“As you all know, times in other realms are difficult, and our great nation may soon become a haven for those seeking refuge! While we may be a demonic realm, it is my mission to ensure that the other realms are undoubtedly aware that we are peaceful, yet powerful!” Kaito’s voice rang out over the crowds gathered in the capital of his kingdom.
The Demon Lord basked in the sound of his people cheering, and yet something kept him grounded. “Demons will be respected, not feared! That is the way of this realm! Fear is reserved for one being alone! As your Demon Lord, I will take on that heavy and thorny mantle! All existence will know that when a Demon is disrespected, so too is their Lord!”
The crowd’s cheering could no longer be contained. One charming and proud smile, a high wave of his hand, and the Demon Lord soon returned to his castle. It was then that he finally realized what it was that was weighing his heart down. It started slow. A nearly agonizingly slow-paced beat. As the rhythm picked up, the slow clap led to the sound that pushed Kaito to his limit.
His visitor’s sarcastic clapping and teasing laughter could get under Kaito’s skin all too easily. Never had Kaito met a man so infuriating and yet so clever. Maybe it was because he was so clever that he was so infuriating, however; a brilliant mind wasted on the dealings and entertainments of a madman driven by his libido. A bored animal disturbing his surroundings just for something to do.
Kaito spun around, launching across the room while grabbing a decorative sword mounted on the wall. By the time his movement stopped, it was as if he had simply teleported to the naked eye. His sword’s blade was pressed against black flesh as his differently-colored eyes glaring into the dark, golden gaze before him.
The grip on the sword tightened when Kaito heard the man’s voice: a sickeningly twisted tone of genuine excitement and joy despite the words spoken, “Careful, Kaito… you’ll make me think I’m free to take all the blood I want…” And then the bloodlust came through, “Is today the day…?!”
Kaito glanced down to note the dark man’s golden, glowing claw pressed against the crimson flesh of his neck. “Ah, forgive me, Villanite. I suppose I thought you were an intruder.” Kaito explained as he took a step back, lowering his sword and avoiding Villanite’s giant claw of a hand.
Villanite’s eyes narrowed as he lowered his arm with a long sigh. “Intruder? You let me finish my slow clap and everything.”
Villanite was a tall being with very dark, nearly black skin and darker, long hair. Any time Kaito ever encountered Villanite, he was in the same strange suit: A black and gray suit of light armor that completely covered his body and carried a strange symbol in the chest that seemed to be the source of a web of golden lines throughout the suit. This was all technology of another realm, the most dangerous part of that suit was Villanite’s golden claws. Too much was unknown to bother fighting this mysterious man.
The horned monarch was already re-mounting the sword he had taken from the wall. “Are you here about the new job? I thought my assistant gave you all of the information already.”
Villanite nodded as he meandered alongside his host, taking in the view as they walked through Kaito’s castle. “She did. And her number. She’s a total freak, it was fun.”
Kaito sighed, shaking his head. “I would request you not sleep with my staff, Villanite.”
The tall, mischievous visitor grinned as he replied, “Do any of your people know what you pay me to do?”
Another sigh from the crimson-skinned lord was heard as he stopped walking entirely. His dual-colored eyes settled on Villanite’s large figure as he replied, “Why are you here, Villanite?”
Again with that grating laughter. “Kaito! Don’t tell me they don’t know! What would they do if they knew? Who could imagine that the fearful Demon Lord Kaito, the man who would do anything for his people, is actually paying an outsider to hunt down those very same demons he promises to protect!”
Kaito’s glare hardened as his fists tightened. “You are a bounty hunter, Villanite. You hunt down criminals and keep others safe. Do not try to twist it for your entertainment.”
“Criminals!” Villanite blurted out. “What an interesting term, that. Criminal: The label placed on a person who has committed a crime. But, you see, I don’t hunt criminals, Kaito. I hunt bounties. Whether or not they are a criminal has nothing to do with it. I’m not paid to pass judgment. I’m paid to control fate.”
“Well, I’m the one hiring you, so I believe I’m the one controlling fate. You are a tool to my will.” Kaito couldn’t help himself from making that clear observation.
Villanite’s grin unsettled the lord, however, making his words feel hollow. “My dear Kaito,” Villanite said in a warm tone before turning to face the demon. The dark Nesuresian’s tone hardened as he spoke, “The most recent bounty you requested was on the head of a young girl suspected of killing three of her classmates and fleeing the realm. She was wanted for three charges of unjustly killing another demon, two charges of unlawful consumption of a demonic corpse, one charge of desecration of a demonic corpse, and a charge of treason via avoidance of sentencing. Your charges against her were harsh as it was, but when the public caught wind that your men couldn’t find her, you made a big showing about how you promised she would be found and brought to justice!”
Kaito sighed out, “Villanite, I know all of this already. Get to the point!”
“She was innocent!” Villanite cheerfully offered up with a joyful smile.
Kaito’s eyes widened. “What?!” At first, he found himself believing the bounty hunter, but after a moment, he shook his head. “Wait… so you’re here to tell me you can’t find her either by lying and saying that she’s innocent?”
Villanite offered a casually confused blink, “Hm? Oh. No. I found her. She’s dead now. I expect a reward for her head. But after I killed her, I began looking around her hiding spot and found all the information she had been gathering. She fled because she was in search of the true killer who framed her. She knew she couldn’t come back until she found the actual killer and made him confess. So… I found him, too! Turns out he had an existing bounty already, too!”
Kaito had checked out the moment the dots all connected. He already knew where this was going.
“Actually, he had two bounties. One here and one from another realm, but before I cash his head in at the other realm, I wanted to ask you about how much you would pay me if you now knew that he was the actual killer of all thos–”
“What do you want?” Kaito calmly cut Villanite off, his eyes drifting off elsewhere with simmering rage. He refused to set eyes on Villanite’s wicked grin.
“I’m so glad you asked. I won’t tell anyone. I’ll take the cheaper bounty from the other realm. I’ll hide all of the evidence. I’ll cover the whole thing up and the girl will forever be known as the monstrous murderer of her own three best friends. And you’ll owe me a favor.” And grin he did.
Kaito’s eyes grew exponentially as his gaze immediately snapped back onto Villanite. “My… blood?”
Villanite laughed loudly as he waved his clawed hand back and forth. “By my name, no, Kaito! Giving someone like me the blood of a Demon Lord is downright irresponsible and neglectful towards the greater good!” He admitted before sighing a bit, taking a turn, a few steps, and then holding his hand out as he connected to his ship, transmatting a small black crate into the castle’s hall. “No, no… the favor will be collected when the time comes. Until then, just keep me in mind for all your bounty hunting needs, Demon Lord Kaito.” The transmat of the crate led to Villanite’s own figure vanishing and fading away entirely as he laughed.
Kaito took a few steps, already knowing full well what he would find in the crate. Even as he opened it, he questioned himself and as he subsequently emptied his lunch into a nearby planter, he cursed Villanite’s name.