On the Hunt
Even through the cathedral’s thick walls, the ominous sound of thunder in the distance could be heard. Father Michael walked into the main hall to check on the candles to see if any needed to be replaced of re-lit. Since it was likely that a storm was heading in his general direction, he wanted to make sure that any and all guests he might receive seeking shelter from the rain wouldn't walk right into total darkness.
As the priest entered the main hall, he noticed that he wasn’t alone. Sitting towards the back row of pews near the front doors was a lone figure. He would have blended into the shadows perfectly had it not been for the light from the candles near the window. From what Father Michael could see, his visitor was a young man with unruly black hair that probably hadn’t met a brush in quite some time and was tied in a ponytail. He wore a black leather trenchcoat over a black or dark blue t-shirt, it was hard to tell with the candlelight. The priest walked over to the young man. He had his head down, as if praying.
“May I help you, young man?” Father Michael asked in a kind voice.
The young man in question casually looked up at the priest. “Oh don’t mind me Father. I’m just passing through.” He said as he started to stand up.
“Actually Father.” The young man said as if remembering something. “There is something you might be able to help me with.”
“Oh?” Father Michael replied. As the young man stood, the priest could see the rest of his attire. Nothing out of the ordinary; a dark blue shirt, blue jeans and boots. He also wore a pair of fingerless gloves on his hands. The only thing that Michael noticed that was unusual was that the young man left fingers were a dark grey; he wore some kind of glove on his left hand underneath the fingerless glove that clung to his hand like a second skin.
“Yeah. You see I’m looking for someone.” The young man said as he leaned against the side of the pew and faced the priest.
“Well, we’re all looking for someone, aren’t we my son?” Father Michael said.
“”Yes I’m sure.” The young man replied, rolling his brown eyes slightly. “But you see, this particular someone I’m looking for is an old friend of mine and I heard he may have passed by this way. And you seem like a man of the people around here, so I was wondering if you may have seen him or heard about him coming through.”
“Hmm.” The priest said as he cupped his lower face with this hand as if thinking. “It’s true that this is a rather small town and I am very familiar with all of the people who live here, but I haven’t heard of anyone passing through. In fact my son, you’re the first outsider to happen by this town in quite some time. If this person you are looking for has indeed been here, then I haven’t heard about it.”
“I see.” The young man said.
“I’m very sorry that I couldn’t help you my son.” Father Michael apologized in a sincere tone.
“It’s alright.” The young man said, shrugging his shoulders. “Um, speaking of things heard around town, maybe you can help me out with another little tidbit that brought me here. Something that you may have heard about instead.”
“I can try.” The priest said
“You see Father, I’m sure you’ve heard about some recent murders that have been happening not just around this town, but other towns in the area.”
“Ah yes, the killings. They’ve been happening for months now.” The priest said in a somber tone. “Nothing short of horrifying the way those poor people were murdered.”
“Yeah I know.” The young man said. “In fact, I heard there was one that happened just last night. A seventeen year-old girl named Sora Peters. The local cops found what was left of her just down the road from her home. Took a real tough bastard to do that to a girl. Pardon my language.”
“Yes.” Father Michael said in a sad voice. “There’s a special punishment awaiting the animal who committed some heinous acts.”
“Oh believe me, there is.” The young man said as he stood up straight.
“I’m afraid I can’t really help you with that matter either my son.” The priest said. “I truly am sorry that I couldn’t be of more help you.”
“Don’t worry about it.” The young man said as he started to turn towards the door. But before he reached the door, the young man stopped. “Before I go Father, and I promise that this is the last thing before I get out of your hair, I just need to ask you one last question.”
“Yes?” The priest said.
“Is it a sin to lie your ass off?” The young man said, still facing the door.
“E-excuse me?” Father Michael said in a surprised tone.
The young man slowly turned around to face the perplexed priest. “You see at first I thought these were just some random murders just like the local P.D. But then I decided to go the extra mile and look in a few added details of these killing while the cops were too busy stuffing their faces with doughnuts. And lo and behold, I found a little something that they either overlooked or ignored. Wanna know what that little something was, Father? Go ahead and ask me.” The young man said as he walked toward the priest.
“Wh-what did you find?” Father Michael asked in a nervous voice.
“Well, funny you should ask.” The young man said. “I found out that these murders happened to coincide with the arrival of a priest at the local churches in the towns. And after some asking around, I found out that you’re new to the area after the previous priest “vanished” about a few months ago, roughly around when the murders in this town started. It’s kind of funny, don’t you think Father?”
Father Michael said nothing and had a blank look on his face.
“There’s one last thing Father.” The young man said. “In my particular line of work, I’ve become accustomed to several things. The scents blood and death being among them. And right now, those scents are all over you like bad aftershave. So I’ll ask again, even though I know it’s moot, is it a sin to lie your ass off? Because I’d say you’re on the fast lane to Hell if it is…but then again, you probably hail for downstairs so it’ll be like a homecoming for you, huh?”
The priest’s blank expression suddenly changed into a shark-like smile. “Well, aren’t you the clever one.”
“Actually I just like to think of myself of highly observant.” The young man said with a smirk. “Speaking of which, why don’t you ditch the meat suit? I mean come on, don’t shit stains like you have a little dignity?”
The priest started to laugh. As he did, his voice started to change. It got deeper and deeper to point where it was almost like a growl. His eyes also began to glow and eerie red. “He told me that you have quite a mouth on you. I see that he wasn’t exaggerating, Karasu.”
“He?” The young man, Karasu, raised an eyebrow before realization sank in. “So you do know my old friend. Tsk tsk. The way you’ve been lying, I’m surprised your pants haven’t been reduced to ashes yet.”
“Yes.” “Father Michael” growled. “He told me that I should be expecting you sooner or later. But it turned out that it would be a while before we met, so I had to keep in practice somehow. Plus, I have to eat, don’t I? To think, a lot of this bloodshed could have been prevented had you sought me out sooner. How does it feel knowing that the deaths of so many are on your shoulders, my son?”
“That’s a hell of a question.” Karasu replied. But if there’s one truth about this world, it’s that people die, one way or another. There’s really nothing that can be done about it. But you know something shit-eater? The same thing applies to fuckers like you.”
The “priest” let out an amused laugh as he began to change form. One moment, he was a rather thin man. The next, he was a hulking creature that was easily well over eight feet tall with spikes growing out of his head and back. “And how do you propose to do that, my son?”
Karasu held out his left arm and pointed it towards the priest creature. The creature noticed that the young man’s left glove had a hole in the palm. “I’m assuming that since you know my old friend, he probably told you about Ol’ Leftie here.”
“What are you talking about?” The priest monster growled.
Karasu let out an amused snort. “Seems you’re not worth shit after all. Otherwise, he might’ve clued you in to this.”
With that, a burst of blood exploded out of the young man’s left palm…and the next thing the priest creature knew, a strange looking sword with what appeared to be a heart as the tsuba and a red blade was stuck in his right shoulder. The creature didn’t have time to yell in pain as Karasu rushed towards him, grabbed the sword and promptly sliced the beast’s right arm off from the shoulder. The fallen appendage hit the hard ground with a meaty slap and dark blood gushed out of both the arm and it’s previous owner.
“Now before I avenge the people you killed and do one hell of a public service, answer me this: Where’s Malus?” Karasu asked
The creature just roared in pain. “Wrong answer big boy.” The young man said as effortlessly cut the demon’s left leg off, sending the beast front first to the ground.
“Last chance freak show.” Karasu said as pointed the strange katana at the back of the priest creature’s head. “Where’s Malus or I’ve just found a new pincushion in your brain.”
“Alright, alright!” The creature said. He was here about a month ago. He told me that you might show up. He told me to tell you that he’d be seeing you soon. That’s all I know!”
“Thanks.” Karasu said as he stabbed the demon in the head and pierced his brain, killing the creature instantly. “Scumbag.” Karasu said as he walked out of the cathedral.
“So you’ll be seeing me soon, eh Malus?” Karasu said to himself as he started back towards town. “I’m looking forward to it.”
As he walked, Karasu was unaware that he was being watched by three pairs of eyes. Up in one of the cathedral’s bell towers, hidden by the darkness of the shadows, were three figures; two women and one man.
“For someone so observant, he’s rather blind to things around him. Otherwise, he would’ve noticed us by now.” One of the women said, a young woman with long jet black hair and onyx eyes wearing a black leather short skirt, a black top that did a good job of showing off her figure, a sleeveless trenchcoat that was more like a big vest and wrapped around her waist was a blood red sash and around her neck, she wore an inverted pentagram pendent. She was casually holding what appeared to be a guitar of some-kind, but if one were to look close, they would see what appeared to sickle-like blades around the base.
“Perhaps Karasu is merely content to have slayed that demon for now. After all, he did kill quite a number of humans. Thus justice is served.” Said the second woman. She had long hair much like the first one, but where the first one was jet black, the second woman’s was a vibrant red that seemed to flow like a cape in the wind. Her eyes were also a vibrant red, like drops of blood on white stone. She wore a black and red leather corset that seemed to enhance her already impressive bust and figure and black pants that also did a good job of showing off her figure. On both legs, there was an image of a rose. Like the first woman, she too had a red sash tied around her waist and she too had an inverted pentagram pendent around her neck. She looked over at their companion with a small smile. “Had you really wanted that demon to provide a challenge for Karasu, then you would have told him about Gosaiken. Am I right, Malus my love?”
“Hmph.” Malus grunted as he watched Karasu disappear from sight.
Malus was an imposing figure to say the least. Well over six feet tall, he had dark brown hair that reached down past his shoulders and icy blue eyes that seemed to pierce one’s soul. He wore a grey shirt, dark blue pants with a pair of metal shin guards that covered his lower legs and boots. Like the first woman, he wore a sleeveless trenchcoat. But unlike her, the sleeves appear to have been ripped off. Tied around his waist, he wore a red obi. Over both of his lower arms and hands, he wore a pair of wicked looking gauntlets made of both leather and metal. Speaking of metal, Malus had several piercings on his face; a pair of studs through both eyebrows, two pairs in the bridge of his nose between his eyes and three small thorn-like spikes protruding out of the bottom of his jaw – one under his jaw and the other two on the sides.
“That piece of filth wasn’t worthy enough to challenge Karasu.” Malus said as the second woman lovingly wrapped her arms around him and leaned into him from behind. “I would have told him about Gosaiken, but then he had to go and rape some of his victims before he killed them. Such behavior can’t be tolerated Alessa, you know that as well as I do.”
“Point well taken.” Alessa agreed, enjoying the feeling of closeness to her lover. “We may be demons, but we do have standards.” She then looked over to the first woman. “By the way Otohime, good work on the soundproofing spell you cast on the cathedral. It would have put a damper on things had someone heard the screams of a demon in pain.”
Otohime bowed her head in appreciation. “I like to think I’m getting better. So what now?”
“For now, nothing.” Malus answered. “Now’s not the time for our little duel. He still needs a little more experience. Besides, there are some very intriguing rumors coming out of St. Decameron these days.”
“Oh?” Otohime said, slightly surprised.
“Yes.” Alessa replied. “Word has it that Sin, the Demon Queen, is starting to make some moves. It seems that she’s caught wind that Kuragari’s descendants are alive and kicking. Needless to say, big things are about to go down in the City of Demons and it may be wise to see how events are going to play out.”
“Yeah.” Malus said. “Let’s head home for now.” With that, the three vanished in a cloud of darkness.
Meanwhile, Karasu was down the road when all of a sudden, a chill ran down his spine. He turned to look back at the cathedral for a moment before narrowing his eyes and continuing on his way.