It's been about a week since you last saw your 'brother.' Found yourself fighting him to the death in that empty, dark street before he slipped away from your grasp. You haven't heard anything since. You knew it was only a matter of time though. That whatever plan he was concocting would be sprung into action. He wouldn't have killed the shrine maiden without a reason... or a follow up.
"I'm gonna visit the Moriya Shrine really quick, is that okay Alice?"
"Be careful out there. It's late at night. Who knows what might be lurking in the shadows."
"I think I'll be fine."
The relationship between you and Alice feels so casual now. Like you've been in her care for years. You're truly grateful to Satoko for introducing you to her. You're going to have to think of something extra special to do for her the next time you see her.
Once you got to the Moriya Shrine, you were no longer sure when that would be.
Your friend's name is the first thing you shout out upon turning the corner and confirming what you feared as you saw the red light in the distance as you were walking towards it. The entire shrine is ablaze. Burning to cinders. The Moriya shrine maiden is nowhere to be found. Neither are any of it's usual inhabitants. You wade through the rubble as it burns, nearly catching fire yourself, until you spy the battered body of the Moriya Shrine Maiden sitting against a tree near the back of the shrine. You fear the worst as you freeze up, looking at her, but soon get a grip over yourself and immediately rush to her aid. After a little shaking, she seems to come to, albeit rather weakly.
"Someone... who looked like you, came by... did this..." Amaya's voice is weak. Understandable, as her whole body is bruised and cut up mercilessly. Blood is everywhere. You can really feel the panic setting in. You fear that even though she's alive now, any help would not come in time.
"A-A-Amaya! Save your strength please!" With a tender, weak smile, the shrine maiden confirms your worst fear.
"It's... too late, Souya..."
"N-No! It can't be! Please, don't-"
"I'm passing... now..." Argh! Where the hell are the Moriya gods during times like this?!
"Amaya!! No, stay with me!"
"Thank you... take... care..."
The shrine maiden can no longer hold her eyes open, and soon, falls limp, drawing her last breath. Try as you might, no matter how hard you shake her, no matter how loudly you scream, no matter how much you cry, she doesn't come back.
This makes the second shrine maiden your brother has murdered.
This must stop.
This can't go unpunished.
With a deep rage and uneasiness settling inside you, you get up and run. Run away. You leave behind the shrine and immediately make tracks towards Alice's shop. Your sword is there. With that one tool, you will put a stop to this once and for all. Even if it kills you. You've stopped caring. You've realized that you can't protect everyone by just sitting here anymore. You have to act, or more will die. More death...
"Souya, what is wrong with you?!"
This is the first thing you hear as you grab your sword. Although it's really the only thing that's actually registered with you since you left the Moriya Shrine. Everything since then has been a blur. From you running back to the shop, to bursting in unannounced, you likely ignored Alice up until now too, but it's only when she grabs your shoulder sternly that you're forced react.
"I'm going to kill him!"
"Who?! Your brother?! Don't be absurd!"
"Shut up!" You try to break free of Alice, but the moment she realizes you're trying to get away, she grabs you more tightly.
"Don't you tell me to shut up! Who kept you here in hiding up until now?!
"You don't have to do that anymore! I'm leaving!"
"What do you think Satoko is going to feel about this?!"
Satoko, it's always about Satoko. You realize now that Alice hasn't really been friendly with you because she wants to be, it's because she cares about Satoko. Much like you do. Feelings like that are precisely why you're going out to do this.
"If I don't, then she might die!"
"And what about you?!"
"Let go of me!!"
You finally wrestle yourself from Alice's grasp and head downstairs with the puppeteer in hot pursuit. You don't intend on letting her catch you though, as you rush towards the do-
"Open up!" You freeze in your tracks as you hear a deep, menacing voice from behind the front door. "We know he's in there!"
It couldn't be... that's clearly the voice of a daitengu. A higher ranked one, no less. But how did they know you were here? Did they see you? In this darkness?
You hear the burly hand of the tengu beat on the door a few times, nearly knocking it in before the big lug gets the bright idea to try and twist the door handle...
"Souya!" Alice sounds as she quickly unleashes her finesse as a puppeteer, flooring the doorway with an insurmountable amount of controlled dolls, all of whom somehow keep the door shut. Judging by the way Alice is struggling with the strings though, it doesn't look easy. "Go! There's a back exit on the second floor!"
Wait, is she...?
"But what about-"
"I'll be fine! Just go!"
The way Alice looked at you, the serious, stern and pained expression on her face, you couldn't not follow her orders. As you turn your back regretfully and head back upstairs, you frantically search the second floor for some sort of exit. Sure enough, a window that leads out onto a neighboring roof is located at the end of the hall. You're not sure if this is what she meant, but you'll take anything right now. Just to get away from the tengu. You can handle jumping down a flight anyways.
What started all this? Why did this happen? Where are things going to go from how? How did things get to this point? So many questions run through your panicked mind as you run through the dark streets blindly, hoping that somehow, someway, things will be alright. Your destination for right now is the only place of solace you have left...
You close the door to your room and sigh. It's been a really long day today. You had to yell your good nights to your mother from upstairs as you had just gotten out of the shower. You cannot wait to get into bed and sleep forever. At least, you'd like to sleep forever, but you know you won't get the chance to, even if it's a weekend right now. Relieving yourself of your towel, feeling adequately dry now, all that's left is to put on your night wear and collapse into bed. Nothing could be sweeter then that right now. Just having to do absolutely nothing else and sleep the night away.
Of course, life wouldn't just make things easy and simple like that. Not at all. This is what you think when you hear a tell tale knocking at your window, and a familiar voice from behind it.
"Satoko? Can I come in?"
Thank the lucky stars you keep your curtains closed. You think the last thing you'd want to end the day on is Souya seeing you naked. If you had any slight fear at all that you had left your curtains open, you'd have frozen up on the spot and died right there. Thankfully, you know better then that.
"In a minute...!"
Okay, first thing's first, making yourself proper. You would have liked a little time to pick out something comfy to sleep in but you don't get that luxury tonight it seems. You just whip out a the nearest pair of underwear and quickly get them on, then take the first nightgown out of your dresser. Thankfully it's a modest one. Giving Souya a show isn't on your mind right now when he's really inconveniencing you. At least last time you didn't have a choice.
You go ahead and walk up to your window after making sure you're not looking totally embarrassing. With a few quick movements, you open the curtains and slide open the window, there you see Souya kneeling on the window sill, staring up at the moon. After you open the window, he turns his head to look at you, and a faint breeze blows in.
You could swear that this scene is straight out of a sappy romance novel you once read. Especially with the impressive balance Souya has on your window sill. It's almost embarrassingly cliche, and had it been any other strapping man and not Souya, you might have actually blushed.
"Why are you here?" This is instead the first thing you say to Souya.
"I'm really sorry." Souya apologizes to you as he hops inside and you close the window and curtains back up. "But something really bad just happened."
"What could have possibly happened?"
"The tengu found me at Alice's..."
Well, okay, that is really bad.
"I don't even know how they did, but they were banging on Alice's door, and then she told me to leave through the back, so I did but... now I'm really worried about her." It finally came to this then... the tengu discovered Souya at Alice's. You want to chastise him for allowing such a blunder to happen, but the same thing gripping Souya starts gripping you. What became of Alice? Would she really be alright facing off against the tengu of all people? What of her shop? What of her...?
You quickly shake your head after thinking about it too much. If there's one thing you learned when you were attacked at Sango's, it's that you must have faith, or otherwise the fear will control you. "She'll be fine. She's Alice, after all." Souya seems to look at you a little puzzled.
"She's... Alice?" You nod to affirm him.
"Yeah. Because she's Alice, she can get herself out of everything. Trust me. I know her."
"But, those were..."
"I know her, Souya. And I have faith in her. Won't you have faith in her too?" After being told this, Souya seems to relent, after a few moments of surprise.
"... y-yeah. I will. Thank you."
With a short sigh, you fall onto your bed, sitting down while leaning back a bit. You're really tired. It's taking a lot of effort to not just lie down and fall right asleep. But you'd have immense difficulty actually doing so once you did lie down because of Souya's presence. Well, less his actual presence and more the feeling of anxiety he brought in with him with the news of Alice. He looks really shaken up. He also seems rather... jumpy. Like he's about to fly right back out the window at any moment. It makes you a little nervous yourself, honestly.
"... s-so, can I stay here the night?" Souya seems to ask you after some thinking. He sounds like he has a lot on his mind. You're not sure if you really want to hear about any of it either, but after all you've done for him and all he's done for you, kicking him out would just make you feel bad.
"Yeah, I guess. Lock the door, I don't want my parents coming in and finding out that I'm hiding a boy in my room." Even disregarding the fact that Souya's a youkai, this situation has misunderstanding written all over it. You can't imagine how your parents would take this. You don't think reasoning would have any effect at that point.
"Alright. Thank you so much, Satoko."
As Souya locks the door, you still realize that while no one else will be able to misunderstand the situation as long as they can't come into your room, you're afraid that Souya himself might. You have to lay down some ground rules, since it is your room.
"Okay, first thing's first, you're sleeping on the floor."
"And no touching my stuff."
"No breathing my air either."
Okay, he can't be listening. You're not sure if this is pitiable or pathetic. Maybe both.
"Souya. Pay attention to me when I'm talking to you."
"H-Huh?" The wolf boy seems to snap out of his daze to look at you before realizing he's doing something bad and looks back at the floor again. "S-Sorry..."
Ugh, somehow this is more awkward then if he did misunderstand the situation. Well, if he's gonna act like this, mistaking the situation is probably the last thing he'll do anyways, so you may as well throw the poor dog a bone.
"Well, I guess you can look around if you want to, just keep yourself occupied until you want to go to sleep, okay?"
"Ah... I'll try then."