In the beginning, when the universe was simply an everlasting void, a certain man had existed. From his hand, many form of life were created. Worlds filled with various being filled the once empty universe. But none of his creation knew or even realized that they were born of this man.
This particular man, instead of sitting on the throne as the so-called god, chose to become a mere spectator. He watched from the shadow as those worlds he created went around, weaving story after story. And among those worlds, a certain world caught his attention.
[That world] was different from others.
Resided within [that world] were three different races.
The first race was human race. A weak being, who only found their power in number, and had no magical power. Instead of magical power, they were bestowed with a heart and steel-like willpower.
The second race was demon race. A mighty being, gifted with terrifying intelligence and magical power. Their strength far surpassed humans and they were constantly driven by the desire to destroy and conquer.
Due to the differences in their nature, these two races waged an everlasting war against one another, which surprisingly ended in mankind’s victory. Those demons were forced to hide in the darkest corner of the world.
But few exceptional demons and humans grew tired of the never-ending hatred. And so, the last race was born.
They were extremely rare, for they were born with both demon and human blood. They were gifted with demon’s intelligence, but they also possessed human’s heart and able to use magic.
Soon after they were discovered, both former races denied their existence and seek to destroy every single Mazoku. Thus, every Mazoku hid their true identity and lived peacefully among humans.
Until one day, a human said, “what if we use them as a weapon?”
Since true Mazoku were very rare and few, humans started making artificial Mazoku, created by turning human into Mazoku. Every experiment ended with failure, but humans kept trying again and again.
Kings and nobles, who conducted such experiment, took their poor villagers and criminals as subjects for those experiments, but none of them survived.
Until they found a certain young man.
The young man with jade-green eyes and pitch-black hair was taken by hired soldiers from an isolated and poor village, along with everyone else in that village. Those soldiers mercilessly burned down his village to erase any proof and brought them to a laboratory hidden deep inside the woods. Other villagers succumbed to fear once they saw what their fate would be. They saw their own families were injected with a special serum to turn them into Mazoku, but none of them survived and died tragically.
Ryou was different.
After overcoming the shock from watching his village and everything he knew burned down, Ryou only had one wish in his heart. He held that wish tightly and fought the despair.
Even when his body was ravaged by that serum...
“...forgive the one...”
Even when he almost fainted from the extreme pain...
“...who did this...”
Ryou would clutch that wish...
...and won against the injected demon blood inside his body.
His will had prevailed against the absolute obedience forced to him. Instead of obeying his creator, as he should be, Ryou went berserk and destroyed the whole laboratory, burning it down and killed both scientists and hired soldiers.
Something inside him broke loose and Ryou couldn’t control his power anymore, resulting in him killing every living being who came across him. Ryou ran away from the lab into the mercilessly stormy night, barely able to keep his consciousness intact.
“Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill!”
“Destroy! Destroy! Destroy! Destroy! Destroy! Destroy!”
“KILL!! KILL!! KILL!! KILL!! DESTROY!! DESTROY!! DESTROY!!”
“Someone help me...!”
The young boy screamed into the cold night, struggling against his savage instinct. But his voice was swept away by the fierce wind. Ryou fell on his knees, surrounded by the shadows of the forest. His slender body shook violently as Ryou suppressed his bloodthirst.
“Is this...the end? I’ll turn into a killing machine and lose myself...?” Ryou closed his eyes and lowered his head. “I won’t be able to get my revenge...?” He thought bitterly.
Suddenly he heard something different from the sound of the rain. A faint sound of footsteps heading his way. Ryou hurriedly leapt to his feet and sharpened his senses in order to find that person. Unfortunately, the trees were so dense and the storm interfered with his senses. He listened again, but that sound had disappeared.
Ryou frowned. “I’m really going to die, aren’t I? It must be a hallucination created by my mind.”
He lowered his head, right when his eyes caught a glimpse of silver hair.
“So you’re the one?”
Ryou instantly looked up and saw a fairy walking toward him.
Her long, silver hair fluttered in the wind as she walked. Her petite, small body moved swiftly despite the storm. Her eyes were hidden under her beautiful white umbrella. That fairy-like girl stopped few feet before Ryou.
“You’re the first artificial Mazoku?” The girl spoke again.
That very instant, Ryou’s instinct took over his body and he growled at the mysterious girl. Somehow his hands had grown steel-hard claws that could easily rip that frail-looking girl apart. Before he could take a hold of himself or even shouted a warning, Ryou had already lunged at the girl, thirsty for more blood.
“What an impressive bloodlust.”
Instead of frozen with fear, the girl dodged Ryou’s attack. Her face showed no sign of fear, just pure curiosity. Ryou landed and quickly turned around to strike again. But this time the girl wasn’t so lucky. She slipped over the muddy ground and fell on her bottom.
Grasping the chance, Ryou jumped at her. Despite being cornered, the girl lifted her hand and touched Ryou’s head softly, almost like caressing him.
“Stop it. You don’t want to hurt anyone, do you?” The girl said in gentle, persuading tone.
The effect surprised even Ryou himself. He quickly snapped out of his berserk and fell on the ground before the girl.
“W-What just...?” Ryou tried to get up, but the beast inside him wasn’t finished yet.
“What’s your name?” The girl knelt in front of Ryou.
“What is your name? Answer me quickly.” She urged Ryou.
“M-My name...is...” Ryou needed few moments to remember. “Ryou. I am Satomi Ryou.”
“Then listen closely, Satomi Ryou. The demon blood inside you had gone berserk and only you could stop it.” The girl started explaining.
“Be quiet and listen to me!” The girl raised her voice and Ryou shut his mouth.
“I’ll help you calm it down. First, close your eyes and shut everything out.” The girl instructed.
“How will that help...?!”
“Do it!! You don’t have much time!” The girl pressed him.
Ryou unwillingly closed his eyes and tried to shut everything out. He concentrated so hard, but he couldn’t do it—he was too scared and confused to concentrate.
Noticing his struggle, the girl added, “imagine that you’re changing the volume of a radio to a mute. Just focus on me.”
Using her suggestion, the sound of the storm and the cold of the rain slowly faded away until all he could feel was her presence in front of him.
“Then imagine a beast in front of you. Any kind of beast is fine.” The girl continued.
Just in a matter of second, a tiger-like beast appeared in his mind. The beast had a body of a tiger, but with blood-red eyes and his furs kept changing its colors.
“Then kill it.” The girl said flatly.
“Wha—?!” Ryou’s concentration almost fell apart.
“That beast is the demon blood inside you—your power, to be exact. In order to control it, you need to kill it and take its power. Just imagine a knife or anything in your hand and kill it.” The girl explained.
“But...I can’t...” Ryou frowned.
“Or would you rather the blood take over your body eternally?” The girl said harshly.
Ryou felt like his heartbeat slowly calming down and his mind getting clear. He already knew the answer. “...no. I want to be free.” He said quietly.
Ryou faced the tiger with a sword in his hand. He lunged at the tiger, determined to kill him, and tried to slash him, but the tiger was faster than he had expected. The tiger dodged his attack and retaliated. Ryou instinctively changed his sword into a spear and used it to hold the tiger back.
“Nothing will change even if you kill me!” The tiger’s voice resounded in Ryou’s mind. “You were afraid of blood and destruction!! Even if you kill me, it will never change the fact that you’ve killed other people! Give your body to me and I’ll give you peace of mind!”
“No!!” Ryou refused. “Just as you said, I’m scared of killing and destroying other people. I know it will be easier to just leave everything to you and disappear forever.”
“But!” Ryou looked straight at the tiger’s eyes. “I don’t want to give up. If I had killed one person, I’ll save three people. If I had killed ten, I’ll save even fifty people. I’ll keep atoning for what I’ve done, because that’s what it means to live. And in order to do that, I need your power. Lend me your power. Please.”
Suddenly the tiger went still. Without another word, the tiger dissolved into a ball of light, which floated in front of Ryou. He examined it for a moment, then touched the ball. It burst upon Ryou’s touch and becoming one with his body.
“Welcome back.” The girl greeted him when Ryou opened his eyes again.
“You’re still here?” Ryou asked in confusion.
“That’s rude. But you’re not entirely wrong. I was about to leave, but that was really interesting.” The girl said calmly.
“Interesting...?” Ryou slowly sat up.
“Satomi Ryou.” The girl straightened herself and reached out a hand to him. “Be my knight.”
Ryou needed few seconds to make sure he didn’t hear her wrong. “...huh?”
“Oh, would you rather become my servant? Or even my slave? That’s not so bad either.” The girl nodded in approval.
“Wait, wait, wait. Let me get this straight. I don’t even know who you are or why you’re here and I don’t know why I should be your knight just because you said it was [interesting], yes?” Ryou tried to get her to understand.
But the girl wasn’t fazed by his words. “Then, let me tell you why you should be grateful—to the point where you should kneel before me and kiss my feet—that I gave you such offer.”
Ryou was about to open his mouth, but the girl silenced him with her next words.
“As I asked you earlier, you’re the first artificial Mazoku, correct?” She asked.
“T-True...but how did you know...?” Ryou realized that fact.
“First of all, let me introduce myself. My name is Kojou Kirihime, the current head of Kojou Clan.” For the first time, she looked Ryou right in the eye and Ryou couldn’t help but held his breath.
Her eyes were beautiful. He had no other word to describe them. She had a pair of deep purple eyes which made you want to look at them forever, just like a charming fairy. It made Ryou wonder why would she hide such beautiful eyes from others.
“I’m a noble—and a high-rank, at that—and well-known as the noble who specialized in researching about Mazoku.”
However, Kirihime’s next words snapped Ryou back to reality.
“Y-You...what?!” Ryou instinctively backed away from her.
“It’s not like I’m researching on how to create artificial Mazoku. I’m not interested in such things. I’m simply interested in the rarest race, that’s all.” Kirihime explained calmly.
“How should I know you’re not lying?! What if you’re actually interested in making an army of artificial Mazoku and planning to use me as a weapon too?!” Ryou accused her.
“I’m happy to see that you’re not that stupid, though you’re not that bright either. To put it simply...you can’t.” Kirihime answered flatly.
“Wha...?” Once again, Ryou was rendered speechless.
“Since there’s no one around to confirm my interest nor identity, all you can do is believe in me.” Kirihime pointed out.
“Then why don’t I simply kill you here and run away?!” Ryou threw the first idea that came to his mind.
“Because it will lower your chance to find and kill your creator.” Kirihime answered easily.
“How...How did you know...?” Ryou’s jaw slackened.
“It’s simple logic, really. People who lived in nearby area knew that a secret laboratory was conducting illegal experiments. When the lab went down in flames, they called for me, in case a test subject went out of control. So I came here and saw you slaughtered the whole laboratory, before you ran into this forest.” Kirihime explained.
“Then you help me control the beast...?” Ryou’s eyes widened.
Kirihime nodded. “Regarding your wish to take revenge on your creator, I simply guessed. Your reaction told me everything. Besides, it wasn’t that hard to guess what you want to do from now on. You probably want to take revenge and find a way to return normal, right?” Kirihime lifted her eyebrow.
“W-Who are you, exactly? Are you really a human?” Ryou was impressed.
“A very genius human, so I’ve been told.” Kirihime looked proud of herself.
Ryou gave her a skeptical look.
Kirihime sighed. “You only have two choices from the very moment you survived as artificial Mazoku.” Her tone became serious. “Whether you hide your identity and live in fear for the rest of your life—or die a ridiculous death by recklessly killing every noble and king to find your creator. Satomi Ryou, I’m giving you the third option. That is, to be my knight.”
“Okay, let’s say I accept your offer, so what can you do for me?” Ryou assumed.
“I can promise you two things.” Kirihime lifted two fingers. “First, by becoming my knight, you’ll be able to meet various nobles and even kings. That way, it’ll be easier to find your creator.” She bent one finger. “Second, by becoming the subject of my observation, I’ll find a way to return you back to human. You’ve seen my ability as a genius—it’ll be a matter of time before I found the solution.”
Ryou stared at her for few moments, trying to decide whether he could trust her or not.
“And one more thing.” Suddenly Kirihime spoke. “If I break my promise to you in any way, you’re free to kill me.”
Ryou gasped. “What?! But...!”
“What do you say, Satomi Ryou? I’ve put my life on the line—what about you?” Kirihime smiled calmly.
Ryou looked at her with suspicious eyes. “Why would you go that far just to help me?”
“Help you?” Kirihime laughed in a belittling manner. “It seems you’re sorely mistaken. I’m a very selfish human that will do anything to reach my own purposes. Since our interests are the same, I’ll go that far—it’s that simple. With that in mind, let me ask you once again.”
Kirihime offered her hand.
“Satomi Ryou. Be my knight.”
Ryou pondered over her words for a moment, then he reached a decision.
“...I understand. I’ll be your knight.”
“Take my hand and speak your vow.”
Ryou knelt before Kirihime and took her hand.
“I, Satomi Ryou, swear to be Kojou Kirihime’s knight. I’ll never leave your side and keep protecting you until our promise has been fulfilled or broken. I’ll be the sword that pierced through your enemies and the shield that protects you from any harm. I swear to give you my life.” Ryou swore.
“I accept your vow.” Kirihime bent and bestowed a kiss on Ryou’s forehead.
Ryou looked at Kirihime and saw her purple eyes gleamed even brighter.
“From today on, you are my...” Kirihime suddenly smirked. “...slave.”
“Wha—?!” Ryou froze.
“And your first and most important job is to make sure that I live comfortably, just like a princess.” Kirihime straightened herself and started to walk away leisurely, as if nothing had happened.
“Wai—where did the gentle, kind Kirihime go??!! What’s with that evil smirk of yours?! And didn’t you say that I’ll be your knight?! Wait a second, will you?!” Ryou hurriedly leapt to his feet and chased after Kirihime.