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rhapsody blue
February 21, 2007, 05:50 PM
Author's Notes

Apologies for the length... again; now I'm drained...

AthrunZala: Hoped I lead the story to your idea

Deathshadow: I mentioned you so you weren't forgotten; also, see the hint on how they knew where HQ was.

Raijatsu: I stole your length... again :xp

djmewmew, koenosak, magieri: I think I covered all your bases

Everyone else: Find the three "Heroes" taglines (altered of course); the third one is a spoiler so shhhhhhh!



Chapter Twenty-Five: The Path to Destruction Lies Ahead

Several days later...

"You call that an adequate time for a mile. You guys are so weak!" screamed Lione as he watched his charges running through the dense Appalachian forest. Regardless of Lione's constant whistling (krrrep, krrrep) and yelling, Tabitha and Rinvak collapsed on the ground, panting and struggling for air. As usual, Zeran eyed them coldly and continued running.

Ever since they had returned from their second trip to Opalo, Lione had forced the exorcists on a harsh training regimen-- something that he, of course as their leader, didn't have to do. Rinvak looked at the branch leader questioningly but knew not to ensure his wrath. Even though they didn't look forward to it, everyone knew why Lione was doing this.

Despite the fact that they did manage to hold their own against three dangerous Noahs, the head exorcist was not pleased with the result; three exorcists were injured with one of them receiving nearly fatal wounds and the damages done to the city were so catastrophic that even the main HQ was reluctant to pay for the repairs. This was bad enough but the report Lione got from the three exorcists' investigation of the church triggered a sense of urgency and panic.

"Lllllllllllllllllliiiiiiiiiiiiiioooooooooooooooonnnnnnnnneeeeeee! I can't run anymore and I'm so tired!" whined Tabitha as she remained sprawled on the ground. Rinvak glared at her comrade and mouthed, "Shut up!" Seriously, didn't this girl know that this was not the time to complain?

Looking down from his chair which was rested on a high platform, Lione curtly replied, "What did you say?" Tabitha flashed that innocent look of hers and responded, "I said that I'm tired and I can't run anymore. We've been up since 6am and have been training for 6 hours with little or no break." Rinvak opened her mouth in order to cover up for the girl but decided against it. It was about time for her to learn the hard way about talking back to a superior.

The branch leader stared at Tabitha without saying a word for several minutes. The girl continued to look at him imploringly like a dog wanting a treat. Rinvak watched the scene intently; could her wish finally come true? Would Tabitha finally get what was coming for her?

"After considering what you have said, I have finally decided on what to do with you," announced Lione. Yes, yes, yes! thought Rinvak with her fists ready to pump up for her coming victory.

Lione continued, "You're right; I have been hard on you. Silly me! I forgot that you're such a young child and can hardly handle this kind of work. Besides, your brother wanted me to look after you while he is on another mission so I should keep my promise. Why don't you sit next to me and eat these cookies that the chef had made for me?" Tabitha squealed with joy; for once she was thankful for an overprotective brother.

Rinvak collapsed on ground, defeated; victory was so close but yet so far. "What on earth are you doing? Stop lying on the ground and continue running!" scolded Lione. "Because of your laziness, Zeran and you will run the rest of Tabitha's mile!" In the far off distance, Rinvak could hear Zeran's cussing and both exorcists swore to get back at the teenager.
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Just one more step...

Despite Ying's treatment, Stephanie hasn't been able to move as far as she would like. Every afternoon, the healer would come in to check on her progress and each day looked promising.

"Finally!" exasperated the exorcist as she plopped herself down on the wide window ledge. Ying smiled like she always did; Stephanie gave a little smile back in return. She must admit that Ying's constant smiling creeped her out at first but she couldn't blame her. The healer was quite similar to her so every day she would request her service, hoping that it would break Ying's mask.

"You shouldn't push yourself so hard. Remember the last time?" admonished the healer. Stephanie gave a quizzical look as if she was testing Ying's memory. "The pounding on Tabitha's door..."

"Oh yeah, THAT time," giggled the exorcist. She recalled being so pissed off that she broke from Rinvak's grasp and chased the teenager into her room. Pounding the door and screaming at the girl was a release of Stephanie's frustration over her performance at Opalo and pain. Shaking her fists angrily, she swore, "That damn Zeran kid! First, he dyed my hair a bright green; now he drugged me! That bastard is going to pay!"

Outside, they heard the angry shouting of Lione towards the battered exorcists. Even though she considered herself lucky for not having to endure such a trial, part of Stephanie wished to be there, training with them. Ying observed the daydreaming exorcist and whispered, "I guess you read their report." The exorcist didn't respond. She read it and thinking about it made her sick.

What the exorcists experienced at the church that even Lione couldn't read the report's entirety in one sitting. The smell of blood and rotting flesh permeated the scene. The bodies of their fallen comrades revealed the fact that they were tortued slowfully and painfully. Tabitha had to leave in order for her not to puke on site; even the fearless Zeran had to look away from such a disgusting sight. Rinvak mutterd a quick rosary for the dead before leaving as well. The only clue that they brought back from this investigation was the fact that as he lay dying, Crispin wrote in blood "BOOKMEN".

Awkward silence filled the room, leaving Ying to regret bringing up such a dreadful siubject. She was about to speak when Stephanie interrupted her. "That thing came here one night." Ying's ears perked up; what was she talking about?

The exorcist smiled weakly and elaborated, "I'm sorry. I should have been clearer. The akuma in the shape of my sister came here one night. Even in my drug-induced sleep, I felt her presence, mocking me." Ying listened intently, knowing that she would report this to Lione. Stephanie laughed meekly, "My family consisted of poor fishermen; despite this fact, we were proud supporters of the Black Order. We would house exorcists, finders, pretty much any body from the organization. My siblings and I would gather around and listen to our guests speak about their adventures. That was why my parents were so proud when..." The exorcist's eyes drifted towards the window. Ying patted the exorcist's hand, hoping that it would trigger the girl out of her daze.

"You're worried about them, aren't you? They'll be fine; with Lione as our leader, we will be okay!" cheered the healer. The exorcist blinked and nodded. Suddenly her eyes darted towards some smoke coming from the mountains.

"You said that Flame was on a mission, right?" questioned the exorcist. Ying nodded; despite being only a Finder, she knew all the gossip and information flowing around HQ. "He told me that when he was young that he used to stay in the mountains a lot. I wonder if he's okay."

Ying flashed her usual smile. Even if she was just a Finder, she knew that she could offer support and comfort. Grrrrrrrrrr Stephanie's stomach growled quite loudly that it surprised both of them. Stephanie sighed; she never did get that dinner Tabitha and Rinvak promised her.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
As Zeran continued his run through the forest, thoughts of killing both Lione and HQ's favorite teenager entered his mind. These were the only thing that motivated him throughout this hellish training. As he imagined stabbing Lione with his katana, he tripped over something big.

Cussing, he picked himself up only to find a tall kid who holding a wooden staff on the ground. "Watch where you're going, you idiot!" muttered Zeran. As he was about to walk away, he stopped once he noticed the rose cross on the guy's clothing.

"What is going on? Do you want your ass kicked again by the Noahs, Zee-zee?" demanded Lione as he marched towards the exorcist. Zeran shot a death glare at the leader; he hated any sort of nicknames particularly those aimed at him. Tabitha happily followed Lione, munching on some warm chocolate chip cookies with an angry and tired Rinvak trailing behind.

Zeran pointed to Legno who felt like he was hit by a brick wall. Lione examined the stranger's clothing and exclaimed, "Ah yes! A Bookman! You must come with me immediately." Tabitha smirked at Legno and mouthed to Zeran, "OMG, you almost killed the Bookman. You idiot!" Zeran grabbed his katana only to be stopped by Rinvak; she was obviously taken back by Legno and there was no way any body was going to embarrass her.

"Let me introduce myself. I'm Lione, branch leader of the NA HQ and you are..." Lione said as he gestured his hand to the newcomer. Legno shook his hand and replied, "Legno. I've been searching for this place to days but only recently found it. "

Seeing Lione's confused (or was it shocked?) face, the Bookman explained, "For a while I thought I wouldn't be able to find HQ but I heard some annoying whistle and decided to follow it. Before you know it, I see this midget charging right at me at full speed." Rinvak struggled to refrain Zeran.

Moving away from the "excited" exorcists and entering the brick building, Lione whispered to Legno, "It is my belief as well as the belief of those at the main HQ that your life may be endangered. Earlier this month, a body of a Bookman was found outside of this HQ. Also, main HQ has reported that many Bookmen have been disappearing in various parts of the world."

Legno digested the news into his head; he knew this occupation had its dangers so this information didn't frighten him at all. Lione continued, "My boss Komui has told me that the Earl might be after the Heart. Since the Bookmen know every secret of the world, perhap he believes he can get this information concerning it from your clan."

Legno snorted, "So you're telling me that your current mission is what? Save the heart, save the world." Seriously, he didn't become a Bookman to serve as some encyclopedia. Lione shook his head and responded, "No; we're trying to prevent the annihilation of your clan. To do this, we need to stay a step or two ahead. Our biggest concern right now is whether you are on the Noah's list."

Legno stopped abruptly and pondered, "Most likely I will be on it but don't think I'm not ready for their attack."

Lione shook his head, "You should stay here for a while. Wandering around in the wild will leave you vulnerable. At least here you have exorcists to protect you."

"Fine; I'll stay," conceded Legno, raising his arms in sign of surrender. Lione smiled and marveled at his persuasiveness.

"However," the Bookman shot back, "how do you stop a murderous Noah?"

AthrunZala222
February 21, 2007, 06:17 PM
a) midget? *vein pops*
Zee-Zee?
b) Lione is supposed to be nice! he's not supposed to be Lavi crossed with Cross!
c) You're right, Zeran would want ot kill Tabitha
d) you make Zeran sound sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo bad, almost worse than Kanda, but ypu forget he's NICER than Kanda!!!!!!
e) Overall awesome chapter. On my next chapter I need to add hunting down Tabitha on my to-write list :D

rhapsody blue
February 21, 2007, 07:06 PM
b) Lione is supposed to be nice! he's not supposed to be Lavi crossed with Cross!

In my earlier chapter, I mentioned that Lione becomes easily irritated and calculating when it comes to fighting. So it makes sense for him to train them in order to prepare for battle and I expected him to be harder on boys and older people.



d) you make Zeran sound sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo bad, almost worse than Kanda, but ypu forget he's NICER than Kanda!!!!!!

Your character was in a bad mood because he has been training for at least six hours straight with little or no break against his will. In other words, he is cranky from the workout and from the obvious favoritism. To me, you were the comic relief because of your reaction to the people around you.

If you are talking about the drug part, I didn't write that, but you can write about how you were framed once again. :)

AthrunZala222
February 21, 2007, 07:13 PM
Zeran needs to kill Tabitha's brother. Maybe then she'll learn about being mature >> MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Yes I will write about how I was framed. Zeran is picked on so much ~o~

but that still didn't explain where the midget part came from!!!!!!!

rhapsody blue
February 21, 2007, 07:16 PM
but that still didn't explain where the midget part came from!!!!!!!


Well, Legno is supposed to be a tall person so I assume he considered anyone shorter than he a midget. You can always get back at him.

And Zeran is picked on because he is loved :lovebunny

AthrunZala222
February 21, 2007, 07:47 PM
:blink that's scary

rhapsody blue
February 21, 2007, 07:48 PM
What? Are you scared of being loved? :hug

Djmewmew
February 21, 2007, 07:56 PM
Found two of the Heroes referances~~!!!!!

"Save the heart, Save the world" = "Save the cheerleader, save the world" *Has mental images of a heart in a cheerleader's uniform*

"Noah's list" = "Are YOU on teh list?" ((Teh laundery list, the dean's list, the list of people Zeran wants to stab? The heroes peeps need to be more specfic XD jk jk))

Love this chapter, you write Tabby beautifully~ She's quickly becoming quite manipulative XD

rhapsody blue
February 21, 2007, 08:02 PM
Found two of the Heroes referances~~!!!!!

"Save the heart, Save the world" = "Save the cheerleader, save the world" *Has mental images of a heart in a cheerleader's uniform*

"Noah's list" = "Are YOU on teh list?" ((Teh laundery list, the dean's list, the list of people Zeran wants to stab? The heroes peeps need to be more specfic XD jk jk))

Love this chapter, you write Tabby beautifully~ She's quickly becoming quite manipulative XD


Congrats on finding two of the three! But where is the third? Bahahaha! Good luck finding it b/c it has not been revealed yet. I found the third one on tvguide.com and it's so kickass!

AthrunZala222
February 21, 2007, 08:06 PM
What? Are you scared of being loved? :hug

Yes very much so



the list of people Zeran wants to stab?

Love this chapter, you write Tabby beautifully~ She's quickly becoming quite manipulative XD

That list gets longer by the day :D :D :D

Must... kill... her... somehow

Koen
February 21, 2007, 08:25 PM
Awesome chapter. Overall it was very good, especially the training part and zeran (midget) falling on legno. Zeezee

:D Looking forward to next chapter

rhapsody blue
February 21, 2007, 08:27 PM
Awesome chapter. Overall it was very good, especially the training part and zeran (midget) falling on legno. Zeezee

:D Looking forward to next chapter


When you ended your chapter that way, that was the first thought that came to my head. Besides, I thought it would be interesting if you finally met up with the rest of us especially since Raijatsu is writing right after me.

Djmewmew
February 21, 2007, 08:28 PM
Congrats on finding two of the three! But where is the third? Bahahaha! Good luck finding it b/c it has not been revealed yet. I found the third one on tvguide.com and it's so kickass!
le gasp? Is it just as corny as the first two? XD

deathshadow25
February 21, 2007, 08:31 PM
"Save the Heart, Save the world" thats the only one I found lol

YAY thanks for mentioning the Flames meister btw does anyone wanna know how old he is?

Tabitha and her special tretment I swear I wouldn't be surprised if she woke up one day and she was impaled by one of Zerans swords

damn I wanted to be the first but my internet was down errrgh

rhapsody blue
February 21, 2007, 08:33 PM
le gasp? Is it just as corny as the first two? XD


Do you want me to PM it to you? I thought it is the best of the three.

Djmewmew
February 21, 2007, 09:45 PM
Do you want me to PM it to you? I thought it is the best of the three.
yush please~

tune
February 22, 2007, 01:37 AM
An amazing chapter~ :amuse
everything feels in-place and the adore given to zeran during training is humorous :D

at last, the third "heroes" catchphrase reference :)
How do you stop an exploding man
now i see how it is the best of the three :D *though i think i'll probably miss the second reference :( *

Schwindelmagier
February 22, 2007, 08:37 AM
sugeeeeeeeee chapter da yo.
I love this chapter as always, all your written chapters are great, awesome and so long *_*. I enjoyed reading it. How you connected the single pints - the church, the bookmen, the training, stephanie's treatment, legno.
And wow, really creepy how you descriped how the church is looking after the Noah's attack, most of the attack was carried out by me. My, I am really sadistic, OMG. xD
Wow, Lione is really a strict superior but I like him. 6 hours training...many hours to suffer.

rhapsody blue
February 22, 2007, 09:52 AM
I enjoyed reading it. How you connected the single pints - the church, the bookmen, the training, stephanie's treatment, legno.
And wow, really creepy how you descriped how the church is looking after the Noah's attack, most of the attack was carried out by me. My, I am really sadistic, OMG. xD
Wow, Lione is really a strict superior but I like him. 6 hours training...many hours to suffer.


Well some people mentioned some loopholes like how the Noahs found HQ and didn't attack it. Athrun wanted to get back from the church ASAP while I thought koenosaki would like to meet finally the others. Now people can't complain about the plot holes :)

As a Noah, I just assumed that your black side would be twisted and love killing humans particularly exorcists so I based it off Road and Tyki.

I pictured Lione as a usually laid back, kind person. However, if his back against a wall, he'll revert to a harsh fighter so this training in his head is a survival of the fittest (exorcists' survival against the Noahs).

Schwindelmagier
February 22, 2007, 11:02 AM
Yup, Lione just want the best for his exorcists. He just doesn't want them to die. That makes sense why he's normally very kind but push the exorcists through such a strict and hard training though.

When I have a twisted black side, I have a white side too xD? Wow, the white side must be hidden deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeply.