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Big Eyes, Small Mouth (BESM): Monster Academy - Chapter 3: Planning

Justin OOC

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Three weeks passed, mostly without incident, only two thefts were reported, and both times the culprits were caught, in both cases it was jewelry stolen.

The school festival was a time where each class and each club did something to showcase their talents, or to make money for class and club trips. In class it was decided by a narrow margin that Class 2-A would have a maid cafe. The class split on gender lines with a few exceptions.

Later, in the afternoon, Everyone was in the club room and nekomone smiled. "So what would you all like to do for the club?"

Kyohei had become abit more distant from everyone, as a result of the events on the trip, and sat near the back. "We can do most anything, and we do have a request in from the theater club, their membership is down, and they'd like our help with the play this year."

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Skye hated this place. It was weird and she missed Earth. That was why she'd joined the Newspaper Club; they sometimes got to take field trips Home.

But that was the only reason she was here, and she was probably the most reluctant member yet. Right now, she was slouching in her seat, her blue eyes dull and uninterested. In fact, she was thinking about the Devil's Food Cake she'd had at lunch and not listening at all.

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"Of course membership is down in the Theater club," Delilah proclaimed, plopping down in a seat facing Skye and Kyohei. Her delicate chin was propped on one hand, her elbows and over-abundant breasts braced on the desk to a distracting degree. She brushed some burgundy hair from her face and waved her free hand around as though the reason should be obvious.

"Everyone in the Theater club grew up in Monster-Land and has hardly been in the Human World. They don't know how to write or perform a good production." Her fingers curled into claws as she scratched at the air and growled, baring her teeth in mock viciousness. "They're always, 'Grr! Arr! Eat the human! The end! No plot-twists, no drama, no sex, no hot girls. Really, all they need to do is watch the collected productions of Aaron Spelling, dontcha think?"

Delilah suddenly sat up straight, violet eyes nearly as bright as flames, her bodacious bosom wobbling exuberantly under unknown tidal forces. "I just got a great idea," she purred, her broad, excited grin taking in gloomy-gus half-angel with some crumbs left-over for the reticent whatever-Kyohei-was.

"We have the most experience with real TV and Movies and stuff, why don't we help out the poor, misguided Theater club and show them how it's done?"

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"Because," Aria said from behind Delilah, pulling one of her almost Batman-like appearances, "We have important things to do. Such as discover the agency behind the thefts, as well as the attacks at the hot springs. Things that will save lives."

"Not to mention, preventing you from producing an Aaron Spelling inspired stage revue may well save sanities, so I consider this a highly efficient course of action."

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"No." Nekomone's voice was quiet. "There's nothing, and I can't even find an odor that doesn't belong here anywhere on campus." She sounded pretty crestfallen. "I've asked two other members of the faculty I trust, former classmates of mine like Lilith, for help and even they have turned up nothing."

She nodded. "I can only think this is the calm before the storm. Something's going to happen at the festival. I just don't know what yet."

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Kyra growled softly, stealing was something that went against her very bones, a dragon might take or claim something that belonged to another, but they would be up front about it.. of course, that was a different kind of stealing from the point of view others, but she didn't really know much about that.

"What's theater and acting involve?" Her tone was unsure, but if her friend Delilah was going to do it, she'd help. Mabye she'd even like it, she really didn't know much about it.

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"The theater club is putting on a play Kyra. It's where people take on a role other than those they have normally and act as though they are someone else. Usually there's a script, a way things are supposed to go with lines that are to be said by the actors. That's not always the case though."

"I can only imagine what they'd like to perform, but I know this much, unlike all the others I've seen, this time the monsters are probably going to be real."

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Delilah gave Aria and Darrik a sharp sniff, then leaned over and gave Kyra a bright smile, her hand giving her thigh a squeeze. "Don't listen to 'em, Kyra. Spelling's stuff is fun. Sexy and... salacious. I'll lend you the DVDs some time, you'll see. Think of it like research for the Human World."

Her nose scrunched up cutely. "Okay, the Human World isn't exactly like that, but it would be fun if it was." Delilah straightened up, sticking out her chest as far as she could - which was very far indeed - and gave it a jiggle, her grin widening to a fang-baring degree. "I'd be a total Bad Girl, dontcha think?"

She gave Aria a pout, before looking around at everyone with a persuasive glint in her bright, purple eyes. "Forget about the Hot Springs, we know who was doing that." She gave Kyohei a brief look, her full lips turning down in an apologetic frown. "We still have to do something for the Festival - why don't we help out the Drama Club with the play, and share the proceeds? We'd get the bigger share of course, since their plays always suck, but with us there, it'll be awesome. Besides, we can add in a little Journalism Club stuff too. Uh... maybe go ask the other Clubs what they want to see in the Play, we could slip in questions about the thefts at the same time."

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Darrik scowled at Delilah. "This is about the attack of, for lack of a better phrase, 'mad dogs.' And frankly, if there wasn't a lack of information, then we should be heading full steam ahead on the articles..."

He stopped, paused in a moment of intense concentration as an idea unfurled into his brain. "Heh. There's a source we haven't tapped yet, or rather I haven't." Darrik stood up suddenly, firmly certain as to what he should do.

"Keep on thinking about what else we can do for now, but Ms. Nekomone, if you'll excuse me..." Mystified, the teacher nodded nonetheless.

Darrik immediately wheeled and left through the door, moving quickly to his room. Once there, he closed his room door and sat in front of his back wall, staring intently at it. Pushing his concentration there to the fullest, he began incantations for the next few minutes.

My arms draw together the shapes of land. The moonlight shines the path. Grind and spread. The coin clears all obstacles, and the gates remain open. Step forward, and declare this advance. OPEN, YE BLACK GATE!

Immediately in response to the end, the Black Gate sprang up, a man-sized, roiling portal of shadows. Darrik sprang through it, and appeared at the other side, in the midst of a forest, breathing from the exertion of his spell. In front of him, was a simple looking cottage, but appearances were deceiving, for he knew who was the dweller here. Stepping forward, he knocked on the door.

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nekomone sighed. "Yes. I'll tell the theater club to expect all of you to go by tomorrow afternoon then."

elsewhere, Darrik was bid. "Come in."

His grandfather sat there, in his chair by a fireplace that had always been lit, casting shadows all around the room.

"Why are you here, Darrik?"

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Darrik sighed as he looked to his grandfather, quietly concerned expression telling much of the tale. "The school year has proved... eventful. Considering what's going on, I thought you be able to shed some light on the situation, Grandfather. I'll start from the beginning."

He told everything that had happened since the arrival of Kyohei, speaking of what he had learned about the young man and his family, the thefts and the mysterious masked figure involved, the murders at the hot springs and the confrontation with the angel sisters. The maddened celestial dogs with green foam.

Once he was done, his grandfather listening intently, Darrik finished, "If there's anything you know about any of this, I'd like to know. And if not... I'm sure there's some advice from your life experience you can dispense here."

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"Very old magic, but obviously someone knows something we don't. It's best if you allow things to play out some more. Think of it as fishing. You aren't ready for bringing whoever's doing this down, so you let them play, and make mistakes."

"When he really screws up that's when you nail them to the wall."

He smiles. As far as advice, I'd tell you simply to watch your back, but trust your friends. You're alone there Darrik, and it sounds like you have some good friends. Just be careful in all you do."

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Darrik nodded quietly, somehow feeling disappointed, as he'd somehow expected his grandfather to have all or at least some of the answers. The only thing that this helped was strengthen his inclination to be prepared for something to come at the Festival, as Ms. Nekomone had suspected. If he/she/it/they decide to make a move there, they can't account for the world's most powerful wizard there, right?

A sudden smile broke through his face, as Darrik saw the idea then and there. "Thanks. On a side note, the Festival is coming up in a short while. You really DO need to get out Grandfather, so I'd like to invite you to come there."

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Back at school, The bus pulled up again, carrying a single passenger. "Here we are." He opened the door and went out to get the luggage for the school's newest attendee, and nodded.

"Try to enjoy it here, Kurosoroshiimaru. It may not be as you are used to, but it is necessary if you are to succeed your Father."

Though they had not spoken the entire trip here, there was an odd familiarity to the human looking bus driver, as well as a sense of true authority.

"If you want to get out of here abit more often, I suggest you join the newspaper club. By far they have the most authorized trips off campus."

The mustached man nodded. "Not to mention who their sponsor is."

Meanwhile Ms. Nekomone had seen the meeting was over, and left the students to their decision, and to tell the Theater club they accepted.

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There was the barest scuff of noise from the polished black shoes as they shifted on the asphalt, and the well-dressed youth turned to look at the driver. Brilliant green-gold eyes studied the human-seeming man even as other senses more acute informed their owner once more that the 'man' was anything but. A pale hand swept wind-tossed black hair out of a face as coldly, regally beautiful as a snow-capped mountain in moonlight, and Kurosoroshiimaru, Prince of Hengeyokai, nodded wordlessly in acknowledgement of the driver's words before turning his emerald gaze back on the building, no sign of his inner loathing displayed on his perfect brooding features.

A human-style school! With vampires, demons, and spirits-alone knows what other base creatures. Worse still, even half-blooded hengeyokai go here. Urgh! Father, you command it and so it shall be done, but there is no greater test of my loyalty than this indignity! he thought bitterly. Without a word, he bent and picked up his baggage, one hand gathering the suitcase and the other easily hoisting the huge trunk by a reinforced strap which groaned under the strain despite that fact.

"Ah, highness. Perhaps you should let the porters take the bags to your room?" the driver suggested out of the corner of his mouth, indicating the Academy staff who were standing nearby, trying not to stare at the lean figure lifting a trunk more than twice his size. "Integration, remember? Humans don't carry such weights easily."

"So. At least it is not a total indignity." Was all Kurosoroshiimaru said as he set the bags down again and moving away from them. The porters hustled forward to whisk the bags away, and Kurosoroshiimaru moved towards the building without giving them a second look. A familiar figure came bounding down the steps and approached him.

"Kuromaru!!!" Nekomone rushed up to him and just about stopped short of scooping him up in a hug, the icy gleam in his eye helping her to remember herself just in time. Baby brother didn't like being cuddled anymore. He wasn't such a baby anymore, either. She studied him with a broad smile, privately glad that they had the same father, or it'd be distracting having him in her classes. "Little brother, how you've grown! Welcome to the Academy!"

"Shizuka Nekomone-sensei." Kurosoroshiimaru bowed formally, permitting a small smile to curve his lips as he straightened. "It is good to see you again, sister. This... project of yours has kept you from court too much. Our father sends his fond greetings, and your mother also." He handed her an ornate scroll marked with her mother's seal. "I also have missed you. Father's duties do not leave him adequate time to spar, and you are the only other able to challenge me."

"So formal! So proper!" Nekomone giggled and flapped a hand at him. "Don't be so cold here, Kuromaru. Why, if you were to loosen up a little, there are girls of all species here that would melt like spring thaw." She took his hand and fairly dragged him into the building. "It's going to be so wonderful having you here. It's really quite fun, and of course the work is important."

"If you say so." Kuro murmured doubtfully. Shizuka had always been fascinated with humanity, even back home. She would ape human fashions and trends, play their music on battery-operated plastic horrors that were far too loud, and leave facile, shallow magazines around with names like 'Cosmopolitan' and 'Time'. Kuro loved his older half-sister, and respected her abilities, but sometimes he wondered if she were perhaps a little catnip-addled at an early age. "I care little about the project, if we are being honest. I am here because my King ordered it." That came out a little stiffly, and Nekomone turned towards him with a hurt look in her eyes.

"Little brother! That is cruel. And so like you to say." she sighed, then shook her head. "Humans aren't so bad. You'll see - when you join the Newspaper Club, you'll get to see how humans live close at hand."

"Hmph." Kuromaru said, but he didn't argue. Nekomone smiled widely at her handsome brother and tilted her head at him, acting cute to tease him.

"You still write, don't you? I remember you were almost as good a poet and writer as you are a hunter. That poem you wrote about me when you were eight was SOOO cute!" Kuromaru stiffened and pulled his hand free of hers.

"That's my business." he said icily, turning half-away from her and folding his arms. "And I shall say it again: you shouldn't have been reading my poems, even then. They were private and of little importance to anyone else."

"Oh no, little brother! Your poems are wonderful! You should write for the Newspaper. Please? Pleasepleaseplease?" Nekomone wheedled. "We have a dragon princess on the team already - it's quite prestigious that way. It would be so wonderful to have a scion of the Hengeyokai King working on such an important project, don't you think?"

"Fine. I will think about it." he replied stiffly, then glanced at her. "But that is not a promise!" he added sternly.

"Good! All I ask is that you think it over." Nekomone said as they stopped outside a dorm room. "This is your room. I have to go and take care of some work now, but you'll find your class schedule on your desk. I know you'll go prowling around the school anyway, but try not to get into trouble." she gently poked his arm. "Just try to get used to the place, okay?" He said nothing, just nodded, and his older sister grinned and turned to go. "See you, baby brother."

Kurosoroshiimaru was left outside his room. He opened the door, peered in, then stepped into the room and looked around it with a disdainful air. No large cushions, uncomfortable-looking bed that sat above the floor as though he was some tree-dwelling monkey, bath that looked able to hold only one... Ugh, he was going to loathe it here.

Stiff-shouldered, he left the room and went to wander around the school, letting his feet and senses guide him as his eyes turned inwards, daydreaming about home...

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Once the Club was dismissed, Aria filed out; pausing only to let Skye past, as she seemed much more eager to leave. From there she stalked back to her room, irritated enough by the notion of a play they were being shanghied into taking part in that she didn't even break into spiders to get there.

Of course, there was always the chance that Nekomone knew something she didn't want to tell them about. Some clue connecting all this to the play?

Interesting notion.

She dropped her backpack onto her bed and dissolved into a swarm of spiders that spread out over the floor of her dorm and went streaming away through cracks and drains and a loose floorboard. She could quickly and quietly do a survey of the students and their activities this way. Something she tried to do each day after school...just to keep her fingers on the pulse.

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"I see.. so we are acting out a story.. well, it sounds like it could be fun, especially if I get to eat the evil knight attempting to kill the dragon." Evidently, the various stories of knights and dragons were told differently among dragon kind, which shouldn't come as too much of a surprise.

Then Darrik ran off, Skye wanted to leave, and everyone was dismissed by the teacher. Krya headed back to her own quarters, she felt the need to renew her connection to her horde, to count gems and roll in coins for a bit..

Anyone who entered the room would see that she had rearranged things a bit, treasure continued to cover the floor.. but the bed had been moved, shoved to one side of the room actually, and turned so that the window was blocked, making it very dark and cave like in her room, though there were lights here and there.

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For all of her hurry to leave, Skye didn't have anywhere in particular to go. She left the room at a fast walk but them slowed to a more leisurely pace once she was free of her "classmates". To her, they weren't really her classmates; they were potential targets for the day when Father released her from the school and let her return to demon-hunting.

Despite her anger, some of her tension eased as she began to walk alone. She hated it here and felt much better when she was alone. That meant that she had to take a lot of walks; her roommate spent a lot of time in their room, so that was no sanctuary. "I hate it here," she muttered, her head down as she walked down the path.

In her distracted state, she missed seeing the other person on the walk. Shoes came into her vision and she snapped to a stop - half a step too late. The boy ran into her, getting her head thrust against his sternum. Already back on her heels from trying to stop, Skye was knocked backwards. "Ow!" she yelped as she as pitched onto her ass. Her legs flew into the air and despite the jarring pain in her ass, all she could think was that she'd just flashed any demon who cared to look. Enraged, she started to scramble to her feet, already sputtering.

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Kuromaru was used to people making way for him as he wandered deep in thought. Back home it had been practically a survival instinct among lesser hengeyokai, especially the human-blooded ones, to not invade the young daiyokai's personal space. Even other lords in his father's court were wary around the overly-composed youth since he had reached adolescence: a few pointed examples went a long way in that regard.

Here, his reputation had not had time to circulate, but the relative emptiness of the pathways around the grounds at this time of day had so far spared some hapless demon from a swift and painful example of what separated future Monster Lords from the common herd - if Kuromaru was in a good mood, that usually proved to be several pints of blood and a few square feet of skin.

So he wasn't really paying attention when the first scent of female tickled his nose, or when light footsteps came to his ears. The part of his brain that registered such things evaluated the sensations, found no danger in them, and dismissed their origin as someone insignificant who would move.

So it is fair to say that Kuromaru was shocked beyond all measure when a fair head collided with his breastbone, the impact causing him to stop more from surprise than anything else as the slim figure rebounded off him and fell over backwards. As Skye yelped in pain, Kuromaru's eyes widened in surprise as two shapely legs flew up into the air, terminating with a pleated skirt in disarray to reveal crisp white cotton panties. They were nice legs, he noted distantly, and nice panties too. Then the girl sat up, face flaming, blonde hair wild, and with her lips half-forming curses as she glowered up at the lean form standing over her. Kuromaru stared.

She was beautiful! Like a blue-eyed lioness, lovely even in her terrible wrath. Athletic limbs and golden hair, and a scent that somehow wired straight to his hindbrain. The young hengeyokai prince resolved immediately that he would accept, and graciously too, this lovely creature's apologies for touching his person so rudely. Then perhaps she would tarry with him awhile, and they could get to know one another better. Yes. That was the best way. He must not seem too eager, mind. There were standards of dignity to maintain.

So when Skye got to her feet, expecting to see a leer, or embarrassment, or fear, or laughter, she was met instead with a composed, calm stare from a pair of eyes the colour of sunlight on leaves, set in a features of such cool perfection they might have been carved from marble by some Celestial artisan. The boy was watching her expressionlessly, his face registering not even interest, let alone chagrin.

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Darrik smiled gratefully, despite his ulterior motives, his grandfather had been a hermit for too long. One step at a time would help him ease out of his solitude and depression. "Thank you. And don't worry, I'm sure the others at school won't go as far as to harass a visitor."

He paused, remembering the opening day of school and the waiting ambush party that he had made mincemeat of. "Well, if they dare do, you can easily make them regret it." After he had a chance to finish talking with his grandfather and his farewell, Marius opened up a Black Gate for Darrik, who stepped through the portal.

Back in the sanctity of his room, Darrik flopped down on the bed, tired. Frankly, the coming days were going to be problematic as is. On top of the list, keeping Delilah from trying to run the show.

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Skye got her first good look at the oaf who had knocked her over and her curses died on her lips. He looked normal enough to her, with odd markings on his face, longish (but cute) ears and green cat-eyes. He reminded her a little of that teacher, Nemo-something. His normality didn't stop her; his raw attractiveness did. Her teeth snapped shut and she somehow managed to not release her half-form. Instead, she just glared up at him, waiting for an apology. When none came, her face flushed brighter.

Back home, there weren't boys like this. No one of this youth, even one who looked like him, would have remained so composed after knocking a pretty girl down, especially not after being flashed so prettily. She'd run into a boy before; she'd just seen her first demon and had been told by her mother what the truth of the world was. And just like now, Skye had walked right into that boy.

Here is where the resemblance ended. That boy had been horrified and had helped her up; he hadn't stared at her as if she wasn't there. Of course, that boy had been a human and this one was a demon. To Skye, that made all the difference in the world.

Unconsciously, she rose on her toes, gaining an extra inch or so of height in an attempt to not seem so small. The half-celestial glared at the boy waiting expectantly. When the expected apology didn't come, she tossed her hair over her shoulder. "Fine," she said, stepping to move around him. "Just next time, watch where you're going."

Oh, she knew she was as much at fault as he, and dear-heavens he was hot. But he was a demon; he had to be with those marks, she just didn't know what kind. She would give him no more courtesy than any monster deserved. He might not be like the demon that had killed her mother, but he was still a monster. What he deserved was for her to pull her sword and end him. What she'd do was stomp away and rage later about her impotence to exact even indirect revenge.

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The expected sweet apology didn't come. The girl didn't look demurely up at him and beg his forgiveness for her clumsiness. Instead, she told him - TOLD him - to 'watch where you're going.' Seeing as ripping apart one of his fellow students on the first day might cause disappointment to his father, Kuromaru decided against showing this foolish girl a lesson in respect. His reluctance had nothing to do with not wanting to mar her beauty. Nothing at all.

Still, there were limits to how much impudence one could take. He spoke without turning to look at her.

"I was well aware of where I was going." The smooth, velvety voice rolled over Skye's senses like liquid chocolate over ice as she headed away. "Spare me your ludicrous fantasising. I was aware of your presence; you were unaware of mine. Facts would suggest that you were the one not watching their step. Not I." With that, he made to continue on his way, his tread light and measured.

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She'd been called on her intentional oversight. Skye had many faults, but when called on her faults, she acknowledged them. The blonde celestial turned back toward the boy - the oh-so-attractive boy - and said to his back, "Fine. I'm sorry that I was not paying attention to where I was going. That means that you were aware of your steps and still knocked me down. Where I come from, that's just rude. I know you're a demon, but if you're here to learn about the human world, maybe you should attempt to act like a human. Like, you know: listening to someone who's from the human world."

The second she said that, she wasn't sure that it was a good idea. Skye knew that most of the monsters were here to experience the human world. She knew that Kyohei was supposed to hide his origins, but no one had strictly told her to hide her birth place.

But she lifted her chin and faced the unknown demon, trying not to think about how screwed she might be. Skye stared at him, defiant; no matter how much they scared her, she wasn't going to let them see how much they scared her. She knew that her mother had never shown fear and her father probably couldn't feel it. So Skye wasn't giving the demon even a microsecond of satisfaction.

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He'd taken all of two steps before the apology reached his ears, making him pause to listen to the rest of the girl's words.

"...you were aware of your steps and still knocked me down. Where I come from, that’s just rude..."

Nonsense. Her tumble had been the result of her own clumsiness and innattentive nature, not a result of his design. Was he at fault for some foolish human-blooded girl's stupidity? What tedious waffli-

"...maybe you should attempt to act like a human. Like, you know… listening to someone who’s from the human world."


Logically, he knew that some monsters lived in the human lands. His sister, for example, seemed to spend most of her time here. But to have one actually claim to be from the Mortal Realm...

From Skye's perspective, the tips of the fur-covered ears, just barely visible from under the hair on the sides of the head, twitched at her words and then the boy was next to her. Just like that - there was barely even a blur to denote the yokai's movement before he was by her side. Half-turning, Skye found herself suddenly looking up once more into that spellbinding green stare, only now it wasn't blank or disinterested. There was a cool curiousity in the eyes and face that gazed down on her. The calm mien was still far from human, and there was that overwhelming sense of controlled regality that human kings would give their eyeteeth to possess. But at least she wasn't a bug on the windshield anymore. The question now: Was that an improvement?

"Your apology is accepted." he told her, politely and discreetly sniffing at the air. She smelled human and... something else. Not any yokai he'd encountered. "For myself... I regret that you were inconvenienced by my unexpected presence."

It was an apology... sort of. The word 'sorry' wasn't really one that Kuromaru considered fitting for him to use. He wasn't really sorry in a human sense, after all. He still firmly considered the collision to be this girl's fault. But she had apologised, and had added a challenge to that apology. Kuromaru secretly loved true challenges, even as he pretended to be bored or irritated with them.

"I have little experience of humans." he told Skye, still gazing into her eyes. One side of his lips quirked in a slight smile for a nanosecond. "One supposes that is why I am here." He placed a hand over his heart. "I am Kurosoroshiimaru, heir to the Hengeyokai throne. If you are indeed knowledgeable of the human realm, it would please me to permit you to teach me."

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Skye had been around boys that she found attractive before. She'd been around one boy that had left her so tongue-tied that she'd only made stupid meeps of meaningless sound when he tried to talk to her. Kurosoroshiimaru left him behind in the dust.

But Skye wasn't tongue-tied around him and she wasn't sure why. Was it from their meeting? Rudeness went a long way toward making someone seem far less attractive. And of course, there was the stink of his demonic heritage, a smell that always put her back up and made her angry.

When he introduced himself as royalty, Skye blinked. She'd known that demons had kingdoms and thrones and sovereigns, but it was something of a surprise to meet one. Why would an heir to an throne come to this school? On the upside, she now had a name for the type of demon he was: Hengeyokai. They were shapeshifters and she found herself wondering what his animal form was. She was also reluctant to say anything, to express any interest of any kind in this rude, arrogant boy. Apparently the whole "royalty" thing had gone to his head.

"You'll permit it?" Skye asked, arching a pale eyebrow. "Very well. Your first lesson is free: no one in the human world knows about the Hengeyokai throne, and if they did, they wouldn't give a shit. So when you want something from someone, like lessons, you ask if they would be willing to take their time to enlighten you." Crossing her arms, she waited to see if he would get it or continue to "permit" her to waste her time on him. Prat.

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"I see." The cold expression returned, the icy crackle again chilled that wonderful voice, but before the frost reached the eyes Skye saw a flicker of something molten roiling in the green depths.

Kurosoroshiimaru was furious. He had extended a gracious hand and it had been slapped away with vulgar manners and demeaning words. This... this creature was not worth his time. She was rude, and presumptuous, and altogether offensive. That she was also beautiful was simply a crowning irritation.

"I see that my inexperience of human ways is in fact a blessing." He said with dreadful calm. "They sound entirely without proper education in things of worth. They crawl on the surface of their once-vibrant world like ticks on a dying mongrel, breeding and squabbling and defiling all that their so-called 'civilisation' comes into contact with. They drive what they consider 'lesser' species into near-extinction and slavery. They create weapons that sunder the foundations of all creation. And they call us the monsters." He leaned down a little, his voice falling to a hiss as his catlike eyes narrowed to emerald slits.

"I would not ask or expect anything of such creatures. Or those that share their blood. So whilst some may consider it rude if someone does not give their name in response to a gracious introduction and indeed, mocks them for it, I now know to consider it merely... human." He turned on his heel and stalked off, flexing his fingers stiffly at his sides. Black talons flickered in and out with the motions as he struggled to contain his disappointed rage.

"Thank you for that lesson."

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"My name is Skye," she told him, managing to speak without grinding her teeth together. "And if you do assume that all humans are like me, then you're making a grave mistake. If you want to learn about humans, then ask me to help, rather than assuming that I should because you want me to."

She was angry, just furious at him. He was rude and arrogant, and just right enough to really get under her skin. But if he wanted, if he asked, she would teach him. She'd no doubt learn interesting things about the Hengoyokai, so it would be of benefit to her, too. She absolutely wouldn't do it because he was so incredibly hot. That had nothing to do with her willingness to put up with him.

"Plus," she added quickly, before he was too far away to hear, "you'll find that not everyone is going to treat you like you clearly think you deserve. You're not in your kingdom - here, people think of you whatever you teach them to think of you, good or bad. And that goes for ningen, yokai and tenshi alike."

Click to reveal..
ningen � human being; yokai � demon; tenshi � angel


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He paused as she spoke, listened to her words. Despite his arrogance, despite his privileged upbringing and personal power, Kuromaru wasn't an idiot. Idiots didn't live long in the Monster World, regardless of who their fathers were. His willingness to listen was entirely because she was making a certain amount of sense, and NOTHING to do with wanting the lovely, infuriating creature to think better of him. With an effort, he stilled the in-out flickering of his claws and relaxed somewhat, turning towards her again.

"Duly noted." He seemed to have some difficulty with his next words, hesitating for a breathlessly long moment before speaking. His gaze flickered to the right for a second and he moistened his lips, collecting himself before speaking.

"I... apologise for the offense I have given." he told her, his jaw taut with effort as he bowed very slightly. "I am unaccustomed to being around those unfamiliar with our ways, and less accustomed to those ways being spoken of scornfully. You are correct, however. I may be a prince, but am not a prince of this realm." He straightened up and took a step towards her, his eyes luminous in the composed face.

"I, Kurosoroshiimaru, would be deeply grateful if you would consent to teach me of human ways, Miss Skye." He placed a hand over his heart once more and bowed, a little deeper this time, until his eyes were level with hers.

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Delilah almost missed Ms. Nekomone dismissing class, so lost in thought about how she - they - were going to make the Theater Club production awesome. Courtesy of Teen Drama TV - she'd seen every episode of Beverley Hills, 90210, Melrose Place, The O.C., and One Tree Hill - since enrolling into Monster Academy, she'd been falling behind with Gossip Girl, though.

Giving her head a shake, burgundy pig-tails swinging wildly, she jumped to her feet, almost spilling out of her dress-shirt, another button bursting free under the strain. Those still in the class-room watched the button flip end over end through the air, tinking softly off the window across the room, then bouncing off, landing on the tiled floor, rolling on edge back across the class-room, out the door, and into the hall. Delilah smiled.

"Oops! Later Ms. Nekomone, seeya tomorrow," the succubus chirped cheerfully as she reached into the cavernous depths of her peerless cleavage.

After a long moment of searching, she pulled out a shiny, black iPod. She slipped the ear-buds into her ears, gave Ms. Nekomone a wave, then strutted out of the class-room, her open-toed, stripper-heels clacking loudly on the tiles.

Delilah pranced through the halls and then outside of the school, singing along to the music coming from her iPod, her voice possessing a sultry purr no fifteen year old should have been able to manage. Some of the words were altered to make them more awesome, in her opinion anyway.

"Delilicious definition make them boys go loco

They want my treasure so they get their pleasures from my photo.

You could see me, you can't squeeze me.

I ain't easy, I ain't sleazy.

I got reasons why I tease 'em.

Boys just come and go like seasons..."

Her shapely hips swayed, knee-sock-clad legs flashed, lithe arms flowed, and overly-abundant chest jiggled with her graceful, sensual movements as she danced, the low sunlight warm on her copiously bare flesh. Though she wore the same pleated, plaid skirt, buttoned dress-shirt, and blazer as the other female students, the uniform seemed far more scandalous plastered against her outrageous figure, not mention concealing a good deal less.

Far from being self-conscious about her display, the succubus reveled in the lust and desire she could taste flowing from the students ogling her, was energized by it. Unlike many succubi (and other pretty high-school girls), Delilah didn't even bother making a pretense of being affronted when she was showing off. She returned the cat-calls and whistles with an extra shake, a blown kiss, or a coy tongue licking her lips...

Delilicious (so delicious)

But I ain't promiscuous.

And if you were suspicious,

All that shit is fictitious.

I blow kisses (mmmwwahhh)

That puts them boys on rock, rock.

And they be lining down the block just to watch what I got (four, tres, two, uno)

Coming around some trees onto a cross-path, Delilah staggered to a stop, stung by the taste of prickly irritation - which was familiar to her - and deep, rich currents of emotions buried beneath coldly arrogant dignity - which wasn't familiar to her. She bent over sharply at the waist - showing off enough breast-flesh for three seniors - and windmilled her arms in an effort to maintain her balance.

Avoiding measuring her length out on the ground, Delilah straightened up, throwing her shoulders back and gave her breasts a couple of vigorous shakes to settle them in her bra and shirt. Scrunching up her nose and running her tongue across her teeth in an effort to mitigate the emotions flowing from Skye and the other guy, Delilah placed a bright, broad grin on her face and sauntered over, high heeled shoes crunching on the graveled path.

"Hey, Skye! Who's your... friend..." the succubus trailed off, her tongue cleaving against the roof of her mouth, as she got a good look at the guy the half-angel was talking to.

He was handsome, more than handsome, tall and dark, with piercing green eyes. Between that and the way his emotions ran strong and deep behind a barrier of rigid constraint, he reminded her of Kyohei. A little bit. In most other ways, he was completely different.

Bestial... Lordly. He was as almost as fucking hot as an incubus, without the instinctive aversion that incubi and succubi shared for each other. She might still be mad at Kyohei, but she couldn't deny her caring for him, and he would probably be her first. But this guy... with this guy, she would be willing to play all sorts of other games she knew Kyohei would never play.

She slinked up to the nameless man, an apparently exuberant, teenaged human girl. But her impossible beauty gave away the lie, a thin veneer of wholesome innocence overlaying a wicked sexuality completely at odds with her youth, yet still somehow fitting this creature naturally and rightly.

"You struck a homerun with this one, Skye," Delilah commented, placing a hand on Skye's shoulder in an entirely too familiar fashion. Her heavy-lidded, purple eyes were bright as she gave the boy a frank, lazy appraisal, her grin widening. She stuck out a hand for the regal, young man to take in greeting.

"Hi, I'm Delilah," she purred.

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Skye felt something in her chest flutter at the bow and even without insight into her personality, Kurosoroshiimaru could see the smile that she was barely restraining. "Yeah - yes, I'll teach you," she said, swallowing hard against the sensations rising in her. "I'd be happy to." She bowed to him, copying his gesture and hoping that she'd done it right.

"Do you have time right now?" she asked as they both straightened. This time there definitely was a little smile on her face.

Whatever he was going to say was cut off by Delilah's voice. The Prince of Beasts got to see the look of annoyance and irritation that crossed Skye's face, wiping away the smile. When the succubus's hand landed on the blonde's shoulder, he also was treated to the tic that started twitching her left eye. That smoothed out the instant before she turned to the auburn-haired mostly-demon. "Hey, Delilah." There could have been less enthusiasm on the young girl's face, but it would have taken more effort than she was willing to expend toward the succubus. She did expend effort to side-step out from under the familiar hand.

"Delilah, this is Kurosoroshiimaru, heir to the Hengeyokai throne," Skye said, making introductions as any human would. "Kurosoroshiimaru, this is Delilah, daughter of Lilith, Mother of Demons. Or at least, I think that's the formal title?" She turned to the Hengeyokai and shrugged as if it were unimportant. This close, Delilah could sense the girl's irritation, which deepened dramatically in the succubus's presence. But there were other emotions too: the fading sweet hint of desire and a spike of jealousy that left an aftertaste like vinegar, tart and bitter.

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The dragon princess stripped down to her skin, and buried herself in her treasure rolling in it, and finding a measure of peace and strength from connecting to her treasure, to the things she valued once more. However, there was a sharp sense of.. something missing.. and it took her a moment, to figure out what it was.. she was lacking part of her treasure.. her friends were part of her treasure, and they were not here.

She let her mind drift slightly to her mother's words, many years ago, when she'd wanted to add a pet to her hoard... 'You can't keep living things locked away, like you can other kinds of treasure, darling.. they must be allowed a measure of freedom to grow..'

Considering that for a moment, she got up and got dressed, choosing a lovely scarlet silk with dragon patterns in gold, in a kimono style.. something she'd liked in her visit to the human world. She then put on the same pair of gold earrings that Delilah had picked out for her when they made the trip to the human realm. Then she headed out, her manner that of a dragon on the hunt, only this time, she was hunting her friends.

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Kurosoroshiimaru was amazed. Such a small thing, the apology and request. It was hard to do such lowering of himself, but the effort was so insignificant compared to the immense impact. He heard Skye's heart beat faster, smelled the change in her mood as she nearly smiled, then watched her as she copied the Open Palm of Sincerity. He doubted that she was aware of it's meaning, but the fact that she did it was charming, regardless. And when they straightened up she was smiling at him: the expression faint, but true as she asked him if he had time for her. He felt a smile of his own start to form.

"Of c-"

And then the succubus arrived.

She was desire incarnate, a purple-eyed temptress whose every move spoke to the hidden corners of his body. Her voice caressed his ears, the swish of her hair carried its intoxicating fragrance to his nostrils. For a moment, he stared wide-eyed at her, his catlike pupils dilating in primitive reaction.

Then he saw Skye's face, saw the irritation there and the twitch of her eye at the demoness's touch, and his mind recovered from the momentary tasering it had suffered from his libido, working overtime as Skye made the introductions.

The girls were acquainted. Delilah appeared friendly towards Skye, but she was a succubus - deception was their stock in trade. Skye disliked the demoness intensely, which indicated that they were rivals rather than friends, with the succubus naturally dissembling for the benefit of the male. Kuromaru wasn't an idiot, as has already been stated. Females of any species could be catty, not just his own. Skye he had already informed an opinion of as someone who spoke her mind... albeit rashly and somewhat rudely, but at least there was little deceit in her to his eyes. She was not happy to see Delilah, not happy to introduce her to Kuromaru. Probably because she believed that the succubus would steal him away: Kuromaru held no false modesty about his appeal to females. When one moved in a world where scents were as colours, it was easy to discern. He had not yet explored that, having not really met any that interested him enough. Delilah's lascivious appraisal of him was... different - many of the females back home would be hesitant to review their prince as though he were a side of beef - but it made it easier to remember what his tutors had taught him of succubi.

Delilah was beautiful as only a demon of temptation could be. She was everything a male could want in a female... and everything he shouldn't wish for. Kuromaru straightened up a little, adopting a regal and formal posture as he accepted her hand, then bowed very slightly over it.

"Greetings to you Delilah, daughter of Lilith. I see that the Demons have bestowed a dark and lovely blessing on this Academy by having you attend." he stated with formal courtesy as he released her hand and straightened up. He glanced at Skye, then back to Delilah's purple gaze, his expression composed and his green eyes giving little away. Beneath the mask, Delilah could sense most strongly his (natural, instinctive and primal) desire for her buried hard under cold determination not to let his instincts rule him. It was like a glacier covering a sea of lava.

"I trust you will not think us rude, but Miss Skye has very graciously offered to teach me of human ways, a subject I am unashamed to admit I know next to nothing about." He looked at Skye, head tilted slightly as the tip of one of his ears flicked. "You were asking if I had time now? The answer is yes."

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Possessing extremely powerful senses, it didn't take Kyra all that long to pick out the particular scents that she was searching for.. Darrik's simply vanished though, so she turned her senses to hunt down her other friends, Aria's was everywhere however, and went places and directions that made no sense at all.. but then, Kyra wasn't sure what kind of demon she was, maybe that the way of her kind?

That meant that Delilah was the easiest to find, and as she lifted her nose to separate out the scents, she could pick out Delilah's scent, mixed with Skye's, and someone else, who smelled.. remarkable.

Moving quickly, she soon enough found her way to Delilah's side, only to pause a moment in surprise as the beautiful young man... but he also smelled.. dangerous. "Who are you, and what are you doing with my friend?" Her manner was imperious, almost as arrogant as his own in it's own way, like only a princess could be. Kyra found him as intoxicating as the other girls, but she didn't entirely understand the feeling, and dragon courtship was different then that of humans and some demons, it involved showing one worthy of the others interest... and what dragon's considered someone worthy of interest was strength and power.

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The fluttering in her stomach got harder as Kurosoroshiimaru turned those green, green eyes on her and said yes. This wasn't sexual attraction, she told herself sternly, this was merely her reacting to the proximity of a dangerous creature. Skye was far too inexperienced to realize just how closely those two could be linked.

Sure that Delilah was going to horn in, Skye turned her blue eyes to the succubus, feeling the same draw that the Prince of Beasts felt for her. To her surprise, Delilah just smiled and said, "Another time, then Kurosoroshiimaru, heir to the Hengeyokai throne."

They were interrupted again, as Kyra settled down and made something that may or may not have been a threat. Skye tensed a little, waiting for the Hengeyokai to become irate over being spoken to thusly. However, Delilah saved the day as she said, "Kyra, it's alright, this is just a new student I was meeting." She smiled coyly at the tall prince as she added, "I know you're new - I would have never have missed you. Kurosoroshiimaru, this is Kyradathea, daughter of the Ruler of the Red Dragon Clan and of all Chromatic Dragons. Kyra, this is the heir to the Hengeyokai throne. You two ought to have much in common."

Skye just nodded and smiled at Kyra, though it was a tense smile. She was trying to be a good teacher for Kurosoroshiimaru; she really didn't want to have to craft another apology to him or in front of him. One was enough.

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"So here's where you all got off to."

Aria was coming from the direction of the dorms, though as usual, she had rather expertly taken advantage of everyone distracting each other to call attention to herself only at the moment she chose. Though quite beautiful, she was definitely the 'plain' girl of this particular bunch, emphasized by her modest school uniform attire.

She nodded respectfully at Kuro. "I'm Aria. Just Aria will be fine. A pleasure to meet you, Prince of the Hengeyokai. Congratulations on your success in obtaining a Human World tutor like Skye. I can think of only one here more qualified to do so...and you would not find his company so agreeable. In any event, I expect you're on your way to the Newspaper Club to sign up? Kyra. Delilah. Skye." She nodded at each as she said their names.

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He nodded graciously to Delilah as she made to withdraw, then another voice cut into the conversation.

Originally Posted By: Kyradathea
"Who are you, and what are you doing with my friend?" Her manner was imperious, almost as arrogant as his own in it's own way, like only a princess could be.

The imperious manner set Kuromaru's teeth on edge, though he showed no sign of it on his face, which was a coldly calm as usual as he turned towards the person foolish enough to issue a borderline challenge to him, the only sign of his irritation a slight narrowing of his eyes.

It didn't even occur to him beyond a passing thought that he might lose such a fight. He was daiyokai, a Prince of the Beast Court and the third finest combatant in his realm, his father being clearly the first and his sister besting Kuromaru by a narrow margin. Defeat in combat would, if he survived, only make him stronger, and leave room for a rematch. If he died, it would cease to matter.

Spirits and gods, she was beautiful. Fiery, in fact, and both coloration and dragon motif on her kimono were not lost on the hengeyokai. Was he fated to be challenged and tested by beautiful girls his entire time here at the Academy? If only some obnoxious male would dare speak to him so - then an example could be truly made.

Still, beautiful or not, he had eaten enough humble pie for one day. There was no way in the Thousand Hells he was backing down to that tone. He drew himself up-

Originally Posted By: Skye Angelus
However, Delilah saved the day as she said, “Kyra, it’s alright, this is just a new student I was meeting.” She smiled coyly at the tall prince as she added, “I know you’re new – I would have never have missed you. Kurosoroshiimaru, this is Kyradathea, daughter of the Ruler of the Red Dragon Clan and of all Chromatic Dragons. Kyra, this is the heir to the Hengeyokai throne. You two ought to have much in common.”

"Indeed." Kuromaru stated levelly, his eyes on Kyra's as he inclined his head politely. His next words were in a deep, sonorous and faintly growling language. "#Fair day to you, Kyradathea the Red. Let the sun be jealous of your fire, the moon hide her jealous face from the radiance of your scales, and the stars turn green with envy at the magnificence of your hoard, upon which I have no designs or desires.#" Formal Draconic greetings were a mouthful, but seeing as informal greetings in Draconic between strangers tended to be boastful dominance challenges that would quickly lead to combat, formality was probably for the best. "#As has been said, I am Kurosoroshiimaru. I stand before you as neither foe nor tribute, offering you respect for respect, challenge for challenge.#"

That was the tricky part. His tutors had told him that establishing one's position with regards to a dragon was paramount. Too meek, and the dragon would regard you as a possession or a slave. Too forceful, and there would be a fight. If one didn't wish to be considered a dragon's servant, then it was always better to err on the side of forceful, and be prepared for the consequences. What he had in essence told Kyradathea, in formal declaration no less, was that he considered himself her equal, and it would take combat for her to assert otherwise.

Aria's arrival took away some of the tension, and Kuromaru half-turned towards her and nodded in greeting, keeping some of his attention on Kyra, just in case. You never knew with dragons, and reds in particular, what they would do in a given situation.

"Likewise a pleasure to meet you, Aria. It satisfies me that you find my choice of tutor both fitting and wise." he said politely, a little overwhelmed at present by the beautiful women all around him. This Aria was composed and quiet, which had an appeal of its own when compared with the others, particularly the blatant succubus. There was a watchful intelligence in her dark eyes as she looked at him also. He glanced around at the others, then back at Aria. "The sign-up is now? I have been advised... urged, in fact, to join the Newspaper Club. Though I am uncertain as to it's purpose. If I am correct, a newspaper is for the spreading of factual information to others. You are all to be members?" He glanced at Skye here, seeking confirmation.

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