What Secrets Does The Darkness Hide? [Contract Search]

Kazu

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BGM: Secrets Revealed

It was a wispy silence. The kind you can't touch. The kind you can't feel. You simply recognize its presence. You refuse to disturb it. Why? What's so bad about breaking things up? What's wrong with stepping outside of the norm, in order to perform feats and accomplish goals no one else has thought of? Silence isn't a good thing. It stagnates and produces nothing. How do you progress silently? You don't. You die silently. You wither silently. You dissolve silently. You cannot create silently.

He'd traveled a long ways to get here, to the heart of the Land of Lightning: Raiden's Eye. He'd been traveling around a lot, actually, looking for the whispers and the erased secrets that were inevitably left behind by people. You can't erase a presence completely. There's always something that remains. Kotsuko knew this. He knew that if he searched hard enough, the secrets he wished to know would unravel themselves. He heard the whispers. He saw the blotches that hadn't been erased properly. He was onto something—he could feel it. For weeks he'd been driven by a single purpose: to find the remains of Isaki Kushin's work. While the book was back in the library of Kumogakure, he could still remember the words he'd read as clearly as ever. The ex-Medical Sennin's personal notes, detailing exactly the phenomenon that Ko wished to replicate—an object that acted like a container, holding the soul of one who has long since departed. Not just any object, though. Ko wished to bring the dead back to life. He wished to control the balance between life and death. He wished to force his own will into any object he desired. Wishes, though, are only vaguely realized dreams. To make wishes into dreams, and then dreams into reality, fierce determination was needed.

In his search for the truth about Kushin's notes, the young boy had heard rumors of dark knowledge hidden deep within the tombs of the country's most forbidden books. They were kept in the depths of the oldest library in the country, guarded by barriers, locks, and guards. Near impenetrable, at least for a normal civilian. Barriers could be negated, locks could be picked, and guards could be disposed of. It sounds simple, but in all actuality a lot of planning went into this covert heist. Kotsuko had spent many nights scouting the area using his shinobi techniques, trying to determine what sort of measures he'd have to take to dismantle each obstacle. He wouldn't do anything until he was sure, beyond a doubt, as to how he'd get in. He was now on the last obstacle, a rather simple one to be honest: an old fashioned gated door with a lock. Maybe this was all it originally had to guard against intruders until they'd beefed up security? No matter. Kotsuko waved his hand over the lock, his magnetic chakra tumbling the lock into its correct position. The heavy lock fell to the ground with a loud thud. The door creaked open in protest, slowly giving Kotsuko an entrance into the restricted section of the library's vaults. He took a step in, the cold air of the underground dungeons chilling his skin. There were rows of bookshelves, all filled to the brim with books. A candle was hung periodically, illuminating the place with an ominous light. Long shadows were cast, twisted and irregular shapes were formed. The hard stones that made up the floor and walls seemed only to add to the dark and gloomy atmosphere. There was a distinctive smell of mold in the air, as if something were rotting.

Kotsuko scanned his eyes across the aisles of books. Softly, he spoke out loud. "Let's see, where is it now?" He walked down through the aisles, running his hands along the spines of the books accumulated here. Biology, Psychology, political commentaries, memoirs, all different kinds of books were stored here. They'd either been deemed to be dangerous, personal, or otherwise ill-fitted for the general public to read. Kotsuko felt that this, of all places, would be a good bet. The medical notes of an ex-Medical Sennin pertaining to secret and dark techniques? If they hadn't been burned, or were under the personal care of the author himself, this seemed like a good candidate for a place to put such documents. Here, he hoped, he'd find the answers he sought.

[ooc: Using my Discovery of Contract of Choice Card on Youkai.]
 

Shinrya Kitsune

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Another day, another days lack of anyone dropping by. The nameless being in the flask was bored out of its mind as usual, with no one to talk to. It had so much knowledge, and no one able to listen and absorb it. Alas, that was its fate in life. To know practically everything, but to be contained inside a little glass flask. Though, lately it had sensed the same person near the building several times. Could it be a soon-to-be visitor? Or just another punk that’d eventually get nabbed by security in the building above? ”Probably another ignorant punk, unaware of the true values of this building. Ugh.”

But no, the ‘ignorant punk’ wasn’t actually so ignorant. He managed to find a way into the building, and even a way into the restricted area. But would he find his way to the section where the being in the flask could observe him? As luck would have it, yes! ”Well now. This is a surprise. A semi-intelligent monkey. Oh wait, you go by humans now, correct? Still an immensely inferior species… Incapable of the simplest things like splitting souls apart, or reviving the dead. Tch.”

”So tell me human. Have you come, seeking the knowledge of Isaki Kushin?” it asked him, rather directly, as if it knew what Kotsuko was looking for. ”You might as well give up, if that’s the case, kiddo. That man wouldn’t leave his secrets lying around to be found so easily. But perhaps we could arrange a little deal… What do you say kid?” it suggested with a gleeful smirk.
 

Kazu

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Kotsuko's mind was completely occupied with his own thoughts and musings. He was searching through the books on these shelves, calmly wiping the layers of dust off of each book's spine so that he might read their titles. He would be here all night, if he had to. As he walked further down the aisles, the light from the candles waned. They didn't provide quite enough light to read everything clearly, making it so some of the books could be read and some of them couldn't. Annoyed, Kotsuko picked up one of the candles and placed it in a candle holder that was left on a table nearby. He held the end, it's smooth brass handle cold to the touch, holding it up high so that its illuminating glow would allow him to see. The row of books before him was visible now, and so he proceeded into the depths of the library. He continued in, still affixed by all the various books that he could find here. Some were gruesome. Some were naughty. And some were just plain treasonous. He made a mental note to come visit this place again, if he ever wanted some more interesting books to read.

As he neared the back of the dungeon, a massive table sprawled out in front of him. Books, maps, illustrations, vials, and measurements of all sorts were strewn across the table, with a few candles in their holders providing just enough light to see what was there. Kotsuko was intrigued, but didn't see anything of importance to his search. He was about to turn around, and search another aisle, when suddenly a voice picked up. It was ethereal, echoing, and high pitched. It sounded hollow, like it was reverberating. Its tone was condescending, superior, and smug. Kotsuko's curiosity had been piqued. He turned back to the table, searching for the source of the voice. As he searched, it kept speaking, calling humans nothing more than an inferior species...

...ones that couldn't even do the sorts of arcane and mystical acts that he himself was pursuing. He stopped himself for a second, his actions becoming slower. As he rounded the table, he realized that there sat a flask—an oddly shaped one at that—sitting on a pedestal. It had been hidden by a stack of books from his perspective, and only now did he have the chance to examine it properly. It had two necks, with each end corked off and sealed. What? And inside, there was something strange. Kotsuko took a knee and brought the candle up to it, to try and illuminate it more clearly. Inside was a floating mass—wispy like smoke, but shifting like sand. It was unlike any material that the young boy had ever seen. What's more though, was the eye. That single, red eye, staring at him. What sort of creature was this? Kotsuko did not turn away. He did not wince. He did not falter. He merely looked at it, curiously, as it looked back at him. "What are you?" It ignored him, and instead asked him if he'd come here for knowledge of Isaki Kushin's work. It was more than that, though. This thing knew that's what he was searching for. It was less a question than a statement. The same as with the other things it had said.

"Why do you want to know?" Kotsuko felt like he'd just met a great adversary. Something about this harmless creature was dangerous. He could feel it. This thing had a wit like his own: playful and yet calculating. It knew how to answer him, telling him what he sought wasn't here. This thing was seducing the young boy's curious mind, and it was doing it on purpose. When it offered him a deal, the young boy knew it was a trap. It's exactly what he would have done. This thing knew exactly what enticed the young Sasaki, and knew exactly how to play to his desires. The young boy smirked, still eye level with the thing since he was kneeling. He began to chuckle a little, which soon turned into a laugh. It wasn't a cheerful one, though. It was dark and twisted, like a man who knew his fate before it had come. "Hehe, fine. You've sparked my interest, creature! Tell me your deal, but not before you tell me your name. I will not negotiate with a stranger." Oddly ceremonial, but names held a lot of significance. It was wise not to underestimate their power. And either way, Kotsuko would not be stepped on here. If this creature was to introduce a deal, Kotsuko would require some sort of exchange first.
 

Shinrya Kitsune

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”What I am?” the creature asked in that annoyingly gleeful tone and swirled around inside the flask ”I am the dwarf in the flask.” it stated, as if Kotsuko should automatically know who or what that was. As it revealed what it was, it was as if the lights in the room dimmed a bit. An ominous sign? Or an omen of things to come? Who knew. Then Kotsuko asked why it wanted to know. ”Isn’t it obvious, my boy? I want to know, because knowledge is power. And with the right knowledge, you can make all your dreams come true.” it said, probably surprising Kotsuko with how forward it was.

It serioused up a bit and swirled around again, ending up floating around upside down inside the flask it was captured in. While the creature didn’t have an actual name, it had given a name to itself, one it had found in an book that had been left open on the table before it, for half a decade. ”I am… Homunculus~.” It said, a deliberate pause in the middle of the statement, to underline it. ”And you, my dear boy, must be… Wait, don’t tell me… Sasaki Kotsuko, of Kumogakure.” it said, faking being psychic and just stating what it could read off of the boys chakra, and life history.

”Now that you know my name, I’ll present my deal to you.” it said, narrowing its eye a little, but keeping that gleeful smile ”It really is nothing major. I need you to bring me a fresh corpse, and perform some specific, delicate, work on it. Under my guidance of course.” it finished and swirled around in the bottle, so fast that the eye appeared blurry while it gauged Kotsuko. His potential, his faults, and of course, his strengths.

In case Kotsuko accepted the deal, he’d have to find a freshly died person. Or… Y’know. Kill someone. Unknown to Kotsuko though, one of the guards was stirring from his station and was headed down the stairs, to the depths of the building, to begin his routine inspection of the premises. You’d think an important building like this would have more than a few guards, right? Wrong. They don’t. Most of the security is handled from a single guard station, which was usually manned by three people. Except one was now doing rounds. And the other two were, in typical guard fashion, eating pastries and drinking coffee.
 

Kazu

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"Unknown Force"

Kotsuko's curiosity had been piqued in a way that he'd never known before. This creature, what was it? The way it spoke, with such confident glee, sent shivers down the young boy's spine. When it told him its name, Ko could feel the energy rush out of the room and then back in again. It was as if the name "Dwarf in the Flask" was something toxic and rancid, to the point that even the heat and light of this room wanted nothing to do with it. It recoiled, out of fear, respect, or perhaps even hatred, from the mentioning of this being's presence. It proceeded to answer his previous question, stating something that Kotsuko would have expected to come from his own mouth. The young boy's smile twisted and curved to match the little creature's. "I like your thinking, Dwarf in the Flask." Something about this meeting was unnatural. The young boy's primal instincts told him to run, to flee, and to purge his memory of ever having seen this little dwarf. And yet his mind...

...his mind reveled in the experience. Every nerve of his body felt like it was on the precipice of something horrible and great, his sense of wonder flooded with images of what laid before him. This creature was full of surprises. "Homunculus, eh?" The young boy chewed the name over, feeling its weight and its power. As he did, he heard the little creature speak once more, seemingly knowing about the young boy's name and origins. He tilted his head to the side a tad, seeing if he could look at the creature just differently enough to see how he was doing that. He'd have to ask him how he knew these things. These thoughts were quickly pushed aside, though, once the dwarf, Homunculus, presented his deal. And what a deal it was! The shinobi felt his gut get lighter, and he felt his legs begin to tingle. This was a morbid request. And yet, still, the young boy smiled. It was still that same morbid smile. "And if I do this for you, what is it you're going to give me?" The young boy looked into the creature's single red eye, expecting it to answer him. However, after a moment, the young boy placed the candle down on the table. He turned to leave. "You know what? Don't worry about it. You owing me a favor is plenty of repayment." And so, the young boy walked down the aisle, back towards the entrance from where he'd come in.

Once he was far enough away, the young boy stopped walking. It was time to see what he could use around him. He closed his eyes, and put one hand up to his head to hold his forehead. He focused his chakra for a moment, then mumbled, "Jiton: Tessei Shikai." All around him, things were starting to become more clear. He was able to see movements, disturbances, and fluctuations in the magnetic fields around him. Everything ferrous in the nearby area was giving off a signal, which he could use as a sort of visual map of the area. It was crude, and he had to make guesses as to what a lot of things were, but most of the time it was fairly obvious. Within his sphere of vision, the young boy could see three main sources of activity: one that was descending towards this area, and two more that seemed not to be moving at all. Kotsuko could only guess this was the guard doing daily rounds, and that he was heading down the main staircase. Smirking to himself, Kotsuko knew he had a few minutes before the man got here. Ending the technique, the young boy set off down the hall towards the stairs.

Positioned behind a corner, the young boy prepared himself. He drew out a large amount of iron sand from the gourds at his hips, and waited. A minute passed. Two minutes. Kotsuko could hear the tapping of the man's shoes against the stone steps. He was getting really close. This was it. As the man rounded the corner, he stopped out of confusion at seeing the young boy there. A moment later he came to his senses, but it was already too late. "Hold still, and keep quiet." The iron sands quickly wrapped around the man, covering his mouth and face first to keep him from crying out. It wouldn't do to have the other two guards poking their noses in here, would it? The sands quickly encased the rest of the man's body, covering him from head to toe in sand. His oxygen would be completely cut off, and given a few minutes he'd die of asphyxiation. Kotsuko didn't want to ruin the body if he'd be doing work on it in a minute, so a clean death would be much prefered. As he stood there, waiting for the man to just hurry up and die, he thought about what had just happened. He'd just commited an act of treason. He was standing by, as an innocent citizen of the Land of Lighting died by his own hands. Was he really okay with this? As he pondered over these questions, the young boy realized something about himself: he didn't feel anything from this. These ideas of treason, murder, and villainy didn't mean anything to him. He looked to the man who was slowly dying and realized he didn't give a damn. A smile crept over the young boy's face. He was happy, becuase he'd get to find out what it was the little Dwarf was planning to do with this body. He was ever so curious.

But, alas, it seemed the young boy had been caught up in his musings. It appeared the man had died, quite a few moments ago, in fact. Ko had missed his chance to see what death looked like—oh well, perhaps he'd see it another time. He began to head back inside the Restricted area when he realized there was something else he was forgetting. Summoning up some more sand, the shinobi fashioned a clone—not to look like himself, but of the recently deceased man. It was a perfect replica, actually. "Make sure those other two don't give us any trouble. Keep them away from here. Kill them if you have to, just make sure we're not disturbed." With a nod, the replacement guard went about the rounds that the first had been instructed to carry out. He'd probably tell the others that he'd taken a while since he'd dropped his keys in the dark. Probably.

Kotsuko, on the other hand, proceeded back towards the little Dwarf, Homunculus. The young boy found a spot on the table that was vacant enough, and deposited the now limp body on the table. Walking back around, he picked up the candle he'd set down earlier so that he might see a litle better when speaking to his new friend. "One fresh corpse, as you asked. You said something else about specific and delicate work, yes?" The young boy looked at the creature insistently. He didn't seem to show any sense of having just done something awful. He'd already come to terms with this. What he was more interested in, above all else, was sating his insatiable curiosity. Curiosity wasn't a sin, after all.
 

Shinrya Kitsune

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”Don’t be too long~” The Dwarf in the Flask said and swirled around inside the flask, grinning as usual as Kotsuko left the room to go procure the body. It’d probably be one of the guards that’d die as a result, but hey. At least events had been set in motion now. So far so good… it thought, smirking slyly as it spun around. It wasn’t like there was much the being could do until it got out of the bottle, but when it did… Well. We’ll get to that later. For now though, let’s have a look at what happened with the sand clone of the guard, shall we?

The sand guard went back to the guard station to the other two guards, and told them there were nothing to report as usual, as nothing ever happened in that building, especially not at night. Then he proceeded to sit down in the back of the guard station, and began reading the newspaper on the table. It tried to appear as casual and human as possible, but could crumble if Kotsuko had to focus most of his chakra elsewhere. That would, of course, also blow his cover for now. Hopefully he wouldn’t have to do anything rigorous like that…

Once the kid had dragged the corpse back into the room where Homunculus was awaiting him excitedly, and watched closely as the body was put onto the table. ”Perfect. Now. The book just below my flask. Open that to page 144. There you’ll find illustrations of a series of handseals. Perform them as skillfully as you can.” it said. And true to its word, there was a series of illustrations on that page, detailing handseals for a jutsu that, unknown to Kotsuko, would open the corpse as a receptor for another soul, specifically, the jutsu users. But not only that, it would also shatter the flask Homunculus was sitting in.

Now, some of you might think “But wait. Won’t that kill the being?” and you’d ordinarily be right. But due to Kotsukos soul being split between the body and himself, there’d be room for Homunculus to slip inside Kotsuko. So when the kid had performed the handseals, Homunculus immediately seized the chance and flew inside Kotsuko to avoid death, and also to try and wrestle control of the body away from the kid, while the guard slowly came to life, with half of Kotsukos consciousness inside it. It would be a weird sensation, having your vision split in two like that, but the kid would have to get used to it.

”How does it feel, Sasaki Kotsuko?” the being asked, using Kotsukos voice and mouth, then grinning widely, like it had in the flask. It must’ve been a side effect of the technique, because no normal face could grin that wide.
 

Kazu

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Kotsuko felt funny. There had been something odd with that technique just now, but the young boy's curiosity had egged him on. He wanted to know what it was that the little Dwarf had in store for him, knowing full well it could have been a trap. Judging from the way he'd just lost consciousness for a moment, and was having trouble collecting himself, he figured that must have been what happened. The young boy tried to pull himself together, feeling an odd sensation throught out his body. He groaned, "Ugh...what the heck," but was caught a little off guard. There was another voice, that had spoken instead. Was there someone else down here now? The young boy tried to open his eyes, but his vision was blurry and unfocused. He felt something, but as if it were from a distance. He felt it, but he didn't really. It was hard to explain. To the young boy, it felt like he was smiling. He was smiling so wide that his face hurt. Lifting a hand, the young boy felt stiff. It was hard to move. He brought his hand forward, but then stopped as it entered his field of vision. What the hell was this? This wasn't his arm! As adrenaline began to course through his body, the young boy noticed that this wasn't his body at all. This form was cold, hard to move, and much older than his own. Kotsuko stopped, realizing what had happened. He turned, looking into his own face that had the widest and most grotesque grin on it he'd ever seen. The Dwarf's voice came through his mouth, which the young boy could feel as if he'd spoken the words himself. It took him a moment to really process everything he was seeing. He was still. Quiet. He wa- "AHAHAHAHAHAHA!" The young boy's original body burst out laughing, sending out a spine tingling pitch that he would have felt in his extended body if it were still alive. It was still odd, controlling two bodies half as well as normal. Both bodies felt the others' movements, which was seriously going to take some time to get used to. Focusing again, the young boy continued to speak from the dead soldier's body.

"You went and did it, didn't you?! Haha, you sneaky little devil! If you'd wanted my body, you could have just asked nicely..." Kotsuko was full of bullshit, but that didn't really matter right now. Considering that he was currently being evicted from his own body, there could only be one possible goal in mind now. The young boy's mind was already racing for a solution, which meant that he needed to buy a little bit of time. He sighed with the guard's body, and closed its eyes. As he did, he found his consciousness being drawn back towards his original body, his sight now primarily coming through his own set of eyes. He continued to speak, wrestling control from Homunculus so that he could use his own body's mouth. "We could have made you a really nice body, too. You didn't have to go and try to steal mine..." Kotsuko was beginning to get the feel for this game. It had some odd rules, and a challenging mission, but it has a very interesting concept. He was looking forward to winning. He grinned as he let half of his consciousness go back to the guard's body. He wanted to get out of this form soon, before the rigor mortis set in on this body. "Well, whatever. The past is in the past, and I've been thinking..." His antics bought the boy a little bit of time to think. He'd gathered a bit of information through his brief experimentation, and he'd formulated a rough plan. He was still not sure how to handle a few things, but he figured that under pressure he'd come up with something good. "Normally I'd be pretty mad at you! Snatching away someone's body would piss anyone off. However, you've given me the gift of perspective here! What's the use of that body, when this technique can let me switch whenever I want! What an opportunity that is." Where was the boy leading with this? He'd better be going somewhere with it. "I've got a deal for you, little Dwarf. Want to hear it?" The walking corpse closed its eyes, and the young boy's consciousness slid back again to his own body. He could feel the little demon inside of him, but saying this with his own mouth was more satisfying.

"You teach me how to really use that technique, and I'll give you my body. How does that sound?" Kotsuko's mouth was twisted into a grin more sinister than Homunculus', even if it was smaller. Even though the Dwarf was inside the boy's body with him, reading the boy's thoughts probably wouldn't be as easy. Whatever cheap parlor trick he'd been using to know things about him before wouldn't work on something complicated like this. The boy had a plan, and he intended to carry it through. This game of survival was a fun one. Kotsuko hadn't played something this exciting in a long while!
 

Shinrya Kitsune

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Homunculus grinned and stretched out the arms it had gained control of, and wriggles the fingers on both hands, just to get a feeling for how limbs worked. ”It was that or dying, kid.” the dwarf said and grinned, slowly forming handseals, and then placing both hands on the corpse that Kotsukos soul now half-inhabited. The process of rigor mortis stopped, and the corpse even seemed to regain color in its cheeks, as if the heart was beating again. ”That should stabilize you for a while, kid. You can’t die on me just yet~” he said and glanced on the former guard and then leaned close to the guard with that insane grin on his face. ”Or, I could wrest control of this body away from you and just take it without teaching you anything.” he said and turned around to leave.

However, just as he turned, he felt control being wrestled away from him. Clearly the kid was a quick study, and he most definitely knew the body better than Homunculus did. But the bored dwarf from the flask wouldn’t give up so easily, it tasted freedom, and there was no way it would let some snot nosed brat take it away. ”I’ve got a counter proposal. Follow me.” it said, it’s playful tone all but gone, and replaced with a more serious monotone kind of voice.

If Kotsuko got off the table and followed the being, it’d lead him through the underground library, to a place where various chemical equipment and even more books were located. These books were the ones Kotsuko sought, and the equipment? Well… It could be used to make sure the body Kotsuko now inhabited didn’t expire suddenly. It might even keep it grounded in this reality as a person, again. But Kotsuko would have to learn how to do those things from inside that body, because Homunculus wasn’t about to give up the one it now inhabited.

”Well then, Sasaki-kun~ I promised you the books. Here they are. Now, if you want to stay alive, I’d suggest you get to reading. In one of them is a technique to half a corpse’s rate of decay indefinitely.” it said and grinned that creepy wide smile ”But be warned. There can be side effects… So I’d suggest that you don’t lose your way, and that you be as one with the body you’re inhabiting.”
 

Kazu

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Kotsuko's smile faded. He hadn't expected Homunculus to be so difficult in this endeavor. Figures, seeing as how he already had Kotsuko's body for the most part. A frown made its way over his brow as he realized that his plan wasn't going to be as easy to accomplish as he'd though. Furthermore, there were so other complications that Kotsuko hadn't quite counted on—it seemed that, despite the young boy's familiarity with his own body, having half of his consciousness torn between two bodies did not allow him a great degree of precision control. The part of his soul that was still attached to his own body could prevent his body's usurper from doing anything drastic, but he definitely did not have close to full control over his body's movements. The dead soldier's body, though, was freely manipulated by the young boy. He didn't have anyone to share it with, after all. When the little Dwarf told him to follow along, Kotsuko realized he didn't much have a choice. It was either that or be stuck in between bodies forever. He was glad, at the very least, the soldier's body had been restored to a more alive state; however, he realized this was merely a temporary solution until he could get back his real body. Besides, who knows what other sorts of tricks the demon had added in without telling the young boy.

As Kotsuko guided the dead body to follow along, he felt something off with it. It was a curiously nagging sensation at first—one the young boy couldn't quite put his finger on. It was familiar, and yet distinct. That was the best he was going to get to describing the sensation. As they walked, the feeling persisted. Kotsuko tried to ignore it, but it was making things very hard to concentrate. Kotsuko tried to focus on the task at hand: getting his body back. Or, rather, getting out of this doomed body. Homunculus stopped his walking, having arrived at the location that he'd desired. As Kotsuko walked to join him, he saw a large room with a multitude of books before him. Normally he'd be very happy to see this, but this time he wasn't quite so happy to see this. Time wasn't his friend, and he wasn't exactly the most mobile right now. Couple this in with Homunculus' explanation of things, and Kotsuko was really not pleased with this situation. "Not even going to give me the books directly? Man, you sure are an ungrateful tenant." Joking besides, the young boy's brow had remained furrowed for quite a while now. This was not a good situation. Smirking at the Dwarf's words, Kotsuko began to walk towards the large assortment of books as he called over his shoulder, "You'd like for me to completely let go of that body, wouldn't you? Hehe, if you're going to be using my body, at least don't make it say stupid shit." And with that the young boy disappeared into the maze of books, searching for the one that might allow him to live.
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Ten or twenty minutes had passed by of the boy looking through the available tomes. So far, he'd managed to find two books of intrigue. One of them was on the dangerous and forbidden art of soul fragmentation, a technique wherein the user was able to break off pieces of their soul and use them how they wished. It was forbidden, due to its dark and malevolent nature. However, Kotsuko had been delighted to find such a piece—a technique where the user could manipulate their soul, freely, was something the young boy was very interested in. The second one, however, had made the boy practically giddy when he found it: Isaki Kushin's personal notes, detailing various experiments and other works of his. Deep within, the young boy had found a section devoted to the failed experiments to create a warrior so in tune with their weapon that it was said to possess a soul of its own. What an interesting take on the whole issue. Kotsuko put the two books away, knowing he'd be using them in a moment. However, before he could head back, he began to feel sick again. He'd been fighting this weird feeling ever since they'd arrived—something crawling around in the back of his head. He'd been trying to ignore it up until this point, but it was a futile effort. Suddenly, the sensation became too strong. The young man dropped down to all fours, the books scattering in the process. He felt sick.

Suddenly, images began to flash through his head. Memories. A long history of growing up, having graduated the Academy, struggling to gain control of his clan's techniques, and then eventually taking the Chuunin exams. He remembered becoming a guard here, and he remembered that loving girlfriend of his back home. He was going to propose to her soon. He felt a personality that wasn't his own surfacing, feeling thoughts that weren't his own racing in his mind. It was a flood, pouring into the young man's mind. Soon it calmed down, allowing Kotsuko a chance to rest. He was still sorting through everything, remembering who he was. It soon dawned on him, that these were the memories from the life of the previous owner of this body. Kotsuko wasn't quite sure whether these memories were resurfacing because of his inhabiting of the corpse, or whether it was from Homunculus' technique which brought the body closer to life. While he was curious to find out what had caused this amazing phenomenon, there were greater concerns at the moment. Through all of this body's memories, Kotsuko realized that one such batch of them would be the most valuable to him: the man's previous training as a shinobi. As it turns out, he had a special skill about him. He belonged to the Nara Clan, an old clan that hailed from Konohagakure, and possessed the unique skills of being able to manipulate theirs and others shadows. It was a tricky ability, with a lot of interesting possibilities available.

That's when Kotsuko began to really understand the position he was in. Homunculus probably didn't know about this. Kotsuko had an advantage here. He could use this element of surprise to his advantage. Slowly picking himself up, the walking corpse retrieved the books that had scattered. He collected himself, calming his nerves and steeling his senses. He took a few more moments to think before he continued on. He'd need to find a few more books before he was done here.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —​
Kotsuko emerged from the maze of bookshelves, a couple of books in his hands. They included the two Kotsuko had found earlier, and an assortment of some other books he'd found while in there. He expected to see Homunculus waiting for him, and would be a little surprised if he was missing. Laying the books down on the table, Kotsuko began to open them up. "I found several books here, each detailing something different about the transference of one's soul. Many of them talk about reanimating the dead, and keeping the reanimated corpses functioning properly. Now, which one of these is going to keep this body alive?" Kotsuko was being rather direct. He must not feel like he had a lot of time left, if he was being so impatient. What would Homunculus do?
 

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Homunculus watched the young boy, and gave a smirk as he commented about not even giving him the books straightforwardly, and then his comment on his body. It was true, he wanted nothing more than to trap that lad in the dead body, and take off with this one But he still had partial control, so he could not just run off without the lad fighting from the inside. "Just stick to what you came for kid." He replied to him. Homunculus Took a seat, and looked at this body's hands. The boy had a firm hold on this body, so he could not delve deep into his mind.

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As the lad looked through the books, trying to find the right ones, Homunculus watched him, curious of how he acted and how much he thought he could get away with. Though, the walls of books kept him from continuously watching the boy. He occasionally stood, and stretched while he waited, there was no doubt he enjoyed being in a body again. He would keep trying to get more of a hold on the boy's body, it was like a game of tug of war.

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Finally the boy came back with a couple of books in his hands. "Took ya long enough." He complained slightly.

"I found several books here, each detailing something different about the transference of one's soul. Many of them talk about reanimating the dead, and keeping the reanimated corpses functioning properly. Now, which one of these is going to keep this body alive?"

Homunculus looked over the books as he opened them up. Stepping closer, Homunculus examined the books. He then pointed to three of the books. "These three have techniques to keep that body alive. Each one is different though, but" Pausing for a moment He pointed to the third book, "That one I think is the best, and easy for kids like you." He explained with a smirk. The technique would stop the body from decaying at all, though Homunculus doubted the boy could master such a skill quickly. He believed if he kept distracting the boy, he would gain more control, more quickly.​
 

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Kotsuko watched Homunculus, very carefully. Every move that he made, every breath that he took, was carefully watched an analyzed. The young man could not afford to let any opportunity of his go to waste, and so he waited with the deadly patience of a snake. When he saw the right moment, he would strike with fangs extended and poison dripping. As Homunculus opened the books to look through a few techniques, Kotsuko was taking note of the ones he glossed over. The first one seemed incredibly complicated, having something to do with an essence of the departed soul and manipulating its thoughts and movements—way too complicated for Kotsuko to wrap his head around yet. The second one was just as strange, calling forth a medium of some kind to act as the connection between two souls. Kotsuko didn't get it, and figured that wouldn't even help him in this situation. The third one, however, seemed rather interesting. Homunculus didn't explain it at all, but from what Kotsuko could gather it involved some sort of seal being placed on the body. It provided limitless strength to the user, and seemed to uphold their vitality and strength. That one might work well, but it didn't seem like he'd be able to master that. Like Homunculus said, it seemed very difficult. However, it wasn't impossibly hard—because of that, maybe Kotsuko would be able to bluff him on it. Just maybe.

Giving the unwelcome guest currently in his body a coy smile, Kotsuko placed one of his hands down on top of the book. "Looks simple enough. Let's try it out a little bit." Kotsuko flipped through the pages to see what the technique entailed. It seemed that the shape of the marking would be dependent upon the amount and type of energy that Kotsuko put into the technique. There were a few different possibilities, but the one that he was most interested in was the seal of the earth, the Gaia Seal. Apparently it grounded the user to the world, strengthening their bond to the land around them and focusing their essence towards the physical arts. That's the kind that he'd want, if he were to actually try this. "Alright then, let's see what we can do here..." Kotsuko went through the handseals necessary. It wasn't a very complex pattern, but it had enough different seals so that if he did it fast then Homunculus wouldn't be able to pay attention. Perfect. He ran his fingers through the seals, and focused his chakra and soul energy into his palm. When he felt the energy reaching its peak, he brought his palm down towards his thigh, feeling the energy taking effect. He could feel it seeping into his leg, and slowly he saw the symbol begin to take shape. He could feel the vitality in the body growing as he did, being supported by the odd technique. However, before all three lines of the seal could form, Kotsuko could feel the energy becoming unstable. He figured this would happen, since this was only his first attempt at such a complicated technique, but he'd made it farther than he'd thought. He allowed the energy to dissipate, releasing the technique and feeling the instant drain on the body. His vision became a little blurry for a moment, and he could feel that the amount of energy he'd just expended was dangerous. He fought back into control, though, and felt his grip on both this body and his own holding strong.

"Phew, didn't expect that. Jeez..." Kotsuko figured Homunculus was enjoying himself. Watching him struggle and flail like this. He'd let him have his fun for right now. Steeling his eyes, and focusing his determination, Kotsuko spoke up as he concentrated. "Once more." This was the big moment. It was now or never. Homunculus wouldn't expect an assault now, of all times. Nor would he see it. Kotsuko sped through the handseals yet again, only this time they weren't for the same technique. He'd learned this technique through this body's memories, knowing just how to mold his chakra in order to use it. Kotsuko's trap was being set into motion. This was the Shadow Possession Jutsu, and it was aimed directly at Homunculus. Everything was riding on the outcome of this gamble, though Kotsuko had done everything in his power to ensure as much of its success. Hopefully, within the next fifteen minutes, he'd be happily back in his own body.
 

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Homunculus watched the kid try to perform the seal, obviously failing. This was pure entertainment right here, something he hasn't had in a looong time. He laughed through the kid's body. "It takes most months, sometimes years to master that technique. I'll be surprised if you get it with your next try, kid." He said with a laugh. This made him doubt more that the kid would gain his body back, at this rate, that body would die, as that little attempt at the seal exhausted it greatly. A second attempt will bring him over his limits, and he would die, or so Homunculus believed. Simple, easy, done, he'd be home free with a body to call his own.

Though the next part caught Homunculus off his guard, as he could no longer see, the child gained control of his eyesight. This kid was making an attempt to take back the body, he growled lowly and fought to gain the eyesight back. He expected to be binded soon, but instead, a voice caught is attention.

"Ho-mun-cu-lus!" A voice echoed before a blue blob dropped from the ceiling onto the boy's body. It appeared to be slime, living slime. The slime formed into a girl with purple markings, holding Homunculus's flask he was once trapped in. "Silly! you are not supposed to leave your flask, because I said so." She stated before Homunculus could get a word in.

"Damn you girl! I demand you leave!" He shouted, they obviously knew each other some how, and she seemed to be the reason why he has yet to escape this place.



The slime laughed, then she reached her hand inside the body, grabbing Homunculus right out of it, and returning him to the flask. She stood, and looked Kotsuko, "I will stay, and accompany." She said to Homunculus, even though she was looking at Kotsuko. "Ho-mun-cu-lus, why is the guard here?" She asked, than began to shake the flask, as if a goldfish inside a plastic bag.



The boy's original body was covered in slime residue, she was obviously not human, and by the looks of it, she was another Youkai.​
 

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It happened so fast. He remembered focusing on the Shadow Possession Jutsu's path, trying to make sure that it actually attached to the shadow of his original body—the technique would be ineffectual if it didn't connect, and his advantage of surprise would be gone. A moment later, he heard the voice and saw the blue slime out of the corner of his eye. Not really sure what to do, he stopped and held back. Was this a new enemy? Reinforcements? He'd been caught off guard, beaten at his own game. His eyes watched everything as his brain tried to keep up and process what was happening. Every muscle in this foreign body was aching to move—to run, to fight, or both. It took every bit of control in order to keep himself rooted in place, so as to find out what exactly was about to happen. As the blue slime dripped more, a form began to take shape. Though the consistency was like that of jelly and slime, the form was obviously that of a woman. With blue glowing skin and odd purple markings around her face and body, she began to talk more. She spoke to Homuculus, scolding and teasing him for the fact that he'd made it out of his flask. Kotsuko could see the body-snatcher getting angry, his face scrunching up in frustration as he called out in defiance. Kotsuko was still not quite sure how to approach this situation. He stayed back, trying to see if he could get an opportunity to strike Homunculus down.

It seemed, though, that he would be too late. The slime woman, while laughing as if this were the most trifling matter in the world, reached inside of Kotsuko's old body and pulled the little Dwarf out of the body. Without a second's hesitation, she returned him back to the flask where he'd once been. She didn't seem to care about the little demon at all; no, her eyes were on Kotsuko. He wished she wasn't so interested in him. The fact that she'd just done the things that she did, Kotsuko figured she must be a very powerful demon. Much stronger than Homunculus, at least. He didn't want to anger her, or he might get himself into even worse trouble than he'd been in with Homunculus. "I'm no guard. I can thank the little Dwarf there for this sorry state I'm in." He said that, but he could already feel his soul being drawn back to his original body. There was a void now, where Homunculus had been, and Kotsuko's own soul was dying to be reunited with his body. Smirking, the guard's decaying body would speak for the last time. "Seems I won't stay like this for long. Give me one moment." And like that, the guard's body dropped dead again. The life had left it, and so its usefulness had expired. Kotsuko's body, on the other hand, was slowly coming back to life. The young boy could feel his body moving again, completely under his own control. The slime was disgusting, but it was a slight discomfort to withstand in exchange for regaining the control he'd lost. The young white haired man smiled slyly. "Oh, it feels good to be back in my own body! That was an experience I'd rather not have again."

Standing up, Kotsuko stretched as he let the sensations of his original body flood over him. It was like coming home from a long vacation, only better. It just felt more right. Once he'd regained his senses to an acceptable level, the young man turned towards the female youkai. There were a few things that needed explaining. "My name is Sasaki Kotsuko. Whom do I have the pleasure of being saved by?"
 

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Homunculus was clearly upset, though back in the flask, it was not very clear. "Woman, put me down!" The dwarf called out as his flask was shaken. It was very disconcerting for him, on top of that, her slime was smudging the clear glass of his flask. He felt like he was so close to reaching his goal of his own body, only to be snatched up by this vile woman.

The slime woman tossed Homunculus onto the table, as he wished, he was put down, in a rather harsh way. She sighed, and looked at the boy, it seemed like something interesting happened without her even being around. She looked back to the body Homunculus was in before, as the boy left the other body to return to his own. "Huh, I didnt think you'd be the kind to take from children, Homunculus~" She stated, though she did not care either way. As the tone in her voice showed that she taunting more than anything.

Homunculus huffed, after being shaken up, then tossed to the side, she also had to taunt. "I was helping the kid out." He stated simply, though he gared at her from within his flask. It seemed he would not be having his own body any time soon, but he believed he could probably still manipulate the boy, he believed the kid would want more knowledge, and he has already proven that he would do anything to get what he wants.

The slime looked towards Kotsuki, she chuckled at him, it wasnt his named that got her, it was the fact he thought she saved him. Ignoring Homunculus, the slime crossed her arms. "Oh Sasaki, I did not mean to save you." She stated in a playful tone. "But I will tell you what I am called anyways. They call me Suraimuna, Or Sura for short." She explained to him. She took a quick glance around, then she looked at the boy again. "Have you already achieved your goal?" Sh stated, her tone of voice went from playful to demanding in a matter of seconds.​
 

Kazu

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The quibbling and squabbling of two demons was not what Kotsuko had expected to witness when he'd descended down into these catacombs. Knowledge was what he'd sought, and here he'd found so much more. It intrigued him to no end—who were these beings, and what secrets did they hide from him? What darkness did they possess? Kotsuko listened to the slime-woman speak to Homunculus, noting her playful attitude and Homunculus' answers. He did not seem to be in a good mood, but neither would Kotsuko if he'd been that close to escaping a similar situation. What a pest she must seem to the little Dwarf. Turning his attention away from the little body-snatcher, Kotsuko looked to the slime-woman laugh off his comments and introduce herself. The young boy's eyebrow raised as he spoke. "Just because you didn't mean to, doesn't mean you didn't. Either way, I am happy to be back in my own body." As if in response, the young man began to flex his arms and legs. He was still trying to get readjusted to his body again, and his mind hadn't quite settled back. He was, though, quickly recovering. In order to buy himself some more time, he would continue to talk with this woman from another plane. "Well met, Suraimuna. It's good to have a name to put to the face."

It seemed, though, that the small talk would be shelved indefinitely. Her attitude had instantly changed, taking on an intensely demanding tone. Was he actually done here? The young man squinted his eyes at her, trying to think about what it was she might want. So far her playful attitude was hard to read, so he was having much difficulty in ascertaining what it is she might want. Her mind was a flawless barrier. Carefully, with much thought put into each of his words, Kotsuko would respond. "Yes and no." He paused, trying to gauge her reaction. Would she be annoyed, or intrigued? He did love these verbal games that happen. "Yes, because my original goal here was to find Isaki Kushin's work. I have found that, and much more, here." As he spoke, his arms extended towards the books he'd been pouring over with Homunculus just earlier and the rows of books containing similar snippets behind them in the massive library. His eyes, however, had stayed locked onto hers. "No, because my goal has changed. I never expected to find him here," Kotsuko gestured towards Homunculus, "or you. You both fascinate me, and so I've made it my goal now to understand you." His eyes kept looking at Suraimuna, trying to peer into her very soul as he spoke. If she looked back, she'd see nothing but heartless calculation. Kotsuko was not a kind man, nor was he a bad man. Kotsuko was a selfish man. "You know, growing up we're always taught in my village not to be unjust, not to lie, not to steal, not to abandon one's friends; the list goes on. But they never warned us about one thing. Do you know what it is?" Kotsuko walked around the table, absently flipping through books and running his fingers over their covers as he spoke to the demon in front of him. He looked hungry, but not for food.

"It's curiosity. It's not a sin, it's not a crime, and it's not even a bad trait. However, it is, undoubtedly, the most dangerous quality a person can have. You never know what a curious person will do to sate that curiosity. You never know what they'll say. You never know who they'd make deals with." Kotsuko's roundabout speaking was maybe striking a cord. Maybe he was being too vague? A slight pause in his speech, to let the silence creep in and the woman's mind start working. He breathed in, a subtle cue that he had just a bit more to say. "You two know more than anything in this library could ever tell me. I'm a curious man, and your existence is like a dream come true for me. A treasure trove of knowledge." His eyes looked alight. His very soul was ready to burst out of his body, bringing with it a dark and malicious intention. Had Homunculus perhaps rubbed off on him while in his body? "You don't think me crazy, do you?"
 

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Homunculus watched the boy, Yes and no. Thats what he said to Surai about if he was done here. He mentally rolled his eyes, Homunculus did not want to stick around either of these two for longer than he had too. The sooner the slime left, the sooner Homunculus could try to trick his way into the boy's body again, and then hightail it out of here.

Surai stared at the boy as he said, yes and no, then he started to explain himself, as he stated that he wished to understand them, she started to laugh, tuning out the rest of his monologue. She didn't care what humans taught their young, she also did not care to hear it. "We are not here to abid you're whims kid. You wouldn't understand us even if you lived you're whole life researching us, and we won't stick around for you." She stated bluntly, this kid must really think the world turns around him, how could he even assume that they'd stick around and try to tell him everything?

Homunculus sighed, she wouldn't stick around, but unfortunately he was stuck here in this flask. Though he did agree the kid was annoying with his assumptions, and he did believe the kid would not live long enough to understand them. "Well you won't stick around, I have no choice." He stated simply towards Surai.

She chuckled as she remembered that, she could picture it now, the kid just sitting here, pestering Homunculus for a few years. That would be pretty entertaining to watch.
Sorry for the wait, sorry for the length as well.
 

Kazu

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BGM: Pandora's Box

Kotsuko let out a laugh like a drunkard in the wee hours of the village. It was deep and throaty, like one who had an overly large belly with which to make such a sound. There was a touch of anger and sadistic pleasure mixed in as well, though. It wasn't a good laugh. It would have made the hairs on the back of their necks stand up if either of them had hair. His eyes were still just as alive as ever. Slowly the laugh died down, turning instead into a light chortling. Eventually it was merely a chuckle, and then finally the young man grew silent. The room was silent for many more moments. After what felt like an eternity, Kotsuko's voice cracked through the silence like a loud thunder strike. "My whims? Do you think me that foolish?" The young man's eyes turned directly towards the slime woman, Surai. Those cloud grey orbs held in them a furious fire, hell bent on accomplishing whatever they fixated on. He began to walk towards her. "You really do think I'm crazy. What kind of a man asks for something with nothing in return?" He was only a few feet in front of her now. Either foolishly, or bravely, he stood there resolute and without fear. If they were demons, then he was a monster. He felt at ease around them, like nothing was amiss. "I might be insane to say something like this, but I'm going to make you a deal. Demons like deals, right?" The young man had a devilish grin on his face. His hands slowly moved over his waist, drawing with them a small stream of iron sand from the gourds he wore around his waist. The sands slowly formed themselves into a sharp knife, not unlike a kunai. The edge was serrated, and the blade was thinner and longer than a normal kunai knife. The iron sand had finished transforming, and the young man now held in his hand a solid weapon. A sharp, deadly weapon.

"What do you want the most, Surai? Do you want treasure? Knowledge? Revenge? Underlings?" The young man brought the knife up to his finger, his skin just brushing up against the sharp edge. He seemed very interested in the knife he'd created. "You know what I want, demon. I want you to stay. You let me worry about whether or not I could possibly understand you. If I have time, I promise you I will be satisfied. You, however, are a harder nut to crack. Plus, I doubt you would trust just my word." The grin left the man's face as he brought the knife closer into his finger. With force, the man drove the tip of the blade into his index finger, allowing the pointed edge to break through his skin. It stung a little, and you could see that pain in the man's face, but soon it looked like he was enjoying it. Perhaps the young Sasaki was a bit of a masochist too? Either way, with blood dripping down his hand, the young man presented his glistening finger to the demon in front of him. "Surai, I give you my word—my blood as my proof—that whatever it is you desire, I will accomplish. Take my friends. Take my family. Take my soul. I don't care. I just want to learn more. Anything for that knowledge." He looked at this woman, unsure how she'd react to such a display. Hopefully she'd be satisfied. "Just promise me you'll stay long enough for me to learn. Even if it takes a lifetime."
 

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(Sorry for the wait)

Surai stared at the boy as he laughed, Homunculus just put on a look of annoyment. She stared down at him as he approached her, and As the boy staid that they must really think that he was crazy Surai put on a look of annoyment. "No I think you are an Idiot." She stated quite bluntly, she didn't believe in insanity, she had been around humans like him plenty of times. She just believed they all were like this, and if they weren't, then they were just weird.

Homunculus snickered as they boy stated that demons like deals, he knew that he liked deals, but Surai was a tough nut to crack. He was surprised that she hadn't just gotten up and left yet. All he cared about was getting out of here, and getting that boys body, for now. Surai on the other hand, seemed like she had no goals, and ontop of that, only really like entertaining herself.

Surai allowed the boy to speak, she didnt want to listen to all the words he had to say, she thought he would see by now, she really didn't like monologues. Though she did seem interested as he took out a knife, and put it to his own skin. Most humans didnt like that kind of pain. She was slime, so she wouldn't understand what pain was. She watched as he cut himself, then offered anything she desired, though he sounded idiotic again, he was president. One life time, only a few decades. It wasnt like She was going anywhere, nor was Homunculus. Him more than her, so she would just have to put up with the kid, she guaranteed he'd bother them until they accepted anyways.

Homunculus watched, silence filled the air as Surai was pondering. He felt the tenseness, he would accept the agreement, it was a chance to get out of this place. He did find the kid a little irritating, but he was a better choice to spend time with than her.

"Fine." Surai stated, breaking the silence, she then bent down, and took the boys hand, and licked the bleeding finger. She had no reason to do so, it was just to do it. Maybe it would creep him out, considering anywhere she touched left a moist residue. "Though you'll have to annoy Homunculus, more than me, but with this deal, you are mine." She explained, she then summoned a small scroll, and unrolled it slightly. "Sign in blood on the line." She stated, she didn't feel like explaining what the contract was, the kid seemed desperate enough not to care.

Homunculus sighed, She would probably ditch the kid with him, maybe the kid would take him out of this place. As Surai pulled out the contract, he blinked, with that kind of deal, he couldn't just kill the kid and take his body. "Wait, don't you want to think about it a little more? I mean why can't it be a deal through word? Why a contract?" Homunculus spoke up, though he hardly ever changed her mind. But he couldn't just say nothing.

"It doesnt matter, its not like the kid will live very long anyways." She stated to Homunculus, and then rolled her eyes at him. She was definitely the immature one out of the two, half way thinking things, and not caring for much. Homunculus seemed to have no say in this, but he still opposed it, he just grumbled to himself.​
 

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Kotsuko simply smiled. He couldn't have asked for a better outcome. Surai may have been underestimating him, after all. While she may have thought that her unexplained offer would be intimidating to the young man, he'd seen one of these before. His memories drifted back to the class he'd taken with Junko, the now Medical Chief at the Aesculapium. He recalled, with ease, the walking and talking felines, the talk of blood signing, and the continued mention of contracts. Kotsuko knew full well what this demon was offering him, and he was happy to take it. A permanent bridge to the Youkai, with which he would be able to summon members from their ranks—this, presented before him, was a summoning contract. He was so ecstatic, that he barely noticed the woman's odd advances. It was a little off-putting, he admitted. However, compared to the monumentally good news in front of him, he could care less. "That's what I like to hear. I'll be yours, so long as this is honored." Wiping the slime off of his hand, so that he wouldn't get it on the scroll itself, the young man allowed some more blood to spread onto his finger. He wrote his name, right next to a few other names which he didn't recognize, and then imprinted his fingerprints right below his signature.

As he signed, he listened to Homunculus complaining to Surai. The fact that this annoyed the little thief made it all the sweeter for Kotsuko. Chiming in-between the two's conversation, Kotsuko had a very pleased expression on. "Whether I live long or not is besides the point. With this signed," he held up the signed contract before him, his blood still drying on its pages, "what happens now?" Walking over to Homunculus, the young man bent down to be eye level with the creature. It was a similar situation to one they'd been in when he first arrived in these catacombs. How long ago had that been? It felt like years. "I'm sure you're just dying to take my body again, huh? Can you even do that anymore, or am I now off limits?" Kotsuko gave Homunculus a wide and malicious grin, just like he would have given the young man before. Only this time, it seemed the tables were turned. Turning back to Surai, the young man's voice sounded relax and nonchalant. In his mind, he was already over the hump. "So, if I belong to you, what exactly do you have in mind for me? Are you going to turn me into a demon? Kind of late for that."

The young man grabbed a nearby chair and sat down. Leaning back, he continued to look the gel-like demon in the eyes. She acted unbelievably like a child, so she was a little hard to predict. He wondered whether she intended to do anything at all, and merely leave him and Homunculus to sort things out on their own. He may have been over the hump, but he wasn't necessarily out of the woods yet. She would have to make a move, at some point. As soon as she did, Kotsuko would make his.