Welcome to Incubus Tales: A Thousand Words by Hushicho. In Noctemberg, it is always night. Dhiar, proprietor and gay incubus, welcomes you to Phantasies, a very special shop. Sensuality is more than just Dhiar’s stock in trade, it is his raison d’être. NSFW.
A new chapter appears every Thursdays. This week is Chapter Twenty-Five.
25th Night—Tsumetai Tsuki
The night pressed on. By now, Siros wanted rest, and so he slept in the room they shared. But as often happened in the night, Dhiar found himself restless, and so he picked himself up and took himself for a walk.
He couldn’t remember how long he had walked, or the turns he had taken; it didn’t matter, in Dis. He would find his way back easily enough when he wanted to return.
The air was crisp around him. The Moon glowed in the sky, looking down on the city and all within. Dhiar slid his hands inside his long red coat and smiled as he met that gaze with his own, enchanted by the celestial sphere which seemed to hop whimsically back and forth between silver and gold.
The scent of snow, for only a moment, tingled in his nostrils. He knew at once where he needed to go.
And so, after a moment, he found himself in one of the many train stations, and then on a train. It wouldn’t take long. He knew just the place. It had been ages since he visited last, but one of the most marvellous things about his home was that things always tended to be there, even if they had changed a little bit.
This place, however, had changed hardly at all. It was still a country house, with a vast, sloping roof. Dhiar smiled as he stepped in and felt the heat from the hearth, set in the middle of the floor. It always felt like somewhere one could call home. It reminded him of the time he spent in Hokkaidou.
A few people sat at tables in the place, but he imagined he probably had missed the real rush of the day. A voice rang out from behind him, and he turned.
His eyes settled onto the form of a man who at once seemed young and old, dressed in old clothes. They had once been new and colourful, but now they looked a little tired. It suited the man, though; if he had wanted new ones, it would have been an easy affair in the city. These were kept because they had some meaning to him.
Dhiar beamed, taking in a breath. “Hanchi!”
“Hanbei while we’re here,” the man corrected, laughing nonetheless. “I kid. Where’s life been keeping you?” He placed his hand on Dhiar’s shoulder, guiding him to one of the places to sit. “I haven’t seen you in… what probably is a very long time, anywhere else.”
“Oh, well… Noctemburg, but I had to get away for a while. We’re staying in the city, I decided to play tour guide.”
“You left your guest in the city while you flitted up here? Well, maybe you’ll relent later and bring me another guest.” Hanbei sat with Dhiar. He waved to catch the attention of a younger woman and mouthed silent words across the room, making hand gestures.
Dhiar rather luxuriously draped himself along the cushions supposed to be seats. He liked to think he didn’t need as much rest. Maybe he wanted it, he reflected. He wasn’t sure.
“I don’t know,” he replied at last. “I don’t know if this is his kind of place.”
“Only one way to find out. Sit up, I don’t want you choking.” Hanbei nodded to the girl, as she brought a large ceramic carafe and two wooden cups. He poured one full, and Dhiar sat up and poured the other.
“Kanpai!” The Incubus raised his cup cheerfully, saluting the other man, and the two drank at the same time. “Ahh… it’s so beautiful…” His words faded as his eyes caught the Moon again, this time through the wide window in the roof.
Hanbei slowly turned to see. A smile slowly unfolded across his soft features. “He is cold tonight,” he quietly remarked, nearly a whisper. He took another drink.
“Mm.” Hanbei nodded once, setting his cup down. “If it weren’t so cool, I’d say we should go outside and catch his reflection in the sake. It makes it taste better.”
“It’s not that cold.”
Hanbei looked over at the man across the low table from him, and he couldn’t help but match the grin. With his expression, the thick, bushy mop of black on his head gave him such a boyish appearance. A few minutes later, they sat outside on the grass.
It still felt warm enough, although the temperature never really affected Dhiar. Hanbei seemed at least comfortable, in the coat he had pulled on over his regular clothes.
“It’s easier with the big, wide cups,” Hanbei explained. “A little harder with these. But worth it.”
Dhiar looked into his fresh drink, lowering it, angling it… and then he smiled again, seeing that almost blue image glistening silver along the ripples of his clear drink. Its faintly nutty aroma rose, steam curling in the cool of the night. Even with the murmurings of conversation inside the large house, the village around them sat all but silent.
That silence always seemed to come just before a snow. The clouds had begun to gather, low and dark and thick. They, too, danced on the surface of the glassy sake.
“So you’re in Noctemburg now, are you?” The young-old man nursed his drink, leaning back on a hand. “I’ve heard that’s quite a place to live.”
Dhiar rolled his shoulders back. “I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be there.” His tone held a kind of sadness, but within it lingered a resolve. “It was once the only place for me. I couldn’t imagine finding a place better to live, outside of the Great City. But now…”
“Now you’ve made too many memories for it to stay that way?”
“Something like that.”
“Ahh. That’s how it is.”
The conversation continued easily, comfortably, as they finished the carafe. A little unsurely, Dhiar got to his feet and gave his best grin, which at the moment was lopsided and drunken.
“If I bring him tomorrow, can you make nabemono? A nice big hot pot. With all the vegetables, the little dumplings, and…”
“If you bring him tomorrow, we’ll have a great nabemono.” Hanbei laughed and clapped Dhiar’s shoulder. “But if you don’t get back to him now, you won’t be awake tomorrow.”
The two laughed together. They walked back to the door of the house and then embraced, a tight, affectionate hug, leaning into each other.
Hanbei leaned back, then, and against the door frame. “But even if you don’t make it here tomorrow, I was glad to see you.”
“Me too.” Dhiar wobbled a step back. “I mean… glad to see you. Always.”
“Take care of yourself.”
Then Dhiar was alone again. He pushed his hands into his pockets, still warmed by the drink, and started along the path back to the train station.
Looking skyward, he let his eyes reflect the Moon, one more time.
* * *
Impatient to find out What happens in Dhiar’s shop? Get the entire book direct from Circlet Press!
About the author: From an early age, Hushicho held a special passion for storytelling. Throughout his life, he has worked in numerous media and various places in the world. He is the author of the long-running Incubus Tales webcomic, upon which this serial is based.
Welcome to the intriguing city of dreams, Noctemberg, where it is always night, and to Phantasies, a very special shop run by Dhiar, proprietor and gay incubus. Sensuality is more than just Dhiar's stock in trade, it is his raison d'etre. In Incubus Tales: A Thousand Words, Dhiar meets new loves, rekindles relationships, and bring his special brand of sexual healing to lovers and readers alike.
Also available in paperback!