Chapter 1: Demon
One of these weird days, Yukio was gonna lose it.
With a sigh he shoved the glasses back up his nose, trying to stay calm. This wasn't even new; with mild surprise he found he'd gotten used to the chaos that circled around his brother like earth around the sun. Unable *not* to happen when he was around.
So when he found the classroom in ruins, he tried telling himself that it wasn't neccessarily his fault, despite him being in the middle of the situation again, a suspicious circular space around him that somehow got spared from becoming wasteland. His classmates wore looks between shock and anger on their faces, but neither was directed at Rin, which made it even more peculiar. They had surrounded him, back to back, looking for something that probably had been here a few moments ago, likely when the room still had been like Yukio had left it yesterday.
The teacher announced his presence with a cough and all eyes turned on him.
"Where the hell have you been, Yukio?"
Rin stared at his brother, who blinked in surprise. Not at the rude addressing (he couldn't get into his brother's head to use his proper title as "teacher" or "sensei" while in class) but for being glared at.
"What do you mean, Okumura-kun, I'm well on time."
"Yeah, right on time alright.. Look, we need a new classroom."
"I can see that. Mr Pheles will not like this.."
"I couldn't care less what that clown thinks"
"Well, you should, he's the director after all."
Konekomaru decided to intervene, seeing their talk wasn't going anywhere.
"Okumura-sensei, Rin is right. We came in here earlier and were attacked by coal tars.. lots of!"
"One black cloud", Suguro added and everyone nodded agreement.
"They're coming from somewhere. And they're more aggressive than usual. How are we supposed to learn in here?", Konekomaru finished, looking at the teacher, waiting for an answer. Said youth looked at the room's ceiling, seeing how the students were right. In fact, he could see new coal tars already forming. In a couple of hours, the place would swarm with the little demons again. If they were actually dangerous, it was just a matter of time until someone got seriously hurt.
They couldn't keep fighting them in mid-class either.
"Fine. Let's do a field trip today. I will talk to Mr Pheles about this later."
"I don't like this."
"Every time we do some 'spontanous field trip' it ends in a disaster."
"Don't be so pessimistic."
"It's not pessimism if it's true"
Shima grinned. It wasn't like Suguro to be this grim. In one way, he wasn't exactly wrong. Their rate of skidding right into trouble was astonishingly high. And the way their day had started, chances weren't too bad everything was about to get nasty. It *always* started out almost harmless. Aggressive coal tars weren't harmless. Thinking about it, Shima knew why Bon was nervous.
It would be just a normal mission, right? Knowing that, he refrained from wondering what could go wrong; just this one time, hoping it had *some* kind of influence. He looked over to the Okumuras who went ahead. Leading them, of course, the teacher. Behind him, his twin, grinning happily like some kinda psycho. The rest of them, trotting behind, Shiemi tending to her familiar, Izumo watching their surroundings with a bored expression.
Lots of forest, some lonely rocks at first. But as their group progressed further, the atmosphere changed drastically. They all felt it; someone - or something - was watching them. Wether it was a demon or something else, nobody could tell. Their previously wide-spread formation shrinked until they almost walked on top of each other, everyone's eyes on guard for danger.
"Look out", Yukio said in a low tone as not to alert the creature. "if you see anything move, tell me."
But the thing, whatever it was, didn't attack. In fact, when the group finally found and approached a cave entrance, it seemed the creature had abandoned them altogether, easing the atmosphere largely. Still, Yukio was suspicious. His brother on the other hand was the curious type and casually stuck his nose into the dark and, ignoring the teacher's nervous calls, even entered.
"Hey, look at that! I think it's a skeleton or something", Rin called from the inside - it sounded like that was pretty far in. Yukio shoved his glasses up in a gesture of forced calm. Some days he hated his brother. The elder never thought ahead before he did something, or even considered the consequences. Just plunged right into the situation, trusting in his powers to solve things. Didn't he see this would some day come back to bite him? If you let Rin do his thing, next thing they'd know would be them waiting for some rescue troup to get him out of that cave. He couldn't navigate to save his life. They'd have to go in there. Now.
Yukio felt his fists clench and unclench. Good thing the others knew about his identity by now, so they wouldn't be too shocked of what would happen next. This didn't mean he liked to ask; he never approved of his brother using Satan's powers. Anyway, there wasn't enough material around to build a torch and he didn't think to pack matches. Not much of a choice, not with Rin in there and unlikely to come out unless chased.
"Okumura-kun, care to light us the way?", Yukio called, which was answered to by silence at first, then a short "okay", a blue flash and the ground inside the cave was lighted by two rows of blue flames, one to each side. There was a curve to the right a few meters in. Yukio sighed, then nodded to his students.
"Don't wander off. Stay with the group. We'll go in."
As they delved into the cave, one thing became clear right away.
This wasn't just any, ordinary old cave. Something was.. different about it. There hadn't been warding spells, or anything protecting for that matter. Maybe some wild plants, almost hiding the entrance. But other than that.. Still it scratched Yukio the wrong way. The flames lighting the way, giving him reassurance that his brother, at least, was alright. Nothing that would ambush them as they explored this place. He did feel watched though and by the looks of the others, they felt it too.
"Yuki-chan..", Shiemi finally began in a low voice, as she stepped closer to him. "Nii-chan said someone is following us.."
The little green man nodded agreement and sqeaked as it sat on her shoulder. Yukio watched it for a moment, then nodded.
"I know. Don't worry, everything is under control."
"Under control my ass..", Suguro mumbled under his breath, but Yukio tactfully ignored him, still smiling at the insecure girl. That is, until something hit his foot as he stepped forwards, tripped him and introduced him to the hard floor. Shiemi called his name in surprise and he grunted as he pushed himself to his elbows, glaring at the object he'd stumbled across.
A skull glared back, reflecting the blue flames like a nicely polished stone. Yukio paled. Shiemi screamed, the others just stared in horror.
Something was peculiar about this skull though. Beginning from the size and weight, there were horns on both sides of its form, sharp canines and an utterly ugly crack running through the top. A demon who had lost his life to some unknown, extremely powerful hit on the head, so Yukio deducted as he picked himself up and corrected his glasses. What had that demon done here? Also; who or what had killed it? The skull was too old for Rin to have come across the living demon, even though it'd be his style; punch it until it stops moving.
As the group progressed further, they came across more skulls; but rarely any other part of their skeletons. This could either mean the demon had died too quickly or someone had seperated their head before the body died. Usually, the cut-off parts wouldn't disperse as the main bodies burned up. That's how preserved Kappa-hands still existed without evidence of the extinct species ever having been there. How or why this happened, nobody could tell. Scientists had tried figuring it out and come up with no results. Yukio explained that to his students as they walked, to keep their minds off the incredibly dense, dark atmosphere that had become even more sufficating than before.
Then; suddenly, a pained cry shuddered the air, right about the same time the flames flickered for a second. It was then Yukio started running, followed by the group. Around a corner, another, a long straight tunnel, then a large chamber. Crystals illuminated the place, providing an eerie violet colored light, being strewn across the empty space. In the midst of it, a large rock with stairs leading to the top. From below, Yukio saw a tail and a leg dangling down the upper steps; a tail he knew too well.
"Rin!", he called out, climbing the stairs in record time, finding the unconscious form of his brother lying there, holding something in his only half-closed fist. The teacher tried taking this object, but drew back his hand as something flashed at him; skin burned. Some kind of pendant, resembling the yang part of a yin-yang symbol; the material seemed to be a metal and enclosed a bright red stone where the round end of yang would be. There also was a string attached, shimmering like copper. As Yukio analysed this, the half-demon moaned and slowly came to.
"What the hell..", he growled, then found his brother staring wide-eyed at him. "Oi, Yukio."
"Don't you dare doing this again!", latter snarled, hand still raised from the way he'd just slapped the blue-haired youth. "Running off like that into unknown territory!"
"What are you, my mother?", Rin snorted, sitting up and finally noticing the thing he still held, watching it with interest. "What's that anyway?"
"Seems to be a pendant of sorts"
"No way, professor Obvious."
Yukio raised an eyebrow, but decided not to grace this rudeness with an answer. Instead he further inspected the object as it was held out to him, but refrained from trying to touch it. For some reason, it didn't seem to hurt his brother, so leaving it in his hand might - as unlikely as it sounds - be the better option.
"It's a periapt, you fools", said a third voice and Rin looked up and around, trying to spot the source, making Yukio look up and frown.
"What the.. who said that?", Rin growled, standing up shakily, ignoring the increasingly worried look on his brother's face.
"Rin, there's just us.."
"Show yourself, damn it."
"Don't bother. They can't see me. Only you can", said the bodiless voice again, making Rin's tail plush itself up from the sheer surrealism of the situation. He was so much like a cat sometimes.. And like a cat, he almost hissed when from the corner of the platform, someone approached them. A short glance at Yukio revealed he really didn't see the newcomer. His eyes were fixated on Rin, wondering whatever. Maybe Yukio now deemed him insane or something. Hell, right now, Rin himself doubted his sanity, as he watched that creature come to stand before him.
A weird character. Hair white as snow, eyes a bloody red, skin a sickly violet, clothed in some weird black attire. A demon of sorts, judging by the pointy ears and teeth and sharp, long, claw-like fingernails. The demon grinned a teeth-baring smile.
"I've been waiting for you, son of Yuri. Took you long enough, actually."
"Wha..", was all Rin could utter before the demon put his clawed hand on the half-demon's chest. A bright flash, a surprised cry, a dull thud as he hit the ground for the second time that day.