Thank you for reading! Me and my coauthor Darinost are gradually combining forces and blogs, so the joint comment section for our stories is currently located on discord! Come on in and let us know what you thought, we don’t bite.
Yuki took a deep breath, steeling herself before she took the first step forward. Halfway through the motion, her foot wavered and froze in mid-air as she hesitated again. Maybe this really was a bad idea. In fact, she was pretty sure it was. As she stood before the temple shrine in the center of Hanei once more, Yuki felt more lost than she had in a very long time. She didn’t even know why she was walking up to the shrine… or perhaps it was more fair to say that she knew exactly why, but it was easier to lie to herself than to admit the truth.
The town had been ripped down, but the large stone temple was still just like she remembered it. Its cracks were infused with weeds and perhaps a little wider than they had been, but the tall walls were still decorated with lined trails of green leaves, looking solid and immortal. It looked beyond ancient and gave off a sense of solidity, of inevitability.
And pulsing within, she could feel the power of Inari’s flame burning there.
It was a subtle power… quiet, but to Yuki it was almost like a high pitched whine in her good ear, like a fluorescent light. It was enough to make her recoil. No, she’d been right before, this was an awful idea. She backtracked, her body retracting on itself, and the nogitsune turned to leave… and found herself staring into Merielle’s encouraging face. The small, comforting smile soothed the nascent panic that was growing in her, even before a cool breeze brushed across her face. It was calm and soothing, and combined with her lover there, steady as the stones of the temple, made her feel refreshed for a second as swirls of wind wrapped around her. As the breeze passed by her remaining ear, Yuki imagined that she could hear a whisper on that wind.
Fortified, she turned back around and squared her shoulders, vividly feeling the weight of the fried piece of rice and tofu she carried wrapped up in in paper. An offering… to her sister. Nobuo’s food really was excellent… it was always a struggle not to eat everything he put in front of her, but she had saved this one, wrapping it… for later. Akemi had loved this kind of food. She would have loved these. It felt like a silly offering… hell, she felt silly for being here at all. Seven centuries… It seemed to Yuki that death’s silence was so immense, its darkness eternal and never-ending. Akemi was gone… what did she care for food?
She thought again about turning around. About eating the offering, walking away, and forgetting the whole thing… but that was cowardice. The wind blew her hair from behind, like it was beckoning her forward. Maybe that was Fūjin, transformed into the essence of her long-dead sister. More likely it was her conscience, her guilt, the sense that she owed her sister for her own failure and weakness. Whichever it was, it was begging her to continue forward. It wanted her to go up into the shrine and do what she’d promised. The pressure was invisible but still compelling.
It made her shake her head in disbelief. “Alright, alright!” Yuki whispered under her breath to herself. It took a second for her to realize her situation. “Great… now I’m chiding myself.” She brought her offering close to her face. “And I’m talking to myself… and this fucking rice ball…” She raised her hand in disgust. “And now I’m stalling…” Yuki shook her head, eager for any excuse not to go into that shrine. “For fuck sakes!” she growled.
“Shhh,” a voice from inside the shrine shushed her. Yuki was startled when she heard the sound… she hadn’t thought anyone would be there, that anyone would be watching. She almost turned around and ran after all, but before she could move the voice continued. “You must have gotten terribly lost, child, to not realize where you stand. This is a sanctuary, and I’m sure you would never dare dream of uttering such foul language here. Now… are you going to come inside? Or stand out in the cold all day?” The warm voice chuckled. “I could call for blankets for you, if you intend to sleep out there.”
Yuki’s mouth was wide open and ready to unload a slew of obscene defenses of her character and sovereignty… But the nogitsune froze as she heard the polite protests coming from such a familiar voice. Megumi, old Megumi, who had been old when Yuki had been born, really was still the shrine-maiden here. The beautiful fox certainly didn’t look her age, but while the blind kitsune was significantly smaller than Yuki her presence was without a doubt overwhelming. The priestess stared with her milky-white eyes as she stood in the doorway, looking at Yuki and Merielle without focusing on her at all.
“Please, come in. Inari’s shrine welcomes all that come in peace,” the blonde fox said with certainty. “Normally, I’d tell you to watch your mouth lest your negative energy bring us Oni, but with all the different new folk that have come in, I’d be surprised if we don’t have a few here already.” The fox stood in front the tall doors of the ancient shrine, waving her hand onward. “Come, come… don’t keep an old blind woman waiting…”
Yuki was still frozen, indecisive, locked between yearning and sheer panic. She wanted so badly to yell, to scream at her, to throw the offering in her face… but there was something holding her back. That was the reaction of a child. The nogitsune stood there, cloaked in illusion as she slowly closed her mouth and lowered her hand with the offering. Yuki felt like she was a beast wanting to lash out that had been tamed by the patience of the calm priestess. She slowly came back from the edge and took a deep breath which quickly left her lungs. “I’m… I’m…” Yuki said as her words escaped her for a moment. “I’m… I am sorry.” She didn’t know where that apology came from. It seemed foreign to her. The words didn’t even make sense, but somehow they were able to escape her mouth.
“No apology is necessary to me, child,” the ancient fox replied as she bowed her head to Yuki before stepping back. “It shows great responsibility and courage to accept when one is violating boundaries.”
“I didn’t really mean it!” Yuki said, the words rushing out in a surprising burst. “I mean… I mean I… I didn’t really mean to be disrespectful with my… self.” Yuki seemed to deflate. “I… I feel like I shouldn’t be here. Can you… offer this for me?” The fox turned back with her head down in slight shame. It was odd for her to feel this way. She was at a shrine and she had to recognize that. In the end, Yuki didn’t want the old fox to see how much shame she was feeling, and she was silently grateful for the woman’s blindness.
“Don’t be silly, young one,” Megumi said with warmth in her expression. “All are welcome. Come… make your offering.”
Yuki didn’t want to reply. She took a few more steps away from the shrine until she would have to walk past Merielle to retreat further, and that froze her in place just as thoroughly. “I don’t think I’m welcome,” she whispered.
“You are,” the blind fox assured her.
Her words felt like cold stabbings into Yuki’s soul. Reluctantly, as if dragged, she walked forward again. “If you’re sure,” she muttered.
The nogitsune slowly walked past Megumi, the blind fox never alternating her gaze until she passed. “You too, child of the sea,” she invited. Merielle didn’t hesitate nearly as long as Yuki had, but Megumi continued anyway. “You’re both welcome in this shrine,” the priestess promised. “Make your offerings to the dead, and to the goddess… but leave the most negative thoughts behind. The dead are unworthy of them… as are you.”
Yuki was still trying to figure out what to say. The way she saw it, she couldn’t really say anything. What could she say, that Inari had cast her out and didn’t want to see her? That she was worried her flame might leap up and chase her off? That she hadn’t made an offering to her sister in centuries? No, none of that was going to work. Instead, she passed through the large door, up the final steps and into the temple, marveling with wry amusement as Megumi followed behind them up the stairs without even the slightest hesitation or slowness. She knew the fox couldn’t see… had been born blind and never been able to see. There were many things that foxfire could fix, but it couldn’t let you see the floor or steps. From just sheer memory and confidence, she walked as though they glowed in her mind, shining like the sun.
Merielle noticed it too. “I’m sorry…” she said softly. “I don’t mean to be rude but… you are blind, aren’t you?”
The blonde fox chuckled. “All my life,” she replied with a smile. I just know this shrine better than I know myself. For this shrine isn’t just a building. It is a temple.” She turned her head towards Merielle. “Do you know what a temple is, child?”
“Uhh,” Merielle tried her best to reply. “It’s where you… I mean… It’s a place… Where you go to worship… right? Where you-” Merielle stopped talking when she saw the shrinemaiden point directly to the side of her forehead.
“This is the temple,” Megumi said with a small smile while she tapped her head. “The shrine is a temple, too. It is always in here as much as it is around us. Remember that.” Megumi wasn’t looking at Yuki as she talked, she wasn’t really looking at anything… but Yuki felt like she was being talked to, as well.
Then all thoughts left her as she stepped in front of the fire.
It blazed, blue and orange and red and gold in a great brazier, bedded with a thick layer of stones and coals… just like she remembered it. Yuki tried not to choke up as she looked at it… her breath caught anyway. It was warm in more than just the physical to the nogitsune… she could feel the currents of energy pouring off of it, more obvious than they had ever been in her youth. How could she have ever thought it was just a flame? Did any older kitsune feel it like this?
Merielle and Megumi kept talking quietly. Yuki didn’t turn to look at them… she focused on the fire. The resting place of her mother. The resting place of her sister. The bodies of fallen kitsune were returned to Inari, their fire returning to hers for their journey to the spirit world. Telling the story of Akemi’s death had all but compelled her to come here… to see her resting place. She only realized that she had been standing there, silently staring, for long minutes when Merielle came up behind her and rested a hand on her arm. “Everything okay?” the selkie asked innocently.
Yuki took a while to answer back but she finally did. “Yeah, yeah,” she replied with low confidence, keeping her eye on Megumi as the blonde shrinemaiden retreated away from them. “I think.” The nogitsune forced her eyes back to the flame, walking up to the brazier with Merielle following her. The ever-lasting flame within burned with barely a hint of smoke, the light and heat fluttering through the room as they stared into it together.
“Who was that?” Merielle asked, tilting her head towards the shrinemaiden. “The young, blind fox.”
Yuki couldn’t help but bark out a short laugh. “Young. That’s rich.” Yuki shook her head. “Red, I’m pretty sure she was born before Japan was called Japan. She’s Inari’s priestess here in the temple.” She turned to look right at Merielle. “Just don’t talk to her if you can help it,” Yuki whispered. “She’s the oldest person here… and she might be a little crazy but I’m sure she isn’t so nuts she wouldn’t remember me.” They both turned to the brazier.
“I was looking all over for a special something to bring as an offering…” Merielle said with slight worry in her face. “I couldn’t find anything special.” She then took out a piece of fried sushi. “So I just ended up taking something from dinner… you said food was alright, right? Sorry… I wish I found something better.”
“Pff!” Yuki snorted. “I brought the same thing.” She opened her hand, showing Merielle the fried rice ball.
The selkie laughed. “They were delicious, weren’t they?” Yuki smiled softly, trying to stay in good humor, but it was hard with the flame right there. “I thought an offering needed to be something special, something nice,” Merielle pondered. “I didn’t think this would be enough. Glad I’m wrong.”
“Food is nice,” Yuki reassured her. “Among the most valuable offerings to the kami there is.
“I didn’t know that,” Merielle whispered, looking down.
“You just don’t understand Shinto. You’re a selkie… why would you know?” Yuki shot a glance back at Megumi where the blind fox had sunk into seiza on a thin mat, falling into silent meditation. “Come on, Red. Let’s get this over with.” Yuki then placed her offering on the edge of the brazier. She turned to see Merielle following her cue, placing her offering beside it. They didn’t fall into the flame… but after a few seconds the flickering, quivering tongue of fire washed over it and it was gone like it had never been there.
“Wow…” Merielle gasped quietly. “What are you gonna do now?”
“Nothing…” replied Yuki. “There’s nothing left to do.” The nogitsune bowed her head twice and Merielle followed her lead, bowing her head in prayer.
“Oh, I see,” Merielle said. “I mean we’re at a shrine, right?” Yuki rolled her eyes back at Merielle’s inquiry.
Yuki then bowed her head and clapped twice. Merielle tried to follow her lead and also clapped but was then interrupted when Yuki looked back at her. Yuki bowed her head and whispered to her sister, to her mother, to everyone who hadn’t survived the war… to every soul she had put into this fire while she kept walking around. “I’m sorry…” she whispered.
Yuki knelt there for a long time, staring into the fire. It didn’t respond to her… it didn’t answer, but then it never had. More importantly, it didn’t seem to reject her. It didn’t rise up and chase her off, and Inari herself didn’t come out of the fire to berate her again. She just let her thoughts linger on her sister, and it took a while but eventually she began to feel a bit of ease. Her anger and anxiety melted away into a cool sense of relief. A sense that maybe, just maybe, it was going to be fine.
It was more than an hour before Yuki and Merielle finally washed their hands off at the water basin at the shrine’s entrance. They made their way out of the shrine and headed down the steps of the tall ancient temple. They looked back to see Megumi standing before the doors, finding and ringing the bell.
“May peace be with you,” the priestess said calmly. Yuki and Merielle both nodded their heads as they slowly turned away from the shrine and headed for the road. “Take care of her, Merielle,” Megumi called out as they left. The selkie and the nogitsune both froze in their tracks, turning, but Megumi was already pulling the doors closed behind them. Yuki’s eyes widened with fear as she turned slowly to Merielle.
“Did… you tell her who you were?” Yuki demanded. “Did you?”
“No, I didn’t!” Merielle said in complete shock. “I swear, I didn’t!”
Yuki swallowed. “Goddess damn you, Megumi… what do you know…?” She felt more than a little anxious, ready to leave immediately. “Come on,” she said, “let’s get the fuck out of here!” Yuki grabbed Merielle’s hand and they both walked away fast. They sped up when they hit the road and made it far away from the shrine.
“Wow, that was weird,” Merielle said. “How did she know my name?” Yuki kept walking and didn’t want to answer. “I mean, wow… And she was blind too. That is so strange! How did she know who I was? Even if she’d heard of me, Yuki? I assume you didn’t tell her?”
“No…” Yuki said, staring back at the shrine.
“Is it a big deal?” Merielle asked. “I mean, if she knew something, she would have said something to someone, right? Does it really even matter if she knows? It was hundreds of years ago.”
“Kitsune memories are long,” Yuki said softly. “And we haven’t finished the story yet. You’re seeing your sister tonight, right?”
“Right,” Merielle agreed. “Into the nexus, after Hanabi shows up to open the way. You’re teaching Shura again tonight, right?”
“Right,” Yuki agreed.
Merielle’s eyes twinkled. “Well, if you teach her any fun games, make sure to let me know tomorrow!”
Yuki rolled her eyes. “That’s what you said the last three days.”
“Still true,” the selkie almost sang, bumping her shoulder against her mistress. “I’ve seen the way she looks at you.”
“Yeah,” Yuki said, snorting with disgust. “Me too. She hates my guts. It’s not happening, Red.”
“Maybe,” Merielle said noncommittally. “Maybe. Or maybe, in this, you are almost as wise as a stupid selkie. Almost, but not quite.”
“Your mouth is writing checks your ass can’t cash, Red,” Yuki warned, narrowing her eyes.
“Oh, so you’re using iron now?” Merielle asked, a bit of tremble sneaking into her voice.
“What?” Yuki blurted, eyes wide. “No! I-”
She cut off as Merielle kissed her. The kiss was brief, more of a peck than anything else, but it silenced her mistress. “Then I think you’ll find,” she said, all signs of her false quivering gone, “that my ass can cash them just fine.”
“Brat,” Yuki growled, kissing her harder, grabbing onto a fistful of her hair as she did.
“You noticed, huh?” Merielle whispered against her lips. “Guess I’m exposed.”
“Shura?” Yuki said, knocking on the door. “You there?” She paused, tapping her foot impatiently against the door. “Open up already. Come the fuck on, quit stalling!”
Training Shura for the last few days had, so far, proved to be a pleasant surprise… both in terms of how well it was going and in how enjoyable it was. A long time ago, Seijun had sufficiently proved to her that sometimes the best way to learn was to teach someone else, but she had never really had the opportunity to put that into practice with magic before. Now, going over foxfire use and the illusions she knew so well with Shura, Yuki found herself having her longstanding assumptions questioned for the first time in 700 years as someone questioned her “why” she did something in one way or another. Having to explain things made her reexamine many of her own assumptions, going over them with a new wealthy of experience that she had from subsisting on barely a trickle of energy for hundreds of years of slavery. It meant that she was learning more than Shura was.
That was especially true because of the second pleasant surprise… Shura’s way of doing this was unorthodox, but her ideas were genuinely good. Foxfire theory and study hadn’t exactly stood still for five hundred years, but without most of the more experienced foxes around, Shura had needed to figure out how to do plenty of common things on her own and make many of her own innovations. Many of her ways were poor… that was what happened when trying to reinvent the wheel, after all. Others, however, were genuinely clever… and while unpolished were built around the seeds of really great ideas. Ideas that Yuki could take and improve, incorporate into her own magic, and into Shura’s.
This was… this was actually fun.
“I’m coming in, alright?” Yuki called again. “Lazy bum.” She pushed at the door and it opened without a problem, opening on an unlit genkan. By sheer habit Yuki removed her shoes this time, kicking them carelessly off. “Where are you, slacker?” she called once more as she walked into the house, flicking on the light. The calling was largely performative… she was pretty sure she knew exactly where she would find the other woman. She had lost track of time again training.
The house wasn’t that big, but nor was it small. It didn’t have too many rooms, but the largest of all of them by far was the gym. It was where Yuki found Shura half the time, the same place they did so much of their practice. In stark contrast to the rest of the dark house, the gym was brightly lit, the bare walls had been scrubbed until they were practically reflective, and the floor was almost one big tatami mat. A rack of weapons rested in a rack against one wall, a few rows of weights against another, and a punching bag hanging from a beam by a third.
A half-naked Shura hung by her legs from that punching bag. She wore shorts with no shirt, her breasts bound in wrapped silk as she forced herself to do situp after situp in the awkward position. Yuki stopped and watched, a twinkle in her eyes as the blue haired woman pulled herself up again and again and again, sweat slicking her blue hair down to her face despite being upside down. Yuki enjoying watching the athletic sentry flex over and over again, but at last she sighed and spoke up. “Trying to get as ripped as your boss?” she said.
It was satisfying the way she jumped. Yuki had expected her to twitch and half to catch herself halfway through the crunch. She didn’t expect her to lose her grip entirely and just fall to the mat. The woman’s eyes focused on her, eyes a little wide, a little wild. “Lost track of time? Again?” Yuki shook her head. “Back in my day, an apprentice would have been left to stand in the rain for that kind of forgetfulness.” Yuki clicked her tongue, tsking the other woman as she slowly pushed herself back up. “Ready to get started?”
“No,” Shura said, her eyes narrowing a little bit. “Who invited you in?”
Yuki rolled her eyes. “Like I didn’t know where I’d find you. You’re late.”
“I’m busy,” the blue haired woman snapping, rising, walking over to the weapon wall and picking up a staff… really, a spear without the head. She began flowing through a practice routine, whirling through the form of a kata with the spear forming a blur in the air in front of her. The sound of the weapon slicing through the room’s silent air was like the hiss of a threatening snake.
Yuki put one hand on her hip as her tails twitched in agitation. “Really? I thought we were past this.”
“You’re past this,” Shura said as she continued, spinning, striking, thrusting at the empty air. “You want to teach me something? Pick up a spear.”
“That’s not what I’m here to teach you,” Yuki snapped, annoyed again despite herself.
Shura didn’t pause. “Then you can sit there and wait. This is my house. You came in uninvited. Dance or shut up.”
At this point, it seemed like Shura was actually trying to piss her off, to make her quit. If that was what the kitsune wanted, she was going to be disappointed… Yuki had yet to meet a more stubborn example of her species than herself, or one happier to keep bashing her head against a brick wall. She picked up a staff of her own from the wooden rack before stepping onto the training floor.
Shura stopped her kata, leveling her “spear” at Yuki, and slightly backing off, circling slowly, keeping the tip on her. Yuki, for her part, lowered the weapon into a ready position. She hadn’t trained as much with a spear as a sword in her youth because it was far harder to take one with you when you transformed into a fox… they didn’t strap on half as well. After she had lost her skin, though… Yuki had had plenty of opportunity for the weapon as she wandered Japan. She gripped the staff loosely, halfway in front of her body at a 45 degree angle to the floor rather than pointing it directly at Shura.
The sentry continued to circle, shifting the staff occasionally. Yuki struck first, snapping her staff out in a simple thrust. Shura parried easily, directing it down, and countered with a hard beat that came so fast that Yuki needed to recoil back to keep control of her spear. The kitsune certainly wasn’t holding back any force… trying to be intimidating, perhaps? Fine… Yuki could play that game. The blue-haired kitsune kept up the attack, coming in hard, stabbing to make Yuki back up and parry before sweeping the butt at her feet, going for a trip. Yuki jumped the first, deflected the second, and slashed back. “So this is how you get your kicks?”
“Less talk, more fight!” Shura snapped, launching another exchange that drove Yuki across the arena. The shafts of their “spears” crashed together, time and time again as they pressed each other back and forth, stabbing and thrusting their way across the mat. Yuki missed a step, and Shura bashed the shaft of her spear against the nogitsune’s leg. She had been going for the knee, but Yuki turned her body, letting it sting against her thigh instead. “Focus,” she said, growling.
Yuki narrowed her eyes. “Little brat,” she growled, and her tails entered the fight. Shura responded in kind, the tails wrestling with each other, fighting for balance and positioning, trying to grapple or trip the other as they sparred, driving weapons at each other, attacking frantically and trading minor blows, mostly from tails. Neither had landed a decisive hit with the “spear” point yet.
“I swore to protect this village!” Shura spat, launching into a furious string of attacks.
Yuki was the next to land a major hit, driving the butt of her spear into Shura’s stomach. “That’s what I’m trying to help you do!”
“I don’t need your help! It’s too fucking late for me! I already failed!” the blue-haired kitsune shouted before she pressed her lips together, eyes blazing as she shifted her grip on the spear, holding it further forward as she shifted her grip and circled, thrusting and parrying in a testing way.
Then, furious, Shura came at her in a blue streaked rush, thrusting forward. Yuki caught her more with her tails and her hands than she did the spear, pushing her to the side, sending them both tumbling down to the mat hard enough to see stars. They rolled, gripping tight to each other as their tails entwined, holding tight until they came to rest with Shura flat her back, Yuki right on top of her. She stared down into Shura’s golden eyes, the other kitsune’s shining like mirror as she breathed heavily with the exertion of the fight. Yuki found herself intensely aware of the way their bodies pressed together, where their skin met, the way that Shura’s breast wrap really really really wasn’t hanging on by more than a thread at this point. There was a part of her that thought it would be best to tear away the last of her clothing off her and spend the next few hours educating her on why antagonizing Yuki was a bad idea.
Yuki focused, breathed, and pushed the impulsive thoughts away. “Are you finished with your little game?” she said calmly.
Shura’s staff was well out of reach, so Yuki didn’t pay much attention to the blue haired woman’s hand as it reached for it… until she produced a knife from out of nowhere. Yuki tried to recoil, but the sentry’s tails were tangled up with hers, trapping them together as the woman pressed the knife against Yuki’s jugular, the blade icy cold against her flushed skin. Any thoughts she might have had about it just being some kind of fake for sparring purposes went out the window when she felt the sharp steel. “Yes,” Shura said quietly. “No more games.”
“What the fuck?!” Yuki exclaimed angrily. She tried to wrench her head away, but the other fox held on stubbornly, and Yuki nearly stabbed herself in the attempt. She could get herself out of this with witchfire, but once she did that… there would be no going back. “I bust my ass trying to teach you, and you thank me by trying to slit my fucking throat?!”
Shura swallowed, still staring into her eyes. “That… depends…” the kitsune said, her voice trembling. “…Are you here to hurt us?”
Yuki looked at her incredulously. “I’m not the psycho with a knife! Why would you think I’m trying to hurt the village after I’ve spent so long trying to show you how to protect it, you idiot?!”
“Because,” Shura said softly. “You’re a nogitsune.”
Yuki couldn’t have been more stunned if Shura had punched her in the face. A thousand denials, protests, lies, and deflections flitted through her mind in less than a second, but before the first one had come to her lips she already knew it was too late. Any doubt Shura had would have been banished by the widening of Yuki’s eyes, the air sucked between her teeth, the way her heart beat furiously against the other kitsune’s chest where they were pressed together. “Oh goddess…” Shura whimpered, the tremble in her voice more pronounced. “It… I was ri… You…” she swallowed. “I won’t do it. I don’t care what you offer.”
“I’m not here to hurt you,” Yuki said, her voice quiet.
“I won’t burn it!” Shura snapped, some strength coming back into the woman again. She pressed the knife against Yuki’s throat even harder, and the nogitsune felt the point break the skin. “You can’t make me!”
A bitter laugh escaped from the other fox. “And what makes you think,” Yuki asked. “I would let you do something that dumb?” She sighed. “How?”
“How did I know?” Shura asked. “You… if you’re trying to sneak into the village unnoticed, you’re doing a pretty terrible job of it.” Yuki deflated a little bit at that as Shura continued. “You know too much, and no one has ever heard of you. Your skill with magic is insane and eclipses everything I’ve seen… and your magic is weird. It feels different.” The sentry swallowed. “I went back and checked every one of those wards, you know. I was sure you rigged them to fail somehow, or put in a backdoor or a flaw or something. I couldn’t find a thing.”
“Because there’s nothing there to find!” Yuki protested.
“I know…” Shura said, and to Yuki’s relief the pressure of the blade on her throat vanished, though the woman still gripped it tightly in her hand. “It didn’t make any sense at first, but then I remembered… this was your home too, once.”
“Yes!” Yuki growled. “Exactly!”
“There’s only one thing I can’t figure it out… why me?” Shura whispered. “You can’t actually be trying to teach me… I’m worthless. Is that why you started with me, because you thought that would make me the easiest to recruit? Tempt me with a few tricks and I’d turn my back on Inari for more?”
“For fucks sake, Shura, no! I’m not trying to corrupt you or recruit you or any fucking thing like that! I’m just trying to teach you.”
“You’re lying,” the blue-haired woman said firmly. “It has to be a trick, or… or… listen, I know what you are now!” Her voice got louder and more insistent as she went. “So you don’t need to lie anymore! Just tell me why me?”
“Because you’re the only one I can teach to do it!” Yuki snapped down at the kitsune beneath her.
“That’s bullshit!” Shura protested. “Why don’t y-”
Yuki kissed her.
Shura’s knife fell to the mat and she gasped as Yuki pressed her lips against those of the kitsune, her tongue slipping inside the stunned woman’s mouth. Before the blue-haired fox could stop her, she reached in with her tongue and stole the bubblegum from inside her mouth. Pulling back, she smile at the shocked Shura before spitting the gum violently to the side. “Much better,” she said smugly.
“You’ve gotta be kidding me…” Shura responded with mild disbelief. “Are we really doing this?”
One of Yuki’s hands grabbed onto the edge of the silk wrapping her and began to ever-so-slowly peel it away. “Feel free to say stop anytime,” Yuki said with a smile as she lifted the wrap free of Shura, exposing her breasts. Their tails were still tangled together, but the sentry was no longer trying to hold her still. “Otherwise, I’ve already decided I’ve seen something I like… and I’m going to take it.” She bent down, doubling over, running her tongue across one of Shura’s breasts before catching a nipple between her teeth and biting softly. Shura gasped, and Yuki smiled wider. “To be quite honest I’m getting sick of your bullshit. ‘Oh, look at me, I’m so worthless, no one wants me…’ Fucking hell you can be annoying, girl. I’m tired of putting up with it… it’s time for that to stop.”
She moved up her body, parting her own clothing as she did, tossing her kimono onto the ground. “I can’t… this isn’t happening,” Shura muttered.
Yuki’s panties followed just a second later as she slid up, fastening her muscular thighs around Shura’s head to hold it in place. “Going to stop me?” Yuki said, smiling down at the younger kitsune with her wide eyes.
“This is insane…” Shura muttered.
“The world is a crazy place,” Yuki agreed as she settled down onto the other fox. “I hope, for your sake, that you have some practice… otherwise, I might be… disappointed.” From on top of her, pinning down her tails was easy… it only took five of hers to do. The rest could focus on slowly stripping Shura, dragging her shorts down her legs while Yuki settled her pussy in place over the other woman’s mouth. “Now get licking…”
Shura looked up at Yuki… and the fight seemed to go out of her eyes as she began to lick. Yuki sighed in delight as her tongue parted her folds and slid inside of her, the base of it rubbing softly against the nogitsune’s pulsating, swollen clit as it throbbed with excitement. “Is this the type of game you like playing, bitch?” Yuki proclaimed as she ground her bare slit against the kitsune’s face. “Then you can prove it to my cunt!”
This was lovely… perfect, really. From here, Yuki could see the beautiful, talented kitsune beneath her but she didn’t have to listen to her infuriating mouth. Shura submissively lapped at her, her tongue creeping again and again between her slick lips, her entire body limp beneath her. Her tails didn’t even struggle, not even when one of Yuki’s tails grabbed hold of the fallen bo staff and began to slid it inside the pinned kitsune’s pussy. “Yeah, like that,” Yuki growled as Shura found a sensitive spot. “Right there, and don’t you fucking stop.” She squeezed harder on her head with her thighs, reaching back with one hand to molest the kitsune’s breasts as she fucked her with the staff… only raising up occasionally to let the blue-haired punk breathe. “You see that, girl? That’s my pussy… it’s the best around, the single most important thing to you now, so protect it! Show me how grateful your ass is I’m letting you touch it!”
Yuki wasn’t sure by then Shura couldn’t hear her all that well… she was too busy obediently tongue-wrestling with Yuki’s cunt. She coughed into it a few times, retching, but she didn’t stop, obediently keeping up her service. She continued choking, barely even moving as Yuki molested her body and fucked her. Over and over, Yuki slammed her pussy down against Shura’s pretty face, grinding herself against her mouth and nose… but even as her clit burned with need and Shura’s tongue sent electric shocks of pleasure through her body, something was bothering the nogitsune. Nice as this was for her… there was something missing.
Shura’s golden eyes were closed, and the kitsune seemed to barely be reacting. As annoyed as Yuki was with the kitsune’s attitude, she wasn’t that angry with her new apprentice, and she lived for the reactions of her playthings. Something here was wrong. She seemed enthusiastic enough, but Yuki trusted her instincts… something was wrong here.
Yuki partially lifted herself up. “Where’s that defiance of yours now?” the nogitsune said, her words carefully chosen even if her tone was mocking. “Was it all just an act?” When Shura didn’t react, Yuki reached back and pinched both of her nipples, lowering down to rub her leaking pussy against the fox’s face. “What, just going to let a dark fox use your face as a dildo? I mean, I suppose you can’t fuck that up, right?”
Beneath her, Shura whimpered. “Surry,” she muttered, her voice weak, and she started licking harder, her tongue lapping at her more energetically. She kept whimpering as she did it though.
Yuki sighed. “Stop,” she said, letting go of all her tails with her own and starting to rise up. Shura, however, tried to keep her face latched onto her pussy as the nogitsune rose, continuing to lick. “I said enough!” Yuki repeated, standing up beyond her reach. She wasn’t going to let the dumb, stubborn thing rape herself out of sheer self-hatred.
Shura lay on the floor, naked, her staff slick with her juices laying just beside her, looking stunned and confused… and maybe a little bit sad? She looked up at Yuki as the nogitsune stepped to the side, picking up her kimono and slinging it over her shoulder. “What…” Shura said, her eyes wide. “What did I do wrong?”
Yuki shook her head. “I’m not going to let you use me to punish yourself,” she said firmly. “The Shura I know has a hard time keeping her mouth shut and pisses me off on a second by second basis. She’d spit in the face of a god if he told her to kneel for him. She’d summon a ward out of thin air and hold back an army of vulpan freaks if she had to. That’s the girl I’d like to have pinned down on the floor. Not… whatever this is.”
Shura’s eyes watered. Then, without any further warning, she started to sob.
Fuck. Overdid it.
Yuki liked when women cried. As a rule, she considered it one of the sexiest things they could do. There was nothing sexy about the way Shura wept now. Large, soaking tears poured out of her, and her voice shattered to pieces as words abandoned her completely. “I… I…” she choked out as she curled up into a ball. “I couldn’t stop them!” Her tails curled around her protectively as she cried. “I tried to fight…” she whimpered. “They almost killed me, and then they did what they wanted anyway… then they came in and destroyed my home… and everyone else… I tried to help…”
Yuki settled down next to her, unsure of what to do. Awkwardly, she rested one hand on Shura’s side, stroking the tail wrapped there softly. “I can’t…” Shura said between sobs. “I can’t do it. You’ll have to get… someone else. Anyone else. The more I learn… it’s like… I failed more…” It sounded like she was having trouble breathing, but she couldn’t make herself stop talking now that she had started. “I should have already known this, Yusika! I should have learned it! It’s my fault this happened… It’s my fault Hanei is like… this.” She shook her head. “Sooner or later, everyone will figure it out. That they can’t rely on me… that they shouldn’t trust me to protect them.”
She shook on the ground for long minutes as Yuki held her gently, silently. “I couldn’t stop them from doing whatever they wanted,” she whispered softly. “I could… I could only try to make them happy.” She blinked, trying to clear her tear-blinded vision. “I wasn’t strong enough to beat them.”
“You survived,” Yuki said softly. “They didn’t. I’d call that a win.”
“Doesn’t feel like much of a win,” Shura whispered.
“Sometimes, it’s the only one you get,” Yuki told her. “Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, it was someone else’s job to protect this village. Instead of doing that, she abandoned it… and she took with her all the knowledge of how these wards work. All that knowledge you could have used to keep people safe wasn’t there for you. That’s not on you, Shura. It’s on me.”
“Bullshit!” Shura growled, tears running out of her eyes. “That was hundreds of years ago… and the way I remember the story, they cast you out. You can’t control what other people do… It wasn’t your fault.”
“Then this wasn’t yours, either,” Yuki said firmly. “This happened because some of the worst people in the world decided to hurt you and a bunch of innocents that had never harmed them. You can’t control what they did, either.”
“That… that doesn’t…” Shura protested.
“You can’t have it both ways,” Yuki said. “Either we have responsibility for the evils of others – in which case, it’s my fault more than yours – or we don’t, and it’s theirs. Either way, you can’t have the blame, Shura… it isn’t yours to take.”
Shura sniffed, wiping away another flood of tears. She sat there for a long time, silent, before she pushed herself, sitting down facing Yuki instead of laying down. “Can I…” she gestured vaguely at Yuki. “Can I see?”
It didn’t take Yuki more than a second to figure out what she was talking about… it took her considerably longer than that to consider it. Finally, she nodded… and let the illusions go. They didn’t simply disappear… they had too much momentum for that, even after Yuki stopped supplying them with energy. Instead, one speck at a time, the illusion over her hair and tail seemed to melt away, dissolving into the lights and revealing her stark black fur. Yuki didn’t let every illusion go… she kept the one creating the ear, and she kept her features into Yusika’s face – she had no idea if someone might be able to recognize her, but she didn’t want to risk it – but she dropped the rest of them, revealing the features of a nogitsune in all their majesty. Even the one over her eyes vanished, leaving her true blue eyes exposed to the kitsune woman.
Shura gasped, reaching out one hand towards one of Yuki’s tails. Hesitantly, like she was afraid it was a snake that would reach out and bite her, she ran her fingers through the solidly black fur. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said quietly, awe in her voice. “It… it really is as black as they say…”
“Yeah, it’s pretty awful,” Yuki agreed.
“It’s beautiful…” Shura whispered, running her fingers through it.
Yuki paused a second, then she scoffed. “Yeah, well… maybe, until you consider what it means to get it. You see anyone else with fur like this, you run and come back with an army, understand me?” The nogitsune stood, beginning to wrap her kimono around her body. “We can do your next lesson tomorrow… I think that’s enough for today.” She glanced over at Shura. “Unless, of course, you’re going to tell all your friends you got beaten up by the big, bad nogitsune.”
Yuki was walking toward the door when Shura muttered something. “What was what?” the dark fox asked.
“I said,” Shura repeated louder. “‘First you’d have to beat me up… bitch.’”
Yuki snorted. “I put your ass on the floor before you cheated with that knife.”
“Lucky fluke,” Shura snapped back. “You couldn’t beat down a mouse, old lady.”
Yuki raised an eyebrow. Then she let her kimono drop back down to the mat. “Okay then…” She smiled and rushed at her, and Shura squirmed, trying to pull away again. “No, you don’t!” Yuki said as she dove onto her, grabbing her arm and pinning it, slamming her back down to the mat hard enough it made the weapons rattle on the ground. Shura was able to slither away again and began to crawl away from Yuki, spitting, glaring, and Yuki gave out a loud, half mad laugh of joy as she grabbed hold of Shura by her short, spiky hair. “Where do you think you’re going?”
“Let the fuck go of me, you crazy bitch!” Shura snapped as she struggled, kicking out at Yuki and catching her in the stomach, driving her back. “You nasty fucking hag, get off of me!”
“If you think I’m nasty, have you ever seen how your fucking hair looks like in a damn mirror?” Yuki mocked as she refused to be forced to let her go, pulling her closer and wrapping an arm around Shura’s neck, trying to get the upper hand over the slithering, slippery fox.
Shura used all her strength to stand up on her feet against all the pressure Yuki could put on her. “No matter how much you try,” Shura said while she strained and took in deep breaths. “It’s not going to be that easy!” She twisted, trying to torque her way out of the hold. “And my hair is boss as fuck!”
Yuki kicked Shura’s feet out from under her, sending both of them tumbling backward to the mats. Yuki’s fall was cushioned by the kitsune beneath her, landing her stomach into the ground and driving her breath from her hard enough that the kitsune probably saw stars glittering. While she was dazed, Yuki was able to sit on her back, grasp the fox’s forehead and one arm and pull back, arching Shura’s back, bending it in a submission hold.
“Oh, fuck!” Shura shrieked as Yuki continued to put immense pressure on her back. “Argh! Okay! Okay, I give up!” Shura tapped out in desperation and before she knew it Yuki had her on her back, sliding back on top of the naked fox.
“Now shut up and put your mouth to better use,” she growled, pressing her pussy against Shura’s mouth, and her aggression gave way to ecstasy as she felt nice, warm shivers shoot up her spine with each caress of Shura’s tongue. This time Yuki faced the other way so that she could molest the other kitsune’s breasts in earnest, giving her tits as massage while she licked her lips. “Don’t you fucking stop.”
Shura licked and sucked and kissed, but the whole time she didn’t stop struggling either… her tails and legs continued to push against Yuki’s own, an unending war for dominance and escape. “You can’t move, bitch,” Yuki mocked her. “Give up! Just admit that you want this… I have you!”
“You don’t have shit!” Shura hissed into her pussy as she continued to struggle against Yuki’s weight. “You’re probably about to break your hip or something, you crone. Now get off me!”
“Make me!” Yuki responded without batting an eye. Her eyes burned with pleasure and enjoyment and intense lust as she squeezed her legs harder on Shura’s head, pinning even harder. Shura cried out as she felt Yuki’s domineering force against her, but she didn’t stop licking, not even as Yuki’s hips began to grind against Shura. Just like before, no matter what Yuki did to her, she kept licking… but this felt completely different. It was the lack of fear… the defiance to spit in the face of someone bigger and older and tougher than her and offer her defiance no matter what, and that was attractive as hel-
Shura shoved with everything, all at once, and Yuki lost her balance and tumbled. The two of them rolled together, arms and legs and tails all tangled as she moved across the tatami mat. When they came to a rest, Shura was on top of Yuki and started to get up, but the nogitsune reached up and grabbed her, slapping her across the face once as she blocked a return blow from the other fox. Her tails quickly won the war for positioning with Shura’s, overwhelming her, tangling her up, and wrapping around her from behind, pinning the kitsune down against Yuki. Shura was on top now, but she was no less pinned as Yuki grabbed her head with one arm, shoving their mouths together.
Shura’s tongue fought back, trying to keep Yuki’s out, but she was no more successful than she had been in escaping the pin. Her tongue pushed deep, almost fucking her throat as she claimed the fox with her mouth, her tongue lashing repeatedly until Shura finally pushed herself away, sucking in a breath between coughs. “Goddess dammit! You’re one horrible kisser!” Shura complained. “Now go away!”
“Oh, shut up!” Yuki said as she slapped Shura once more before rolling over again, putting Yuki back on top. After a few more quick kisses, Yuki’s tongue made its way down to Shura’s chest. Shura attempted to push Yuki’s head away but the kitsune came right back. The aroused nogitsune pulled her nipples into her mouth one after the other, rolling the firm teats against her tongue and nibbling on them as her free hand played with the one she wasn’t trying to swallow.
“This is so ridiculous!” Shura complained as Yuki consumed her, but she couldn’t keep the moan out of her voice. Shura might be trying to resist, but she clearly loved the way Yuki’s mouth felt on her tits… she was halfway to heaven as the experienced nogitsune worked her breasts with her lips and tongue.
Shura moaned, which caused Yuki to pause for a second, her eyes flicking to Shura’s face to evaluate if she was still enjoying this. They met eyes for just a second before Shura looked away and tried struggling to get away again. “Heh…” Yuki gave a creepy chuckle as she returned to Shura’s boobs.
Shura shivered and twitched as the kitsune continued to forcefully lick her chest. “Goddess… how are you doing that!?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” Yuki said slowly right before she slowly circled her areola with her tongue. “You learn a thing or two over a few centuries. Maybe sometime after you learn how to tie your shoes and dress yourself you’ll figure it out.”
“Fuck you,” Shura growled, but gasped as Yuki drove her teeth into one of her nipples, shockingly gentle but utterly irresistible and sending shocks of sensation from her bust.
“That is the idea,” Yuki confirmed as she pressed both of the woman’s tits together and consumed them like a wild beast. Her fast, deep breaths were blowing over Shura’s skin as she kept playing with her.
“Fuck!” Shura yelled as she tried to get away and resist. But Yuki pinned her down with more force, allowing her to continue toying with the younger kitsune’s sensitive breasts. The blue-haired fox tried her best to wrestle her way out only to have Yuki just shift the pin again… she was growing less coordinated with time and desperation and arousal, not more, while Yuki had plenty of practice in wrestling and subduing a feisty submissive or a mortal opponent. Now that Shura was mostly lax, Yuki began to grind against her again, her tails starting to creep up on Shura’s mound.
“Oh! Shit! What are you doing!” Shura exclaimed as two tails immediately pushed their way inside her slick gash. “Ooh… goddess!”
“Not that I mind,” Yuki purred, “but Inari might be angry if you call me that.” Shura’s pleas beneath her were between cries of indignation mixed with raw pleasure as Yuki’s tails fully penetrated her cave, her pussy leaking sweet juices as the furry tails got to work and shoved further against the walls of her warm cavity.
“Oh no!” Shura yelled as she felt the awesome sensations of the tails ripping her little cunt apart. “It’s… it’s… This is too much for me!” she protested, but Yuki didn’t believe her for a second. She watched her face carefully for any sign of distress… the only distress Shura was feeling at the moment was that she hadn’t cum yet. The punky-haired fox soon latched herself to Yuki rather than struggling, holding her as Yuki shifted her position slightly to allow her tails to fuck her even harder.
Yuki’s mouth met Shura’s again as their lips locked in complete ecstasy. The kitsune could feel the sweet arousing sensations that were emanating from the fox she was totally dominating. Shura quaked violently as pulses of pure pleasure got hold of her. She shook her head left and right as Yuki’s tails gave her pussy a serious pounding, hard enough to make her whole body quiver. Shura’s legs were now completely wrapped around the kitsune’s hips as her pussy was being ravaged by Yuki’s tails.
“You like that don’t you…” Yuki purred with glee as she saw how much Shura was overwhelmed by the feelings Yuki was inflicting on her. It didn’t take long until the nogitsune could feel Shura’s wet, warm quim contract like crazy. Her tails were squeezed like no other time as Shura’s warm hungry hole began to flood with its own juices, the fox cumming hard on her.
Shura twitched and twirled like a trapped snake as intense waves and aftershocks flowed throughout her body. “OH SHIT!” Shura screamed as her voice echoed throughout the ancient house.
“Cum for me, little sentry,” Yuki growled against her neck as she nibbled on it, one of her fingers playing with her own pussy as she felt Shura shudder and shiver on her. “Yeah! Fucking rebellious, squirming, cumming little bitch! Enjoy every fucking second of it!”
Shura continued to twitch as she felt the final vestiges of her intense orgasm. Before she could recover, Shura opened her eyes to see Yuki’s shaved pussy hovering over her face again. “My turn,” Yuki hissed with elation as she landed her mound on Shura’s face. The pinned kitsune placed her hands on Yuki’s ass, pushing, shoving it away from her, but thanks to the lingering ecstasy that she was enjoying, she stopped after just a few seconds, focusing entirely on the taste of Yuki’s pussy as it dripped utter sweetness into her mouth.
Shura continued to eat Yuki out with fervor as her own pussy was still trembling around the nogitsune’s dark tails, her tongue flicking at Yuki’s clit at every second it wasn’t burying itself deep inside of her, and the sensations threatened to exile Yuki all the way to the moon as the nogitsune moaned, forcefully grinding herself down on Shura’s face as she squeezed it with her thighs.
Soon Shura’s chin was glistening with spit as her tongue cleaned Yuki inside and out… dancing and twirling inside of her to the point that it finally pushed her over the edge. “Shit! I’m fucking coming too!” the nogitsune moaned as heavy sensations wrapped her body in complete bliss. Wave after wave of mouth-watering sensations exploded across her nerves, making the fox shake all over Shura’s face as she forced the full weight of her body’s convulsions onto the kitsune, letting her feel the evidence of the pleasure she had caused.
After a few seconds, the sweaty nogitsune collapsed, finally releasing Shura as she let herself fall onto her side next to the woman. The room got extremely quiet as they both came down from their highs. Yuki tried to catch her breath as she laid there, half on top of Shura, half beside her.
“Fuck…” Shura whispered. “How did you do some of those takedowns?” She shook her head. “Ichika is good but… most of her techniques just don’t work for me. She’s just too huge.”
Yuki gave a small smile. “Just another thing to teach you,” she said with a chuckle. “After I finish with your magic.”
Shura sighed, smiled, and let herself sag back onto the mat. “Thank you…” she whispered.
“Thank you, mistress,” Yuki said, smiling impishly.
“Fuck you,” Shura replied, panting tiredly.
Yuki chuckled. “And?” she pressed.
Shura chewed on her lip for a second. “Thank you, mistress,” she growled out, reluctantly.
Yuki smiled. “Good girl.”