Autoimmune reactions might not be automatically lethal, but even with the best recent medicine, Kougaiji’s father had been looking at a lifespan decades shorter than the norm.
But he shouldn’t have gone downhill this fast. “I’d like to see him.”
He didn’t want to do anything of the sort. But asking would give Koushu the idea she had leverage to deny it, and so long as she was dangling that like a feather for a cat, she might be distracted from what he was really after.
“Hmm.” A finger tapped against her lips, long nail casting back razor points of light. “How about… no.”
Kougaiji tensed. Flat-out denial? That wasn’t normal.
Get out. Get out, now.
“You really are like your father, you know,” Koushu mused. “Both of you think you hide everything, but for someone who knows your tells… it’s written clear as day.” She chuckled. “Though I do have a bit of an advantage, poor boy. You have no idea how much your emotions show in your aura. The moment you walk out that door, you’d be right on the comms to help, wouldn’t you? If you could find any. Doku’s going to be busy for a few days, I’m afraid. It should be long enough.” She stood, stepping into the light.
Kougaiji froze, unable to believe what his eyes were telling him. Maybe it was makeup, turning skin porcelain-pale and hair a dark green-black. Special effects, or holo-emitters hidden in the blue silk kimono, giving the image of elegant pointed ears and cat-slit brown eyes. Or maybe someone had pumped in hallucinogens when he wasn’t looking, because out of slits in fine blue silk waved four arm-long, razor-toothed tentacles.
“I told you we were beautiful,” Gyokumen Kushu smiled. “But I do want to make sure this is perfect for your father. And, well… we can’t have you leaving us now, can we?”
The sting in his neck was sharp, cold, and made his knees fold like hot agar. Someone caught him-
Kougaiji looked up at Nii’s grin, and wished the scientist had let him hit the floor.
Nii let him slide the rest of the way down, still grinning. “Don’t worry, little prince. This isn’t the feral shot. I got this variant straight from a Buddhist priest.” A wider smirk. “Or maybe his demon….”