Japanese Demons 6

The wolf demon's wedding.
Momoko's Protector

The wolf demon was going to take her to his shrine on the edge of the village in less than a month. Momoko tried to run away, but his wolves roamed the woods and always tracked her down. Her uncle finally ended up throwing her in the basement for safekeeping the last few days. She sat in a corner with her knees up to her chest and her small hands in fists, wishing her aunt were alive, or that Katsuya sama would come, or that she at least still had his picture.
It was over in a few minutes of hot fury. The littler dragon, Sarutahiko, flew irresistibly to her father, the monolith he'd woken and Azuka was killed in their fight. He watched as his years of effort were destroyed at the jaws of the monster he awoke and Azuka was consumed between them. He watched with no feeling of pity in his heart. She dared mock him with her suggestion that his sympathy for a human child was wrong. He was his own man, he could do whatever he wanted and nothing would detract from him. He was unretractable. Besides his brother...He turned away. Azuka had taken, Momoko had given. The fact that she had so little to give didn't matter. It's too bad that she's going even farther out of your reach...He transformed into his demon dog form and ran down the mountain.

And then the dragon, sensing the aura of his power, descended before him.
"I am Katsuya. My limits have never been tested. Nothing, much less this can defeat me." They fought for days in an epic battle that will forever go unrecorded.
"Ah Katsuya, I hoped you would come." It was a bright day, in the middle of the afternoon. The bride and groom stood on a platform in the town square, with a priest in front of them. The bride's face was characteristically covered with a veil, but the wedding dress hid a very thin frame. The bride's head reached just past the groom's navel.

Kogaratu had heard a lot about the wandering dog demon, and wanted to fight him for a long time. Now was his chance. He knew Katsuya sometimes came to see Momoko, even coming down to the village a couple times to check on her. So in his human form he had given Momoko's uncle a large dowry for the child; it was no difficulty to get him to say yes. He knew that by bringing her to his shrine his chances of meeting Katsuya was greater. He could always eat her afterwards. Kogaratu hadn't expected Katsuya to show up on their wedding day. But there he stood, large as life, not thirty yards from the platform. As usual he wore his clothes fit for an emperor overlaid with that fur wrap, his swords hanging at his sides. Who did he think he was, a king? Kogaratu spat. Normal wolf skin was good enough for him.

Before Kogaratu could challenge Katsuya, Momoka threw back her veil and leapt from the stage, hitting the ground running. Kogaratu hadn't expected that. He landed in front of her, his own sword drawn. "This is my triumph!" He roared, "Not yours."

Momoko didn't even look at him. "Katsuya sama!" She cried, swiftly stepping past him. Kogaratu's sword whistled through the air to cut her down. She dodged it.

Kogaratu stared in amazement as his sword crashed down where she should have been, and buried its tip in the dust. Recovering quickly he reached into his pants leg pocket and sent several disks flying in a single movement. They tore into her shoulder and spun her around so quickly she fell to the ground in between them.

He turned to face his opponent, a glad smile spreading across his evil face. "This is it! So long have I waited for the day we crossed paths!" Katsuya's eyes were iridescent ice as he strode past Momoko, who was half-seated on the ground, dazed by the pain. To all everyone around, it looked like he didn't pay her any notice, but Kogaratu saw his eyes slide over her as he past, checking to see how badly she was hurt. Then he was face to face with Kogaratu and Katsuya drew his sword.

Kogaratu raised his sword to the heavens and howled, drawing on all his strength. He brought it down and it split the ground before him. "Do you think you can defeat ME?!!" He roared, "The Wolf KING!" All the villagers ran and hid, the ground rumbled and the sky grew dark as the two demon lords fought.

Katsuya was immensely drained of energy from the nearly weeklong battle with Cetsah. It had gone in and out of mountain caves, up into the sky and back down again. After finding a weak spot in the dragon's armor and driving his sword deep into its belly and finally into its heart, he had gone immediately to find Momoko. Kogaratu almost thought he was Katsuya's match for a few rounds. In the end it was his impatience that was Kogaratu's undoing. He was rough, large and his fighting technique unrefined. He always attacked first, and though his onslaughts were fierce, Katsuya got the upper hand.

"You become predictable." He stepped aside, a smirk growing on his face as the yokai's blade whistled past him. They circled again. Kogaratu rushed again. Katsuya cut through a weak spot and sliced off his arm. Kogaratu fell backwards, still holding his sword in his good hand. He landed near Momoko and screamed. "If you kill me, I'll kill her!" He was posed over the girl, his sword tip resting on her back. "Take her now and go!" Katsuya was not listening. His own face was changing. The sword fell from his hand and the other was enveloped into his body, as well as his collar and his kimono.

His hair and fur were all of him now, he had transformed before Kogaratu's eyes into the dog demon. Before Kogaratu could himself transform, Katsuya leaped and swallowed him whole. The monstrous beast turned, panting, blood tripping from its fangs. A low snarl drove all the villagers, who were peeking out of their houses, back inside. The shining white dog, whose head was as wide as a horse's body turned to face the girl. Still in her dilapidated wedding dress, and shoulder throbbing from the star disks, she ran to him and pulled herself up onto his back. In a single leap the dog took the girl out of the village and far, far away.
Published: 2/9/2010
Bouquets and Brickbats