"Anya, get to work before I slice your throat, you pathetic, filthy human!"
I picked up the laundry bag and walked outside to the river. My lord didn't
like to wait for anything. Thankfully, the river was nearby so I could quickly wash the master's
clothes. Pulling the bag of sandy, yellow soap out of my pocket, I grabbed his pants and dunked them
in the cold water. Even though the river had a calming effect on me, I needed to get back to the
hideout as soon as possible. A human alone in Demon World meant certain death. Demons hated humans
with the utmost passion, so it was quite a surprise when the King of Thieves, Yoko Kurama who hated
humans intensely, took mercy on me and "generously" made me a servant of his. According to
his "majesty", he needed a new servant after his old one mysteriously died. I think he
just wanted a human to beat around. I had enough scars and bruises to remind me not to get him
I finished scrubbing the last of his clothes and ran back inside the hideout underneath
the vines. In his room, I folded his clothes neatly and started my next task. Of course, since I was
the only human servant, I got the most work and harsher punishments. The worst punishment I had
happened after Kuronue's death. Yoko was a time bomb waiting to explode when it happened. I said one
wrong thing and I was tortured to the point of death every week. Some time passed before he accepted
his death and went back to his cold, heartless self.
Night came in a couple of hours and I
was done with all of my work. The servants' quarters were located underground. Each servant had
their own bed made of a pile of huge leaves. I took out a large piece of cloth that served as a
towel and went to a small pond in the caverns to take a bath.
"Anya!" I heard
behind me. Fang, a half-wolf demon and my only friend, came up to me. "Going to the
"Cool, me too. I wanna get all this grime off me before it
becomes me," she laughed. We talked all the way to the bath pond. We stripped off our clothes
and slid into the cold water.
"Ah, that feels great," I said as I dunked my head
"Yes, it does."
Fang paddled around a bit. She was the first demon
I'd known that didn't hate humans. I wasn't hurt by the other thieves or servants under Yoko's
"I'm so tired." Fang stretched her arms. "I don't know
how long I can keep working like this."
"I do. A long time. You know they will never
let us go. The other thing we can do, besides die, is be entertainment for them."
no! I don't want them touching me!"
"What about Kurama?"
"Not even him! I
don't know what diseases he's carrying from all those whores he's slept
"STDs," I whispered to myself.
"What did you
"If that's what I think it is, then I know he's got it." I
I remembered learning about STDs back home. I didn't remember who taught it, where
they taught it at, or who took me to that place to learn it. The fact was I didn't remember anything
from my past. I knew I lived with humans and faces of people that I knew popped up every once in a
while. I went from being with humans to serving real demons. What a transformation. Kuronue was the
one who gave me my name, Anya.
already. We have to go to sleep." Fang had her towel around her. She stood on the edge staring
at me with worried eyes.
"Sorry. I was thinking."
"About Kurama?" She
"Shut up." I stepped out of the water and wrapped my towel around
"I don't get why you like that bastard. He has only his looks and you know how much he
"I don't get it either."
We picked up our clothes and walked
back to our room. Fang had a point. Yoko was heartless and a bastard. He cared about himself and
never worried about others, except, maybe, Kuronue when he was alive. I didn't know why I liked him.
I just did, despite what he had done to me. There were times he left me alone or didn't give me a
lot of work and was somewhat decent to me. The key word there was somewhat.
I put on a clear
pair of clothes and shoved the dirty ones in a bag. All servants had two pairs of clothes, one to
work in and the other to sleep in. Fang ran up to me and hugged me from behind.
Let go. I can't breathe."
"I wanted to give you a hug goodnight." I pulled her to
me and gave her a hug.
"Night, Anya. See ya in the
morning." She ran to her bed across the room.
I pushed some leaves aside and situated
myself in the center. No blankets were provided so all of us had to make do with the leaves. Lying
in the dark made me think of what Fang had said earlier about Yoko. She was right. I never had a
chance with him, unless he was kidnapped and brainwashed into liking my type. Even though it's nice
to think about, I knew it was a fool's wish and nothing more. My eyes closed and I let sleep take me
into my foolish dreams.
Cooking for a band of thieves was hard work. Large amounts of meat
had to be brought in, enough for everyone to be satisfied. Fang, Usaka, Hira, and I took turns
cooking a slab of meat over a fire. Usaka was a wind demoness with an attitude to match Yoko's. Hira
was her accomplice. An elemental, she proved to be as nasty as her friend.
you take over for me? I need to get some herbs."
I walked out of
the kitchen and down the hall, passing Yoko's meeting room. Whenever he had a plan to rob a place,
he called all the thieves into that room. A little further away was an open area that shelved
various herbs and plants, all of them Yoko's handiwork. I picked some of them when I heard shuffles
of feet and loud, gruff voices come down the hall.
'Yoko has another raid planned.'
picked off the rest of the herbs and tiptoed to the room's doors. I knew I shouldn't eavesdrop, but
humans are naturally curious. Besides, when would I pass up a chance to hear
"Listen, everyone!" The murmurs quieted down. "I'm going to Oraki's
castle tomorrow. There is something he has of value that I want. You need not know the details. The
rest of you are going to stay here."
"But Kurama, you should take one of us with you,
to help you!" one yelled.
"I don't need anyone's help."
"My lord, Zukoharo
is right. Oraki has a horde of demons at his command. He has a well-guarded keep that's impossible
to get through." Yoko approached him and said in a low voice:
"Do you doubt me,
"No, Kurama! I just-"
I heard Taru choke and hit the ground. I
wasn't scared because this wasn't the first time Yoko had killed a companion.
anyone else have any objections?" No one spoke. "Good. You can leave."
back to the open area and pressed myself flat against the rock wall. I waited until their voices
could no longer be heard. Peeking around the corner, I didn't see anyone. I checked that the herbs
weren't ruined and made my way back to the kitchen.
"Anya, get in here!"
clutched the herbs and walked into the meeting room. Yoko stood in the middle with his arms crossed.
The look he gave me had chills run up and down my body. I lowered my head. The floor was red with
"Why were you listening outside the door?"
I swallowed the
lump in my throat. How could you tell someone you listened in because you just wanted to hear their
"I was picking herbs when I happened to hear voices coming from in here. I peeked
in to see who it was and I saw you talking to your men. I went back to pick some more herbs. That's
all. I didn't hear anything else."
He spoke not a word. I kept my eyes on the floor and
waited for him to voice my punishment. I dug myself into a hole so deep, not even the gods could
help me. Yoko walked closer to me. With each step, my heart raced faster. Each step called my name.
"You do know it's not wise to lie to me?"
"Yes, my lord." He circled
"But since I am in a good mood, I will forget this little incident. Make it known to the
other servants that I won't be here tomorrow."
"Yes, Lord Kurama."
about to walk away when I did something extremely stupid. Oh, what the hell? He knew
"Lord Kurama?" He turned around. "Do you think it's wise to go on a
raid by yourself?" His eyes were unreadable. I couldn't tell if he was mad or not. He grabbed
"Aw, is little Anya worried about me?"
"Don't. I'll be fine. It's like all the other raids I've done."
don't doubt your abilities, my lord, but it's dangerous to do this yourself."
exactly why I'm doing this by myself, because it's dangerous and I won't have to worry about anyone
"Is that because you couldn't save Kuronue?" Yoko narrowed his eyes and
slid his hand down, gripping my throat.
"That is NONE of your business, human. If you
weren't needed, I would've killed you right now."
"For-forgive me, my l-lord! It wasn't
"Damn right it wasn't." He ripped his hand away. His sharp claws left
thin, red lines on my neck. "Get back to work before I hand you over to my friends."
"Yes, Lord Kurama."
I ran back to the kitchen. Stopping outside, I straightened
my clothes and entered at a normal walk.
"Hey, where ya been? I was getting
worried," Fang said as I came in.
"I broke one of the pots and then I bumped into
Kurama." I lied. I didn't want her to know of my little encounter.
"Really? What did he
do to you?" I bent my head and showed her the lines. "Ouch." She took the herbs from
"Is that all he did?" Usaka asked.
"Obviously, Kurama's been lacking in his punishments lately. If I were him, I
would've killed you for such insubordination."
"Well, thankfully, you're not him,"
I spat back.
"Watch yourself, Anya. We're not as nice as Kurama," Hira growled. I
rolled my eyes and served dinner for the thieves.
I fell asleep faster than normal that
night. Everything was peaceful and still. Nothing bothered me. No. Wait... No. Something was wrong.
What was wrong? Where was he? Searched and found nothing. Outside, it grew worse. He ran and ran. He
halted to a stop. Those eyes found me. He grunted. Blood covered him from head to toe. I stepped
back and fell...into fire.
Shooting out of bed, I clamped my hand over my mouth. I stifled my
cries and crawled back to bed. It felt so real. I felt everything he felt.
'What a horrible
dream. He died. Right in front of me. Yoko died.'
I cried myself to sleep. It was the only
comfort I had. Nothing could get that image of Yoko covered in blood out of my
"Anya, are you okay?"
"Yes. Why do you ask?"
"I didn't get a lot of sleep last
"Kurama already left for Oraki's."
means I can relax a little today."
"That means I can worry more," I said under my
"What was that?"
'I hope that dream will stay
exactly that...a dream.'
Isoko gave me permission to fish today for dinner. While I walked to
the river, I thought more about my dream. And it scared me. Some demons were known for having
premonitions through their dreams. Since I was human, I couldn't possibly have premonitions through
my dreams. Or could I? It was possible, however tiny the chance was.
'Oh, well. Can't do
anything about it.'
It was then I noticed I traveled farther than the river. Dense trees
surrounded me wherever I turned. Panic rose. My biggest fear was coming across a demon. I tried to
back-track my steps, but the trees became thicker and less sun shone through. For the first time, I
would've chosen Yoko's treatments over being alone in Demon World.
RUSSSTLE. RUSSTLE. Bushes
moved somewhere in the distance. Something came fast toward me. My feet moved me behind a tree. I
waited for whoever it was to leave. The less confrontations, the better my chance at survival. The
rustling became louder. I hid myself as much as I could behind the tree. The bushed rustled more
fervently. WHOOSH! My eyes widened. Out came someone I never expected to see.
over a root and smashed into the ground. I ran over to him and flipped him over. His breathing was
fast. His silver hair had numerous twigs entangled in it. I checked for wounds, but found none. I
looked back at him. His eyes flashed open.
He covered my mouth and hid
us behind the same tree I hid behind. Yoko's grip tightened even more as he checked behind
"What are you doing here, Anya?" he whispered into my ear. He let his hand
"I got permission for Isoko to fish for dinner at the river when my thoughts consumed
me and I went farther than I was supposed to."
"Now you're gonna have to come with
Quicker than lightning, Yoko scooped me up in his arms and ran
deeper into the woods. He kept looking over his shoulder while he dodged trees and branches. I was
scared and curious. What was he afraid of?
"Lord Kurama, what's wrong? What are we
"A Rei-kai bounty hunter."
"The break-in was successful. I managed to get Oraki's prized gems. On my way back,
I ran into that hunter. He's chasing me now. He would've killed you if he found
"What are we gonna do?"
"Shut up, onna. I'm trying to figure that
We whizzed through the forest. Yoko tried his best to lose the hunter, but the
cries of his abilities could be heard. I looked back to see a bulky man following with ease.
Definitely older in age, he had a scar over his mouth and spots of graying hair. This hunter
appeared to be more human than demon. Then again, several demons had both human and demon forms.
"Whoa!" I jerked right.
Yoko had suddenly turned to the left. Jumping and
running over logs, we reached a clear field. He spotted a log a few feet away. He ran to it and sat
me down on the ground, completely hidden from sight.
you gonna do?"
"Don't worry, stupid onna. I know what I'm doing."
off. My hands shook. All of my thoughts centered on him. Taking a chance, I peeped over the
Yoko fought the hunter. He lashed the whip at him
fiercely. But something told me this fight wasn't going to end happily.
blast!" the hunter shouted.
He narrowly evaded it and landed on his feet. Yoko sprinted
around the field while the hunter shouted more fire blasts. Each one almost hit Yoko. He chuckled.
The hunter wasn't aware of what he had conjured up, or shou it be, conjured down? The hunter stopped
his attacks. Now's the chance!
Yoko tumbled onto the ground.
Sharp rocks cut his skin. The world spun as he slammed into a tree. I gasped. Tears welled up. My
entire body shook now. Blood coated his shirt.
He had been shot, just
like in my dream. The bounty hunter fired his weapon again. Another shot pierced Yoko's body. I saw
the hunter's smirk. The satisfaction he received from hurting him. He fired again. I contained my
whimpers. Yoko coughed up more blood.
"Stop it. Stop it!" he heard. Averting his
golden eyes, Yoko saw Anya running to him. Stupid human.
"Stop it!" I
I jumped on top of him despite the blood that poured from him. I couldn't stand to see
him in pain. The Rei-kai hunter glared at the girl. His assignment was to kill the fox and harm no
one else, but a human girl stood between the fox and him. A human protected a demon.
Yoko. His face showed great pain. He was severely wounded. One more shot and he would die. I placed
my hands on his cheeks and hid my face in his chest. He was so cold. With much effort, he wrapped
his arms around me.
"Stupid human, why are you crying?"
"I should thank you," he whispered.
"Thank me? For what? You're
hurt badly. It was my entire fault. If you hadn't taken me with you, you might have had a chance to
live. How can you thank me?"
"You've given me an opportunity."
opportunity? To what?"
I sobbed harder. I knew what he was
talking about. He talked about it once, in case he was in a dire situation. I couldn't have stopped
him if I wanted him to live. His arms dropped from my waist. Without a second thought, I closed my
eyes...and kissed him. He couldn't object even if he tried. I pulled away and
I watched as a long wisp of white fog protruded
from his mouth and shoot off into the sky. His soul left his body and possibly entered the human
world. I covered my face in my hands. The Rei-kai hunter's footsteps faded away. I cried for the
longest time next to Yoko's body. I watched him slip away into a world I couldn't follow. His cold
kiss lingered on my lips. That kiss meant more to me than anything else in the world. My experiences
with the King of Thieves, Yoko Kurama, both good and bad, would stay with me forever.