Chapter 08

After they ate, Yoko led Hiei out to the training grounds. His partner hadn’t had to be told that after breakfast he was to resume crawling. It was a refreshing change. To be honest, Yoko was finding Hiei to be the kind of partner he’d wished for. Before the meeting with the lesser demons Mist had arranged, Yoko had trailed a few S and A class demons. There was always something they lacked. He was scared Hiei would show that same lack, but the day was progressing well.

He’d used the same techniques with every potential partner, because it was his style to be honest and up front with those he could find himself spending a lifetime beside. But somehow he always proved to be much for them to handle. His style of Soloing was too intense.

The first hardship, the hour of kneeling, was one most demons got through. A few didn’t, and those had been sent home immediately. The second ordeal, the first real test, was much more trying. A five minute time limit to get from the bedroom to the dining room was right next to impossible. At a brisk pace, it took Yoko himself fifteen minutes.

Hiei was one of two demons who’d managed the time limit successfully. Out of the two, he was the only one who hadn’t started screaming obscenities at Yoko over it. Needless to say, that one had been let go.

Because the time limit was so high, the three that managed in seven minutes he’d allowed to stay. But they’d failed at one of the other tests he’d set before them.

And now it was time for the 2nd real test. He had to find a way to see how Hiei would react to being punished without tricking him into disobeying. While he was a kitsune, such behavior towards his partner was unacceptable. The test was to see how Hiei reacted. If he argued with him or was unable to accept the punishment put forth, things would grind to a halt. Yoko didn’t want that. He really liked the fiery koorime.

“Once we cross this threshold,” Yoko said, “you have permission to stand. “These are the training grounds.”

Hiei got to his feet, looking around with wide eyes.

Yoko smirked knowingly. The grounds were impressive. Twelve lots, each about 2 acres in size, were visible from the threshold. The entire area was just a room in his mansion, but it was easily the biggest one there. It was also the most defensible, since all of his staff trained to fight here. There was always someone in every one of the lots at all hours of the day, honing their skills to perfection. Yoko didn’t allow his staff the luxury of slacking off. His enemies were dangerous and he had stolen a lot of very valuable items. It was important those he employed were able to defend themselves, him, and his property.

“I’m to come here every day, Solo?” Hiei asked.

“Yes. I don’t ever break from my weapons training. Neither will you.”

Hiei watched everything that was going on with wonder in his eyes. “Who are all these people, Solo?” he asked.

“My staff. I have two trainers for every fighting style and I require everyone who works for me to master at least three styles of combat. I’ve seen too many demons get too confident in their own abilities to allow myself to become that lax myself.”

“Three, Solo?” Hiei asked.

“Yes. But you’re not staff. You’ll have to master all of them.”

Hiei came to a complete stop and stared slack-jawed at him. “How many styles are there, Solo?” he asked, somehow managing not to squeak.

“Hmm. Hand-to-hand, staff, sword, daggers, knives, whip, mace, poisons, magic, bow, crossbow, and at least four more.”

“Fifteen?” Hiei whispered, moving to catch up to the kitsune. “How long will I have to master each skill, Solo?”

Yoko smiled. “You’ll have plenty of time to master them. I’m not going to penalize you for fast or slow learning unless you slack off. I’ve had 800 years to master these skills and the fighting style of each weapon changes considerably from year to year. There is one area, however, that you will have to master in two weeks.”

Hiei swallowed hard, coming to a rest behind Yoko who’d stopped in front of the lot where demons with swords and whips sparred against each other. “What is that, Solo?”

“My favored weapon is the whip. There is no one in the makai who can best me with one. Your challenge is to become that proficient with your sword. On top of that, you must learn how to coordinate your fighting with whip users. For the next two weeks, all your time on the training grounds will be spent here.”

Hiei nodded. Learning to fight alongside his solo was a prospect that made his whole body tingle with excitement.

“Two weeks,” Yoko said sternly. “Anymore than that and these.” He brought a hand down, intending to smack it against one of Hiei’s sore kneecaps, but his hand met air. Hiei had dodged. A cold fury coursed through him. His partner had denied him his rights. He turned to the koorime and glared, gleaning a modicum of satisfaction when Hiei lowered his head in submission. “I wasn’t aware,” he said. “That I needed to make it a rule for you not to dodge me.”

Hiei flinched and said softly, “You don’t, Solo. I shouldn’t have moved.”

The fact Hiei was accepting he’d messed up helped soothe Yoko. The kitsune had wanted a reason to punish the koorime; he just hadn’t expected one so soon. “Take your shirt off and brace yourself against the wall.”

To his credit, Hiei didn’t even glance at the other demons on the grounds as he obeyed. That wasn’t true of the others. All of them were staring at Hiei with open curiosity. Of course they were. All of them were loyal to Yoko and they each had a vested interest in ascertaining that Hiei was a good match for their employer.

Yoko drew a slender whip off the weapon rack and stood behind Hiei. “I’m going to whip you. For this infraction, ten strokes. You will count them aloud. When you count, you don’t have to use the honorific. But if you move your hands off the wall, I’ll add three to the count every time it happens. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Solo.”

“And as I’m sure you’re wondering, this is the lightest punishment I’ll ever use on you.”

Hiei whimpered but didn’t object so Yoko took a deep breath and laid the first stroke across the koorime’s back.

“One,” Hiei said.

Yoko dropped another stroke. He was relieved that Hiei hadn’t argued with him about the whipping. That was the test that all but one other potential partner had failed. It seemed this wasn’t an area that Hiei was going to demonstrate a lack in.

“Two,” Hiei said.

He dropped another stroke.


Hiei didn’t falter in calling the strokes and Yoko didn’t let up between each one. He made the whipping hard and fast-it was punishment and Hiei had admitted to being masochistic. But there were certain ways of administering physical punishment so that even masochists didn’t derive pleasure out of them. After 800 years, Yoko had picked up a few tricks. At ten strokes, he casually flicked the whip away from him, watching as it wrapped itself around the rack he’d thrown it at.

Yoko pressed himself up against Hiei’s back, relishing the pain-filled cries it caused the koorime. Without giving Hiei any time to prepare, Yoko thrust his hand down the front of his partner’s pants. Hiei hardened to his touch and moaned as Yoko began stroking him.

Hiei panted. “Please, Solo,” he begged. “It’s too much.”

Yoko kept the pace up. “Two weeks,” he whispered.

Hiei whimpered. “I don’t know if I can control myself much longer, Solo,” he admitted.

Yoko smirked. “You better.” At those words, he felt Hiei’s entire body relax against him as he continued stroking his partner. The koorime was finally submitting. Since that had been what he was looking for, he withdrew his hand, arousal sparked higher by the whimper of loss Hiei let out. “You may have to deal with this,” he said, “but I don’t have to suffer. If you want to make it easer on yourself, I suggest you find a way to get me lubricated before I take you.”

Hiei turned and sank to his knees, looking up under lowered eyes for permission that Yoko readily gave. Hiei pulled him free of his pants and immediately took him down to the hilt. Yoko threw back his head at the sheer pleasure of it and let Hiei work him until he recovered enough to take control. He reached down and stilled Hiei’s movements, holding his head still as he thrust hard and fast into the koorime’s mouth, ignoring the tears that sprang up on Hiei’s face as he hit the back of his throat. He’s planned to fuck Hiei, but the little demon was so exceptionally skilled at this that he changed his mind. It didn’t take long before he was coming and he purred in approval as Hiei swallowed without being told. He looked down at the koorime as he tucked himself back in. “I’m impressed. Few demons have been able to handle deep-throating me.”

Hiei flushed under the praise. “Thank you, Solo,” he said, licking his lips without seeming aware that he was doing so.

Yoko found it cute and he smiled at his partner. “Stand up,” he said. “It’s time I introduced you to your first teacher.”

Chapter 7     Chapter Index     Chapter 9

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