Dantega:Volume 6 Chapter 1

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Chapter 53: Conflict of Interests


(PART 1)


Two months after the battle with Michael at the Second Gate of Purgatory...

Ubica is sleeping on the bed in a rather large hotel room, the sun is out and even with it beating on his face through the window he’s still out like a rock.

Echoing through the room is the humming of some tune with seemingly no melody coming from Tsubiri from within the bathroom. It’s the kind of song that if she were to sing it to children they’d most certainly start crying; it’s a good thing that Ubica isn’t up to hear it because if he was, he’d make fun of her for days.

After her terrible song comes to an end, she comes out of the bathroom with her hair down and still slightly damp with only a small white towel covering her body. Steam from the hot bathroom follows her out of the door as she lets out a refreshed sigh.

The nice atmosphere around her turns heavy when she looks to the bed and finds Ubica still asleep and showing no signs of waking up. She puffs her cheeks out and peers at the clock on the wall to find that it is close to noon.

“Wake up already will you! I’ve been bored out of my mind for hours now!” she shouts as she hits him over the head with a pillow.

He doesn’t budge.

She then jumps on top of him and begins doing things to him that would only be seen in a torture chamber, and he still doesn’t move. Tsubiri sighs and prepares to give up and get off of him when his eyes slowly open.

The sun hits them and they light up in a bright green, Tsubiri can’t help but be infatuated by them, it’s like he’s a character in a fairy tale that wakes up beautifully after a good night’s rest.

However, that fairy tale like face is quickly shrouded in a dejected look as the first thing that leaves his mouth is, “What are you doing on me..? And why does my body ache all over!?”

“Whaa!? Is that anyway to talk to a cute girl who’s lying on top of you while dressed so skimpily??” she replied, puffing out her chest in the process.

Ubica rubs his eyes and says, “That’s the worst attempt at a distraction I’ve ever heard, you can’t even make up a proper excuse for you creepiness?? I think I’m going to sleep in the closet from now on------ Eh?“

The morning blur of his eyes fades and with a now clear vision, he scopes her from head to toe and for the first time he realizes that other than the towel, she is completely naked on top of him. To top it off, he’s only wearing his boxers so this is a more than a dangerous position.

“You aren't kidding!!”

He immediately tries to sit up and move away but his chest is pushed by the open hands of Tsubiri and his back once again is pressed flat on the bed.

“Look at me.” she says in a very serious manner.

The two stare at each other in the eyes for a few moments when Tsubiri smiles and sits back up on top of him.

“Guess what today is??”

“Uhhh, Tuesday?”

“No idiot, I want you to actually guess.”

“...It’s your birthday?”

“Bingo! I turned 20 today!”

“Really!?”

Ubica exclaimed as he sits up happily, he’s pretty much forgotten that he was just angry at her about a minute ago. If this was just one of her excuses it would have worked perfectly.

“That’s right, so what are you going to get me?”

“Hah?”

“I don’t know if you understand the concept of birthdays, but loved ones give each other gifts for such an occasion.” she said as if confused about it herself.

Perhaps it’s because every birthday she’s had her entire life has gone unnoticed by the people around her. She’s never had someone she could actually call a loved one until now, so she’s looking to take full advantage of that fact after such a long wait.

“I’m not that clueless, I know that birthdays are celebrated... I wouldn’t know what to get you though.”

A slight smile forms on Tsubiri’s face and her cheeks grow red as she leans into him, causing her chest to almost fall out of her towel. “I think I know what I want.”

Ubica feels her chest rub against his and it causes him to blush as well. “O-Oh? And what might that be?”

“You.”

“Oh come on that’s the corniest line ever!”

Tsubiri shines bright red as she shouts, “I-I’m serious! Don’t just step on my efforts like that! It took me a lot of courage to say...”

Ubica can see just how flustered she actually is; she’s wearing the same look someone would have after doing something outrageously embarrassing. This prompts him to believe that what she said is actually what she meant.

Still, just to be sure he asks, “Wait a second, you’re not joking?”

“Of course I’m not! I don’t always kid around you know?”

“But it’s so sudden...” he said as he diverted his gaze.

“I-It really isn’t... I mean, we’ve been together for a couple months now.” Her heart is beating so fast that she can hardly find the strength to speak these next words. “A-And I’m officially in my 20’s... This is what normal couples my age do right?”

“Uhhhm... I guess?”

“So does that mean you’ll do it?”

Ubica is struggling as hard as he can to not do anything rash, he has a beautiful girl sitting half naked on his lap and asking him to sleep with her. A normal guy in his right mind would never refuse such an offer.

And therein lies the problem, Ubica is no normal guy, in fact, he is so far from normal that he’s been practicing temperance as to not lose himself to the darkness of sin. All it takes is one slip up and all the work he’s done since he escaped the pit would amount to nothing.

“I... I!”

“Would you stop mumbling already!? Don’t tell me that you’re one of those aloof characters that everyone hates who gets all the girls to fall for him but is too much of a pansy to do anything about it!?”

She pretty much hit the bull's eye on that one.

Ubica frowns and shouts, “No I’m not!”

“Then do something! Move your hands and touch me you baby!”

“I can’t!”

“Why not!?”

“.....”

Her eyebrows steepen a little upon his silence. “I know that look... That’s the look you give when you feel guilty about something. I don’t know what it is and I won’t ask why, but I will ask you what you think we’d be doing if we went through with this?”

“We’d be having se---“

“Kyaah! Don’t say it out loud!!!” she shouts as she slams her palms on his face to keep him from finishing that embarrassing sentence.

“Well that’s what it’d be!”

“You’re wrong Ubica!”

“..?”

“You love me right?”

“I do.”

“And you know I love you right?”

“I do.”

With the palms that just slapped his face, she gently caresses each of his cheeks and looks him in the eyes when she says, “Then wouldn’t we be doing what people call making love?”

Looking deeper than just the physical aspect of things, Ubica realizes that what she’s saying is true. Isn’t this the way it’s supposed to be? There shouldn’t be anything holding him back from doing the things that people who are in love are able to do freely.

Without thinking any further than that, Ubica grabs her shoulders and flips her position from atop of him, to her being on the bottom with her back pressed on the bed. She reveals a surprised face as Ubica looks her square in the eyes with an intense glare. It’s almost like he’s turned into a completely different person.

He maneuvers his hand slowly toward Tsubiri’s chest and reaches for the spot where the towel is tied. All it will take is a flick of the wrist and her bare body will be shown in complete view; just the thought of this causes her to blush and shut her eyes nervously. But she isn’t fighting it, this is what she wanted after all, she just doesn’t know how to handle this kind of thing because she’s never been anywhere close to going this far with a guy. In fact, she’s never even held a guy’s hand until she met Ubica so this is all foreign territory.

His hand inches closer and closer until he makes contact and one of his fingers slide across her bare skin, causing her to flinch and moan in a nervous manner.

This makes him pause for a moment, but his mind is clouded, so something like that won’t stop him. He fully intends to take this all the way, even if he wanted to stop, he doubts his body would let him at this point.

He gently tugs on her towel and it comes loose, just a few more inches is all it will take.

Once it is just about there, and they are about to reach the point of no return...

BANG BANG BANG!!

An extremely loud knocking is heard on the hotel door.

“Time’s up! Your stay only lasts till noon!” A man's shout is heard from the other end of the door.

His angry tone is enough to make them stop dead in their tracks and have them look at the clock on the wall.

It says 12:04.

“A-Are you kidding me!?” Tsubiri asks in frustration.

She most likely meant to say that to herself but she shouted it so loud that the man outside could hear.

“I specifically told you guys last night that your stay only lasts till noon the next day! This is a very busy place you know!? I’ll give you five minutes to get outta here!”

She sighs and throws her hands over her face. “Ugaaah~! What a mood killer! We were just getting to the good part!”

After pouting for a bit, she realizes that Ubica isn’t atop her any more; instead he’s sitting on the corner of the bed with a very odd look on his face. It’s obvious that he’s flustered because his cheeks are bright red and he’s trying to hide it with his forearm.

(Ahhh cute!) she thinks to herself before snapping out of it and asking him, “Why are you the one looking so embarrassed?”

“.....”

He doesn’t answer and instead just looks away.

“Hey!” The annoying manager outside the door yells, “You have 4 minutes and 32 second to get out of here or I’m calling the cops!”

The fact that he even went to specifics of adding seconds to the total makes her realize that he's definitely serious.

“Alright already!” Tsubiri shouts while gritting her teeth, “Geez what kind of ridiculously impatient place is this!?”

She gets up off the bed and grabs her clothes hanging in the closet; she rushes to the bathroom to change when she is stopped by the soft voice of Ubica.

“Tsubiri.”

“Hm?” she mutters as she tilts her head.

“Let’s hold off on this kind of thing for just a little while longer... I didn’t realize until just now how unprepared I am to accept this yet.”

“You're not making much sense pal.”

“I’m sorry... I don’t really know how to explain it.”

Tsubiri sighs, but finds it easy to genuinely smile when she replies, “I think I understand, as long as I know you love me I’ll just have to make do with that.”

“I promise I’ll make it up to you soon, just be a little more patient with me until then.”

“Fueh~... Patience isn’t worth the wait.” she said sarcastically as she walks into the bathroom. She pokes her head through the doorway and sticks out her tongue before saying, "Just kidding."

Ubica then gets up to get dressed and smiles while doing so, with the blush still on his cheeks he says to himself, “I know how you feel... I can hardly contain myself.”

Putting his hand on his chest, he can feel the new heart in his chest beating like crazy.




Rage and the rest of the group find themselves in a zeppelin flying hundreds of feet up in the air. It isn’t the kind of zeppelin that is closed off and connected to the helium filled streamlined shaped aircraft, the dock that holds the passengers is connected by thick metal wires and hangs below it so it is open aired. This makes the ride a little bit more uncomfortable due to the wind and a lot more nerve racking due to the way the cabin sways from side to side in heavy gusts.

Just because the technology of Purgatory seems to double or even triple on each level, it doesn’t mean there still isn’t designer flaws. In the last two months of being on the third level, they have been able to experience things such as steam engine cars, zeppelins, and to the like of many other convenient modern inventions like analog phones. If one were to guess the time-frame of this technology, it’d be right around the beginning of the 20th century.

All of this technology is completely new to everyone here other than Rage and Messor. Of course, the world that’s now called Aires is fairly advanced as well, they have running water and plumbing, they can use electricity for light, but they’re still quite far behind in catching up to this world.

But adjusting to the technology of the 3rd level is the last thing for them to worry about, in fact, such a little thing like technology is the furthest thing from their minds at this moment.

The reason for that are the multiple explosions happening from all around the zeppelin every second.

BOOOOOOOMM!!!

“Another one’s coming!” shouts Napoleon as he points out into the sky.

Moving directly towards them and the zeppelin at a fast pace is what seems to be some kind of bird. It’s wingspan looks to be over ten feet and it leaves a trail of smoke behind as if it’s shadow had a mass. If one were to look closely enough, they could see that the head in between those large wings is not that of a bird, but rather it holds the face of a man surrounded by the hair of a lion’s main.

With this freakish sight, it is apparent that these things are some kind of demon, and Rage knows exactly what they are.

“These are Lilitu Demons!" Rage shouts as he waves to Napoleon and Strauphius as if telling them to be prepared. "We can’t let them get too close to us, these are the kind of demons that will sacrifice themselves by self-destructing!”

Messor runs up to the edge of the ship and replies, “Lilitu!? That’d mean that---“

BBAAAAANNNGGGG!!!

An explosion rips the air above them and the aircraft they are riding on shakes violently. Before they could even react to the loud noise they are covered in a maelstrom of sand.

Naturally, no one other than Rage and Messor know just what in the world this is; the others are almost in a state of shock as the wind gets louder and the zeppelin begins to spin.

“What in the world are these things!?” shouts Aria as she ducks for cover.

“They’re demons, and if we don’t keep them away we’re done for! I want all of the women here to cover their mouths quickly!” Rage replies anxiously.

“What? Why??”

“Don’t ask questions you stupid girl! If you’re not careful you can lose your soul!”

He then gets up from covering himself, walks to the ledge of the ship and points his scythe out to the sky, moving it along with the movement of the silhouette of one of the Lilitu.

The Lilitu banks its way backwards and begins zooming toward Rage and the zeppelin once more. It’s as though the two are in a showdown as Rage and the demon both prepare to attack each other. Without a moment’s hesitation the Lilitu opens its mouth freakishly wide, revealing its sharp teeth and lets out an ear shattering screech.

As if that was a trigger to something, the demon puffs up to three times its regular size and explodes in a great fireball and sends another torrent of thick sand heading right towards them.

“Do something about that sand already! We can’t afford to take another hit!” Messor yells as she continuously creates little black butterflies.

Dozens of them float around her just waiting for a chance to exit the zeppelin and attack the oncoming barrage of demons.

When she said that they can’t afford another hit, she means two things. One is that the fine particles of the sand can, and will eventually rip a hole in the zeppelin’s balloon. Two, is because of a power that sand holds that specifically carries different negative effects for each gender.

“Not yet, if I hit it now it’ll just spread even faster.”

“You know what will happen to the men on this ship if this continues, their insides will be on the deck of the ship if they aren’t careful! Just buy me some time and I’ll take care of the rest.” Messor shouted while turning back to the barrage of birds.

She’s sweating and looks to be in some sort of pain as she makes her butterflies; this is obviously taking a toll on her.

“Fine.”

Rage sends a black mass of cloud shooting from his scythe and directly toward the incoming sand of the Lilitu. It hits the sand and its mass instantly widens and spreads all over, though its movement is slowed, its radius has doubled, it’s only a matter of time before it makes contact with the ship and the passenger’s lungs.

Rage looks anxiously in Messor's direction as if making sure that she’s actually doing something and finds that all of the butterflies that surrounded her are nowhere to be seen. He looks all around and sees that the butterflies have dispersed all around the zeppelin and are flapping their wings outward in the direction of the incoming mass of sand.

A fierce wind comes from them and begins to blow the sand away from the ship. Everything seems to be going fine until the sand maneuvers itself through Messor’s wind and continues its collision course with the balloon; this time it hardened into a solid giant ball the size of a pick up truck.

There is no doubt that this will destroy the zeppelin.

“!?”

“Shit!” Rage hisses, and immediately attempts to use his scythe to keep it from making contact.

But before he could, the escaped ball of solid sand suddenly stops cold in its tracks and flies off in a different direction, completely missing the zeppelin. Immediately after, the sand looming all around the ship disperses into the sky and the sun once again shines on them.

“!?”

“Sorry for not helping sooner, I was taking care of a couple more of those flying things on the other side of the ship.” said Trojia as she calmly walks between Messor and Rage.

“What do you mean you took care of a couple more?” Rage asks.

Trojia points to behind her and shows them a couple plumes of smoke and feathers left by the remnants of a couple dead Lilitu. The dangerous sand left by their remains fall harmlessly to the ground as if falling to the bottom of an hourglass.

The zeppelin has been attacked by a dozen of these strange demons and both Rage and Messor had trouble destroying some of them without damaging themselves and the others in the process. It’s not as though it was difficult for them to kill off the Lilitu, it’s just that they have too much destructive power to keep them from damaging the areas around them as well.

Trojia on the other hand, had no problem disposing of two of them herself, and just aided in keeping the debris of the third from making contact with the zeppelin. This shows that she has more control over her power than even Rage and Messor.

“How did you??”

“It would seem that objects that aren’t anchored to anything are the easiest for me to move with my psychokinesis. I simply had them crash into each other before they could harm us.” Trojia calmly replies.

It’s as though she is somehow accustomed to such an irregular thing.

Rage and Messor want to inquire on but Trojia quickly changes the subject, “So what exactly are these things? Does this have something to do with the third Gate?”

Her figure is followed by the wide eyes of her amazed comrades as she walks to the edge of the ship and looks down.

Flying over a seemingly endless desert, she spots the form of the top of a massive castle poking out of a thick sandstorm. The ground below them isn’t visible but it is obvious that this castle is miles away; what is so amazing is how this structure looks so large even though they are so far from it.

“That’s it...” she said under her breath, answering her own question before Rage and Messor could.

She then walks into the cabin of the ship to confront the petrified captain and his crew members, leaving Rage and Messor behind.

“There’s something off about that girl...” Messor said while biting her lip.

“You noticed too?”

“How could I not? She’s gotten way too strong over the past couple months; the limiter on her brain shouldn’t be able to manipulate the abilities I gave her to such an extent so quickly.”

Messor did this for a specific reason, to guarantee her victory in a fight with the people she gave those powers to should things escalate into that. In other words, she did it to protect herself. She simply opened the gate to the abilities already stored from within them. Getting stronger, and being able to mentally control such power takes time, a lot of it at that. Two months is far too soon for her to be doing things like this, she’s even left Napoleon in the dust.

This causes Messor to be suspicious, how is something like this possible?

What could’ve happened to make her take such a giant leap in her evolution process?

Not only is she suspicious of Trojia, she’s now threatened by her; the whole point in doing this for them the way she did was in order for her not to feel that way.

Messor frowns slightly and stares at Trojia through the window of the cabin.

Rage catches this but chooses to ignore it by saying, “We don’t have time to think about that... Up ahead is the Third Gate, and judging by the Lilitu, I’m sure you can guess who the Gatekeeper is.”

“You’re right, I can... That would explain why the entire third level of Purgatory knows the location of the Gate; she’s luring them in.” she replies.

“That’s the same feeling I got from all this, that woman is like a siren, she’ll tempt all men who are weak of heart and devour them as soon as they get close enough... It’s obvious she’s targeting the men of our group, we can’t let them become victims to her debauchery. We’re going to have to be very careful.”

Messor sighs and gazes out to the massive black castle that's surrounded by a hurricane of sand.

She then folds her arms and softly says, “That sounds just like her... Lilith.”




Tsubiri and Ubica walk along the bustling street of this hectic city. They have been staying at random hotels on the outskirts of town and haven't gone in to go sightseeing yet, and after walking around for a while they are amazed at how big of a city it is. This place is much to the akin of an early New York or Chicago in the beginning of the 1900's so it's more or less a culture shock for them to go from one environment to the other so quickly. The two have a hard time getting used to walking on the sidewalk and pressing buttons to cross the street to avoid being hit by cars. The sights of the street lights and the smell of the steam engine smoke is something Ubica hasn’t felt in a very long time, and in Tsubiri’s case it is something she has yet to experience.

Rather than be negative about it, Tsubiri’s face is lit up like a housewife on vacation as she witnesses things her eyes have never seen before.

Seeing how happy she is, Ubica can’t help but smile. He nudges on her shoulder and asks, “Have you found anything you might want for your birthday?”

“I want one of those things!” she replied excitedly as she points to a bright red steam engine car speeding down the street.

Ubica looks at her dejectedly and replies, “How about something a little cheaper?”

“Geez, you’re so broke.”

“Whatever, you’re in the same boat as me.”

Tsubiri looks around at all of the signs hanging off of the tall buildings when something catches her eye; she squints slightly and begins dragging Ubica along. “The least you can do for me right now is get me a drink, doesn’t a cocktail sound nice?”

“I guess, but we really ought to be figuring out what to do next. Getting drunk isn’t going to help us do that.”

“Oh come on we’re taking the day off from that! Today’s special.”

Ubica takes a sigh of resignation and continues to allow himself to be dragged along the sidewalk. He doesn’t fight it until it becomes apparent where he’s being led to.

“Wait a second, where are you going?”

“To the bar obviously, it’s right here.”

“No no no, this is definitely not a bar!”

“What are you talking about?”

She ignores him and pulls him inside a shady entrance way at the bottom of a rundown building. The first things they hear are loud music, people hollering, and glass breaking. All of this is accompanied by the smell of cigar and cigarette smoke, along with the sight of bright multicolored lights flashing from the ceiling.

Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not a bar, so Tsubiri puffs out her chest and says, “See, there’s nothing in here but alcohol, wound up men, and naked girls. So quit your whining and lets... Huh?”

There’s something that doesn’t fit the description of a normal bar in her sentence, and she doesn’t catch on to that until after she finishes speaking. Her face instantly grows red and her eyes widen as she looks to a stage in the center of this amphitheater like room and sees five women dancing to the loud music butt naked while men throw money at them.

“HAH!?!?”

“I told you! You airhead!” Ubica shouts as he finds a way to shift his gaze from the sight.

Tsubiri on the other hand has her eyes glued on the naked women. “W-W-What are they doing!? Don’t they know that guys can see them!?”

“That’s the whole point!”

“What kind of a place is this!?”

“It’s a saloon! Couldn’t you read the sign out front that said ‘The Bare All Saloon’??”

“Obviously not! You make it sound like the sign was way noticeable!”

“The sign stretches across the entire building! Are you blind??”

“J-Just shut up and let’s goooo!”

Tsubiri pushes his back to make him hurry up and get out of the strip club. Even though she is trying to leave as soon as possible, Ubica fights her by moving slow in order to make a point.

“Not before you admit that you either need glasses, or say that you are an absolute idiot for not listening to me.”

“Forget it that’s not gonna happen!”

The two of them exit the building and stumble back onto the bustling boulevard; even though it’s only the early afternoon there are still hundreds of people walking around, riding bikes, or driving their cars from one destination to the other. This kind of environment can only be found in a metropolis like this one and even though they’ve been here for a couple hours, they still find it hard to get used to.

They walk aimlessly for a few minutes when they come across an actual bar that doesn’t double as a strip club. The entrance is normal, there are windows in the front so one could actually see inside, logos of this town's most popular beer can be seen hanging on the walls. This is definitely what they were looking for in the first place, and if one of them still had any doubt, the sign at the top of the door that says 'Gillian's Pub' is confirmation.

The two walk into this decent size barroom and grab a seat on a couple stools.

Tsubiri sighs and gestures to the bartender. “Give me a shot of the strongest stuff you got.”

The bartender looks at her without any kind of expression and replies, “Alright.”

After pulling a sketchy looking bottle off of the glass cabinet behind him, he pours it into a little cup and slides it to her. This bottle is not only sketchy, it has a skull and cross bones plastered on the label of it, and in bold letters the warning disclaimer on the bottle says,

‘MAY CAUSE BLINDNESS.'

“Do you want to open up a tab?” The bartender asks as if he’s not expecting her to want to drink any more after this one shot.

Tsubiri smiles, points at Ubica with her thumb and says, “This guy does.”

Ubica slumps his shoulders and drops his jaw. “You’re kidding right? You can’t possibly want to drink that after reading that label.”

Tsubiri ignores him, grabs the shot glass and smells it, a content smile forms on her face as she proceeds to shove it under Ubica’s nose. “Hey hey take a whiff of this and tell me how good it is!”

The fumes of this poisonous drink hits the innards of his nose and instantly causes his eyes to water. Fighting back the nauseating feeling brewing in his gut he covers his mouth and starts coughing.

“Hahahahahaha!”

Ubica turns away from her and shouts, “Not only are you blind, your nose doesn’t work either! That stuff smells awful!”

“Definitely not, you have to appreciate it before you can drink it.”

“I appreciate the fact that it’s not drinkable!”

“Hehehe, bottoms up!”

Tsubiri throws the alcohol down her throat and swallows it down effortlessly, her cheeks instantly grow red and she smiles as she slams the glass down on the bar table.

“Fuuaahhh! Good stuff!”

“Geez you’re so un-lady-like, just where in the world did you learn how to drink like that anyways??”

She shrugs her shoulders at him and once again flags down the bartender, she asks him for a couple beers knowing that Ubica isn’t going to go anywhere near that hard drink she just had.

The bartender begins pouring them their drinks when Ubica's gaze shifts from the alcohol to outside the window and onto the street. From there, a shop on the other side of the street from the bar catches his eye.

“Hold off on my drink for a second, I gotta step out real fast.”

“Wha?? You’re going to leave me just cause I had a shot?”

“Of course not idiot, there’s something I want to get before I start drinking.”

“What is it?”

“Can’t tell you.”

Ubica gets up off of his stool, pats her on her shoulder and proceeds to walk toward the exit.

“You’re seriously leaving?? What if a guy tries to make a move on me while you’re gone? A girl alone in a bar is a target you know!?”

“If a guy hits on you, just electrocute him.” Ubica waves and walks out of the door, “I’ll be right back.”

Tsubiri pouts and starts drinking her beer with puffed out cheeks, she assumes that Ubica left for a good reason but she’s still not happy about being left drinking alone in a bar full of guys on her birthday.

“Whatever, it’s not like anyone’s going to come and hit on me anyways...” she says to herself.

“Hey there.” A man’s voice comes from the bar stool adjacent to her.

“Instant approach!?”

She turns to her left and sees a very attractive guy sitting next her and leaning in close with a seducing smile.

Tsubiri sighs and looks away, she can’t believe that someone would come in and hit on her like this literally seconds after Ubica left.

The man has flowing black hair and stunning hazel eyes, his tall and thin figure and the clothes he’s wearing gives off the impression that he is someone very important. However, this raises a red flag in Tsubiri’s mind; it’s because of this air of his that instantly causes her to be suspicious of him. An upper-class guy in a janky bar is more than enough of a tell that this guy is up to no good.

“I saw that your date left you alone, did you two get in a fight?” he asks innocently.

“Nope.” she replies bluntly.

“So he's your boyfriend?”

“Yup.”

Tsubiri is answering his questions abruptly and in such a short fashion because she is completely disinterested in anything he has to say.

The man notices this and doesn’t seem to mind, so he presses on. “Hmm, I can see that you’re not very tolerant towards members of the opposite sex... I can help you with that you know?”

Tsubiri pugs the rest of her beer and slams it on the bar table, she turns to him and with a frown on her face says, “Listen pal, I don’t know what you want, but whatever it is it’s not going to come from me. You’re better off just walking away before you get hurt.”

The man smiles and replies, “I don’t think that there’s anything you could do that’d hurt me. Despite my appearance I’m quite strong.”

“I’m not talking about breaking your heart if that’s what you mean.”

“Neither am I.” he quickly responds.

Instead of that innocent smile that’s been plastered on his face this an entire time, a devilish grin takes its place.

Electricity begins surging in Tsubiri’s fingertips as soon as she sees this because she feels threatened by his glare.

The two look into each other’s eyes for a moment until the man backs away from her and his gentle smile returns. “I see that my pursuit of you isn’t going to go anywhere, perhaps a woman is better suited for you?”

He turns around and walks away, not giving her a chance to say anything in return. Tsubiri watches him disappear into the crowd and she gets back to what she was doing before.

“Geez what a creep.” she says to herself as she signals the bartender for another drink.

“I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation with that guy.” said a woman sitting a few stools down from Tsubiri.

Tsubiri turns to her and shows a surprised expression because she didn’t even notice she was there until now. The woman has long and wavy black hair with light brown highlights rolling down to the tips, she’s dressed even better than the man earlier and their eyes are the same hazel color.

“Eh-Uh...”

“What’s wrong?”

“I-It’s nothing...”

(Those two kind of remind me of each other...) she thinks to herself as she snatches the drink slid to her from the other side of the table.

The woman smiles and tells the bartender, “I’ll cover this one for her.”

She then puts the money in front of her and waits for him to get it whenever he gets a chance.

She turns back to Tsubiri and continues to speak,

“You were right to give that guy the cold shoulder; every girl in this area knows that he’s a scumbag. Apparently his family is very wealthy so he uses that to get with gold digging girls looking to land the big one. Once he’s done with them he dumps them like trash.”

“Oh I see... I did get a weird vibe from him.”

“Hmm a woman’s intuition never fails. Well anyways, just forget about that guy, I’d like to hear about the cute boy you were with earlier. He’s your boyfriend right?”

Hearing an attractive woman like her bringing Ubica up makes her feel threatened as well, not in the same way as the guy, but more as competition.

Because of this she tries to reply as confident sounding as possible when she replies, “Yeah we are, it’s been a couple months now.”

“Good for you, he’s quite the attractive man. I haven’t seen a guy like that in years.” she said, shooting a glare towards the exit as she leans her head on the back of her hand.

“Years? Haha you’ll sound like an old lady if you say things like that.” Tsubiri replies, changing the topic off of Ubica for her own comfort.

She is curious though, the woman she’s talking to looks to be in her mid-twenties, but the way she talks makes her feel almost too wise for her appearance.

The woman doesn’t flinch when she responds, “Old enough to tell that you guys haven’t done anything with each other yet... Am I right?”

Tsubiri’s shoulders jump. “Eh? W-Where did that!? Um...”

The woman laughs, “Your reaction tells me it’s exactly as I thought it was.”

Tsubiri doesn’t know why she can’t say anything in return; she instead just stays quiet and sinks her face in her beer mug.

“Let me ask you something.” The woman says, she leans in closer to Tsubiri when she finishes, “How badly do you want him?”

In a flash, a tremendous weight overruns Tsubiri's body and her mouth seemingly moves on its own when she answers,

“A lot.”

(I didn’t want to say that...) she thinks to herself in an almost chilling fashion.

The woman keeps getting closer to Tsubiri, so much so that their shoulders begin to touch. Tsubiri is stuck in a paralytic state and cannot move; a cold sweat rolls down her cheek as the woman’s presence begins to weigh more and more on her.

“I can help you with that.” The woman whispered.

Now Tsubiri can really feel the similarities between the woman and the man that she shrugged off earlier; the way they both said this phrase, it’s almost as though they are the same exact people.

“Just one little touch; and I can make you irresistible to him. Just say the word, just tell me that this is what you want.”

The woman’s hazel eyes begin to glow into an almost gold color, they look just like it would if the sun was shining into them directly.

“Say it... Tsubiri.”

“Kkhh...”

(How did she know my name? Is she some kind of psychic??) Her mind races, unable to put her thoughts into words.

“Say it.”

The woman’s words cause Tsubiri’s mouth to open by itself; the woman smiles as she lays in wait for the words she wants to hear, but she is surprised when the voice that exit’s Tsubiri’s mouth is not what was expected.

“W-Who are you..?”

The woman frowns, she backs up slightly and says, “I guess it won’t hurt to tell you who I am, it just might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back in your case. So look me in the eye Tsubiri.”

The two stare into each other’s eyes when the woman begins to say, “My name is... Asmo-----“

“Hey sorry for the wait!” said Ubica as he sits on the seat to the right of Tsubiri.

His voice interrupted what the woman was saying and the heavy weight that plagued Tsubiri disappeared in a flash.

“Whoah!”

“Sorry did I spook you?”

“N-No, I was just...”

She turns to the stool on the left where the woman once sat and is shocked to see that she is gone, it’s like she vanished into thin air. The bar isn’t all that big so one would figure they’d still be able to see a person that stands out as much as her somewhere, but she’s nowhere to be found.

(Who was that lady..?) she asks herself in her head.

“I’m surprised you’re not asking me where I went.” Ubica said while nudging her to get her attention.

She turns to him and shrugs the woman off, assuming she was just some person who was ‘aware’ that was attempting to rob her or something.

“I can see the excitement in your face so I’ll go along with it. Where did you go?” she asks, completely swept back into his pace.

“Alright! I left to get you a present.”

Her face lights up.

“Really!?”

“Yup!”

“What is it what is it??”

Ubica reaches into his jacket pocket and says, “Close your eyes.”

She looks at him dejectedly and says, “Ugh, if this just ends up being a kiss or something I’m going to kill you.”

“It’s not, don't ruin the moment and just shut your eyes already.”

“Huahh fine.” she replies with a sigh and shuts her eyes.

That’s when she feels Ubica’s hands slide across her face followed by the feeling of something on the bridge of her nose and in the creases of her ears.

“?”

“Okay, you can open your eyes now.”

Her bright gold eyes open and the first sight she sees is Ubica’s flushed expression through two lenses; that’s when she realizes that he had put glasses on her face.

“You know that I can actually see fine right?”

“O-Of course I know! They aren’t really glasses, it’s more like an apparel item for fashion, they don’t work at all. It’s just that since we were talking about it earlier it got me thinking...”

“Thinking what?”

“That you’d look good in glasses...”

Tsubiri chuckles and asks, “Oh so you’re into that kind of thing huh? Well, did I meet your expectations?”

Ubica’s blushing face seems to go brighter and he looks away nervously when he replies, “No... You crushed my expectations by a mile. You look absolutely amazing.”

This causes Tsubiri to blush along with him. “C-Come on, no need to overdo it on the flattery. I can’t look that good.”

“I’m not overdoing at all, I’m serious... I almost regret giving them to you because I don’t want other guys to see you. Ah it’s not like I’m saying you weren’t pretty without them or anything! It’s just that, uh... It’s just that I think I’ll get jealous maybe... Umm, I—“

“I get it.” she says with a tender smile, “If you say they look good on me, I’ll take your word for it. And if you like it, then I like it too. I’ll cherish this gift, thank you Ubica.”

“That’s not the only thing I got you.”

Ubica reveals the hand he had hidden from behind his back and she finds that he is holding a large multi-colored sprinkled cupcake with a purple candle sticking out of it. He sets it on the a little plate and lights the candle with a match that he found on the bar table available for smokers.

“I know it’s not a cake or anything, I just figured that something along those lines would be better than nothing... It’s chocolate by the way.”

She smiles brightly and wipes her eyes from under her new glasses, she’s fighting back tears of happiness. Tsubiri has never had the proper birthday experience she’s always longed for; when her parents abandoned her at the gates of the La’Juutian castle, her youth had officially ended. In fact, she wouldn’t even know that this day is actually her birthday if it weren’t for the note her parents left with her to give to the guards of the castle that stated her general information, without that she could be any age and not even know it.

It’s because of this reason that she is so grateful to Ubica, she never would have guessed less than a year ago that she’d be celebrating her 20th birthday with someone like him. Although things have been stressful, and sometimes tragic since she met him, she wouldn’t want things any other way. This has been the happiest time of her life, and to celebrate this birthday adds confirmation to her feelings.

“I don’t even know what to say... Thank you so much.”

Dv06-chp01 img001color.png

Ubica puts his hand on her shoulder and says, “You don’t need to say thank you or anything. This is a normal thing for couples to do right?”

He then signals the bartender and has him come over, he leans over the counter and gestures with two fingers pointed up.

“I’d like two shots of that strong stuff you served us earlier.”

The bartender takes the same bottle with the skull and crossbones and pours two shot glasses full and slides it in front of Ubica.

Ubica takes one of the shots and hands it Tsubiri, he grabs the other one and holds it up while saying, “Before you blow out the candle, I want to take this shot with you.”

“Didn’t you almost throw up by just smelling it earlier? What’s with the sudden change of heart?” she asks while tilting her head.

“Trust me, having it this close to my face is burning my eyes. That leads into the point in why I want to drink this more than anything right now.”

“?”

“This is my last gift for you. I guess it’s more like an example than anything else really.”

He holds the shot glass up, prompting Tsubiri to do the same.

Looking at her square in the eye, he continues, “Tsubiri... This is my way of showing you that I will do anything for you, even if it’s something I don’t necessarily enjoy, like drinking down this poisonous liquid you call a beverage, I’ll do it happily as long as it's with you.”

Tsubiri’s so red it looks that she’s about to explode, she’s utterly speechless as she watches Ubica’s serious expression as he talks.

“That being said, let’s drink this together, and celebrate your birthday knowing that I’m going to do anything, and I mean anything, to be able to celebrate it with you again next year.”

Tsubiri can no longer keep the tears from falling; they roll down her cheeks as her lips rise into a beautiful smile. There are a bunch of things she wants to say back to that, the least she can do is articulate the feelings in her chest that match his.

The way she does that, is by saying,

“Cheers.”

The two drink down the shot of alcohol and celebrate this special day with a heartfelt commitment.

Nothing can destroy the fuzzy feeling of this moment shared between the two. That is, until Ubica starts coughing as if he’s about to die, shattering the romance in an instant.

“Uwahhh! Kaaaagghhhh! I'm choking! I totally can’t breathe!” he shouts, his face turning blue as he holds his throat.

The back of his throat feels like it is being constricted by a belt, and if it weren't for that belt, a heap of something nasty would exit his mouth and likely clear the entire room.

“Bwahahaha! Here here take a bite of this, it’ll help you.”

Tsubiri blows out the candle on the cupcake and proceeds to shove it down Ubica’s throat, laughing loudly while doing so.

This is how the two of them get along after all, things will always turn hectic one way or another.

Judging by how happy they look is proof that they wouldn’t want it any other way.




After sharing the cupcake and polishing off their drinks, the two stumble out of the bar and back onto the bustling street of the metropolis. Tsubiri is latched onto Ubica’s arm, causing him to walk off balance. The look of content on their faces is brought to them by the effects of alcohol, Ubica seems a bit more wobbly than Tsubiri though, that one shot was enough to get a lightweight like him on a good one.

“Hey Ubica.” Tsubiri said while leaning her head on his shoulder.

“What’s up?”

“...How about we stay like this?”

“I don’t see why not.”

“I’m not talking about right now, I’m talking about the future.”

“What do you mean?”

“What I mean to ask is... How about we keep doing this? You know, just the two of us. Can’t we just forget about going back to the others and back to Aires? We could find a place to settle down here and live a life without worrying about anything. We can do that right?”

“Tsubiri...”

“I know you have your goals back at home, but isn’t the life we lead now all you need? It’s less stressful, it’s easier, and it’s more fun... So what do you say? Can’t we stay like this?”

Tsubiri’s hiding her face deep into his shoulder so he can’t see her. However, Ubica can tell from her demeanor just how badly she wants to hear the answer she’s hoping for.

After a few second’s pause, Ubica reveals a strained smile and replies, “I’d want nothing more than to live a worry free life with you... But I---“

“Ohh well look at you two. How nice it must be to display your affection in public so carefree.”

A woman’s voice interrupts Ubica’s speech from the sidewalk in front of them. Tsubiri recognizes this voice and pulls her face from Ubica’s shoulder and takes a look.

“You're that woman!”

Standing in front of them is the suspicious woman Tsubiri had met in the bar a little while back. The woman is walking toward them with wide smile, she looks as though she has just found a long lost treasure.

“It sure has been a while Ubica, I’m glad to see your appearance hasn’t changed since the last time I saw you.” The woman says, continuing her menacing walk towards them.

“Who are you?” Ubica asked threateningly.

The reason he’s not polite is because he understands that if someone knows who he is, it’s definitely someone from his past. He moves in front of Tsubiri and guards her, assuming that the person walking toward them is an enemy.

"....."

The woman just glares at him with that same smile.

“Answer me!”

“Do you know that there is a very fine line between loving and lusting over your significant other? It’s so thin that one can’t tell the difference, and in turn is consumed with the sin." She shrugs her shoulders and proceeds to dodge his question as she continues, "Now I’m not saying that you two are in that boat, but the lust is certainly there.”

Ubica’s eyes widen as if he’s realizing something, his mouth faintly opens and a slight groan of shock exits the back of his throat.

The woman feeds off this and says, “That girl is consumed by it, she loves you so much that her lust is at an overwhelming high, she’s trying her best to hide it though. Back at the bar I took the form of an attractive man to test her body’s self-control and I found that her body only reacts to you. So to me, she was like a beacon in the gloom.”

“Y-You’re...”

“However, I wouldn’t have been able to find you with just her feelings alone... The fact of the matter is, you lust for her far more than she does for you. You were my very own lighthouse Ubica, I could find you so easily because of the ever growing lust for that girl brewing inside of you.”

The woman keeps walking and Ubica finally feels that he needs to do something about it, the time for figuring out this woman’s identity is over, now he knows for sure who this person is.

He gets ready to rush her but is shocked when he finds that he cannot move at all, he remains planted in front of Tsubiri like a statue.

“Now now my precious Ubica, you should know that I can use the lust in your body to make it react the way I want. Don’t expect to be moving anytime soon, it takes a while to wear off.”

“Tsubiri... Run away.”

“I-I can’t...”

“Just do it! You don’t know who we’re dealing with!”

The woman reaches Ubica and puts her hands on his cheeks, she chuckles when she says, “She won't run away because she doesn’t want to. She’s in the same boat as you, she can’t move.”

“If you touch her I'll!”

“Relax, I’m only after you for now... So I’m going to ask you to come with me.” She then turns to Tsubiri and says, “I should introduce myself to you before I do this. My name is Asmodeus, I hope you don’t mind me stealing your boyfriend for a bit.”

Asmodeus, the only woman in the Hierarchy of the 7 Demons of Hell, shifts her face towards Ubica and proceeds to kiss him.

Ubica’s face turns to shock as he feels her tongue slide down throat, he’d want nothing more than for her to stop, but sadly enough, he’s paralyzed.

Tsubiri can’t handle watching this, she shuts her eyes tightly as she waits for it to stop; and that’s when she hears an odd sound.

It’s as though a flock of birds are flying all around her.

She opens her eyes to find that seemingly hundreds of small blackbirds are flying off from the area Ubica and Asmodeus were standing.

Once the birds fly off and disperse, the figures of Ubica and the demon disappear.

The control over Tsubiri’s body returns and she frantically looks around the bustling metropolis to catch sight of them. She grows increasingly nervous with each second, and the way the people of the city go about their business as if nothing happened adds despair to her fear.

“Ubica!” she shouts as she runs into a few alleyways to find him.

When no sight of him shows after a few minutes, a deep lonely feeling brews in her chest when the realization that he was so easily abducted against his will hits her. The pain of being separated from him for the first time in months is nowhere near the pain she feels when the thought of her being separated forever hits her.

He’s in danger at this moment; and in her desperation, she continues to frantically run across the city in order to find him.

Tears fall down her face and land on the sidewalk behind her as she shouts his name at the top of her lungs.

“UBICAAAAA!!!!!!!”



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