his face in order to be able to breathe more easily. The atmosphere was too intense; his body felt like it would melt from the heat. He had no idea where he was, why he ended up there, or who in the world he is. Almost as if his body was influenced by its instincts to survive it kept walking. He felt that he couldn’t stop until he found safety; the atmosphere was too harsh on his body and he sensed that there were many creatures nearby that were hunting. Their sounds echoed through the air sending chills down the man’s spine. He was not going to stop here to rest, fear overtook his senses. Now the panic made him run as fast as he could. He didn’t reach far, his leg ended up in a hole made by a root that was growing in a weird fashion. Naturally he ended up tripping on the ground. He awkwardly landed on his face. He cringed in pain; he still wasn’t used to this sensation of pain, the feeling was unpleasant but it was bearable. Then he tried to stand up. He looked at the ground, before he only paid attention to what was ahead of him, not bothering with what was above and below, but now that he looked at the ground he realized that there actually were plants despite the severe hotness of the climate. Except the plant were not green in color but were reddish brown while their stems and roots were almost colorless. He grabbed a stem of a small flower and peered at it closely. The liquid within the stem was clearly visible. Somehow the plant adapted itself to such a climate by becoming so strange in appearance. The man stood up, stretched his back and glanced at the sky and to his surprise he found that there were three moons with countless red, green and occasionally white stars surrounding them. It was a beautiful sight, a night with three moons… what could be more pleasant. Then a realization hit him. If there are three moons in the sky then are there just as many suns? If that’s the case how hot it would be during daylight if it’s already so hot at night? He needed to find a shelter quickly. He stumbled and walked as much as he could, with his pace he managed to cover quite a distance considering he did not where he was going. Then when he finally found a den inside of an upraised ground, he finally fell from exhaustion. It is most likely an abandoned den of a wild animal. Yet, at this moment he did not care, as long as he could sleep it was fine. He felt the softness of the ground, turned over on his back to look at the moons encircled beautifully by stars and shade. He closed his eyes in peace.
Chapter 2- Encounter
Well, my night just ended. Silence was not desired, nor was it received largely due to the creatures of the night encircling me all night long. I tried my best to ignore them but their noises made it a rather unpleasant and damp night. When the light of the day finally began to shine I found it rather pleasant yet extremely hot. Somehow my body wasn’t feeling as hot as few hours ago, almost like it has gotten used to it but it still was hard to breath. The rag tied on my face made it somewhat easier to breath but with every breath the inside of my body felt hotter as though it was set on fire. Gradually I learned to regulate my breathing in order to make my lungs get used to the heat. I took cautious steps forward. The ground had absorbed so much sunlight that it was burning hot, yet somehow my legs weren’t sensing the heat even though they started steaming. It might hurt afterwards. I didn’t have anything to cover my feet so I walked a fairly large distance while my feet felt like they were going to melt. I passed by many steep ravines and hills, all of which were covered by spiky plants. For some strange reason I felt the desire to cut those plants up into pieces, but then I realized I had no sword. After walking for a few hours I saw the outlines of many buildings that were in various shapes. They were surrounded by smaller buildings. I thought “This might be a place where I can ask for help.” Although it was a long way, I thought I would be able to eventually reach it. Yet I exhausted my stamina completely, and honestly I thought I would be cooked alive. I fell on my back while staring at the three giant orbs in the sky-three suns. The day had three suns while night had three moons! So it really was true! Then it would mean I would be cooked quicker! Oh no! Somebody help me!
“Somebody help me!” Funnily, it wasn’t me who said that.
It was a voice of a young girl. I was sitting on top of a hill, so I looked downwards and I saw four figures. One of them was a girl who was trying unsuccessfully defending herself against three men. All three men were garbed in robes that concealed their features. Two of them wore blue robes while their leader wore white robe. Their faces were covered as well. She blocked one of the punches while the other two proceeded to push her down. Then they proceeded to kick her. Such cruelty, yet for some reason they had faces that looked like they were proud of their actions. They were kicking her hard, but she was clutching something to her chest as though her life depended on it. Then one of the men grabbed her by the hair and lifted her up by the throat. He held a silver knife that was shining with unnaturally bright light.
“Demon, for stepping into the human territory, you have sealed your fate!”
The other two nodded and said in unison “Be gone, Demon!” Both of them were holding their hands together as if in prayer.
The man in white thrust the silver knife at the girl while he was holding her by the throat. The blow would kill her instantly, and then he would take her body and parade it around the Demon city as a reminder of who is in charge! He would pin her head to a pike and make it a permanent stain to demon history!
The knife however did not manage to touch her neck for someone grabbed his hand and made the movement miss its mark. The demon girl was still alive and the one who was responsible was right behind him. The man in white slashed in his direction with the knife, but the man tripped and fell, so he avoided the knife altogether.
I had no idea what I was doing or why I decided to step in, but now their attention was focused on me. The man in white looked in my direction and pointed his knife at me. After tripping I fell down so the man in white looked much taller than before. I could sense some sort of power radiating from him. His aura felt poisonous to me.
“Anyone who interferes with the Judgment of Heavens must be purged!” He slashed with the knife again aiming at my head. I barely managed to avoid getting decapitated. Yet, his knife slashed at the rag I wore around my face. The rag ended up falling on the ground. When the three men saw my face they expressed surprise.
“He is a human!” Instantly their look of surprise was replaced by a look of hate.
The man in white put away his knife in his pouch and looked at me.
“Step away, we’re enemy of demon kind, we have no business with a human!” He was eager to kill the demon girl who at the moment was held down by two men in blue.
Instead of stepping back, I stepped forward. “As you wish!” The man in white cried out and proceeded to kick me on my stomach. With a painful yelp I ended up crawling on the ground. The man in white did not stop there; he proceeded to punch my head down towards the ground so that I ended up crawling after I tried to stand up. He forcefully made me stand up with his left arm, while he kept punching me with his right arm. With each punch everything started looking darker in my eyes. He punched me at least dozen times. Every one of my attempts to block his punches was negated by powerful impact. My consciousness was beginning to slip. If I didn’t do something I would die from this.
The man in white was focused on beating me to a pulp. My face swelled from impact while my body could barely move. His pouch was within arm’s reach. When he punched me, I made a grab for the pouch. While his blow landed on my nose, I managed to get the silver knife out his pouch and immediately slashed with it.
Blood. So much blood.
It was dripping from the severed arm of the man in white. Apparently my desperate attempt to slash him with his own weapon was successful. His right arm was severed and lay on the ground still twitching. I looked at the silver knife in my hands. I was lucky I wasn’t slashed by it, this thing is extremely sharp!
The man in white clutched with his left hand at the stump of his right arm. He ended up stepping away from me from pain. When the other two men saw what happened they quickly rushed to his side.
“Master Jama!” both of them cried out. They left the demon girl by herself. Their master’s life was at stake. Who would have known that this man could injure their powerful master? Their master underestimated him so he didn’t use his ability, preferring to inflict physical damage personally. But now he was injured. The two men in blue decided to use their powers against the man who injured their master.
Now that I looked at them closely, the two men in blue looked somewhat different from each other in terms of height. Their faces were covered, so I could only see their eyes. The taller one extended his right hand; spikes started sprouting from it as though he was some kind of a hedgehog. The shorter one made a strange gesture with his left hand and placed two fingers on the side of his right hand. Immediately a sparkle started to show in his right palm. It was as though he was coating his arm in lightning. This was bad. They were considering me a threat now. No means of escaping. It was two on one.
Armed with just a silver knife, standing with a trembling and injured body I resigned myself to my eventual fate.
Both men in blue rushed towards me. So quickly, they closed the gap between us aiming directly at my heart to finish me quickly. Just when I thought I was a goner I heard a shout “Ot shang!”
An orb of black and green flame hit the two men, forcing them back. Then, the orb exploded into very thick dust making the two men not able to see. Someone grabbed my hand. “Run!”
I was dragged by my arm. I ran as fast as I could. The dust made it impossible to see so I just followed the person who was dragging me forward. We managed to clear quite a distance by running. In order to prevent dust from getting into my eyes I closed my eyes so I did not know where I was going.
I opened my eyes and saw that I was near a familiar face. It was the girl from before. She was the one who dragged me out that deadly situation to safety. Now that I looked at her closely she resembled a human being with exception that some patches of her skin looked somewhat scaly and she had two tiny horns on her forehead. Also, her ears were long and pointy. Yet the most baffling was her hair, it was green. Yes, as green as grass or leaves. Of course not the plants in this place, but somewhere I don’t remember.
I was still holding her hand.
“I think we lost them” She looked around. After she confirmed those men were no longer nearby her, she sighed in relief. She turned around and looked at me in the eyes. Now that I look at them her eyes were green as well, but the sclera was somewhat yellowish. They looked very beautiful.
“You saved my life” She paused. “Are you a human or a demon? You certainly look human at first glance.” She looked at me with questioning expression. I just scratched my head. I really wasn’t sure.
“Can’t tell me? That is fine. Then could you please tell me your name?”
“Name?” I was surprised to hear the sound of my own voice. It sounded somewhat raspy.
“Yes, your name.” Now this was a dilemma. I had no idea I was supposed to have a name.
“Uhmmm, I don’t know…” I looked at a plant nearby; it had strange seeds growing out of it. The seeds were triangular. I quickly grabbed one. “This?”
“A seed of a Ren tree?” she looked rather perplexed as if I told a rather bad joke. “You really don’t know what your name is?” I shook my head. No matter what I thought I couldn’t come up with an answer. It was as though my name was erased from my memories.
“Then I will call you Ren from now on” She put her hand upon her breast and smiled. “My name is Aijasyl.” She made a slight bow in a lady-like manner. “I am a servant of Karatengu family.”
“Thank you for coming to save me; if it wasn’t for you I would already be dead and he would have stolen my body and soul.”
I looked at her in surprise. First she gives me a name, and now she is telling me I accidentally prevented her from becoming a trophy for those people. Wait, but that didn’t make sense! And what’s up with all the demon and human talk?
“Why did they want to kill you? Do they hold a grudge against you or something?” I blurted my thoughts out. “Wait a second; they are not trying to kill you because you committed a crime, right?”
She didn’t seem insulted for what I told her. Instead she sadly looked at me and said “In their eyes, my crime is being born.” She looked at the sky and sighed.” I asked you if you were a demon or a human because a human being would have no obligation in helping a demon, in fact you would have treated me as an enemy, but…” she looked how relaxed I looked “You don’t seem to harbor any evil intent against me.”
“Of course, I barely know you” I said that while grinning foolishly.
Her serious expression lightened up a bit.
“You are a bit weird aren’t you, but that is not bad.” She chuckled; it was one of the most pleasant sounds I have heard. It was a mix between a bird’s song and whistle of the wind. I couldn’t help being impressed.
“Well, I should return to my household” She turned to leave, but then asked. “By the way where you are heading to?”
I was looking at my surrounding with wide open eyes. There were mountains everywhere. I had no idea where I would go once this girl left me by myself. I looked at her with rather pathetic expression. “I have no clue”
“Seriously, you don’t know where you are? Did you get knocked on your head too many times?” She looked at my head and noticed several bumps. “Oh, that would explain the amnesia” She thought about it for a minute, considering whether it was safe to bring him with her. The patriarch would say… of course! The patriarch would know!
“You can come with me if you would like, but on one condition”
“You are to wear a blindfold until we get to my household”
“Oh, ok, I can do that” I shifted the rag on my face to the top, making it cover my eyes. “Is this good?”
“That would be fine” She grabbed my hand. “Follow the pull of my hand and sound of my voice”
“Yes” I nodded. Now I am being dragged into some place I didn’t even know existed. Yet, somehow I did not feel fear, just a sense of anticipation.
“Then let’s go”
Chapter 3- Karatengu Family
In Kizilalem, two races always fought each other- Humans and Demons. While there were plenty of other races, nowhere animosity between the races was so intense as between demons and humans. Human beings thought of demons as the progenitors of everything vile and corrupt, often times ignoring their own shortcomings while blaming demons for all of their misfortunes. It is easier to blame someone else for everything, and consider yourself innocent and pure, is it not? Human beings in this realm most likely chose this approach. Their belief in absolute power of humanity and purging of demons has made them a truly scary sight to behold. Because they perceived demons as incarnation of evil itself, they devoted themselves to exterminating them. Not a single demon was innocent. It did not matter if it was a child, an elderly, a woman, or even a docile demon. The fact that they were born to demon kind was a crime in the eyes of these human beings. This has resulted in hatred from demons as well. While most are motivated by revenge against human’s actions, some like their own enemies started to believe the supremacy of their own race. This has led to mutual animosity that lasted hundreds of years. Due to this two powerful groups were present in Kizilalem. Kalkan headed by the Demon king and the Tazak headed by several human rulers.
Demon king had a strong influence within Kalkan, his domain within Kizilalem. His duty was to protect the demons who reside within Kalkan’s boundaries. He was the ultimate protector of demon kind. Of course, the demon king had to be chosen, and not by people, but by trials. Before the previous demon king abdicated the throne, his successor had to be someone who passed the trials made for selecting the demon king and receive the approval of the previous demon king himself. The trials were held by the Great Ones, the entities that watched over Kizilalem, who had the power to bestow the authority of Demon King, but were unable to interfere in the course of lives. It is said that they are incapable of directly influencing anything, but they desire for the demons to survive, which is why they settled on choosing the Demon King in the first place. The Great Ones existed in a plain different from the plane the residents of Kizilalem, which is why they could not influence the world directly. In a sense, within the world of Kizilalem they were incorporeal entities that could only bestow power to someone worthy of being the Demon King. The Great Ones desired prosperity for demon kind, which is why they entrust the most worthy candidate with power and title of Demon King. The Demon King was in a sense their messenger, their sole way of influencing the world, and as such was the sole person capable of communicating with them directly. The trials that are given are held when the previous Demon King starts getting weaker from old age. The power of the Demon King, while powerful, takes its toll on the person using it, making the power grow weaker as the person ages. In order to fix this problem, candidates have to pass the trials and be bestowed the power by the Great Ones. Only then one can become the demon king. Of course there is a catch; anyone who proves himself worthy could become demon king, regardless of the race, meaning human beings were eager to take away the power for themselves. Because of this each of the previous demon kings were desperate to groom perfect successors, heirs and apprentices, in order to prevent the power from falling in hands of humans. If human being ever became a demon king it would signify the end of demon kind, for the demons would lose their leader. This year was year of the selection. The time when a competition was open to anyone who would want to participate in order to get the ultimate power. The competition would be in less than three months. Due to this many groups are grooming their candidates to have a chance at victory. Some are so desperate for victory that they are willing to harm others, even their own kind in order to have higher chances of winning. Because of this, different families were plotting against each other. They were secretly trying to overthrow each other. Some even went as far as to go after demon king’s life.
It was demon king’s duty to make sure there were no conflicts between the families and that there was no internal warfare. He had to worry about the internal strife and also the external danger of human beings. If civil war were to break out, human beings could attack at that instant, making demons easier to completely eliminate.
The current demon king was Akil Ras, patriarch of Ras family and the 56th demon king. He had two sons and two daughters. He hoped that one of his children would be worthy of inheriting the throne. Yet, if someone worthy shows up, he will not be biased. After all, the one who is most worthy should inherit the title. And the one who is most worthy is determined by the trials. The trials are judged not by the demon king but by the Great Ones occupying the lands. Only if the candidate receives blessings from Great Ones can the previous demon king can grant his approval and retire, otherwise his approval has no meaning.
Akil Ras was approaching old age, his reflexes weren’t as sharp as before and the amount of factions planning his assassination has increased. In order to prevent full scale civil wars he had to negotiate with many different demons. In his spare time he searched for a worthy candidate to fill his position.
While there was a power and authority held by the Demon King, Akil Ras and his family lived quiet humbly. Their house was not fancy like the ones owned by the influential families and they still had their duties to attend to. Because the title of Demon King is not a hereditary title, each one of his heirs had their own occupation. His elder son and daughter were soldiers, while his other two children were herb grower and blacksmith. Despite looking rather ordinary from the outside perspective, the Demon King held one of the highest authorities within Kizilalem. He was in a sense the leader of the village.
Akil Ras was in his room. There was a large painting covering the wall. On it were eight people, with Akil Ras in the middle. On his right was his former right hand man- Korgan Karatengu. That man, if he wasn’t just as old as Akil Ras would have been a perfect candidate to be the next demon king. It’s a pity that both of Korgan’s sons have lost their lives and Korgan was left with no heir. This caused Karatengu family to decline due to the fact that the only member of the family alive was the patriarch himself. Akil Ras thought “It’s a pity indeed”
The Karatengu household. An elderly man stood by himself inside the courtyard. He felt lost within his thoughts, not noticing the beautiful plants within the courtyard. Everything just seemed dead to him. Meaningless, purposeless, a desolate landscape from which he felt no escape. For many years he could not come to his senses, only managing to uphold the mantle of the Karatengu family with his sole existence. He frequently thought to himself, why he instead of his offspring lived to this age. The wars with human beings and internal strife have taken toll upon demon kind. In his case, both of his beloved sons have died in two separate occasions. His eldest son Omir and younger son Ymit have both lost their lives on two separate occasions. When his first son was born, the elderly man remembered the intense happiness he felt of becoming a father, of someone carrying on his legacy, hopes and dreams. His love has grown even more with the coming of the second son. Back then everything seemed perfect, that feeling of accomplishing everything he could and living in happiness until the end of his days seemed like a fathomable reality. But then, the Phoenix family, allied with many other families and human factions waged an internal warfare against the Demon King’s rule. During the strife Omir lost his life and the elderly man lost his right arm. He still could see his son’s eyes going blank while he was holding him, begging him not to die.
The elderly man wiped the tears off his eyes with his remaining left arm. He was missing his right arm from the shoulder down. It was cut off during the battle in which he lost his son. He could still remember holding his son with his remaining arm while he was dying. The elderly man sadly looked into emptiness.
After the loss of his first born, his second son, Ymit, sought revenge against the Phoenix family and humans. He managed to restore peace by himself. He fought valiantly and even gained recognition of the Demon King himself. Ymit was supposed to succeed his father as the head of the Karatengu family, but something inexplicable happened and Ymit disappeared. The Tengu family, subordinates of the Karatengu family searched for months for the missing Ymit. In desperation, the elderly man resorted to using the Yrpak-Kan device in order to find out for sure what happened to his only living son.
The Yrpak-Kan is a device used in order to find the people related by blood. It was constructed by a mage who suspected his wife of having an affair. He was horribly right; the device proved that out of his nine children only one was truly his.
The Yrpak-Kan is activated by putting a flesh of the user on top of the device. The Yrpak-Kan looks like a thirteen sided blue crustal when not activated. When a piece of flesh touches Yrpak-Kan it will start emitting intense red color in the direction of the person who shares the blood of the one whose flesh was touching the device.
When the elderly man tried to use the device to find his missing son, it made no response whatsoever. No matter what he did, there was no reaction. He tried using a different device, but he got the same result. Suddenly the reality dawned upon him; the device only reacts to living people who share the blood in their veins, it has no effect if the said person is deceased. He was dead. There was no other explanation for it. Elderly man’s eyes filled with tears as he fell on his knees, clenching the Yrpak-Kan so tightly that it could have shattered any moment. His beloved son was gone, taken from him, just like that. That was the day he lost everything. Nothing mattered anymore.
More than two decades have passed since then, but the internal scars in the elderly man’s heart could not heal. He could barely maintain his duties and uphold the stability of the Karatengu clan. With him as the only member, it would be just a matter of time before he will pass away. He would have to appoint a reliable member of Tengu family as the new head of the Karatengu family before he passes away. Some members of the Tengu family shared blood ties with the Karatengu family so it would not be entirely a bad idea. It is just that originally the Karatengu family was the main family while the Tengu family was the subordinate members. All of that would have to change, after all with his death there would no longer be a true Karatengu left. So might as well ensure the safety of his subordinates with a capable leader. That was the least he could do as the patriarch. The problem was finding a successor among the Tengu family, none of them managed to impress him enough to consider as a candidate to inherit his position. He lamented the fact that neither of his sons left any children to continue their bloodline. Now everything will soon come to an end.
He had many regrets, but the biggest was that he could not protect either of his sons. Now it was too late to make any amends, now he was left all alone.
Just as he was sitting in the courtyard by himself smoking with his pipe, he saw a peculiar sight. He sent the member of Tengu clan, Aijasil to buy some herbs in order to alleviate his internal pain. Combined with his sorrow, the old age did quite a number on his body. He would sometimes cough up blood while his body felt weaker and weaker by each passing day. He knew that at this rate the time of his demise only came closer, but he had to buy enough time in order to find and appoint a successor. Until then he could not die, but after he finishes his last task he was free to travel towards a faraway mountain in order to meet his end in a place he considered the most beautiful.
What surprised him was not that Aijasil came back, but the fact that she was followed by young man dressed in rags and blindfolded with piece of clothing. He was holding her hand as they passed into the courtyard. They approached him. Aijasil beckoned to the young man to sit down. Finally, Aijasil took off his blindfold. The elderly man noticed that the lad had no horns or scales, and his hair looked plain black. He was most likely a human. Why would Aijasil bring a human into the household? If he really is human, then there was a huge problem. Aijasil was too loyal to commit treason, so it perplexed him to no end. He would act polite until he finds out for sure what sort of creature his young guest is.
Aijasil introduced the elderly man. “This is the patriarch of Karatengu family, our grand master.”
The elderly man politely smiled. “My name is Korgan Karatengu, welcome to my household young one” he deliberately said it in his most soft tone in order to have Aijasil notice something was amiss. She made an eye contact with him. He mentally asked her whether he was a human or not. She shook her head, she did not know.
The young man just looked around the place with unfocused eyes, seemingly not aware that he is sitting inside the demonic domain. If he was human he would be trembling from fear, but he is not even shaking thought Korgan with a rather perplexed thought. The young man was either a demon who looked a lot like a human or a human who was dumb enough to wander into a deathtrap.
“Well, I think I am Ren, I think that’s what she called me” the young man pointed at Aijasil. “Pleased to meet you”
“Young Ren, what brings you to my household?” The conversation became more serious all of a sudden. Korgan was trying to find out what was going on.
“He rescued me from Pishak Priests” Aijasil chimed in. She looked at the patriarch with respectful expression. “I was attacked by three of them, they disarmed and…. tried cleanse me” She said the last part with a fearful shudder. The silver knife was imbued with the property of not only killing demons but also poisoning their souls, essentially slowly destroying the soul so that the demon’s essence would be subjected to endless pain before disappearing. It is one of the cruelest things human beings came up with in order to make demons feel their hatred. “I thought it would be justifiable for me to bring him here considering he had nowhere else to go.” When Korgan looked at her with serious expression, she also added “I had him wear bandage around his eyes before coming here, so he does not know where the family mansion is located”
“Very prudent of you, I am grateful for that” Korgan replied. In case he was human Korgan could not afford him knowing the secret location of Karatengu mansion or it would be a disaster. “Young Ren, thank you for saving a member of my household, why don’t you stay here for today, be a guest of the house”
“Really? Thanks Mister Karatengu! ” Ren said with a cheerful expression.
Korgan thought “He looks rather naïve; he doesn’t seem to realize that if he is human then this day would be his last.” Korgan was rather suspicious of his guest, so he was going to confirm for sure what his guest is, and if he is human he would perish. He just smiled in a cold distant way that Aijasil immediately recognized. It was a smile that he has when he planned to do something.
They entered a room with a table. The table was decorated with many carvings of demonic birds flying around a tree.
“Aijasil, could you please bring me …” He relayed the things she had to bring with a mental command. She looked at him with shocked expression, but nevertheless obeyed. He was the master of the house, so she could not go against his orders no matter how cruel.
A moment later she came back. She came bearing a glass bottle full of liquid. It was Ot-Susin, a drink lethal to humans and considered a delicacy among demons for its flame like taste. For humans it was essentially a poison that would kill with one drop. It was very cruel of her master to have the guest drink this, but his orders were absolute. He could not have human in his palace, so he needed to confirm whether his guest was human or not, even with a chance that it would kill his guest in a cruel way.
“Young Ren, would you not like to drink this delicious nectar of the world with me?” Asked Korgan while giving Ren a sizable cup to fill the drink with.
“Sure, why not? If you say it’s delicious then what right do I have to refuse?” Ren smiled in a somewhat idiotic way. Apparently he did not realize that it could be a poison.
Aijasil hesitantly poured Ot-Susin to both of their cups, fully knowing what could happen to Ren if he was human. She felt rather anguished with the prospect of having to kill someone who saved her life. Yet, small part of her felt relieved that the poison would kill him if he was a human, his human-looking appearance made her rather uncomfortable to be near him, even if he did save her life.
Both Ren and Korgan raised their cups and let them strike each other very gently and then both drank the contents. Korgan immediately swallowed the content of the wine and looked at Ren drinking, half expecting him to drop dead any second.
While Ren drank the liquid, he looked rather uncomfortable at first. Korgan saw him almost choking on liquid and thought “I knew it, he really is human!” But then Ren swallowed the liquid with a satisfied expression. The liquid was very dense, but very warm and delicious. He proceeded to finish the drink in his entire cup. Then he lifted his cup up and asked “Can I please have more?”
Korgan certainly did not expect this, so his serious expression was replaced by face of pure shock. His jaw dropped open while his eyes were wide open. Aijasil had a similar expression on her face. She looked startled and then she said “Of course” and proceeded to pour more of Ot-Susin to Ren who was drinking the liquid as if it was the most delicious thing he has ever tasted.
Ren seemed very content with the taste and his satisfied expression was the testament to it. But the most shocking thing was that he did not drop dead from the drink but enjoyed its taste. Korgan thought “He definitely is not a human being, then is he a demon or of another race?” He beckoned to Aijasil to bring Jan-Tas. She left and returned bearing a clear crystal in her hands.
Korgan bitterly smiled at Ren, who did not notice the attempt at poisoning and was enjoying himself. “Young Ren, would you please take a hold of this crystal?”
“Ok, but why” said Ren. Aijasil passed the crystal to Ren who held it in his palms. Jan-Tas was a crystal that reacted only to demons. To other races it had absolutely no effect. The crystal absorbs small essence of the demon in order to verify the color of the demon’s soul. Aijasil made sure that her skin did not get into contact with the crystal, which she held with cloth before passing it to Ren.
Then, something unexpected happened.
The crystal in Ren’s arm stayed colorless for a second. Then, it began to rapidly change. First it turned completely black, and then it started showing hints of bright blue which spread around the corners of the crystal, completely overwhelming the black color. Then the crystal shattered, a blue fire flared up from within at the moment the crystal shattered. The small blue flame remained in air for a couple of second before disappearing completely.
Ren looked at what happened with an oblivious look on his face as if it was an entertainment. Aijasil was dumbfounded, the crystal showed such an unprecedented reaction to him. Korgan was the one most shocked-he did not expect the crystal to react at all, but it flared up instead of just changing the color. He did not know the significance of the crystal cracking, but he knew one thing for sure- Ren is a demon. Crystal only reacts to demon’s aura.
Korgan thought “So the lad is a demon, huh, and with a soul as unusual as this I can consider myself very fortunate to encounter him”
“Hey, old man, could you please tell me what was that about?” Ren asked Korgan in a rather questioning look in his face. Everything Korgan asked him to do seem rather suspicious, making him question Korgan’s motives.
Korgan felt rather embarrassed. Not only did he conduct verification on the young demon, but he did so without consenting him. He would have had justification if Ren was a human, then he could have dismissed his actions as rightful measures. But it turned out that he was a demon. Who knew? From his appearance none would think he is a demon, heck, he did not even have horns on his head! But maybe he is a late horn bloomer, or he is using some means to conceal his horns. Either way, he was an extremely human looking demon. Now it would make sense why he would help Aijasil, helping a fellow demon is not an uncommon act considering entire humanity wants to exterminate demon kind. Although, now most demons are resorting to killing each other in their quest for power.
But, trying to poison someone who has helped his servant, even though it was justified with his suspicion, did not make it seem any less grave within Korgan’s conscience. He already felt guilty of trying to harm his fellow demon that was innocent of any crime. He thought ‘I owe this lad an apology’
“Young one, it seems I owe you an apology” Korgan was a man with dignity; he would always admit his wrongdoings. “Without your knowledge I tested out who you truly are, I am truly regretful of my action”
“Really, then who am I?” Ren did not seem concerned with the apology, and jumped right at the topic.
“You are a demon just like us”
“Uh????” Ren looked at Korgan’s wrinkled face with two palm sized horns on two sides of his head, and then he looked at tiny horns on Aijasil head. When she noticed him looking intently looking at her horns, she embarrassedly covered her horns “Please don’t look so intently at them”
“Oh, Sorry” Ren shifted his gaze from Aijasil to Korgan. “But I don’t have any horns like you guys”
“Are you using any means of concealing your horns?” asked Korgan
“Not as far as I know”
“Heh, then it means you are a late horn bloomer” Korgan smiled. Every demon develops a horn in their life, that’s what marks them as demons. Some develop them since birth while some manifest them later. “Regardless, you are definitely a demon”
“I am sorry for confirming whether you were a human or not without telling you, but all is well if you are a demon”
“Why? What if I was a human?” Ren asked. Korgan could tell Ren did not know much about the animosity between humans and demons.
“You are not very familiar with the hostility of humans towards demons, are you?”
“To be completely honest, sir, I am not really familiar with anything”
Korgan looked at Ren with astonished expression.
“I suspect he has amnesia, master” Aijasil explained. “When I met him he did not even know his own name, so I started calling him Ren”
“Amnesia, huh, I see” Korgan thought to himself. ‘No wonder the lad seems not to know about the conflict, he must have been injured to the head by one of the humans.’
Korgan looked at Ren with serious expression. “If you were a human I would have killed you on the spot” His surroundings suddenly felt cold. “Humans are responsible for the state of the current demon kingdom, it is because of their destruction we always have to live in fear and have so many young ones meet their demise so early” His eyes flashed red for a second. “Humanity is trying to eliminate us just because of the fact that we exist, their actions are unforgivable” His angry expression settled down. “Due to this, it is rather fortunate that you are a demon”
“Ouch” Ren’s expression was rather confused. He did not know what he walked into.
“It is a duty of elder demon to help younger demons in need, so young one, Aijasil told me you have nowhere to go, would you like to join the Tengu household?”
“It is the subordinate clan serving my family, Karatengu clan.” Korgan explained. “If you wish to join it, I will become your master and teacher” He added “Of course as a member of the Tengu family you will bear the name and responsibilities of being a member”
“I see” Ren thought for a moment. “Ok, I accept”
“You make decisions rather quickly don’t you?”
“Not really, it’s just I have nowhere else to go” Ren admitted. “I don’t really remember much or know much right now, and your offer sounds very generous”
“If that’s the case, then from today on you shall be known as Ren Tengu!”
“Ren Tengu, I like the sound of that!”
“Starting tomorrow you will be fulfilling the duties of the member of the Tengu household” Korgan said. “Aijasil can help you with learning your job” He smiled. Aijasil grabbed Ren hand and told him to bow down before the patriarch.
She said “Thank you, master, for your kindness”
“Don’t mention it; it is the duty of elderly to care for lost younglings”
They bid their farewells.
Ren followed Aijasil. “So, I will be learning the ways of Tengu household works from you?”
“Not only me, there are others who are masters of their craft and ability, also the master will be teaching you”
“Master Korgan?” Ren asked. Aijasil nodded.
“He wants to find someone to replace him as the next master of the house, which is why he is willing to invest time and effort to nurture young ones within the Tengu family”
“Why not nurture someone from Karatengu family?” Aijasil looked at Ren with stupefied expression. Ren realized he said something that has to do with a very sensitive topic.
“Other than master, there are no other Karatengu clan members left alive. They were all killed by our enemies” Aijasil’s tone regarding this seemed rather dark. Ren could sense the anger coming from her. Ren did not want to press the topic further.
“So starting tomorrow, its work, right?”
“Indeed, sometimes master will assign you to take care of specific task personally” Aijasil answered with blank expression, trying to hide the anger she felt.
“By myself? Well at least it’s something I can look forward to” Aijasil smiled. “Indeed.”