Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito: Ever After
The great library was nearly infinite in size, the rows of books stretching off into the distance and all of them needing to be organized. At one time it had been managed by Lilith and Eve together, then by Lilith all alone, and now the two had returned, the great quest over once more... Or at least it was over for now.
Lilith finished sorting another shelf of books and sighed softly, the busty blonde climbing down from the ladder carefully. The eyeball hat blinked again, looking much like something that would be worn by a witch, and similarly echoed by her clothes which resembled the product of a earlier age. She was gorgeous, but oddly so, almost as if she wasn't quite... normal.
"It wouldn't hurt to take one look," Lilith murmured to herself as she looked around her warily before walking over to a certain set of shelves. She drew down the book and carefully opened it, light shimmering as she gazed into another world...
Hazuki had slipped away from her classes again, the tall black haired young woman sitting on the roof of her school. She gazed off into the distance with a expression of painful longing on her beautiful face, then reached into her pocket. Flipping open her phone she gazed at the display, where once a image had been, then finally murmured to herself sadly, "Hatsumi."
Lilith gently closed the book, feeling a deep ache of regret. When she and Hazuki had set off across the worlds together Lilith had known about Hatsumi, understanding that she was an aspect of Eve. Once Eve had left Hazuki's world they couldn't be reunited the way they had once been, and in the end things had ended in tragedy.
"How is she?" the gentle voice echoed in Lilith's mind and she jumped up in surprise. Eve gazed down at the book with a expression as nearly as melancholy as Hazuki's had been, then the slim blonde looked up at Lilith with concern. Like in all her human incarnations Eve was mute, but at least in this place she could communicate with her thoughts.
"Lilith was not checking up on her," she quickly said with a blush of embarrassment, "I was just... curious, that's all."
"Of course," Eve smiled at her gently.
Lilith ran a hand caressingly over the cover as she said softly, "Hazuki still looks for your picture... she won't forget."
Eve closed her vivid eyes a moment, her expression touched by a deep pain. In her last human incarnation she had lived as Hatsumi, the adopted sister of Hazuki, and a love both fierce and powerful had grown up between them. Not the love of siblings or family members, but a romantic love that verged on the passionate. Love letters were sent secretly, each sister unaware of the intensity of the other's feelings until it was too late.
"I'm sorry," Lilith said to her quietly, feeling just a bit surprised to realize that she really meant it. She had joined in Hazuki's quest to find Eve more seeking a kind of revenge against Eve for leaving her stuck running the library all alone, but traveling along with Hazuki had changed her a little. Even Lilith had to see the love that had existed between the two women, no matter what temptations were thrown Hazuki's way.
And there were a lot of temptations.
Traveling across the worlds Hazuki and Lilith had many adventures in their quest to find Eve, and many lovely companions who were draw to Hazuki. On their first adventure there had been the lovely spy, then later a barbarian sacrifice, the Princess Fuji and many others... and all of them were far too clingy to Hazuki for Lilith's comfort.
"I wish she could be happy," Eve almost looked like she wanted to cry.
"Hazuki is so stubborn," Lilith remembered that trait fondly, "she never gives up, even if it would be good for her."
"I know," Eve agreed softly.
Lilith turned away with a sigh, knowing that there was work to do. "Let's get back to work," she said reluctantly.
Eve's voice was intense as she asked, "If you could make Hazuki happy, would you?"
Lilith blinked in surprise as she looked back at Eve to see if she was joking. The slim blonde looked deadly serious, her eyes touched by a hint of pain, but her smile was hopeful, somehow. "Yes," Lilith answered, wondering where Eve was going with this.
Eve hesitated a moment then asked, "Do you love her?"
"What!" Lilith screeched, "I do not..." The look that Eve gave Lilith made her trail off just a bit uncomfortably. In all honesty Lilith had developed a certain... affection for Hazuki, but she wasn't sure she'd call it love.
"What about when Quill approached Hazuki?" Eve reminded her.
Lilith scowled at that annoying memory. The buxom young savage girl had latched on to Hazuki like a puppy soon after they arrived in that world, much to Lilith's annoyance. Even worse, after Hazuki had saved Quill from a savage god she had been prepared to offer her all to the lady warrior, until Lilith had intervened.
"You wouldn't have been so jealous," Eve pointed out gently, "if you didn't care for her." A faint smile, "I especially liked it when you decided to be the sacrifice."
Lilith actually blushed faintly at that reminder. After Hazuki had killed off the savage's god the villagers had decided to make Hazuki their new god, planning to sacrifice Quill to her. Refusing to allow her that pleasure Lilith stepped in, carrying through the ritual until leaping into Hazuki's arms and purring for her to eat her.
"How do you know about all this?" Lilith asked after a moment.
"I was watching," Eve shrugged slightly as she explained, "even where I was, I wanted to know that Hazuki was all right."
Lilith thought about saying something scathing about peeping toms, then she thought about her own spying on Hazuki recently. 'No, I'm not in a position to throw stones,' she admitted. Getting back on topic she asked, "How can I make her happy?"
Eve looked into the distance, her expression remote. "Certain things are written," she out a special emphasis on the word written, "such as my being reborn in Hazuki's work and becoming her daughter. They are destined, unchangeable."
"I know all that," Lilith started impatiently only to be cut off.
"But whatever else happens to Hazuki is still unwritten," Eve said to her softly, "such as who is with her..."
"You mean... me?" Lilith felt a small smile tease her lips.
Eve nodded, her own faint smile returning. "Hazuki was fond of you, even after your quest ended. We just have to build on that emotion," she explained.
"But how do I win Hazuki over?" Lilith asked softly.
"I have an idea," Eve purred then began to explain.
Hazuki strode away from her classes, feeling a flash of guilt as she went up to the roof once again. Her long black hair flowed in the breeze, her skirt swirling, and she looked out into the distance irritably. All day she had felt an odd foreboding, almost as if a storm were rumbling off on the horizon. Reflexedly she drew her phone out, flipping it open then she froze in surprise.
Hatsumi's image was back.
"Ahhh!" with a cry and a flash of light the figure appeared from thin air, plummeting at Hazuki from above.
Without thinking about it Hazuki ran forward to catch her but it threw her off balance, both of them falling to the roof in a tangle of limbs. "Lilith?" she blinked as she instantly recognized her, "what's going on?"
"She's gone!" Lilith blurted out.
"Who?" Hazuki demanded though she thought she knew the answer. Her heart began to beat faster as she looked into Lilith's eyes, feeling acutely aware of how close together they were sprawled on the rooftop.
"Eve," Lilith scowled cutely as she explained, "I don't know if she just got bored again or if she was taken away, but she's gone!" Kneeling beside her she grasped Hazuki's hands, looking intently into her eyes as she said, "You have to help me find her."
Hazuki barely hesitated, meeting Lilith's eyes for a moment. "All right," she felt a strange excitement as she got to her feet, reaching out to gently help Lilith to get up too. "Do you have my sword?" she asked.
Lilith patted her pockets first, frowning cutely, then untied the front of her shirt, revealing a generous amount of cleavage. Hazuki looked away, blushing, only gazing back as Lilith exclaimed, "Ah ha!" Holding the little knife Lilith focused her will, a blue light shining around it.. then it was transformed into a samurai's blade.
"Thank you," Hazuki took the sword, hefting it comfortably. "Do you know where she went?" Hazuki asked confidently.
"Not entirely," Lilith conceded, "but I'm sure I can pick up the trail soon." She offered her hand, smiling faintly, "Shall we go?"
Hazuki took it, smiling back as she took the other woman's hand. "Lets," she agreed, the two disappearing once again across the worlds.
Observing them in another world Eve closed the book, slipping it away smoothly. Lilith was giving her a day's head start, and with that kind of lead she felt confident she could keep them chasing after her for weeks, maybe more. That time would give the spark of attraction that existed between Hazuki and Lilith a chance to grow, eventually becoming love.
As Eve disappeared she smiled faintly with amusement as she thought, 'Lilith and Hazuki will make very good co-mothers.'
Notes: I used information printed in Newtype USA Vol 3 #1 for reference, but any mistakes are my own. I liked this series, but was terribly disappointed by the ending... This basic idea has been sitting around for awhile, originally sparked by comments on the shoujoai discussion boards, but I decided to write it up now.