She was perfect: kind, caring, intelligent, and revered as 'The Most Beautiful Woman in All of Makai'. Not only that, but she was also married to the most desirous being in all Three Realms. She ...
Five years, she thought.
She turned to her side and wrapped her arms around herself, her silky blue hair forming a canopy around her.
I've been living a lie for five long years.
She panted heavily, stumbling over overgrown roots covering the forest floor. They were close; she could hear the faint sound of dogs barking and men yelling.
The girl could feel her legs were starting to give out, but she knew she couldn't rest, not yet.
I won't give up, she told herself. I'm not turning back now.
But, as fate would have it, she started losing her energy and finally came to a stop as she fell, exhausted, on to the shrub-covered ground.
Her eyes started to swell up with small, crystalline tears, as she started to lose all hope in ever escaping. She had tried so hard to get away from the hell known as her life, but all her attempts were now seemingly made in vain.
She started to cry as she heard the noises getting louder and clearer. A couple more moments, and she would be captured, beaten, and returned to hell once more.
"There she is!" exclaimed a big, burly man that had appeared from the brush.
"Filthy little wench!" a tall, lanky man shouted as he slapped the powerless girl across the face. By now most of the hunters, a group of about eleven men, had surrounded her, leaving no room for escape even if she did have the strength.
"Now, now...that's not very nice."
Everyone stopped what they were currently doing and turned around to look for the owner of the mysterious, silky, velvet-like voice.
All the men froze in their tracks, eyes wide with fear, lips trembling, but not a sound was uttered.
Botan looked up from her spot on the ground and, through puffy red eyes, saw the most beautiful demon she had ever seen.
The fox youki had very strong, well-built arms and biceps and what seemed to be, as far as Botan could tell, a muscled, lean torso which was cover by a white sleeveless tunic tied at his waist by a golden-yellow sash and matching, pure white baggy pants. Two fur covered ears stuck out from his gorgeous silver-white hair that framed his exceedingly handsome face.
He was sitting on a tree branch a few feet away and seemed to be strangely relaxed as he closed his eyes and swung his tail behind him in a rhythmic pace.
Who is he? Botan asked herself having temporarily forgotten her injuries and current predicament.
"Y-y-you--your---," one of the big grizzly men that had just been striking Botan stuttered.
"Do you know what happens to people that wander in my territory?" the cryptic demon asked as he examined his nails which resembled claws more than actual fingernails.
The men panicked. At this point, none of them could even utter a noise, and the tension hanging in the air made it hard for them to breathe.
The men's eyes were darting everywhere, looking for any possible escape route. The silence was thick enough to cut through, and, in a sudden desperate attempt, all the men dashed away.
Each man was shoving, stumbling, and pushing one another to get as far away as they could from the fox demon.
In one swift jump, the mysterious creature landed in front of the man that had, not even a second ago, been the farthest away.
The youki sighed, "I do have to say I'm not very pleased."
And, with great agility, the still unidentified demon leapt into the air and started his massacre of the poor, unfortunate souls that had done nothing wrong, except to try and capture a runaway slave. Within a minute, all eleven men laid dead on the forest floor, their blood flowing freely out of the inflicted wounds and forming a puddle around each body.
"Do you really think you would've been able to get away from me, Youko Kurama?" he said softly, his back still turned to Botan.
Botan gasped in horror, He is the Youko Kurama? She could feel tears well up in her eyes again, this time not for the thought of all her valiant efforts failing but for the fear of losing her life.
Youko Kurama, he was the most notorious bandit there ever was, the King of Thieves. He and his band of crooks were known and feared by everyone in Makai, whether powerful, weak, or human.
Slowly, he turned around to face the helpless girl on the moss covered ground, and, within a few haunting strides, he was next to her, towering over her feeble form.
"Now what do we have here?" he asked softly as he knelt down next to her.
Botan smirked in an evil, cruel way. She had been so naÃ¯ve back then. If only she knew what it would've gotten her into, then she maybe wouldn't have run away.
Now that she thought about it, it was rather stupid, running a way from a living hell to be locked away in a dungeon.
Perhaps it was because there might have been a time when she truly loved him. But now she felt nothing, just a dark hole of sadness, loneliness, and pain because staying here was killing her...and hurting him.
What had he done to deserve this? Botan asked herself. Though Youko was a thief, inside he was a caring, compassionate person, who did not deserve to be ensnared in such a complex tapestry of lies and deceit.
I need to save him, to save myself...I need to get out.
A light knock on the door startled Botan out of her thoughts.
"Come in," she answered, sitting up in her enormous bed.
The door opened, revealing the aqua haired water demon, Juri, Botan's close friend and handmaid, "Milord has arrived and is expecting you in the main hall. The band is having a feast to celebrate the success of their latest heist."
"Very well," she said getting up slowly and tiredly.
"Is something wrong, Botan?" Juri asked worriedly.
Botan smiled tiredly and turned around. She walked to a curtain covered doorway located at the corner of her room and stepped inside. Her hands glided over the soft, silk material of her dresses as she started to search for a suitable outfit from her enormous array of clothes.
"Oh," Juri said softly as she started toward her mistress's walk-in closet and entered as well, "So you've been thinking again."
"Yeah, I guess I have. How about this one?" Botan examined herself in front of her three-sided, full-length mirror and held up a violet kimono with golden flowers decorating it.
Juri walked over to her lady and helped Botan into her chosen kimono. Juri stared back at her mistress, "You look wonderful."
After having spent five years with Botan, Juri had gotten to know her very well, including her feelings toward the Lord of the Keep. Looking at her mistress now, she could tell why even a demon like Youko Kurama could become so captivated by her.
Botan had a perfectly curvaceous figure, long silky blue hair that was currently let loose, creamy porcelain skin, and the innocent heart-shaped face of an angel. The dark purple kimono was a perfect shade to go with her gorgeous amethyst eyes.
Yes, Lady Botan, Mistress of the Keep of Lord Youko Kurama, is a perfectly suitable title for her, Juri concluded.
Both women left the room filled with the extravagant gowns and over to an exquisite dresser set with an ample amount of priceless, gleaming jewels.
Once Botan sat down, Juri began to brush and pin her mistress's smooth hair into beautiful complex ringlets, using only gold pins encrusted with glimmering gems of course.
Without even bothering to check her reflection in the attached mirror, Botan stood up and turned to face Juri.
"Well then, shall we join the men for the feast?" Botan asked, plastering on her trademark smile and heading toward the exit.
Juri quickly followed Botan out of the room, closing the door behind her. They walked down the dim, torch-lit hallway of the keep and headed for the main room.