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Velvet Rope

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It was in the middle of the night when Zenitsu's sensitive ears caught knocking on their old wooden door.

"Jii-chan, there's someone at the door."

"Ignore them," was his grandfather's reply.

"But they're knocking very intensely. Like they are in some sort of danger. I'll go take a peek," Zenitsu insisted as he crawled to get up. However, he was immediately pulled down by his grandfather's rough hands. 

"No, you stay here. I'll go." Zenitsu wanted to retort but the glint in his grandfather's eyes says otherwise.

As his grandfather marched towards the door, Zenitsu cupped his hands over his ears and listened.


When Jigoro opened the door, he came face to face with a beautiful lady with silvery-white hair.

"How may I help you, miss?" his grandfather questioned.

"I'm here to look for a place to stay for the night. Could you please let me in?" the said female replied with a sickly sweet voice.

"I'm afraid that's not possible. You see, my wife has a severe illness and I strongly request you to go look for other suitable places to stay."

"That's too bad," the lady replied with a small frown that disappeared quickly, replaced with a small smile," but maybe I can offer your wife some help. After all, I am a doctor."



Zenitsu doesn't need to use his heightened sense of hearing to notice the lies in her words and he was sure his grandfather knows too. And again, he leaned against the wooden wall to hear their conversation.


"I apologize but it would be better if you avoid her. Who knows, you might get infected," his grandfather replied while he slowly but firmly closed the door. Instead, Zenitsu could hear the creaking as the woman's hands struggled to keep the door open.


"Then, I guess negotiations have ended," the lady silently said to herself, and with that, she broke the door open.

Jigoro quickly reacted like he expected this to happen. Swiftly, he flung a vase to her side of the head with enough force to make her fall on the ground. And enough time for him to take Zenitsu away from her.


Jigoro rushed to the bedroom to see Zenitsu sitting up on the bed, dumbfounded. He grabbed the golden-haired boy's wrist and covered themselves with a grey cloak from head to toe as they ran through the backdoor out into the forest. Jigoro glanced towards Zenitsu and he could see the fear in his eyes and the many questions that the boy wanted to ask him.

"I can hear their footsteps," Zenitsu whispered to his grandfather.

"Jii-chan, please tell me what is happening," and with this Zenitsu could feel the wetness on his cheeks as tears streamed down.


His grandfather didn't say anything, solely focused on running away. Somewhere where they couldn't reach them.

"Their footsteps are getting louder, Jii-chan! What are we going to do? We are going to be surrounded! And I am going to be taken away!" Zenitsu wailed as panic overcame him.


The grip on his hand tightened and Zenitsu somehow felt a slight bit reassured. 

"I, Kuwajima Jigoro, would never let you be taken, Zenitsu. Remember that."