Recap: Komeko received another letter from her secret admirer and went to meet him in the park. Once kidnapped, Komeko woke up in a labyrinth and met a peculiar man.
Kurama’s sight blurred in and out of focus. He groaned as his head ached and his mouth felt dry. He attempted to bring his hand up to his forehead to stop the room from spinning, but he was restricted. Ropes ground into his wrists with the movement. He was bound to the chair, so he contemplated different removal methods.
His thought process was interrupted as the door opened up to his room. He froze as he saw a vision of white enter and believed that, for a moment, he might still be unconscious. He recognized it to be Komeko and a smile graced his lips.
“I’m glad I finally found you. I was worried.” She said as she walked over and started untying his bindings.
He enveloped her in a quick hug, but something plagued the back of his mind. Something felt off. He pulled away from the affectionate gesture and kept his face unchanged.
Komeko, now captive in Hachiro’s body, groaned as she sat up. Feeling very peculiar and quite human, she stood unsteadily. She looked down at her body and jumped in surprise. She ran her fingers through her hair and was baffled at the short length.
“That bastard switched bodies with me!” She yelled, surprised at the voice that came out. “Well, that will take a little getting used to.”
What really worried her was her lack of power now. She did not have demon strength and she felt weak. Sure, Hachiro was relatively strong for a guy who must’ve dabbled in a little sorcery, but no typical match for her normal abilities. Anger boiling in the pit of her stomach from being ambushed, she started walking from the garden. With Hachiro’s stature, she could see the makings of a castle not far from where she was. She took the stairs two at a time with her elongated limbs and walked inside.
The entrance was lined with odd colored lights, nearly holiday in nature, but looked worn and eroded regardless. The large door creaked shut behind her and she glanced around. Everything was made of stone, empty, and quite cold. She could faintly hear voices coming from a room to her right and she crept up to the door.
“I’m glad to see you as well. Where are we precisely?”
That definitely sounded like Kurama. Another voice spoke up to his question.
“I don’t know, but this place is pretty weird. We should get out of here before anyone finds us.”
That voice, more familiar to her than any other, was distinctly feminine and obviously hers. She thought little of the situation before she barged in. Immediately, Kurama stepped forward, rose whip drawn and the possessed Komeko standing slightly behind him.
“Who is that?!” Komeko yelled, trying to play up the situation.
A dark and knowing look passed between the two males of the room.
“You know exactly who I am! I’m you! I mean, you’re me! I mean… Damn it! I don’t know how to explain this without sounding like I have multiple personality disorder. You stole my body!” Hachiro, the real Komeko, yelled franticly.
Kurama moved away from them both and eyed each one analytically.
“How do we fix this crap?” Hachiro demanded, hand on her new hip.
Komeko’s normal body took a more relaxed pose. “We don’t. I get to be you forever.”
“I don’t think so!” Hachiro exclaimed. “You’re going to fix this, if you know what’s good for you.”
Kurama swung his fist and smashed it into the fake Komeko’s face. Komeko, trapped in Hachiro’s body, stared with her mouth open.
“What’d you do that for?”
It didn’t matter very much, because shortly after, she collapsed on the ground as well. Kurama moved both bodies to lie next to each other and did not budge when a mist filled up the room. It cleared quickly and the real Komeko sat up. She rubbed her bleary eyes and jumped when she saw Hachiro’s body next to hers.
“What’d you do?!” She yelled at Kurama.
“Something I’ve found with people that manage to do this sort of thing is that if you get them to pass out, it will normally reverse the change.” He explained, helping her stand.
“Well, now that I feel like I ran my face into a truck, let’s get out of this place.” Komeko said as she kicked Hachiro on her way by.
“I’m sorry about that. It still hurts?” Kurama questioned.
“Yeah and I have no idea why. By the way, you look awful handsome. Not sure how many princes punch princesses, but I don’t think I’ve ever lived by the book before.” Komeko said, speaking about Kurama’s attire.
He wore a black suit that fit his body nicely. “You look very lovely too.”
He smiled and apologized again for his previous actions. They walked out of the room while one of Kurama’s vines snaked its way back around Hachiro’s unconscious body.
“Do you smell that?” Komeko asked, stopping in the bare entry room. “Botan!”
Komeko ran up the steps nearest them, taking each quickly in her torn gown. Kurama followed behind her closely and they came to stop outside of a door branded with an eroded number on it. Komeko pushed the door open slowly, but did not step into the room.
A wall of water, translucently sky blue, prevented Komeko from going further. They both stared at the wall of liquid and Komeko raised her hand to touch it. She pushed her fingers into it and felt nothing abnormal. Kurama did the same beside her. They retracted their hands and looked further into the room. A torrent of blue hair waved idly in the center. Botan, bound to a chair, stood out like a red thumb. It was almost a literal meaning, since her dress was bright right and skin tight.
Tying her dress’ skirt on the side to prevent it from floating and taking a deep breath, Komeko immersed herself into the water. Kurama followed closely behind her. In movement with the water, both of them had slight problems with their hair swishing around them. Light from the windows sparkled through the water as red strands waved through ebony ones. The sight would have been beautiful, if it hadn’t been so debilitating. Komeko, not thinking, let out her air in an exasperated sigh. She breathed in automatically, but was not met with water. Her eyes widened and she looked over to Kurama and showed him what she had done.
After separating their hair, he tested the same idea. Breathing normally, they swam towards the center to get Botan. Komeko untied the rope around her wrists and Kurama held on to the deity. They started to swim towards the exit, but a large fish rammed into Komeko. Confused and tired of everything being so weird, she turned around as the black monster began to swim towards her again.
Feeling off kilter in the water, she took aim with her demonically charged bow and arrow. Although not as fast as it normally was, the arrow punctured the fish right between the eyes, which rolled back into its head. A triumphant smile passed over her lips, but was short lived as she felt a pain mount up her leg. Neon red polluted the water, swirling into crimson plumes, around her new wound and she deftly grabbed the culprit and dragged him from the room.
Kurama and Botan exited first, while Komeko traipsed out behind them, fish in hand. She looked down when the weight of the monster did not come out with her. She stared at her empty hands and blinked profusely before giving up trying to understand the absence. A moan from beside her caught her attention. Botan was waking up.
“What’s going on here? Where am I?” she queried.
“I couldn’t say we honestly know where we are right now, precisely that is, but we are in a castle and everything is trippy.” Komeko offered, hugging Botan. “You were tied up in there and we had to get you out!”
Botan looked to where Komeko was pointing and became wide-eyed at the wall of water. “Oh, my, how is that even possible? Komeko, you’re bleeding!”
She waved off the concern as the wound started to slowly scab up and heal.
“I would be more curious to know why we are all here.” Kurama spoke once the wound was gone. “If Botan is here as well, wouldn’t it be likely that the rest of our friends might also be trapped?”
Both girls thought about the idea and nodded in agreement. “I would say so. Komeko, can you smell anyone else? I can’t feel anything here. It’s weird.” Botan asked.
“I kind of get the feeling that my senses are dimmed, even if it’s just slightly.” She answered.
“I do too. This whole reality is just very strange.” Kurama murmured.
A surge of power emitted somewhere above them and, although sopping wet, they pursued it by blazing up another case of stairs. They stopped in front of a door that matched Botan’s.
“If I had to guess, I’d say that the rooms in this place will all be different. I suggest we proceed slowly.” Kurama cautioned.
Komeko cracked the door open to the room very gently. The atmosphere in it was cool and the lighting quite dark as they peered in. There were small tables that held illuminated crystal balls on fluffy pillows. They seemed to only hold white light, until they walked in and the door slammed shut behind them.
“Well, I thought this might not be so malicious, but doors just don’t do that!” Botan exclaimed.
“I’m inclined to agree with you.” Komeko said.
The crystals around them began to flash with different colors, attracting the attention of those present.