Chapter 1:- Let Her Sleep
The crackle of the flame was all that could be heard, hushed like a begging child by its mother. It gave off soft waves of heat, gently caressing the exposed skin of Aozora's chest and belly, forgetting her shaking hands. She grasped a small roll of thin cloth, her eyes fixed on its pale color, contemplating its uses, feeling the warmth of the fire.
The cloth roll had served the purposes of binding and bandaging wounds sustained in battle, something she'd found herself wandering into a lot in these recent nights. She hadn't hardly a knack for finding trouble, as it had been finding her without much effort, and she'd have liked to keep it that way. Demons were on the hunt for shards of the Shikon Jewel as usual, taking every opportunity to blindly charge into battle or slaughter innocent humans in their almost futile search, for most of the shards had already been found and tainted once more.
Her eyes rose from their resting place, finding the expanse of stars above, the tongues of the fire swaying with heat.
The stars were strewn about messily, thrown together to resemble a vicious tear in the fabric of the sky, some blinking in and out of existence, others shining proudly. One had a distinctive blue shine, bright and unmistakable. It was the star her father's demon soul escaped to the night he died eight years before, slain alongside her mother by an extraordinarily powerful demon her father had once respected in earnest for his power. But that respect was destroyed, stolen away by the sharp blade of betrayal, a snake in the grass. The demon who'd won her father's a admiration had weaseled his way into her room under the guise of the fluffy skin of a white baboon, a booming growl coupled with his evil presence. He boomed with intimidation and hatred, beckoning for Aozora to approach him so he may steal her away and rob her of her sense of self, her heart, her childish innocence, her power. His presence had not gone unnoticed, for her father had peeled himself away from the darkest of shadows, his anger clashing with the baboon's hatred.
She shook her head, eyeing her father's resting place in silence.
"Father, perhaps it would've been better if you hadn't tried to protect me," she whispered, shocked at herself for even daring to challenge his dying actions. But, maybe, it would've. He might have still been alive, caring for her human mother and another, more powerful child. A boy, maybe, perhaps, with the same eyes and nose as her father and the same dark hair as her mother. Another shake of her head.
A boy in her stead, after she had already shared so many memories with her parents, would not have boded well with either of their hearts.
Her eyes returned to the roll of cloth in her hands, her thumb gently skipping across the bottom of it. There had been one injury she sustained of significant importance in comparison to mostly scratches and bruises with otherwise minor importance. Three nights ago, she'd come across a lone wolf demon with shards of the Jewel in his legs, and, while his strength was hardly incomprehensible, his speed and delivery were forces to be reckoned with. She dodged each blow as quickly as he had thrown them, her feet hardly ever touching the ground. But he'd proven unavoidable, his claws slashing her across the chest. It had hurt and bled a lot more than usual, but it was bearable. It didn't take long for the fight to end, as she'd wound up breaking the wolf demon's nose and disappeared into the shadows without much of a trace. She frowned at the role of cloth.
The wound had taken too long to heal. Only now had it begun to bubble over with scar tissue, irritated and puffy, and the pain was still fresh. stinging and burning. She supposed it was due to the power of the Shikon Jewel that her wounds had taken this long to heal. A sigh left her and she pulled on the cloth roll, giving herself enough material to start bandaging herself up again.
That was almost six-hundred years ago, but she could remember sitting there under the light of her father's star, repairing herself in thoughtful silence.
Aozora shifted in her pile of furs, her arms crossed behind her silver head, a shiver slithering down her spine. She was naked in the dark of her home, her five dark silver tails her blankets. Her eyes were fixed on the moon peering through her window, drinking in its cool splendor. She shifted once more and finally lifted herself from where she lay, her eyes traveling to the thick cloth flap of her door. She stepped towards it, the fresh air of the outdoors a must at this time of night, and through it, shouldering past the flap. The wood underfoot was cool and illuminated by the light of the moon, something she appreciated.
All around her small hut there were little but trees and undergrowth, a place secluded by an aged forest. She enjoyed the seclusion, especially in these recent times. The people of today were nosy and they rejected the very existence of spirits and demons, choosing to destroy rather than understand. They were arrogant and loved nil but themselves, greedily taking the lands for themselves - and men, too. The only positive change after she had awakened five years ago was an unspoken respect of women that men had, offering to pay for meals and be polite. But, still, the good never could outweigh the bad. She shook her head.
A heartbeat and the subtle sound of a twig snapping brought her back to the here and now, here silver ears perking and eyes focusing in on the spot she could feel the disturbance coming from. She did not move, her feet planted where she stood like the roots of a tree, and felt for any indication of demonic energy. It would have been nice to feel the comfort of another demon...