Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone! (alas this isn't a Christmas themed chapter, I wasn't thinking that far ahead as I wrote it)
Disclaimer: I don't own Megami Tensei or any of its characters.
The main thing Tokyo lacked was self esteem.
Perhaps it was due to the unfortunate moniker: Land of the Unclean Ones, or maybe it had to do with the ratty, beat up buildings of the city that had seemed so beautiful from above. But, ever since Flynn and the other new Samurai had descended from the giant tower at Tokyo's heart, he'd had demons complaining about their appearances left and right.
The humans weren't much better, but at least that could be put off to a lack of water for bathing… mostly.
Therefore, Flynn wasn't too surprised that as he was fighting an oni, the large red-skinned demon looked downtrodden as he waved his steel paddle back and forth ineffectually.
"What's wrong?" Flynn asked after taking a couple steps back, out of the way of the paddle.
The oni paused and rubbed the back of his head with a sigh. "You could tell." It wasn't a question, but Flynn nodded his head anyway. "Well," the oni admitted. "The other day I ran into some punk who said I was ugly." He spread his arms wide, battle seemingly forgotten. "What do you think? Am I ugly?"
This again? Flynn couldn't say he was completely surprised, except with the tenaciousness of this so-called punk — whoever he was — who seemed to have said the exact same thing to over half the demons in Tokyo.
Flynn wondered if he'd been eaten yet.
"I don't think you need to worry too much," he replied, trying to console the demon. "I'm much uglier." Okay, that was probably a lie, in fact it was most definitely a lie, but Flynn had a feeling that demons assessed beauty based on a different set of criteria than humans did, so maybe the oni would buy it. It had worked with many of the others, after all.
"You say that," the oni replied with a quaver in his deep voice. "But at least you can hide your face behind a helmet!" He motioned to his own head. "You don't have these tusks or horns getting in your way."
Oh dear, Flynn thought. He'd stumbled across a melodramatic one. They were always the worst.
"How could you ever understand my suffering?" the oni exclaimed and then promptly burst into tears; giant, fat things that cascaded down his cheeks like a waterfall.
"Umm…" This was the first time Flynn had seen such a strong reaction and he wasn't sure what to do. Up until this point he hadn't even known that demons could cry.
After a moment of hesitation he walked up to the oni and patted him on the shoulder. This only seemed to make the demon cry harder, however. The oni pulled a giant purple hankie out of a back pocket and blew his nose, the sound reminiscent of a fog horn.
"Say, why don't you join me?" Flynn asked, trying a different tactic. "We can be ugly together… There are also some perks."
The oni wiped his face with the back of one clawed hand and looked down at Flynn. "Really? Ugly together?" he sounded hopeful.
He hasn't denied that I'm ugly… Does that mean he thinks I really am? Flynn fought off the urge to scowl. Even though this was a part of his plan to make the demon feel better, he couldn't shake off the slightly negative effect it was having on his own ego. If he could pass as a girl that made him pretty at the very least, right?
The oni seemed to be thinking about Flynn's offer. "What are the perks?" he eventually asked.
"Well, you can…" Flynn hadn't thought that far ahead yet. He looked around at his own demons, trying to think of something that would appeal to the oni and that didn't involve eating anyone he knew. "…meet female demons?" he finished lamely, motioning to his High Pixie who — thanks to her rather realistically crafted chest-plate — was quite clearly female.
To his surprise, the oni's eyes opened wide and he took a sudden step back.
"What's the matter?" Flynn asked, following, only to have the oni hasten even further away.
"Hey," the oni said hesitantly, making a warding sign with his hands. "You're not some kind of… demon pimp, are you?"
Flynn was flabbergasted. How did he come to that conclusion?! All I said was 'meet female demons', not… that other stuff!
He was so surprised that he forgot to answer the oni's question.
"You're not denying it!" the oni cried. "P-police!"
The oni dropped his weapon, turned on his heel and bolted down the street, shouting for the police at the top of his lungs.
"I- Wait!" Flynn protested, but the oni had already vaulted over a barricade of car wrecks and was lost from sight, though not from hearing.
Well, that was just peachy. Flynn huffed and looked around. His own demons were chuckling quietly. Fortunately for Flynn they seemed amused rather than insulted at having been indirectly called prostitutes.
Fortune continued to smile on him when he saw that Isabeau was at the far end of the street, well out of hearing range. He didn't feel like being beaten to within an inch of his life today, thank you very much. Both she and Jonathan were looking over, their attention no doubt caught by the oni's cries for the police, so Flynn waved at them meekly. Eventually they looked away, more intent on the demons prowling around them than on Flynn's shenanigans.
It wasn't enough to quell Flynn's irritation, however. He turned to one of the other enemy demons, a preta who had watched the entire conversation with the oni quietly. "You're ugly!" Flynn snapped.
The preta only smiled its creepy smile. "…Who are you talking to?" he asked, pulling a small object from somewhere behind his back. "That's a mirror you're looking at."
Flynn looked down into the hand mirror, where his reflection stared back, warped slightly by a crack that ran the length of the glass. "Oh, very clever," he said bitterly.
The preta's smile grew even wider and he returned the mirror to its place. "Anyway punk, enjoy your time in the slammer. I'm sure that with your looks you'll make lots and lots of friends."
Did the demons of Tokyo… actually have a police force?
Flynn's question was answered shortly afterwards by the wailing of Sirens in the distance.
Tee hee, they're Sirens and sirens… oh for the love of silly puns!