Days came and went, seasons arose then gave way to the next, friendships grew and blossomed.
Joining this peculiar grouping of humans and monsters, the boy eventually settled down in a newly founded village that would come to be known as "Yamatai". During the weeks preceding their arrival, his fellow humans revealed to him that these monsters had came to their rescue from a raid not too dissimilar from the one his caravan suffered.
As fate would have it, these rescued merchants were in fact waiting for the very caravan he was originally travelling with. As luck would have it, this particular group of monsters were en route to this "Yamatai" when the first raid took place.
As the days passed, Yao assumed the role of an affectionate and protective older sister, keeping him safe from any monsters that did make passes at him; but more often from the usual bullying and teasing children took part in.
The following takes place roughly 3 years later...
The August Arrivals
It was the later half of summer; tree leaves were still a vibrant green yet a cooler breeze occasionally blew through the air as if to remind the inhabitants of the ever-encroaching cold seasons.
The morning sun finally rose, drying the ground and plants of moisture as the hours passed. Thanks to the rain that persisted the past three days, the outside air smelled fresh and earthy; mud and various fallen plant matter scattered throughout the village. The daily life of the residents began early; today, however, they went about their morning tasks with a rushed fervor. Panicked, even.
Used to being woken up much earlier by Yao's incessant poking and prodding, he finally wakes up mid-morning. Confused by the absence of this, he groggily gets up and wanders into the dining area, then into a moderately-sized family room. "Where is everyone...?" he mutters, rubbing his eye, mostly asleep still. "I bet Yao is trying to get me in trouble again." Not noticing the sound feet rapidly approaching him from behind, he begins to make his way towards one of the doors leading outside.
A weight suddenly forces him down onto the floor. "Look who finally decided to wake up~!" she chimes, smirking. "Mother is going to be upset when she finds out. ...When I tell her~". "I-It's your fault I woke up late!" he protests, violently squirming beneath her for several minutes before finally freeing himself. "Eh? It's not my job to wake you up in the morning." she quips, sitting cross-legged in front of him with her hands in her lap, still wearing a smirk. "Mgh...Where is she anyways?" he yawns. "Mother is out making sure everybody finishes their tasks early today." she replies, taking his hand and pulling him up to his feet, leading him back into the dining area. "W...Why? Is today important?". Sighing, Yao brings him a small bowl of rice accompanied by a few chunks of leftover meat. "You really don't pay attention at all, do you?". She sits down next to him, placing the meal in front of him. "W-Well maybe I just don't remember..." he mutters sheepishly, embarrassedly stuffing a few chunks of food into his mouth. "Oh, I'm sure you don't~" she lets out a small giggle, popping one of the larger meat chunks into her mouth.
"Well, today is important because somebody important is visiting us." she finally reveals, watching his face expectantly for any shocked expressions, the tips of her two tails twitching ever-so-slightly. "...Oh! Is...um...That Yellow-Haired Girl coming by again?" he asks almost obliviously, about to eat another chunk of his meal when Yao snatches the bowl out of his hands, holding it out of his reach. "She is called 'Tamamo'...and yes, but someone else is coming, too." she answers.
"Oh, okay...um...may I eat the rest of my food now?" he asks. "No, you can't."; "Nngh...but why not..."; "Because I want you to say it."; "Say what?"; "Her name."; "Wha...why?"; "She helped found this village, and is the leader of Kitsunes like me and Mother, and I don't think she would like you calling her That Yellow-Haired Girl...and, because I want you to~"; "M-Mmngh..."; "Come on...Say it~"; "...T-Ta..T-Tam..ma..."; "Oh, it's not that hard: Tamamo."; "T..Tam-mamo..."; "Good! Now say it again~"; "T-Tamam-mo..."; "Now say 'Aah'."; "W-What? Why?"; "I'm going to feed you so you finish eating...because you're doing my chores~"; "W-What?! No I'm not!"; "Oh but you are~ Mother said so, it's your punishment for sleeping in late~"; "...That's not fair..."
... ... ...
The hours passed as he carried on with his chores, only made more difficult and time-consuming by Yao's disruptions. He completed the chores by early-afternoon, their Mother returning home from her own duties shortly afterwards...
"Would you hurry up? Mother and Lady Tamamo will be here any moment!" Yao shouted, placing five tea cups on the dining room's low-rise table. "If you hadn't made me do all the chores, they would have been done much earlier!" he shouted back as he emerged from one of the backrooms, his face and hair speckled with dust. After staring at his condition, Yao hurriedly pushed him towards the back door. "You're filthy. Go...go jump in the river!". She pushed him out the door, sliding it shut behind him. "But...But what if-" he began to protest, only for Yao to cut him off: "Don't worry, there are plenty of people down by the river today. You'll be fine."
... ... ... ... ...
Yao's ears perked up; hearing two familiar voices just outside her home. She rushed over and sat down at the table and stared at the front entrance expectantly, her tails wagging slowly in the air behind her.
"Well Dasemi, it certainly seems that I made the right decision naming you as the leader of this village in my absence."; "You give me too much credit, Mistress. I am simply doing as you instructed of me."; "I see you're as rigid as ever, Dasemi~"; "Mm...Would you like to come in? My children should be done with their chores by now, and I believe my daughter is in the process of preparing tea for us."; "Well~ That sounds lovely~"
The pair walked inside, stark contrasts of each other. While Tamamo's body was that of a young girl, her golden-blonde hair nearing the middle of her back, Dasemi's was a woman in every sense of the word: Tall, beautiful..."bountiful"; her silver hair reaching down just below her shoulders. No-one ever actually told Yao why their leader appeared to be a young girl, only being told that she would learn why once she's older.
Dasemi glanced around the room, her left ear twitching this way and that, then turned her gaze over to Yao.
"Yao, dear, where is your brother?" Dasemi asked as her ears started to pin back against her head. "Oh...he was rather filthy after finishing his chores, so I told him to go wash off in the nearby river...~" she replied, more focused on Tamamo. "Oh? And you let him go...alone?". Half-glaring at her daughter, Dasemi opened one of her eyes slightly, revealing part of a bright yellow iris against a black sclera. Noticing her mother's gaze, Yao glanced down at her lap, her own ears now flattened against her head. "W-Well, um...there were a lot of people going to and from the river today, s-so I thought..." she muttered, fidgeting.
"...You're so cruel, Dasemi, scaring your own daughter like that~" Tamamo said jokingly, playfully jabbing her elbow into Dasemi's side as they both sat down at the table. "Nonsense, I am simply concerned for his safety." she replied, rubbing her side before returning her glance back over towards Yao. "As you know, Yao, he is beginning to approach that age where a number of the other monsters will begin seeing him as a potential 'source', and less as a child." Sighing, she continued; "And considering the recent reports of succubi sightings in the surrounding vicinities, I imagine it would not hurt to be more cautious in that regard."
"Mm. Why was I not informed of this earlier on...?" Tamamo asked, her twitching tails betraying her calm demeanor. "My apologies, Mistress Tamamo. While the sightings themselves have persisted for three months, abductions were relatively far and few in between, and only two or three sightings were in the immediate vicinity of the village." Dasemi replied, bowing her head slightly. "Be that as it may, Dasemi, I would like to hear the entirety of these reports." Tamamo sighed quietly, relaxing a bit. "Naturally, Mistress. Yao, I want you to go retrieve your brother. I will handle the tea from here." Jumping up, Yao ran out the back door as Dasemi entered the kitchen.
"On a lighter note, has he finally told you his name yet?" Tamamo asks, stretching out. "No, Mistress. I would not be surprised if he has forgotten it entirely by this point." Dasemi responds as she returns with the tea, pouring Tamamo a full cup before filling her own, sitting down across from Tamamo. "However, we - meaning, I, my daughter, and the village - have been calling him 'Fushō'. He responds to it, so I naturally assume that to mean he has taken that as his new name." "Mm-hmm~ That's a rather cute name for him~" Tamamo chimed, blowing on her tea before going to take a sip. "Now, about those succubi sightings..."
"Now that I think about Dasemi, you're not grooming him, are you~?"; "W-What?! Of course not, Mistress. How could you even think that..!?"; "Mm, I wonder...~"
Fushō roughly translating into "Unknown" in Japanese.
Sleepy Korean Number Lesson: "Dase-" being part of "Daseos/t", meaning five, the last "s" or "t" is silent, I'm going to sleep. And yes, I changed the chapter.