Hi. I was inspired by the anime Gensomaden Saiyuki in writing this story. The characters in that anime aren't mine, so there. There it is said that the child of a human and a demon would have red hair and eyes, so my hero has the said attributes. And there are demons in the anime, too. I hope you'll find the storyline interesting. Bye

Her heartbeat was loud. Her breath was coming up in gasps. Her legs were begging rest. Yume paid these no heed. They were close.

She had to get away. Away. Amidst the chase, she found herself smiling sadly.

As if I have somewhere to go.

She gasped as her feet encountered sharp twigs, and silently willed her feet to run faster, deeper into the dark forest.

"There she is!"

"You can't hide!"

'We'll find you!

Yume used the trunk of a wide tree as a hiding place, hoping fervently that the goons who were chasing her wouldn't have half the brains to look for her here.

She smelled the sour, rancid breath first. Then the rough grip was on her wrist before she had the chance to flee.

'There you are! Now you'll pay for the slap you gave my pal."

Yume couldn't stop the frightened gasp from escaping her throat as two of the demons' entourage joined them.

She tried her wit one last time.

"Oh, I'm sorry about that um, slap. I meant it as a playful" She swallowed her pride. "carress."

She suppressed the disgust that came to rest on her as she saw the demon's eyes glint evilly. He leaned toward her.

'Closer, closer. Now!

Yume lifted her knee and brought it up hard in between the demon's legs, in a classic move that all men find extremely painful. 'This works even with demons. Yume thought with relief. He howled, and Yume used his and his cronies' momentarily surprise to run again, even though her legs screamed stop.

She got as far as the next giant tree when she bumped into something solid. Looking up, she saw she was wrong. Not about the something being solid, for it was. Her body could attest to that. It was about the something where she was mistaken. For it wasn't a thing, as it had a head, shoulders, knees and toes. Yume just had enough time to see that the someone who steadied her was a male with red hair, for he said,

"Get behind that tree. Now."

"I don't want you to fight them!"

"I'm not going to run. Now get behind that blasted tree! Gee lady, what part of that simple statement can't you understand? I'll repeat it, for you. Get. Behind. That. Tree. Now."

Then, "Ow! What'd you do that for?"

"I'm not deaf, blind, nor stupid. Now if you don't want me to step on your other foot you'll apologize."

"For what?"

"For acting as if I was dumb."

"Lady, I can't see anything that will prove you otherwise." He glanced up. "They're coming."

He let go of her shoulders, and Yume glanced at them. She looked again, to be sure she wasn't seeing things. Tonight had been an unusual night. She wasn't hallucinating. Where his hands had been, was the unmistakable sight of blood.

"You're bleeding! Now I'm really not letting you fight them."

He looked down at her concerned face, and she saw his eyes were strangely the same color as his hair. Blood red. Something about that fact made her wonder, but which was replaced quickly with annoyance when he smirked arrogantly. "I can assure you, none of it is mine."

"I don't want anyone, not even an arrogant ass like you, get hurt because of me. I won't have it."

Yume said this firmly, crossing her arms as she did so. He held her shoulders again, this time to look at her eyes. She took a step back instinctively.

"I'm not gonna get hurt. Save your worries for your them."

On the word them, he pointed his right thumb towards the west, where three figures were running towards them. He whispered a hurried "Sorry lady." before he pushed her behind a tree. She landed on hard on her behind. As she rubbed it, Yume muttered,

"That ass. Absolutely no etiquette!"

The sound of weapons being drawn brought her to cautiously peek from behind her hiding place. To her horror, she saw the demons had long metal poles with sharp, scary spikes.

"Oh cripes, that arrogant ass doesn't even have a weapon to defend himself with! What is he thinking?"

The three demons were having a hard time breathing. Yume was glad they had a hard time tracking her down. The tall one, who looked like the leader, sneered at the newcomer.

" Is she here? If you'll only hand her over to us, we'd leave you alone. You know, demon to demon. Even though you're only a half-breed."

All three of them started laughing. Yume smacked her head.

'Of course! The child between a human and a demon would have red hair and red eyes. I remember mom telling me that. At the mention of her parent tears gathered at the back of her lids, threatening to spill out. In the moonlight, it made her dark brown eyes look black. She shook her head. No use being sad, it wouldn't help her one bit in this situation. Speaking of which, she looked at the weaponless stranger who was ready to fight for her. She heard the insult, plain and clear. Yume got mad. Jumping out of the shadows, startling everyone, she said,

"How dare you insult him! He's more than a good person than the three of you combined would ever be! So what if his mother and father were of different blood, you can't judge him because of that. Where would the fairness be?"

The stranger gave a helpless sigh, then turned to the three demons with an expression Yume couldn't read. One that made her nervous.

"There you are, love! I've been looking all over for you!"

He leaned towards her, as if sniffing. Then suddenly, his finger was at her forehead.

"You've been drinking again! I told you to stop it. It's a bad habit, especially since the wedding's tomorrow."

He turned towards the demons, then smiled apologetically at them.

"She's my fiancée, and tonight was her bachelorette's party. I guess it got a little out of hand, huh, honey?"

He stepped close to her, taking a firm hold on her waist and boldy pulling her to his side, ignoring the horrified expression on Yume's face as he closed her gaping mouth. He whispered,

"For once, listen to me and try to hold your tongue, okay lady? And for God's sake, fix the expression on your face. You look constipated."

He tried not to laugh as he said this, since she looked pretty homicidal just now. Instead, he tried to change her expression by running his calloused fingers gently over her face, attempting to soften the enraged expression she still wore. To an audience's eyes, it looked like a tender moment between two lovers.

How wrong they were. Yume could feel the heat coming radiating from her body. She was surprised none of them felt it. She was supposed to be engaged to thatthat thickheaded goob? She looked at the black sky, as if asking for assistance. Were the heavens punishing her for what she had done earlier that evening?

The lights were dim, people were plenty, the place smelled of drink and unpleasantly of (body) odor, and it was noisy. Overall, it was what Yume would term as a perfect setting. Well, except for the body odor. She could have done without it.

'You can't have everything. She looked at the boisterous crowd, her sharp brown eyes unblinking as she stared at the fat man smoking what looked like an expensive cigar sitting over the bar. She made sure the hood she was wearing was still in place. Satisfied that it was, she sighed. Then she looked left, then right, front, and back. Clear.

Yume, from her post in the second floor everyone thought was closed, had been watching him for the past fifteen minutes ever since he walked through the inn's rotting door. She saw that when he ordered a whiskey, he placed his wallet in the left pocket of his brand new trench coat. She saw the seven rings he wore on his stubby fingers, three on his right hand, four on his left. All of them were genuine. She also saw the look in his eyes when he looked at the buxom bartender. She sighed.

'A couple of those rings and I'd be set for life!

It was too risky, though. Yume couldn't have anymore risks.

Heck, she was taking a very big one just being here. Truth be told, she was rather fond of risks. Life was short, and you didn't know when the Maker would say, 'Okay, your time's up. I'm taking you back to Me. So why not take advantage of the life He gave now, and enjoy adventure?

Yume went down the stairs, careful to stay within the shadows. Yes, "Dragon's fire" was full of other suspicious creatures such as herself. Still, it wouldn't hurt to be careful. That was how you survived. Being careful and having wits.

She walked stealthily toward her target. Nearing him, she overheard something that made her stop.

"You think you're brave boy? You'll pay for that, you will."

She turned to the direction of the voice. Loud as the place was, Yume prided herself with having good ears. It was part of her trade, after all. Excellent hearing.

Yume saw a boy of about 10ten in a fighting stance, behind him a smaller figure. His sister, she supposed. She knew she should turn away. It wasn't any of her business after all, and getting involved in something she knew nothing about wasn't smart. Still, as she glanced at the stance of the young lad, her heart couldn't turn away, even though her head was warning her to just walk away.

Caution was thrown to the wind as she quickly stepped in front of the boy and his supposedly sister, and pasted a smile of relief on her face as she casually draped an arm around her new friend's bony shoulders. Demons, three of them. From the hazy looks on their eyes she correctly guessed they were inebriated.

"There you two are! Mother's been so worried."

"Hey, wench! The brat was trying to steal from my friend!"

She calmly ignored the "wench" comment. She detested that, but she was patient.

"He was trying to steal, hm?" Yume tried to make her voice sound harsh.

She proceeded to give the lad a stern look before turning to the demon who had spoken.

"I'm sorry for your trouble, sirs. But you did say tried, right? So since there were no damages done, you have your wallet, I see, we'll be heading home now. I'm truly sorry for the disturbance my siblings have caused you all."

Yume bowed slightly, put an arm round the two children, then turned towards the door.

"Wait."

An arm shot out to grab her wrist. Damn. She thought they would make it. She briskly pushed the two to the direction of the door, which fortunately wasn't very far away.

"Run very fast, don't look back. And the next time, be careful, okay?"

As the older of the two nodded and said a hurried thanks, with a grateful expression on his dirt filled face, his supposed sister managed a toothy smile before he took her hand and together they ran as fast as their young legs would carry them. To freedom. Yume sighed as she shook her head. She was reminded so much of her past by those two. The arm around her wrist tightened and she winced. She gritted her teeth as one of the demons ran a hand up her arm.

"As a matter of fact, we were disturbed a lot by your" He snickered "siblings. What are you gonna do to make us feel better?"

His meaning wasn't missed as he and his three goonies closed in on her. Quickly Yume considered her options. She could try screaming but, doubtless she wouldn't be heard because of the noise level, which had the same volume and intensity as compared to a morning market and a bazaar combined. As one of the demon's slimy hand touched her cheek, she forgot all about staying calm and slapped his sweaty, stinky face with as much strength she could muster. Then ran hard. She didn't know she was running towards the forest that she heard was haunted, since all she could think of was that now she was the one being hunted

Yume was startled out of her reverie as hands shook her shoulders. Shaking her head, she made the mistake of glancing up and meeting the unusual eyes of her deemed savior, which, now filled with bemusement enough to make her blood boil.

"See, you've really had more than you can drink, eh, sweetheart?"

With this he swept Yume up in his arms, winked at the confused demons, then started walking away. Apparently the demons were intoxicated a lot more than Yume thought since they scratched their heads, turned to each other, and promptly bumped all their heads together, then sunk down on the cool forest floor.

When she started struggling and beating his chest rather hardly, he let her go. As in he dropped her on the thankfully soft, grass filled ground, and laughed down at her. Laughed!

"Ow! That's the second time you let me fall on my rump, you conceited ass! And what did you mean about you being my fiancée? I don't even know you!"

"Huh, that's nice. I expected at least a thanks, but then I forget you don't have manners."

"Why, I ought to"

"What were you doing in the forest anyway? And why were you being chased by those demons?"

He crossed his well toned arms as looked her up and down, and made no move to hide his snicker.

"Hmmm. Not because of your looks. They could do better."

Yume turned five shades of red. While it was true that she could have looked better, with her bandana hiding her rich blue black hair, some strands managing to escape the tight boundary, her face filled purposely with coal to hide her features, and a breast bind that hid well, her breasts, couldn't he have at least pretend that she didn't look so messy? Yume asked him this

"And lie to you? Nope, I try to tell the truth at all times."

She grudgingly agreed as she replied, "Well, I'd prefer to be told the truth too, even though it'd be harsh then to hear a sugar coated lie."

He stared at her, as if he couldn't believe what he was hearing, then clutched his heart.

"What?"

"Is this true? You're actually agreeing with me?"

As Yume glared at him (try to be civilized, look what he does) she realized they haven't been introduced. Suddenly shy, she dropped her gaze and started to be very interested in the grass. The stranger lifted an eyebrow.

"What, did you decide you wanted to be polite and demure after all?"

"I am polite and demure. Well, not at all times" she said hastily as the other brow rose.

"But with you, lets just say you bring out the worst in me."

"Me! What proper lady would not say thanks to the person who saved her?"

They glared at each other for what seemed like an eternity. Then,

"I'm"

"My name"

He lifted his head, gestured toward her.

"You first."

"My name is Yume."

This is my first story I have ever uploaded in the computer. Ever. I don't know how other people would react to it, so I'd really appreciate reviews, may they be positive or/and negative. Thanks… I'll make another chapter as soon as I have new ideas.

Thanks(",)