Chapter 10: Naga-sa

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Megumi was a treasured addition to the servants in the imperial palace. She worked to her heart's content for most of her life. Her favorite spot to work in was none other than the library filled with glorious books. Every day she would read story to story. She never stopped reading the many books upon the shelves. Her favorite story was about a prince of nobility falling in love with a low and mere servant. She had read the story more than she could count. However, she never liked the ending much. The servant lost a child in the end, so was her love really worth it? Little did she know that the imperial prince did take a liking to her.

A few years had passed by and she was no longer a respected servant. Megumi had lost something she made with love. She could never recover from her loss, so she promised to keep a knife on her at all times. In case she saw the imperial prince or anyone who she disliked, she would have a way to freedom. She worked again as she did before, even read books more than the time before. She came upon a book about an orphanage. There was a lonely child who lost someone too. The child was bullied constantly as she was disabled. Megumi felt sorry for the poor girl. The girl was rejected by her mother when she only needed some hope to guide her.

The next day Megumi noticed an orphanage near the imperial palace. The majesty had requested donations for it to be placed there. Megumi would bring books from the shelves to read for the children. She spotted a disabled girl, exactly like her book, off in the distance. The girl had looked down as she felt ashamed of her appearance. Everyone looked at her like she was a disgrace, someone who wasn't supposed to be born into this society of considered people of "perfection". Such stupidity left the girl often laughing about it rather than feeling upset. She learned one thing from the orphanage. To lie. She was quite skilled when it came to lying. It often got her out of trouble.

Megumi felt sorry for this girl as she saved up money to finally give her a new home. Megumi bought the girl a wheelchair, whatever she wanted in fact. She treated her as if she was her own offspring. She brushed the girl's lovely hair everyday. The more she brushed, the longer it got. The girl's name was.. Ku ri ko. Kuriko. No one knew how twisted Kuriko really was, for such a young girl too. However, Kuriko remained stable enough when Biwaki was around.

As Megumi worked all day and night with very little sleep, she was finally able to save enough money for Kuriko's birthday. But what she didn't know was that Biwaki would disappear on the same day. Megumi was heading home with a few gifts when she found Kuriko trembling on the floor as she crawled on all fours. Megumi reached for her knife as she thought danger lay in front of her very hands. The hands capable of a murder. But this mere servant, she swore not to ever lay hands on an innocent person. She swore to herself not to harm someone unless they posed a threat to her. She put her knife back into her pocket as she set the gifts down for Kuriko. Kuriko crawled up to Megumi while sniffing her. Megumi bent down to hug Kuriko, returning her back to normal. Kuriko cried as she sat in Megumi's arms. Kuriko celebrated her birthday with Megumi before she had to go to bed.

Megumi left for work the next day, but was told that she had to stay for a few months. She was under suspicion of stealing from the majesty and harming others. She had wondered who spread those false rumors. However, she was never able to say goodbye to Kuriko. She worried a lot about Kuriko as she stayed in the imperial palace. She worried so much to the point of falling ill. She worked herself and worked herself till her body was crying "please stop! I'm going to fall apart!" She fell to the ground out of exhaustion, her knife clattering on the floor besides her. She looked up at the moon. Thinking of Kuriko and the mistreatment she went through for many years, she started sobbing as she scratched her neck. She kept scratching, scratching, scratching, scratching, until she bled. Her eyes were red from lack of sleep. She slowly made herself stand up with her knife. She walked like a snail to the library full of her treasured books. She opened a book called "The girl and the witch". A familiar tale told to her from when she was young. She stared blankly at the picture of the witch. Her name was Kintoru. Kintoru was told to be the beast of control.

It was often rumored that Kintoru would grant the wishes of those with desires of their own. Megumi, unknowingly, raised the hand holding the knife. She then stabbed the picture of Kintoru. STAB STAB STAB STAB STAB. A butterfly appeared under the hole she had put through the book. The story told that if you did something with a butterfly spirit, your desires would come true. Megumi grabbed the butterfly as she clenched her eyes shut. Please... please let me be free from this judgement of sins I did not commit. I wish to be free with my daughter Kuriko, for she cannot last long without me. Megumi opened her eyes and began stabbing away at the butterfly. She took the pieces that were left. She placed them into her mouth, as she ate away her neck began to grow extremely large. The more she ate the butterfly, the longer her neck became.

The palace guards noticed Megumi from the gates. They ran towards her in an attempt to make her halt. However, they all turned into a splendid snack for Megumi as she chomped down on their heads. She ate them whole while leaving their skulls for her new collection. She went person after person until she ate everyone within the imperial palace. And now she lurks as she longs in hunger for her next meal to come.

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