It was a week after the fight at the restaurant, and Stephanie had finally felt well enough to get out of bed and stand up……...well……she could only stay up for 5 minutes or so, but still, she was well enough to get herself out of the ‘dusty Mexican labyrinth of a exorcist trap’ as Steph had put it.
It had been a pretty uneventful train ride so far, with Tabby’s only mischief being the braiding of Rinvak’s hair will she napped; complete with some bows that Tabby had seemingly pulled out of thin air. Rinvak suspected that the little brat had been waiting for her chance all mission. But Tabby’s grin was a warning bell.
“No really, what the hell is that marker for?” Rinvak asked again. That’s when she noticed the way Tabby gaze was directed at Steph, sprawled out on a nearby seat. “No, bad Tabby. No drawing on people’s faces. Remember that finder you gave ink poisoning? He still has blue lines on his face.”
“I’m not gonna draw on her that much. Besides, Buzz looks good like that” Tabby whined.
“No. And that’s final.” Rinvak stated as she pryed the marker from her hand. “We’re only a half hour away from the base, can you deal till then?”
“..Only if you let me braid your hair again!”
“HELL NO YOU LITTLE TWIT!!!”
“Come on! You looked pretty like that~!!!”
In the next car over, Zeran and Lione were suddenly very glad Steph’s laid out form took up two seats.
“It’s good to be home~!” chirped Tabby, skipping up the to the entrance of the mansion.
“It’s good to be not stuck in a confined area with you” Rinvak spat venomously at Tabby, her hair sticking out in all directions.
“It’s good to be someplace where I can get peace and quiet, do you people have any idea how loud you are?” Zeran commented, earning a nasty glare from Rinvak. He remembered meeting her a couple months ago, she was so happy, what the heck happened?
“Where’s Stephanie?” Lione asked, glancing around, wondering if she’d already made it inside.
“You left her on the train again, didn’t you?” Rinvak sighed. Tabby glanced away. “I’ll go get her.” Rinvak answered, flying off in the direction of the train.
Several hours later, Lione sat in his office, examining the files that had accumulated in his absence. ‘It’s gonna take a couple of all-nighters to get through this’ He thought sighing deeply. Rinvak had come back with Stephanie an hour ago, belligerent about being, once again, left behind. Tabby had locked herself in her room, and wouldn’t even open it for her brother, answering his knock with a “SHE’S GONNA EAT ME!!!!!!!” and some hicupp/sobbing. Flames had not returned yet, and Lione wondered if everything was going alright with his mission. He stared at the papers on his desk absentmindedly, and was just about to start when a finder burst into his office.
“Sir! You have to see this! There’s a corpse outside!”
“What?!?!?! Where?!?!?” Lione jumped out of his seat
“It’s out front, follow me!” The two men raced to the front of the building at breakneck pace. Lione was greeting by a gruesome sight. The body sprawled on the front lawn was of an older man. The cause of death was apparent, as several nasty slash wounds covered him. His left eye had been removed, leaving a gaping socket gazing at Lione. The strangest thing was the message written in what appeared to be blood next to the corpse.
“We’re hunting them down, just try and stop us, you fucking exorcists!”
Chapter 22: Schwindelmagier - "What is their intention?"
"Mou, this old crock really pissed me off. Moreover he had no information about the Innocence with him. What a waste of time", Magier complained kicking a stone in front of her out of the way.
"But was it really necessary to deface him like this?", asked Jaques.
"Hey, he said we should go back to hell and that God would punish us. When he spoke of God, you were the first one who hit him, Jaques."
"My hand slipped, furthermore it is not good to speak about God like this. As if he would dare to hurt his beloved ones. Plus, the words of Exorcists don't conform the truth. Especially when an old man like him is speaking", Jaques adjusted. "Where is Amaterasu by the way?"
"He said he wanted to climb on the top of the hill over there to have a better view of this shitty country. Bookmen-haunting is just as half as funny as hunting Exorcists", Magier complained anew.
"Who's next on our list", Jaques took out the list he had got from the Earl and stared at it. "A guy called Legno, or better known as Koenosaki."
A shadow that was thrown on the floor in front of Jaques and Magier came closer and closer. Suddenly Amaterasu landed where the shadow just had been. Amaterasu pointed into the direction where they planned to head towards to. The two other Noah stared at him surprised, waiting for a response.
In the meanhwile at the mansion where the Exorcists stayed: The corpse was brought in to clearly analize it, then they would send back the Bookman to the HQ in northern Europe.
Lione was sitting in his office, the head braced on his hands. `The message is quite clear' he thought. 'Hunting the bookman. But what is their intention.' With a loud noise the books and paper sheets that were lying on his table rumbled against the wall. Lione tried to think about a solution but he didn't find any. They just arrived here in America, yet some Exorcists were attacked, the guardians at the church were killed and now an old bookman had found the end of his life. What was their purpose to come to here? Right, the incident at the church some weeks ago, where one Exorcist had been killed by a Noah. They wanted to investigate it, so that maybe they found out the Noah's doing here in America. They were after Innocence, that was sure cause this is the only intention of the Earl - destroying the Innocence. Was this really their only intention? Furthermore, even the Exorcists here at the mansion didn't know much about the Innocence in America. Otherwise it would have been easy to save it. Just when Lione threw a new bunch of books against the wall, a Finder entered the room, reporting him that Flame hasn't returned yet.
"I know", he answered annoyed. "He will certainly return soon."
"But, where did Mr. Flame left to?", the Finder asked and earned an angry look of the Exorcist sitting behing the table.
"It's non of your business."
With this, the Finder left. But not before Lione ordered him to ask Tabitha, Rinvak and Zeran to come. When the three Exorcists entered the office, Rinvak still annoyed by Tabby, a serious looking Lione was standing in front of them, keeping an eye on every single one.
"I know you haven't been here for such a long time...", Began Lione.
"We came back some hours ago if you wanted to say that", Rinvak added.
"Ehm, yeah", he coughed slightly. "I want you to go to the church tonight."
When Tabby let hear a soft complaining, Lione stressed the word "tonight".
"We have no time to waste. Every single trace, no matter how tiny or unimportant it is, I want you to report it to me."
"Certainly, I wanna do this mother. I certainly am interested in becoming a bookman. But I am doubting on going away."
"Why? My son"
"Because father left us, and I..."
Legno was interrupted immediately by his mother
"Son, I don't wanna be the reason of such an unwise decision. You have innocence, you are borned to be good. Become a strong wise man. I can take care for your little brother and myself"
"But, this world is dangerous. Akuma, Noah, the Earl. If I am gone I will never be able to protect you and bro."
"Son, you say it yourself. Your heart is telling you to go. If you wanna protect me and bro, you have to train."
"Well then it's decided"
Legno smiled. He felt himself good after such a great chat with his mom. Mom was everything to legno. When he was feeling unsure, or down, chatting with his mom made him feel better. The wisedom he got, was certainly from his mom.
- At his room -
"Brother, is true you're going away". "Affirmative" answered legno. "But who's going to playe hide and seek with me, who can I bully throwing food to?" asked his brother back then. "You'll have something important to do. You're old enough to protect mom" answered legno. "That sounds like a stupid game to me". Legno smiled, knowing his answers weren't the answers his little brother expected. He couldn't come up with something better. Maybe fear of the feeling of not going had to do with it...
- Months later -
"So you miss your mother, little man" smiled the earl, "I can bring her back if you want to. All you have to do is cry out her name, and she'll come back by your desperate voice" The little boy smiled, and said: "you are my friend". Crying out: "mooooooooooootttttttthhhhhheeeeerrrrrrrrrr"
- Years later -
"Nothing so sweet as home, nothing so nice to see my family back" Walking with his wooden stick legno arrived at his mansion. "Mother, I am back" said legno. Slowly he entered the mansion. Legno didn't know why he was walking so carefully. Was it fear? Was it out of curiosity? Entering the hall he saw a sheadow in front of him. "Brother, is that you? Man you've grown. No more hide and seek for you. I see. But where's mother?": asked legno
Brother smiled back, saying: "welcome she is behind you". Legno turned around, not seeing his mother. He felt something cold against his neck. Legno turned down his head, thinking about what he would see. In fact, he thought of not turning around, because he knew exactly what was standing after him.
"Before you kill me, can you say me how she died" asked legno. The akuma answered:"after I killed you I wanna say". Legno didn't do anything. He stood there. He was thinking, that it was all his fault. He shouldn't have gone away. If he didn't go, none of this would have happened. "It's all my fault this happened. Kill me?": asked legno. The akuma answered dry: "with pleasure". Legno then himself was thinking about lots of things.
"Son, I don't wanna be the reason of such an unwise decision. You have innocence, you are borned to be good. Become a strong wise man. I can take care for your little brother and myself"
"But, this world is dangerous. Akuma, Noah, the Earl. If I am gone I will never be able to protect you and bro."
"Son, you say it yourself. Your heart is telling you to go. If you wanna protect me and bro, you have to train."
"Sensei how can you fight an akuma. Knowing humans and souls are involved to it. How could you have killed your own father as an akuma"
"Fighting out of love for those who became victim of becoming an akuma. The love for people you care, doesn't that make you strong enough legno to beat those instruments capturing those you love"
Legno raised his head. "Thank you sensei, thank you mother. You have made of me the strong man I wished for. Your words are something I'll always keep in my heart. Farewell and arigato". "So that was your last wish" said the akuma
"Innocence activated". Legno turned around, jumped towards the akuma laying down his hand on the head of the akuma. "Sorry, brother, sorry mother. Wooden trial" Out of the sleeve, a wooden stick appeared in the hand of legno. He putted the end of the stick on the head of the akuma. Legno stood on the ground turning his back to the akuma. "Hahaha, is this it?". Legno answered: "Trees consists out of wood, and to exist they need water. My stick needs it water too. Sayonara". The akuma dissapeared. Legno walked on the mansion, with his stick bowing to the ground he walked a way. It was the least he could do to undergo his sin. Bowing is a recognition of a sin.
Krrrep, Krrrep. Awakening from sleeping against a tree. It is a dream he always has when legno is sleeping. The sound that awakaned him came nearby. Krrrep, Krrrep. And there it stood in front of him....
“This is … mother?”
A large, hovering oval-shaped structure overhead slowly steered its cannons forward.
Ying awoke with slightly faltering smile.
Inhumane trainings to obey instructions and smile emotionlessly were engraved sharply into her for as long as she remembered before her miraculous adoption by a merciful widow; whom she failed to assassinate and was abandoned during that particular mission.
But that was all the past.
Her dark, void-like eyes stare into her right arm entwined in the translucent weave-work of a single thin cord, with the ends at a ring on her middle finger and an exquisite crest adorn with two separate halves of an orb; the ring pendulum which she found akin with.
A half of the crest is currently glowing steadily, signaling the activation of [white trial: convoke]; which selectively accumulates the metabolism of cell renewal and growth of her body.
That recurrent nightmare … must have been the result of activating that form
Ying wondered for a second and rose at the clutter of steps approaching the door of the ward.
Stacking the piles of books and documents on the table and lifting them away to an old wooden shelf, an energetic greeting accompanied the sound of the creaking door.
First-aid staff: “Hey there~! Time for the shift change— Ah, you’re at it again aren’t you? Why won’t you just move your stuff over to the ward?”
Ying: “I’ll tidy up the place in just a minute…”
Ying approached the desk which was still creaking under the weight of the load of books and papers as the first-aid staff placed a clipboard with some particulars and records.
First-aid staff: “Yea, take all the time in the world. Anyway, here’s a request for assistance at 3B-002. Since we’ll have to treat an exorcist, we might have to knock her out—”
Ying paused in her tracks. Exorcists being injured were never good news, with majority in extreme cases…
Ying: “How is the exorcist’s injury?”
First-aid staff: “I heard she’s got quite a whipping— hey! Wait! Ya’ know, all work and no play’ll make Jack a DULL BOY!!”
The first-aid staff hollered after Ying who dashed away in a flutter of white.
First-aid staff: “…so what am I supposed to do with these waffles anyway…?”
The transferred exorcists who arrived to the organization’s North America branch just days ago after an intense battle, according to the news.
An exorcist critically injured which was just reported? Was it the usual stubbornness of the exorcists towards their scars of battles? Whichever way, there were no alarming reports of deaths other than the massacre of an elderly bookman recently…
With the night shift not accounted for yet and knowing the way hyperactive exorcists treat their wounds, I’ll definitely have to use that.
Ying ponders as she skipped over 2 stairs with every step, the first-aid kit dangling at hand.
Along the door of room 3B-002, three exorcists were present.
With the worried look on at least one of their faces…the patient must be in a bad shape…
Ying: “I’m Ying, a night-shift first-aid staff.”
Stares were shot towards her.
Tabby: “hey, isn’t that kid suspicious? Didn’t you tell them it’s an EMERGENCY?”
Rinvak: “I DID! Just what kind of standard does this branch have? …That Cheshire-cat-like smile, are we that funny?”
Zeran: “these place either work weird, or its not suppose to happen and it’s a joke.”
Tabby: “time for ‘formation B’!”
Rinvak & Zeran: “what ‘formation B’?”
Tabby: “alright, on three! One…, two…, th—”
Ying: “I’m 13 years old and not a kid. We did receive an urgent request for assistance and I assure you that the standard of this branch is excellent. I’m smiling because I can’t manage other facial expressions and you’re not really that funny. This section functions with the same rules as others and more and it’s not a joke.”
Ying replied without a falter in her smile.
With the cold air, dark walls, white coat, pale skin and unchanging tone of her voice, there was a slight eeriness.
The exorcist trio left through the dark corridor, their figures blending with the darkening walls at the arrival of night; just like that time…
As the trio leave, discussion and argument of some setup of doping involving the named exorcist, Zeran, echoed throughout.
At least that will save me the effort of anesthetizing an exorcist reluctant for medical treatment.
Ying thought as she entered her patient’s room.
An unfurnished room came into view; the exorcist, Stephanie, had just moved into this room anyway.
Stephanie laid on a bed in the corner of the room, flushed with fever and breathing softly in her sleep. A jug of clear water and an empty cup stood on a side table as a puddle of water continuously spread upon the floor nearby.
That was probably their tactic.
The exorcists; apostles of god, there lies an unimaginable weight of their duty and with every step they take, their futures are plagued with new perils and raising circumstances… does there exist any place for them to rest without worries…?
Ying mused as she raised her right hand slightly, the crest from the ring pendulum unlocked from the ring with a slight click. The crest dropped down and swayed gently as the glowing of a half of the orb dimmed and disappears to be replaced by a dark glow of the latter half.
[Black tribulation: detriment]— Ying mouthed silently.
Stephanie awoke with a start under the warm orange rays of the setting sun and a fragrant aroma of waffles from a towering pile of take-aways on a distant desk.
This is… a ward? But when—
Stephanie thought as she looked around and rose to leave, suddenly astonished by the lack of the habitual pain of her injuries, looking down at her leg, there showed no sign of blood or bandage; there was no wound.
First-aid staff: “ah, you’re awake miss exorcist. We’ll have to keep you under observation for another day or two, so please lie down”
In a small room with a simple setup of a desk, a cupboard, a chair, and a bed, Ying turned sideways under her covers as the crest on the ring pendulum glows white steadily— [white trial: ameliorate].
She has her next mission as a finder when she wakes up after all.
Chapter 25: Snoogen - "The Path to Destruction Lies Ahead."
"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.
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?"
"How long are you going to look at him? Wake him up already!", said Magier.
Who wuld have thought they'd meet another bookman, who is peacefully sleeping under a willow tree, without even searching for him?
"Patience, sister, just led him rest just a while longer he'll need all his strength when I talk to him."
Magier approaches the bookman slowly just to kick him against the tree. A cracking noise is heard.
"My, my Magier-chan I hope you didn't break his neck he must be able to speak."
The Bookmen coughs blood, "What? Who are you?!" He tries to crawl away but Magier pearces his leg with her sword. The Bookmen screams in pain. "See? He's able to speak Juaques. I wasn't a baaad girl."
"Mon dieu. Well, now excuse moi monsieur. My name is Jaques and I have some questions. What do you know about. Let's say strange legends? Historical mysteries? Innocence?"
The shoked bookman tries to understand the situation. Suddenly Magier sword draws near his throat.
"Better answer ossan this guy is far worse than me when you make him angry."
"Uhm uhm I'm just an old man. I don't know anything" he said frightened.
"Wrong answer now I can't protect you anymore." said Magier smiling. "Well, you are a stubborn one aren't you? Let me tell you something interesting."
Jaques knees down next to the bookman and touches his forehead. "Did you know that 70% of the human body are made of water?" Jaques skin turns grey, "and did you know that we Noahs have special powers? For example I can control all elements. After I touched you I could make you talk by controlling the electrical communication of your brain cells, But in the end you would be nothing but some kind of living pasty. But all the water in you body. Well, let's say what happens if I heat it up a bit?" The bookman starts to sweat his skin turns red. "Stop! I'll tell you something! The legend of the Thundergodbird! It's appears all one hundert years in a valley at the east! In Three weeks it'll appear again! It might be innocence! Don't kill me!"
The bookman returns to normal.
"Whos said I'll kill you? I just had some questions." Juaqes take a few steps back then turns around with an Evil grin. Magier quickly draws back from the Bookman.
"But, when I think about it. You betrayed your comrades. Thats a terrible sin. But since you helped us I'm shure" The bookman turns red again his skin peels and suddenly he bursts up in flames.
"You'll be send into purgatory and be able to look at the gates of heaven. I'll wave frome there the day I die"
Chapter 27: AthrunZala - "The people bound by Kindness, Regret and Hatred"
"Sheesh," Zeran muttered. "That bastard Lione, I definetly can't forgive him for making me run like that. I should kill him"
An image of Shia flashes into Zeran's head. "You can't do that you know," The image of Shia scolded him.
"yeah, Yeah, I know," Zeran sighed.
"Talking to yourself so early in the morning?" a girl walked up behind him.
"It's you!" Zeran exclaimed. "The Healer called.... Ying right?"
"I see you remembered me," Ying's facial expression never wavered.
"What are you doing sneaking behind people's backs?" Zeran interrogated her.
"I went to fetch some medical supplies for the patient," she replied in a monotone.
"Knock yourself out," Zeran stepped aside to let her through but all she did was stare at him. "Aren't you going?"
"Yes," with one last stare the healer kept walking towards the infirmary.
Zeran walked into his room and opened his sacred cabinet. He took out a small container and put it into his pocket and made his way into the infirmary.
*4 years ago*
"Ouch," Zeran wined as he tripped against a sharp rock and scrapped his leg.
"Zeran-kun, you're tripping again?" Shia looked at him with those kind round eyes. "Are you okay?"
"SHUT UP! I didn't ask for your evaluation about my physical conditions!" Zeran yelled sharply and then winced as the pain got to him. The wound was slowly bleeding.
Shia took out a smalll container and opened it. She took some foul smelling cream and dabbed it against Zeran's wound.
"HEY WHAT ARE YOU DOING?????" Zeran yelled.
Shia smiled brightly. "This cream was made my by grandmother, she's dead now but it still works. It heals any flesh wound withing 3 minutes!"
"Hey..." Zeran felt his leg. "You're right, the bleeding has stopped."
"I told you so" Shia smiled brightly. "I can teach you how to make it too! So you can have some handy the next time you trip."
"Oh... thanks..." Zeran said slowly.
Maybe this girl... Am I mistaken? This is the first time I felt like I wanted to be wit someone. Can I stand losing her? It doesn't matter now. ALL I want is ot stay by her side forever.
*knock knock* Zeran knocked on the door.
"Come in," Stephanie's voice shouted.
Zeran went in, and was greeted by a pillow to the face.
"So it's you huh? What did you come to do now??? After dying my hair green and drugging me WHAT THE HELL DID A BASTARD LIKE YOU COME HERE FOR???" Stephanie yelled.
"Miss exorcist please calm down!!!!!" a nearby helaer grabbed her from mauling Zeran. Ying simply watched half with curiosity half with amusement.
"I WANT TO KILL THIS BASTARD!!!!!" Stephanie yelled.
"Here," Zeran handed her a container. "This is for whatever wounds you have left. It heals it in less than 3 minutes. Even though it is a bit foul smelling, I can gurantee it works."
"Oh," Stephanie stopped in amazement. "Thank... you?"
"I had nothing to do with whatever you said earlier by the way," Zeran said before leaving. "Just thought you should know."
Zeran had an urge to kill Tabitha too, but he restrained it for the moment.
Today is the day I have to be nice no matter what
He walked passed the research lab and his eyes widened in shock when he saw who was inside. It can't be... Shia????
HE knocked on the door, just to make sure. "Who are you?" he asked to the girl who looked almost like a grown up Shia.
"My name is Shima! Nice to meet you!" Shima smiled the same way Shia did.
"Do you know about a girl named Shia?" Zeran struggled to ask.
"Ah, you mena my little sister?" Shima said in amazement. "She's in Japan at the moment. How do you know of her?"
"You... haven't heard any news about her at all?" Zeran whispered.
"Well. I left the poor girl with our grandmother. I wanted to study science, and I wound up here. What do you know about Shia?" she asked questiongly.
Zeran looked away and started to leave. "I see."
"Hey wait come back! Tell me about my sister!" Shima gabbed Zeran's shoulder.
"Jigoku... Makai no En..." Zeran whispered. A wall of flame seperared Shima and Zeran.
"Your sister... was the best friend I ever had... She was always kind... Hoping that her kindness would bring her older sister back to her...." Zeran said slowly. "If you want to know more ask Lione... or maybe the bookman knows something about me as well..."
Zeran left quickly and the flames eventually died away.
"LIONE!!!!" Shima stormed across to the leader's room. "What relationship does that exorcist with a bad attitude have with my sister????"
"Your sister?" Lione looked up from his conversation with Legno. "Who is that?"
"My sister SHIA!" Shima yelled.
Lione's eyes widened. "With Zeran...? Ah I see... So you're..."
"What... happened?" Shima asked slowly.
Lione quickly explained the situation. "I didn't even know about this until 2 years ago on this exact date. Zeran was acting oddly nice. And he left HQ to do something. This was in Europe by the way. I followed him and he was talking to a picture of someone. When I asked him what he was doing. He said he was saying a few greetings ot his friend. 'It's her birthday' he said to me. 'And the day she died.'"
Shima stood in shock. "Zeran... I can't forgive a guy like him... My sister... is dead... I'LL NEVER FORGIVE HIM!!!!!" Shima ran off to find Zeran. Lione scracthed his head. "Ah I'm sorry Legno, can we continue later?"
Legno shrugged, "I think it'd be best to discuss when this exorcist named Flames returns. We need the whole team to hear it anways."
Rinvak took a stroll outside and sighed. Damn that Lione... making us run... She looked up and noticed Zeran sitting nearby a tree. What's that guy up to now?
".... I know! It's so weird!!!! I don't get those guys at all!" Zeran said in exasperation. "But you know what? I think they make good companions."
Who's he talking to? Rinvak thought quietly.
"I know I said this every year since that day 3 years ago," Zeran smiled sadly to something at the foot of the tree. "But I'm sorry. It's my fault you died. I know it. I've always known it. There's no redemption for something like this. Forgive me Shia..." Zeran smiled and a tear fell from his eyes.
Rinvak watched in horror. WHO IS THIS GUY??? IS IT A NOAH IN DISGUISE??? *recieves mental image of daily Zeran and compares it with the current Zeran* NO MATTER HOW YOU LOOK AT IT... THEY'RE DIFFERENT PEOPLE!!!!
"I'm crying less and less each year," Zeran sighed. "Soon I won't eb able to cry at all."
"Now you understand, don't you, Shima?" Lione's voice came from behind Rinvak.
Rinvak turned and saw a strange woman who wore a lab coat with Lione. "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" she yelled out in surprise. "When did you guys get behind me??????"
Zeran got up and looked at Shima. "You can hate me all you want. But, my greatest regret was not being able to grant Shia's most valuable wish. To see her dearest older sister again. You've forgotten her birthday, and didn't even know she died. You've left her alone for more than 5 years... Before you hate me, think about it... Do you have a right to hate me after you urself left your own sister for dead?"
Shima backed away and tears formed in her eyes. "I know... It's my fault too... I hate myself for it... I hate you and I hate myself... When will it stop???" SHima kneeled down and cried.
"Let's go back inside okay Rinvak?" Lione said quietly. "You guys get a break tomorrow. Excpet Tabitha. If I spoil her too much she'll become fat and useless." The two quickly retreated back inside HQ.
"What Shia wants right now, more than anything is for her sister to be happy," Zeran said quietly. "So be happy for her sake."
"How can I?"
"You can start by remembering what she would want for you."
"She would... want me to live on as best as I could."
"I'll protect that wish, and in doing so protect you with everything I have," Zeran said. "Say your condolences and then come back. I'll be going on ahead."
Shima looked at the picture of her dead sister lying at the foot of the tree. It was covered by some flowers which Zeran had brought earlier.
"Thank you Shia, for believing in a wretched sister like me. And... Happy Birthday...." Shima wiped her tears away and went back to the Science Department.
"The next bookman on the list is here right?" Jacques pointed at NA HQ.
"Yes I believe he is." Magier grinned sadistically.
"Hm?" Jacques noticed the picture of Shia next to the tree. "What an ugly human girl."
"I think she's quite pretty," Magier objected.
"Che, you have bad tastes," Jacques crushed the picture in his hands.
"I could've saved that you know," Magier complained.
"Shut it..." Jacques said. "We have a job to do." He quickly did the cross sign from his forehead to chest and across his chest. "Forgive us God for we are about to kill more of your children." Jacques and Magier grinned sadistically. "Here we come..."
SPECIAL EDITION: Shia's corner!!! Hi everyone my name is Shia! ^_- I did a dumb thing and got myself kllled... My sister and Zeran-kun are suffering a lot because of me aren't they??? I know it's all my fault *cries in a cute way (not on purpose)* *wipes tears* anyways in Shia's corner. We learn about my medicine which smells bad and can cure any flesh injury within 3 minutes! Zeran gave some to Stephanie but what Zeran didn't know was that after applying it your skin will turn blue for a few hours. When I used it on Zeran he was wearing long pants and he never noticed. However........
"ZERAN!!!!!!!! I'M GOING TO KILLLLLLLL YOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!" Stephaine's yell echoed throughout the entire HQ.
Zeran: oops.... ;;
Flames walked down the mountain path as the twilight shined behind him casting a shadow across his path. It' been five days since he left the cave and he spent 3 weeks inside even though it felt like he was in there for a day at most.
"I just guess time moved slower in there" Flames stomach grumbled as his thoughts drifted to food, He began thinking about fuits and vegetables but then he remembered the delicious food they had at headquarters, Spaghetti and Meatballs, Pudding, Pie, beef stew, fresh bread mmmmm the fresh bread. When Flames came too he had drool dripping over the side of his mouth.
"Oh my I'm beginning to act like those guys back at headquarters..." Flames dropped his head and then began laughing it was the first time in a long time. "I guess starting to behave like them isn't the worst thing."
He started to remember his first day at the order and he saw the exorcist called Stephanie with green hair at first he was curious as to how she came about having green hair, then he stood tall and scared her away with his girth figuring that she was what they called an akuma after all with her green hair and the look on her face she didn't look human. It wasn't until later that he was told that she was another exorcist but not after scaring her away for a second time using his wolf innocence, they called Lycanthropy. Once he learned English it was easier and he went through rigorous training with the leader who taught him about battle strategy and he was formidable he didn't even activate his Innocence once at least not until he lost control then Lione began to get scared of my Innocence.
"I guess he won't have to worry now...."
Flames put his left hand into the satchel he carried feeling what he was told to bring. He also held up he spear he held in his right hand .
three orbs of light appeared before Flames looking as if they were shining brightly under rippling water
"The protection you seek will be given to you as well as 2 other gifts one from each of us"
Flames stood before the first orb of light
"I am Matchitisew the Executor, I have a gift with which you shall win all of your battles, and If you lose you shall bring shame to the deaths of your comrades"
It was a spear with 3 edges.
"It's the Cheveyo Lansa only once every 100 years does a warrior come who can wield it "
"With this you can..."
Flames picks up his head and sees the mansion, he looks up at the sky and it's filled with stars but no moon.
"It's night already.."
Flames exits the path and only about 30-40 feet from the front door when 3 figures appear. One appeared to be female while the other two are male.
The alarm tripped Flames decided to make his move and ran towards the figures
- + - + - + - + - + -
"Maybe I should have sent someone to follow him, he could've encountered trouble..." Lione spun around his chair and looked out the window with the corner of his eye
"No moon tonight.."
A couple of shadows in the darkness appear followed by some whispering
Lione turned out to the window and he could see three distinct shadows
"Intruders? Could it be...? I hope they don't think I'll make it easy for them to get even an Inch closer!" Lione pressed a button under his desk
"Now lets try the new security system that our research team created." Lione then flipped open a compartment on the armrest of his chair revealing a button he pressed it.
- + - + - + - + - + -
Flames ran trying to activate Lycanthropy but it wasn't working so instead he pulled out his spear and ran towards them at full speed.
"Oh crap it looks like their not as stupid as I thought." growled Magier. A buzzsaw arose from the ground and came towards her fast she stood still and drew her katana when it came within inches of her she swung her katana destroying the blade.
"Oh my did I do that?"
Traps were springing up everywhere and that annoying alarm was beginning to irritate her some arrows started to shoot from the trees and those buzzsaws were popping up everywhere.
"Sorry that was my fault hehehe, These exorcists sure know how to have fun, stepping on that mine tickled" said I.A in between fits of laughter as he caught an arrow that almost punctured his eye.
A savage native to the land knocked I.A back and he almost had his head sawed off by one of the buzzsaws.
"Who are you?" the savage said holding spear
"We're your worst nightmare come true" Magier ran towards him ready to take off his head and it looked like I.A was ready to turn him into dust on the other side. The savage readied his weapon, but he obviously had no idea who he was dealing with
"Makai no En!" a blue wall of fire separated Flames and The Noahs.
- + - + - + - + - + -
Flames was ready to fight when two walls of Flames appeared separating him from his two attackers. A boy appeared he was relatively short compared to Flames and he looked angry
"Head into the mansion we can handle this!" spat the boy
"Yes we'll handle it!" A girl came came flying out followed by a little girl through the front door who Flames recognized as the exorcist Tabitha.
Flames stared in shock but then adhered to the boys words. As he ran into the mansion he spotted Lione.
"Lione! I have the 'protection' you asked for!" Flames threw the satchel to Lione, he caught it and noticed that in Flames right hand he was holding a spear.
"It's a present from the ancients"
Lione looked at Flames confused and then pulled out a crystal the size of a bowling ball from the satchel
Flames grabbed the crystal and started murmering words in a language Lione didn't understand
The protection was activated, a glow slowly emanated from the crystal and shield of light began to form around Flames and it slowly began to expand
- + - + - + - + - + -
The two walls of fire blocked Magier and I.A but the third one was hiding and came out to greet the 3 exorcists. Zeran looked at him with intensity
"Do I know you?" asked Jaques
"Are you saying you forgot?!"
"I would, but I'm sure I've never seen you in my life because that face of your makes me nauseous and I would've sent you to hell for that tear-stained face"
Zeran got furious and ran towards Jaques
"Ougi: Makai no Enj-"
Then a wall of light surrounded the facility and it was slowly expanding
"Zeran STOP!" shouted Rivnak
Zeran stopped his attack but instead within a few feet of Jaques he slashed at Jaques across the cheek. The wall of light kept coming but when it came in contact with with Zeran it swallowed him but when it came close to Jaques it shot him back.
As the light cleared, the three Noah were left in an empty clearing.
“The fuck?” swore Schwindelmagier, holding her katana over her shoulder. “Where’d the toys go~?” Jacques attempted to take a step forward, but was tossed back by some invisible force. Schwindelmagier giggled.
“Interesting.” He mused as he dusted himself off. “What is this?”
“Won’t matter when its dust.” I.A smirked walking up and placing his hands on the whatever-it-was. Nothing happened. So I.A took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and concentrated. As his frown got deeper and deeper , Schwindelmagier’s smirk got wider and wider.
“Can’t do it can ya?” She laughed.
“Like you could do better” I.A spat back as he stomped away to lean against a nearby tree.
“Drama Queen.” Schwindelmagier muttered under her breath. Jacques sighed, those two always got under the other’s skin.
“At any case, it seems we can’t get back in.” Jacques said calmly.
“Should we wait till one of the members comes out?” I.A asked.
“Nah, its too large an area to watch it all.” Schwindelmagier retorted.
“Then shall we go looking for the next one?” I.A suggested.
“That seems best” Jacques replied. And with that, they were off
“THAT WAS NEAT!!” Tabby shouted. “It-went-VOOSH-and-then-it-felt-so AWESOME-when-it-passed-over-me-like-diving-into-a-pit-of-bubbles-LETS DO THAT AGAIN!!!”
“What was that about cheese and crackers? You talk way to fast” Rinvak sighed.
“You sure it wasn’t something about swimming competitions?” Zeran said, as he watched Tabby skip about the clearing. Flames had left a few minutes ago, but they had stayed to make sure the protection was sound, and that the Noah were defiantly shut outside.
“---ke-bubbles-or-fluffy-kitties-or-maybe-bunni--“ Rinvak tuned her out.
“So this was Flames’ mission I guess.” Zeran whistled, clearly impressed as he gazed at the shimmering mostly transparent wall in front of them.
“Sure as heck seems useful. I hope this doesn’t mean that we’re stuck on the inside though.”
“Hope not. Well, it seems all clear to me, guess we should head back”
“Mkay. I’ll fetch the squirt” Rinvak said, running off to fetch Tabby, who was still skipping in circles talking at high speeds.
One binding/gagging of Tabby and a three minute walk later, minute walk later Rinvak entered Lione’s office. Zeran had wandered off somewhere, and Rinvak had dumped Tabby on her bed before heading to report. Flames was there too, watching as Lione examined a three-headed spear.
“--A fine weapon.” Lione was saying as she walked in. The spear looked rather strange to her, but she figured it was some tribal thing, and decided not to ask.
“Ah, Rinvak! Did the protection take to the area?.” Lione said as he glanced up from the spear.
“I think, no one came through while we were there.”
“That’s good news. Now that we have a safe place to shelter bookmen, we can begin to search out and bring as many of them as possible here. Spread the word, I want to form teams made of two exorcists and one finder, and someone take along the finder Ying with them, she is a competent healer and an okay fighter, and she would be a great asset. Got it?”
“Finding and bring back Bookmen, teams of two exorcists, one finder; make sure Ying goes along. Got it.” Rinvak said as she turned to leave.
“Hey Rinvak, before you go, I’ve got something to add.” Lione said suddenly. “You’ve been doing well with your training, so you can pick the teams this time.”
“Eh?” ‘What the heck was he talking about?’ Rinvak thought. ‘Even if I do, he’ll end up making changes as he sees fit.’ Then she saw his smile. ‘Oh. Oooooh. Nice. No brat with me this time. Slick’ “Can do chief!” This was going to be fun.
Chapter 30: Schwindelmagier - "The "fake kindness of human beings""
The strange protection light had kept the Noahs away from destroying the mansion of the exorcists but in the sight of the Noah, it just gave the exorcists more time before they would undergo their fair death. They would surely catch them one day and then, the exorcists shouldn't await mercy. But for the time being, the Noah were on the way to search for the remaining Bookmen on their list, there were just a few of them left.
The whole time, since they had left the place the mansion was or had been standing, Magier stared absently at the horizon. Jaques wondered what was going on since a little clash exchanged with Amaterasu won't make Magier as calm as she was now, she also wasn't the person who was affronted so easily.
"What's going on? Do you want to confess something?", Jaque asked frowning.
"As if I had something to confess, you pseudo-priest!", Magier threw back.
"Ey, are you angry cause the exorcists made it to get away?", Amaterasu added.
Magier kicked away a stone that lay on her way, staring angrily into her comrade's faces. "I hate exorcists. They are just too loyal to each other. They are trying to protect other people. It makes me sick seeing such faked kindness. No one is as kind as he pretends to be!", she shouted. Suddenly the crosses on her forehead began to bleed slightly. "Oh shit!"
Jaques and Amaterasu stared at her kinda worried, after all they were family.
The female Noah touched the bleeding crosses in order to stop it but then a piercing pain went through her head.
"Why did you do this, Caro?", Magier asked and stepped towards her friend, faithless of her cruel doing.
"It was....it was just for self-defense!", she threw back, kinda enraged by Magier's obviously fake posturing as she thought. The with blood-covered girl was now standing directly in front of the girl called Caro and stared into her dark eyes.
"I will ask you once again, WHY DID YOU KILL OUR BEST FRIEND!"
"I haven't killed her!", the blamed girl shouted, ramming the dagger she just had used into the friend's stomach. Magier was spitting blood but she didn't care and kept staring into the once best friend's eyes.
"She was our best friend and just because of a very cruel fault you had caused, she had to die THROUGH YOUR HANDS!". Magier was in total fury, spilling single blood against the beautiful yet gruesome, pale face of Caro.
"She was just in the way!", Caro told with a cold look in her eyes.
Then, Magier's hands began, unbridled as it seemed, to move towards the friend's throat.
Magier fell on her kness on the dirty floor, nearly began to cry...because of angriness.
"I hate humans! I hate humans! I hate humans! I hate humans! I hate humans! I hate humans! I hate humans! I hate humans!", she shouted, holding the hands which were cramping on her head. "I hate every single life on this fake world!"
Amaterasu knew when it was time to not joke around. Such a moment has occured.
Jaques kneeled down, touching Magier's head.
"Then let us wash the lifes you hate so much away from this world. Like God had done it with the Great Flood. And in the end, just the beings that had lived candid, were worth to be anylonger on the world till their time had come. And one of the worthy beings was Noah, don't forget it!"
- HQ, in the garden against a tree -
"Whooottt, I must have fallen asleep for several hours. I wonder about what Lione wanted to talk me. Better to go to him... But first Let us tease some excorsist girlies..." was the idea where legno came up with. Ready for teasing steph, Thabby, and others; Legno walked in an empty HQ.
"It is so quiet in here. Maybe shouting will help. Thaby Steph, Rinvie (I like to call her rinvie) where are youuuu" shouted Legno. Legno - aticipating on a reaction - was dissapointed because of no reaction. "Man so boring, maybe I should give a try in the women´s bathroom.
-somwhere else in HQ-
"Did you hear that? It seems we are not alone yet. I assume we still have a prey": said jacques. "We? I!!! It is my prey" replied magier. Jacques and I.A. did not reply. They just accepted what magier said. Arguing with magier was a pain in their ass.
-somewhere at a door-
"Uhmmmm, man with skirt. Ahhh, this must be it. The women´s bathroom" Legno always asked himself why the skirts. Weren´t the boobs of women not better to make a distinction between those rooms. Slowly Legno entered the room. He prepared himself for several attacks of women by holding his stick. But again, "Nobody? What is this? No girls, no women?" Legno dissapointed in the beginning, soon smiled. "Now I have time to set up a huge practical joke."
-minutes later at the same door-
"This is it. This is it. This is the place where the last sound came of. Time to enter" said magier. Jacques interrupted her: "Let me op the door for you, mylady". Magier answered: "Back of. He is my prey". As soon as magier opened the door, the upcoming attack was fatal. A bucket a water fell on magier´s head. (author´s note: is this that the huge practical joke you came up with. Legno?)
Hidden in a closet, Legno couldn´t keep up his laughing untill he saw it were a noah. "Three noah? Why are they here? Damned it seems my joke will be my dead" Legno became white and feared his death. His presence certainly was announced openly to the noah.
"What´s so funny, you two? You wanna die?" asked magier to Jacques and and I.A. Normally people are saved by the bell, but for one time legno was saved by the two noahs whose laughing was louder then legnos one. "Quiet. Nobody it seems. Better to check the lockers." Magier checked each locker for that clown she wanted to kill. "Clothes, clothes, clothes and... again clothes". There she was standing before the locker where Legno was hidden in. While opening the locker, magier read the name of person using it. "Hmmm Stephanie. Let us open this one. Clothes................... and boots, and towels, and a make up case, a wooden stick,... What a mess." It was some of the most things of the mess she saw in stephianies locker. Angry she smacked the door, closing the locker.
"Nothing. It seems we have mistaken us." said Jacques who was carefully wtaching the whole scene. "Still I thought, I heard shouting. But what does it matter we have a job to finish" said I.A. "Yeah, let us hunt down bookmen and kill them together with the excorists that left here" smiled magier, thinking about the killings they would do. The noah left the bathroom.
-Four hours later-
"Wooottt. Dark? Dark? Where am I?" Legno afraid of black dark with no light found light, sticked his head out of the mess in Stephies locker. "I must have fallen asleep again."
(Author´s note: don´t be kidding. Legno morron. Falling asleep on such a critical moment)
"Thanks Noah for the information. It seems I have to go on a mission"
Chapter 32: Snoogen - "The Connections We Hold Dear"
Zee Zee, why wont you talk to me? whined Tabitha as she tugged on the exorcists sleeves. Zeran rolled his eyes and moved his arms away from the girl. He preferred to work alone since he believed that working with others hindered the missions success. Why was he paired up with them?
Of course, he wasnt the only person happy about the arrangement
:: begin flash back ::
What do you mean I have to work with them? Especially HER! shouted an enraged Zeran. Lione looked at him puzzled but before he could open his mouth, he was interrupted by an even angrier Stephanie. Why do I have to work with HIM? It appeared that the only person delighted by the announcement was Tabitha who was dancing and singing joyfully about her assigned group.
Lione sank his head down and sighed. Like I said, Rinvak selected the teams and I trust her judgment. Besides, I dont think the three of you could hate each other THAT much. I mean, what has Zeran done to you, Stephanie?
Excuse me! What hasnt he done to me? exasperated the female exorcist. He has terrorized me with his immature and improper pranks! Dont you remember the hair dye incident? The drugging incident? My skin turning blue? I believe that my life is endangered particularly my social one.
For your information, I didnt do two of the three mentioned complaints, began Zeran before he noticed Stephanies death glare. That obviously didnt help the situation. Besides, I was framed by THAT brat and her brother for the first two. I walked in at the wrong time for the shampoo incident and her brother gave me that spiked drink to give to you. Honestly, I would have never done such a deed.
ENOUGH! yelled the branch leader. Seriously, sometimes he believed he was dealing with two years olds instead of teenagers. You guys are getting on that train and if any member is missing, you will have to run an extra five miles. So pack your things and shut up.
Pushing all three of the exorcists out of his office, he slammed the door on their faces. Yay for group trips! squealed an oblivious Tabitha as she wrapped her arms around her companions shoulders.
:: end flashback ::
He looked at Stephanie who was sitting by the window and sighed. This exorcist refused to talk to him and if he managed to get a word out of her, it was said in a curt and annoyed manner. He turned and glared at Tabitha who was now on the floor, flashing him that innocent look that seemed to work on everyone except him and maybe Rinvak. She bothered him with her immaturity and her ability to avoid punishment. It was going to be a long train ride to the Ozarks.
Zee Zee began the teenager as she now began tugging his pants. Zeran folded his legs under his knees and snapped, Stop calling me that! My name is Zeran.
The girl stared at him quizzically and smiled. You must be bored! I know that weve been on this train forever so why dont we play a game to pass the time? Have you ever played poker?
Despite the loud conversation between her companions, Stephanie was surprised that she was actually able to think to herself. However, what was even more surprising for her was the fact that Lione decided that she was well enough to be sent on a mission. Well, according to the branch leader, she was in adequate condition, not the perfect condition. She was just adequate. His words reflected in her mind:
Dont push yourself too hard. The last thing this branch needs is another injured exorcist. Because I doubt that youll listen to me, Im sending you not as an exorcist but as a Finder.
Stephanie moaned as she twirled her black ribbons with her fingers. Being demoted from exorcist to Finderhow embarrassing! Looking out of the window, she noted the sun slowly setting over the Arkansas River; the water was dyed with vibrant colors of red, orange and yellow as if the sun was spilling its blood. It would be a while for the exorcists to reach their destination; maybe it would be okay for her to take a little nap
What do you mean you forgot her on the train? yelled Zeran. Tabitha shrank back in fright; he was awfully scary when he was mad. She replied meekly, I thought that you were going to wake her up.
Zeran shook his head and hissed through clenched teeth, I told you to wake her up while I get our luggage. Goddamn it, dont you ever listen? Tabitha yelped and backed away; her partner was looking quite murderous and she was eying his hands which were inching closer to his Innocence.
Maybe we should go back and get her before its too late? You know, before the train reaches Texas? suggested Tabitha as she tried to calm Zeran down. Maybe appearing apologetic to him would ease his tension. If it worked on everyone else at HQ, so why wouldnt it work on him?
Instead this caused him to raise his right hand. Pointing his index finger at her, the male exorcist gradually raised his voice, Excuse me? We? We? No, it will be YOU who will get her! All your life people have been making excuses and have been blamed for your mistakes including me. Its about time you learn to become responsible and face the consequences of your actions. Im so sick of your immaturity and its about time for you to GROW UP.
Tabitha quickly grabbed her bag and ran towards the train station not only to get the missing exorcist but to escape immediate harm. Huffing loudly, she wondered to herself what was Zerans problem.
The train station was crowded with people rushing in and out of the many trains that had arrived. Tabitha pushed her way through the masses and towards the platform. She was hoping that by some miracle the train was still there, but unfortunately it had disappeared. A sense of panic overcame her; Zeran would not be happy to hear this.
Suddenly, someone tapped her on the shoulder, causing her to jump a good foot.
Stephanie! I am so glad to see you! exclaimed the exorcist as she hugged the Asian. She was definitely the worlds happiest girl at that moment and she never thanked God so much in her whole life.
Playing with her black ribbons, Stephanie smiled and replied, I woke up as soon as the train left. I managed to convince the conductor to stop the train and let me off after it left five miles from the station.
Tabitha looked down at her feet and whispered, Are you mad at me for not waking you up? Stephanie gave her an odd look and then laughed. At first I was but the walk back calmed me down. Dont worry about it; I understand that you made a mistake. Why dont we walk back to the rest of the group before they worry about us?
The teenager nodded in agreement and the girls headed towards the exit.
The stroll through the small Arkansas town was quite peaceful and a nice change from the bustling train station. As the light posts slowly lit up, Tabitha felt her earlier anxiety leaving her body and once again she was skipping through the street.
Stephanie smiled; seeing such a playful girl reminded her of her youth before that incident. So what is our mission? I didnt bother reading the report since I thought I would read it on the train.
Without missing a beat, Tabitha replied, Lione was really concerned because a bunch of Finders who were investigating a weird phenomenon here started disappearing. My brother was one of the lucky few who didnt so I believe Zeran went ahead to meet him to get some more information. We arent sure if their disappearance is due to an Innocence or some other reason.
Oh, I see. I bet you look forward to seeing him, Stephanie comprehended. Is there anything else that were supposed to do in the Ozarks? Tabitha nodded and continued, Lione believes that the Earl might be hunting down the Heart because of information he received from the main branch. Hes also afraid that the Noahs are trying to extract information from the Bookmen so were searching for them as well so we can offer them protection.
In the distance, the girls could see Zeran with a tall, skinny man. Tabitha gasped and didnt know what to do. Part of her wanted to run and hug her brother but the other part was afraid that this would encourage his overprotective behavior. Also, this could bring her close to possible danger from a still angry exorcist.
Taby!!!!!!!!!! Before she could react, she felt someone squeezing the life out of her. As she struggled from her brothers grasp, she squeaked, Edward, could you please let me go? I cant breathe! Besides, youre embarrassing me in front of my friends. Zeran rolled his eyes while Stephanie looked on, amused.
Edward quickly let his sister go and apologized, Im so sorry! I shouldnt have done that but you know its just a natural impulse. This time, it was Tabitha who rolled her eyes.
The girl quickly turned to Zeran and proudly announced, I told you that you shouldnt have worried! Stephanie wasnt mad when I met her at the train station so and stuck her tongue out.
Zeran clenched his fists together and tried his hardest from yelling at the girl. What the heck? If he did something, Stephanie would hold a grudge against him forever; but if she did something, it was all peachy. Girls are so fickle!
After calming down, the exorcist cleared his throat and asked, Anyway, what information do you have for us, Finder? The faster they finish their mission, the faster he got from being away from her.
Edward straightened up and brushed his brown hair from his eyes. He was still recovering from causing such an embarrassing scene for his sister and he had forgotten his role. How could he delay their mission? Hopefully, Tabitha wouldnt look down on him.
The Finder opened his bag and took out his notes. I wasnt in the group that disappeared but from my notes I do believe that there is an Innocence involved. It might be the Innocence that caused some of the Finders to vanish but Im not 100% sure.
The exorcists stood in silence as they listened to Edwards news as if they were digesting his words and creating a strategy for the situation. Zeran looked up and pondered, Well, it is pretty late and theres no point in exploring the rocky area in the dark. Why dont we call it a night and investigate tomorrow morning? His companions nodded and grabbed their bags.
As they headed towards the hotel, a frantic scream broke the silence of the night.
GET AWAY FROM HER!
The group quickly turned around and was surprised by what stood before them. Panting heavily, a figure stood two blocks from them with her hands on her knees. DID YOU HEAR ME? GET AWAY FROM THAT AKUMA!
What the began Tabitha before a sharp blow hit her in the stomach. She noticed Zeran and her brother flying in different direction as she hit the ground at full force. The Stephanie who stood before her started laughing hysterically as green ribbons danced around her body.
Damn you, sister! You just had to ruin my fun! I was so close to killing these exorcists; they didnt notice a thing, laughed the Akuma as she eyed her twin running towards her. The Akuma slammed her ribbon on the ground, resulting in a gap that collapsed the surrounding buildings and separated Stephanie from the others.
Tabitha slowly got up and muttered, Innocence, activate! However, before she could attack she felt something sharp slapping her cheek. She recoiled backward as she noticed her opponent eying her coolly. Several feet away from her, ribbons separated Zeran from his katana. Edward tried unsuccessfully to strike the Akuma with his kunai only to be slammed against a stone wall. The real Stephanie had now reached the gap and was desperately trying to reach her companions.
Little girl, I have to thank you, the Akuma beamed. If it wasnt for your forgetting to get my sister from the train, I wouldnt have been so successful. Because of your aid, I think I shall kill you first as a reward.
Tabitha didnt even see the green ribbons coming at her; they were moving too fast that all she could do was cover her face with her arms, close her eyes, and pray. Hopefully, the pain would be bearable.
TABITHA! The girl opened her eyes only to come face to face with her brothers eyes. He smiled and mouthed, Ta bi tha before collapsing into her arms. His body pinned her against the brick building and her body couldnt or wouldnt push him away. Her limbs went numb and her hands were shaking uncontrollably. She felt a warm liquid on her hands as she tried to hug her brother. Does blood really come out this fast? Why wont it stop? Oh God, please stop! She begged. His beautiful blue eyes were now fading and his body grew heavier by the minutes.
From above, the Akuma was laughing as she watched the pitiful sight. Zeran had now reunited with his Innocence by this time and now had drawn it out. Even though he couldnt stand that brat, he knew that this wasnt the time to let a grudge control his judgment.
Foolish Finder! Did you really believe that you could defeat a level 4 Akuma with that dinky weapon? mocked the Akuma. Zeran had now run in front of the girl and glanced at Tabitha from the corner of his eye. Her mouth was quivering as if she wanted to scream but couldnt. God, how could they let this happen?
Listen well, exorcists, before I kill you. I want you to feel the humiliation of your stupidity and gullibility. There is no Innocence in this part of the world. I had created the phenomenon to lure you guys to your destruction. What a shame that no one in your group was a Bookman; it would had made my job easier.
Red ribbons flashed through the sky but unfortunately, the length was too short and fell at the Akumas feet. Stephanie summoned them back and cussed to herself. Damnit! Im too far
Silly sister! You shouldnt let your emotions control your actions. No wonder humans are so pathetically weak; emotions make you so irrational and yet predictable, admonished the Akuma as she played with her green ribbons.
Stephanie screamed, You used to be human too! Staring at the gap, she commanded, Metamorphosis! Her ribbons laid flat and created some sort of bridge, allowing the exorcist to reach the other side.
The Akuma smirked and started clapping her hands. Bravo, little sister! Bravo! I would have never thought of that; it appears that youre smarter and stronger than the last time weve met. Too bad it isnt good enough. Cascades of green fell from the sky only to be pushed back by a rush of red.
While the sisters were fighting, Zeran was checking on Tabitha. She was still in a shocked state and she refused to let go of Edward. He knew there was no point in checking the Finders pulse; he didnt want to confirm what he already knew.
Seeing that the Akuma had her back towards him, Zeran knew that this was the perfect opportunity to strike. Jigoku Makai no En! Blue flames flew toward his opponent only to be swatted down.
If youre going to hit me with weak attacks, dont even bother to try, scolded the Akuma as she sent a green shower towards him. Zeran blocked the shots with his katana and grunted. It would have been easier to attack and move if he didnt have to defend that vulnerable girl.
A ribbon grabbed his leg and the exorcist felt himself, losing balance. He was quickly being dragged towards the Akuma who was shaping one of her ribbons into a sharp lance. Shit! I have to act fast
Suddenly the Akuma yelled and grabbed her arm, releasing Zeran in the process. It was severely cut and black liquid was oozing out of it. She turned around and smiled. Attacking with my back towards you? Thats quite a nasty ploy!
Her twin smiled in return and replied, There is no set rule when it comes to fighting. You, of course, should know that. A second barrage was being prepared to strike the Akuma down; this time she should be able to finish it off.
Do you really think that you could kill me? Your own sister? We share the same blood and even the same DNA. Killing me would only result in killing a part of you, questioned the Akuma as she herself was getting ready to defend. Besides, Mother wouldnt be happy if she saw such a thing. She never did like it when we fought.
A sea of red came towards the Akuma but she merely spun out of the way. Dont you ever bring up Mom!?! screamed the exorcist as she aimed her Innocence sporadically.
This only caused the Akuma to laugh again. See! Youre letting your emotions get the better of you again! as she gathered her ribbons together, forming a giant claw. I wonder if I should take it back I mean, it did originally belong to me.
The claw struck the ground, trying to grab Stephanie. She somehow managed to jump out of the way and sprinted behind some rubble. She was now regretting the fact that she missed Liones training.
At the same time, Zeran had finally managed to pry Tabithas arms away from Edward and forced her into a nearby building. Her brother still lied on the street with a pool of blood gradually forming around him. The exorcist removed his katana from their sheaths; they had to end it soon before others got injured.
He quickly ran to Stephanies position, dodging the akumas attack. We need to stop this situation right away before this becomes another Opalo! His partner nodded in agreement as her ribbons slithered around her. Echoes of the akumas screams rang in their ears and the giant claw was creeping closer. The Asian winked at him and whispered, I think it's time we bury the hatchet
As Stephanie moved closer to the exorcists hiding place, a sense of pleasure filled her body. Even though she had killed so many, her blood thirst had never subsided, causing her to yearn for victims. Murdering the Finder in front of his sister was quite fulfilling especially seeing that pathetic look on that girls face. She licked her lips; tonight was quite fun.
The claw was a few feet away from the rubble where the two exorcists were hiding. The blood splatter would surely be spectacular. I wont allow you to escape!
Unexpectedly, red threads surrounded the rubble and slammed the claw, causing it to lose its shape. Stephanie stood before her, poised and determined. Before the Akuma could react, the exorcist screamed, Metamorphosis! shaping some of her Innocence into a giant ball and aimed it at her former twin.
The akuma frantically sent all of her ribbons to block the attack. If she could block this assault, she knew that she could defeat those damn pests. As the ribbons wrapped around the ball, she smiled; victory was hers!
Release! Stephanies voice caught the akuma off guard. The red orb was slowly opening up like a flower that had finally bloomed; her green ribbons were now being held down and she couldnt recall them. As the last few red petals opened up, Zeran leapt from the center of the blossom and slashed the akuma across her chest.
The akuma fell to the ground, causing the earth to shake. Stephanie ran towards Zeran and asked, Did it work? Zeran just nodded but still had his swords drawn. A level 4 wouldnt die that easily.
Slowly, the akuma raised herself from the rubble, resembling a demon with her ribbons moving like they were flames. She flashed a pissed look at them and muttered, That wasnt very nice. She started to charge at them, her ribbons flaring like tentacles.
What are you doing? Are you causing unnecessary trouble, akuma? I have another job for you. The akuma froze in her stance; deep in her heart, she knew that Jacques was the Noah not to disobey.
The exorcists glanced at each other with the corners of their eyes; something was up but they had no idea why the akuma just stopped what she was doing. With their guard up, they kept their Innocence activated in case of the unexpected.
Instead, the akuma just stood there and surveyed the damage she inflicted. She was quite satisfied with the results and was positive that the Noahs would approve of the destruction she had committed. Besides, she needed to recover from the injuries those bastards had managed to give her and to give the precious information the exorcists had unwittingly told her to her masters.
As she escaped into the night, she smirked and waved farewell to the exorcists below. I guess Ill have to collect what is rightfully mine later. After all, I was the original conformer of THAT Innocence.
"Jak-kun why did you stop her?" Magier looked confused at him while he was calmly sitting reading his bible again.
"Let's say it's not time yet these exorcist could be usefull. The bookmen are hiding themselves now we've lost a lot of time searching for this Legno. Let them do the work and some akuma will bring the bookmen to us." Jaques was looking a Ameratsu and Magier with his cold eyes. Even Magier was shivering. "Soo," asked Ameratsu, " what to do next? We could hunt the bookmen or use the information we got so far and look for innocense. And whats with the Akuma?" Jaques stands up walking around thinking. "The Akuma will go after another group of exorcist. She is too destructive when she sees her sister. Let's use another lv.4 for this special group. We'll go to the thunderplains the innocense there will calm the earl down for a while."
"Only if there's really innocence Jak-kun. Are you shure to risk it?" Magier said smirking. "There's nothing we can do we failed with Legno another failure and we'll be in serious trouble Magier-chan." Suddenly Ameratsu says happily: " I got an idea! Why don't we use that new lv.4 the earl sent us?" Jaques looks at Ameratsu, no idea what he is talking about. Then he remembers and starts to grin. "Of course she's perfect, she'll make this twinblade guy totally desperate. This will defenitly be interesting."
Magier stands up and the three Noahs are looking at each other.
Lione looked up from his desk.
"Ah have you all returned?" Lione grinned. Rinvak, Flames, Ying, Legno, and the finders they went with all stood in front of Lione's desk. "How was the search?"
"The only bookman we found has been.... killed," Rinvak said silently. "There were swarms of Level 2 Akumas around him. We were lucky enough to make it out alive."
"Cheh," Lione spat. "The Noahs are having trouble so they send the Akumas to do their dirty work. What about your team Flames?"
"We have found ONE bookman. He says his name is Blade. He's currently resting in a room we prepared." Flames said in a calm manner.
"That's it???" Lione sighed. "So we have Blade and Legno. Only two bookmen?"
"Well I know the old panda is still alive if that's what your thinking," Legno said coolly. "Him and his bookman-in-training Lavi."
"Besides you never know what happened with Stephanie's team right?" rinvak said optimistically. "They could've found loads of bookmen!!!!"
"I hope so," Lione sighed. "For all our sakes...."
After the Akuma departed, Zeran moved swiftly to make a grave for Edward. Stephanie helped as much as she could but deep inside she was worried about Tabitha. After saying a quick eulogy for Edward, Zeran went over to Tabitha's side and did various things to get her up and moving. After 10 minutes of silence however...
Zeran shook Tabitha back and forth. "Move DAMN YOU!!!!!!"
Tabitha just sat there muttering, "Onii-san, onii-san."
Stephanie held back tears. My sister... I can't believe this...
"Want a cookie?" Zeran suggested. Stephanie shot him a glare. Zeran gave her a look that said 'Well what the hell do you want me to say?'
Stephanie gently nudged Tabitha. "We have a long way to go," Stephanie said gently. "You have to be strong. It's what your brother would've wanted as well."
Tabitha got up slowly and awkwardly. She collapsed again after 5 seconds.
"This isn't going to work...." Stephanie sighed dejectedly.
"Damn this," Zeran bent down and allowed Tabitha to ride on his back. "Get on, or we'll never move." Tabitha moved as though she was being controlled by a puppeteer and got onto Zeran's back.
"DAMN she's heavy!" Zeran grunted. "How many of those damn cookies does she eat a day????????"
Stephanie sighed. It can't be helped. There's no other way we can get her to move.
"The next bookman is close by." Stephanie checked her map. "It's only a mile or so into the countryside."
"A mile of sunshines and daisies," Zeran said, his voice dripping with sarcasm and straining under Tabitha's weight.
"Just grin and bear with it," Stephanie said crossly, yet secretly enjoying Zeran's suffering (<-----SO EVIL!!!!!!)
A mile of back pain later, Zeran and Stephanie with the now sleeping Tabitha arrived at where the bookman was staying. Tengoku (Heaven) trembled slightly in its hilt as they approached. What's going on? What is Tengoku resonating with? Zeran thought quietly.
An elderly man came out of the house.
"Are you the bookman?" Stephanie called out.
"YES THAT WOULD BE ME!!!!!!!!" the old man shouted. "PARDON MY SHOUTING BUT I AM A LITTLE DEAF!!!!!!!!"
"That's okay," Stephanie stuck her finger into her ears to make sure they were still operating.
"COME ON INSIDE EXORCISTS!!!!" the old man continued shouting. "LET'S DISCUSS A FEW THINGS!!!!!!"
When Zeran and Stpehanie entered, Zeran gently set Tabitha down on a nearby chair.
"SO WHAT DID YOU COME HERE FOR?" the bookman shouted.
"YOUR LIFE IS IN DANGER!!!!!" Stephanie shouted. "THERE ARE NOAHS COMING AFTER YOU!!!!!!!!"
"WHAT? MY WIFE IS IN DANGER? THERE ARE MOAS COMING TO CHEW?????" the bookman misinterpreted Stpehanie's shouts.
"NO!!!!!" Stephanie sighed and began trying all over again.
Tengoku was vibrating quite loudly now, but among the two people's yells, it was easily drowned out. Tengoku... what is it? Tell me... Zeran closed his eyes.
Nothing in this house seems out of porportion. the old man may be senile but he's sane. He has the same smell as this place which means he isn't an akuma. If he was an akuma his smell would differ from this drunken infestation of a house. Tengoku why are you reacting? Why is Jigoku (Hell) staying quiet????? What's going on???? Tengoku continued to vibrate when Zeran inspected it.
"It's chance I'll have to take," Zeran sighed quietly. He pulled on Stephanie's sleeve gently.
"WHAT?!?!!?!?!?!" Stephanie shouted right in Zeran's face, and he was so surprised he fell backwards.
"Ow....." Zeran said.
"I'M SORRY!" Stephanie helped Zeran up. "I was so used to shouting I accidentally did it to you!!!"
"Your saliva is on me," Zeran complained and dragged Stephanie's collar close.
"Oh... those two must be lovers," the old man chuckled to himself, but unfotunately he was unaware he was quite audible.
"There's something wrong with this old man," Zeran whispered. "Take care of Tabitha. I'll confront him outside. Act like nothing is wrong..."
"WE'RE NOT LOVERS" Stephanie shouted. "GEEZ!!!!!! Tabitha and I are going to sleep!!!!!!" She dragged Tabitha up the stairs of the small cottage.
"May I speak with you outside please?" Zeran said quite audibly.
"EH? OF COURSE YOUNGSTER!" the old man led Zeran outside to an open field.
Once outside, Zeran made sure Stephanie was out of the house by glancing and seeing a trail of ribbons take cover in the plains behind the house.
"sa-te-tou (Now, then) Dare desu ka (Who the hell are you)?" Zeran drew his swords and pointed them at the bookman.
"Eh? I'm a bookman of course!!!" the old man laughed.
"Oh? So I didn't have to shout for you to hear what I said," Zeran grinned having caught the imposter in his trap.
"Cheh," the old man's face began to deform and reform into a new shape. "Ya caught me."
"What the hell are you?" Zeran asked.
"First things first, how did you find me out?" the old man took the shape of Zeran with the same swords.
"My Tengoku trembled more and more whenever I got closer and closer to you," Zeran explained. "Now answer my question. What the hell are you?"
"I'm a Level 4 Akuma," grinned imposter Zeran. "Sent by Jacques to take care of you. He's still upset about that scar you know."
"Your ability is absolute manipulation, correct?" Zeran asked.
"Amazing!" the Akuma clapped. "If it wasn't for that sword you'd have never found me out, and you'd be dead..." Absolute manipulation, a technique that can fool the five senses into beliveing what it wants us to. This Akuma made us believe that he looked like an old man, smelt like an old man, talked like an old man, probably even felt and tasted like an old man. There would be NO way whatsoever to tell the difference between real and impostor. What a dangerous power to have... Zeran thought.
"I can also copy whatever skills you can come up with," imposter Zeran grinned. "Like... Jigoku! OUGI! MAKAI NO ENJYU NO PHONEIX!!!!! (Hell's Cursed Phoenix)"
"YOU BASTARD!!!!!" Zeran came close and tried to slice the Akuma but it nimbly dodged and unleashed one ofZerna's most devastating attacks against him.
"YABEI! (Oh shit!)" Zeran braced himself for the attack. Suddenly ribbons shot out of nowhere, wrapped around his chest, and pulled him away so fast Zeran felt like his chest was being seperated from the rest of his body. The huge flaming phoenix erupted just as Zeran was being pulled away. I thought I was going to die for sure...
"Are you okay Zeran?" Stephanie released him.
"Aside from my chest nearly being torn out of its sockets, I'm fine" Zeran coughed.
"Aren't you Stephanie?" the Akuma walked over and shapeshifted to Stephanie's sister. "Your sister sends her greetings." She unleashed a barrage of ribbons against the two exorcists. Zeran and Stephanie dodged at the same time. But the Akuma jumped and grabbed Zeran by the throat.
"Cheh," Zeran grunted. "I lose..."
Just as the Akuma changed his hands to that of a blade and was about to point it at Zeran's throat, he paused.
"How about I give you a taste of suffering and a small reward at the same time?" the Akuma grinned evilly.
"What? Are you going to kill Stephanie?" Zeran grinned. "Allow me to feel relieved that I don't have to feel her gaze at my neck and I'll have to feel guilty for her death?"
"Better," the Akuma grinned and shape shifted once more. "I'll allow you to see my true form.
When the Akuma finished, she stood up and grinned at Zeran in the moonlight.
"Yasahiburi (it's been a long time) Zeran-kun," a young girl grinned at him
"Uso... (it's a lie) Uso darou? (It's a lie right?)" Zeran looked in shock and disbelief. "I KILLED YOU!!!!!!!! SHIA!"
A slightly older Shia, wearing black make-up and black clothes grinned at Zeran. "Well actually you killed your parents trapped in that Akuma I had put them in. They were only wearing my body, so you didn't kill me at all."
She walked over and looked Zeran in the eyes. "However, I was well liked in that village we grew up in. One of the villagers who looked after me like his own daughter sought the Earl of Millenium to bring me to life. And now here I am..."
"ZERAN!!!! SNAP OUT OF IT!!!!" Stephanie shouted. Now I understand... why Tengoku reacted.... Zeran thought slowly.
*3 years ago*
"These two swords I got from that ossan (old guy)," Zeran looked them over. "I think I'll name the black one Jigoku. Because it'll symbolize the horrible thing I put Shia-chan through. I'll name this white sword Tengoku. Because it's surely where Shia-chan is now. I'll use my sin and Shia's purity in battle. My new swords! Jigoku and Tengoku!"
"Now time to die" Shia grinned and turned her right hand into a sharp blade. "Goodbye, Zeran-kun."
"Yabei!" Stephanie used her ribbons and grabbed the blade that was about to swing down on Zeran's head.
"Get out of my way girl!" Shia swung her blade across trying to loosen the hold the ribbons had on her hand-blade. It swept across Zeran's neck and a small locket fell to the ground, having its string been cut by Shia's blade.
Shia quickly dashed over and knocked Stephanie unconcisous.
"No more interference," Shia grinned an evil grin that did not suit her beautiful features.
"You know... Shia," Zeran stood and picked up the fallen locket. "I met your sister a few weeks ago. She told me... That she wanted to make her sister happy in Heaven."
"Ah, so you met Shima-onee chan." Shia paused.
"I failed," Zeran walked slowly towards Shia. "It's my fault you're like this. I couldn't fulfill you or your sister's desires... So go ahead... Kill me if it will ease your suffering..."
"Zeran-kun..." Shia's features softened for a moment, then reformed it into hatred. She kicked Zeran across the field and growled. "I thought I had suppresed the will of this girl, but the purer they are, the harder they are to control. I will break this girl's will completely when I kill you. Remember that Zeran!!!!!!" Shia flew off into the sky. And Zeran lost consiousness.
The three were rescued by finders who happened to be near the vicinity when they heard the commotion. They were successfully brought into HQ and had their wounds treated.
A few days after that incident....
Zeran quietly left the ward and went back into his room.
"I WANT TO KNOW WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON ZERAN!!!!!!" Lione screamed at Zeran from behind.
"Gather everyone at the briefing room if you want to know that badly, include shima too," Zeran sighed.
After everyone had assembled, Zeran explained everything.
"We went out to look for the bookman when we were attacked by Stpehanie's evil twin who had been turned into a Lvl 4 Akuma. Edward died in the struggle."
A few finders and exorcists gasped at this sudden death. Edward was very well liked in HQ.
"Soon after, Tabitha lost her will and I carried her to where the bookman was said to be located. It turned out to be an Akuma with the absolute manipulation ability."
"Then what became of the bookman?" Lione asked quietly.
"Most likely she killed him..." Zeran said quietly.
"She?" Lione asked quietly. "If it was an absolute manipulation akuma how would you know its true gender?"
"Because she showed me." Zeran took in a breath. "The Akuma is a girl I know named.... Shia."
"WHAT?!?!?!?!?" Shima and Lione jumped in surprise.
"Who is Shia?" Rinvak looked at Zeran confusedly.
"Yes I am sure we would all like to know," Flames said.
"Is she hot?" Legno said offhandedly. A ring of blue flame encircled Legno and started to close in. "I WAS JUST KIDDING!!!! HEY ZERAN CUT IT OUT!!!!! OW THAT STINGS!!!!! HEY I'M GOING TO DIE!!!!!" the flames slowly died off.
"Like I was saying," Zeran said quietly. "Shia is a childhood friend of mine. When the Akumas killed my parents, Shia was always supportive of me. At first I gave her the cold shoulder, but eventually I warmed up to her. She and I became inseperable friends. She was always kind, would always smile, and never be angry with anyone. Almost like an angel in a human body. She had one desire and only one. To see her onee-san again." Shima averted her eyes to the ground. "But on her birthday I wasn't able to get her anything that would make her happy. And Shia felt the same about me. It was agreed that on our birthdays we would each give each other a present. Shia decided to revive my parents via the Earl of Millenium. She and I heard about reviving people from finders nearby but we had no idea what it would lead to. My parents killed Shia and wore her as a suit. I recieved innocence from General Cross and killed my parents. Now she has been revived as a Level 4 Akuma..."
"oh..." Rinvak sniffled.
"That must be very painful," Flames gave a sympathetic look. "Having to kill the one you love... I can understand..."
"Sorry bout my comment earlier," apologized Legno.
"My sister... was always an idiot..." Shima whispered.
"I will be the one to kill her once and for all," Zeran said firmly. "Otherwise... her soul which hasn't been fully taken over will never be able to reach heaven."
"You shouldn't try so hard," Ying said eerily.
After the meeting, Zeran was stopped by Tabitha. "How can you live with yourself?" Tabitha muttered.
"Were you listening?" Zeran asked.
"MY BROTHER DIED BECAUSE OF YOU, STEPHANIE, AND.... me..." Tabitha began to cry slowly.
"You never had to kill him with your own hands did you?" Zeran said quietly. "Until you've done that, you will never understand what I've lived through."
"BUT!" Tabitha began.
"Understand this," Zeran said quietly. "Your brother would not want to see you in this state. If you really wanted to make him proud, then get stronger. Get stronger so that you can protect the people important to you next time."
".........." Tabitha looked at Zeran quietly. "How would you know?"
"I wouldn't," Zeran shrugged. "But just picture him in your mind. Imagine the first thign he would say to you if he say you like this."
"He would..." Tabitha began. "scold me for being a crybaby... He would ask me to cheer up and not cry."
"Good," Zeran patted Tabitha on her head. "Now you know what the most important thing you have to do now is... I'll kill Shia and save her soul. You will get stronger and help Stephanie avenge your brother."
Tabitha nodded slowly.
"It took me two weeks to get over Shia's 1st death... If you can do it in a faster time, then you're stronger than I am," Zeran grinned. "Oh, here's a cookie I snuck from the ward." Zeran handed her a cookie then left.
"Onii-san," Tabitha said and looked at the cookie. "I'll definetly make you proud! Thank you Zeran nii-san...."
"Ying!" Zeran called after her.
"What is it Zeran?" Ying looked at Zeran with the same bright smile as always.
"Have you ever experimented with Akuma blood?" Zeran asked.
"No, becuase akumas tend to blow up and the exorcists are always too lazy to collect the spilt blood if there is any." Ying spoke monotonely.
"I have some Akuma blood samples in my room," Zeran said quickly. "I need you to do me a favor and concoct a strength enhancer."
"With Akuma blood?" Ying looked surprised (or a ssurprised as she can look with that face of hers) "It'll kill you for sure!"
"I know," Zeran said. "But I can't beat Shia if I don't get strength enhancers. I need you to dilute it with some Innocence and try your best to turn it into a strrength enhancer."
Ying thought about it for a few seconds. "I can try, but at most the tiny amounts of innocence will only slow down the process in which it corrodes your body. If I add too much then the Akuma blood will completly dissolve. Where did you get this crazy idea from?"
"From a new exorcist which Europe HQ told me about called Aliester Crowley," Zeran shrugged. "If you can do it, I'll be indebted to you."
"Wait," Ying said. "Why are you trying so hard? I thought you didn't like to show emotions..."
"No," Zeran said. "If I fake something I'm not feeling it's not doing me any good. I can only count on the way I feel to pull me through... Otherwise, I'm no more of a human than an akuma is... I can't bottle something this important up. What about you? Don't you have something important you feel strongly about."
"Not at this moment," Ying smiled.
"Habit or not, you shouldn't smile when you don't have to," Zeran said quietly.
"I heard you lost control again," "Stephanie" smirked at Shia.
"Shut up..." Shia growled. "The more I level up, the more innocents I kill, the weaker this girl becomes..."
"Oh well, Master Jacques won't be happy with you." "Stephanie" grinned again.
"I injured them more than you did," Shia countered.
"That's enough girls," Jacques closed his bible. "Shia did a fine job killing that bookman, and you did a good job with that finder. We should be celebrating, not fighting each other."
"Shia can't celebrate without her boyfriend," "Stephanie" teased.
Shia morphed into Stephanie. "And you can't beat your own sister." Shia taunted.
They began fightign again and Jacques sighed. "Even though they're akuma they still act like girls..."
Jacques stuck his hand into his pocket. "Oh I forgot to throw this out." He threw a small crumpled thing on the floor and IA picked it up. "Oh! Isn't this the picture you found at the foot of the tree near the NA HQ?" IA exclaimed.
"You mean that cute girl I saw?" Magier giggled.
"She looks a lot like..." IA began. "Shia..."
"Hmm?" Shia stopped and went to look at the picture IA held. "It is me... Or was... When I was a young human girl."
"I see," IA ripped the picture up. "You won't need it to give you badf memories anymore."
"Yes you're right Master I. Amateratsu," Shia bowed. Zeran-kun... I'll have to kill you the next time we meet... I'm... sorry...
A knock sounded at lione’s door.
Lione: come in.
Ying: I assume the task is needed at hand now.
Ying spoke monotonously while entering through the door.
Lione: you must have guessed. But whichever way, you are to accompany flame for his next mission.
Lione replied without looking up from his deskwork.
Ying: understood. However, I have a proposition to make.
Lione looked up at ying’s words, eyeing her with suspicion.
Ying: I would like to request a favor upon completing the said mission.
Lione: and by what grounds do you think that your request and reason is sound?
Ying: the favor will involve no danger to the lives of exorcists, bookman, or any human.
Lione: did you join the organization solely for this authority?
Ying: can I be granted that request?
Staring with distrust, lione folded his arms and leaned backward onto his chair.
A dense air of silence filled the room as ying stood before lione’s desk, unblinking.
Lione: what if I were to reject your proposition?
Ying: you would not. There is too much at risk with the situation now and my assistance is still required.
Lione closed his eyes for a moment.
Lione: you drive a hard bargin. Fine, I would grant your unspecified request upon your return from the mission.
Ying: thank you.
Ying bowed and left soundlessly.
An unspecified request that would not disrupt our lives… what is she planning during this war against the millennium earl?
There are humans who live for the sake of their loved ones, their friends, with wills to protect everything they hold dear, as there are humans who live solely for themselves, regardless if the world would to end the next day, they would heartily sacrifice everyone, just to continue living, alone in an empty world.
Which chesspiece does this child represent in this war?
Lione wondered deeply.
The usual sane manipulation of human psychology does not fully work on the cautious lione.
Ying thought through the squabbling as the teams for the mission of searching for the bookman was moderated by rinvak.
There was no need for persuasion as she was placed automatically into flame’s team.
Ying: I hope you would treat me well.
Ying bowed towards flame in his shadow.
Flame: same here. We are set to go to northern china; harbin, there is a large area of search we must do.
Ying: I would use all of my capabilities to speed up the search.
Ying added with her unchanging smile.
Yes, time is of the essence. There is much to do for the truth I have been seeking for my entire life…
Spoiler: (click to show/hide)
It was supposed to be painful, but it became numb in an instant; was that supposed to be “pain”?
Ying wondered drowsily with two short swords at hand, before her lay the tiled floor and exquisite carpet stained with blood and carcasses.
???: its time to go now.
The words came out naturally, there was no need for thought, and there was no need to breath.
???: as expected of one from that origin. It is a pity for the lack of subjects.
???: this was the only one found. Until the next one is discovered…
???: this one will smile regardless of the circumstances, the target would not be the least suspecting. The other one will…
???: there is a need for improvements! We have to maintain the balance of our country!
The words swirled, echoing around the cold cells, blood dripped down her cheek as she walked forward.
Spoiler: (click to show/hide)
???: then, would you want to see your wife killed!?
???: no! all of this has to stop! Father led this country to its despair! Please do not continue this, uncle!
???: you there! Kill that woman now!!
???: stop involving the children!
Ying felt something flowing behind her. The man who commanded her to kill the lady in hostage had shot a shell through ying’s shoulder; precisely aiming for another man shielding the lady as ying’s thrust with a dagger went through the human shield. There was a sound of body falling behind as the man was shot through the heart at the same time.
The human shield fell as the lady ran forward and ying’s vision slipped, wondering […was that supposed to be pain…?]
Spoiler: (click to show/hide)
This is … mother?
A large, hovering oval-shaped structure overhead slowly steered its cannons forward as ying’s smile dropped, startled.
This was the place where she felt anything humane.
The place where she rarely dropped this dreaded smile.
She just wanted her mother, the kindly lady, to praise her discovery amongst her antique collections; a ring and a crest with separated orbs, with a story untold.
Just like everyday of the 2 years she had lived there.
Now, the monstrous structure; an akuma, hovered towards her after rendering the escaping servants into dust with shells.
Ying fell backwards to the wall, wishing to disappear, if everything were to end with this returning emptiness…
[black tribulation: eclipse]—
The akuma paused in its tracks with the disappearance of its victim.
In the short span of the akuma’s wonderment, the once grand house which was partially reduced to rubble was further exposed to the outdoors with a crash and dust which shattered the amused akuma.
Viewing from amongst the rubble, the back of a dark figure started to blend into the night. There was a figure in white trailing behind.
grappling a shattered metal slate which cut into her blooded palm, ying immediately gave chase to the visible white speck in the pitch black night...
Mother must have wanted to meet father ever so long…even with her terminal disease…
Ying thought with downcast eyes at the ring pendulum.
With the returning constant smile, [white trial: dowser] was activated. The crest swung, accelerated to a spin, and pointed northwest.
Ying: exorcist-san, I have located a lone bookman 2.3 km to the northwest and the presence of…enemies.
Ying spoke as mist was blown out of her mouth while pacing quickly to decrease the lag she was behind flame.
Flame: …the Saint Sophia Cathedral…let us hurry.
Flame spoke, turning towards the snowcapped distance northwest with haste.
[Habit or not, you shouldn't smile when you don't have to]
Ying thought about Zeran’s words.
Ying: It is…the insincerity of a killer’s smile. It will end…
Ying mouth silently as the echo of Zeran’s steps down the corridor disappeared.
The mission was a success; she had fulfilled her end of the bargain in retrieving a bookman to the branch headquarters, what was left is for lione to keep his end of the promise.
A strengthener, rather, a stimulant requested by Zeran. This could be a farewell present then...
Lione: come in, ying.
Ying: I hope you remember the favor I requested?
Lione: definitely, I’ve some queries about your aims, but I doubt you’ll answer any of them.
Lione: state your request then.
Ying: I require the full authorization of the dark religious organization to—
It's definitely been a wierd ride, thought Lione, I have alot of exorcists with tragic pasts and tragic tomorrows. I can't say my own life isn't tragic, but compared to these kids I've had it easy. Maybe I'll just sit back for a bit and take it easy after all this paperwork will still be waiting for me no matter where I go and what I do. Lione yawned as he lay back in his very comfortable chair, maybe I should invest into getting an assisstent I can't...do everything <yawn> by myself....
"This land is gorgeous! Just look at the trees, and the early settlers are moving about like this is normal."
"This is normal for them Lione, for us we are travelers from a land that has oppressed them for quite some time" said a woman dressed in exorcist garb. She wore her hair up in a bun, and had a soft look to her face. She had piercing blue eyes and whenever she looked at you it seemed as if she was gazing into your soul, and her piercing eyes were set on skin as white as alabaster.
"Julia Rose Shefield, commander of the mission to the Colonies to seek out and nullify an akuma insurgence." Lione shot out in respect of his commanding officer.
"Stand down Lione we are equals in everything, from battle to intelligence. I don't even want to be a leader of an operation such as this, I shouldn't even be here If my family sees me it could raise some unnecessary questions." Julia turned her head out towards the ocean with a contemplative stare on her face.
"Don't worry Julia, I've already dispatched some finders to locate your family and keep an eye on them and with the golems we'll know wherever they are."
"Lione you think of everything, I'm sure It would be better for you to lead this mission and not me." Julias gaze was still aimed towards the Atlantic her eyes beginning to glisten
"Julia The Black Order chose you, YOU! If they chose you it meant that they believed in your capabilities as a leader. This mission is pretty dangerous we have no idea how much akuma we might encounter, It could be hundreds and we don't even know how strong they are. 100 akumas are enough to wipe out 2 normal exorcists out but you and I could wipe out that many easy." Lione walked next to Julia and put his hand on her shoulder and looked into her beautiful eyes "I trust in your capabilities you and I can prevail!"
Julia looked at Lione for what felt like an eternity before she regained her senses "Your right Lione, I should have trusted the judgement of the Black Order."
A finder came running to the port he was huffing and puffing by the time he arrived next to the 2 exorcists.
"I came <huff puff> to tell you<huff puff> that<huff puff> we fou-"
"Listen stop and catch your breathe we don't want one of your lungs to collapse on us" said Lione in a calm and direct fashion. The finder with his hands on his knees kept huffing and puffing for a few minutes before he could continue
"We found out that there might be an innocence somewhere out in the forest about 20-30 miles deep. villagers have been reporting spottings of a werewolf on the prowl and apparently it has killed about 20 people who've wandered into the forest, the people were most likely akuma."
Lione stood trying to absorb the information he had just been given, We were sent here to destroy akuma but to be able to find an innocence at the same time...if we didn't take it now we might not get another chance
Julia spoke up " I think getting our hands on an innocence at this point would help us tremendously and we can't risk it being destroyed, but it does sound like it might be a parasitic innocence so it might be able to protect itself-" Lione interuppted
"I think we should go after it right away, we still don't know what we're dealing with so the help of another person who has an innocence can help us even if it's just a little bit, also we must also consider the possibility of it being the heart." Lione was looking toward the ground ashamed for disaggreeing with Julia and for interuppting her mid sentence as well.
This time Julia put her hand on Liones shoulder "I like your idea, how about you investigate this innocence while I investigate the akuma here?"
"What if the akuma attack while I'm gone?" he asked with a worried look on his face
"Do you really think that I'm that weak? Now you'll leave in 30 minutes take 5 finders with you and when you find the innocence contact me using the golem ok?"
"No buts! I am your commanding officer and you will do as I say!"
The trek to the forest was long and even though nobody was complaining Lione was sure they were annoyed with the journey.
"Ok lets stop for a couple of minutes and rest up everyone"
The finders found little places to rest each one of them quiet and lost in their own thoughts. Lione sat next to the finder who reported the innocence, his name was Newman.
"So Newman, you have a family at home?"
Newman shook his head "No sir, I'm an orphan with no real family except the order they took me in, when nobody else would have, Do you sir?"
Lione shook his head "Nope I was an orphan too, except I was compatible with innocence. I grew up in France where I stole to survive then the orphanarium took me in, but nobody wanted a streetkid like myself."
Newman was looking at the ground "It's bad isn't it? You know the situation with the akuma, I've heard that akuma ore overrun in places other than europe and asia."
Lione stretched his arms and then rested them at his side again "Thats true, but thats why...thats why we exorcists exist, to stop the akuma."
Lione then stood up "I'm going to investigate a little further you guys wait here but when I come back be prepared to depart."
Lione went ahead he wasn't as good at tracking as a finder but he was good enough. The forest was in view now all that was left was to enter the forest and find the wolf-man. So akuma have been killed by this wolf-man, does that mean that they are after him ? "Oh crap!" Lione rushed back to the finders when he got back they were ready to leave "Bad News guys! the Akuma are after this innocence and if we don't get there fast enough this innocence might be destroyed by the akuma!"
The finders all had alerted looks on their faces, they looked at each other and then looked at Lione.
"I just need one of you the rest can go back to warn and help the Commander!"
Newman stepped forward, "I'll go with you Sir!" Lione nodded his head and then the rest of the finders left. Lione began to run and after a few seconds Newman ran too.
The forest was quiet, almost too quiet. As Lione and Newman ran through the forest the stillness was becoming increasingly more disturbing.
Lione halted and Newman stopped behind him "Lets walk from now on I don't want to be ambushed." Newman nodded his head
The only sound in the forest was the crunching of leaves under the footsteps of the two intruders of mother natures sanctuary. This was indeed a phenomenon that Lione was aware of. When akuma invaded a town or anything all life migrat away from the akuma. It was sad that the only living thing oblivious to akuma were humans.
<crack> Lione swung his head to the right something just stepped on a branch to the right of him. The tension in the air was beginning to thicken and Newman looked as if he would dive under the pressure. His face was sweating and he looked absolutely terrified. Lione put his hand on Newmans shoulder and his body was shaking feverishly. Lione tightened his grip and Newmans gaze shifted to him "Don't worry I'll take care of the situation." <crack> Lione looked to his left now then he went back to Newman "Whatever it is I can handle it so don't worry, ok?" Newman nodded but he looked extremely frail now it was obvious this was his first time on a battlefield like this where the enemy used a combination of guerilla warfare and psychological warfare, going into the mind of it's enemy and creating a debilitating fear.
It was the cry of a wolf or most likely the wolf-man, thought Lione "That was coming from the SSW direction, Newman we're going to head in that direction so I want you to lead so I can keep an eye on you" Newman nodded and he began to run in the direction of the howl
The trees were blurs to the two as they headed towards the wolf-man, Lione was trailing behind Newman but was watching out for an ambush.
"So far so good" Lione yelled to Newman from behind. Then Newman began sinking. "Newman!"
"Help me! please The ground just started sinking in!"
Lione ran up the tree to a branch he swung on it and then he wraped his legs around it and reached down towards Newman. "Just grab my hand!"
Newman grasped at the air trying to get a hold of Liones Hand but he couldn't reach it. Lione loosened his grip a little on the branch and Newman was able to grab ahold of his hand. Lione pulled him up onto the tree branch where he was able to catch his breath. Lione looked at the ground. It was definitely quicksand the question was, How did quicksand appear in the middle of a forest? "Thanks sir you saved my life." The tree shaked a little and then it began to sink
"Don't thank me yet we're still not out of the woods!" Lione scooped up Newman and hopped from branch to branch with a precision and agility that was almost inhuman. One after another every tree that Lione landed on began to sink. Lione was beginning to think that this wasn't just a coincidence it was surely the work of an akuma. Then Lione saw it, it looked like a man crossed with a wolf it must be the innocence wielder. Lione leaped forward and landed on a patch of dirt that was maybe 8 feet in diameter. The wolf-man had several injuries a couple which looked fatal including a deep slash across his chest but he was laying there and the injuries were slowly healing.
"Oh my god!" Lione turned around to the sound of Newmans voice and he saw it too. The three were stuck on an island of sorts surrounded by quicksand.
The wolf-man got up and he looked all around them, Lione followed suit all he saw was trees though then from behind each tree emerged an akuma most of them were level 2 so that meant there was a leader who was level 3 or stronger. Then emerging out of the quicksand came an akuma. The akuma was horrendus, If it had legs they were submerged under the quicksand and its long wirey arms were attached to a body that was long and lean. Lione stood in astonishment before a Level 3 akuma he had only faced one under a simulation and then he kicked his ass but this monstrocity seemed as if the one in simulation was a weakling
"AHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" The wolf-man howled at his opponents and began jumping from tree to tree taking down akuma. Lione was hypnotized at the sight
"Help Lione! Lione!" Lione was snapped to reality when he spun around and found Newman being dragged into the quicksand by a hidden appendage of the Level 3 akuma. Lione grabbed Newman and severed the akumas tentacle with a powerful chop from his hand. The tentacle flailed before going back under the quicksand, Lione wanted to help the wolf-man but he had to protect Newman he had promised him.
"I have to do it!" shouted Lione, he hated Invoking his Innocence, but if he wanted to protect Newman he would definitely have to do it. 10 o'clock the Level 3 akuma was planning on spearing Lione with three tentacles at once from three different directions. "Invocate Innocence!" All three of the tentacles went through Lione like he was air then he dissappeared. Liones shadow appeared and began to swallow up the Level 3 akuma slowly, meanwhile Liones body was guiding Newman away from the scene to a place that he could hide. About 30 feet away Liones body found an orifice in a hill that could be hidden with Leaves
"You be careful Newman I can't fight the akuma and protect you at the same time so from now on your gonna hide until I come and get you." Newman nodded his head and hid in the cave.
Lione headed back to the battlefield and when he arrived the shadow had nearly swallowed all of the Level 3 akuma he just had to dodge the rest of the akuma or else he'll have to start all over again. Four akuma appeared before Lione. He looked around for an opening but there wasn't any visible. He'd have to wait for them to start attacking. One of them whipped tentacles at him while another jumped into the air for a aeriel attack. Lione found his opening he ran and cartwheeled through the tentacle attack, then he launched himself into the air with his hands. The akuma in the sky anticipating this began to strike but Lione grabbed a branch and pulled himself out of the way.
"God that was extremely dangerous, if it was anyone but me that is" Lione jumped from branch to branch avoiding the akuma. Then 2 akuma appeared before Lione on an adjacent branch while the 5 were still following him, he looked and saw that the Level 3 akuma was almost completely swallowed by his shadow. He smirked as an akuma leaped towards him. Unfortunately The akuma never made it because the wolf man leaped and caught the akuma and began to tear the akuma apart with its claws and fangs. Then another akuma lunged at Lione ,whatever it's ability was it wasn't gonna affect him, The akumas claws became steel as it slashed at his throat, but again it passed through him like air then his shadow appeared in a split second and consumed the akuma.
"Over here!" Shouted Lione from the little island. The akuma came and Lione knew that he had to end this quickly, The wolf-man has already killed about 30 akuma but he had to finish up what was left. The akuma surrounded him on the little island, slowly closing in smaller. <swish> one of the akuma shot a volley of spikes towards Lione, he ducked and it impaled an akuma that was behind him.
Now was the time for Lione to start his onslaught on the akuma, as a master of the Hagakure style and the Koen-ken he hoped this would be easy, he punched the the akuma that shot the spikes and then Liones shadow began swallowing him up. Lione took the akuma that was being swallowed up and threw him into the other akuma. After the spiked akuma was swallowed up, the shadow began taking in the akuma that it fell into. Lione felt a a presence behind him and used a sweeping back kick then launched the akuma in the air where, the shadow began to swallow it. Each akuma that approached Lione met its end as the shadow swallowed them up.
Lione was standing in the Koen-ken stance as the last akuma was consumed in his shadow. God there must have been over 100 akuma, thought Lione. He looked around for more and he didn't sense the presence of anything else except the wolf-man. He ran around looking for the wolf-man and he found him collapsed against a tree, the wolf-man had turned back into his regular form and he was a tall native with long hair and he had an earring on that was a small feather in his left ear. Lione picked him up and threw him over his shoulder and headed back to find Newman. "Newman! Newman! I'm done come back and help me carry this guy!" Lione put down the native and went to go check on Newman because he began to get worried when the finder didn't answer. Lione found the little cave that he hid Newman in, as he went inside there was nothing not even a trace of a fight, he exited the cave and looked around frantically"NEWMAN! NEWMAN!" Lione dropped his head, He must've gotten so scared that he ran back to the village. Lione picked up the native and began to head back to the village.
The trip back wasn't easy, most of the ground was still quicksand and Lione had to travel through the trees. Holding the native and rushing back to the village was suckig up alot of stamina and he was beginning to feel the fatigue of the battle. When the exited the forest Lione noticed that it was dusk already and stopped to get some water from a flask he had been carrying.
The native was beginning to come around, Lione went to his side "Here have some of this it'll make you feel better" The natvive opened it's eyes and he looked at Lione, he moved back as if he was afraid.
"(Words Lione doesn't understand)" The native was afraid now and he looked as if he was afraid of Lione
Lione was worried and ten he sad in a clear and calm voice "Don't worry, I am a friend" then he said "Follow me" Lione stood up and beckoned the native in the direction of the village. The native stood up as well and then pointed with a look o shock "(more words Lione didn't understand)" Liones gaze followed the natives finger. On the horizon were flames coming from the direction of the village, Liones stared in disbelief, There is now way I have to take this guy and go and help. When Lione turned around the Native was running away and back into the forest. Lione didn't have time to go after him he had to go and help Julia.
The town was burning down and nobody was around, Lione ran to the port to see if maybe Julia and the finders were on the ship. When he arrived Lione suddenly realized where everyone was. All of the villagers were at the port except they weren't villagers they were akuma every last one an in the center was about 20 finders and Julia. She had her Innocence Invoked and she was protecting the finders.
An akuma was approaching Lione and this akuma was wielding 6 swords and it spun like a top. Lione did a back flip to avoid the blades but he flipped into a corner the blade cut the front of his shirt revealing a tattoo in the center of his chest, it was a cross. "Innocence Invocate" shouted Lione his tattoo glowed and then when the akuma went to cut off Liones head it was eaten by the shadow. It's time to activate my second ability, Lione looked to Julia who hadn't noticed him and then he said "Shadow Eclipse!" Liones shadow slid back to Lione it covered all of Lione from his head to his toe until Lione was nothing but a shadow.
Lione ran through the mass of akuma, He fought each one and every akuma that touched him was immediately sucked into the shadow. He was moving towards Julia but the amount of akuma was paramount. There must be at least 2000 akuma here, Lione grabbed an akuma and it was sucked into him he jumped on top of an akuma and started to run across them each akuma being sucked up one after another.
"Lione!" shouted Julia her blue eyes had a look of extreme fear.
"Whats the situation commander?!" Lione asked as he landed next to her
"Whats the situation?! It's dire thats the situation ! We have over 2000 akuma and they are all a mix of level 1s, 2, and 3s! and all I can do is defend eventually they'll destroy my barrier and then we're done for !" Her eyes were beginning to tear up
"Julia snap out of it ! if you lose hope now we ARE done for! Your barrier is as strong as your will to protect, If you lose hope death will follow!" Lione shouted
"Your right! I can't lose hope, and now that your here we can start the offensive"
"Ok I'll use my other skill, Shadow Hole in combination with shadow eclipse! After I do that I'll have they're attention and you can use your Spectrum Ring to start your attack!"
Julia nodded her head as Lione ran into the center of the crowd or akuma, his shadow surrounded him again and he fought off the akuma until he was in the center of them all Lione bent his knees ready to jump "SHADOW HOLE!" his shadow melted off of him and created a circular shadow on the ground then he jumped into the air and the shadow turned into a dark hole sucking in all of the akuma.
Julia held up her hand her ring glowing "RED!" The gem on the ring turned red and and then she pointed it into a big crowd of akuma. The akuma were surrounded into a bubble of red light and then it began shrinking and began to crush the akuma together destroying them.
Liones attack was very effective with that one attack so far he destroyed about 200 not including the amount he killed before that attack. He landed on top of the shadow hole and he stuck his fist inside of it "Shadow fist" The shadow enclosed around his hand and he then used it to punch an akuma. The akuma was sucked into the fist "Shadow Kick" The shadow slid to Liones leg and he sweep kicked a group of akuma. He kept transferring the shadow to whichever part of the body he as attacking with fluidity and precision.
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH" A sharp scream echoed throughout the port. Lione turned around and he saw Julia impaled by an akuma, Lione went deaf to everything but Julias screams, He used shadow eclipse and ran to her, all he saw was Julia and all he heard were her screams he was was running but it didn't feel fast enough, he ran faster but he felt like he was runnning slower. When he finally got there he felt like everything went by at a super speed he destroyed the akuma and Julia was saying something, but she was talking too fast he couldn't understand. Then time moved again at it's normal pace and all the sounds and sights rushed to his senses like a flood. He stood up and he was surrounded by akuma.
"I shall avenge you Julia." Liones voice was calm but his heart was full of anger and hate towards the akuma. "Shadow Rave"
Lione opened up his eyes, It was that nightmare again how does it end ?
Chapter 37: Djmewmew - "You've grown a little stronger"
Easier said than done Tabitha thought glumly from where she sat in the training hall. Shed been practicing all day, but how am I supposed to get stronger if I havent any idea how too?! she mused as kicked a wall.
OOOOOW! well that didnt help. She was frustrated, tired, thirsty, and now, her foot hurt too. Tabby idly wondered if this was what Rinvak felt like usually. Meh. She left herself fall onto her back and began to stare idly at the patterns created by sunlight coming through a window
Huh? What was that .musta dozed off or something Tabby thought groggily as she sat up and looked around. Oh, hey Rinvak. What are you doing here? She said flatly.
tripping over you Rinvak said as she sat up from her face plant. Ouch. Damn. Im bleeding. Rinvak said moodily as she wiped blood from a scrape on her forehead, Could you have picked a better place to nap? Tabby said nothing. I mean hasnt your brother ever told yo- At the mention of her brother Tabby tightened up, and looked as if she was going to cry. Aw shit, now youve done it. Rinvak thought as she internally kicked herself for her stupidity, Dont bring it up you dumbass! Be nice damnit! -u Ah ..sorry bout that. Tabby still said nothing. Damn. Now she hates me. It was so much easier when she was a spaz. Unsure of what to say, Rinvak let the awkward silence continue.
Tabby was the first to speak. Im .supposed to get stronger, make nii-san proud, but Im such an idiot, Ive got no idea how to . Tabby said as she pulled her knees to her chest, as if to make herself as small as possible.
ACK. Now shes depressed. Thats worse than hating me. What am I supposed to do? Im no good at this touchy-feely crap!!! Rinvak frantically thought. Well, a I guess I could help you or something .. She managed to mumble out. At this Tabby lifted her head and gave a small, sad smile, a fraction of its former self.
Well, where do we start? Tabby asked.
Some help you are.
Hey, Im new at this! Rinvak growled back. Tabby visibly flinched at her raised voice. Ah. Sorry . More awkward silence. Er .well is there anything you know you need help on?
Well, Ive noticed my Innocence isnt reacting as well as it usually does today.
Eh? Show me. At Rinvaks request, Tabby stood up and activated it. As it flared into life, Rinvak saw nothing wrong. If Tabby was losing control over it, there would be some sort of sign, some sign of weakness, but it looked the same as always. Well maybe its because of your low synch rate.
59 is a good number! Tabby retorted.
Oh yeah? Whats yours?
88. Rinvak smirked
Not so good anymore is it? That comment earned Rinvak a rather nasty glare she hadnt thought Tabby capable of. .er ..yeah. Well, its a good thing that youve noticed it seems odd.
Well, you never noticed that before right?
Yeah, so what?
Well, noticing it means that your actually trying to improve for once.
I guess-HEY! You make me sound like a slacker or something.
And smiling your way out of training isnt slacking? Rinvak got another glare. Tabby was going to have to stop this. The glaring was her thing, smiling was Tabbys. Well, once again youve noticed it, so youre not slacking anymore. Its an important first step.
Now you need to work on improving your synch rate.
And how would I go about doing that?
Dunno. Rinvak shrugged, Its different for everybody. The trick is to let yourself go and let the Innocence tell your mind what to do.
Tabby seemed slightly surprised at her answer, and Rinvak wondered what the hell she had thought you had to do. Well, Im off to the infirmary. My forehead is still bleeding. Rinvak frowned as she stood up and headed for the door.
Ah ..wait! Tabby called from behind her. ..Thanks.
No problem Rinvak said with a slight smile.
It was late in the afternoon and the dusk broached as it ever did. In the same bloody orange colour as ever, in the same silence manner. Birds, just perceptible of their certain black shape in the sinking sunlight, were flying through the sky. Their chirping lost its sound in the distance.
Three black, strange guises were resting on a grassy hill, close to a little village which was lain in a valley.
To describe it particularly, one was sitting on a stone reading a bible and the other ones stood under a tree, staring at the village at the foot of the hill. Silence occured between them, just the turning of the bible's pages was hearable, until a girl's voice broke it.
"I can't wait anylonger. Waiting makes me sick," Magier complained as it seemed several times every day. She wasn't satisfied with letting the things take its course. She needed fun, something that could keep her occupied. And that was just one thing. A brutal fight, the killing and haunting of exorcists. Why did she like it so much? She didn't know. It was kinda branded in her skin through the blood that was floating through her whole body. It was like destiny. Killing everything that isn't worth to live on this world.
She turned around, facing Jaques who silently read his bible. He was like a caregiver for Magier. Amaterasu was also an important person in her life, being worth to play tricks on. and go on his nerves. But Jaques was different. From the first time they met, she had felt respect towards him. He was slightly older but that was not the point. He was - Magier wasn't able to describe it - practised and this made him one of the creepiest Naoh among the family members. The way he fought, the way he gathered people around himself, forming a confraternity. His character was, one the one hand, creepy but one the other hand, it fascinated her. There were just a few Noahs Magier really respected, although they were family. And among Tiki and Rhode, there was just Jaques.
"You should quit complaining all the time, Magier-chan, "Jaques said, looking up from his bible and directly staring into her eyes. There was it again! The creepy look that even scared Magier. Of course she would carry it of well. She watched at the grassy ground and a bug that tried to climb up a culm.
"I don't wanna wait anylonger. I am going into the village down there now and ask for some information about this thundergod-bird legend!"
"You wanna 'ask' ?", Amaterasu laughed. "I doubt that anyone down there would give you a concrete answer when you show up, your sword liftet and with this grin on your face."
"Shut up!", Magier shouted. She took her sword that braced on the tree's root, then stepped towards the village. "I will manage to get a good answer. Just sit and watch!"
Amaterasu turned around and watched at Jaques who turned his attention to his bible again.
"Will she manage it? To ask without killing anyone? I kinda doubt it ", Amaterasu said frowning.
Jaques didn't answer. He already knew in which way this intention would end. She wouldn't make it, as always. There was still a part in her that stopped some years ago. The cogs wouldn't continue to spin if she kept behaving like this, in this childish manner. She discontinued walking forward when "it" happened. The only thing that grew, was her hatred for human.
"I am sure I can do it", Magier whispered when she turned her back to Amaterasu and Jaques, facing the in the afterglows lying village. "I am not weak."
The evening-life circulated in the village. It was time about going into the bars, leaving the market place on which the stalls were vacated of remaining, not sold foot and other common things or preparing supper. White smoke escaped the chimneys and merged together with the white yet bloody orange breathed on clouds in the sky. Magier was walking through the village, searching for a suitable place to gather information. She thought the bar would be a nice place.
"I would rather kill all those people around here. Their fake joy and kindness goes on my nerves. Nobody is as happy as they are when they just finished their hard work. But when I kill them, I would never gather some information," Magier thought.
Magier drove the next bar she saw. It seemed to be very popular among the villagers.
"Red Crop" Magier read on a sign hanging over the opened door. She shrugged her shoulders and entered the public house.
She moved towards the counter the owner was standing behind, then ordered something to drink. The female Noah kept nipping on the beer until the barman turned his attention to her.
"What does a young lady like you want in such a sleepy village like ours?", he asked, still cleaning a beer glass in his hands.
"I just heard about a legend that should occur every hundred years in this area. Do you heard something about it?"
"What kind of legend?"
"The legend about the thundergod-bird."
Suddenly the barman began to laugh as well as all the other customers that seemed to listen to the girl's story. Magier needed to check herself. Her hand was already lying on the haft of her katana.
"This is just a fairy tale, mylady", the barman said after he had finished laughing. "Even the children know that this is no real story. Where did you got it from? How childish and superstitious a person has ro be to believe in such kind of story?"
There was it again. The piercing pain in her head. One of the them lied. Either the old bookman or all the villagers that had laughed. There was it, the fake kindness. They just made fun of her.
"An old geezer told it to me. A bookman."
The barman looked up, then his face became pale when the girl's face turned into the greyish colour and a line of crosses appeared on her forehead. The hand on the shaft shook, then the head of the barman was thrown against the glasses and bottles that were standing in the cupboard behind the counter. Blood spilled into the once yellow-golden beer and splashed against the wooden wall. The village-people shrinked back when Magier faced them with a grin in her face.
"Therefore, how the sin had come into the world through the human and the death through the sin, so the death is permeated to all humans, casue they all had sinned. Since the sin had been in the world, even before the law came; but where's no law, there's no sin redounded.
Epistle to Roman; chapter 5, verse 12 and 13.", Jaques cited and a creepy white light in the shape of a lethal crow appeared above the village.
A white feather landed in front of Magier's feet, or was it black? Black and white flames surrounded her, gaining the mastery of the wooden houses. Carcasses were spread over the dirty and dusty street, blood had been splashed all over the walls, covering it in a deadly red. Everything was silent but the feathers kept falling. The katana in Magier's right hand vibrated. The whole village was turned into nothingness, with one single blow.
"First act", Magier said in a monotone way. The black bug she had seen before was calmly sitting on her shoulder, then flew away when Magier stepped out of the village, carrying death and destruction away.
When Magier reached the hill Amaterasu and Jaques were still waiting on, she didn't look up when she passed Jaques. He closed is bible. So the time hasn't come yet.
"Let us try to find other information about this legend somewhere else. I am sure some bookmen will cross our way", Jaques said.
Chapter 39: Keyblademaster - "The past that sometimes we wish to forget."
Damn,I have been getting that dream more and more lately.
Blade:Mum i'm going to get it
Blade's mumon't go son.it's useless it might not even heal my illness and it will be a
waste of your efforts
Blade:I don't care i'm going.
Blade wanted to cure his mother illness,rumours had it that the forest near Blade's village
has something that might cure his mother,many of the villager's when to the forest to find
this mysterious thing but none came out alive.None of them realise that,that thing was an
innocence.On his way he met his younger brother Kensuke.
Kensuke:Where are you going Onii-san?
Blade:**Afraid to tell the truth in case his brother will follow him** .........I'm going out.
Kensuke:Can I follow you?
Blade:No.Just take care of mum.
After replying to his brother's question he ran of too the direction of the forest
After a few minutes,
Damn,I've been walking for so long and still no sign of an opening or a parting........could
it be this is some grandmother story told by those old geezers or could it be......i got
lost.........Argh,just as my brother say's i really suck in directions.**Start's cursing
himself** Might as well take a break and continue walking.
*After a short break*
Blade got up and continue walking.After a few minutes of walking.......
The tree's are getting thicker.I should be in the heart of the forest already.Argh,nevermind
I'll just continue walking.Few minutes later........Hey there's a parting in the forest look's
like the rumours might be true.
Excited Blade ran to the direction of the innocence.When he reach there,he saw a sword which
was stuck to the ground(not quite sure how the innocence became a weapon).
The dissappointed Blade couldn't help groaning.
Shit it isn't that thing i'm finding,worst what can a sword do.Blade pulled out the sword
and at that moment a level 2 akuma came out of nowhere.
Akuma:Thank you boy.I couldn't go near the innocence.So i waited for someone who can
actually hold or touch that innocence.Many foolish people came but they couldn't reach
it.So i kill them.It was fun seeing the blood splatterred from their body.The blood
curdling screams of pain and terr....
Blade:STOP......**hands shaking with anger**You....did you kill a man that look's like me?If
you did then...then....
Akuma:Then what boy?So what if i did kill someone that looks like you.Huh?You think you can
kill me when you just got that innocence.Even if you did,the great and almighty Noahs
like Tyki,Magier,Jacques,I.Amaterasu or Rhode will hunt you down and kill you.
Blade:Shit you bastard.I'll make you regret.***just what is this feeling....when i hold that
this sword my body feels lighter and i was expecting the sword to be heavy but it's
light a feather also i feel stronger and faster***
And with those reply Blade sprang at the akuma(dunno how to descript their battle so i'll
skip those,don't worry Blade didn't use any techniques).After killing that idiotic akuma
Blade sat down to have a rest.A voice came from somewhere.Blade sprang up to face that person it was
a guy with red hair with him was a boy who look 3 years younger than Blade
General Cross Marian:You did very well to kill that Level 2 akuma.
Blade:Who are you? And what's an akuma?
General Cross Marian:An akuma is a soul of a dead person who was brought beck to life by his
or her lover or close people around that person.Anyway i am an exorcist
Since you are holding that innocence you might as well become a bookmen or
exorcist.By the way before i take my leave,i recommend you stop finding
that thing to heal your mother because that thing is an innocence in
which you are holding.And you will get a lot of money to become a bookmen
or exorcist.**trying to tempt Blade with money**
Blade:**Look's at the sword** Where can i be one of those because i found it was fun killing akuma's.
General Cross Marian:To be a bookmen at Bookmen's village not to sure where is it and exorcist in
Polama,North America.Now time to take my leave i have a train to catch before
my debtors catch me
The boy following General Cross Marian:**Going pale** D-D-D-Do i have to earn money again?
Blade quickly ran back to the outskirts of the forest and back to his house.He spent a few days at
the forest so many of the villager's tought he died.But was shocked when Blade came back carrying a
sword on his back.Went he reach home he was shock he when in to his house and saw Kensuke trembling
slightly.Blade ask Kensuke what happen and suddenly Kensuke turn into a level one akuma.Only that did
Blade realise that his mother died and Kensuke tried to revive her.After killing and akuma he swore
that he will be a bookmen to fight against the Millenium Earl.
Blade:***I wish i could just forget the past and move forward***
Chapter 40: Koenosaki - "Hidden secrets that shall be known"
It is said that we noahs are the keys of the plan of the earl. Akuma are mere machines, it is us who'll decide who'll win the battle. It sounds stupid, but the victory is ours. Humans and excorsists are betrayers it is said. They announce themself as the true followers of the believe of god. But I won't believe that, this is my diary...
Are we the blessed ones? Are the exorcists the cursed one? Well, lots of my family members would answer this question affirmative, but it is not what I believe. I believe, and am sure that we are the cursed ones and the earls is using us as a mere machine. But I am not hopeless, the true god (which I wouldn't call the earl) and his true apostles (which aren't the noahs) - the excorsists - has the ability of bringing salvation and making an end to this painfull curse...
The true intention, is that the earl wants to become a god. He acts like a lion, being king of the jungle. The earl can not face reality, worser he hates reality. He wants to be the true god, and he'll do anything at its costs. He has a plan that shall be carried out, and that plan is the stairway to his trone. What are we noah? We are what is said the blessed humans that will carry out the true message, the message that will destroy the fake world. And excorsists will be defeated, all innocence must be defeated. This is what I will not believe, sadly my brothers and sisters aren't the same as I am thinking...
Can we noah be defeated? Well we strongly believe that we have fate on our side, and that fate will choose our side. So we can not be defeated by stupid excorsists. Today, I did something risky, it could have cost my flife. I made contact with a bookman, to change some important information. I can't remember his name, but the killings of the bookmen happened earlier than the opponing side expected. I strongly pray for the man, not to be killed...
Who's true? Am I wrong? Is it indeed the earl that's the truth? I can't take it anymore, I don't want to, can't believe of me being wrong. Can I leave my opinion, because that important bookman with my important message is killed. I ensured him of not being killed, I ensured him being safe but I was wrong and it's all my fault. Forgive me god, punish me if you have to...
It seems there is suspicion among us. The earl knows about a traitor in his group, he said he'll do anything. I will not be able to finish this book, I will not be able to tell the secret, the key to defeat us and the earl in this book. Maybe, when important persons will read this I will be killed. Do I regret my actions? No, I can't because I think they are justified. I'll give this book to a loyal man, and will not make the same mistake. I can not tell about the secret to him, but I can tell him how, where, why to find this secret. The name of he man is...
Legno was suprised, and confused. He couldn't come up with this. He was bored he walked in HQ library. Maybe bored was the wrong word, Legno always knew from his teacher about a noah traitor written a diary that could been important to the excorsist. But less was known, it was also said that he had the ability of letting people seeing the reality if they were pure within their heart. Only real good people could see, touch and read the book. Legno was a prey for the plan of the earl and the noah, staying inside HQ was the least he could do. And thinking about that book, made legno going to the library.
"It is time, I need to speak to someone. This is something that should be known." Legno walked out the library, slammed the door behind walking to the office of...
Maybe I should begin to add the chapters for Volume 3 in one thread. It's so much and the volume is almost finish. I wish one could draw a manga to our story xD
I know, I wanted to do so but I lack of drawing skills. Have to improve a lot, I think.
Even if people say: "But it looks good." and if I said earlier: "Yeah, looks good, you're right."... I will definitely say two weks later: "Boah, that sucks!"