The Blood Pact
I couldn’t help but stare as Lyuu appeared before me. My eyes ran up and down her body, as if to etch the sight into my mind.
Seeing the state I was in, she giggled before she started to speak. “W-whaddya think, Master?”
“Holy shit you’re pretty. Like, goddamn. I’d try describing it better, but I don’t have the vocabulary.”
She was dressed in a set of what I presumed to be a traditional warwolf’s bridal gown and decked from head to toe in handmade accessories. I’d never seen any of the stuff she was wearing before. Her mother had apparently brought all of it just for the ceremony.
Meticulously crafted makeup covered her face and drew out the healthy blush of her cheeks. Her lips were reddened as well, for the sake of emphasis. I couldn’t help but look towards them.
Lyuu had always been the type to pay attention to her appearance, but she’d never really had any chances to go all out with the makeup, courtesy of our location. Damn, I really didn’t think that a bit of makeup would make her look this different. Like, holy shit.
“Wow Lyuu, you look like a princess!” shouted Illuna, who was also dressed in something a little more formal than usual.
“Yeah, I know, right?” I chuckled before transitioning into a cackle as I wrapped an arm around my bride. “Heh! I guess I can’t be a demon lord without kidnapping a princess or two!”
“If you touch her too much right now, you’ll ruin her makeup,” said Nell. “Stuff like that will have to wait until after the ceremony is over.”
“Oh… Uhh… right.” I released the wolf girl and stepped aside before intentionally deepening my voice and speaking as would an actor in the spotlight. “I suppose I have no choice but quell the fire in my heart for now. But it shall not be quelled forever.”
“I’m happy for you, Lyuu,” said Roselia. “He clearly loves you very much.”
“Uhmmm… Master? You’re bein’ real embarassin’ right now. Can you try ‘n hold back a bit more while my mom’s ’round?”
“Nope. Not happening.”
“Oh come on…”
One half of the mother-daughter pair was smiling happily, while the other was flushed a deep shade of red.
“It is how it is, Lyuu. You should know as well as the rest of us that there is little to be done on account of his excitability,” said Lefi. “We have little choice but to play along.”
“Geez… I guess you’re right. It ain’t him if he ain’t actin’ like this.”
“Because that is what demon lords do!” I proclaimed, with another cackle.
“Master, I ain’t so sure that’s somethin’ demon lords do… I’m thinkin’ it’s just you bein’ you.”
“It is little beyond his preferred excuse.”
“He is a little weird like that…” said Nell.
I mean… they’re not wrong.
“It looks like you’re all on good terms,” said Roselia, with a hearty chuckle.
All of our laughing and messing around came to an end when Leila walked over.
“Everything is ready, and I’ve already told Vergillus that we’ll be starting soon.”
“Alright. Then let’s go, Lyuu.”
We moved over to the inn, from which the altar was clearly visible. The two locations were set up right next to each other.
Though I referred to it as an altar, it wasn’t actually anything all that special. There wasn’t a church around it or anything. It was really just a large room covered with cushions and tatami mats. No walls or ceilings were present, and everything was pretty much exposed to the great outdoors. I threw some flowers and trees into the area and tweaked the sun a bit so that its light would filter through the leaves. Getting the angle right was actually a lot of work, and I was rather proud of how it turned out.
We’d set up some shelves as well, all of which had been decorated with wooden carvings created by the Gyrolls. There was also what looked to be effigies of their ancestors. We were seated such that we were facing it, while the rest of the clan was situated behind it.
Apparently, warwolves very much respected their ancestors. They were often taught that they were only able to lead the lives they did today because of the many sacrifices made by those that came before them. It even played a role in their faith, which again, was heavily based around ancestral spirits.
That also happened to be the reason the Rir-Warwolf interaction was always so entertaining. The fenrirs, their most ancient ancestors, were practically like gods to them. And thus, it was only natural for them to offer their worship.
In fact, the whole wedding ceremony was supposedly another one of their religious rites with its purpose being to report to one’s forebearers and inform them that their bloodlines would continue to thrive and ask for their continued protection. Hence, the first step was to wait for the spirits of the departed to possess the bodies prepared for them. That wasn’t to say that the warwolves were by any means capable of communicating with the dead. It was just a ceremony.
“For those who will soon carry on our blood, please, take your cups,” said Lyuu’s dad.
He was dressed up in a way somewhat reminiscent of a high ranking shinto priest, which made plenty of sense, given that he was the master of ceremonies. He handed each of us a cup filled with wine, alongside a small knife.
I prickled the tip of my thumb with the weapon and allowed my blood to drip into the cup.
“H-here goes!” After a moment of hesitation, Lyuu did the same. Or at least she tried.
“Lyuu… You put way too much force into that.”
She cut too deep. Hers was less of a prick or more of an obvious flesh wound, so I quickly grabbed a potion out of my inventory and sprinkled it on her thumb. It regenerated immediately, healing over the course of a few seconds.
“You scared me for a second there,” I looked towards the cup. “That’s pretty bloody.”
“I’m real sorry… It ain’t on purpose.”
The ritual’s next step was for us to trade cups and drink their contents, which was to say I was supposed to drink one that was straight up bright red, even though we were only supposed to put in a drop each.
“C-can we start over? Dad, I’m gonna need another cup.” She was sounding rather down, thanks to her screwing up in the middle of something important.
“Don’t worry about it, it’s fine as is,” I said, stopping him.
“Huh? But Master, it’s gotten real red. It ain’t gon—”
I grabbed the cup from her and downed it in one gulp before she could finish her sentence. The alcohol burned the back of my throat as the taste of iron filled my mouth. It was the sort of taste that’d make you frown, but oddly enough, I didn’t seem to mind. Knowing that it was Lyuu’s blood seemed to be what did the trick.
“You know, your blood’s actually pretty tasty.”
“Y-you ain’t Illuna, Master. That ain’t the kinda thing you’re supposed to be sayin’.”
I grinned at her. “It’s no big deal, Lyuu, so you don’t have to make that face. Now come on, it’s your turn.”
“T-thanks Master… If you say so.”
She seemed to be feeling a bit better, as she smiled back at me before taking the cup I was holding and raising it to her lips.
“Your blood’s real tasty too, Master. And I ain’t jokin’. I think I’m startin’ to see why Illuna likes it so much.”
“U-uuuhhh… glad to hear it, I guess.”
Is it just me, or does literally everyone think it’s tasty? I’m pretty sure Shii and Nell said the same thing when they tried it too… I’m really not sure how I’m supposed to feel.
After confirming that both cups were empty, Lyuu’s father nodded and carried on with the ritual.
“Your blood has now been mixed. As partners, whose veins carry the same, you stand by each other’s sides, throughout the journeys that your lives will follow. Do that, and your ancestors will lay their blessings upon you evermore.”
Lyuu and I turned to face each other once he was done.
“I swear upon the blood of my forefathers that I will stand by my wife.”
“I swear upon the blood of my forefathers that I will stand by my husband.”
“The pact has been made and the oath has been sworn. May you be blessed with good fortunes and bountiful harvests.”
Her father bowed to the statues, after which the rest of us, observers and all, followed suit.
“And now the ceremony is complete. I thank all of you for having come to bear witness, from the bottom of my heart.”
“Congrats Lyuu!” cheered Illuna.
“Kongrats!” echoed Shii.
“Mhm. Blessings,” said Enne.
Once the girls were done, the Gyrolls followed suit and offered us their blessings.
I turned to Lyuu, who was thanking everyone happily, and called for her.
“Looks like we’re really family now.”
“Yes, we are, Master. Yes we are!”
Tears welled up in the corners of her eyes as she replied. And upon her face was a beautiful smile. Like a flower in bloom.