He awoke with a shuddering gasp, his frame trembled terribly. Reprieve came as he bundled himself in the various furs that comprised his cot. Jack had experienced winter before, having been born and grown in the northern mountains but he had never experienced something like this. This winter is by far the harshest he had ever experienced. This he could tell just by looking around his home and the fact that each breath he took came out in a noticeable mist.
His log cabin home had a dreary atmosphere, he couldn’t tell the actual time outside due to the overcast skies and the light that does shine through were negligent at best. The sounds of pounding came to his ears forcing him to get off his relatively warm bed. He grabbed one of his fur cloaks and his weapon of choice he kept near him at all times, a custom modified repeating crossbow.
After carefully treading across his home the man unlatched the beam bracing the door and was almost knocked over before he fully opened the door, the winds were so strong! Not only that but a figure fell forward inside as a second one ran in pushing the first further away before bracing the door for that the wooden beam could be placed to lock it.
He saw furry paws and heard a string of curses to know who it was that had visited.
The werewolf immediately went to aid the man while shouting “dammit Jack don’t just stand there, start a fire!”
Jack scowled but his companion placed a hand on his shoulder “I apologize for her comrade.”
Jack grunted waving him off “it is alright” he went and got the man a fur blanket and started a fire they huddled in front of.
He put on a pot of soup, the warmth served to soothe the monstergirl somewhat and her smaller more docile husband thanked him. They were a stark contrast to each other whereas she was a little tall, well built, statuesque beauty with her expression set in a permanent scowl he was a short, jolly man with a balding head.
“Thank you” he spoke sipping the delicious tasting soup with much appreciation.
“Why are you two here?” Jack questioned getting straight to the point.
The werewolf scowled “you know well why we are here Konstantin” she gestured angrily outside where it continued to snow heavily.
“Hannah!” The man said sharply and her mouth snapped shut, she did not lose her scowl but Jack did not expect another outburst, there was a reason behind why a ferocious woman such as her married a seemingly mild mannered man.
This man was the leader of the village, several years ago he fought and defeated the leader of a pack of werewolves who until then had been running rampant. Many of the younger generation wouldn’t think that of him now but Jack wasn’t so young and remembered every important detail from his sordid teenage years.
Jack kept quiet, he had noticed the abnormal amount of snowfall this winter but hadn’t really thought of it because it would mean thinking of her and he’d rather not. It’s the reason why he didn’t go outside and had stayed inside for the entirety of the snow filled weather.
“The storm gets a little worse each day. The nights are colder and there is little reprieve during the days. It is treacherous to even go outside now, the door to our food stores are frozen.”
Jack was not a man who received visitors, he lived on the farthest end of the village’s territory just within its borders to be qualified as a resident but only in the loosest sense. Not to mention he had cast away any attachments he had to that place long ago. The travel to and from his home was not too difficult on a regular day but in these harsh conditions, it would surely not be worth it.
Especially for him, an exile.
“What do you want from me?”
“No” the answer was instantaneous and without reproach.
“Find someone else.”
“Do you think we would have come here if we haven’t tried others?” Hannah snapped “the storm prevents us from reaching her castle. You are the only one we can rely on.”
Jack grit his teeth “you shouldn’t”
They very much know this and yet they continue to plead with him.
“I do not believe that” he said with conviction “I believe that something is happening, Demetria has remained quiet until now. The winter season has come early and is the fiercest it has ever been.”
“She must be having a bad day” Jack quipped.
“Take this seriously!” Hannah growled her claws digging into the table.
“Hannah, give us a moment”
He placed a hand on her paw “please”
She hesitated for a moment before complying but not after giving one last glare to the younger man.
“Again I apologize for her behavior, we almost lost Sophia to the storm.”
Their daughter, Jack didn’t know her but knew of her “what happened?”
“It was some time ago. The storms had let up as they should allowing us to go gather supplies from the stores. She went to play with the other children and ventured too far. Then the storm came back, different than before, fiercer and so sudden that before we knew it we were all scrambling to get back inside. In the end they had managed to find her, she was delirious and spoke of her and her friends being attacked by a ‘blue woman’ who wielded ice as a weapon” he ignored the way the younger man inhaled through his nose and continued “she kidnapped one of the boys and left taking the storm with her.”
“Is the boy…”
“Gone? No we found him the next day, delirious and drained but alive, barely.”
“That wouldn’t be the last of it either” Hannah butted in “whoever this is has been targeting our village ever since the storms began. Hell, she might be the one causing it” she handed him more soup which he accepted.
“We’ve tried to hunt her, capture her but it all ended in failure. Worse, she would take one of the men. We have already lost several able-bodied young boys to this woman”
“And she doesn’t care if they are already married” Hannah snarled “the ones kidnapped all show signs of having their spirit energy drained.”
In other words they were raped. This is a shock in itself as there is an unspoken rule amongst mamono kind that unless given specific permission mamono do not try to take another man who is already married. If anything monsters definitely don’t attempt to take another monster’s husband.’
This meant they were dealing with a renegade, someone who cares not for the Monster Lord’s laws. And it just so happens that she had chosen this place to get away from it. The village was fairly isolated and with winter here what little visitors they had surely stayed away. They did not fear any attackers as they didn’t have much value for coin, most things were bartered.
They had nothing of value to men, but the monsterfolk found some value in the hardened men of the north who were not afraid to embrace them. The church had no sway this far out in the snowy region and so their propaganda did not reach them.
“Jack, we cannot take anymore of this. We had stopped sending out men on the search but this had only emboldened her to seek them out in the village!” at this his fist slammed on the table jolting the younger man.
There was not much that can rile him up. He had found content in the life he lived with his wife and daughters but to hear of some unknown monstergirl terrorizing the village, bringing suffering with her storms and breaking into homes to rob men of their virility…Jack pitied the fool who would earn the man’s ire.
Then as soon as it was there, it was gone and he composed himself “we cannot keep this up much longer. We do not have enough medicine to cure the men who are attacked and at this rate some of them will not make it through the winter, if it will ever end.”
Jack’s expression was one of confliction and hesitance “why do you come to me with this? Did you not exile me so that I will not interfere with your village?” his gaze flickered to the werewolf “did you not look me in the eye and told me never to show my face lest you rip it from my shoulders?”
Hannah was not apologetic “Ivan was scum”
Jack shot up “how dare you”
Hannah did not back down “he deserved far worse than what he got for his actions! If not for him, we would not be in this situation, the defiler would have been dealt with!”
“…get out” he whispered with such hatred that it actually caught her off guard.
“You can’t be serious”
“We are done here” he seethed “leave. My. Home.”
“I will do no such thing”
Jack whipped out a crossbow he had hidden during their arrival and pointed it at her, backing up to get both of them in his sights.
Hannah barred her fangs “I dare you to shoot at us, give me a reason to rip your throat out, boy”
“ENOUGH!” the man stood up between his wife and Jack to prevent an escalation.
The air was so tense one could cut it with a knife “leave” Jack spoke again, his aim was true, his gaze was unflinching and a fire burned in his eyes that would make lesser men break out in a cold sweat.
“I know what I-we are asking is daunting but you must understand-”
“I understand much. I understand that none of you cared for me until you were so desperate it didn’t matter where you got help from. I also understand that even then you only care that I can somehow grant you a meeting with the Ice Queen. And I understand that you are now unwelcome in my home” he leveled the crossbow at them “if you do not leave I will shoot you both where you stand.”
There was tense minute where they looked each other in the eye before the chief backed down.
“We will not force you to do something you are against Konstantin. I would ensure that you would be escorted to the palace, if nothing else she would be willing to hear what you have to say.”
“Why would you think she would be interested in hearing anything I have to say?”
“I have a feeling that there are some unspoken words that need to be exchanged between you two”
With those parting words they left him, Hannah made sure to slam the door as they left but even then the force of the winds blew it back open pelting him with the frost of outside, he refused to shiver in the face of the blizzard and closed the door less he end up with a puddle on the floor. Once the door was secured he fixed the furniture that were blown down by the wind and leaned heavily upon the table.
“Damn old man.”
On certain nights when she closed her eyes she would dream. That in itself was nothing new as all sentient beings dream even one such as her. She didn’t know enough about her people to speculate upon what is normal for her to dream of but for Demetria the Ice Queen she dreamt of warmth.
Ironically these dreams become vivid around the Winter Season. The time of the year when she released the restraint on her powers and allowed the ice and winds to envelope her territory and blanket it in a fresh coat of snow.
As an Ice Queen Demetria is responsible for overseeing her territory which is as far-reaching as where the snow fell. The snow in question is not necessarily a natural occurrence but a phenomenon she herself causes through the use of her vast Mana into a powerful spell.
This spell works twofold and arguably the best feature of this spell has nothing to do with the snow itself but rather the cold and it’s affect on who it touches or rather the humans it touches.
In the history of her rule Demetria’s storms by themselves had never brought death to anyone. Even if a man were caught in a chilling blizzard he will not feel anything more than the biting cold caused not only by the winds and ice but of something deeper within. That is the side effect of having their mana siphoned in a slow, deliberate and controlled manner. The humans themselves never notice this phenomenon and the monsters who might are immediately distracted by their now more amorous partners. An increased libido is just a side effect of her taking a human’s spirit energy, the loneliness caused by the spell makes them desperate for warmth found in another body.
The other feature of the spell is that it acts as a way for her to enforce her presence to any who would disrupt the peace of her territory. Her Mana snow allows her to have a near omniscient view of her territory. Wherever her Mana infused snow touches she is privy to the happenings of that area. With releasing snow in set intervals she has been able to monitor the current affairs of the village for the most part.
Recently there was a disturbance in her domain in the form of an unknown Mamono terrorizing the villagers in her territory. If that wasn’t enough this person also happens to be an ice elemental like her, able to summon her own blizzard at will. Of course she wasn’t as powerful as Demetria but what they lack in power is more than made up for by virtue of proximity to the village and control. Demetria lived in her ice castle hidden away from the humans on the side of a mountain too treacherous for anyone to climb without her invitation.
She was at the center of the storm where it is the strongest whereas the village being attacked was while not at the edge was far enough away for another elemental to rest control if they are powerful enough and clearly this one is. Despite her disposition and her own reservations about some of the humans she was not callous enough to turn a blind eye to humans being attacked. She had sent and continued to send her Glacies guards to apprehend her but was met with some difficulties. This unknown ice elemental was elusive to say the least.
If these attacks continue or begin to escalate or worse happen to involve him then Demetria will have to take care of this personally.
For as long as Kori can remember the cold had always been with her. It followed her wherever she went, taunted her, aggravated her, affecting the weather around her and driving away what little she had. As a child the cold was manageable and truth be told she barely noticed it. As she grew older it wasn’t as if she became uncomfortable with the cold so much as she discovered something else.
At some point in her early adolescence she was suddenly able to perceive the metaphorical warmth of other beings, particularly in human males. By the time she had grown enough to understand and act on her instincts she had blundered more than once. Her first few attempts at acquiring what she then dubbed ‘the warmth’ were unsuccessful and the men managed to get away or fight her off.
One harrowing experience even had her captured and almost sold into slavery as an ‘exotic new species.’ She lost her right eye in that ordeal but managed to escape not even bothering to take any of their warmth. That incident taught her to be more tactful and she chose not to venture far from the snowy regions of Zinpangu afterwards. Though she chose the much safer route it had limited her choices but after a long period of time a man had wondered into the snowy region that was ripe for her taking.
Or she would have if said man’s companions hadn’t taken offense to this. In her defense the man showed no signs of being ‘married’ to either of them but when faced with an undead samurai warrior and a succubus ninja assassin, she opted to not mention this.
The only thing that saved her life was a combination of curiosity, pity and a code of honor possessed by the man, Kunoichi and Ochimusha respectively. The man, Phineas, whom was an explorer and scholar found her to be exotic given her species was relatively new and sparse. The undead samurai Hasakawa had a code against harming children in the slightest and the Kunoichi Mei took a look at her missing eye and left her alone.
Phineas had took her in somewhat against the wishes of the two youkai but it seemed the man had a soft spot for children in need. He wanted to help but to do that he needed to know her story and although hesitant she was far too desperate to deny it and so she talked. Once they heard her story the man took pity on her while the youkai gained some respect for the young ice-woman.
The mystery of the elusive warmth was solved almost immediately by the man afterwards, much to her shock. The answer to one of her long sought question ended up being Spirit Energy. While the lecture following the revelation she received was informative and answered many questions it still hadn’t solved her problem. Then Phineas revealed he had something of a close substitute he developed for ‘reasons to ensure his survival.’
It turned out to be a medicine from his homeland he dubbed ‘candy’ which through a process he wouldn’t reveal was basically spirit energy wrapped in honey and hardened to make a delicacy. Kori developed a pseudo addiction to the treat the moment it was on her tongue. When asked Phineas assured it wasn’t his spirit energy but when asked whose he looked very uncomfortable and his eyes glazed over as he shuddered, “I don’t want to talk about it.”
Regardless Kori had then tasted her warmth but it was merely a stop gap in which case she would need more but Phineas would not part with them for free. For each of the medicinal candy she received he would perform a myriad of tests to learn more about her, something that would benefit both of them. What she learned was that she bore a striking resemblance to another youkai or mamono called the Yuki-Onna.
Having never met a ‘Yuki-Onna’ before Kori could not begin to speculate about it, however from the way she was told the Yuki-Onna were ice elementals with a contradictory warm and gentle personality. They could make it snow at will and often times used it in order to ‘trap’ a man at their home should he stumble upon them.
Out of all of what was explained the only comparison Kori had was that she too was ice elemental, however she was not ‘warm’ or ‘gentle’ in personality. Kori did not show much emotion, she had never smiled in her entire life, her speech was stunted, paused and in low tones almost like Mei and when Kori sees a man she attacks him with desperate if emotionless ferocity and a reckless abandon in an effort to take his spirit energy.
This was exactly what she attempted when she found Phineas.
After that first attempted rape, she was caught and given the medicine. The second time afterwards could be counted as a slip up but the third time was a deliberate genuine attempt to take the scholar for herself after learning the oddly platonic relationship he had with his companions. Unfortunately for her, despite not being a fighter Phineas was no slouch and managed to fight her off long enough for Hasakawa and Mei to intervene.
He would not leave that short scuffle unscathed however, which brings it back to yet another difference between Kori and a Yuki-Onna. Kori is able to form icicles out of her mana. It wasn’t something she was able to do before, but the instinctual action resulted in a mana-icicle embedded in Phineas’ shoulder. It wasn’t a lethal attack per se but it did manage to paralyze the man and turn him into a shivering mess as if he had spent the day naked in a snowstorm.
Kori was promptly subdued by two irate and vastly more skilled and powerful youkai afterwards. The look on their faces haunted her dreams for the next week. The next time she would see them after waking up from her concussion, the dynamics of their relationship had changed. Mei and Hasakawa were different, less tense, happy even, while Phineas looked exhausted and in a state of disbelief. More importantly the feeling she got from him changed, something she couldn’t describe but the point was she no longer felt the urge to take his warmth, it suddenly felt wrong to her.
Not that it mattered, the scholar had forgone with any interactions with her for a very long time (she would learn exactly what happened amongst the three of them in the coming days). As it were, Hasakawa and Mei took it upon themselves to pick up where Phineas left off, except instead of tests they would educate her because it was obvious to them what her problem was.
To Phineas she lacked a basic understanding of the world around her and should be educated as such. To Hasakawa Kori lacked self-control and discipline, not just in her behavior but also with her powers as it affects her judgment and more often than not results in her getting in dangerous situations. To Mei she lacked experience in both tactics and seduction and for the next few months they each educated her in the various ways to better help her in life.
Having been born and lived in the snow covered wastelands of Zinpangu for most of her life Kori did not have a formal education, something Phineas corrected by teaching her how to read and write. He also taught her how to read a map and showed her the basics of his language which is dominant outside of Zinpangu.
Hasakawa helped her to further develop and control her powers through meditation, focus and iron will discipline all within the philosophy of the Bushi, Samurai of ages past.
Mei’s teachings were more of the culture of the Zinpangu Yokai whom as a whole had a reputation amongst the mamono community as gentle, reasonable and civilized, except for the Ushi-Oni but they were a special case. Mei taught her the most important skills Kori would need in order to actually obtain, satisfy and keep that which she sought. The Kunoichi taught her the skills of stealth, seduction and housekeeping.
Sprinkled through these lessons were also ones geared towards protecting the young youkai and ensuring her safety such as practical armed and unarmed combat, stealth, tactics and even the politics of different lands and their customs.
Kori took their lessons to heart and in close to a year when they had to part ways the young Youkai had left a much stronger, confident and wiser woman than she was before. Adopting the name Tsurara-Onna the Youkai had decided to travel away from her homeland having tried and failed too many times to continue after what she had been exposed to.
And also the fact that her two teachers had found their husband in a foreigner spurred her on to leave as well. Another effect of being tutored under the two was the thought of freedom of choice. Before she would have been content with attaining the warmth of any man she could get her hands on, however she learned that it may not be her only choice.
If there is one thing her two Youkai teachers believe it is that there exist an ideal mate for every Youkai and all one need do is find him. For the two of them it just so happened to be an unassuming foreign explorer/scholar and the reason why they found themselves in his harem had to do with coincidences. Barring the latter information Kori wanted to explore almost as much as she wished to find a husband and now that the opportunity had presented itself she took it.
Her journey was not a short one, Kori had continued to train and learn and experience the world as she traveled. Years had gone by and while she gained worldly knowledge and experience her mission of finding a husband continued to no success. Through a combination of nostalgia her journey would eventually take her to what was being called The Snowy Region. An area where the climate is in a near constant winter, is mostly uncharted and unpopulated but where an ice elemental could roam free without any trouble.
Or at least that was what she thought…
In her travels Kori had met and spoken to a Yuki-Onna before, she had settled down in a rural village with her husband and had a small child, a Yuki-Watashi. Kori considered her a good friend who gave good advice to her about maintaining a marriage but she couldn’t help but put into perspective how different they were.
While the concept of seeing a human’s ‘warmth’ through their spirit energy was not foreign to the Yuki-Onna she didn’t seem to have any particular problem with controlling herself. Whereas self control was a constant thing to be enforced in Kori’s case, always holding herself back always making sure that she did not slip and attack some random man. It had gone fairly well with but a few near misses in the past but Kori always managed to hold the reins on her urges.
That all changed one day during a snowstorm. Now as an ice elemental Kori was not at all affected by winter in fact she thrived in it but with that said, even before the first flake of snow touched her skin she knew that this was no natural snow. Then it actually touched her skin it was as if she were a human being dumped in cold water.
Whatever was making this she knew was an elemental and it was powerful. On instinct Kori tried to raise her own storm to counteract the one currently assaulting her. In hindsight that was never going to be a good idea.
Her teeth bit down on the spirit energy candy she usually rationed by sucking on it for hours or even days at a time. The snow didn’t take any of her energy but the foreign cold amplified her loneliness, decreasing her temperature making her so cold and wanting for a warm body. What did take her energy was making her own storm to counteract the effects of this other ice elemental’s own. Unfortunately it only served to use up her Mana and driving the want of warmth into a ravenous need.
The moment she sensed another presence Kori did not hesitate and attacked. She managed to hold herself off from the children, however the man who was sent to find them, she drained him of warmth until he had theoretical hyperthermia.
At the very least she didn’t rape the poor man. It hardly made her feel better, in fact Kori felt worse, so much worse. She left the man a shivering broken thing and found an abandoned spot to weep. Her crystalline tears lasted for hours as the more she thought about how she assaulted a married man.
By the time she got her bearings the snowfall had not relented and had in fact increased to a storm, it was winter season and whoever had made the snowfall was using nature as a medium through which to spread their magic. Things went downhill from there.
Kori had tried to escape but she couldn’t cross the threshold to freedom, not in the face of the overwhelming power this ice elemental was putting out. The more she ventured from the relative safety of the village or rather small town since the settlement was larger than she would have thought possible for something so far out in what is essentially a frozen wasteland.
And that was before the attacks began.
Kori was also faced with other ice elementals in the form of soldiers who were most likely sent to investigate the disturbance she wrought when she used her powers. The Tsurara-Onna was not keen on allowing them to take her to their ‘Queen’ so naturally they would use force which did not end well for them or for her. Considering the place of battle was a wide open plain with no cover and their Queen commanded most of the vast terrain. It resulted in an almost continuous wave of these ice soldiers that formed and reformed almost faster than she could put down.
Kori was forced to retreat into the border of the town where for some reason the ice soldiers did not follow. Going back from whence she came became a viable option except for the fact that the mate of the human she assaulted, who happened to be a werewolf, created a lynch mob to hunt her down which they inevitably do through tracking her scent.
She managed to conjure a storm and fled the scene and double back from where she originally came but to her horror she found her way blocked by the army of ice soldiers from before. With a lynch mob formed of the towns most winter resilient youkai and an army of never ending, never tiring ice soldiers outside, the sapping cold of this Ice Queen’s mana in the air and a city filled with humans enticing her with the warmth of their bodies, Kori the Tsurara-Onna realized that she was well and truly trapped in all senses of the word.
The first week Kori devoted her time to finding a way to escape, evading detection and scavenging for food. The second week Kori became even more desperate to rid herself of this place and swallowed the bile allowed her instincts as a Tsurara-Onna to take over and assaulted any unfortunate men for their spirit energy. All in an effort to build enough power to brave through the storm of soldiers guarding her escape.
When this failed and Kori had effectively made herself persona non grata she began looking for other avenues while trying not to lose her mind. It all eventually came back to her original mission of finding herself a mate. She would have been quite fine with letting faith decide when she would meet her ‘destined one’ but the situation has forced her hand and she would have to actively hunt for a husband.
In this small town where most of the population were already couples, most of which were Mamono. Apparently it wasn’t unheard of for mamono living in the town to venture out find a husband and bring back there to live the rest of their lives or for young men to leave the town in search of their own adventure. In either case whether they leave or stay they never do so alone.
The only other single males in town were either too young or too old for her tastes (she would never assault a child and an old man would not last a night with her). Considering her recent actions trying to enter into a threeway relationship with one of the married men was out even if she was willing to try, which she was not but it helps to explore all viable options.
Things looked bleak until she caught whisperings of a name on the tongue of the villagers, Jack Konstantin. It was a name spoken in hushed tones amongst the town’s gossip, parents warned their children to stay away and the children tell each other outlandish story of ‘the man who lives alone on the snowy hill.
The man who lives alone.
This man was obviously an exile not to be spoken of by the town but Kori cared not for the town’s traditions, she cared only for the fact that this man being a pariah may be the only single adult male in the entire town, maybe even for leagues away. Finding the man was not as easy as she thought especially given how little he was talked about. Luckily it seemed as if fortune was on her side as after an explosive argument with his wife (which caught her attention) the leader of the village went to visit the mysterious man, accompanied by his wife.
Kori followed, the journey was quite long and a fair distance away from the town proper, no wonder she couldn’t find it. Also being away from the town the snowstorm she now knew generated from the fabled Ice Queen picked up forcing Kori circumvent with her own. She could do nothing to help the human and werewolf caught in the middle of their ‘cold war.’ Luckily they managed to make it in before they were buried in the snow, it wasn’t that long before the couple exited with the werewolf a picture of anger and dissatisfaction, she didn’t even bother to close the door behind her.
That was perhaps a blessing as it gave Kori a view of the mysterious Jack Konstantin. A fairly young, tall man with dark brown hair, a small beard wielding what looked to be a crossbow and wrapped in furs. What caught her attention above all else was his spirit energy, being as well traveled as she was, she had seen many different types and it was clear to her that this man had the lifestyle of a warrior.
Considering he was wrapped in furs and wielded a crossbow she felt fairly accurate in her assumption. Even more than that his emerald eyes held a fire in them that’s he could not help but be drawn to even from so great a distance, she literally felt warmer just looking at him. Kori reached out as if to touch, to embrace but that is when he shut the door, the delusion ended and it was with a start reality came crashing down, even more to her silent embarrassment kori realized that her under garments were damp.
It was decided, she would take him, right now, and by tomorrow she would never have to feel cold or alone ever again.
Jack dumped the crossbow on top of the table with a snarl “hypocrites, the lot of them!”
‘They want my help after what they did!?’
It has been a long time since he was so angry.
“I should have killed that bitch.”
Or at the very least put one through her oversized paw.
His fist hit the wooden wall with a thud. Ignoring the pain as best he could Jack went over to the table, he never bothered pouring a cup of soup to the she wolf but the old man cleaned his cup. Looking at it was enough to remind him that he hadn’t eaten anything so he grabbed himself a bowl and poured out a generous amount of stew which is to serve as his meal for the day.
He had just poured out a generous amount, already the aroma calmed him as he regained his appetite. He had just about reached the table when suddenly the door was blasted open with a loud sound of splintered wood. Immediately the storm blew in with such ferocity Jack had look away. Then just as suddenly as it started it stopped with the door closed shut with a sound.
Jack looked back to see a stranger in his house and she had just finished freezing the edge of his door shut. The woman turned around and Jack could feel his mouth drop in open mouthed shock. She was nothing like the woodsman had ever seen or encountered before.
At a glance she was indeed an ice elemental having the unnaturally blue skin of the Glacies and Ice Queen not to mention her expressionless face. Her hair done up in a high ponytail was a mixture of snow white and icy blue with the texture of such, two bangs framed her face reaching down to her impressive bust easily the size of her head and only half covered by her short white and blue dress which only covered her inner thigh. Large sleeves draped just over her bicep revealing her delicate looking shoulders. On her slender legs are what appeared to be thick thigh high socks.
Obviously foreign the woman stared at him through a single eye, the other covered by an eyepatch. Her visible and only eye was an ice blue like the Glacies but her sclera was a charcoal black giving her a far more fearsome visage.
This was no ice witch but rather an ice demon.
For a moment the two simply stared at each other until the silence was broken by her soft melodic voice attempting to speak but at that point jack had regained his senses and did what any man should do when faced with some unknown monster breaking into their house. He distracted her by throwing the wooden bowl of stew at her face with all his might and lunged for the crossbow not two feet away.
He managed to grab the thing just as the sound of the wooden bowl cracked against the door. Jack spun around and came face to face with the foreign ice monster’s crystal blue eye mere inches from his face. She somehow managed to dodge the impromptu projectile and cross the distance faster than he can pick up his weapon sitting right next to him.
Shit, he might be in trouble here.
The crossbow fired off a bolt but she had already redirected it with her hands so the aim was off. Her other hand grabbed him and she spun launching him into the adjacent wall. Jack had the wind knocked out of him but he was far from done. He looked up and gritted his teeth as the demon tossed his beloved crossbow aside.
Again she looked at him with her emotionless eyes and went to say something but only managed to get out a syllable before Jack lunged at her with a furious snarl. The man had survived a great many things in his years of solitude not excluding misguided and superstitious townspeople who thought the Ice Queen would reward them for doing away with him and desperate monster girls looking for a mate or quick fuck and not caring who they got it from. So it only made sense that Jack could fight, he learned the basics at the hands of his father who was a former knight and roughly refined it through constant fighting and training.
It is what kept him alive, alone and single all this time and it did absolutely nothing for him in this instance. This demon easily weaved past every single swing of his fists, even more irritating was that it was almost always by a hair’s breadth and she still kept that emotionless facade!
It infuriated him, this foreign wretch came into his home and attacked him and now she was toying with him!?
“Piss off Ice Demon!”
He swung a rage fueled haymaker faster than the others managing to catch her off guard but for only an instant as the next moment had her seemingly disappear before his eyes. The next second after that his view did a complete flip in conjunction with his body that was swung up and over before slamming into the floor.
She was on top of him now, straddling his chest while holding his hands above his head, her deceptively delicate hand had his wrists in a cold vice grip. The cold she generated made his teeth clench and caused him to struggle until something icy was plunged into his side. Jack gasped, his eyes went down to the knife shaped icicle plunged into his side and his breath hitched before he shuddered and hyperventilated. He looked back into the face of his attacker and to his morbid fascination her breath started to rise in tandem with his own.
She leaned in and kissed him, a small thing at first but the chill that was spreading through him staved off and despite it all the ice demon on top of him gained warmth that could not make any sense to the uninitiated but Jack was initiated and knew what was happening here. It brought back memories of a simpler time of naïve optimism, carefree ignorance, of his family whole and alive and…of her.
Jack yanked his face away much to her shock, it was the first time the mask of cold indifference gave way to genuine emotion ever since he saw her but he didn’t take the moment to enjoy the look on her face before ramming his forehead into it. She recoiled at the action (though he doubted it hurt her more than him) which loosened her grip and allowed him to act. Flipping them over so he was on top Jack wrapped both hands around her throat and squeezed.
The ice demon gasped and immediately tried to pry his hand off her but even with her superior strength Jack would not be moved. His fury was primal and despite the mana made ice-knife cooling at his body, emotions and very core, he barely felt it.
What was the cold to someone who lived and breathe every single moment in winter?
What were the thoughts of crippling loneliness and longing for another when he spent most of his life in exile with barely any human contact?
What was this Succubus Ice Demon to the Ice Queen?
As these thoughts raced through his mind he had scarcely comprehended that his hands were shaking, his fury burned bright but on the inside he was numb. The knife in his side had melted. He realized that his enemy had stopped trying to struggle and was instead lying limply under him. She was not dead or even unconscious however, she had simply stopped struggling and started crying.
‘What is this?’
Tears trailed from the eye of the woman under him as an expression uncomfortably close to content came upon her previously expressionless face. She reached out to caress his cheek and it caught him off guard so much his hand relaxed a little, enough for her to speak.
Her voice was soft and would have been melodic if it hadn’t sounded like she hardly used it to begin with.
For a very long and uncomfortable period of time they stayed in that position “thank you” he mocked “you broke into my home, kicked my ass, tried to rape me and that’s all you have to say!?”
For a moment his hand clenched down hard in a spasm that made her choke before he relaxed it again even more than before and used his other hand to take out the icicle in his side. He looked at it then her and shoved it in her face.
“I was… so cold…and…alone…I was… desperate” she reached out to caress his cheek and he couldn’t believe the next words to come out of her mouth “thank you…”
The words cold, alone and desperate resonated with him and staring into her eye that was so different from anything he’s ever seen he couldn’t help but imagine the same look on a little boy who in one fell swoop had lost his family and was cast off into the merciless wilderness by an ungrateful village.
“I…you…” he kept coming up short of words.
Jack had seen desperation before, he had known loneliness and even if he was numb to it now, he had once been where she had. More than once he was prepared to throw it all away just for that feeling of sweet relief.
Just like she was now.
How low must she have fallen to be grateful for the tiniest bit of warmth that even as she was being choked to death she felt gratitude of all things? Jack hadn’t even realized he stopped choking her. The woman underneath him wasted no time in taking advantage of his hesitance to reach her other hand up and properly cup his cheeks. She slowly inched their faces together and only stopped once she felt resistance. Jack looked into her eye for a moment before crossing the threshold himself to lock lips with her.
It started out innocently enough before they started swapping saliva and between the exchange of spirit energy and demonic mana they began to ravage each other. Her hands felt around his broad back, his reached down to grab a handful of her chest eliciting a moan from the elemental. Her legs wrapped around his waist and she flipped them over, never once leaving his lips.
But eventually they both needed air and had to tentatively part.
It was finally happening!
After days of being hunted and mentally tortured Kori was finally able to obtain that which she seeks. But even as enthusiastic as she was she remembered what Mei had thought all those years ago. She should not rush, after all this wasn’t all about her but about him as well. Kori was not blind to the implications of what a life of solitude would do to someone, after all she has lived that life.
And this man deserved more than just a quick rut, he deserved love and attention which she just so happened to be trained to provide. As she kissed him again, Kori grinded her hips into his, prodding for a reaction and ah~ something wonderful poked back. Kori had been feeling warmer the more they kissed which made her more frenzied and impatient. She sat up and pulled down her yukata revealing her breasts to the man she would yet claim.
Almost instantly his eyes were glued to the large, soft and pert globes. Kori couldn’t help the satisfaction she felt at that. So much so that she folded her arms under them to emphasize their size and literally dangled it in front of his face. The quite vulgar move had her blushing a darker shade of blue but Jack’s expression was priceless.
She leaned forward “go…ahead…touch…them…”
Being a man that was cut off from nearly all forms of human contact it would not be surprising that Jack was in fact a virgin, though not one to be easily flustered in the face of a beautiful woman. With that in mind he approached the bountiful pale blue supple flesh with all the grace of a sexual neophyte.
Or he would have if he wasn’t so rudely interrupted by the noise of multiple crashes throughout the house. Jack was not instantly snapped out of his stupor however Kori in a split second of reluctance recognized the danger her senses alerted her to. Quick to cover herself the Tsurara-Onna stood protectively over Jack who was coming to his senses.
From the doorway and several holes in the wall Glacies poured in, surrounding the two. Jack finally managed to stumble to his feet when one of the Glacies stepped forward through the front door. This one was different from the others seeming to be more animated and even emotive compared to the others. Her hair was shortened to shoulder length and she wore an armor of sorts made of ice and carried a weapon on her hip.
Kori and this newcomer sized each other up.
That is until Jack finally regained his senses enough to shout “who the hell are you? And what are you doing in my house!?” the man was understandable livid at having his house destroyed by the servants of the most hated woman he knew.
“I am Glacior of the Royal Glacies Guards and by order of Queen Demetria I am to place that rogue elemental under arrest and you, Jack Konstantin, in protective custody inside her majesty’s royal chambers.” She said all this in a cold dispassionate voice while maintaining eye contact mostly with the aforementioned rogue elemental.
Jack’s eyes widened in shock before they narrowed and his fist balled up “tell your queen to piss off! I don’t need her so-called protection” Glacior’s eyes finally met his and he could see the annoyed glint in them but he ignored it in favor of wrapping an arm around Kori moving her back subtly behind him in a protective manner “and if you want Kori you’re going to have to get through me first.”
Kori could feel heat rise to her cheeks at his declaration ‘o-Oh’ she felt her heart beat rise and the warmth spread from his contact made her feel tingly.
Glacior looked between the two before it suddenly clicked and her impassive expression grew darker “seize them!”
“Get down” as if a switch had been flipped Kori pushed down Jack and used his back like a springboard to perform a 360 degrees spinning flip while launching shuriken projectiles at the oncoming Glacies and disrupting their formation. She landed near Jack’s discarded cross bow and kicked it towards him “Jack”
The man was caught a bit unawares and fumbled at the weapon launched at him but once he gripped the familiar feel of his beloved and well maintained custom weapon everything fell into place and he began shooting at the Glacies with the precision of a trained hunter shooting down prey or wild animals. Whatever hesitance there would have been for a person to be shooting at what were essentially petite young women was lost on to the hunter.
Jack wasn’t so far gone as to be a remorseless killer but he lived by a do or die attitude and a survival of the fittest code. Also he was fully aware of the true nature of the Glacies for they were for lack of a better term ‘puppets.’ They are created by the Ice Queen and so contained her will and are semi autonomous but will not act outside their paradigm. In other words they weren’t living sentient beings. Not to say they couldn’t gain sentience but that would require prolonged exposure/absorption of spirit energy.
Once they gain sentience it is fairly easy to differentiate them from the standard Glacies if one knows what to look for. An example would be Glacior who is obviously the only ‘sentient’ Glacies here by virtue of her differentiating herself by having a name.
And if that wasn’t enough…
Kori used two the handle of two sais to redirect Glacior’s ice sword to the ground, stomp on it and swing her other foot in a low roundhouse kick catching the lesser elemental in the face and knocking her away from her primary weapon. After stabbing two more Glacies with her sai she kicked the sword back to its owner blade first. Glacior tilted her head to the side to avoid being skewered but reached out to pluck the sword from the air by the handle before it impaled another Glacies then advanced at the Tsurara-onna currently fending off more enemies.
After dispatching two Glacies she threw her sais at Glacior the elemental didn’t even bother to halt her steady advancement and calmly dodge the projectiles. With more Glacies inbound Kori resorted to strafing while throwing projectiles and cutting down any who got close. It wasn’t enough however, as for every one she put down two more seemed to take their place and Glacior was steadily making headway towards her.
Both of these became non-factors when she saw Jack being overwhelmed. She immediately switched her attention and threw several shuriken at the Glacies surrounding him. This left her open for an ambush as a Glacies crashed through the wooden window behind her and grabbed her in a chokehold. The Glacies were quick to take advantage but Kori was faster, lifting her legs to perform a scissor kick to two of them and a drop kick against Glacior’s sword set in an overhead swing.
Kori pushed off the weapon, the force sending her out the window where she flipped over the Glacies holding her while twisting its hand painfully behind its back. The Glacies merely grunted even when Kori created a kunai and stabbed it through her hand into her back. A devastating front kick into the stabbed kunai sent her flying through the wooden wall (and if she were human, severed her spine).
Glacior dived over the incoming Glacies while swinging her sword horizontally at the Tsurara-Onna. Kori dived away as well and made two wakizashi before charging low attempting several piercing thrusts that were deflected hastily. Kori blocked Glacior’s retaliatory swings expertly before a sudden axe kick from the Glacies had her bending back into a handspring and flipping away. Kori continued to backflip as Glacior tried to slash at her body each time missing by a hair’s breadth.
This continued for four consecutive flips until in an extraordinary feat of flexibility and speed Kori performed a backflip kick to deflect Glacior’s weapon then dropped down for a leg sweep that turned into a three point crouch. As the Glacies dropped Kori’s eyes caught sight of a group of Jack’s unconscious form being carted away.
“No!” immediately Kori disregarded her opponent and rushed towards the Glacies with a shuriken forming in hand.
She tossed them accurately putting down a few that dropped his body but more came to pick him up and to make matters worse the Glacies began to surround her. Kori did not care in the slightest and transformed her wakizashi into a ninjato. Kori ripped into the group with savage finesse while making her way towards Jack. Eventually they overwhelmed her and Glacior impaled her sword into her back and through her chest. The magic comprised of the blade made her joints lock up and an intense feeling of sluggishness overcame her.
Yet still she pushed herself off the blade and staggered towards the human being carried off. She was tackled off her feet by another Glacies but managed to flip herself behind it and snap its neck. She received a kick to face for that, several more hits impacted her body forcing her down but not out as she tried to force her way through. The Glacies had to get her in a dog pile to immobilize her and the entire time she never took her eyes off the human getting further away.
Still struggling her emotional state became frenzied, no longer was she a mask of cold indifference. Desperately she struggled against her captors, shouting and screaming his name until Glacior mercifully used the pommel of her weapon to strike the back of her head instantly knocking her out.
To Be Continued…