View Full Version : DGM fanstory ~ Volume 5 "A Silent Aria" [Chapter 81 - Chapter 100]

July 09, 2009, 10:57 AM
Here are the chapters 81 to 100 for you to read. I might put them all together into a pdf.-file later on.

Chapter 81 - The Book of Secrets

Well, while writing....some things turned out to be different from what I had planned beforehand. I hope you like the chapter though. Truly, I even left some thought-out parts out. For example the torture of Blade. But the way I finally wrote the chapter just didn't allow me to put such a scene in it. Gomen ne. A little bit torture is in it though :D

"The sky is clouded."
"Maybe we should go inside soon."
"Yeah, let's go, darling."

The words became blurred in Magier's head like the sea that merged together with sand of an abandoned coast. They echoed and ached in her inner, seemingly never willed to stop and free the girl from her pain. She knew that the "darling" was not directed at her but it just had to. No other person in the whole world deserved the love of the doctor more than her. But the truth is guileful and many a fate hard to bear.

Magier reached out for her most and only precious person but the distance between them seemed to increase and increase like the pain in her heart. No matter how desperate she screamed, the doctor did not turn around, his hand still resting on the shoulder of the beautiful blonde woman at his side. How much sorrow could a single person swallow before she collapsed and crumbled down inside, a broken hourglass alike?
Rain dropped down the Noah's face when she followed the man and his company in a hurry but the ground was slippery and the wooden crutch the girl had to use due to a broken right leg, could not find support, slipped away and let the girl landing ungently on the wet cobblestone. When Magier lifted her torso in order to take a look at the doctor and hoped for a possible notice of her appearence right behind him, she was surprised yet eased that he really stopped. A smile occured on her face and she was just about to stand up, still suffering from the pain in her leg, when the doctor turned around and revealed the head of Jacque instead that of the doctor. And at his side, the most disgusting person Magier could ever imagine. Gabrielle's hair blew in the upcoming wind and rain caressed her body that was constricted by a white, flounced dress. Her smile was mischievous, her grip around Jacque's forearm tight. Magier's look however was empty. She could not avert a gaze as if an unknown strength forced her to bear what was true, a love she could never gain. The two persons' faces that stared at her with a disgusted look, approached each other until the lips touched that of the other one. The female Noah screamed but no sound found the way out of her mouth up to the point she woke up from this nightmare.

Magier quickly sat up, gasping badly. Her head and leg ached the way they did on that very day. It was a nightmare buried deep within her pitiful soul and unable to vanish, no matter how hard she tried. The Noah decided to get some fresh water to drink. She threw on something lightly and went out of her little bed-chamber. Heading towards the close stream that joined a lake not far away from the camp, the girl looked like a beautiful ghost, the light white clothing caressing her fragile, pale body. She was just about to cool her hot forehead when she felt a familiar presence behind her back what caused her to turn around immediately and to face, not as expected Amaterasu, but Jacque who was sitting on a bench. How did he get there without her noticing him? Magier stared at Jacque for seemingly several minutes -the silence was overwhelming- when she perceived a glass with a clear liquor that danced in the darkness of the night.
"Is this...alcohol?", Magier asked, pointing at it. The priest lifted his head and removed a single strand of hair from his forehead.
"It is", he said nodding, "Wanna have a gulp? It's tasty."
Magier stepped back, surprised by the sudden change of her beloved brother. He had sworn abstinence, including the consumption of alcohol. Magier was puzzled by the behaviour of her brother who drank, ambushed girls deep in the night and faced his own sister with such a silky smile on top of that. She wanted to diverge further from the Noah for any reason, however Jacque was faster, grasped her wrist and pulled the girl towards him. Something stirred among the bushes close to them but before both could risk a look, the marplot was gone.
Magier sat on Jacque's lap which was covered by a white priest robe. His personality had changed as well as his clothing. A dark priest robe turned into a white one, a strict and rules-loving nature into a nonchalant disposition. Had he been like this his whole lifetime, his true nature just suppressed by the collar of his former robe?
The man downed the drink with one gulp and his eyes reflected the puddle of alcohol at the bottom of the glass before his look wandered to Magier in order to observe and analyze the girl's body. For a brief moment, Magier swore that her brother's look had paused at her pulsative chest for several seconds. Now however, he stared into her dark eyes.
"Tell me of your nightmare!"
Magier almost shrinked back. How did he know? Before she was able to ask him, the priest answered as if reading her mind.
"I watched you several times. And every time you walk to the water, be it a lake or a simple stream, you seem to look sad and kinda...scared of something. So I was worried and observed you. It has something to do with the person who took care of you when you weren't a Noah, am I right?"

Magier's eyes widened. His knowledge of things he actually shouldn't know scared her. Not taking notice of Magier's fright, he continued.
"You may not remember but I was there. I was on the graveyard when you buried your most precious person, just accompanied by the rain as it seemed but in actual fact kept tabs by the Earl...and me. Your soul was broken, your mind in uproar."
"S-stop, please....", Magier muttered and tears dropped down her pale face: Her lips were trembling, her body shuddering. But he didn't stop.
"Every action, every centimeter your hands tunneled their way through the wet dirt and every tear that joined your wrought-up feelings was a further step that led you to what you are now: a Noah. Thus, it was necessary to-"
Magier's mumbling was like a drop in the bucket. It took her all effort to suppress the tears but they just kept on dropping. Jacque's strange voice echoed in her head, over and over again, not willed to stop like the nightmare wasn't to do so either. His voice just broke through the wall of unruly tears.
"...necessary to kill your most beloved person in the world."

"I'll be back soon. Just rest for a spell", the doctor said gently and kissed the girl on the cheek. "Though, I still wonder why you fell down the stairs and broke your leg."
Magier stared embarrassed at her feet. One foot was covered by bandages, supported by a crutch. Dark clouds passed by the window yet they didn't constituted a threat for a good walking. The man took his cylinder, changed his white coat into a long brown one. He nodded, signifying that he would leave now.
When the door snapped, Magier let herself fall onto the white-sheeted bed from where she could watch the sky, counting the flouting clouds. Hours passed by and in the meanwhile, the sky had turned into a sea of white and grey.
Magier lifted herself when she heard a familiar voice. She kneeled down on the bed the best she could in order to look through the blurred window. Her eyes widened, her heart shattered.
"The sky is clouded", said the doctor and affronted a beautiful young woman.
"Maybe we should go inside soon", the woman said, looking at the sky above their heads and wrapped up in her dress the best she could. The doctor took his coat and enclosed her with it. A thankful look and a kiss on the mouth followed.
"Yeah, let's go, darling", the doctor said and wanted to lead the woman to his house when he heard an ungently bounce and turned around. Magier had slipped due to the disability of her leg and had fallen down the little stair that led to the front door of the doctor's house that was his office at the same time. The doctor approached her accompanied by the rain that had come up. He wanted to help her up and take a look at her leg but he was pushed away by the girl who tried to head towards the woman who, and this had been her decisive mistake, wanted to catch the girl in order to save her from falling again. Blood spilled and covered the street, dipping it into a pretty, shining red.
The knife, Magier had rammed into the woman's stomach, was soaked with blood and cut into her own hands. But the girl didn't care. Nothing caused greater amusement than getting rid of the woman who was about to destroy the world Magier had constructed for the doctor and herself. With the last breath disappearing from the marplot's lungs, she had a peaceful life together with the one she loved in contemplation, however she was mistaken. Magier turned around tottering, the knife still in her right hand.
"Now, we can live in peace, darling...", Magier said almost apathetic but the look she earned wasn't what she had expected from the doctor who stared at her as if a lunatic stood in front of him. The smile on her face disappeared and emptiness replaced the shining eyes. She turned her head to look at the dead woman who lay on the wet cobblestone, the brown coat soaked with rain and blood, caressing her body and displaying her beautiful and well-formed body. Yet, she was still more beautiful than Magier could ever be.
"Do you love me?", the confused girl asked the shocked man. But to Magier's misfortune....he shook his head.
"I don't love you."
The world, a world that could have been a place to live, a world where not sadness but happiness ruled, scattered in front of Magier's eyes. All hope was lost and the hour-glass that had been damaged beforehand but was on a good way to heal during the time at the doctors', just bursted into pieces. The shards spread all over the street, cut into the girl's feet and caused endless pain. Were it tears or the rain that rolled down her cheeks? Nobody ever learnt of the truth. The grip around the knife hardened, Magier staggered towards the doctor. She never knew why he hadn't defended himself back that time. It would have been nothing to just push the girl away, call the police and institutionalise the girl. However, he had done nothing of the sort.

Magier felt the warm blood dropping down her wrist and buried her head in the clothings of the person she held dear.
A trembling hand suddenly caressed her head and she lifted it, staring into gracious eyes.
"I do not love you like a normal woman, like the woman you stabbed, my little girl. I love you the way just a big brother can love his little sister. I just...wanted to protect you. Your soul is too fragile to bear the ups and downs of a real, intimate love..."
With the last word spoken, he kissed her on the forehead, then collapsed on the ground, sliding through Magier's arms.

Magier hugged Jacque tightly, hoping for a place to retire. The priest's robe was soaked with tears of pain and sorrow.
A burden of unbelievable heaviness fell off her shoulders when her brother responded her sign.
"I want to protect you, big brother", Magier muttered.
"I never let anyone harm you, Magier-chan", Jacque whispered, enclosed the girl's face with both of his strong hands and kissed her on the lips. With the warmness of the priest flowing through her body, Magier closed her eyes and fell into a dreamless sleep. What also happened in this silent night was something just the priest and a quiet watcher that lurked in the shadows knew of.
Lione stared at the spot where previously two Akuma tried to fight against him and failed. The dust was about to disappear when the exorcist averted his gaze and looked through the room anew in order to find a place to hide or a way to escape. He wanted to analyze the windows when he passed by the huge table and eyed an open book lying on it. The writing was almost inhuman. Lione stared at it with a distorted face until he figured out that he held a log book in his hands. His confusion immediately turned into interest, interest into analysis and analysis into fright. His look wandered to the record date.
24th August, 1723
"I finally won the full confidence of the landlord. He recruited me as temporary help in his little tavern. My plan's panning out in progress. Those stupid townspeople don't know what awaits them."

The rest of the entry seemed to consist of coordinates, directions and scrawly names. Lione flipped the yellowed pages carefully, always in suspense of the next entry.

26th August, 1723
"The act of reprisal comes closer and closer. This town of endless agony is facing its doomsday. Soon, my plan will be realized. I will destroy the place that just brought misfortune upon me. A gibbet for me, a hellfire for them. They still don't know who I am."

Lione stared at the last line and the dream he had experienced after Anlen had kissed him, popped up in his mind. A gibbet? The man slowly sat down, a book in his hands that told an old story buried in the depths of history. He wasn't able to avert his gaze. The black ink on the yellowed pages kept him imprisoned in an ancient world. Just now, he realized for the first time that the ship he was held captive on, the crew and maps, even the fact that Anlen was a pirate captain was just too absurd to be real. Anlen was an individual that should not be allowed to exist. Frightened by this strange log book, Lione flipped the pages anew.

28th August, 1723
"The last step is fullfilled. I now know where the men go for a drink, where the children play and the womens' chitchat takes place. They will face the hellfire and can't avoid it. Their trust in me will push them into the abysm of their own sins. My death is their doom. Tomorrow, everything will be over and the pain will vanish. Forever."
Lione's hands trembled when he flipped the page and looked at an entry that seemingly was written with blood. He did not dare to think about the blood's origin. A feeling that it was certainly not that of Anlen rose within him.

29th August, 1723
"It's finally done! They're dead, the townspeople are dead. Burned, stabbed, shot and beheaded.
But it didn't want to succeed. Why? Why was I unable to hang a single person?! Why was I unable to let them feel the same pain I felt back that time. The feeling of life being pushed away and leaving the body! Every time I approach a gibbet, it makes me sick, I feel giddy and am about to barf. I once even viscerated a human but I can't hang a single one! The pain drives me crazy!
Now, at this lone time when the moon is covered by clouds and just single spots are illuminated on deck, my silvery gun and the single bullet in it are my comforter. The barrel stares at me with its mischievous yet becalming smile.
The stars will be my grave...."

The exorcist touched the last words softly and fear was displayed on his face. His breath went nervously when he read the very last entry.

9th September, 1723
"I tried it....several times. But...
...I can't die..."
Suddenly, a bullet landed in a pile of old papers, documents and maps right behind Lione. He shrinked back, ungently awaking from his state, a bad dream alike, and dropped the fearsome book. He stared at the door and recognized a familiar silhouette. At this particular time, the exorcist wished to be somewhere far, far away. A whole bunch of Akuma was nothing against the person who was entering the stage, joining a drama that most probably would not turn out all right for Lione. Green eyes, deeper than the sea, stared at him pitilessly. Traversed by clouds of smoke, they bandied looks and that of Anlen was definitely the superior one.
"What are ya doing there, landlubber?!", Anlen asked while approaching him. To Lione's gladness, the female Noah put the silvery gun away and hid it somewhere in her coat that blew in the wind which springed up and ran through the open door. "Answer me!"
Before the man could barely open his mouth, she already stood in front of him, arms akimbo. Lione felt kind of captured, no way to escape unscathed. His eyes searched for the log book. Luckily it got buried under bottles of rum and loose paper sheets. He just wondered why there was a fork rammed into the floor when he heard a loud bounce.
For the second time a day, he shrinked back, lifted his head and faced Anlen whose face was barely away from his.
"I said ANSWER ME!", Anlen shouted and collared Lione who was just able to whimper.
"N-nothing particular", Lione answered frightened.
"And I shall believe you this shit?", Anlen said with sarcasm resonating in her voice. "Well, if you don't want to answer, you have to clean the deck after our drinking orgy tonight. Await a long, cold and lonely night, exorcist."

Anlen let go of him, turned her back on him and was about to leave when she stopped, turned her heel and looked at him anew.
"This is just one part of your punishment. There's a second one receivable, after all, you tried to escape from the ship. I will leave it at that nonetheless. But don't expect me to be nice to you every time", Anlen proclaimed and nailed Lione down with her look. "You will soon notice, that I can be crueler than every nightmare you ever had."

Lione nodded and Anlen banged the door behind herself, causing some books to fall from the shelves. The exorcist rummaged around until he found what he searched for. He fished the book out of the mess, observing it again. He decided to keep the book with him and take care of it. It certainly would be of use in the future, maybe even of help to understand Anlen's doings.
Night came faster than expected and soon, Lione hurried from bow to stern, from larboard to starboard just in order to clean the mess the Akuma, southerners and especially Anlen caused. He still could not believe that a 18-years old woman was unable to properly use a knife or a fork, lacked of table manners and displayed a behaviour that scratched at inhumanity. Lione wiped off a puddle of rum when he heard an unknown Akuma talking to the captain. He slowly approached the speakers and hid abaft the mainmast, always guarding against unexpected guests.

"But my master begged you to come, Mistress Anlen."
"It's Captain Anlen, if you please."
"Jacque-sama will behead me when I return without you."
"Ya know what? I'll tell you something now, something you can tell ya master."
Silence occured. But what came out of Anlen's mouth almost caused Lione to barf into the wooden bucket and bestowed the contents of his stomach on the puddle of spilled rum and the wimpy remainings of Anlen's meal. Instead of it, he barely could choke laughter.

"Ya can tell your beloved master Jacque-sama that he can poke his damn family dinner together with this stupid book -how was it called? Bibol, bubo, I guess...- into his damn fuckin' ass!"

Lione risked a look just in time to see the Akuma leaving with a fearful face. He wasn't allowed to disobey the Noahs' orders, so he had to bear Jacque's possible blaze of anger. Lione did not know if he should feel sorry for the pitiful soul but he voted against it when he noticed Anlen approaching him. Thanks to his curiosity, he asked for more trouble.
But to his surprise, Anlen grasped him at the sleeve and asked him to take care of her bottle of rum. He nooded and agreed quietly, curious of Anlen's intention. While Anlen disappeared in her cabin for a few minutes, Lione observed the bottle. Did he just smell acrimoniously herbs mixed with alcohol? Nothing what rum should smell of actually.
Before Lione could inquire further, Anlen stepped out of her cabin, entering the drinking orgy anew with a fiddle in her right hand.
"Heading for a little bit atmosphere here, guys", Anlen announced, set the bow and began to play a funny and entertaining song that even caused Lione to tap with his foot on the wet ground. Maybe Lione's involuntary stay on this pirate ship would turn out to be not as worse as expected.

Well, well....this was it, my chapter. I guess with a little bit imagination, you can think of what happened there between Magier and Jacque while Magier was...kinda doped. And the watcher, I left the decision to you although I can imagine who it might be ^.~...Finally Magier's whole past is told and yeah, she did not know that Jacque dropped his abstinence xD
Yap, you thought right, Anlen put absinth into her drink again. You can be sure that she's really not afraid of Jacque's reaction.

Author’s Notes (Pre-reading)
Posting this one early for you, magier ^^ Aren't our readers lucky? No dgm manga but at least they are two chapters here instead :lmao

I had such great fun teasing you guys last time so I’m going to try again :D This chapter is kinda slow but it does advance the plot and I believe that it has a creepiness factor. We’ll see if I succeed… It’s a little raunchy and graphic so be aware of that. It might be pushing R but I’m just being cautious.


Chapter Eighty-Two: The Light the Darkness Snuffed Out

Part One
Memories of their earlier failed attempt to infiltrate the camp still pained Eny. Along with Lyra, the girl chased after Madeline’s orb, retreating from the ongoing battle. However, fearing ambushes from the enemies, they had moved faraway from the Noah base. Luckily they bumped into the three Finders whom Lyra and Madeline had sent earlier and their wounds were taken care of immediately. Nevertheless, she silently cursed to herself—she was so close to being reunited with Fermium, so close.

As the group rested by the river and the Finders left to scout the area, Eny watched the latest member of their group from the corners of her eyes. Belial appeared to be mediating, her mauve hair swaying with the cool breeze. She seemed like an innocent school girl but in the Bookwoman’s opinion, underneath that sweet face laid a manipulative killer. A few days ago, she had attempted to kill Madeline, Lyra, and her; now she claimed to be on their side. Such fickleness was more of a ploy than a coincidence.

The girl turned around, hoping that her comrades would share her rational and show an inkling of their thoughts. Unfortunately, she was traveling with Madeline—a nun who was trained to always keep a straight face especially in time of adversity—and Lyra—an exorcist who may be older than a majority of the people at the North American branch but acted immaturely compared to the majority. Madeline’s eyes were closed, betraying the fact that she was sleeping. Lyra was splashing in the water; her idea of bathing was definitely different from what Eny was taught.

Suddenly, she felt a splash of water. The Bookwoman stared angrily at Lyra and yelled, “What was that for?” The exorcist walked out of the water and grabbed her uniform after she had dried herself off. As she was getting dressed, she smiled and replied, “You seemed out of it. You were just staring at everyone, which is kind of creepy. I mean, you’ll be developed one day.”

Eny stood up and marched towards the woman. “I’m not thinking about puberty! For your information, I have other things to worry about.” Madeline had now awakened from her slumber and Belial turned her head in the exorcist and Bookwoman’s direction. The former guardian had still not gotten used to their daily commotion and glanced at Madeline for help. The nun just sighed and headed to her bickering comrades; it looked like she’ll be playing referee again.

“Why are you so worried? You’re still young and shouldn’t be so anxious about things… unless you have to pay for bills and think about boys. Then that’s another story,” teased Lyra. She shook her head, hitting Eny with droplets of water. This only angered the girl more and she blurted out, “I DON’T TRUST THAT GIRL!” She quickly covered her mouth and quickly looked at Belial. The newcomer turned away, looking embarrassed and hurt. It was bad enough to learn that the person she admired the most actually viewed her as a tool, not as a human being but knowing that she was not trusted was worse. Perhaps, this is what Jacques felt like when she abandoned him…

“Is that what it’s all about?” questioned Madeline. Her voice was quiet and gentle yet had a hint of wisdom and order. She looked at Eny who had a defiant look on her face. The girl before her reminded the sister of herself back in the day. She just needed guidance. Nodding her head and folding her arm, Eny replied, “She tried to kill us and now is offering her help. How could you just believe her just like that?”

Before any of her exorcist comrades could respond, Belial lifted herself up and answered, “Because they have no choice but to trust my words and actions.” She looked at Madeline and Lyra whose facial expressions implied what she had said. Eny still stared at her distrustfully; that girl had no idea what poisonous lies this enemy had told them, but whatever they were, it appeared that they had consumed it readily.

Stroking her baton, Belial continued, “I will repeat what I have told your friends. Your companions whom you have believed have perished alive but are in dangerous hands. The girl Noah called Magier likes to break her toys for fun. The Noah who can turn any living things to dusts has a lustful appetite that only young girls can satisfy.” She turned and stared at the currents at the river. It took her a few minutes to regain her composure before she could finish her thoughts.

“Your comrade—the one that we referred to as the werewolf? I’m afraid that my former lord has killed him. I witnessed his death myself and I deeply regret that I could not stop him. After everyone else had left, I stopped his bleeding but he was beyond help. I’m sorry.” She had never told anyone this last part for she had feared that hearing this event would only cause them to distrust her more or worse.

However, she felt someone place a hand on her shoulder and was surprised to see Madeline. The exorcist’s face had a sad but forgiving look and almost made the girl cry. “I won’t judge you on the past. Your present actions are more important to me.” Lyra nodded and she poked Eny’s back, causing the girl to jerk. Realizing that she was outnumbered, the girl sighed and muttered, “So what are we going to do now?”

The nun’s kind face suddenly transformed into a stern one. In a commanding voice, she answered, “We’re going to head back to the camp.” The Bookwoman gave a bewildered look. Rushing too quickly would be dangerous and downright irrational; any strategist knew that. She protested, “Why are we attacking so soon? The Noahs are expecting us and it will take us a few days to return to the camp.”

As if she comprehended Eny’s apprehension, Madeline assured her, “According to Belial, most of our comrades are alive. Since they know that our intention, they most likely will kill our friends before we get a chance to rescue them.” The nun did not dare tell her what the Finders had informed Lyra and her.

Part Two
”The Noah camp security has been modified,” informed John. “The amount of akuma has increased ten folds and their patrols around the surrounding area have spread. We’re barely out of their range.” He looked at his comrades with concern; the situation appeared grim and dire.

Madeline soaked up the news readily and questioned, “So are you telling us that this is pretty much a suicide mission?” This was what she expected after they decided to regroup though a part of her wanted to be in denial about the circumstances; she wished that it was an easy job like doing the laundry or weeding the lawn.

All three Finders nodded slowly since they realized that their leader was disturbed by the recent news. Lyra sighed and jumped off a tree branch. Hearing such somber stuff and seeing such down people made her uneasy. “Way to go, bringer of bad news!” she teased as she patted her Finder’s back. “You brought this lovely party to a standstill.”

The exorcist turned to the nun and declared, “It’s okay, Mad! It’s not like we didn’t expect this to be a breeze.” She then began to smile and winked at her companions. “Besides only the good die young.” Her Finder groaned as he smacked his head with his right hand; seriously this was not the time to be telling people these kinds of things.

Noticing the exasperated look of her Finder, Lyra asked, “Why are you like that, Downer Debbie? Will you miss me if I die?” John blushed and backed away, quickly replying, “Don’t call me Downer Debbie! And if you died, I would be dancing on your grave.” Realizing that he said something inappropriate, he quickly apologized, explaining that he did not wish any harm on the woman. However, all she did was laugh and cooed over how cute he looked when he was having another silly freak out.

“Ahem!” Madeline cleared her throat. That exorcist was hard to read sometimes. Lyra looked at her questionably as the sister added, “I do agree with him. We should not be joking around during troubled times.” Lyra bowed her head and said sympathetically, “I’m sorry. I forgot that you’re much older than the rest of us so I should have said that ‘Only the good die young with the exception of Maddy’.”

Madeline sighed in frustration. Apparently, she did not get through to that woman.

Eny looked at the woman in front of her. She was adamant and determined and maybe part of that was rubbing off onto her. The Bookwoman nodded though she was still afraid of the danger she was going to face.

“Chin up, small squirt!” exclaimed Lyra who was helping Belial pack up their bags. “After all, we did come all the way here to save a little cat.”

Part Three
The figure opened his eyes and gasped for air deeply, his breaths escaping as smoke from his mouth. In the distance, droplets of water fell to the ground, the dripping sound echoing throughout the entire room. The cold ground made the man uncomfortable and he noticed bloody clothes lying next to him.

He immediately moved his hands to his chest, recalling the assault he had endured several days ago; scar tissues covered the wound, a small indentation in his body. Flames recoiled as if someone had stabbed him again as the memory replayed in his mind.

How was he alive?

Part Four
Rinvak stared intensely at the men sitting across from her but they refused to talk. The only information that she was told was that she was to assist in their mission to track down and return the fugitive Madeline and her comrades. Nothing more, nothing less. However, even if she tried to start idle chitchat, she would only get grunts in return. The exorcist had believed that Daniel might have learned social tact during his brief stay in the North American branch but clearly she was mistaken. That or hanging around his new comrade had dampened his social skills.

“Exorcist Rinvak,” began Zane as he handed files to the girl. His deep voice and muscular figure intimidated her but her face remained expressionless. She was not going to reveal her fear to him under any circumstances. “You are positive that the renegades Madeline, Eny, and Lyra are heading east?”

As she rolled her eyes and sighed, she retorted, “Yes! How many times do I have to tell you that?” Rin was beginning to feel like a broken record and she absolutely hated it. Still, this was a small price to pay if it ensured that this blind power tripper and his puppy would not be able to find Madeline and the others. She had been purposely giving them the wrong directions to throw them off and apparently it had been working. Those idiots…

Her attitude did not sit well with Zane who sternly admonished her. “Be careful with your tone. As far as the main branch is concerned, Tabitha Brown and you are accomplices in helping a fugitive escape. I doubt that you want to be court-marital like your former leader.” Even if he could not see the girl’s appearance or actions, he could deduce her personality from her voice and he did not like it at all.

The color from Rinvak’s face fell and she immediately sat up straight. Hearing such idle threats was common (Lione had a habit of doing that) but something in her told her that this guy was serious. Daniel raised his hands and teased, “Easy now, guys! Let keep this trip peaceful.” He understood RIn’s desire to protect her friends but she was only digging herself into a deeper hole. The boy even lied to Zane earlier, stating that Rin, Lyra, Eny, and he were attacked in order to explain how the girls managed to escape. Even though Zane stated that he believed his student, Daniel had a feeling that his teacher saw through the act.

Despite his best attempts, the tension in the air still existed with Rinvak feeling her temper flaring. Unbeknownst to her, she was falling directly into Zane’s trap; the more he rattled her, the information she might be willing to tell him. “Thank you for your help, Daniel,” he praised. “It’s nice to know that someone can remain calm in this situation.”

He faced the girl and continued, “You told us that they were heading towards Plymouth. However, sources have told me that they are no longer there and are traveling with a follower of the Noah leader in this area. Now we’re a day or two behind. Are you purposely trying to mislead us?” Her eyes showed anger and annoyance. Inside his mind, Zane grinned, happily recalling that it had been a while since he broke a stubborn insubordinate’s spirit. This was going to be a challenge but using the rules for his own advantage was his specialty.

Realizing that this was going nowhere at the moment, he sighed and collapsed to his seat. Turning in the boy’s direction he barked, “Daniel! Tell the conductor that we wished to get off and go on another train that is going west. I don’t trust this brat one bit.”

Daniel looked torn; he did not know whom to help. He trusted Rinvak with all his heart but he could not dare disobey Zane. After all, he did train him and the new exorcist was grateful for that.

Rinvak shook her fists angrily, knowing that she had let her comrades down. She could have bought them more time instead of two days maximum. The girl glared at the two men, mad at both of them for different reasons—Zane for being stubborn and for trying to entrap her; Daniel for doing absolutely nothing to defend Madeline and her comrades.

Part Five
As she lay on the bed, her eyes met his, making her sick. Even though she was (oddly) allowed to move freely around in the Noah’s tent, Stephanie was watched carefully by that damn cat as if Fermium was Amaterasu’s personal guard dog (or in this case, cat). To her disappointment, he was a pretty good guard; every attempt she had made to escape or to injure her captor had been foiled by the feline, making her question his loyalty to his original owner Eny.

“Fermium, Fermium,” the exorcist pleaded as she tried to pet the cat. Maybe showering him with affection and love would result in his help. After all, he was practically her only companion; no one except for Amaterasu was permitted to see her. Unfortunately, the cat just purred and jumped onto a dresser a few distance away as if it was purposely taunting her. Stephanie clenched her teeth in frustration and threw a pillow at it. If she ever escaped, she swore that she would personally buy Eny a dog.

The girl heard the tent flap open and she felt her heart sunk. Fermium leapt from his perch and rubbed the leg of his new master affectionately. Amaterasu smiled and patted his head. As he lifted the cat up, he asked, “Why don’t you ever greet me this way, girl? This cat shows me more love than you ever have.”

The Noah dropped the cat onto the bed and moved towards his trophy. The beads on her short, white minidress sparkled in the light that managed to come through the tent. Sensing what was able to happen, Fermium meowed and quickly ran out of the tent.

Without looking at him, Stephanie snapped, “Because I hate you.” She tried her best not to shiver as she felt him moving closer, his hands stroking her long, black hair. As he wrapped his arms around the girl, he whispered, “You shouldn’t say ‘I hate you’ to someone you’ll be making love to.” Amaterasu brought her closer to him and began kissing her hair, slowly making his way towards her face.

Stephanie squirmed and tried to move his hands away from her. “Don’t touch me,” she hissed but it only caused him to chuckle. He pinched the skirt in order to move it up and whispered, “Why? You didn’t complain last night when I held you. In fact, I believed that you had a fit when I tried to move away.” Hearing no response, he squeezed tighter and continued, “Admit it. You like this attention.”

Amaterasu flinched as he felt her nails digging through his clothed gloves. He thought that he might have successfully broken her but apparently she still retained her rebellious nature. “I said, ‘Don’t touch me,’” she retorted as she turned to face him. Her hatred reflected off her face; thoughts of the things he had done to her, what he had forced her to do flooded her mind, sickening and enraging her.

The Noah just smiled; she still hadn’t slept with him but torturing her slowly was still gratifying. The exorcist was bound to give in any day now. Outbursts like this only solidify his view. Placing his finger on her lips, Amaterasu slipped, “I forgot to tell you. Your werewolf friend has passed away. Apparently, my brother decided that it had served its purpose and got rid of it. Such a shame! I—I mean, you could have saved him but you just had to be so selfish and proud.”

He admired her shocked expression as she mumbled, “You’re lying. You’re lying” over and over again. The girl had entered a state of denial that amused him yet he figured that it would work in his favor if he brought her out of it. The Noah reached into his pocket and pulled out a bloody silver button, placing it in her hands. “It does have your friend’s name on it, doesn’t it?”

The exorcist stared at the token her captor had given her. “FLAMES” was etched into it though the matted blood made it almost illegible. Her mind was racing, debating whether he was telling the truth, what she should do when she felt someone wiping her eyes, snapping her out of her thoughts. Was she really that emotionally fragile?

“Don’t cry, my dear,” soothed Amaterasu. “Girls don’t look pretty when they’re crying. Let me console you.” He placed his lips over hers and surprisingly, she responded as her hands ruffled his blond hair. Perhaps it was the isolation or maybe the girl herself had an appetite for flesh as well. Or she was planning something devious. The Noah decided that it was best not to ponder or to complain about it though; he had been waiting for this day for a long time.

He wrapped his arms around her as he caressed her hair. Her heavy breathing enthralled him as he kissed her neck. The girl’s hands were scratching his back, pulling him closer and he could have sworn he heard her say his name. Amaterasu lifted himself up and cupped her face. Her eyes contained lust and determination, mimicking his own thoughts and she arched her body towards him.

“Amaterasu,” Stephanie cooed as she bit his ear teasingly, “I know what I have to do in order to ensure my survival. My main purpose is to entertain you so please let me.” He chuckled as he uncrossed her legs, moving up her thighs. “All right then,” he whispered. “But only because you insisted.” He applied pressure to her hip, causing her yelp softly.

“You’re hurting me,” she muttered as her nails clawed into his skin as if she wanted him to experience her pain. Amaterasu stroked her cheek and assured her, “You seem like the type who would like it rough. The first time is painful but you’ll learn to enjoy the pain.” His lips locked hers and began to move down. The Noah liked her taste and smell; he wanted more.

As the boy ravaged her body, Stephanie moved her right arm towards the top of the bed. Earlier when Fermium was not paying attention, she had hidden a knife that Amaterasu had left carelessly around between the bed head and the mattress. She had planned this attack for a while but she had to wait for the perfect opportunity. This appeared to be right moment and if she had to consummate the act in order to succeed, she was willing to do so. Blade would forgive her for this transgression, wouldn’t he? However, it was hard for her to concentrate with all this movement and deep inside, she didn’t want to admit that part of her was enjoying it. Damn hormones…

The exorcist felt someone hold her right arm down but she managed to break free from his grasp. She felt her dress unfastening, causing her to search more franticly and forcing her to make her body numb. Where did she put it? Stephanie pushed the Noah off her and rolled on top of him. Amaterasu laughed and asked, “Why did you do that for?” He began untying the back of the dress.

Looking past the boy, she whispered, “I was just trying to make things easier.” After she had located the helm of the blade, she leaned over the guy, her breath reaching his face. She gave him four little kisses as her arm moved towards her objective. When she had reached it, Stephanie quickly brought it behind her.

Amaterasu pushed her off and licked her neck. He was quite pleased with her especially since he was the one who captured her himself. Rubbing her abdomen, he casually mentioned, “If anything good comes from this association, we could name it Blade.” He kissed her clavicle and held her tighter despite her moaning; she was going to be his quite soon.

Hearing him say Blade’s name enraged Stephanie and as she felt the Noah’s lip move towards her heart, she drew her weapon, aiming it at his vulnerable neck. Unfortunately, her target moved, causing the knife to only graze his face. Sensing her treacherous actions, Amaterasu grabbed her wrist and twisted it until she left go of the blade.

After knocking it beyond her reach, he turned his attention towards the girl. Her chest was rising in rhythm with her panting; her face wore an expression of frustration. Even though she appeared defiant at the moment, there was no way she could have imagined the feelings racing in his head.

As his hands yanked her hair, Amaterasu’s body began to stiffen as if he was going into attack mode. He squeezed her cheeks, forcing her to look into his eyes; they no longer had a lustful look but carried a hint of rage and murderous intent. As he looked down at the girl’s body, his cold voice echoed in the room. “I thought we were making progress.”

His skin darkened the bloody crosses lining along his forehead. He began removing his gloves and whispered, “I wonder how I should punish you.”

Part Six
The table was wonderfully set and the guests were trickling into the tent slowly. Yet, Jacques was displeased by the fact that it appeared that some people—more like someone—were taking their sweet time, delaying the meal. He noticed his sister squirming in her seat and reproved, “Stop doing that! We’ll be eating as soon as our brother arrives.”

Without looking at him, Magier stopped immediately though the reason for her unease had nothing to deal with her hunger or her stupid brother. Gabrielle had taken her seat next to Jacques and much to the girl’s displeasure, that bitch had placed her hand on her lord’s knee and had begun slowly rubbing it. The guardian’s face was full of glee as she realized how uncomfortable the female Noah was. She was such an easy target.

Even though Gabrielle’s action was disturbing Magier, the girl was more troubled and confused by her brother’s actions. The event that had transpired the previous night was quite random and out of character. What she and Jacques did was morally wrong between two siblings. What made it worse was the fact that her brother was a priest—a man swore to abstinence. Such an oath contradicted their night of forbidden passion and a part of her felt ashamed and dirty. Yet, the girl had no regrets about their act but it appeared that Jacques might have had second thoughts. He had been acting like nothing happened, which stunned the girl. At the moment, she could have sworn that she still felt his hands crawling along her body and began craving his touch again. Jacques was hers, not Gabrielle’s now even if he did not acknowledge this.

A few minutes later, the final guest had arrived and took his spot at the opposite end of the rectangular table. “It’s about time you got here,” muttered Magier as she dangled her knife carelessly. Amaterasu appeared offended and snapped, “I don’t see why you would care what time I arrived. As far as I know, I’m seated so far away from the rest of you, I can’t even see you.”

He turned to face his sister who was sitting on long side of the table; being between her two brothers left her in an undesirable position especially since she wanted to sit somewhere else. “Not that my complaints are your concern; for all that I know, you only love him.” Before she could respond, she heard someone slamming his fist onto the table, ending their bickering.

“Enough, you two,” scolded Jacques coldly, his skin was darkening in response to his rage. “Though you drive me to wit’s ends at times, I hold you in high esteem. Placement doesn’t matter.” Hearing these words made Magier’s heart leap and she quickly stuck her tongue at Gabrielle who shot an ugly look back at her.

“Calm down, my lord,” spoke the guardian who continued to stare at her rival. “Your brother has a healthy glow to him so in a way, asking him to come to dinner has ruined his fun.” She turned to look at boy who appeared surprised by her casual observation. “Am I right, Lord Amaterasu?”

Caught off-guard, he quickly nodded; there was no point in denying the fact that Jacques’s invitation came at an inopportune time. He noticed his brother’s disapproving look and knew that he was going to get yelled at soon; the boy was used to hearing such things from the priest, the Earl, and whoever felt like guilt-tripping him (unsuccessfully, of course).

“You’re supposed to be torturing her, not playing with her, Amaterasu,” began Jacques as he poured himself a cup of wine. Everyone was eating in uneasy silence; no one wanted to set him off. The castigation would be unbearable. “Your sister and I have done our parts to make our guests’ stay unbearable and unwelcoming but you have instead adored her as if she was a goddess.”

“You even dress her up yourself,” mumbled Magier, her eyes widened as she recalled the happy scene of the girl and her trophy together. She immediately stabbed her meat with a fork; how could her stupid sibling mix his bloodline with that of an exorcist? Disgusting!

In blatant disregard for décor, Amaterasu placed his feet on the table and sighed loudly. Rolling his eyes, he realized that his idea of corrupting innocence departed greatly from that of his brother who preferred the exorcists’ weapons. “You actually believe that it doesn’t pain her every time she has to give herself to me everyday? I must admit that she is probably receiving the best treatment out of all our guests; she is getting some satisfaction during her ordeal.”

He noticed the guardian on Jacques’s left shrink back from the table and laughed. “Do you feel uneasy knowing what I have done to your former comrade, boy?” Uriel lunged forward, his abdomen hitting the table. How dare that insolent brat accuse him of having pity towards that scum of the Black Order? The guardian had worked hard to get into Jacques’ favor and to seat beside him.

The redhead shot back, “Do whatever you want to her in your chambers but I rather not hear your sexual exploits at the table.” From the corner of his eyes, he glanced at his lord, hoping that his answer did not displease the Noah. The boy was afraid that Jacques might have known that he had witnessed the game he and his sister were playing last night. As a member of the Bookman Clan, he felt obliged to record history particularly that of his master. However, what he recorded last night shocked him, making him wonder if it was best to document it and if he should leave the priest alone with his sister.

Jacques eyed his follower carefully and asked, “Is that how you feel, Uriel?” The boy nodded and looked away; he was beginning to think that he had given the wrong response or that he had given away the fact that he was lurking in the darkness. Instead, the Noah chuckled and replied, “I’m glad someone else feels the same way.

“Though your behavior is unacceptable and mimics that of our dearest sister Anlen, there are more important matters at hand,” he continued. Magier sighed in relief, knowing that her brother had officially calmed down. She looked towards her problematic brother who was smirking as if he was claiming another victory. The girl had a strong desire to slap him in order to wipe that smile off him but that would require touching him—something she did not want to do.

“Why are you comparing me to her?” asked Amaterasu. “I actually liked how free-spirited she is so such a comparison is a compliment to me.” He was hoping that this would piss Jacques off some more but to his dismay, his brother ignored his comment.

“Boston was supposed to be destroyed some time ago and yet, the city still stands. We haven’t heard from her in a while so I’m just hoping that she was just delayed or is planning to surprise us by actually doing her job,” the priest remarked. He comprehended that his brother was like a bad dog; ignoring unacceptable actions would eventually discourage them from occurring.

“Also, our companions in Plymouth have been attacked and defeated,” he continued, turning his head towards the empty chair next to Gabrielle. “The Black Order has caught us off guard when they attempted to rescue their friends earlier this week. And one of my angels has fallen from my grace and seems to be traveling with a group of exorcists. At this rank, they will be coming back in a few days.”

Part Seven
His eyes turned dark and his voice carried a frightening tone. Amaterasu noted that his brother was serious when the bloody crosses dotted Jacques’s forehead. He was so engrossed with himself and his problems that he didn’t have the slightest idea what had been occurring around him. Still, he did not blame himself in his lack of observations; after all, his siblings should have informed him. It was never his fault.

“I can’t believe that some exorcists have riled you up, Jacques,” commented Amatarasu with a stone face. He didn’t want anyone in the room to know that his feelings had been injured by their lack of respect towards him; it would only please them more, especially her. “How many of them were there? Ten? Fifteen?” He hated getting information in this fashion but at this moment, it appeared that this was the only way he could get it.

Rolling their eyes, members at the table glared at the Noah. Was he really an idiot? Everyone including those followers who were not involved in the brawl knew about the blotched rescue attempt. No one gave a response immediately, each pondering whether if Amaterasu deserved to be in the know. After a few minutes of awkward silence and shifty looks, Michael sighed and answered, “There were three females. Two are adults while the other is merely a child. One of the adults is the one Uriel had tortured at the exorcists’ headquarter while the other one is new. I don’t recall seeing a woman with pink hair during our assault. The child appears to want your ugly cat and may be a member of the Bookman clan.”

Hearing that last sentence got the boy intrigued, his eyes suddenly widening. A small smirk appeared on his face and he absentmindedly inquired, “So if they do attack and fail, can I keep that one?” He recalled their first meeting in the underground tunnels of the Black Order, her stunned reaction to the cat’s red bow. She seemed like the type of girl who would submit herself just to ensure the safety of anyone particularly that of her pet unlike some other girl. Additionally, he had to punish her for that surprise attack she did to him during their fray. Besides, once he was through with his current prisoner, Amaterasu would need a new one to play with; there were too many fish in the sea in his opinion.

“I refuse to let that happen!” screamed Magier as she stood up, her fists slamming the table. The dishes rattled while some food spilled onto the surface due to the commotion. Everyone became startled by such an outburst. It was rare for the Noah to get worked up over such a silly inquiry. “Even if she is with the Black Order, no child should be subjected to Amaterasu’s abuse. Besides, he has done absolutely nothing to justify his getting a new toy. I should be the one to break her; after all, look at what I had done to the Bookman. He’s practically wrapped around my fingers.” The memories of their earlier torture session were fresh in her mind, the screams still lingering. They were like music to her ears.

This only caused her brother to scoff, muttering under his breath, “With my help, of course! If it wasn’t for our trade, you wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this deed.” First, he was out of the loop concerning the surprise attack and now his sister was taking complete credit for something that he helped with; this blatant disrespect was becoming too much for Amaterasu.

However, his complaints were ignored once again as the guardians joined into the debate. “Don’t forget about us and our contributions, Lord Jacques,” begged Uriel as he grasped the left arm of his master. “We have proven our loyalty and devotion to you so let just enjoy in the fruits of our future victory.” Michael looked at the Noah pleadingly. Since they had killed the werewolf, they did not have anything exciting to do; torturing and eventually murdering another exorcist would appease their needs for blood.

Gabrielle smiled and said in a seductive voice, “Let the children have their fun. We adults can enjoy our games.” She grabbed his right hand, kissed it, and placed it onto her chest, successfully getting a raise out of Magier. The guardian quickly winked at the girl. Two points to me, none for you, she thought wickedly to herself.

Jacques looked at the woman and smiled. He had to try his best to suppress his dark urges at the moment, knowing that if he didn’t, Amaterasu would have ammunition against him. Besides, he did not want her to know that he had someone else to fulfill his corporal wants and desires. He carefully removed his hand from Gabrielle’s heart and announced, “I haven’t forgotten you, my ‘friends’.” These tools were still useful and mollifying their requests would make happy workers.

“But leave Belial to me so I can deal with her personally.”

Part Eight
As he swirled the bottle of wine, Amaterasu thought about what had occurred a few hours ago. Dinner was boring as usual but most of his brother’s ideas of family togetherness were. But the urgency of Jacques’s voice conveyed the message clearly—the priests of the Black Orders were coming to rescue their friends. If he didn’t act or prepare soon he could possibly lose his treasure. Why wasn’t he informed about the earlier attack? It seemed like his siblings were purposely trying to isolate him from them.

He began laughing uncontrollably, the alcohol intensifying his emotions. It was best if his toy didn’t find out about the news. Giving her hope would just create a more difficult living arrangement him—and his cat. It was bad enough trying to tame her under these circumstances but if she ever found out, it would completely ruin any chances of breaking her.

He recalled how angry he was at the girl and how tempted he was to kill her earlier today but something prevented him from doing so. As he towered before her, he realized that she would have wanted to die rather than submit herself to him; why should he grant her wish when keeping her alive under his control was torture enough for her?

Ironically at that moment, an akuma barged into the tent, declaring that his brother had desired another pointless family gathering. Thinking that he had entered in the middle of a tryst, the akuma immediately looked down at the floor and apologized, leaving immediately afterwards. Amaterasu couldn’t blame him for his rational; their positions on the bed and the mess on the floor would have left that impression on anyone.

He left immediately after that, dressing in a huff. The girl quickly sat up, holding the covers close to her body that reeked off sweat and saliva. Without looking back, he curtly spoke, “Don’t bother getting up.”

Feeling a bit dizzy, he leaned against a nearby tree. The alcohol was working its magic. He had sneaked a bottle away from Jacques after dinner and decided to go for a walk. Amaterasu was hoping that leaving the camp and the wine would clear his mind, allowing him to come up with a plan. He couldn’t admit to his siblings that they were right about him; he was a failure but it wasn’t entirely his fault. It was not like he had known that the girl was a member of Jacques’s abstinence only club.

Part Nine
The boy lifted the wine bottle against the moon. Such a shame that it was half empty, he thought. Yet, he admired the blood red color of the liquid; its sensual hue seemed to call out to him, trying to give him a hint on what he should do. He always believed that white didn’t suit her. However, he didn’t have the will to force himself upon her which he thought it was odd since aristocrats in the past had committed such an act. The Noah had no problem beating the girl but for some reason, he couldn’t do that.

Despite the fact that he knew that drinking more would leave him more inebriated, he took another sip. Thoughts of his sister entered his minds, making his stomach feel sick. Throughout the dinner, Magier kept flashing Jacques coy looks, mocking him as if she was in on a little secret. What was she trying to tell their brother? The boy wanted to hurt her so badly but he couldn’t do so in front of Jacques. His brother would have killed him even though they shared a familial bond.

Amaterasu’s paranoia grew each time she leered at him. He silently cursed that akuma since he believed that she must have blabbed to her mistress about his unsuccessful attempts to defile the exorcist. If she hadn’t told her sister that she was still pure, he could have at least tricked her into believing that she was no longer a virgin. It would have been life a lot easier.

Amaterasu quickly brought the bottle to his lips and gulped the last bits. It felt refreshing to him, giving him a false sense of courage and energy. Perhaps this walk wasn’t in vain; he knew what he had to do now.

He got up and headed back home though it took a lot of concentration to coordinate his movement, almost causing him to regret drinking that much. Thought they may be super human compared to everyone else, Noahs themselves are not immune to alcohol it seemed. However, there was no point in being lamenting decisions that have already been made.

Part Nine
Fog was slowly rising from the ground, seeping around the tents giving the camp a haunted and dead look. Sounds of crickets and a drunken man’s stumbling broke the silence though no one was awoken from the noises. The akumas parted once they saw the Noah approaching, fearing the retribution they would receive if they attempted to help him. The bitter breeze felt good to Amaterasu; despite the cold, he felt hot due to the alcohol that was flowing through his body.

Arriving at his final destination, he opened the flap and entered his tent. The room appeared exactly as he had left it with minor differences. Fermium had returned and was lying next to the sleeping girl who was holding it close to her for warmth. Nevertheless, her body still shivered from the autumn air.

The Noah dropped the empty bottle to the ground, alerting the cat of his master’s presence. Fermium twisted out of the girl’s grasp and rushed over to greet him. Unfortunately, Amaterasu brushed past the feline as he made his way towards his bed.

Most of the time, the girl would stay awake until he had return, afraid of what would happen to her if he caught her defenseless and vulnerable. However, it appeared that sleep got the better of her this time. Much to the Noah’s dismay, the dress barely covered her body though it did show wear and tear. She appeared to be tempting him as she slept unprotected to the coming danger.

Amaterasu crawled under the sheets, placing his body over hers. She stirred a bit which halted his movement for a while but she didn’t wake up. He hiked her skirt up as he pressed against her hard, causing her to groan. This only encouraged him as he wrapped his arms around her. The girl did promise that she would please him; he was just making sure she kept her word. Besides, the boy thought as he laid his lips onto hers, he had been patient long enough. He deserved a bite.

Author’s Note (Post-reading)
So I decided to end it with a cliffhanger just for the fun of it. I can be so cruel. I try to add dimension to Amaterasu and his personality but I think I only succeeded in increasing his wickedness and horniness. But he is a teenaged boy, right? -_-;

And because he is self-conceited and self-absorbed, he doesn’t realize that Jacques is no longer a priest. As far as he knows, his siblings are conspired against him even though they are planning their own version of forbidden love/lust. Wallowing in self-pity and paranoia will do that to you.

I included a hint of Blade torture but I think it’s best if magier or ds writes it.

Here's my first chapter! Hope you enjoy.

The young bookwoman yawned and stretched out on the cold ground. She looked to the women on her left. Madeline, Lyra, and the former guardian Belial were still asleep. The Finders were sleeping near by. Eny stood up and looked at her comrades. She looked at Belial mostly. Eny looked down at her bazooka. She grabbed the handle and wrapped her finger around the trigger. She lifted her bazooka slowly. She looked back down at the sleeping guardian. Eny was aimed at Belial’s head.
“Eny, what are you doing!” Eny turned around to see the Finder, John looking at her. Eny looked at John. She bolted off past the Finder. “Eny! Come back!” The noise woke up Madeline and the nun started to run after Eny. But the young bookwoman was too fast for the nun and Eny escaped into the forest. Madeline turned around and looked at the Finder.
“What happened, John?” Madeline muttered. John shrugged his shoulders. Madeline fell on to the ground with a moan.
“What should we do?” The man asked.
“Wake everyone up. We’ll go to the Noah Base.” John nodded and woke up the rest of the group.
“Where the Noisy Munchkin?” Lyra said as she looked around. Madeline said nothing.
“She left, didn’t she?” Belial said. Madeline and Lyra looked at the waking woman. Madeline nodded sadly.
“We should go find her! We can’t let a ten year old girl alone in a forest.” Lyra said and she stomped her feet.
“We can’t…we have to save Stephanie and Blade.” The nun said. Belial nodded. Lyra also nodded sadly and the group grabbed their stuff and headed off.

Tabby yawned and looked out again at the entrance of the Black Order Base. She scratched her head and leaned back on her chair. Dan had told her that backup would be coming. That was three days ago. She groaned and heard a door open and close. Tabby turned around to see Ying coming toward her. Tabby waved to Ying but got no response. Tabby turned from the girl and looked back out the entrance.
“Tabitha, there are people here to see you.” Ying mumbled. Tabby turned around to see a large black man followed by two children.
“Who are you?”
“My name is Ty. I am an Exorcist from the European Brach.” The man said.
“You must be my backup!” Ty nodded. Tabby looked behind the new Exorcist to find two short children. “Who are they?”
“This is Ewan and this is Ellie. They are my twin children. Ellie is a very nice girl and bakes cookies. Ewan’s diet consisted of dirt and worms.”
“We’re Finders!” The boy cheered as he held up a peace sign with his fingers. Tabby patted the boy’s head.
“That’s great…” She muttered. Ewan pulled away from Tabby.
“She’s scary!” He screamed. Ellie laughed and walked up to Tabby.
“I’m Ellie, what’s your name?”
“You can call me Tabby.” Ellie smiled and pulled a plastic bag out of her pack.
“I baked cookies.” Ellie said. Ewan ran up holding his own plastic bag.
“I made mud pies!” Tabby looked from the boy and the girl.
“I like you.” Tabby said pointing at the girl. “I don’t like you.” Tabby said to the boy. Ewan frowned and started to eat one of his mud pies. “How old are you anyway?”
“We’re this many.” Ellie said as she held up seven fingers. Tabby smiled and noticed Ying walking away.
“You have pretty hair.” Tabby said as she grabbed Ellie’s dark hair.
“Don’t touch her hair!” Ty yelled. Tabby let go of Ellie’s hair and backed up.
“Okay…little overprotective there.” Tabby mumbled. Ty’s left eye started to twitch. Tabby looked at the man to see a bag like thing on the Exorcist’s back.
“What’s that?” The young Exorcist asked.
“Oh, this is my quiver. It holds my arrows.” Ty said as he pulled the quiver off to show Tabby.
“Why do you need arrows?”
“For my Innocence. My Innocence is an equipment type. I have a golden bow that’s shots these arrows at the speed of light.” Ty pulled off his back a golden bow. He grabbed an arrow and shot it at the wall. It moved really fast. It hit the wall with a thud.
“Wow…” Tabby mumbled. Ty smiled and put his bow away. The man turned away from Tabby to look down at his kids. He patted Ewan’s head and stroked Ellie’s face. Ty seemed like a nice father. Tabby looked down at her feet. She wished her father could be like Ty. “Where’s their mother?” Tabby asked. Ty turned and looked at Tabby. He looked back at his kids and told them to look around the base. “Is something the matter?”
“My wife is dead. She was killed by a Noah named Skin Bolic…It hasn’t been the same since that day.” Ty muttered.
“I’m sorry…what was her name?”
“Her name was Jessi. She was a bookwoman in the European Brach. I met her there after I was taken out of Jamaica.”
“Taken out of Jamaica? What do you mean?” Tabby asked.
“General Sokaro found me in Jamaica and took me to Europe when I was fourteen where I joined the Black Order.” The dreadlocked man said.
“I’m fourteen!” Tabby said.
“That’s too young. Children shouldn’t be on the battlefield.” Tabby moaned.
“I’m fine. I have an easy job. Protecting the base. Rin, Eny, Lyra, and Madeline are the ones with the hard jobs. I wish I could help.”
“You’re helping them by protecting the base.” Tabby nodded. “So where your leader?” Ty asked.
“Oh, he went missing.” Tabby said.
“And where is second in command?”
“Missing in action.”
“So who is here?” Ty asked as he scratched his head.
“Well…there’s me. Then, Ying who is a healer. And also Zeran who’s in a coma and Riena who’s not part of the Black Order. Everyone else is pretty much captured or on missions.”
“Wow you really do need my help.” Tabby smiled and the Jamaican man smiled back. Ying came back later and took Ty to his room. Tabby was left alone at the entrance. She was happy how the day had gone.

Eny stopped running to catch her breath. She dropped her bazooka and fell to the ground. She couldn’t believe she had just ran away from Madeline and Lyra. But Eny knew she did the right thing. Eny didn’t trust Belial. That’s why she ran to run. She feared Belial would lead them into a trap. Eny wanted to find her on way to save her cat. She stood up and heard the sound of rushing water. Eny followed the noise until she found a small stream. She ran toward it and got a drink and started to wash her face. Eny looked down at the water in her hands. It was red. Eny screamed and backed away. She looked at the stream. The water was full of blood. Eny looked toward the middle where it looked like a man floated. “Oh my God…” Eny ran into the water and pulled the man out of the water. “Flames!” Flames slowly opened his eyes.
“Eny?” Eny nodded. Flames sat up and looked around. “Are you alone?” He asked. Eny nodded again and looked at Flames’ torso. His Exorcist uniform was cut at the chest. A deep gash was along his chest. He had a cut across his left eye. His arms looked numb and broken. His right leg was had a large slash across it.
“What happened to you?” Eny asked.
“I was tortured…” Flames mumbled. Eny looked around and then helped Flames up.
“You should head back to Base. I’ll go on alone.”
“I can still fight…I need to help Blade and Stephanie.” Flames said. Eny nodded and she went to get her bazooka. Flames started to walk and the two of them headed out toward the Noah Base.

Madeline, Lyra, John, Belial, and the other Finders walked slowly to the Noah base. Belial was going to show them a way into the base. Belial led them to the back of the base. She slowly opened a door and led them inside. Madeline looked around ready for an ambush. Lyra held up her staff ready to fight.
“Down this way.” Belial said. Madeline nodded and they continued to walk in the Noah Base. It was silence in the halls. No one spoke or made any noise until there was a flash. One of the Finders dropped dead.
“What?! We’re under attack!!” John yelled. Madeline and Lyra looked around for the enemy. There was another flash and the other Finder fell to the ground dead. There was another flash and the Noah Jacques appeared before them. The guardians stood behind him. Jacques grinned.
“Magier will be pleased when I bring her new toys.”

Yep there's my first chapter. Hope you liked it.

Hey guys! I really wish I could submit this chapter under the deathshadow name. I don't want Amaterasu to do anything to Stephanie :tear

Sorry this won't be so long but I based most of this chapter on the feeling of growing up, maybe you'll get it or maybe you won't but I think I made it kind of obvious


Flames was aching while still struggling to comprehend the mere fact that he was alive. Jacques the Noah leader in the North American territories had plunged the lance of the ancients deep into his chest and then shocked him putting him into a sensory overload that put him out into a sleep that was sure to be death. Now groping around in the darkness of his cage he wasn't so sure he was alive.

Maybe this is death... he pondered, but after kicking the cage to test his theory he quickly came to the conclusion that he wasn't.

He held onto the bars tightly just for a little contact to know that he was alive. This form of torture the Noah had inflicted on him was horrendous just by the violation of his body through unconsented surgery, but the psychological torture it was inflicting was deep and primal. The need for touch was an essential need at every human’s core, and deep from within his soul he could feel the loneliness permeating throughout his entire being.

He reached down and padded his one of his hands on the floor searching for the discarded Innocence that Jacques had thrown aside next to, what he thought was, a lifeless corpse. His fingers grazed the pole of the spear and he extended his fingers pulling the pole towards him. Slowly it inched closer until it was finally in his grasp. Holding the spear he didn't feel the usual spark of the Innocence through his veins, he twirled it about a bit but still no spark. Then holding tightly onto the cage and spear he maneuvered himself around the cage feeling for the lock. When he came about the entrance he gave it a little pressure and the door flew open throwing Flames out into the middle of nothing.

The opacity of the surrounding darkness was as solid as the bars he had held moments ago. Fear was welling up inside him, never had he acted in this manner. His whole life he was used as a weapon of war in disputes between tribes seeing battle after battle he was well acquainted with the face of death and even as an exorcist he's witnessed things that stirred fear, but never fear in the way he was receiving now. Just being separated from the hard cold bars of his cage made part of him want to run back to them in fear of what lies in wait in the dark the other part felt like he had to escape or else he might die here in the dark and alone. He stood up slowly his legs realized just how much he had depended on those bars because his legs were struggling to hold his weight. He made a step forward and stumbled onto a wall and the room light up. He turned to catch a glimpse of a small spark of electricity between his fingertip and the switch and it then disappeared, leaving the lights on.

With the room now exposed for what it was, he didn’t feel as fearful as he did before. He turned around and picked up his spear and investigated the room. He looked around and the room was bare except for the cage and an operating table nearby. The table was stained with blood of which Flames could only deduce was that of his own. Lycanthropy was activating and his sense of smell was sharpening he could smell the blood of 10 other people on the table, he could only send out a prayer for their departed souls.

He left the room carrying his spear and walked down a long hallway, it led to another room which was filled with bloody uniforms and its walls were lined with surgical materials, it seemed as though the crude tools in the room behind were used as another form of torture. Resigned Flames found another door that lead into an empty room. It was just a dark room with absolutely nothing. Flames backtracked and found another door in the room with the bloody uniforms. He walked through it and he felt a tingle on his skin, and lights flickered on revealing a hallway surrounded by glass.
The hallway was long and it had a door on the other end so Flames proceeded. As he walked he observed the aquatic life because it was a wonderful view. As he continued along the undersea corridor he heard a pounding, and he turned around wary of enemies. That’s when he noticed a huge fish banging against the window. His gaze was transfixed on the creature because he was sure of the fact that it wasn’t a fish.

“Eeeeexooooorciiist, I could smell that nasty Innocence before but now I know where the stink has come from.” The thing said through the glass.

Flames realized at once that this fish like creature was no fish but an oversized akuma that was about attack. He began to move as fast as his legs could take him to the door on the other end of the hallway but the fish just head butted the glass sending thousands of gallons of water into the tube which swept Flames off his feet and slammed him into the door he was running to. The fish akuma swam into the tube swiftly and snatched Flames in his jaws, and smashing back out of the glass. The akuma was moving through the water at an incredible speed but his werewolf innocence had been activated and he was beginning to use his arms and legs to force the creatures’ mouth wide open, but the akuma’s jaws were incredibly strong beginning to shatter the bones in Flames arms. Flames then noticed a soft glow form the back of the creatures throat and before he realized what was going on he was shot out of the akumas mouth so hard and fast that from the bottom of the lake he was breaking the surface in a matter of seconds and then slapping the surface of the water where he floated lifelessly. The akuma wasn’t finished yet its spiked tail wrapped around his leg and pulled him under. Flame eyes had trouble seeing under the water and he felt something swimming and then all of a sudden he heard the akumas throaty voice.

“Exorcist, you disappoint me” He took his tail and swiped it across one of Flames eyes. “I was looking forward to a battle but your just…cold fish” The akuma couldn’t help but stop and chuckle at his little joke and then he took his tail and slid it slowly this time across Flames chest reopening the wound that had healed but as soon as he finished a shot of electricity shot through Flames, as it hit the water it was conducted throughout and it killed the akuma. Flames eyes began to close as his body floated weightlessly in the water his body rising at a snail pace, his blood clouding the water. He didn’t have to worry about other predators in the lake for the akuma could have killed them already or if he had extended grace on the creature that blast of electricity sure killed everything in the lake. Then Flames broke the surface his lungs gasping for air. He tried to swim to shore but his arms were broken so he just sat there lying until.

“Oh my god!”

2 hours earlier.
Jacques looked at the exorcist in front of him. The girl was hurt.
Both physically and mentally and now he decided to kill her soul forever.
“I decided to give you your innocence back my dear lady. With it I give you the opportunity to join me.”
He put the shiny cube on his lips and kissed it and suddenly it became dull and unsettling.
“I gave it my special charm. With it it will be a lot more powerful
but if you ever intend to betray me the outcome will be the same as with the poor Suman Dark.”
With a smile Jacques left the tent the innocence was now again in the ribbons as if it never left.
But instead of the flashy pink colour the ribbons turned pitch black.

Again the situation turned worse. Luck was never really on their side but this time it really screwed with all of them.
“Everyone! Don’t even think of fighting. Run from him. Madeline create a barrier.”
Lyra said to her team mates.
A Blue barrier erected between the exorcists and the Noah.
Jacques smiled and tried a swift strike against the blue cube in front of him.
To his surprise it bends a bit but it did not shatter.
“I changed its state. It changes the direction of the enemies power.
He can’t destroy it and or walk around it. Let’s run now.”
“We can’t just run away again we lost that munchkin already!
Lets get inside the camp and start our diversion plan.
Belle put something on fire now! Then show us where the captives are.”
Belle took her baton and started chanting.
“Innocence activate! Foxfire!”

Dozens of small fire foxes shot of the baton’s tip and ran through the camp.
Screams and explosions of burning Akuma’s where heard.
“The woman is in the tent in front of us.
Ameratsu-sama should be bathing now so the there is no one in it except her.
The bookman’s cell was not on my patrol so I don’t know where it is.
The wolfman was about 2 miles north of here on an island in a small lake”,
Belle tried to talk while they where running through the camp.
Slowly she ran out of breath and slowed down and need Madeline’s help to keep up.

The tent was like an oven.
Stephanie tried to take a glimpse out of the tent but Ameratsu,
out of an unexplainable whim, tied her on his bed to “get used to his bed sheets” as he explained it.
Fermium rested on her chest and its weight made breathing harder as it already was.
Suddenly the tent opening flew open and suddenly the barely clothed Steph was surrounded by Madeline,
and unknown pink haired exorcist and one of the Noah’s companions.

“We need to get her of the bed and then run north.
Could someone put the cat in a basket or something? Munchkin will kill us if we leave it here” said Lyra and began untying the girl.
Comforted by the finders Stephanie began leaving the tent that gave her some of the worst nightmares.
The tent where her wish to give peace to a certain someone moved forever out of her reach.

I hope the chapter was worth the waiting. To purify the ribbons again Steph needs to meet Hevlaska btw

Chapter 86 - Out of control

First of all, I am sorry that I did not finish this chapter but let it as short as it is now. It still can be considered as having an ending though, it's not that I cut it off all of sudden.
Just, my brain is completely empty and school's killing me, resp. I am feeling kinda...exhausted when I come home every day.
I will still put all my effort in our superb, amazing, wonderful story :grin
Sorry for letting you wait for so long. Snooge, just go ahead with the battles. I am sure you enjoy writing them.

Dawn was already breaking when Lione dragged the sleeping Anlen into her cabin, passing by drunken and seemingly in coma being akuma and human. The party that had taken place the last hours was surely entertaining, nonetheless Lione did never see such an amount of bottles filled with alcohol being emptied within such a short period of time. The deck was a bog of stinking men, empty bottles and puddles of rum. The exorcist had to make every effort to shovel his way to the door of Anlen's room. Finally arrived, the man took Anlen from his shoulders and steered her onto the wooden chair behind the table in the middle of the room. He fished her red coat from the chair back and covered the peaceful sleeping girl with it. In doing so, a small glassy phial dropped out of the pocket, landing on the floor. Recognizing the phial, Lione bent down in order to lift it. It was the same bottle he had seen during the drinking orgy. Several times, it appeared in Anlen's hand and then back into her pocket. He was interested in the clear liquor, so Lione opened the phial and smelled sweet herbs, the same scent he had picked up on back that time. He felt kind of dizzy when the scent went through his nose and affected every single nerve in his body, so he had to hang on to the table to avoid collapsing onto the floor. Lione breathed deeply, thinking about the effect of this liquor on the body and he did not even drink of it. His blurred look wandered to the huge mirror that stood in a corner of the room. The erstwhile curtain had been removed and the view was free. The mirror revealed an absurd and completely anomalous image. Although Anlen was sleeping peacefully, Lione stared into the face of a firm counterpart which looked at Lione with an asking light shining within the eyes that were of the colour of the sea.
"What the-", Lione said but could not end the sentence due to the appeal Anlen's mirror image displayed. This attraction caused the male exorcist to approach the mirror but before he could touch the glassy surface, it disappeared in a sea of colours. Instead, a clear night sky was shown. The stars shone bright and the crescent smiled at a person who stood all alone on deck of a beautiful yet ghosty ship. By taking a clear look, Lione recognized the person on deck. It was Anlen who was blessed with the same beauty as always but with a sadder look mirrored in the face. This unknown view caused Lione to approach the mirror in a way that his nose almost touched its surface. Anlen was still sleeping peacefully behind his back, just muttering some incomprehensible syllables from time to time.
However, the Anlen displayed in the mirror did not sleep as peaceful as her counterpart but was holding the precious silvery gun in her right hand. Her look wandered between the barrel and the trigger several times before she finally lifted it and pointed the barrel at her head, shortly above the temple. Words like "one last time", "die" and "why" reached Lione's ear before he shrinked back due to Anlen's sudden doing. She had shot through her head and a fountain of blood splashed out of the wound. As fast as it had happened as suddenly the blood stopped splashing but slowly continued to create a little puddle under her head when the girl ungently landed on the wooden floor. The sudden gunshot caught the attention of some members of her crew. When they saw their captain lying motionless on the wet floor, they immediately called the ship's doctor, being in scared stiff and afraid of the captain's death. But strangely, after some hours treating the gash that should have been deadly, Anlen was lying unconscious but alive on the white-sheeted bed in her cabin. The sailors looked queryingly at their doctor who was just able to shook his head. He could not explain why she was still alive as well as he was unsure about the strange symbols that had occured on her body after she had shot herself.
"I have absolutely no idea what those symbols are", the doctor said worried.
"Maybe her body was overacting due to the mass of alcohol she's drinking the last days", a sailor that stood at the bedhead, said. "I wonder why she drinks that much anyway."
The doctor sighed, stood up and the wooden chair released a crunching sound. "Washing away the sorrow with unnecessary methods but causing more pain and sorrow, is what such kind of people try to achieve. Covering or rather pushing their problems to the back of the mind is their unperceived intention. One day, those people will wither away, collapse, then break down mentally. If no one is around to ease the pain, the person will turn into a living puppet."
Lione stumbled back when the image blurred anew and the glass revealed his own mirror image, turning back to its original function. He had to take a deep breath and calm down from the experience. He decided that being together with Anlen was surely full of unforeseen events, as amazing as frightening.
"This ship's finishing me off", Lione thought.
Nonetheless, bribed by curiosity and animated by the vision, he stepped closer to Anlen who was still asleep. Kind of afraid, kind of stimulated, the exorcist unbuttoned Anlen's white flounced top. An unknown feeling rose within the exorcist. He did want to discover the truth, with every conceivable method. The Noahs were still a secret to the Order. On the one hand, they were human, on the other hand, they owned unhuman skills just as the exorcists did. They never showed any feelings towards humanity and, from what Lione had learnt within the last days, they seemingly were immortal or at least were able to overcome centuries. Or was it an attribute just chosen Noah or maybe even Anlen only possessed? Lione knew that in their research department, there were enough people who would love to analyze a Noah's body. If it was a female one, the better. Lione stopped in his action and let two buttons the way they were, holding the top together. He did not know if he was able to turn her in, the girl he thought he had fallen in love with. The longer he stared at her face, the more human features he could spot. Soft skin, black eyelashes, rosy lips and ...drool!
The exorcist laughed into his sleeve and dashed away the drool with his ball of the hand. Anlen was incorrigible, Lione thought. Just when a warm-hearted smile appeared on his face, he felt a cold slap in it. Deadly irony.
He smashed into a pile of old books caused by the strength in Anlen's hand. While he was lying there, a book decorating his head, he was afraid that Anlen might think about something awkward when she noticed her half-open shirt. Praising his bad luck, Anlen did think of something that caused Lione definitely trouble.
"You perv", she screamed, approaching him.
With every step the Noah came closer, the exorcist backed off till the wall put a spoke in his wheel. Again, he slipped into a very awkward position due to his curiosity. He could not explain it himself. Actually, he was a shy person who was loath to displeasing risks. The girl collared him -oh how he was afraid of situations like this- and began to shake him like a cocktail.
"Do. Not. Dare. To. Even. Think. About. Such. A .Thing", Anlen shouted and slabbed in his face two or three times. If this was going on, he would eventually die earlier than expected. But suddenly, Anlen stopped and Lione was risking a slight look at her. Her face was pale, her body was trembling. Her look wasn't directed at Lione but a book that lay at his side.
Almost whispering, Anlen faced the man.
"Why is this book here?", she asked, reaching for it absent-minded and lifted the log book. "I thought I had thrown it away long time ago."
While Anlen was eyeing up the book like a long missed precious treasure, Lione took advantage of the situation and escaped from the girl's grip. Although the door of escape was ablazed with the light of hope, it shattered in pieces when Anlen instinctively tripped the man up causing him to fly, circling and looping as so often the last days, and smash into some shelves. Everything rotated in front of Lione's eyes while Anlen let snap the book, approached him and hid the book somewhere among the others on the shelve. The girl kneeled down and smiled, touching his dizzy head with her soft hands, stroking his cheek. Change of frame of mind within some seconds!

"We'll go ashore, soon, aye?", Anlen announced. "Be prepared to accompany me, little boy. It will be a hell of fun."
Those words in mind, she turned around. Seemingly happier than before. She did not notice that Lione had his head on straight and wanted to use his possible last chance. He drew the remaining sword out of the globe and stabbed through Anlen's back, piercing her heart. Anlen had not been prepared or thought of any surprise attack, so she had not been able to act just in time. She felt her blood dropping along the cold blade, escaping from her heart. Drool mixed with blood dripped out of the corner of her mouth. Such a familiar feeling, she thought before she fainted and hit the floor ungently.
Lione threw the sword carelessly away, turned her body around and unbuttoned the top wholly. Starting from the wound, strange lines began to cover the pirate's whole body and gleam in a mysterious blue colour.

"There they are", Lione almost shouted, being taken in by rapture while the blood still dropped, creating a puddle of red colour on the floor. It almost looked insane. Only when Anlen's face was contorted with pain, the exorcist realized what he had done. Although the wound at her heart where the sword had pierced the flesh began to close itself very quickly, the pain did not seem to vanish from her face. The lines were pulsating like a heartbeat causing more and more pain.
"Such a beautiful and kind face isn't allowed to feel any sorrow", Lione thought panicky and the rapture disappeared immediately. He touched her body, felt that it was unhuman cold and embraced her tightly.
"I'm so sorry", he whispered.

Author’s Notes
I couldn't wait ^^;; Besides what better way to spend my 2600th post than on my chapter

Battle setups take a long time to write and consume a lot of pages. But consider this as a way to make up for some short chapters ^^

This is going to be an extremely slow chapter, focusing just on background info and character development. However, the creepiness factor will still remain and hopefully, any questions will be answered especially ones that concerned my last chapter.

FYI, Parts One, Two, and Three take place a little bit before the battle. The rest are in accordance to the chronological order and I’m sure you can match the events of each part up accordingly.


Chapter Eighty-Seven: Like Lambs Led to the Slaughter

Part One
”I’m telling you, we’re going the wrong way!” exasperated Rinvak as she chased after the two exorcists in front of her. Rolling her eyes, she wondered why she bothered to waste her saliva when her words were falling on deaf ears. The girl couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed with the responsibility assigned to her by Madeline. Delay the brigand was all that her friend had asked. And the girl was trying her best to fulfill the nun’s wishes but it seemed that Zane was always a step or two ahead of her. “Besides, we should rest; there is no point to ride these horses to the point of exhaustion.”

The two quarter horses in front of her stopped abruptly which almost caused the girl to get thrown off hers. Gripping the reins tightly with her hands, she looked up at her comrades and snapped, “What was that for?” Without turning around, Zane answered in his deep voice, “You said that you wanted to rest so we’ll do that for your amusement.” He jumped off his steed, petting its face gently. He did not want to admit to Rinvak that she had raised a valid point—there was no reason to work these horses to death. They all needed to rest for the coming dangers he predicted they would face.

“We’ll rest here for ten minutes before starting up again,” he continued as he led his horse to a stream; he could hear the gentle ripples as they crashed against the water surface. “Do whatever business that you need to do.” By this time, Daniel had also gotten off his stallion and began rummaging through his belongings for some food. Zane had driven them so hard that he was famished.

Tossing some beef jerky to Rinvak, he offered, “Eat this. You’ll need this for strength.” Not expecting this, the female exorcist juggled the food before throwing it back to the boy. She was still angry at him for his betrayal even if it was for the Black Order’s “benefit”. Daniel looked surprised and hurt, muttering aloud why his friend was being so difficult and stubborn. Didn’t she realize that they were in the same boat, he thought. They may have different ideas on how to help Madeline and the others out but they all were concerned about them.

“I’m not hungry,” she curtly replied as she covered her growling stomach, causing the boy to sigh in resignation. She turned her attention to the man whose heavy black coat stood out against the water reflection. “Why on earth are we heading in this direction? There’s nothing but forest and mountain here. Wouldn’t it make sense for the others to go east and escape abroad?” Rinvak bit her lips, hoping that this logic would work against Zane. He was far more calculating and difficult far from the other exorcists that she and others were used to encountering.

Zane dipped his hands into the water, noting how refreshing it felt against his skin. Without acknowledging the girl’s presence, he explained, “The Noah camp would be in an area that would make it difficult for enemies to attack. Surrounded by mountains and dense forest would make it hard for attacking armies to convey on an area. That renegade and her misguided followers are heading there, right? It would make sense that they would go here for a kamikaze mission.” He splashed the stream violently, startling the horses that were relaxing in its tranquility.

Cocking his head arrogantly, he laughed and added, “I guess I would rather do that than get court-martialed by the Black Order. Death is a better answer.” Pissing off Rinvak was becoming quite a fun hobby. Like any woman, she’ll spill her beans once someone has rattled her enough. The exorcist felt someone throw something past him and frowned. If he was head of the North American branch, such behavior would be severely punished. Lione was a truly weak leader…

“They’re doing a lot more than you’ll ever do in your crummy life,” hissed Rinvak. She felt Daniel holding her back, whispering that she should calm down. The boy stopped as he noticed that Zane held his hand up, telling him that it was okay. “The girl is just frustrated that’s all,” the man said as he climbed back onto his saddle.

“Let’s go!” he commanded as he pointed to the north. Daniel immediately got onto his horse, followed by a reluctant Rinvak. “We’re going the wrong way,” she complained as she chased after them. She prayed a secret prayer that maybe Madeline and others were okay and that maybe these boys will get lost in the forest. She would laugh if these events came true.

Suddenly, the horses reared upwards upon hearing a loud explosion in the distance. Smoke and flames were spotted 50 miles (80467.2 meters) away. Startled, the girl wondered out loud, “What was that?” The exorcist estimated that it would take 4-6 hours for get to that location even if the horses were moving at their fastest speed. By that time, whatever was happening was either nearing its end or finished. She turned to see the man’s smirking. “So are we still going the wrong way?”

Part Two
The girl winced in pain as she squeezed the pillows for support. His visits were becoming more frequent, his stays longer. And every time he came, he had one thing in mind and each time he got what he wanted. Today, he was quite forceful, causing the bed to rock and she wasn’t sure if her body could handle his demands.

Despite her best efforts to keep silence during the whole ordeal, she could not suppress the cry that escaped her lips as he bit her neck. Stephanie heard him chuckle as he towered over her with that clownish smile. The girl recalled the first time she saw that grin and she shivered.

.::. flashback begins .::.

It was cold that night but it wasn’t the chill that had awoken her. Stephanie felt like someone was trying to smother her entire body and she opened her eyes in a daze. Her vision still blurred, she at first thought that she was still in a dream with Blade looking over her. Confused, she reached out for him only to realize her mistake; the Noah had returned but he was in an irrational state of mind. She could smell the alcohol on his breath and noted his glazed eyes.

Frightened she tried her best to push him away only to have him become more violent. Pleas of “Please stop” and “Don’t do this” had no effects on Amaterasu and soon the girl felt extreme pain shooting through her body from her lower extremities. Blood stained the sheets and her white dress and continued to spread. As she stared in horror at her bloody hands, she noticed that smile bearing down on her. It was at the moment she knew that all of her efforts were in vain and that she could not have stopped the inevitable—she was now his.

.::. flashback ends .::.

“That a girl,” he whispered in her ears as he stroked her face. The Noah admired how the blood was rushing to it, giving her cheeks a healthy red glow. In the back of his mind, he scolded himself for not trying what he had done sooner; if he had, perhaps he would have tasted the fruit of his victory much earlier. Amaterasu lifted his body slightly and looked at his trophy’s face. She refused to look directly at him, appearing ashamed yet resigned to her fate. He kissed her forehead and laid his head onto her chest.

As he held her, he closed his eyes and focused on her heartbeat. The sound was therapeutic to him, fascinating him with its hypnotic rhythm. In the awkward silence, he held the girl’s bare body tightly, refusing to release her from his grasp despite her attempts to slip away. At that moment he experienced a euphoria that he thought he would have never experienced again.

When he was a child, his mother would embrace him tightly and he felt like he belonged and loved. He was quite happy back then but Amaterasu made the mistake that every child makes—he assumed that his family was also content. At the young age of five, his mother would be thrown out of the mansion and replaced by a much younger mistress who was just fifteen years older than he. Apparently, his father had grown tired of his wife and like his son in the future, had an affinity for young girls.

After that incident, he felt isolated and confused—feelings which still echoed today with his new “family”. Despite his stepmother’s attempt to befriend him, the young British aristocrat hated her and his father and blamed them for the dissolution of his perceived happy family. The rage inside him grew as he matured and he decided that the best way to get back at his father was to exact his revenge on the young blond half-sister that his new parents had conceived long before their union became official.

Amaterasu had no idea how long he laid there, reminiscing of his past but he figured that it was probably too long for any of his siblings’ liking. He hadn’t heard from them in a while but that could be partially his fault; he was too busy taking care of his needs and ignored their orders that the akuma messengers had sent. The Noah jolted off the bed and began dressing quickly. From his mirror, he noticed the exorcist wrapping herself with the red sheets, her maroon dress lying somewhere on the floor. White was no longer appropriate for a girl of her stature.

“You got what you wanted. Fulfill your end of the bargain,” Stephanie angrily said, her eyes looking down at the bed. Even though she tried to make her voice sound strong and determined, it cracked, undermining her message. She felt dirty, embarrassed, and violated as she recalled all the adult activities she had committed on that bed. Her skin tingled at the thought of her actions. The girl hated that Noah for everything he had done to her. However, she hated herself more for allowing all these things to happen to her.

Amaterasu turned to face her, smirking. His trophy had not spoken to him in a while after their first night together but in spite of coldness, she allowed him to enter her without any resistance. It was nice to know that the girl was still a rebel and not a docile maid; he could still have fun breaking her. As he buttoned his shirt, he cried out, “Why should I fulfill my end of the bargain? As far as I know, I had to initiate our relationship and everything else that followed. Besides, why would that Bookman want you? You’re technically impure to him now.”

He continued to eye the girl with his mirror of his vanity; she was clutching the sheets in front of her legs as if she was trying to prevent entry. What a silly girl, he thought as he walked past the bed. It was unavoidable after all. “However,” he persisted, “if you are good with the art of persuasion, I might reconsider.”

The boy sat on the bed and began crawling towards her. He was hungry and his siblings could wait for a bit more; it wasn’t like there was an emergency or anything. Amaterasu watched in amusement as Stephanie backed away until she hit the headboard. When he moved over her, she shuddered, knowing what was going to happen in the coming minutes. His hands were pushing down on her thighs as he inched closer, his breath stinging her face.

She enveloped her arms around his neck and kissed him; there was no point in resisting since it only caused him to be more aggressive. She would have to bear with the pain and guilt a bit longer. As she brought him down with her to the mattress, the Noah smiled to himself as he moved down her neck. Maybe he had successfully broken her.

Part Three
”Lord Amaterasu!” cried the akuma as she entered the Noah’s tent. Earlier in the morning, strange noises had been heard coming from his chamber and everyone knew that it would be best not to disturb him. The consequences would be deadly. However, this was not the time to care; after all, war does not wait for the unprepared.

Much to the akuma’s relief, she only walked into a boy laying on the bed, a girl clinging onto him. His shirt was unbuttoned, revealing a sculpted body which was not as chiseled as his brother’s body but was adequate enough. It appeared that the akuma had only disturbed his sleep since his eyes opened while his trophy did not stirred.

“What do you want?” angrily demanded Amaterasu as he stroked the girl’s midnight hair which flowed down her thin, scarlet dress. He wanted to relax and enjoy the quiet moments but his brother just had to ruin it. Big brothers really know how to make their little brothers’ lives miserable.

With a straight face, the akuma answered, “Lord Jacques and Lady Magier wish that you would leave your whore and assist them in their current situation.” Her eyes kept observing the scene, keeping mental notes that she could give to her mistress. The scene before her was similar to the mess that Magier had created whenever Jacques visited at night. However, it was best if the akuma not mention these similarities to the two siblings. Such things were best left unsaid.

Amaterasu laughed and admonished, “Is that what you call your own sister? Such description is quite derisory even if she does her job well. How bad could this situation be if my siblings need my help?” He looked down at Stephanie who was still sleeping, her head resting on his chest; it’s been a while since he had been entertained and had felt needed.

The doppelganger made a stern face; it appeared that the Noah had been successful and had grown attached. The other akuma and human followers have gotten hold of his obsession and circulated rumors about the unholy relationship between Amaterasu and her sister. She had taken heat from a few who accuse her of promoting it in order to move up in the Noahs’ favors or have mocked her for her sister’s promiscuous ways. These thought sickened her and she angrily replied, “The apostles of the Black Order have infiltrated the camp, you ass!” “Stephanie” raised her ribbons, aiming them at the boy. How could he be so selfish and think only of himself in these circumstances? Had he forgotten his purpose in North America?

The Noah looked at the akuma and frowned. He sometimes questioned her loyalty and wondered if her sisterly instinct still remained. She had attacked him earlier when it was rumored that he had slept with Magier’s then trophy; now she was threatening him again after she had perceived what had occurred “behind closed doors”. Yet another reason why he was upset with her dealt with the fact her outburst had done what he feared the most. When she made that announcement, he felt the exorcist’s body stiffened, alerting Amaterasu that the girl had heard the news—her friends had come to rescue her and the others.

He cursed his bad luck and rolled off his bed. “Tell my brother that I will be there in a few minutes,” he muttered as he made himself presentable. The akuma nodded and left though her anger was not quelled; her body language disclosed it as she left in a huff. Stupid akuma, he thought as he watched her leave from the corner of his eyes.

Amaterasu quickly buttoned his shirt and fixed his hair. He was always taught that appearance was of utmost importance; one must never let his enemies see him looking like shit. Besides, if the exorcists were here, it would mean that his cat’s original owner would be present. The boy couldn’t wait to meet her.

“They finally came,” mumbled a voice as the Noah headed towards the exit. Hearing such a shocked voice disturbed him and he turned around to see Stephanie leaning against the bed post. Her body was full of mixed emotion ranging from stunned to anger. If they had come earlier, if she had known that they had not abandoned them, she would not have endured what she had gone through. She clenched her fists in anger. Why couldn’t she have waited a bit longer?

Seeing such a transformation displeased Amaterasu and he rushed towards her before she could react. He slammed her down to the bed with his body. The boy berated, “Don’t think that I’ll let you go that easily. Your friends can’t save you since we will kill them before they get the chance.” He tightened his grips around her wrists in order to hold her down. Before he entered the battlefield, he had to extinguish any hope that she had—that was the first fight he had to finish.

Her shouts echoed throughout the tent and he slowly got off her. Amaterasu tightened his belt as he walked away. Stephanie laid on the bed, gasping for air; it was just like that one night again. She struggled to sit up, pulling her skirt down with one hand and covering her chest with the other. The girl looked like a mess with her disheveled hair and torn dress. Staring at his back, the exorcist screamed, “I hope you die today.”

She noticed the black ribbons laying on the nightstand next to the bed; they appeared to be calling for her, tempting her with the idea of revenge. When his brother was out and she laid on the bed in a dazed state of mind, the head Noah sneaked in to check on his brother’s progress. He must have known the damage that Amaterasu had done for he smirked as he examined her. Unlike his brother, it appeared to the girl Jacques was gentle and charming; he didn’t take advantage of her weakened state. Instead, he comforted her and assured her that her suffering would be over if she heeded his words. Still, it puzzled her why he would return her Innocence and more importantly, why would he believe that she would join him.

Stephanie quickly grabbed the ribbons and activated them. This was not the time to question the Noah’s actions and if she could kill her captor, she would at that instance. Her Innocence felt different as if it was denser, more bloodthirsty. However, she believed that it was because she hadn’t used it in a while. At that moment, she just wanted to kill him for everything he put her through. Unfortunately, Amaterasu expected this and he grabbed the ribbons in midair. As he grasped them, the boy realized what his brother had done and smiled—Jacques was ingenious at times.

He pulled them towards him, causing the girl to slam against his body. Holding her tightly to his chest, he muttered, “Now, now. It’ll take more than a dirty trick like that to defeat me.” The Noah pushed the girl to the bed and quickly tied her up with her Innocence, lying on top of her during the process. As his body grinded against her, she yelped in pain only to have him push harder. Amaterasu lifted himself off her and cupped her cheek. He ripped her dress, leaving only enough to barely cover her as he groped her as she lied helpless. Stephanie tried to struggle only to have him become more aggressive, more forceful; he had to put her in her place after all. As he licked her ear, he whispered, “Get used to these bedsheets.”

Quickly satisfied, he kissed her for a long time to ensure that her taste will linger on his tongue before heading towards the exit. The boy chuckled as he opened the tent flap. That girl was quite unpredictable, being malleable one day, unruly the next. However, that quick session had rejuvenated him and at the moment, he felt invincible. He turned slightly and sinisterly countered, “Don’t worry, my dear, about my safety. When I come back, we’ll celebrate my victory.”

Part Four
The walk was treacherous, with danger lurking around every twist and turn. Still, this was the best way to get back to the camp; no one would expect them coming from the mountains after all. As he carefully watched his step, Flames hated to admit that the Noahs did pick an ideal location for their base—surrounded by rocky plateaus and dense forests, traveling was nearly impossible for those who were not familiar with the terrain.

He heard “Ooooooooooo” and turned just in time to catch Eny who had slipped from stepping on a loose rock. “Careful now,” he kindly admonished. “The last thing we need to is alert the enemies of our location or to injure ourselves.” The exorcist gently placed the girl on solid ground and scanned the area. The wind was blowing his hair in all directions, distracting him a bit. However, he could adequately see the location of the camp, which appeared to be buzzing with activity. It appeared that some people decided to shake things up early.

“Damn it,” Flames cursed under his breath as he jumped down from his ledge toward Eny’s location. “Why did they attack so early? They should have waited for us since there is strength in numbers.” From what his comrade had told him, there were only two exorcists, three Finders, and a defector from the Noah side; that wasn’t enough to battle an entire camp full of the Earl’s most loyal and strongest supporters.

Eny frowned as she chased after the man who had run ahead of her. He was moving at swift speed and she was barely able to catch up. How could someone who was so injured move so quickly? Maybe he was truly a werewolf. As she followed him, she huffed, “I bet it was that Belial girl who betrayed them. I should have killed her while I had the chance.” She recalled how she was going to shot the former angel that one night only to be caught by John. If only he didn’t see her…

Suddenly, her companion stopped, causing her to slam into his rock solid body. She looked at his face only to see a stern expression. “Why did you leave Madeline and Lyra? That’s really childish of you to abandon them over one silly incident. Though I must admit, I shouldn’t place the blame on you. They should have come after you instead of rushing into battle so misguided,” He sighed and sat down on a fallen tree. This whole experience was too overwhelming and stressful. In his mind, he thought of all the scenarios that could be happening at the camp and unfortunately, they were the worst classes. Perhaps, the gravity of the situation and these feelings that were causing him to act out were the same exact reasons that forced Madeline and the others to behave irrationally.

Hearing sniffles close by, Flames looked up and noticed that Eny looked like she was going to burst into tears at any moment. It appeared that he was blaming her for the entire situation and maybe he had a point. After all, it was her obsession with finding her lost cat that helped undermine the destruction of the Black Order base and allowed her friends to get captured and hurt. Now it seemed that Madeline, Lyra, and the others were in trouble due to her outbursts. All she wanted to do was to be reunited with her cat Fermium and what she left in her wake was a big mess.

The exorcist froze and quickly went to her side to comfort her. For a girl who claimed to be mature, she acted like a child sometimes. “I’m sorry, Eny,” he began. “I’m just worried and aggravated by the situation. I shouldn’t have taken it out on you.” Most of the time under taxing circumstances, he was calm and composed. But he knew that this was different since he had experienced the Noahs’ cruelty first hand. In addition to his knowledge, Flames had heard from his captors what was happening to his comrades and their safety was his priority now. After all, he was the second in command after Lione—someone the native admired greatly.

“I’m all right, geez,” retorted Eny as she slapped his hands away. The girl quickly wiped away her tears and shot a resolved look back at Flames. Even though she was only ten, she imagined herself as a big girl; a little scolding was not supposed to affect her after all. Heck, she wasn’t going to let anything hurt her. The Bookwoman knew what she needed to get done and crying would do absolutely nothing to help her get her cat back.

Flames looked at her quizzically and smiled. “I’m glad that your fighting spirit is back. The last thing I need is an indecisive partner.” He turned in the camp direction and stared into the distance. As they both sprinted to the sea of tents, the exorcist couldn’t shake the feeling that the enemies knew that they were coming.

Part Five
The camp was in utter mayhem with explosions occurring here and there. Panic ensued as the human followers of Jacques scattered in a vain attempt to escape only to be killed by their akuma counterparts. It did not matter if they worship every word of Jacques; if they were of no use to him, they served no purpose. Besides, they were human— weak and undeserving of salvation promised by the Noah.

As their blood stained the ground and their screams diffused through the area, the boy watched, his eyes fixed on the scene. It was surreal and well, beautiful and it made him regretful that he couldn’t record it. He was no artist or writer; the only thing he could do was place this in his memories to enjoy in the future.

Amaterasu sighed and collapsed to the ground; he was growing restless. Normally, he would be taking a bath to purify himself from his dirty acts but Jacques and Magier told him that they needed his help. But it appeared that the only aid they needed was someone to scout the area where the forest met the mountains. What a waste of talent, he angrily thought. Any akuma could do this job. Still, he could not complain about his situation. His siblings did tell him about the coming danger unlike last time. Besides, he preferred watching battles and strategizing them rather than getting dirty. Only uncivilized or poor people did the fighting.

He ran his right hand through his blond hair. Any moment, this fight will be over—another victory claimed by the Earl. More apostles of that false god will have fallen today or at a later time. Unfortunately, that probably meant another lame family dinner in which his brother would toast to their victory and his dumb sister would look on admiringly at Jacques. After suffering through that, the Noah could return to his chambers and continue pleasing himself with his doll. He grinned at the possibilities the night held for him.

Amaterasu lifted himself off the ground, wiping the dirt away from his clothes. It was absolutely pointless to stay in this position when he could have so much fun killing those pathetic humans. His time would at least be spent doing that than sitting around and staring at boring rocks. After all, he had been at this position since dawn and he estimated that he had been there for hours based on the sun’s location in the sky. The boy began to remove his gloves when something caught his eyes.

Several meters below the ledge where he was stationed, a man wearing tattered clothes and a small girl were sprinting towards the camp. The Noah did not recognize them but he didn’t have to know them personally to deduce who they were. His skin darkened to a deep gray and bloody crosses emerged on his forehead. It looked like he was going to play after all.

Part Six
”Don’t do anything risky! We need to find the others and get out of here as soon as possible,” ordered Madeline as she summoned a barrier to protect her group from the barrage of attacks sent by akumas. This mission was the most overwhelming task she had endured but it should have been expected—after all, they did attack the Noah stronghold with little numbers and low expectations of success.

She quickly turned to John who was carrying the first prisoner they had rescued. “How is she doing?” The girl looked pale and sickly; the nun was under the impression that if they hadn’t saved her at that moment, she would have suffered more or worse, died. She tried to shake the image when they entered the tent. An artificial flowery smell attempted to hide a pungent odor. And when she saw Stephanie on the bed tied up, she knew what had happened to the exorcist and she felt guilty for not trying to save her earlier. The girl’s sad face haunted her even now.

Surrounding by the two exorcists and fallen angel, the Finder tried his best to hold the girl tightly and carry the basket which housed Fermium. Her breathing was shallow and her head felt hot to the touch. He had placed his jacket around her to cover her bare body and she appeared confused by the surrounding battle. “She’s still out of it but other than that, she’ll be okay,” he replied as he followed the pinked-haired girl in front of him.

Unexpectedly, an explosion occurred in front of group, separating them in various directions. Madeline was surprised to find herself with Belial and tried her best to find the others. Unfortunately, the smoke from the battle made it impossible for her to scan the field for her comrades, which frustrated and worried her. I hope they’re okay, she thought as she got off the ground.

“It’s been a while, Sister Madeline,” said a voice from her right that caused the exorcist to shake. It was the same person who offered her tea that morning—the same person who had beaten her and had betrayed the entire branch. Memories of that day and its repercussions still bothered her but the abuse she experienced by that one boy affected her the most. She glared at the angel who was admiring his black gauntlets. “Amiti…” she addressed through clenched teeth. The boy frowned and raised his fingers. “Tsk, tsk! How many times do I have to tell you, Maddy? I’m Uriel now.”

Before she could attack, she felt someone push her backward. She looked at Belial and angrily asked, “What was that for?” The former guardian point at the location where the nun was formerly at; in her spot was a deep crater, dust was still spraying in the air. A shrill giggle echoed in the air and Madeline noticed a beautiful woman with long, wavering hair on a ledge, a rifle in her hand with smoke coming out of the barrel.

“Stupid Belle,” admonished Gabrielle as she loaded her gun, her eyes never leaving the traitor. “You have lost your chance to receive salvation and for what? To hang out with an old hag? You’re pathetic.” Aiming her weapon at the girl again, she shot only to have both enemies dodge it. Her comrade Uriel lunged in Madeline’s direction, allowing the woman to focus her attention on Belial.

“Why are you allowing yourself to be used by Lord Jacques? He doesn’t love you or anyone else for that matter. He only cares about himself and his family,” screamed Belial as she charged at her mentor. Despite the fact that they were fighting right now, she believed that she could save Gabrielle’s soul before it became too late.

The woman blocked the traitor’s attack with her rifle and pushed her back. She pointed her weapon at Belial and retorted, “Lies! Just because you fell from his grace doesn’t mean that you have to drag me down to Hell with you.” However, it appeared that the girl’s words had some effect on the guardian for her shots became sporadic, making it nearly impossible to dodge.

Suddenly, someone grabbed her rifle, preventing her from shooting the girl. Gabrielle looked up and smiled as she saw Jacques’s eyes looking down at her. “My dear, faithful Gabby. You’re making such a mess and killing our own men. Besides, have you forgotten that I wanted to take care of Belial personally?” The Noah sent a death stare at the girl who was still in fighting position though she was panting for air.

“My Lord, she has been spreading poisonous lies about you. I had to punish her for defiling your name,” she begged as she held his left arm. Everything that she believed in, everything that she esteemed depended on his answers especially at that moment The Noah cocked his face as he stroked her hair. He felt his dark side coming over him and he knew that at that moment he would not be able to contain its bloodthirstiness. However, it was okay; after all, he needed to make Belial an example for all future members of his group. He did create a powerful weapon for her and this was how she repaid him. In addition to that, he had to replace her—someone whom he believed had huge potential to be a great pawn. She needed to suffer.

Patting Garielle’s head, he consoled, “It’s okay. I’ll take care of this.” In a swift motion, he ran past the girl and sneaked up behind her. Holding her in a headlock, he whispered, “Goodbye, Belial.”

Part Seven
Lyra hit the ground hard and felt herself bounce some more before coming to a complete stop. Lifting herself off the ground, she grasped her arm, wondering if she had broken it due to the impact. Luckily, it was just sore but the sensation of pain still tingled in her muscles. She frantically searched for her comrades only to see her Finder a few meters away. Adeptly maneuvering herself through the frantic crowd, the exorcist reached her friend, kneeling down to check his vitals.

Thank God, he’s still alive, she thought as she felt his pulse. He didn’t appear to be seriously hurt minus the scratches and bruises on his body. John opened his eyes and quickly jerked up. “I’m sorry, Lyra,” he apologized as he stood up and began to search for the exorcist whom he was in charge of taking care of. “The impact was too much that I dropped her.” The Finder then held his hand, revealing a basket. “I still have Fermium though.”

Unfortunately after saying his name, the cat jumped out and disappeared into the hectic scene. “I guess it is true,” mumbled Lyra as she stared blankly into the crowd. “Pets do take after their owners.” She turned to John who had finally spotted Stephanie who was lying near a beige tent at the edge of the camp. “Let’s get her and then try to find the others.”

However, the sound of metal grating the hard earth caught Lyra’s attention and she turned around to see a girl in a mini skirt grinning at them. Something about her made the exorcist feel uneasy and she cautiously lifted her weapon. “Finder, get the girl and find the others. Then leave this place quickly,” she commanded in a quiet whisper that only John could hear. Before he could respond, he felt someone push him out of the way as the pink-haired woman blocked the assault of the Noah.

“Don’t underestimate me, Ms. Exorcist,” cooed Magier as she applied pressure to her weapon. “I’m not as innocent as I look.” She quickly pushed off her opponent and slashed her. Lyra barely jumped out of the way and she touched her uniform’s sleeve which was cut by the girl’s sword.

She heard a girl scream in the distance and recognized that it was Belial’s. The exorcist faced the Noah before her who had now darkened her skin and was arrayed with those signature bloody crosses. The Noah was right; she should not be taken so lightly. Her fragile appearance hid a powerful fighter and if she wasn’t careful, this girl could do some serious damage. The situation looked grim and the chances of success were growing smaller with each passing second.

Lyra closed her eyes and slowly activated her Innocence. It appeared that she had no choice but to help her comrades even at her own risks. A small red circle surrounded her and expanded to encircle the entire camp. The Noah looked at her amused; did this piece of scum actually believe that she could defeat her with a simple trick? She tightened the grip around her sword and charged at the exorcist. However, her opponent moved fast and Magier felt something sharp brush her face.

Touching her cheek, she felt the warm sensation of blood. The deep red stood out from her peach skin, which normally she would have found fascinating if it wasn’t hers. The girl turned to her enemy who was panting like crazy. Lyra prayed that her comrades would feel an increase in their synch rate and make the most of it. However, she was afraid that she would be not able to sustain her attack as the exorcist noticed Magier racing at her, sword drawn.

John scrambled to the girl, hoping that she wouldn’t have gotten trampled by the mad crowd. Every so often he would be splattered with blood as the akumas began attacking their human counterparts and the screams caused him to act faster. The Finder always knew about the dangers of his job but the fear of death at the moment was at its worst at that moment.

When he finally reached his destination, he breathed a sigh of relief. By the grace of God, Stephanie was not hurt though she seemed to be in a more alert state. “I got you, don’t worry!” he consoled as he bent down to carry her. “I’m a friend and I’ll bring you to safety.” She appeared to have understood him since she nodded and allowed him to pick her up.

However, something wrapped around his neck and caused him to drop the girl to the ground. Green ribbons kept coming and their grasps tightened, strangling him as he tried his best to loosen their holds. “Where do you think you’re going, silly human?” asked an akuma who was sitting on top of the tent. “Lord Amaterasu wouldn’t like it if you take his favorite toy away.” She jumped down and walked towards the man. He was young and strong—a perfect candidate for her to kill.

She threw him against a rock ledge and laughed. “You should feel honored. I only need to kill one more human to level up and you’re going to be that one,” she mocked as she sent a barrage at him. His maroon blood would make a nice pattern against the harsh gray of the stone.

Suddenly, black ribbons caused the akuma’s weapons to miss their mark. John turned to find an exorcist wearing a Finder’s coat that was too big for her leaning against a rock. Stephanie struggled to stand up; her body wasn’t used to battle and was now accustomed for pleasing the whims of a hormone driven boy. It still ached from the events of the morning, causing the exorcist to think that she might pass out any minute. Even at that moment, she didn’t think she was strong enough to battle her sister and the words of the Noah still echoed in her mind. “If you intend to betray me, the outcome will be the same as with that poor Suman Dark,” he had said. The thought of becoming a Fallen frightened her but at that moment she had no choice to defend her rescuer.

“Fight me, sister,” she beseeched as she recoiled her ribbons back. The man was right though; whatever he had done to her Innocence made it more powerful but darker as well. It seemed to have an effect on her as well because she felt stronger as she felt adrenaline rushing through her veins. The akuma examined her sister and smirked. Jacques did corrupt her Innocence and she knew the effects of betraying her Lord. Even in her weakened state, her twin could defeat her with her new Innocence but the cost would be deadly for her.

Ignoring the Finder who was now being protected by the exorcist, the akuma replied as she raised her green ribbons, “I was hoping to make that man the one but if you insist.” Death does not discriminate after all.

Part Eight
The battlefield was worse than the exorcist imagined. The ground was saturated with blood and human corpses scattered the field marked with black stars, symptoms of the akuma virus. Even though he knew that the humans running were supporters of the Earl and the Noah family, Flames felt responsible for their safety. They were just misguided fools after all who were taken in by the seductive words of a charming priest.

He raced towards the coming dangers, stabbing countless akumas with his spear and slowly activating his lycanthropy. The werewolf sensed Eny behind him, firing her bazooka which caused her opponents and their potential victims to scatter. Deep inside, Flames was grateful that she was with him; in his current condition, he knew that he would not be able to combat so many akumas and that he would not be able to control the situation.

“Eny, cover for me as I lead the humans to safety!” commanded the exorcist as he headed towards a group who was huddled behind some debris. The Bookwoman nodded as her aim resulted in many explosions. Dodging the akumas’ blasts, he managed to reach the group unharmed and requested, “Come with me! I’ll get you out of here safe and sound.” He motioned them to follow him, eyeing the battle. If they did not get out of there soon, the man feared that it might be too late. More reinforcements for the Earl were arriving and his partner could only handle so much.

Flames felt someone slapping his hands away and turned to see glaring eyes. “Like we would trust a false apostle,” answered the man as he held his child close to him. “We rather die to serve Lord Jacques’s plan than follow the likes of you.” He spat in the exorcist’s face and suddenly pushed him down. "Besides, they're only attacking us because they see that you're with us." Frustrated, Flames got up and grabbed him, shaking him violently. How brainwashed was this man to threaten the lives of others especially the young ones! And for what? The price of “salvation” promised to them by an agent of the Earl? Such thoughts rolled in his mind as he tried to reason with the man.

A scream shocked Flames out of his thoughts and from the corner of his eyes, he noticed his comrade running franticly further into the camp. “Eny!” he cried as he dropped the man to the ground. He could see her figure disappearing into the dusts that clouded the Noahs’ base and he sprinted after her. That guy could wait; the thought of protecting his friend was more important than trying to talk logic to a stubborn man.

Before he could reach her, Flames felt a blast, its impact knocking him over. He hit the ground hard, causing him to cry out in pain. A cluster of akumas were gathering around him, their guns aimed in his direction. A rush of adrenaline entered his blood and he barely jumped out of the way in time. He prepared himself for his landing, positioning his feet in order to cushion his fall.

Shots of pain went up his body as he hit the earth. The werewolf panted heavily, leaning against the cold surface of a makeshift rocky ledge. Unexpectedly, he felt the sensation of falling as he rolled down some stairs, plunging into the depths of the earth. Flames eventually came to a stop, hitting metal bars that lined up in a perfect straight line. He quickly sat up and examined his surrounding. The alcove was dark and cold with dim candlelights revealing the surroundings. However, it was obvious manmade. What was the purpose of having a hidden room unless it was to hide something?

“Well, well! I didn’t expect you to visit,” came a whisper right behind the exorcist. “For what do I owe the honor that you grace me with your presence?” Flames gasped and then smirked. He recognized the voice and replied, “I’m here to bust your @$$ out.” He turned to see Blade smiling back at him in ragged clothes and bandages all over him. Even with his battered appearance, the werewolf thought it was odd that the Bookman appeared to be well taken care of; he looked well fed and his wounds seemed to be treated. Perhaps the Noahs needed him for information still and thought giving him preferential treatment would cause their prisoner to talk. However, the werewolf pushed these nagging thoughts to the back of his mind. He was just glad that his comrade was safe and that he was not too late.

Flames grasped the bars and shook them. Whoever made this prison was clever for the railings were secured tightly, never moving even when he applied great pressure. “Where is the lock?” he asked Blade who was excitedly eyeing him. The Bookman pointed to a small metal box at the end of the rails eagerly. He had not seen the outside world in such a long time and he could not wait to get out of this cell. During his stay, he had forgotten what the sun had felt like as he huddled to stay warm at night. Mostly, he longed to hug someone who would tell him that everything would be okay.

The man headed to the lock and examined it. It was definitely complex and quite intricate; it could not be broken easily nor picked. If only Eny was there, he thought as he tried breaking the bars in a vain attempt. She could have blasted this contraption, allowing the three of them to escape. He sighed to himself, hoping that Blade would not hear him. The last thing he needed to was to let his friend know that the situation appeared hopeless and difficult.

The sounds of jingling keys caught the exorcist and Bookman’s attentions, causing them to look at the alcove’s entrance. “Looking for these?” mocked a formidable man, his left hand shaking the keys enthusiastically like a man teasing his dog. His other hand held a crossbow with an arrow already in position. As he moved closer, the candlelight revealed his face and Flames retracted in shock. “I’m so glad that Lord Jacques asked me to check up on you, Bookman. If I hadn’t, I would not have been lucky to kill the savage again and this time, in front of an audience.”

The voice and the face brought back the memories from that night and countless others. Flames grasped his chest as he recalled the experimentations done onto him and the eventual attempt of his life. This man was there and was responsible for torturing him. The exorcist felt his hair rising as his temper began to flare. He had felt the urge to kill several times before but never in his life had this desire felt so strong that he doubted that he could contain it.

Michael looked at the werewolf curiously. That night, he and the others were positive that their master had killed that piece of scum, removing yet another false apostle. However, it seemed that he continued to taint the earth. Oh well, the guardian thought as he aimed his bow at the savage. It’s been a while since he had gone hunting.

Part Nine
Eny had no idea how she managed to avoid the coming blasts and destruction that were engulfing her surroundings. It did not matter though; she could not afford to lose her concentration to ponder such mysteries. As she continued moving, she heard someone yelling her name but ignored it. At that moment, nothing was more important than following a black spot.

As she was aiming her bazooka into the countless akuma herds, she noticed a small black cat racing across the field, heading towards the numerous beige tents. Her heart stopped beating as she instantly recognized her cat, forgetting about Flames’s order. The girl was finally going to be reunited with her best friend and that was all she had ever wanted.

Suddenly, the feline disappeared into a cloud of dust, causing her to stop in her tracks. She paused for a moment to catch her breath. As she bent over with her hands upon her knees, the Bookwoman scanned the surroundings, hoping for a sign that might revealed Fermium’s location. How could she lose sight of him?

Several distance away, Eny could have sworn that she heard a cat’s meow and instinctively ran in towards a beige tent. As she opened the flap, she let out a sigh of relief as she watched her cat pounce happily on an unkempt bed until he made himself comfortable. He was a lot fatter than she expected and his coat had a healthy shine. The girl walked over towards it, carefully maneuvering among the mess.

Picking up Fermium, she observed the environment and something about it brought chills down her spine. Torn clothes and ribbons were scattered on the floor and the bed sheets had stains all over it. The smell of sweat permeated throughout the area to the point that she wanted to gag. There were signs of a struggle and it appeared obvious that only one person was victorious.

“Let’s get out of here, Fermium,” she whispered to the purring feline. Disturbed by what she saw, her mind was egging her to get out of there as soon as possible; she had seen more than enough to record this hidden history in her mind. Why Fermium decided to head back to this horrible room puzzled her mind; she had thought that he preferred more pleasant areas.

Unexpectedly, the black cat jumped out of her arms and ran towards the entrance. Eny tried to follow him, crying “Fermium” to catch his attention. However, she froze in her steps as she noticed him jump into the arms of a young boy who had entered the tent. His blond hair hid his sinister blue eyes and his presence made her feel uneasy. In her mind, she knew that he was culprit of whatever offense occurred here.

“Fermium, come over here,” she beseeched as she motioned the cat to come to her. The cat glanced at her but continued to purr contently each time he was patted by the Noah. Feelings of confusion, anger, and hurt swept over the girl as she finally realized that her best friend might have actually betrayed her. She quickly aimed her gun at the boy who did not appear affected by this move.

Amaterasu smirked and commented, “An unexpected guest usually annoys me but I’ll make you an exception.” He began pacing the room, keeping an eye on the girl’s bazooka. The Noah remembered the last time they met, a cascade of rocks collapsing onto him. It was painful and the thought of death frightened him at the moment. He needed to get back at her for that.

The boy sat down at his vanity and sighed. It seemed that the rescue group had raided his tent first for his doll was no longer on the bed. Such a shame since he had big plans tonight but he quickly came to terms with the situation. It was good while it lasted and he personally believed that she would return to him. Besides, wasn’t the saying “When one door closes, another one opens”?

“Would you like to know what happened in this very room, little girl?” he asked as he placed the cat on his lap. Amaterasu became amused as he noticed Eny’s shocked face, knowing that despite her disgusted expression she was curious to know. “You know that girl exorcist who we had captured,” he continued, his gaze meeting her angry eyes. “We had some fun times together. It was probably unhealthy but I’m positive that she’ll recall these memories fondly one day. I doubt you comprehend what occurred here but you’ll understand one day.”

He moved to his right swiftly as a gunshot came right at him. Lifting himself off the ground, he yelled as he held up his arms in a surrender motion, “What was that for? I was doing you a favor, making your life easier.” Eny glared at him and quickly reloaded her weapon. How dare he did that to one of her friends? She wanted to punish him so badly for everything—the assault on the base, his manipulation on her cat, and whatever torture he put her friends through.

Amaterasu frowned as he realized that he might have underestimated his opponent. He quickly pointed to the cat that was crouching under the bed between the two of them. “I suggest a compromise,” he bargained, hoping that he could reason with her. Eny didn’t respond but the Noah had an inkling that she was listening.

“We really don’t need to fight. Let’s settle this like civilized human beings,” he added. “We’ll let this cat decide the victor of this battle. Whoever he chooses as his master will be the winner.” The girl scoffed and countered, “Like he would pick someone whom he knows for a few months!” If this was how the battle would be decided, she was confident in her victory.

“Here, Fermium,” she cooed as she tried to comfort the scared cat. Eny was trying her best to help the cat remember who she was in order to win this bet. The feline looked at her, a sense of recognition in his eyes. A wave of elation caused the girl to grin; maybe he did not forget her after all.

He purred and stretched his body. Then he began walking and rubbed against Amaterasu’s leg. Shocked, the girl whimpered, “Fermium?” which caused the boy to chuckle at her reaction. His betrayal hurt her a lot more than anything she had experience in the past and she was at a loss. How could a pet that she had raised since he was young do this to his “mother”?

The Noah clapped his hands together in delight. He teased the Bookwoman, “It’s okay, my dear. Don’t feel bad that your cat has found a better master now.” He heard the cocking of a gun barrel and shook his head in displeasure. Some people just did not like following the rules, which was a shame especially to those who actually do.

Amaterasu began to remove his gloves and coldly said, “Did you know that my first victim was around your age, maybe older?” The girl remained in her stance, her glare never wavering. He did not want to kill her but if he was forced to, he would. Tossing his gloves to the side, he whispered, “Let’s play.”

Author’s Note (Post-reading)
That’s it! The battles have been set up though I’m sure more will be planned once the others get there (which will be a while since the explosion witnessed by Rin’s group was the one that separated Madeline and the others). I wanted to add more heartbreak, more pain to the characters though I think the Black Order got the blunt end of it.

If you need clarification, here you go:
Belial versus Jacques/Gabrielle
Eny versus Amaterasu
Flames/Blade (once he somehow gets freed) versus Michael
Lyra versus Magier
Madeline versus Uriel
Stephanie versus “Stephanie”

I hope you enjoyed it.

Flames tried to analyze the situation. His opponent was easily beaten the last time they fought but this time his unusual dark aura stirred up the atmosphere.
“As you can see savage I decided to change weapons. I might not be a good swordsman but my archery is on par with Gabrielle.” said Michael sending a black arrow towards Flames.
He dodged but where he was standing was nothing but a smoking hole left. “Just for information’s sake usually bows have a power of about 50 lbs but this one has a power of about 500 lbs and some bonuses made of dark matter just for you. So you’d better run or this hunt will be no fun.” laughed Michael pulling out a small brass horn out of his jacket.
He played an old fashioned melody and then he said:” Let’s begin the hunt savage! I’ll count to 5 and then I’ll start running. 1!” Without hesitation Flames began running in the woods. His heart pounded and a familiar pain began.

Ameratsu had a sure win. His Enemy was young, inexperienced and not even an exorcist. Plus her foolish desire for that stupid cat made her blind for the danger she was in. Normally he wouldn’t even need his powers and simply beat her to death but she simply calls for a lesson.

So let us begin the dance.

With swift movements he draws nearer to Eny and began his assault with a powerful strike directed to her liver. But with ease the nimble girl avoided his attack and shoot at his face with her bazooka. Blinded by smoke and light Ameratsu hardly felt the shrapnel in his body. “Don’t underestimate me you big idiot! Open areas are my battleground” Without any other words she shot another bullet at him. Ameratsu flew through the air and hit the ground about five meters away.
After she was certain her opponent was unconscious Eny ran towards the camp.
The uproar and noise made her confident she’d find the others there.
A few minutes later a bloody but alive and angry Ameratsu stood up. That damn cat came back as soon as her old feeder was gone.
Everything left of her now is dust. The Noah went after the girl.

The fight between Uriel and Madeline was even. Neither could her barriers really hurt him nor could his shockwaves reach her. Was his newly gained power useless after all?
“You sold yourself to the devil for this weak power Amiti? I simply can’t understand you point. What do you think is a destroyed world good for?” But the guardian merely laughed. Madeline tried to end this fight through common sense but she felt it was all in vain. So he needed a beating to the ground.

Kaleidoscope! Yellow and orange chaos!

The ring wildly changed its colour and shot barriers of random shapes carrying all kinds of rubble against Uriel. The sound of broken bones was heard
What is left is silence. Suddenly the earth trembles.

“Stick and stones might break my bones. But that’s nothing of what is happening to you my dear sister!”

“So you still lack it Belle!” said Gabrielle while shooting countless bullets turning the surrounding in a winter nightmare. Jacques decided to watch the scene and sat on one of the more stable tends.

Fire foxes!

Another set of foxes emitted from Belle’s baton but again Gabrielle got rid of them in seconds.
“Don’t you see it Gabby? While he could save you he watches there as if this is some kind of chess game with you as his pawn. Stop fighting together we have a chance to defeat him!”


“So belle what kind of men do you like?” asked Gabrielle while they where preparing dinner.
Belle blushed and nearly cut her finger. “Uhm you know that tall manly type like Michael but they should be a bit smarter.” Both girls giggled. “I like men like Jacques-sama with class and dignity. On day I’ll be his empress and we’ll watch the end together.” It was the first time Belle witnessed Gabrielle talking like a normal woman. Usually she would have made some pervy joke but when talking about her master a true and pure love was felt. Her heart was for ever lost to the darkness.

*flashback ends*

Gabrielle had a mad smile while reloading her gun. “It might be his game of chess we’re playing but at least I’m his empress to the end. Or let us say you’re end.” She shot an hit Belle’s leg freezing it up to the hip.

“I see there is no hope. But at least let me end you life in beauty senpai. I’m certain if you would want it like that if your mind was clear.”

Innocence second opening: Helios

A figure of a man appeared before Belle. With a clap of his hand he summoned a huge ball of fire illuminating the sky. “The balls heat is about the same level as a sun but its heat is only meant for you senpai nothing else is going to be harmed. You’ll feel no pain and go directly into heaven. Let me sing you a final sermon.” Gabrielle tried to shoot Belle but her gun melted away.

The ball crashed on the earth.


We see a young girl in a harbour town. She looks like she hasn’t eaten for days and tries to sell her fragile but beautiful body to the sailors. We see a black haired priest offering her money to spend the night with him. In the night she has to read the bible, he goes with her to a restaurant and offers her a job as a bodyguard. The priest’s kindness and respect forever burned in her heart the girl grew even more beautiful.

*flashback ends*

The woman she is now will never learn that she was never loved by him. But please don’t hate her, never forget her and see through the kindness of the priest who used her until he found a nicer toy to play.

So this was gabrielle's end *sniff* I did not have the courage to write her burning away but I guess you can imagine it.

I shure had fun writing about her but I feel some of my characters should find their end now. I hope you liked the chapter.
Oh and I killed Fermium I hope Rosalafay is not angry about that....

Perspiration gathered at the brows of the exorcists; these battles are for their lives not their pride. Great difficulties are in store for exorcists who choose fight rather than flight… at least that’s the theory…

Chapter 89 - Wide Eyed Terror

Eny ran through the forest, her uniform tearing on branches as she fled from the pursuit of the demon called Noah. She was moving but her pursuer was catching up to her she could hear the crunching of fallen leaves under his boots and could hear the soft humming of his throat.
That bastard is trying to psyche me out, she thought then as she was running a branch whipped in her face scratching her across her cheek.
Eny could feel the fear rising in her gullet in the form of bile. The acid rose but she swallowed it back down, it leaving a very bad taste in her mouth. The humming was intensifying and the tune he was humming was a children’s tune which sent a definite chill up Eny’s spine. If she was caught she was done for. Her hands began to tremble and her knees began to get weak as her genius brain came up with all the possibilities that can happen to her if she were to get caught. Her mind wandered back to the tent where she encountered the Noah, the room of which was filled with the pungent odor of sweat…and something else. Her veins went cold at the thought and her body stopped paralyzed and she fell to her knees, her eyes widening as she heard the crunching of footsteps stop behind her. A gloved hand reached down and stroked her cheek.
“Oh, it’s so soft.”
Eny swatted his hand away tears pouring from her vacant eyes.
“Oh your still fighting huh? I thought that maybe you would have given up hope…” he leaned down and whispered into her ear “especially since I turned your precious kitten into DUST!”

Eny began panting loudly at his words. She could feel a shrill cry at the bottom of her throat just waiting to escape. Her eyes widening she clutched her chest and let it go.
Her scream would never be heard.

Flames was running at top speed, his reflexes and senses felt like they were sharpened to a razor edge. He leapt up escaping an exploding hail of arrows sent to him by Michael.
I need to lure him away from Blade
He could feel the tamed wolf in his soul, it was awful. It seemed as though the Innocence he had always possessed wasn’t quite the same. The feeling of his wolf innocence was wild and it howled whenever it entered battle. It caused the blood to curdle in many akuma and he was sure it had been weakened. He moved away swiftly as another hail of arrows created a crater in the ground he was just occupying. He landed on a rock and he slipped on its surface causing him to fall and smack his head on the rock sending intense pain to his brain he clutched his head tightly, but as he looked up he noticed the gently arc of the arrows embedded with dark matter as they reached their crescendo. He rolled to the side but was still caught in the impact the earth crumbled beneath the density of the arrows each arrow destroying the earth. The ground turning black as the dark matter seeped out of it.
“Have you given up Wolf?” the voice said hidden in the forest “Have you realized that I’ve just been playing around with you?” he began laughing as it became apparent that Flames was being toyed with.
Flames leapt to his feet running this time with the intent of preserving his life not luring him away.
“Scared huh? I can tell because I can see the look of fear in your eyes. I wonder how long you can last in my forest….hehehehahahAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”
Flames heard the laughter and as he ran the feeling of fear began to cloud his brain.

The ground cracked beneath Madeline, her ethereal shield sinking into the cracked earth.
“What is this Uriel?” Madeline shouted through the loud cracking causing her to lose her to fall to her knees causing her barrier to dissipate.
Uriel took his chance and charged his glove and leapt to attack Madeline in her blind spot, but when he hit his shockwave hit an ethereal wall sending the shockwaves of his attack everywhere causing the ground to crumble and trees to shatter. Madeline looked into the face of the traitor and the gem on her ring turned red capturing Uriel.
Madeline turned to the captured Uriel suspended in mid-air inside a translucent red box. “How do you feel now? Being the one who’s trapped and feeling helpless?” Madeline’s ring glowed softly and the square shrunk in size. “Do you like the feeling you little bitch! Because you ruined my church, I’ve had nothing but problems! It is time for you to pay the Price.”
Uriel looked at the nun, letting her believe she had the upper hand then he charged the dark matter gloves with energy at hit the square with full force causing it to explode and scatter sending Madeline flying into a tree. He moved with an evil aura towards Madeline’s lying form. With one hand Uriel picked up Madeline and shook her violently to consciousness.
As her eyes peeled open she saw that she was in the grips of the bastard Uriel and he was charging his fists, the very same one which he used to destroyed her powerful barrier. Her eyes widened in fear as he reached his fist back and let go.

The pink haired nymph squared off against the demonic school girl. Each staring one another down aware that each were formidable.
An explosion was heard in the distance and it cued the women to start their onslaught on one another. Magier lifted her sword, it wasn’t Xero but it would be enough against this exorcist bitch, she is going to pay for making me bleed. She swung the sword down cracking the ground as she missed Lyra who leaped into the air ready to impale the Noah. She flipped backwards the blade on the spear narrowly missing her throat cut open her shirt revealing some of her midriff. “Ha! Exorcist that was good now let me try!”
Magier lifter her sword once again in defense and struck at Lyra with snake-like speed and accuracy. Lyra was barely able to keep up with her movements making it hard for her to retaliate. Magier continued the relentless onslaught.
Lyra eventually began to read the movements and found an opening and parried one of Magier’s strikes to the side and began twirling her spear in a rapid motion a smile spreading across her face as the tip of her spear was beginning to glow a bright yellow. “Noah, this is the first time I’ve actually had a chance to fight one of you, make it memorable!” She said as she whipped her spear around Magier’s eyes having a hard time following it and she slammed the tip of it down on Magier’s shoulder sending her to her knees and she whipped her spear around her waist and had it slap her across the face. While Magier was still shocked from the pain Lyra jumped back and shot her charged energy bolt causing the ground to shake. A grin on her face she felt elated, the NA branch has taken out its first Noah.
The smoke cleared and far away from the crater where the energy blast struck was Magier. Her right eye was a dark blue and when Lyra looked into the eye she was paralyzed with fear. Magier appeared behind Lyra and she could hear a tune that reminded her of childhood and then it all faded black.

Belle was sad of the action she had committed but resolved herself that it was the right thing, now Gabrielle might find happiness.
All of a sudden a complete aura of evil engulfed Belle causing her to shiver in fear. “Don’t worry my child.” said the dark figure “I’m sure Gabrielle would love the company…in hell” Jacques clutched her shoulder tightly.
Belial gasped she forgot about Jacques. It was because Gabrielle had a grudge against her that Jacques had let her fight her by herself. He had let her out of the chokehold and let them fight each other. Now It was her and the leader and he was lightyears away from Gabrielle in strength.

Stephanie felt an increase in her strength just what she needed to help balance the playing field against her evil twin. The countless encounters with her sister have been pretty unbalanced, but now she felt that finally this encounter might actually be more even and now she has a boost. Her weapon wasn’t right though, the gift from Jacques was needed. The thing is she already decided to use it but will it effect her use of innocence?

This is actually just for the authors on the site it. Eny will be aided by Daniel and Zane will be helping out Lyra. I left hints that there will be help.
Eny's scream would never be heard- cause Daniel has used his Sound Seal and Lyra hears a little tune from her childhood and everything goes dark. Zane is using Crying 3 on both of the girls. Hopefully you liked it.

Chapter 90 - Fate comes soft-footed and deadly

I hope you can forgive me because I wrote a huge part of this chapter in a rush. I did not expect that I have to write the whole fighting scenes, rather the end of them. I hope you are not angry that they are kinda cut off but I alos think that the fights lasted long enough. Some parts might seem to be more detailed than others, that's just because I wrote those nice parts not in a single night. ^^;

Anlen felt a soft breeze touching her skin, stroking her hair. It was like a fresh morning in summer when dew was still covering the leafs of trees. She smelled the salt of the sea, heard the wind skimming over the waves, felt the sand flowing through her fingers and the sun that shone down on her face. The coast was near, just a handbreadth away. The wind now blew into her ear. Anlen opened her eyes but to her disfavour, she wasn't near the coast, wasn't lying on the beach but in the arms of a sleeping Lione who breathed into her ear. She shrinked back, screamed and pushed Lione away with force causing him to wake up thunderstruck and bump his head against the table. Anlen could not recall the memories from last night. It was as if someone had stolen them, leaving a pitch-black gap behind that yawned in her memory. She stretched herself when she sat up, yawned and looked out of the foamed window. A misty morning broke and the sun made waste effort to get her appearance being realized through the clouds and veil of mist.
"Right", the pirate said as if she would remember something. "We were about to go ashore, weren't we?"

She approached Lione, grasped his wrist and pulled him onto his feet.
"No time for being drippy and unmotivated, Lione", Anlen said and pushed him to the door. "We have to do some preparations before going ashore. I am sure you will have fun on that island."
Lione gulped. He knew that Anlen's taste of fun was definitely not his, moreover he kind of feared for his life.
When the exorcists had stepped through the door, Anlen stopped and her hand caressed her head and neck.
"Strange", she said. "It aches. But why?"
Flames kept on running and running, agony hounding him like a predator chasing his prey. He did not feel very well in the role of the prey, he did not want to accept it but his legs were moving on their own. The exorcist could not even figure out why he was so damn scared. Screams of his friends ranted and raved in his head, accompanied by the continuously shower of arrows. He could avoid an arrow just in time so that it just pierced through a piece of cloth before it exploded. The noise was horrible, dust was blown up and briefly obscured his sight. He tried to stay calm, moderate his breathing but it was almost impossible.
"Almost", Flames whispered and closed his eyes. If he did not act now, his friends would be lost. He had a liability towards his friends, his comrades, the order. The exorcist focused all senses on his surrounding. The forest biting his neck, the enemy in front of him, just seperated by a haze of dust. The veins of the woods were pulsating beneath his feet. He was coming!
Several arrows perforated the haze, drawing a trace of dust through the air before they bored their heads into the ground and exploded. Michael laughed like mad. He was sure of the exorcist's death, so he did not notice the flying object above his head immediately. Flames had managed to use the pressure of the explosion to his advantage, jumped onto a tree just in time before it got ripped up and was carried to the sky by a flying branch. The enemy shrinked back when he saw his prey just meters above his head and obviously still alive and prepared to attack.
"You do not intend to attack me without the power of your Innocence, huh?", he said and a smile appeared on his face. "Do not even try it. You'll fail!"
Michael pointed his bow at Flames but he jumped off the branch before the arrow could hit him and headed towards the Michael in plummet. A fist as hard as iron hit the opponent's head and knocked him out. He had not expected an attack of that sort and had been totally unprepared. Flames sighed. The explosions had caused some burns but the wounds were all superficial, just his right hand was trembling, ostracized by pain. The opponent had a harder head than expected.
"Rough methods are sometimes the better choice, dude."
To his surprise, it caused great amusement to kick the bow down the cliff close to them. Flames breathed again when he saw the bow disappearing in the mist and smiled like a twisty school-boy. But when his look wandered to the camp, it turned serious. Impermeable smoke and a red sky signified the place of doom.
Eny shrinked back, touched her throat. No sound was coming out of it although she had screamed, screamed as if she were alive in hell, surrounded by fire that caused not just simple pain and sorrow. But seemingly she was not the only person who wondered. Amaterasu's grip had loosed, thus had allowed the girl to escape from it. She stumbled to a tree close to her and found hold there. Not a single bird was chirping, not a single branch was creaking, the sound of tumult of the battle had died out.
"Thanks for your great help, little girl."
The voice echoed through the wood like wind. Stressed by silence that embraced Eny and Amaterasu, the voice sounded stronger and more threatening than it actually was. Eny's eyes widened when she looked up because she had seen a shadow moving. Daniel sat on a branch above the girl's head, the legs swinging. His gun was pointed at Amaterasu who stared at the exorcists as if a roach was crouching in the treetop. Since all sound had vanished, it had been impossible for both of them to hear Daniel approaching. Daniel grinned when his finger searched, found and slowly pushed the trigger of his gun. Amaterasu could avoid a direct hit just in time. Nonetheless, the impact was way too huge that the exorcist's attack "Shatter" caused. He had fired all sound he could absorb with his gun at the Noah. Advantaged by Eny's scream and the noise of the battle close to them, the blast was unhuman, even caused Daniel to slide from his branch. But before the Noah could attack anew, he grasped the hand of the shocked girl and pulled her towards the camp.
"Haha, I've never thought that it would cause such a bang. Brilliant", Daniel said when they passed bushes and trees, on the way to most dangerous place around. Eny looked at him puzzled. However, when he noticed her surprised but still shocked face, he answered with a smile. "Don't worry. Someone is awaiting us there."
Magier was stunned. But she was seemingly not the only one affected since she could hear her opponent cursing in every conceivable language. The Noah tried to concentrate on a possible second opponent but within the mess around them, it proved elusive. The darkness caused more unease than Magier had imagined. The sword trembled in her hand and to cover her insecurity, she began to sway it around in rage in order to hit Lyra somehow. She went angrier and angrier with every strike and Lyra seemingly was in real danger now. A tornado of black feathers was about to come up and tear the exorcist apart. Luckily, the unexpected help had noticed the danger just in time and had jumped out of his hideout to save his comrade. His hands touched Lyra's shoulders but before she could shrink back, maybe even try to attack him, Zane revealed his identity, thus calmed the woman. Nonetheless, when he screamed "NOW!", she could not help but starting.
A sudden blast of air separated the two exorcists from the frightful attack of the Noah. Wind was roaring, blew hair fiercely and let leaves whirling through the air. Zane took advantage of this situation and led Lyra to a safer place. While they were running, Lyra after a fashion, her eyesight returned, yet it was still kind of blurred. Nonetheless, the woman glimpsed a girl with wings flying above their heads and landing where they were supposed to stop. It appeared to be Rinvak and the pink-haired exorcist clasped her gladly to her bosom once she recovered full eyesight. She even hugged Eny tightly when she popped up behind them, the hair roughed up by branches and briarwood. Surprised by the sudden warm-hearted welcome, the girl could not defend against it and endured the hug, albeit grudgingly. However, both of them were utterly glad about the friends' appearance and support.
"I knew that you would find us somehow", Lyra said and breathed easily.
"But we won't survive long if this continues on", Eny complained in thoughts of her beloved cat and startled by the seemingly loss.
"Don't worry. We have a plan", Rinvak calmed Eny down.
They were just meters away from where Belle and the strongest of all Noah, Jacque, were fighting. Belles screams and Jacque's laughter echoed behind their back.
Flames flickered, ground bursted. Tents were consumed by fire or torn apart by Jacque's frightful attacks. Belle did not show any weakness yet she was definitely in an inferior position although Jacque did not use even half of his power. Stone bursted asunder, air heating and cooling off almost at the same time. Belle was trapped. Here attacks were of no use against her former ally. She would die, captured purgatorial, experiencing the pain of betrayal. Jacque was no longer the friendly priest she once used to know and like. He had turned into a devil, a wolf in sheep's clothing. She had not been the one who betrayed god but he. He should atone for his sins and not the girl who had and still believed in god, operating just in belief of doing good. Though, her fire was not as hot, not as punishing as the purgatory.
Their eyes were directed at the fight. Sweat dropped down their foreheads, their limbs were stiff, unable to move. Eny, Lyra, Daniel, Zane and Rinvak could just stare at the fights that were taking place around them. Belle in struggle for her life in front of them, Madeline and Uriel as well as Stephanie and her twin sister to their right side. The exorcists were focused on the fights, their thoughts moved around them, advancing into the ally's heads in hope of possible support.
So they did not notice how Flames suddenly appeared behind them, a smile of ease displayed on his face. He leaned onto a close tree in order to rest a little. Just seeing a little group being safely already conveyed comfort.
Blade kind of managed to make his way through the forest. He had to save her, the girl he loved from the bottom of his heart. He could already see the edge of the woods when a quake went right through him. Just seconds later, Stephanie was thrown ungently against a tree close to him and the impact caused it to break to pieces. The female exorcist tried to stand up and looked up in fear when a hand suddenly grasped her arm and pulled her onto the feet. However, her facial expression immediately changed when she recognized the sudden helper. Blade closed his arms around Stephanie, enjoying the soothing feeling of embracing a dear person. Strength, believed to be lost, arose within him.
"Heh, finally reunited, huh", the akuma said, approaching her twin sister and her lover while tightening the ribbons around her arms. "You seemingly wanna die together. How touching."
"Stephanie" seemed to notice that it was a mistake to provoke her sister because she stepped backwards just in time to avoid an attack led by rage. Without time to draw breathe, Stephanie fired another salvo of ribbons, pushing her sister backwards. Yet, every attack the exorcist fired against her twin sister, released unbelievable pain. Her arms were aching, her breath clashing. Coldness conquered her body and every move was a torture. How long could she fight like this?
Magier coughed slightly. Dust had been blown up when the attacks had hit each other. Her eyesight returned, yet a bad feeling arose within her and gifted her with immobility. Even as Magier was angry with herself because she let her prey escape so easily, beaten by a coward ambush, Amaterasu was appearing at the edge of the woods. Magier did not take heed of him when he jumped down a grassy rise and plunked leaves out of his blond hair. The impact that Daniel's gun had caused, had him sent flying into some rambling briars. His face was covered by bloody scars and part of his clothes were ripped. He was too focused on the view Stephanie brought him that he did not notice a shadow lurking through the briarwood.
Madeline stared at the fist of death. If this hit her, she would definitely die. But there was no way to escape, no way to experience god's grace and live, continue to live. Madeline blinked in fear. The face of a person who had betrayed the order was not the last thing she wanted to see on earth. Moments turned into seconds, seconds turned into minutes and minutes into eternity. She believed to hear a lovely sound in the distance. No, it wasn't in the distance. It was everywhere yet nowhere. It filled her head and the mist of fear ran away. Sung by an angel-like voice, it entered her body and revived her soul that had been doomed. Madeline finally was encouraged enough to open her eyes just to see Uriel's arm being wrapped in green ribbons. The boy tried to free from the Akuma's grip but it was useless. He just caused the ribbons to entangle his arm tighter.
"What's the point of this?", Uriel yelled and focused "Stephanie" in an enraged way. But she herself had no idea why she had attacked him thus saving Madeline's life. A puzzled face stared at him. Lyra took advantage of this turn of events and gave Uriel a wide berth. She thanked god for this gift. To her surprise, the gift appeared to be Tabitha who popped up at the edge of the forest, a bright and beautiful self-image close to her. Tabitha did not think twice, grasped Madeline's wrist and ordered Blade to brace Stephanie and follow her. Blade nodded, took Stephanie who was seemingly weakened on his shoulders and left the Akuma behind.
"I can't stop them forever, so hurry", Tabitha shouted and they rushed towards the others who had observed her appearance agape, amazed by the sudden turn of events. But the happy reunion did not go unnoticed.
The smile on Jacque's face rose to a devilish grin.
"Like rats being trapped in the hands of god", he muttered and ungently hit Belle with a clenched hand made of heated air.
The attack carried her off her feet and she bumped into the group of exorcists and Bookmen behind her. She was unconscious. Rinvak, Zane, Daniel and Tabitha began to worry. While the others were approaching each other and desperation drove them crazy, Rinvak and Tabitha were scouring the horizont.
"Where is he?", Rinvak said and sought help in Tabitha's answer. Unfortunately, it did not turn out as expected or rather hoped.
"I-I have no idea. He... he should be here already. We won't be able to escape on the way we had planned when he doesn't appear now. What shall we do?"
The exorcists were trapped. Hope burned, lost, shattered.
Jacque did not notice Magier's unwell feeling, he completely concentrated his attention on the gasping and outworn exorcists. Magier's trembling hand was wandering to her left eye. It ached. The pain dazed her mind causing the surrounding to disappear and vanish in a field of mist. The girl felt sick as if something caused her to get an upset stomach, something she wasn't aware of. A constant tick slowly approached her from beyond the mist. A clockwork alike, it was ponderously and dangerously clicking, driving the female Noah crazy. The sound came from a direction she could not figure out. It was nowhere yet everywhere. When she looked westwards, it seemed to be in the east and when she turned her head towards the north, it approached from the south. The fear choked her and she struggled for breath. Stronger and stronger until every breath of air was like a prick in the chest, an unintended fight, a death agony. Magier was overrun by an unknown fright, unable to defend but equipped with an unpleasant foreshadowing.
A cool draught swirled the haze up and breezed the hair into her face. It softly caressed it but left behind dilated eyes when it swayed back.

The priest's grin displayed his certainty of success when he stepped towards his opponents. But he did not step into victory but war. A desicion was rendered when the last fighter went down and this fighter was called "fate". Every human was a puppet in the hands of the puppeteer whose cords were everywhere and forever linked once they came into contact with each other. "Fate" was a dominant feature of everyone's life, it led steps and never handed over control.
This time, the deliverer of fate was the wind, a storm, a hurricane. Just when Jacque, watched by his brother Amaterasu who enjoyed the sight of fearsome exorcists and their pity supporters, lifted his hand in order to tear them from limb to limb, a wall of dust and dirt arose on his right thus separating the Noah from the exorcists. He shrinked back, surprised by the sudden and unforeseen attack. Dust blew up and curtained the air in a dirty sight for a short period of time. Jacque heard steps from a distance that came closer, gathering speed.
"Jacque! RUUUN!!!"
He turned around just in time to see the point of a sword piercing through the cloud of smoke and mist. But the sword was not alone. Accompanied by its user, another familiar body appeared and joined the priest's baffed look. Blood spread over the ground that was lined by gruesome and merciless battles and a smattering of bloody drops stained his face and the white robe. The girl spitted blood when she brought the suddenly appeared opponent to a halt. But Magier's acting did not go unpunished. She had to offer a sacrifice in order to protect the person she held dear the most. And this sacrifice weighed heavier than expected.
The constant ticking had transfered Magier to a past fight, a battle she had fought long time ago, against a fearsome and hated opponent: an exorcist. The female Noah had intended to run away, escaping from the noise that livened up sorrowful memories but deep in her inner she had known that running away was of no avail and that just fighting was worthwhile. Magier resembled a flower that was withering but would never give in unless the last bloom was gone.
So, she had accepted the risk and protected her brother with the last remaining thing, her life.

The dust finally gave way and clarified the sight, presenting an awful scene. Whereas the exorcists' surprise came along with hope, Jacque and Amaterasu's faces darkened. An unexpected ally had arrived and interferred with the puppeteer.
The bottom half of Magier's sword flew around, streaked Jacque's left cheek and left a little scar behind. This was the only wound he would ever bring out from this bloody fight that had decided over the life of so many. Magier coughed blood while the haft of the sword was trembling in her hand. The impact of the opponent's sword that let hers break into two pieces had been too much for the katana that had already suffered from the former fight with Blade back that time.
"I've never thought of seeing you again...", Magier stammered. "...Zeran, most stupid exorcists I have ever met."
She laughed but it just caused more blood to arose and drip out of her mouth. While Stephanie could just mutter Zeran's name, Jacque was unable to say, even do something. It was as if his sister's blood had cast a damp over his body.
Zeran's sword stuck deep in Magier's chest, deep in her heart. She felt coldness conquering her body and a deadness of limbs once the terrible pain had vanished. The annyoing tick finally disappeared and her eyes tioled to stay open.
The Noah was no longer able to hold the remaining of her precious sword in her hand, it fell down and touched the bloody ground with a clank. The sign of loss.
"How ironic...you pierced through...the only...part...that was left over...from my old life."
With this, the clockwork kept slowing down in operation for the Noah resembling 'regret'. However, her last action did not suffer from regret but was fulfilled with the urge of protecting a dear person.
"May God take pity on you, Noah", Zeran said tersely and drew out the sword.
Magier fell, fell into deep and eternal darkness. She did not feel the ground that ungently bored into her back. The sky passed by her blurred sight. Stars twinkling like the flicker of candle-lights, the moon, a far-off friend in grief and sorrow.
Jacque appeared in the corner of her eye, he approached her but his face displayed fright. His white yet stained priest robe blinded the female Noah. It shone out among all those blurred colours that surrounded and would soon drown her.
Magier's glassy look forced Jacque to his knees. He slightly shuddered when he embedded Magier's pale face in his hands and let her head lean on his lap. Magier lifted her pale, snow-white yet blood-stained, trembling hand and touched the priest's right cheek softly.
"Jac..que...", Magier whispered and left a smudgy trail of blood behind when her hand, strength deprived, sank onto her lap. No life was ever again mirrored in those two-coloured eyes.
Jacque's breath was like ice, refusing to find its way through his throat. The murderer of his sister was standing in front of him, yet he could not move a single finger. Time pulsated, hot tears dropped down the priest's cheeks and caressed those of Magier. He was at her side but could not protect her as he had promised so many times. Though, Zeran did not pity the Noah who was falling into despair right in front of him. The exorcist stepped towards the priest, prepared to tear of his cross-marked head. However, Jacque's look suddenly turned attention to one of Magier's broken sword pieces. A person was reflected in it, a person that did not belong to this fight and appeared like a deadly shadow in front of the bright moon.
Before Zeran could lift his sword anew, an unforeseen and fateful scene took place. Something that nobody had expected, an act led by the devil in person.
A sword, sharper than any other sword on the world, more fateful than the death, pierced through Zeran's stomach. A fountain of blood expanded over the priest and his fallen dearest. The seconds dragged on when Zeran turned around in shock, staring at the face of an avenger called Lucifer whose sword sucked the life out of his body. Drops of blood, every single one as precious as a whole life, were about to abandon the exorcist.
"You are in my way", Lucifer said with a cold voice, drew the sword out of Zeran's stomach just in order to garble the fragile body completely.
Rinvak and Tabitha screamed and tears were dropping down their cheeks, escaping from their eyes, when the arm that had held the sword of justice flew through the air and landed right in front of them.

Zeran fell, fell into the darkness he had sent Magier into. Rinea's smiling face appeared in front of him. The bathing scene, when he had treated her wounds and the countless times where he had to protect her. Her friendly and warm smile blurred, merged together with the twinkling stars, that stared down at him without mercy, and disappeared. He was dead even before he touched the ground and a puddle of blood spread beneath his pale, cold and heavy body.
Rinvak had to raise every effort to hold Tabitha back. If she had wanted to avenge their dear comrade now, every trouble they had went through in order to made an escape possible would had been in vain. No matter how many strength they raised, no matter how many tears they shed, Zeran was dead and would never come back.

"Be prepared to die, Jacque", Lucifer shouted but suddenly stopped in his action. Sweat appeared on his forehead, his body was trembling and fear, could it really be fear?, arose within him. An aura of sadness and hatred had appeared around Jacque and embraced him in a sinister way. Thunderclouds came up and gathered together far above his head.
Death was smiling upon every single one of them in just that moment. Lucifer smelled the upcoming trouble and backed down. He did not want to waste his life, not yet. Amaterasu wanted to approach his brother but it was impossible. Something held him back and he had no power to struggle. Finally, all emotions the priest ever had owned, broke out, revealing his true strength. The ground around him bursted asunder, a storm came up, merged together with his rage and inflamed a dance of deadly blades. Nobody could have been able to harm him or his sister. The exorcists noticed the danger they were in and backed down after they had saved Zeran's Innocence.
Far away in the distance, far away from death and the place where it had attacked, the exorcists collapsed. Nobody could stop the tears, nobody could hinder pain from conquering their souls. They could manage to escape, killed a Noah and a supporter but for what price? Wasn't the loss too high?
The storm calmed down and rain descended upon them. The sky was crying. But god did not mourned for one person only.

His wet hair was adhering to his forehead, his clothes were soaked, stained by blood and the tears of god. The dark aura had disappeared and left behind havoc and sorrow. Jacque's hand was caressing Magier's pale cheek. The only thing the priest wished at that moment was that his sister could feel the affectionate contact, the only thing she had ever wished for in her entire life.
Lione did not expect anything else of Anlen's taste of a funny place yet it was breath-taking. Anlen led Lione through countless alleys and narrow streets, passing by instable-looking houses and drunken men who were lying on the streets, always a bottle of rum in their hands. The cobble-stone pavement led up hills, stairs, around houses, bars, taverns and passed by smelly and sinister crooks. But as soon as they moved on from this place, the streets got brighter, illuminated by candle-lights that twinkled like stars in the sky. Groups of people, all pirates and men who braved the perils of the sea, gathered at the wayside, drinking or listening to the countless musicians that were tweedling and telling stories of the sea. Many stories bent the truth, they were just told for the purpose of entertainment. The view was filled with clapping and drunken people who obviously had a lot of fun. Small brawling took place here and there, smoke and the smell of alcohol escaped from the warmly illuminated taverns and bars where pirates were in the habit of talking about their found treasures, showed them off and transacted business. Moonlight fell onto the narrow streets but was swallowed by the orange-red light of candles that were spread all over the wayside. A cool breeze smoothed the ruffled feelings of some pirates and carried them away, beyond the great sea.
The Akuma guarded Anlen's ship but the human part of her crew had been allowed to sweeten their time in the bars with alcohol and gamble. However, instead of joining her crew as Lione had thought, Anlen kept on passing the tempting places with Lione in tow. They moved on and moved on. Just when the exorcist began to ask himself about Anlen's intention, she pulled him into an abandoned alley that was protected from turmoil, and pushed him against the cold wall. The pirate approached him quite close. He could hear her breath clattering in his ear, her cheek touching his. This action that came out of the blue caused Lione to blush. A strange desire arose within him but before he submitted to it, Anlen began to whisper.
"You have to go", she said and thrusted something into his hand. When he looked down, he caught sight of a map and a compass. Lione's look wandered back to Anlen but she avoided his gaze.
"There's a ship prepared at the southern port. One man is enough to sail it. It will bring you back to Boston, back to your friends. Follow the map and you will be in Boston within three or four days. There are paths indicated which not even the Earl knows of, you have to be careful though. Sail day and night and it won't even take half the time I would need with my ship to reach Boston."
But Lione did not moved. Infected by surprise and worry, he felt paralyzed. A familiar feeling yet not as nasty as back that time when he had been bound to wheelchair.
"But Anlen...", he said. "When the Earl figures out what you've done, he..."
The Noah began to laugh in a sad tone.
"What can happen to me? Isn't living through countless eras all alone punishment enough? Seeing how dear people perish and miserably croak whereas you can, no... have to live on. Now go! If you don't go now, you will never go."
Lione nodded. The grip around the compass and the map tightening, he left Anlen behind in the dark and abandoned alley.
The Noah shortly bit her lip. She did not regret anything and was fully prepared to face the Earl and her siblings when the
time would have been come. But she did not know that this time would come faster than expected.

So, to sum everything up: Magier is dead, Gabrielle is dead, Zeran is dead, Michael and Belle are unconscious. The exorcists could save Zeran's Innocence and escape from the camp.

Now, what had happened: Zeran suddenly woke up. While Riena was waiting at the HQ, he took Tabitha and they managed to keep in contact with Rinvak. using Zeran's sword, they soon caught up with them. Zeran was willed to distract the Noahs and prepare a chance for the others to escape. Unfortuntely, Lucifer who wanna take revenge, interferred with their plans and killed Zeran because he was in his way. Jacque yet released an unknown power, conquered by his feelings etc. Lucifer sensed that it would be his doom if he attacked Jacque so he backed down.

The Innocence will be delivered to Riena. According to AZ, I should kill Zeran (by Lucifer's hand) and the girl shall receive his Innoence.

Author’s Note (Before Reading)
Apologies in advance for the late chapter. I had too many projects, tests, and reading for school :shakefist

Hmmmm… this might be a short chapter (as in shorter than my usual). We’ll have to see though since it pretty much depends on how well and satisfied I am with the chapter. This pretty much consists of flashbacks and dinners so this will be really slow.

I think both sides need a break from all this constant battling so here is a nice reprieve for them. Hopefully this will serve as a nice transition to the next arc.


Chapter Ninety-One: The Venom After the Bite

Part One
The smell of rotting flesh and burnt earth hovered around the debris, causing those unfortunate souls who had a whiff of the odor to cover their noses in a vain attempt to avoid inhaling it. Smoke rose from the ground, making it nearly impossible to walk lest one tripped over the countless corpses that lined the battleground. Blood bathed the field and flowed like a river, emptying into a makeshift ditch. Yet, with all this chaos, a faint light could be seen, blocked by the opaque fabric of a torn tent.

It was odd seeing his brother this way, catatonic as he stared into nothingness with tears rolling down his face. The food lay before him, uneaten and cold after it had been served before the Noah hours ago. Despite all the etiquette lessons that he had to endure while he was at court, Amaterasu grew impatient and ate without Jacques; it was pointless to starve and waste perfectly good food when it was obvious that the host was not going to eat. However, he could not blame his sibling for not eating. The centerpiece was quite grotesque and unappealing.

There lying in the center of the rectangle table was the dead body of their “beloved” sister, her hair matted against her pale skin. Her clothes were torn from her fierce battle with the exorcists, a huge tear revealing a deep stab wound in her chest. Magier appeared to be in peace and Amaterasu could have sworn that she was giving a small smirk. Even in death, she mocked him.

Terrified screams snapped the Noah out of his thoughts and he turned in the direction of the disturbance. Once he determined the cause, he sank lower into his chair and sighed. The defeat of the Noahs had greatly affected the doppelganger but it was the death of her mistress that had driven the Akuma into insanity. Enraged, she had begun slaughtering the followers of Jacques, causing her to rapidly level up. No matter how much they begged for their lives, no matter how young the victims were, “Stephanie” could not be appeased from her killing spree. Their prayers to their savior fell upon deaf ears as the priest sat motionless.

Amaterasu stared angrily at his brother and wondered why Jacques was doing absolutely nothing at a time like this. Didn’t he understand that people die all the time? It would pointless to think that no one would be killed in a war including Noahs. They are somewhat humans after all.

Annoyed, he reached over and grabbed the sword that Magier still clenched in her hands. Removing it, he playfully began swinging it around, causing the blood that stained the blade to splatter around the table. Jacques felt some drops hit his cheek and he automatically wiped them off with his sleeves. “Don’t touch it,” he hissed, eyeing his brother.

The last memories of her life flashed before his eyes. The secret and forbidden meetings, her wicked grins and laugh, and then her final breathes seemed unreal to the priest but deep inside he knew that they did happen. He was used to death; after all he had witnessed so many including the death of his most faithful follower. Still, none of them had affected him but losing Magier caused him great pain.

He noticed that his brother had stopped playing with the sword and wiping his own tears away. The Noah genes were mourning and there was nothing that either of them could do to prevent them from crying. Amaterasu smiled and answered, “It’s a shame that we both lost our favorite playthings. I was using the exorcist to perfect my skills before I try them out on our dear sister. It’s a pity that I won’t be able to do so.” He licked the girl’s sword playfully, hoping that this will rile Jacques and secretly celebrating when he knew that he succeeded.

“Don’t speak ill of our sister that way,” scolded Jacques as he slammed the table. Uriel and Michael slowly backed away from the table, sensing the murderous intent of their master. None of them had the courage or charm of Gabrielle to calm the Noah down. “She is not a doll to be played with unlike that exorcist nor does she need to be corrupted by your hands.” His hands were quickly curling into fists as he felt the blood rushing to his head. How dare Amaterasu insinuate such a dirty act especially towards a member of their own clan!

The boy chuckled and replied mockingly, “I was just joking with you, dear brother. I would never do such a thing to her or your whore.” He placed the sword back into its sheath and threw it back on the table. The sound of metal echoed throughout the tent, causing the remaining guardians to flinch as they anticipated what was about to come. Wiping away his tears on a handkerchief, the blond added, “After all, none of them are worth the tears I shed.”

Before he could react, Amaterasu felt a slap across his face and he fell to the ground due to the impact. Looking up, he stared into the cold eyes of Jacques who appeared more foreboding than ever. His face grew darker and the bloody crosses lined up along his forehead. His fists clenched so tightly that his fingernails dug into his palms, resulting in their bleeding. The boy shuddered at this sight and tried to back away.

Unfortunately, his brother caught his feet and dragged him back to the table. Forcing him onto the table, Jacques forced him to stare into the lifeless face of Magier. “Look at it,” said the Noah coldly. “Tell me that she isn’t worth your tears. She is worth more than the likes of you.” He slammed the boy’s face onto the table and then threw him to the ground. Unable to control himself, Jacques began beating his sibling up with kicks, punches, and slaps. Deep inside, he knew that his actions were wrong; after all, one should not hurt a family member. Still, he felt such an euphoria from doing this and continued doing so.

The guardians had no idea what to do as they watched the brothers’ fighting. They knew that they should stop them since it was their duty to the Earl and his followers. However, they believed that Amaterasu had it coming and they derived pleasure watching him suffer.

Jacques lifted his brother up. The boy’s face was bruised and bleeding but this did not move the priest. He was tempted to finish the deed when a familiar voice stopped him from committing the act. “Stop it Jacques~”

He did not have to turn around to know who the voice belonged to. If she was sent here as a messenger, then he knew that he was in trouble. The Earl only sent her when he was displeased with one’s actions or when he was extremely happy with one’s effort; in this case, it would be the former.

“We have lost more than enough family members. Let’s not lose another one~” For some odd reason, Jacques instantly dropped Amaterasu who was now breathing deeply for air. He quickly scurried away from him and moved towards the figure who hissed, “Don’t touch me, you perv!”

Turning her attention towards the older brother, she continued, “The Duke wants to see you~”. A door suddenly appeared and the Noah knew what that meant. Entering it nervously, he feared the punishment the Earl had decided to impose on him.

Part Two
The plan worked better than any of the exorcists expected and perhaps they would have experienced a sense of euphoria from their victory. They had successfully rescued their captured comrades and actually killed a Noah. Unfortunately, their joy was shattered with the death of an exorcist and the fact that they might have come too late for their friends—the Noahs had inflicted their damage onto them and no one had any idea how they were psychologically or physically.

The escape was frantic with everyone’s trying to retreat before Jacques could release his rage onto them. Madeline recalled the adrenaline running in her blood as she gathered all of her companions together. Her heart dropped once she noticed Zane and Daniel there but at the moment, their presences were the last of her worries.

“We’re almost there,” voiced Lyra, breaking the awkward silence in the air. No one had spoken after the battle but then, what was there to talk about? Everyone was left to his/her own thoughts, contemplating what had happened and what they should have done. The pink-haired woman turned back to evaluate the group whose sullen faces expressed their tiredness.

Her Finder was carrying the girl who had exhausted herself from her stay at the camp and the scrimmage she had with her Akuma sister. She noticed the Bookman glancing at the exorcist as she slept and quickly turned away as if he was embarrassed and ashamed. He didn’t seem to be injured that severely, confirming the fact that he was a special target for the Earl’s forces. Flames was leaning on Daniel for support while the rest of the girls were congregating together, surrounding Madeline as if they wanted to protect her from the evil clutches of Zane. The man must have realized that for he was distancing himself away from them.

A faint light stood out in the darkness, resulting in sighs of relief from the group. As they moved past the sign that proclaimed “Green Olive Creek”, a man swung opened the door and greeted, “Welcome back, victors!” He ran over and immediately hugged his cousin who didn’t have enough time to react and avoid his embrace. She started smacking his back, beseeching, “Not so tight! I can’t breath.”

After he released her, Grim smiled and cupped her face. “I’m so happy to see you alive. I have been so worried about your and your friends’ safety,” he rambled. “After all, who is going to take care of your father’s debt?” He shut his mouth and backed away once he noticed the dirty glare he received from Lyra who seethed, “That is between your father and mine. Don’t get me involved with it.”

She faced her comrades and motioned them inside. Upon seeing the injured prisoners Grim made a fuss about their health and immediately ordered his employers to set aside a hallway dedicated to their treatment. As the servants rushed their preparations, he ordered, “Prepare a feast for my cousin and her companions!” and he ran to the back to help out in the kitchen.

Embarrassed, Lyra felt her face turned red and went behind the counter. She quickly distributed keys to various rooms to each of the exorcists. “Girls are to room with girls, boys with boys!” she fussed as she noticed some flirtatious looks especially between Tabby and Daniel. Once she said it, Tabby and Eny started fighting over who would have the bigger bed and the location of their room. In the distance, Rinvak was growing more irritated by their ruckus but part of her was happy that it was slowly becoming like old times.

“Can someone take Blade, Flames, and Stephanie to their respective rooms please?” requested Madeline as she collapsed into a chair in the lobby. When they heard her commands, Grim’s servants ran over and led them to their rooms. A yell of “Dinner will be ready in an hour! Go ahead and wash up” could be heard from the kitchen. The nun looked over at Lyra who just gave a small smile. Maybe everything will be okay.

Part Three
The warm water felt refreshing and comforting as she placed her foot into the bath. It had been a while since she had bathed but there was no point in doing so. The Noah came so often and made her feel dirty from their forbidden interactions. Even if she did bathe, he would be present and watch her, fulfilling his dirty little fantasies in his voyeur ways.

Stephanie hoped that she would become clean again by doing this as she quickly disrobed and entered the tub. The water splashed against her skin and she tried her best to scrub any remnants of her stay away from her. Nevertheless, no matter how hard she scrubbed, she could not get the feeling that she could be purified or forget what had happened to her.

The exorcist could still feel the presence of Amaterasu in the room as if he was still here, whispering his perverted thoughts in her ears. She could still feel his fingers moving across her body as he would force himself upon her. Stephanie felt herself lowering in the tub as she pleaded with whomever to cleanse her from her sins. Her face was completely underwater and she tried to force herself to stop breathing.

However, her ribbons must have known her desires and immediately brought her back to the surface. As she grasped for air, she broke down and started wailing. Why did it had to happen to her? Why did the Earl have to take everything away from her? First it was her entire family and her home. Now it was her innocence—something that she could never recovered. No one would want a broken girl.

She got up and dried herself with her soft towel. Stephanie glanced up and stared at her reflection in the mirror. Her face was clean from the dirt of the battle and sweat and saliva of the Noah yet her eyes had lost their glimmer. I need to see Blade, the girl thought as she quickly dressed with a nightdress that was not flimsy as the ones she was accustomed to wearing.

The exorcist rushed out of her room and headed to the door that had a tag labeled “BLADE” on its exterior. Her heart was beating quickly as she raised her right hand to knock on the door. But she couldn’t do it. She was too afraid that he would reject her, too afraid to see his reaction after she had confessed to him that she had indeed slept with the Noah multiple times that she quietly retreated back to her room.

Curling herself with the thick comforter, Stephanie couldn’t shake the feeling that at any second, the Noah would enter and demand that she would do as she was told which she always did. It was odd that he would not be coming tonight and perhaps part of her found pleasure in their activities. Her body missed Amaterasu’s warm and touch and it seemed to yearn for his attention. Her ribbons wrapped around her body as if it knew of her desire and seemed to beckon her to return to her former master. She tightened grasp on the blanket and quickly closed her eyes. She did not have to be that girl anymore.

Part Four
Despite the nice treatment he had received as a prisoner at the camp, Blade despised his stay. The Bookman would start his day tallying the length of his stay—the last day was number 67. His room was a cold, dirty alcove which was miserable enough since the sunlight never reached him. What made it worse was the lack of human interaction which almost drove him to insanity. He constantly worried about his comrades, wondering what happened to them but the Akuma guards revealed nothing to him.

:: Flashback begins::

Then came the whispers. They started coming once he was given to the female Noah after an uproar caused by his former “owner”. After he had been beaten severely by Magier, he leaned against the cold wall, trying to catch his breath. However, his guards were noisy as they voice their disappointment at one of their masters. The one called Amaterasu was rumored to be mixing his sacred blood with that of a dirty exorcist. When he heard this, Blade felt his heart getting stabbed and he tried his best to elicit more information by eavesdropping on their conversation.

“They make so much noise. I can’t believe he would do that to one of them. She must have bewitched him,” muttered one as he patrolled the area. The other one nodded in agreement adding the fact that he believed that THAT akuma was responsible as well since she had much to gain from this. Blade slammed his hands to the ground as he digested the news. They had to be lying…

Laughter caught his attention and he noticed that the guards were looking at him with great interest. “Did we say something to upset you, Bookman?” questioned one as he tapped the bars with his metal arm. The boy glared at them and said nothing. He had not given the Earl’s force any information that was of use to them and he was not planning to.

“Haha! Should we tell him?” asked the other as he struggled to contain his giggles. “Your comrade and your former master have grown closer and well, let’s us say that they know how to comfort each other.” Seeing Blade’s shocked reaction caused them to laugh some more, stinging him with their heartlessness.

“Stupid Akuma! What are you doing?” came a voice that caused the Akuma to stop moving. A girl in a short skirt stood at the entrance, a sword being held by her right hand. They shivered as she walked by them and ordered them away. Magier knelt down to look directly into the prisoner’s face through the bars.

“I must regretfully admit that what the Akuma have said is true,” she noted as she pondered her next move. Blade did not move nor react as he felt a sense of betrayal and shock. Noticing his behavior, she added with a smirk, “However, if you help us, if you tell us everything you know, I can make her whole for you. It would be like nothing ever happened. You can protect her. Besides, if you join us, you will receive great power and be remembered as a great ally of the Earl.” No response was heard so she sighed and turned around. What a stubborn boy!

:: Flashback ends ::

The offer ruminated in the boy’s mind even at the moment. He had always believed that the Akuma and the Noah was lying. After that encounter, the guards began giving him preferential treatment and would never mention that incident again. It wasn’t until he saw Stephanie again that he knew that what he had heard was true. He felt regretful and angry at himself for allowing this to happen.

The Bookman unsheathed his weapon and stared at the midnight colored sword. It was odd that the Noahs would return his Innocence, ensuring him that they had made it stronger. However, the cost was to work exclusively for the Earl and his allies. Closing his eyes, he began to absentmindedly swinging it, imagining in his mind that he was chopping apart the enemies with each attack.

He got off the bed and exited his room. Blade wanted to apologize to her for letting it happen. Upon reaching her room, he let out a sigh to ease his nerve and knocked. No one replied and he waited outside for a few minutes. The Bookman eventually resigned himself to his fate and headed back to the room.

He should have taken the deal.

Part Five
Perhaps it was the werewolf part inside of him but Flames could not force himself to sleep. He tossed and turned on his bed, sweating underneath the hot comforter. The exorcist eventually gave up and got out of the bed. In an attempt to refresh himself, he opened up the window, allowing the cool air to enter the room. He sighed and sat on the windowsill, staring at the night sky. Clouds engulfed the moon and the stars, creating an unpleasant atmosphere.

Though he was reunited with his friends and comrades, he felt misplaced and isolated from them. It had been months since he had seen them and he was overjoyed with his reunion with them. Still, so much had occurred during this gap that it was different. Flames could not discern whether they felt pity towards them or disappointment in his inability to fight back. Because of this paranoia, he could not force himself to eat dinner with them.

The man angrily suppressed his frustration to himself though a part of him felt guilty over his ordeal. Not only did Flames suffer but his other two companions suffered as well. He recalled briefly their arrival at the Noah camp.

:: flashback begins ::

As he opened his eyes, he struggled to stay awake. Unfortunately, the injuries he sustained from the battle with the guardians and the drugs administered to him by Ying had greatly affected his cognitive abilities and his body felt numb.

The sensation of cold metal on his back relayed the fact that he was on a metal bed, strapped tightly by cloth bonds. Flames could not move, his head the only part of his body that could turn. On his left was Blade who was barely alert as well with Amiti next to him, administering a syringe into the Bookman’s arm. He watched as the boy twitched violently before he slowly stopped. The grin on the redhead’s face shocked the exorcist until he came to the realization that the boy he thought was his friend was the one responsible for events that took placed.

The exorcist rotated his neck to the left to see Stephanie strapped onto a bed like him. For an odd reason, she was unconscious, causing Flames to believe that she was already drugged. Shh-ing sound was heard in her direction and he noticed a blond boy whispering, “It’ll be okay. It’s just a physical examination” as he reach towards her, angering the second-in-command. A beautiful young woman smacked his hand, scolding, “I’m conducting this, not you!”

Before the boy could protest, a deep voice from behind the exorcist boomed, “Get away from here, brother! You’ll just ruin the data.” Jacques’s voice startled Flames and apparently had the same effect on his sibling for the werewolf heard someone scuttling away quickly, muttering how much his brother ruined the fun. The priest headed towards Amiti and requested a report on his findings so far.

“The prisoners have sustained various injuries that will make it easy to break them. Their Innocences are currently being studied by Michael and as you can tell, Gabrielle is doing a more thorough examination on the girl. I will be focusing on my comrade and will help Michael with his inspection on the savage. From my interactions with them, he is the one I believe is the most dangerous for he is unstable in his werewolf form. I personally believe that it is useless since it’s obvious that he is dead.” Jacques seemed pleased with the report for he muttered, “Excellent” under his breath.

Flames heard the rustling of papers as he watched the priest examining the results of his guardians. Something must had caught something intrigued him for he ordered his followers to stop what they were dealing and to come to him. At this point, Blade was left with needles still stuck into his body while Stephanie was left with a think sheet covering her bare skin. Pointing to a specific part, he demanded, “What is this supposed to mean?”

Realizing that his angels could not respond, he sighed and answered, “It means that he was not murdered; he was given something that gave it the illusion that he was dead.” Jacques rushed over to Flames’s side and stabbed him in the arm with a scalpel. The exorcist screamed as he tried in vain to get out of his bondage.

Huffing, the Noah glared at his guardians and angrily admonished, “Research more carefully!” Though he was extremely annoyed, Jacques could not help but admire the work of the Black Order. Whatever was administered to the exorcist was interesting and could be useful in the future. As he filled a syringe with a clear liquid, he explained to the man on the examination bed, “This might sting a little.”

Flames felt the sensation of burning at the site of injection and just like Blade, he began to violently twitch until numbness quickly spread through his body and all he could see was black.

:: flashback ends ::

Watching his breath in the cold air, the exorcist attempted to recall what he endured afterwards but no matter what, he could remember anything. Nothing he did could fill the gap and he doubted that his two companions could remember either. There were too many unanswered questions.

Flames stared at the table which was placed across him. The spear that he inherited from his tribe lay there innocently but the exorcist grew suspicious. It was unusual and illogical that the Noah would return weapons that could kill the allies of the Earl to his enemies. As he looked out into the night, the man wondered what the opponent’s next move was.

Part Six
”This meal look so yummy!” exclaimed Lyra as she clapped her hands in excitement. Grim always cooked delicious food and she knew that whatever she was going to eat was going to greatly surpass whatever food she and her companions had been eating for the past few days. Plates of cooked fish, vegetables, fruits, freshly baked rolls and various desserts lay upon the table, causing some to salivate. The smell overpowered the room as the exorcists tried their best not to grab all the food and eat it all. They had to be good houseguests, right?

“I can’t wait anymore!” muttered Daniel as he reached for a roll only to be smacked by Madeline who sat beside him. He gave a small yelp only to notice that Tabitha who sat across from him smiling. The boy felt his face burning up and turned quickly away, apologizing for his rudeness. “So where is Zane?” he questioned, trying to avoid the girl’s gaze.

Other members of the table quickly looked around. Lyra noticed that the sister’s face was becoming paler as she came to the realization that Zane had in fact disappeared and that this could mean trouble for her. Before she could say anything to qualm the woman, Grimm’s booming voice bellowed from the kitchen, “Zane? You mean that stern, blind guy? He asked me if he could use the telephone so he should be using right now. He said it was urgent.”

Hearing this caused Madeline to freeze as the thought of her arrest and possible torture paralyzed her mind. So many people had risked their careers and lives to help her out but it seemed that their attempts were in vain. She felt someone touch her shoulder and she turned to face Eny.

“Should I get the others? Flames, Blade, and Stephanie aren’t here yet and I’m sure that they want some food too,” she asked as she tried her best to change the topic. Tabitha and Daniel immediately got up and simultaneously offered to get them. Before they could run upstairs, Lyra raised her hand and advised, “Don’t bother them. They have been through a lot and probably want to be alone for now. When they are ready, they will come. Besides, Ying will be upstairs later to take care of them.”

Awkward silence overtook the table. Rinvak looked down at her plate and pondered why things couldn’t be like they used to be. It was so much easier when all they had to worry was doing their missions well and just getting along with each other in such closed quarters. Now they were missing a leader and their friends had endured whatever cruel treatment the Noahs had placed upon them.

“What are you doing? Eat, eat, eat!” admonished Grimm as he carried a huge turkey into the room. “You need your strength and a bit of fattening! How can you fight the Earl with scrawny bodies?” he continued as he pinched his cousin’s arm. The man quickly filled everyone’s plate with various foods and once he was done, he raised his arms and proclaimed, “Now enjoy!” before he exited the room.

Everyone at the table looked at each other, wondering what just happened. Suddenly, Lyra laughed and muttered, “That’s my cousin for you” as she swallowed a piece of turkey into her mouth. It was just like home, far from the battlefield and disgusting food rations that the Black Order had provided them. Soon everyone was eating, savoring each bite as it brought back memories of home before they enlisted into the Order. Conversation began to ease in and the meal became enjoyable.

“What are we going to do about Zeran?” asked Reina as she picked at her sautéed beans. The exorcists ceased their conversations and their eating. The death of their comrade was still lingering and no one really wanted to talk about it. However, there was no point in denying that he was dead and nothing was going to change that fact.

Before anyone could say a word, an unsympathetic voice boomed over. “We’ll burn his body and scatter them over the sea. Hiding his death is only best for us all and for those who might be affected by his death at home.”

Madeline’s eyes met Zane’s and quickly moved to her place. The man moved to the seat on the other side of Daniel and began filling his plate with the food. The mood on the table was still somber and grave. The food was slowly becoming cold and the night sky grew darker.

“Well, at least he’ll be useful,” replied Lyra optimistically as she motioned scattering the ashes. “Feed little fishies! Become plump and juicy!” Someone had to lighten the mood. Groans were heard from around the table as Madeline pushed her plate. She had suddenly lost her appetite as she eyed the last piece of cod left.

The blind man chuckled for a bit and continued. “I have given the main branch my report concerning the past few days starting with our arrival to the now defunct North American branch headquarter. Then our mission was to capture the fugitive Sister Madeline” His gaze focused on the lady sitting two seats away from him; she was pale and her hands were shaking with anxiety.

“However,” he added, “after what had happened the past few days with the rescues of exorcists whom we believed were dead, I was able to inform Central that you were not a threat and that you were loyal to the Order. You are allowed to remain free but I will maintain your leash.” Madeline looked up and glared at Zane, demanding that he repeated what he had just said.

“I said that I will maintain your leash. The Order does not completely trust you so I will personally oversee every mission that you are sent on.” He raised his drink and joked, “Let us toast to the beginning of our new relationship.” The man could sense her anger towards him and thought that he had successfully pushed her over her limit.

The sister had to repress her urge to punch the guy not because it would be improper and senseless. Daniel was in the way and most likely would receive the blunt of it. “Calm down, everyone!” beckoned Rinvak. She had dealt with Zane long enough to realize what he was planning. Turning her attention to the troublemaker, she questioned, “Is that all you wanted to tell us?’

The man shook his head as he cut a piece of turkey thinly. “Due to the battles and other circumstances, you all will be receiving new uniforms to better fight the Earl and his allies.” Expressions of surprise and shock overcame the table as the girls immediately jumped out of their chairs, squealing excitedly, “We’re getting new clothes!”

Lyra slammed her glass against the table, restoring order to the group. “If we’re getting new uniforms, does it mean what I think it means?” If her premonition was correct, this would be the greatest night for the North American branch in a long time. The young exorcists looked at her questioningly as Madeline sensed what the woman was thinking and began to look optimistic.

Zane smirked and nodded in agreement. “Yes, after the events of the past days, the Black Order believed that it is a necessity to keep branch active because of the growing influence of the Earl’s forces. Due to the absence of Lione Parcoeur, a new branch leader has been named and will be arriving at a later date.”

Shouts of happiness and disbelief echoed throughout the room. Yes they were happy that the branch was no longer closed down but still it hurt to think that Lione was no longer going to be their leader. “What will happen to him?” asked Tabitha as the news sank into her brain. He was the one responsible for making the branch what it was presently so ignoring his accomplishments would be a slap in his face.

The man rolled his eyes as Lione’s name was mentioned. He knew that the exorcist would have been brought up but he was secretly hoping that no one would say anything about the former branch leader. Loyalty to the man still existed and must be dealt with accordingly but carefully.

“When he is found, he will be treated as the Order sees fit,” answered Zane as he tightened his grip around his fork. Knowing that this response would only cause them to become suspicious and distrustful of Central, he decided that it was best to announce his last news at this time.

“Until Renee Epsteini arrives here, I will be the interim branch leader.”

Author’s Notes (Post-reading)
That’s it! I hope that this was a nice chapter for the audience and that this will serve as a nice transition to the next arc.

I also hope that you notice the nice parallel between the dinner of the Noah and the dinner of the exorcists. I enjoyed writing both though the former was a lot of fun to write since Amaterasu finally got what was coming to him. (Writing an entire part to that was enjoyable enough to write though I’m sure that it was more fun to read ^^)

Thanks again for reading and I can’t wait to read the next chapter!

In the forest Koko and Legno couldn't believe what they saw. "Hello" said a voice, "how are you doing". Legno was about to say the words, innocence but the person came in between. "It wouldn't be fair if you did THAT. After all you were chosen to have my diary".

"A sir, did I hear that very well?" asked Koko. "Impossible? If you're the writer then it means you're the traitor noah and you are Dead" said Legno. The guy replied: "you're right and you're wrong. Somehow I am dead, but on the otherhand I am alive...". "I know the answer to the riddle" said koko. Bang, as slap of the head. "Master why did you do that?". "Let the man speak, and don't do such ridiculous things" replied Legno.

"Okay where was I? Ah, you're right or you're wrong. Somehow I am dead, but on the other hand I am alive..." (Koko and Legno thinking: is he or are we the monkeys over here?) "You see when the earl killed me, he forgot a thing. We noah are opposite as you excorsists. You can kill the host but that doesn't mean you killed the real deal." " The real deal?" asked Legno.

Let me ask you something:"What if I kill you? Does that necessarily mean you're innocence is gone? I killed you, but did I kill it?". "So you wanna say, to kill the noah, you kill its - what we call our innocence." said Legno. "Well we call it noah genes, but I rather call it guilth - the opposite of innocence. The earl killed the host but he "forgot" to kill my guilth and I found a conform host." said the noah. "Conform noah? and why the diary?" asked Legno. "Oh one question at the time! But what the heck since you already asked it. Conform noah. It's easy to explain: innocence choose its host when the synchronization is perfect, but guilth aka noah genes choose its host too when synchronization is perfect. You are called true apostle of goodness, while we are call true apostels of evil. And let's call me a malfunction. Now the diary part. The diary was written before my death, and one of my skills is to forsee the future. I saw my own dead and because of that I anticipated by writing a diary, hoping to get there with a new host. It was risky, and I was lucky. I couldn't come out of this place or the earl and my family would have found me. The only way was the diary, and you found me."

"That's a nice explanation. And now how do we defeat the noah?" asked Legno. "Well the interesting part. how do you kill all excorsists?" asked the noah. "It is said there's the heart of all innocence which supporst all innocence.Crush it and all be crushed." Suddenly Legno came to the conclusion "Can't be? So to kill noah, you must kill its heart? The earl" said legno. "No. The earl is not the heart, you're god isn't the heart either. Jesus isn't god either. But some other noah is and I know exactly who. If we kill that noah. Noah will be gone for good" said the noah.

"And so what are we going to do now?" asked koko. "Of course going back to HQ with this man" legno replied. "You can't go back to HQ, because we are going to the arc." said the noah. "Just a noah, a excorsist and a finder? Are you crazy?" asked Legno. "Not just us three, but the seven of us will go" said the noah. And suddenly sharp sheadows surrounded them

writer's note: next chapter will explain more the link between diary and suriviving. It'll also be more known about the noah and his skills and history. Adn we'll get to know the other four.

I just decide to write something without hesitations. Sorry for the spelling errors

Jacques was standing in front of the earl. The situation wasn’t good they just lost a Noah due to his fault and the Ark wasn’t moving at all.
Plus rumors of General Cross being in Edo occurred and put the earl into unease. Allen Walker’s death was something that made him happy but still the Noah feared for his life. “Jacques you know why you are here.
Though I love you your entire mission in America is all going wrong.” So this was the case the Noah thought. He was to be blamed for the occurrences and would be the scapegoat. His grip tightened as he bowed down. The earl started to laugh.
“Don’t worry there is no punishment after all you created a way to corrupt innocence. Instead you will be tutoring a recently awakened Noah.

Her name is Marigold the despair of Noah.”

A woman about the same age as Jacques entered the Room together with Lullubel. She had long curly hair and was wearing a long nightgown. Jacques looked her into the eyes but it was like he wasn’t reflected in it at all.
“She still has to cope with the true history but I’m sure as soon as she begins to talk again she’ll be a great asset to your forces.”

This was the first big assembly after the feast in Grim’s banquet hall.
Stephanie, Flames and Blade were still looking tired but Zane forced them to attend because they were the subject.
“From tomorrow on we’ll start moving to our new headquarters in Washington D.C. you three, Belle and Daniel will go to Hevlaska and your innocence will be checked. Your ferry is already loaded and will attend in three hours.”
Zane’s word lingered in the heads of all exorcists and finder in the room. Moving tomorrow? How does he think will this be possible? When these four people go our forces will be halved for about a month he can’t really think that!
But Zane stopped the chatter with firm words:
”These three where corrupted by the Noah you all witnessed how powerful some of them became we have to fear another Suman incident. We and the forces heading for Edo are practically all exorcists left. We have to strengthen us even if it means a temporary shortage in fighters. Now dismiss!”

Stephanie looked at her ribbons and thought of the power she felt. What should she do if she looses it? She could never kill her sister with her old power. But resistance would be worse.
She looked at the ferry and her companions and tried to suppress the tears.

The new data of the new Noah will come soon. I just need some time to fix it.I hope it's okay to make a new one since the evil side was weakened in the last ark ^^

Chapter 94 : Tabula Rasa

i. in which tabby and daniel agree
“Oh Daniel. You’re so manly and sexy now!” Tabby chirped cheerfully, idly playing with the boy’s red hair.

“You think so? How convenient. I also find you to be a lovely and sexy woman! Shall we get married and have outrageous amounts of children?” Daniels said, leaning on the back of the pew as they sat in the rundown church.

“Okay, sure!” Tabby said with a smile. Before she knew it, she was dressed in a beautiful wedding gown and Lione was walking her down the aisle. The bridesmaids- Steph, Rinvak, and Zeren, looking quite annoyed at having being forced into a sexy pink dress- sighed happily. Eny flounced down the aisle before Tabby. At the end of the aisle, Madeline stood.

“Do you, Tabitha Brown, take Daniel Whatever-the-hell-his-last-name-is to be your squishy husband for all eternity?”


“I do.”

ii. in which reality exists

Tabby sat up, nearly bashing her forehead against Rinvak’s in her haste. She was still in the church, but she was not wearing the flowing white dress, and Rinvak was not wearing pink, and Daniel was, presumably, not currently her squishy husband for all eternity.

Rinvak stood over the other girl, her hands on her hips as Tabby yawned. “You do what, Tabby? Your mom?” From behind Rinvak, Daniel peered at the waking Tabby. Tabby blinked, before turning a ferocious shade of red as she recalled her dream, forcing her hands in front of her mouth to keep her from squealing as Rinvak moaned, “Really mature, Danny.”

“Why thank you,” Daniel said with a grin and a bow. “Anyway, Tabs; me, Flames, Blade, Steph and that Belle chick are heading out. You gonna come say good-bye? I know Blade and Flames and Steph could use some cheering up, and you’re pretty good at that kind of stuff.” Daniel explained, jerking his thumb over his shoulder, where Steph, Blade, Flames, and Belle could be seen milling about the entrance way.

Cheerfully, Tabby bounced out of the pew, throwing an arm around Rinvak- who protested loudly as Tabby nearly ripped her wings in half- and another around Daniel’s shoulders, pushing the pair towards the group at the entrance. The other members of the American Order could be seen coming to say their good-bye.

iii. in which steph and tabby say good-bye
“Bya, Steph!”

Tabby’s cheerful voice caught Stephanie’s ear as the younger Exorcist came barreling over, throwing her arms around Steph in a flying hug, nearly knocking her down. Steph shrieked a little bit as she fell backwards into the doorframe. Quickly and without thinking, Stephanie jerked out of Tabby’s hold.

The gesture, while intended as a cheery farewell, had brought back the feeling of IA in being thrown into bed and…

“Steph?” Tabby’s voice came nervously. The fourteen year old girl looked rather put off at being shrugged away. Immediately, Stephanie threw her arms around Tabby, pulling her into a hug, silently, burying her face into the other girl’s brown hair.

Damn him. Damn him. He’d not just stolen her innocence, but all the affectation in her life. If she couldn’t even hug Tabby without him automatically popping in her head, what else? What else could he have taken? What else?

As if to spite that fate, Stephanie roped one of her hands around Tabby’s head, slowly and methodically running her hand over the other girl’s hair in an almost familial gesture. “Bye Tabby. Take care, alright? We’ll see you guys in DC.” Tabby nodded into her shoulder. Steph smiled slightly, looking over Tabby’s shoulder to catch Blade’s eye as he glanced over, firmly shaking hands with Rinvak as he did so.

A strange half-smile played on her lips as she yet again buried her face in Tabby’s hair. If they were going to go toe Europe together, she would eventually have to talk to him- Daniel, Flames, and Belle would get sick of her if she just talked to them.

“It’ll be okay.”

Seeming to read Steph’s mind, Tabby drew back from Stephanie, looking earnestly up at the older girl and placing a hand on her shoulder. Sadly, Stephanie glanced over at Blade, who bent to say farewell to the youngest Bookwoman. “I hope so, Tabby.”

Tabby smiled lightly. “See ya in DC!” She said quietly, giving Stephanie another quick hug before bouncing away to say good-bye to Flames.

iv. in which lyra and eny put aside their differences for a second
Two hours later and Stephanie, Blade, Flames, Daniel and Belle were long gone, headed for their boat, and the church seemed just a bit too empty as Lyra stepped out of the elevator, totting large amounts of technical equipment she was pretty sure they would never need. The church was very nearly empty, despite the fact that Zane had everyone traipsing up and down the elevator, bringing items out to the curb that they would then carry to the train. Militant Musician was insane, as always.

Nearly empty.

“What’s up, Noisy Munchkin?” Lyra said, hitching her shoulders in an attempt to keep a holding on the doohickey in her arms as she leaned into one of the pews in the back row, where Eny was currently seated, her legs curled up beneath her as she leaned against the back. The young girl glanced at the elder, sniffling a bit, but hardening her gaze.

“Go ‘way Lyra,” Eny said weakly, wiping her nose on the back of her hand. Lyra raised an eyebrow.

“Alright, if that’s what you want,” Lyra said with a shrug, dropping one of the mechanical wonders in her arms.

“Don’t drop that!” Eny burst out, turning around quickly to do what she enjoyed most: berate other people. With a “Jeez, sorry!” Lyra bent to retrieve it. “Give it to me.”

“Say ‘please’,” Lyra teased cheerfully, reaching to ruffle Eny’s hair with her free hand.

“…Please,” Eny said venomously, batting Lyra’s hand away. Lyra smiled widely, placing the mechanical object on the pew before Eny. The younger girl examined the item, running her skeptical eye over it. “See, look, that’s broken! That’s why you don’t drop things,” She lectured, pointing at some problem Lyra couldn’t see. “Here, I guess I’ll fix it…”

With that, Eny was to work, pulling a screwdriver from the pile of equipment Lyra held. Silence filled the church for a rare few moments. “You really love doin’ that kind of stuff, dontcha?” Eny jumped at Lyra’s voice as the elder female sat, peering at Eny’s fingers as the worked quickly. Eny shrugged.

“Well, sure! I’m wonderful at it, absolutely genius,” Eny said humbly- yeah right- continuing to work. “And, besides, usually no one with an inferior intellect bothers me when I do my thing. Apparently, you are the exception to the rule. We-Well, ‘cept F-F-F-Ferm-m-m-y-y-y…” Almost at a frightening speed, tears began pouring from Eny’s eyes as she worked on the broken doohickey. “H-H-He used to si-i-i-it with me when I wo-r-r-r-ked and meow real c-c-cute like…”

The lapse in grammar usually would have set Eny off on a rampage, but now all she could do was cry. Lyra let the items she’d been holding fall to the floor, and Eny wasn’t in the mood to object through her sobs.

“Shh… C’mon, Noisy Munchkin,” Lyra slid over, taking Eny’s head in her hands, forcing the girl to meet her eyes. “It’ll all work out, alright?” Eny sniffed. “It’s gonna be alright.”

v. in which tabby is stronger
Tabby sighed. “Where’s Riena?” She said, exasperated. They were all ready to leave, and the other girl was missing. “I’ll go find her,” She assured Rinvak, unloading her bag onto Rinvak, who protested loudly as Tabby headed back into the building.

“Ri-en-a!” Tabby called, heading through the building. It was no surprise where she found her- Zeren’s old hospital room, clenching his Innocence. Silent tears streamed down the girl’s face as she looked up at Tabby, before she hurriedly wiped them away.

“Time to go?” It wouldn’t have sounded so sad if Riena’s voice hadn’t broken at the end. Tabby merely nodded. Riena sighed, and stood, beginning to walk out the door. When she passed Tabby, Tabby spoke.

“When my brother died, Zeren told me… that when Shia d-died, he cried for two weeks. If I-I could cry less for my bro-brother, then I was stronger then h-he was,” Tabby ventured carefully, willing herself not to cry as she recalled the pain of losing Edward and the raw hurt of Zeren’s recent death. “I-I loved my brother. I loved Z-Zeren, and I know you-you did. Bu-But we’ve got people here, right?”

Quietly, Riena nodded, taking a deep breath.

“You gonna take h-his challenge?” Tabby said, taking the other girl’s hand and pulling her down the hallway. “By the way,” Tabby said, halting and smiling slightly. “The new minimum’s twelve days, cu-cuz…” She swallowed. “On the twelfth night, I didn’t cry. I’m stronger than Z-Zeren was.”

Riena was silent, a slight smile playing on her lips. Grinning, Tabby turned sharply, dragging Riena along. “Then c’mon! We’re going to Washington!”

vi. in which rin and zane argue
Rinvak sighed. “Jeez, Zane, is all this stuff really necessary?” She hefted a heavy amount of luggage onto the overhead rack. It groaned under the pressure.

“I’m afraid I missed the part where I asked for your useless opinion,” Zane said simply, ushering Ying into one of the compartments.

“Can’t you just drop dead in some hole?” Rinvak groaned, placing the medicines Ying had handed off to her on another shelf.

“That would make it far too easy on you,” Zane retaliated with a wicked grin.

“I really dislike you.” Rinvak slid into one of the compartments she was to share with Madeline and Ying. “I hate that man,” She reiterated as she sat down, arranging herself into a comfortable position. Madeline narrowed her eyes.

“I don’t like him one bit,” She said, glancing at the shut door, from where Zane could be heard herding Eny, Tabby, Riena and Lyra into one of the compartments, informing them that, “The three of them are small, you’ll fit.”

Ying nodded slightly. Rinvak swore venomously at the door.

vii. in which there's something new
Eny and Reina were both asleep when Zane came around, handing out the new uniforms. Riena was leaning on Tabby’s shoulder, and Eny had collapsed across Lyra’s lap- neither was particularly pleased with the arrangement, but waking the pair seemed impossible as Zane stepped in. “Tabby’s, Lyra’s… I guess we’ll have to commission another one for this kid, right?” He didn’t even look up as her tossed the pair their Exorcist uniforms, closing the door behind him, tactlessly making a point to say, “Nobody look in there; there’s woman changing,” rather loudly.

“Git,” Lyra said, sliding Eny off her lap and standing to change into the new uniforms. Tabby laughed and yawned, nearly asleep herself on top of her agemate, Riena. Her new uniform was pulled up against her like a blanket.

They weren’t all that different: they were still black; they still had the rose cross, but there was something different about them that didn’t have to do with the design. Was it that new clothes smell, or perhaps the lack of rips and tears and stains? Or was there something in them, something in DC? Lyra smiled lightly as she looked at herself in the new uniform, then down at the younger girls. Tabby was asleep now, her head resting on the compartment wall. Eny had taken over Lyra’s seat in her sleep. Riena’s head had banged to the window.

Smiling deviously, Lyra considered their reactions when they woke up with big, marker glasses on their faces as she uncapped a Sharpie.

viii. in which we glimpse the future



“Stop whining! I’m gonna be Branch Leader!”

“They’re a bunch of trouble makers, Renee! Complete morons! Why the hell did I let you bring me here!?!”

“And that makes me perfect for their leader! Besides, it’ll be alright. Just watch.”

Stepping past the White House, the pair of black clad persons could not have looked entirely commonplace, their long capes flowing behind them. When anyone approached them, the female just flashed them a piece of paper, and they moved aside. The male gave them all a menacing glare, though, and the paper was rarely needed.

“Here it is!” The female said cheerfully as the came to a stop before the new American Black Order Headquarters.

Down at the train station, one chugged quietly into the station.

A/N: in which i explain

There ya go. =3 The male with Renee is a new character. I’ll go put up his bio in a bit. Sorry if I screwed over anyone's planes. xD

Chapter 95: Home Again

A/N: I'm back, here's my chapter, sorry if there's any issues.

As the Black Order walked towards the place that the directions in Zane’s hands told them, a large building could be seen towering over the rest. Madeline pointed to the big grey building. “That must be it.” It looked bleak against the bright blue sky. The eager younger set- including Ellie, Ewan, Tabby, Riena, and Eny- ran towards the new base, Lyra and Ty racing after them, just as joyful. The rest of the group pretended not to know them.
“It’s so big!”
“I want that room!”
“So pretty!”
“Daddy Daddy look!”
“I see, Ellie, Daddy has eyes too.”
“It’s bravura.”
“What the hell does that mean?”
Zane sighed. “Sheesh, I hate kids.”
They reached the doorsteps and the doors swung open, a tall, thin, red-haired man coming out. “Could you kids keep it the hell down, we’re workin’ in here!?!” Tabby, Eny, Ellie, Ewan, Riena, Lyra and Ty halted, blinking. Annoyed, the man twisted the silver ring on his index finger. “Clear out, would ya?”
“ZANE!” Tabby burst out, shocking the man in the door. He jumped. “ZANE, ARE YOU SURE THIS IS THE RIGHT PLACE?”
Zane groaned. “Yes!”
“Are you sure? You wouldn’t even ask for directions!” Tabby shouted back.
“No real man asks for directions!”
“Listen,” The redhead sighed. “I can give you directions so we can get some goddamn work done in here. Where are you nut jobs headed?”
“The North American Black Order Branch Headquarters!” Eny piped up, pushing between Lyra and Ellie to stand before the man. He was quiet for a second, rolling his eyes.
Everyone jumped back, including Rin, Zane, Ying and Maddy, who had just caught up. The man turned around and shouted into the building.
“THEY’RE HERE! You guys better come in.” The group realized he was addressing them and walked inside.

People were running around, wearing suits, checking clipboards. Tabby raised an eyebrow. “You sure this is the place?” She asked Rinvak. She shrugged her shoulders and looked over at the red-haired man.
“Doesn’t look like a Black Order Headquarters to me,” She said.
“The good stuff’s upstairs; Renee had this wackjob idea for some sort of engineering company front to bled in or whatever. Here, card keys,” The man stopped before a locked door. He tossed each person a small plastic card. “Lose these and you lose your head.” Tabby giggled a bit, turning the card over. “I’m serious, little girl.” He swiped his own card and entered the stairway. “Follow me,” He mumbled.
The group came to the second floor landing. “I’ll take you all to Renee and she can deal with you. There’s her office over there,” He pointed to a door with the name ‘Renee Epstein’ on it. “She’ll figure out where you’re gonna bunk and all that crap. THEY’RE COMING IN!”
The group jumped a bit as the man shouted through the door. It opened, and he shuffled the group through it. “You could always knock,” A female voice said.
“Thanks for bringin’ ‘em, Maniac!” The woman called cheerfully as the door closed. The group stepped forward. A woman sat behind the desk before them. “Hmm…” She looked them over, her eyes lingering on each of them enough to make them uncomfortable before looking at the next person. “So, you’re my Branch,” she said finally. “I’m your new leader, Renee Epstein. And you all are…?”
“Zane,” The man offered.
“I’m Rinvak.”
“Lyra. It’s a pleasure!”
“I’m Ty, and these two beautiful children are my babies, Ellie and Ewan!”
“Enpitsu Vachir, child prodigy, youngest Bookwoman!”
“I’m Riena.”
“Sister Madeline Price, at your service.”
“Holy crap, there’s a lot of you!” Renee said with a laugh. “Ya’ll are gonna have to share rooms and stuff. Sorry. Anyway, you can get settled. We can talk later. SAM! SHAWN! MANIAC!”
The group jumped. Renee smiled. “These three will bring you to the rooms you can use.” The man from earlier appeared, along with a small girl with dark red hair and a tall man with silver hair. “Sam, you take the girls to the hallway upstairs; Shawn, Maniac, you take the guys.”
Tabby and Eny exchanged glances. “Um,” Madeline spoke up. “Is it quite proper for him to go to the girl’s rooms?”
There was a small silence. “Sam’s a girl.”
“I-I’m sorry!” Madeline apologized to muscular girl.
“Hurry up,” Was all she said as she left. The girls hurried after. Maniac motioned for Ty, Zane, and Ewan to follow him and Shawn. They set off to the men’s dorms.

“Alright,” Sam said as the reached the next floor. “Go choose rooms.”
“Okay!” Eny said cheerfully, sprint down the hallway, Tabby right behind. Rinvak rolled her eyes, slipping into the nearest room. Ying had already disappeared into one of the rooms. Madeline carefully chose one, and Riena joined her. Lyra was already leading Ellie into one of the shared rooms.
“I want this one!” Eny shouted, leaping onto the window seat.
“C’mon! I was here first!” Tabby retaliated.
“No, you ignoramus, that was I!”
“Yeah right!”
“You guys could share,” Madeline suggested, poking her head into the room.
Eny and Tabby looked at her like she had two heads. “NO!” They both cried at the same time, before returning to their arguing. Madeline sweatdropped. She headed back to her own room.

The guys went down another hallway, following behind Maniac, who looked annoyed, and Shawn, who Ewan was cheerfully talking to. “And then my daddy and my sister and me ended up here!” He ended a story. Shawn was silent. “You’re kinda pretty,” Ewan said shyly.
“Shawn is a boy,” Maniac said, glaring at the other young boy.
“Are you sure…?”
“That’s what that she-male Renee keeps around says,” He said with a shrug.
“You mean that Sam lady?”
“Yeah. Anyway kid, we’re here. Knock yourself out,” Maniac said, motioning to Zane and Ty that they could go. Zane calmly picked the nearest room. Ty and Ewan, however, bolted for the ‘perfect’ room.
“I like this one, Daddy!” Ewan called.
“I like this one too, son! It shall be ours!” Ty said, lifting his hands in a sign of victory. The Jamaican pair proceeded to dance around the perimeter of the room. Maniac and Shawn peered in.
“What the hell?” Maniac asked. Shawn didn’t answer, of course.

It was dinner time, and the Order was enjoying their first meal in the new headquarters. “This food is so much better than that old stuff!” Lyra said cheerfully, prodding Riena to make her eat.
Rinvak swallowed her food quickly, and sat bored at the table. At another table, Renee, their new leader, sat, cheerfully bickering with the redheaded man- Maniac- as Sam and Shawn looked on. She couldn’t quite tell which was which.
She stood, taking her empty plate to the kitchen. As she did so, Renee did the same. The pair met at the kitchen door. Without speaking, they placed their plates on the belt.
“Do you think this is going to work out?” Renee said randomly. Rinvak looked at her.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, us, y’know? Not just me,” She said. “Maniac, Shawn, and Sam have… trouble fitting in places.”
“I can see that,” Rinvak said automatically. Renee looked saddened. “But,” she said quickly as she looked at the silent boy-or was he a she- and the militant woman-or man?- and the brash, rude redhead. “I think we’ll fit in with you guys just fine.”

Chapter 96 - Just Seeking a Piece of Happiness

Well, my chapters always turn out to be not as long as I expected them to be when I am busy. I hope you enjoy it though.

Whitecaps were playing with a little, clapped-out boat which was buffeted by waves and struggled through them in a battle which the cockleshell would never win. A storm evoked by Poseidon himself rattled at the sails which were grey-washed by rain and tempest. The exorcist and former leader had to put all his effort in persevering and his fingernails bored into the wet wood but his hands were stiff due to the assiduous wind, his fingers blue beaten by merciless coldness.
Lione tried to take a look at the map but the continuous rain complicated this procedure. The more he tried to recognize any lines on the soaked piece of paper, the more he thought about ceasing. Due to Anlen's terrible scribble, Lione conflicted with the rage of the sea and was situated in the middle of nowhere. The exorcist was at the edge of giving up, Boston would never appear at the horizon but kept hidden beyond it, somewhere where Lione could never spot and find it. At least he thought so.
The small boat was in danger of sinking, being buffeted by one wave after another. Lione's cursing kept unheard, swallowed by the noise of the sea.
Dusk set like a shadow on the pirate's temper, not willed to disappear until the last stars died out and all spots on the world map were populated. Sitting on a wooden box and an empty bottle of once tempting liquor sneering at her, Anlen stared absent-minded at the horizon. No wind, no blow, no breeze.

Deathly silence.

Yet, an incontrovertible, lurking presence was situated behind Anlen. It loomed far into the sky, a huge black tower alike and not less sinister. The bright number at the peak cruelly stared at the girl, kept the eye glued to her and longed for her like a greedy vulture. And so rain began to patter onto the ground, echoing like an orchestra when trickling on the bottle's surface. Yet, Anlen did not move, neither forward nor backward. She allowed the rain to soak her filthy, ripped coat which had lost every pride it once had owned. No wealthiness, no glory was reflected in the pirate's eyes. Reality nagged at her. How long could she continue to live like this? Sometimes, Anlen wondered why she voluntarily got involved with others when losing dear persons was so painful. She sighed, closed her eyes for a moment and was surrounded by pitch-black darkness and the monotonously drumming of the rain.
The Noah feared and loved the darkness. Darkness came in handy when the pirates' most loved habit came in use: Boarding an enemy ship. Waiting for it in the darkness, then boarding it while the opponent was too surprised to act, achieved a wonderful feeling within her. But on the other hand, darkness was like the lurking crow, hidden on the clouded peak of a bell tower which rang and signified that one's last minutes on earth have been broken. It reminded Anlen of the silent and lonely moment after the rope had tightened around her neck. She shook her body in order to get rid of this unlovely memory.
When Anlen opened her eyes, Lione still could not be spotted anywhere. He did not appear on the horizon as the pirate had already expected it 4 days ago. If he had followed her plan, Lione would have arrived in Boston several days ago.
Another sigh escaped her lung and Anlen did not get out of noticing that her breath was terrifying cold. She slightly turned around just to see that the sinister door, which sent chills down her spine, still did not disappear. He was staring at her, the Earl was observing her for 4 entire days ever since she had set foot in Boston. Distrust and fear caused Anlen to be sleepless. The Noah was used to such conditions yet 4 days were too much of a good thing, it was overkill.
However, fright was not the only emotion that kept her sleepless. Worry and sadness corroded her nerves and reminded her of a time almost 200 years ago when he had passed away. A dark and wet hut close to the sea, an illness and merciless people. Leaving two dear persons behind. He...

Pursuit of happiness.

"I have to be strong", Anlen thought, lapsing into a slight laughter. "Who else is supposed to bear the burden of a cursed family?"
With this attitude in mind, she tried to cheer up a little and take courage. "I won't lose to you, Lione Parcoeur!"
When the Noah jumped from the wooden box from where she had observed the orange-washed horizon, and turned around, she faced the door that led to the Ark where her always grinning master was awaiting her. With courage in her mind, the door seemed to have lost some of its fearsomeness and so Anlen entered the way of destiny.
Simultaneously, a strong blast of air rattled at the empty, abandoned bottle. Forgotten and deceived, it staggered, fell and shattered.
Flames, Blade, Belle, Stephanie and Daniel rushed towards the ship that was supposed to escort them to Washington D.C., the location of their new and hopefully safe HQ. Laden with bags and suitcases which were filled with clothes and other stuff until no space was left and sleeves and socks were looking out of the bag's chinks, three exorcists, one Bookman and a new supporter cut along the cobbled street towards the port where the ship had been put in. They completely ignored the odd and stunned looks of some passersby because the members of the Black Order had enough worries with reaching the ship just in time. Flames as eldest and most experienced member was leading the group, Stephanie and Blade brought up the rear, Daniel and Belle in between.
"Shall I carry your suitcase, dear", Blade asked gasping and took a look at Stephanie who was running next to him, a black and a brown suitcase jammed under her arms.
"You want us to miss the ship?! No, thanks. I can carry them on my own. Take care of your own ones", Stephanie responded without looking at Blade, her look bound forward where the port was situated. Simultaneously, a sock broke loose, leaked from the suitcase's grasp, flew into Blade's face thus covering his eyes.
"As I said, take care of your belongings", Stephanie said when they rushed around a corner, the port and the huge ship in sight by now.
"No slacking, guys and gals! We have to reach a ship or our 'dear leader' Zane will behead us", Flames shouted and led the group downhill. They had reached the main street which would directly guide them to the port, the place of depart and arrival. However, the church which served as former HQ was abandoned, for now and forever.
"Why are you my punishment?", Anlen asked rather shouting.
"Why are you my punishment?", Amaterasu talked back, not less irritated.
"No, why are you my punishment?!"
"Why are you my punishment?!!!"
"Why are... aaaaaaaaaaaw, SHUT UP!!!!!", Anlen screamed.
"Ehm, Captain... there's a-"

Anlen's outrage caused the crew and even her brother to be silent and to keep a safety clearance. The cupreous spyglass quivered in her hand, having to bear Anlen's anger which dwindled into enormous strength that was directly led into her fist. The sun that smiled upon them and the almost cloud-free sky did not ease her temper which was comparable to a cyclone. Amaterasu could not believe why he had to serve on her ship when he looked at Anlen who was just kicking away a wooden bucket filled with dirty water and was reaming a sailor out who almost seemed to get a heart-attack because he feared the captain's rage. "If she does not stop", Amaterasu thought, "he will jump from board voluntarily."

It did not matter where Anlen was walking, a vexed with foam and flawed wooden floor was left behind. Withering wood followed every step she took. It seemed as if with anger increasing, the pirate ship lost its beauty and became more and more fearsome and rotten, turning into a real ghost ship. It was just a matter of time until the crew would turn into wandering souls, bound to a captain's order for eternity.
Her steps led Anlen to the railing where she tried to ease her anger by looking at the vast horizon and think of something else. A black bug suddenly dropped out of her green hair. An immediate reaction arose and the bug was crushed by the palm of Anlen's hand and quickly disappeared into her mouth. Amaterasu stared with a disgusted facial expression at his sister and listened to the cracking and crunching sound of a chewed up bug. The Noah was sure that the sudden desire to throw up did not come from the constant swaying of the ship but from Anlen's strange and not less disgusting habit to eat everything that had more than two legs. But neither the ad infinitum extending horizon nor the "tasty" bug eased Anlen's rage. Amaterasu was just about to take a nap in Anlen's cabin and wanted to forget about the just seen, when the sailor who had been disturbed by Anlen's outrage a short while ago passed him and attracted attention. On second thought, Amaterasu guessed that the issue could become quite funny. He wondered how long the sailor would survive when his sister gave full scope to her rage, thus he looked for some brave sailors who might be man enough to make a bet.
"I have to destroy something, I want to board and sack something. I need a-", Anlen muttered when the sailor Amaterasu was observing cut in.
"...ship. There's a ship. Starboard side , captain."
Anlen immediately turned around, tried to look through the spyglass when she realized that the glass was broken due to her uncontrollable temper tantrum. Cracks covered the glass, drawing through it like a cobweb and displayed the sea like through a kaleidoscope.
"Aye, not even the equipment can come up with discipline", Anlen complained and threw the spyglass into the deep water and it vanished from human eyes.
With a self-confident smile, the female Noah turned around, adjusted her black hat and approached the helm. Passing by some sailors, she whispered to them, ordering to dive under. Amaterasu looked kind of puzzled when the crew, Akuma and Southerner, smiled from one ear to the other just as Anlen was doing it and not less mischievous. They reefed sails and prepared for the cold and icy plunge when the keel sagged and waves were conquering the deck. Amaterasu who had not the slightest idea what was going on, tried to grip a rope but it was already too late and a wave of pressing water overmastered him.
The exorcists were glad that they had reached the ship just in time. They had entered the huge white vehicle exhausted and breathless yet happy.
While Daniel was just looking for the captain in order to ask where the group would stay and sleep, Flames, Belle, Blade and Stephanie were viewing the magnificent deck. A huge pool, deck-chairs and a bar were covering the brightly polished floor and one waiter after another scurried and passed by.
"A dream", Belle said and approached the railing. She wanted to take a look at the clear blue water, maybe she would spot a dolphin or another wonderful creature of the sea. But the girl could not see any animal, instead a shadow seemed to come closer from second to second. A tremor quaked and caused the four of them to shrink back.
A fountain of water splattered and a wave swept over the deck when a huge, black sailed pirate ship was born of the sea's abysm and caused the pure white ship to sway around, suffering from the sinister mass of water that debouched over the deck.
Stephanie rubbed her eyes, water had blurred her sight. Through the curtain of drops, Flames, Stephanie, Blade and Belle were able to spot a girl with a blowing black coat standing on the steely railing that crumbled and rusted beneath her feet. A silvery gun was pointed at the exorcists.
"Aye, this ship is ours now", Anlen said confidently of victory. "All clear?!"
The Noah just wanted to pull the trigger when she stopped all of sudden. Her eyes widened, Anlen recognized Belle right in front of her. The timing could not be worse when Amaterasu appeared next to the pirate, a bunch of Akuma right behind him, prepared to shoot.

"Noah! Akuma!", Stephanie, Blade and Flames shouted simultaneously.
"Stephanie, dear", Amaterasu said in a sickly sweet way.
"Awesome", Anlen responded with an ironical voice and let her look wander around. "Exorcists."

Author’s Note
I apologize for such a late chapter. I’ve been busy with the holidays and whatnot. It also took me a while to figure the events in this chapter all out and I enlisted my sister to help with some parts (guess which ones). I personally don’t think this is a great chapter but it will do.

I hope you enjoy and thank you for your patience!

Chapter Ninety-Seven: The Changing Winds Bring Unwelcome Tides

Part One
The first month of Zane’s reign was… surprising. Immediately once he took control, funding from Central was arranged and received, resulting in sufficient funds to allow the branch to function. The move to the new headquarter in Washington D.C. was smooth with everything unpacked and ready for operation. The exorcists who were stationed at the North American branch and battle ready were ordered to undergo a strict training regimen, resulting in successful missions.

Subsequently, the then interim branch leader was slowing gaining the respect and adoration of his subordinates. Whispers among the staff glowed about his able and efficient leadership, causing some to wonder why Lione was not fired earlier. Because of his hard work and his accomplishments, Zane was promoted to chair the new office of “Exorcists’ Welfare” in which he was in charge of their training, missions, and assessments. However, Madeline was unimpressed; after all she had to work with him, allowing her to see his ugly side.

While she did agree with some of his policies, the sister disagreed with him in various areas. Yes, Madeline understood that the move to D.C. was a wise move, considering how they needed to hide their base from the enemies. Nevertheless, it seemed abrupt as everyone hastily packed their belongings into their bags. She couldn’t help but wonder if they had forgotten anything important. And was she the only idiot who realized that once Central decided to activate the branch again, they would immediately get funding?

And Madeline knew that it was important for the exorcists to begin training. Nevertheless, she believed that Zane was pushing them to hard, resulting in many of them especially the young ones to report to the hospital ward as they suffered dehydration from the harsh training. Every time she protested, the blind man would brush her arguments aside, saying, “You’re just mothering them. No wonder they are so weak.”

The sister also disagreed with his policy concerning the rescued prisoners who were anything bur recovered. She concurred with his decision not to rush them into missions and into the battlefield. But totally sequestering them from their friends and comrades were extreme. All had been assigned physical therapy which they were supposed to compete as they travel back to Central.

“They’re not going to get better if you send them away to become someone else’s problem,” protested Madeline as she slammed her fist against Zane’s lacquered oak desk. Instead of listening to her reasoning, the man just sighed and rambled on how he was protecting them from danger and was trying to prevent exposure to anything that could trigger their trauma.

However, his arrogance and stubbornness were not the characteristics that pushed Madeline over the edge. It was the fact that he viewed everyone especially her as his personal servants, ordering them like they owe him for everything he had done for the branch. Every time something went right, the sister thought that any second Zane’s head would explode from his growing ego.

As she sat in the chair next to his desk, she wondered how long she would have to stay in his office. At this rate, being personally watched by the branch leader was a fate worse than excommunication, exile, and death. She stared as he fingered along the documents before him, muttering comments on how this would affect the branch and how the proposal before him was a stupid idea. Nothing irritated her more than listening to his talking to himself for hours.

“Madeline,” barked Zane causing her to jerk from her chair. “I need you to send these forms to Ying. I also want you to send the following people listed to my office so I can finish my report to Central.” He handed her a huge stack as she grated her teeth and seethed sarcastically, “You’re welcome.” What was she, his secretary!?!?

As she turned to exit that hellhole, she heard him add one more command, “While you’re up, give me a cup of coffee.” Madeline slammed the papers onto a nearby desk and quickly poured some into a cup. Angrily marching up towards the guy, she spilled it onto his lap, causing the man to scream and back his chair away.

“Oh dear!” she exclaimed as she grabbed some important document. Trying in a half-assed manner to clean up the mess, she continued, “I tripped over the carpet and spilled it all over you. I’m so clumsy, let me clean up after myself in order to teach myself discipline and responsibility.” The coffee was quickly soaking up the papers, making the text and Braille unreadable. The stench was overwhelming and soon the room reeked of the espresso.

Madeline felt a hand on her shoulder and noticed that Zane was trying his best to keep his composure. “I’ll take care of this. Just go and do your job,” he said as he shooed her away. His body was still stinging from the hot drink; his clothes were soaked and he deeply desired to change his clothes immediately. Hearing her back away, he let out a loud sigh. Her tripping especially holding hot drinks was becoming a habit. A deadly habit.

As she grabbed the stacks and exited the room, the sister smirked thinking how she still had her rebellious nature. Perhaps, when the blind man returned, he would discovered that his “helpful assistant” had kindly rearranged the furniture in the room.

Part Two
“I can’t believe that we bought this much for our room!” Ellie exclaimed exhaustedly as she dumped the last few shopping bags onto her bed. Noting the piles of bags lying on the girl and her beds, Lyra had to agree. They did buy a lot. “Well,” she began as she eyed her roommate sprawling on the floor, “I guess we better get started unpacking or else we won’t have a bed to sleep in.” With a slight giggle, Ellie immediately sat up and grabbed the nearest bag.

When they first arrived in their new room, they were amazed by how big and spacey the corner room was. Their windows face out toward the city and the inner courtyard, which Lyra liked since she could easily people watch. In spite of everything, they felt that the room seemed too…plain. To fix that problem, they have decided to decorate their room to make it feels like home…at the Black Order’s expense, of course. After rearranging the room to their liking, the two went out to the city to buy the needed supplies.

“Where should we put this mirror, Lyra?” Ellie asked as she held up the said item. “Let’s put that above my dresser,” the exorcist suggested while she was hanging up the curtains. She watched amusingly as the young Finder struggled to place the heavy mirror on the dresser; she reminded Lyra of her young sister, Noel (was that her name?). Both were stubborn and they wanted to prove that they can do it on their own.

After an hour or so, they were almost done setting up the room; all they needed to do was hang up the picture frames on the wall. “You can pass me the nails while I hammer them to the wall,” the exorcist said, grabbing the hammer. Ellie nodded and gave her a nail. They worked quietly; the only sound that they could here was the pounding of the hammer. Finally, Ellie, who could not stand the silence, blurted aloud, “What do you think about my dad?”

“Your dad?” Lyra paused and gave her a contemplated look. “I guess he is like a fun older brother except he hasn’t started teasing me or giving me noogies yet. He is a pretty good exorcist and the head honchos are impressed by his skills from what I heard. In fact–“

BAM! BAM! The two startled girls jumped at the loud banging at the door. “Coming~” Lyra chirped and went over to open the door. Maybe her Finder or Riena was at the door to remind her about their upcoming mission or maybe it was that Noisy Munchkin complaining about something again. Imagine her surprise when she saw the She-man; wasn’t she just a minor “security guard”? “Hi,” she began slowly. “Is there a problem?”

“Yes, there is a problem,” Sam seethed, glaring at the two. “You brats are making too much noise! I can hear it from my room which is across the hall!” Lyra and Ellie looked at each other and tried their best not to laugh. Sam’s steamed face was as red as a tomato and her hands were placed at her hips. Putting on her most innocent look, Ellie apologized, “We’re sorry. We were just decorating our room; we’ll try to be quieter next time.”

“Decorating?” Sam smirked as she examined the room decorated in pastel colors. “I didn’t know that the Black Order is planning to set up a day care, Lyra. Next time, why don’t you tell me so I could give this girl a pacifier?” Hearing those words and seeing Ellie’s stunned face, Lyra became vivid. “Don’t you dare insult her!” she responded angrily. “She just apologized to you and that was your reply!? She is just a child!”

The muscular woman returned her glare. “Are you trying to be her mother? If so, I pray to God that she does not turn out like you.” Before the exorcist could reply, Sam began to walk away. “I’ll let this slide for now, but let me tell you something. You should remember your place – you’re here to serve the Black Order not to be a babysitter.” With that said, she slammed the door behind her before a flying hammer could hit her.

“Bitch,” Lyra muttered but she suddenly remembered that Ellie was in the room. She saw Ellie was staring at her with a horrified look. “Shit! She heard me!” she groaned and realized that she said another bad word. This was just great; she just corrupted an innocent young girl. The exorcist walked up to the girl and kneeled down so she was at the girl’s eye level. “I’m so sorry, E1I should not lose my temper and use those bad, bad words. Don’t you ever use those words especially in front of your dad. If you accidentally did, tell him that ‘It’ told you those words, okay?” she begged. The girl began to smile and hugged her friend; Lyra has a funny way to cheer her up. “It’s okay,” she replied as she stuck out her tongue, “you were trying to protect me after all. And don’t worry; I won’t tell dad about it.”

Relieved, Lyra glanced out the window and noticed that there was snow covering the ground. She gave the girl a mischievous wink. “Even though I am supposed at training area right now, I think it would be better if I play in the snow with you and your brother.” Ellie became excited and grabbed her coat. “I’ll go get Ewon; I’m sure he will be out there in a heartbeat!” she exclaimed as she ran out the door. Lyra just smiled as she grabbed her winter coat. Sure, she is an exorcist, but today, she is just a “babysitter”.

Part Three
“And….time!” Rinvak, Tabitha, and Riena stopped running and exhaustedly collapse onto the floor. In the balcony above them, Zane stood supervising them with Shawn who was busy jogging down new information into each exorcist’s personal file. “What’s their time?” he asked thoughtfully. Shawn looked at his stopwatch and muttered in a soft voice, “Eight minutes and forty-five seconds.”

Zane sighed and yelled at the girls, “You hear that, girls? You completed the Gauntlet in eight minutes and forty-five seconds. Pathetic! Do you think the Earl and his army would give you that amount of time? I expected more from you, but then you were trained by the ‘great’ Lione so I should not be surprised. I want you to run again until you do it under five minutes. Now go!” Hearing that, Rinvak stood angrily and shouted back, “What is the point of running through an obstacle course!? Is it so that we can practice running away? Maybe that is why our so-called missions are successful. Why aren’t we training with our Innocences? Riena especially needs that the most!”

The blind exorcist just smiled as he answered, “Because you have not proven yourself to be ready for that yet. You need to be ready physically and mentally! Looking at everyone’s files, I realize that all of you need to improve your stamina, endurance, and flexibility. So stop complaining and start running unless you guys want to be dead on your next ‘serious’ mission!” Grumbling, the girls immediately began their training again. Even though he knew that he should not be that harsh on them, Zane relished making them (especially Rinvak) miserable. It was probably due to the stress of trying to handle a stubborn Madeline that he was in a bad mood, which was a reason why he forbade her from training with the others. For all that he knows, she may cause a revolt against him.

In fact, his legs were still sore from bumping into his newly arranged furniture; he would have killed her at that moment if the researchers, whom he was meeting to discuss his training techniques, were not there. Not only did that woman caused him humiliation, she made him look like a fool in front of his guests. Zane grinded his teeth; he is going to make sure that Madeline regrets her action, but now is not the time to think about it. He needed to focus on training the ingrates in order to make them a better weapons against the Earl – that’s all that matter right now.

He was pleased that Renee gave him the okay to create this indoor training facility and the completed result was beyond his expectations. The room was one of the biggest in the new headquarters; any interested researchers could easily observe the exorcists’ training from any of the eight small balconies (two on each side of the walls). In the far left corner was the shooting area (Deadly Assault); exorcists, who are long-range users, must run to different stations where they can hide from the attacks of several rapid-firing “akuma” while attempting to hit them. In another corner, melee fighters fight on a hanging platform as they try to knock the other out of the ring into the mats below. But in the middle of the room was his prized creation, the ultimate obstacle course – the Gauntlet or as his trainees have called it, “The Torture Chamber”. They have to scale a 7-foot platform and then cross a suspension bridge while avoiding getting hit by swinging 50 lb balls. After that, they must climb a 10 ft long cargo net where they subsequently have to walk across a balance beam. Next they have to swing from ring-to-ring to the other side. From there, they have to climb a pyramid made out of gym mats where they can zip line to the finish line.

“What are the others doing?” he barked at Shawn who immediately responded. According to Shawn’s dictations, Ty was at the shooting arena; however, he must not be taking it seriously though because he was making goofy poses as he ran to a different station to hide behind in a vain attempt to make the scientists who were observing them to laugh. Not surprisingly, Lyra has decided not to show up again, which made it her tenth time she skipped going to the indoor training facility. Zane sometimes wondered whether or not he was handling a twenty years old or a thirteen years old. Even though he knew her from past missions and what her personality is, he needed to do something about her especially since she was the one who needed this training the most.

“Good afternoon, Zane,” someone called out behind him. He turned around to face the person. “Good afternoon, Renee,” he responded as he greeted her back. Based on the heavy footsteps coming toward them, Maniac was arriving as well. Personally, he did not care much about her “bodyguard” whom he saw as a hooligan, but he decided it was best not say anything about it. “Do you need me for something?”

The branch leader shook her head. “No, not really. I just wanted to check how our exorcists are doing under your regimen,” she said eyeing the people below her. “Isn’t this a bit harsh for the young ones?” Zane shook his head. “It may be harsh, but they will get used to it. Besides, they have to realize that some of their later missions won’t be as peachy like they want to imagine.” Renee just raised her eyebrows but did not say anything.

Instead she grabbed the exorcists’ updated personal files that were lying on the table and scanned through them. “I see that they have greatly improved, Zane; I’m impressed.” She looked at Maniac, who was peering over her shoulder. “What are your opinions, Maniac?” Based on the notes, she knew what Zane’s opinions were but she liked to have another person’s assessment as well.

Looking at the exorcists’ training, he simply responded, “Well, right now I cannot trust them with protecting your life, Renee. However, most of them will probably improve and my best bet would be Rinvak and Tabitha. Ty and Lyra need to start getting their acts together before I can take them seriously. I don’t know much about Madeline, but I can see her as a troublemaker. As for Riena, I agree with Zane’s assessment; she is more of a hindrance than a help to us.”

Suddenly he realized that the room has become quiet and that his booming voice has echoed across the room. He noticed that everyone looked horrified or offended (especially the girls). The one that struck him the most was Riena; she looked like she would burst into tears. No matter how hard she tried to adjust to Zane’s difficult training, she still struggled. Now hearing her assessment, she felt like she could not amount to anything and made Zeran proud of her. Feeling awful about what he said, Maniac just bowed his head embarrassingly.

Renee just pretended that she didn’t notice what happened as she finished reading the assessments. “I see…” she muttered as she handed them back to Shawn. “Thank you for letting me observed their training, Zane. It has given me a lot of insight of what we have right now. Shawn, when you are finished with those files, please turn them into my office.” She motioned Maniac to follow her much to his relief. As he was leaving, he felt like someone (or a whole bunch of people) was staring daggers into his back, which caused him to quicken his pace.

Part Four
Lying on the floor, Ellie watched as her brother bounced a ball off the ceiling for the umpteenth time. They have been bored ever since they came inside from playing out in the snow. Ellie went over to her brother and her father’s room with hopes that they will find something to do since Lyra has to get ready to head out to her mission tonight. Unfortunately, they still could not find anything fun to do. “I’m boorrrrreeeeeddddd,” moaned Ewon. “I wish dad was here; he would think of something to do.”

“Maybe we can ask Shawn if he can play with us?” she suggested. “He must be lonely since he always spends time in his room.” Ewon stopped throwing the ball and looked at his sister thoughtfully. “That is a good idea. Come on; maybe he is in his room.” With that said, they headed out of the room.

Climbing up the stairs, Ellie looked questioning at her brother. “Why are we going down this way? Isn’t his room on this floor too?” Ewon just shrugged. “Apparently, since he is Renee’s secretary, Shawn has his own room next to hers. That is what Maniac told me anyway when I asked.” Reaching the fourth floor, he pointed to a room that was third down to the left. “There’s his room over there.”

Filled with excitement and nervousness, they ran toward the room – and nearly crashed into Eny. “Omph!” the Bookwoman cried out as pile of papers fluttered down on the three like snowflakes. “Watch where you are going next time!” The kids apologized and helped her gathered her belongings together. After they finished cleaning up, Ellie asked curiously, “Where are you going by the way?” Eny replied, “I just finished writing my report about the rescue mission and was about to turn it in to Renee’s secretary until someone bumped into me.”

“You’re gong to see Shawn as well?” the kids said in unison, which spooked Eny. Maybe she should not have told them that, she thought regretfully. “Why don’t we go together?” Ewon proposed. The Bookwoman just sighed; this really hurts her image of being a girl who is mature beyond her age. “Sure,” she said sarcastically, “Go ahead.” She was just glad that Lyra wasn’t here; that woman would probably call them “The E Group” or something similar to that nature since all of their names started with “E”. In fact, she heard that the exorcist called Ty’s kids “E1” (Ellie) and “E2” (Ewon) and when they are together “E Squared”. How on Earth does she come up with those weird nicknames?

They walked up to the Shawn’s door and knocked. No one responded so Eny tried again but with a louder knock. “I guess he is not there,” she said nonchalantly. “Oh well, I guess I’ll slip my report under the door and you guys can bug him later.” Nevertheless, the two kids gave her a stubborn look. “He might be taking a nap,” Ellie guessed. “…and he is a heavy sleeper too!” added Ewon eagerly. Eny looked at them with amazement as they made all these ridiculous excuses. These kids don’t know when to give up. Might as well humor them, she thought dryly.

“What’s about this? I will check to see if the door is unlocked. If it is, that would mean that your hypotheses are correct and that he is in the room, then you’re right,” she proposed. She reached the door knob and prayed silently that she was correct. Much to her dismay (and to the kids’ joy), the door clicked open. “We were right!” they cheered and rushed into the room as a displeased Eny followed. She felt slightly better when she noticed that Renee’s secretary was not in the room though.

For a kid, he has an enormous room, Eny thought jealously as she examined the room. It was twice as big as Tabitha and her room! Guess it paid to be a secretary to a branch leader. Though she admitted that she also would have thought it would have a lot of windows, but there was only one small window, which faced the inner courtyard. However, for such a big room, it was somewhat…plain and creepy. Shawn’s bed and nightstand were at the upper left corner of the room while a small desk sat across from it; a leather briefcase was lying next to the desk. A small brown rug lay in the middle of the room, but what creep her out the most about the room was the shelves of porcelain dolls of various sizes that were displayed all over the walls. Who would have thought a boy was interested in dolls? Usually the Bookwoman did not pay much attention to this sort of things, but she has a weird feeling like they were watching them as if they were intruders (which they were).

“Whoa,” Ty’s kids said in awe as they began to wander around the room. Eny looked at them with disbelief. “What are you dong!?” she asked Ewon exasperatedly as he was playing around with Shawn’s calligraphy set, which was on his desk. “You should not be touching any of his stuff while he is not here!” My god, have Ty ever teach his children etiquette? She snatched the pen out of Ewon’s hand and placed it back into the kit while giving him an admonishing look. At this rate, she should just left her report on Shawn’s desk and left these brats here; she has a bad feeling that something bad will happen if she stay there any longer…

A sudden slight scream interrupted her thoughts. She and Ewon turned around to see a frightened Ellie was pointing at a doll which was on the bed. “What is it this time?” Eny snapped, walking over to the girl. The young girl immediately hid behind the Bookwoman. “That doll just blink!” she squealed, grasping Eny’s clothes. The other two just looked at each other and then at the doll. The doll has short blonde curls, hazel eyes, and wore a light blue Victorian-style dress. After staring at the dolls for a long time, Eny let out a deep breath; the doll didn’t blink at all.

“It must have been your imagination,” she explained tersely. “It does look lifelike so I would understand why you thought it blinked at you. There is nothing to worry about; besides there is no way a doll can move on its own!” Despite her efforts, Ellie did not look convinced. “I swear I saw it blink,” she insisted desperately and grabbed the doll. She shoved the doll in front of the Bookwoman’s face. “Maybe it was just shy around you or something!”

Before she could reply, someone’s standing near the doorway cleared his throat. “What are you doing?” Shawn asked coolly. Eny was somewhat surprised; this was the first time that he has spoken in a decibel louder than a whisper though he looked very scary as he glared at the three. “We’re sorry!” Ewon apologized (Eny noticed that his face looked pale). “We wanted to know if you want to play with you and we noticed that your door was unlocked. We didn’t mean to go into your room and…” The red-haired boy just ignored him and walked over to Ellie. He snatched the doll out of her hands and looked her over as if he were checking if she was scratched or damaged. What a weird kid…

“Um…” Ellie began nervously, “I didn’t know that you like dolls; all of them look very pretty.” Shawn glared at her but softened his expression a little bit. “I made them myself,” he muttered absentmindedly. “My mom taught me.” She looked at him impressed. “Really? That’s awesome!” she gushed. Maybe he would tell them a little about himself and his family. “What’s your mom like?” He looked at her as if this was the first time he noticed her and finally said flatly in a soft whisper, “My mother is dead. My deadbeat father came home drunk one day and strangled her to death right in front of my eyes.” Everyone gasped with horror. “And what happened to your dad?” Eny asked out of morbid curiosity. “He’s dead,” he just said avoiding their glances as if he was hiding something from them.

“So you went into my room without my permission so you could play with me?” he snapped, remembering that he was mad at them. After an awkward moment of silence, Eny rolled her eyes and began, “These two want to play with you, not me. I just wanted to hand over my report on the rescue mission to you.” She gave a slight hit on their backs to give them a hint to talk. “We just wanted to know if you want to play with us,” Ewon said meekly. Shawn raised his eyebrow. “So, in other words, you want to be my friend?” he asked bluntly. The two kids nodded at the same time. To their surprise, the boy gave them a disgusted look.

“Why do I want to be friend with you?” he demanded. “They pretend to be nice and friendly with you, but as soon as you leave, they badmouth you behind your back. ‘Friends’ will just use you until you are no longer useful to them which then they will discard you by backstabbing you! Besides I am not here to make friends; I have a job to do and I don’t want to be distracted by anyone especially those who don’t know manners! So get out of my room now and if I see you snooping around here again, I will make sure you will regret it.”

Frightened by the dark look on Shawn’s face, the kids grabbed an unexpected Eny by her hands and dragged her out of the room before she could even think of a comeback. I always have that feeling that he was a strange kid, she thought to herself, but he is actually one messed-up kid. Looking back toward the opened door, she observed that Shawn appeared to be talking to the doll. Yep, he is definitely a strange kid.

Part Five
Ellie was lying on her bed but she could not concentrate reading her book. She felt that someone was watching her every move, and no matter how hard she tried to ignore it, the feeling still lingered. Finally she dropped her book and looked around the room. The young girl felt almost relieved to see that no one was there until she looked out the window nearest to her. The doll that was on Shawn’s bed was staring at her. She let out a small yelp and fell out of her bed.

She did not have time to recover because she heard someone was trying to open the door. “Open up the door! I know that you’re in there!” someone shouted. Ellie recognized that voice; it was Sam. Frightened, she held her breath and prayed that Sam would just give up as Sam kept turning the knob. After a few minutes (more like hours), Sam gave up. The girl let out a deep breath. Maybe this would be all over now…

Suddenly an axe went through the door, which caused Ellie to scream. She saw an amused Sam staring at her through the opening. “Don’t bother to scream, girl,” she said in a sickly voice. “No one is here to help you.” With that said, she continued to hack through the door. Ellie began scrambling as she attempted to find a place to hide. She turned around to see that Sam finally has broken open the door. “Lyra! Lyra! Help me!” she cried out, running to Lyra’s bed. Unfortunately, Lyra’s bed was empty – except for that blonde doll.

“She isn’t here, remember?” A startled Ellie spurned around to see Shawn was sitting on her bed. He was holding a doll which looked exactly like her and did not appear to notice the situation around him. Before she could say anything, the boy walked up to her and wiped the tears from her cheeks. “Don’t be frightened,” he consoled, whispering in her ears, “It will be a swift death, I promise.” He smirked and shoved her onto the middle of the floor. Stunned, she looked up to see Sam was standing right in front of her and was about to swing the axe…

Panting, Ellie sat up on her bed. Just a nightmare, she convinced herself as she looked around the room. No doll was staring at her through the windows; no one was trying to break open the door; and no one was in the room besides her. Looking at the empty bed next to her, the girl recalled the earlier conversation she had with her roommate.

“So he chased you out after he said that?” Lyra asked. Ellie nodded as she watched the preoccupied Lyra prepared for her mission tonight. “He was very scary,” Ellie commented, “I don’t think I don’t want to be his friend now.” Lyra stopped what she was doing and looked thoughtfully at the girl. “Well, maybe he has some bad experience which is why he has such negative opinion of making friends,” she surmised. “But I am sure that after he gets to know you and your brother more, he will change his mind.”

The girl looked at the exorcist doubtfully; she has a feeling that would not be a likely case. “But he is soooooooooo weird!” she complained. “He has dolls everywhere in the room; no boy I know like dolls!” Lyra just smiled. “Well, didn’t you say that his mom showed him how to make them and that she was dead? He might have them as a way to remember her.” Ellie just gave her a look so the woman just shrugged. “Sorry, I’m just playing devil’s advocate, but just give him time. He might turn out to be a nice guy after all.”

Sensing that Ellie did not want to talk about Shawn anymore, Lyra changed the subject. “So you think you would be fine while I am gone?” she asked, grabbing her exorcist uniform out of her closet. The girl nodded and insisted, “I am a big girl; I will be fine that’s for sure.” She jumped from her bed to Lyra’s so that she could help her roommate zip up her uniform. “So what is your mission about?” she murmured. Lyra just gave out a frustrated sigh. “It would be mostly a training mission like the last time. Riena and I are going to Baltimore to investigate a strange occurrence there. Zane thinks that since my Innocence’s purpose is to increase an exorcist’s synch-rate, I might help her get used to her Innocence much faster. We probably will be gone at most a week if nothing bad happens.”

She looked at Ellie and put a loose strand of hair behind the girl’s ear. Even though the girl acted brave, Lyra knew that she was still shaken up by the incident. Maybe she needed something to cheer her up. The exorcist went over to her jewelry box and pulled out a bracelet made out of glass beads. “Hold out your hand,” she ordered, which the girl did. She placed the bracelet in her hand and clasped her hand closed. “I want you to have it so in case you miss me, you have this to remember me by.” Ellie was touched by the gesture that she hugged her friend. “Thank you!” she said happily. Lyra just smiled. “It might be a little big on you right now, but I am sure that it will fit around your wrist one day. Just be careful not to lose it now.” The girl looked at her determinedly. “I won’t lose it!” she promised. “I will be extra careful with it.”
*Flashback Ends*

She looked at the bracelet which lay loosely on her wrist; it did help her a little bit to calm her down, but she was still scared. She looked at the clock on the wall. It was 11 o’clock so that would mean that her dad would be still awake. Maybe he would let her stay in his room tonight. She grabbed her rag doll and put on her slippers. After she made sure she got everything, she left the room and walked toward the male’s dormitory.

The hallway was mostly quiet as majority was asleep in their beds. Renee and the other superiors were probably still in their office working, but Ellie knew that the Madeline and the others were hanging out in the lounge which was located in the opposite direction. Even though it would be a lot quickly to visit them, she thought that they would just ridicule her for being scared. As she was about to turn the corner, she heard a voice hissing near by, “Don’t forget why we are here, Shawn!”

She froze; that was Sam’s voice. Trying to locate where the two were, she found a mostly dark room which door was slightly ajar. Out of curiosity, she peered through the door and saw Shawn was staring out of the windows while Sam was sitting in a leather chair. She was staring at the boy with a disapproving look on her face, but he looked like he did not care at all. “Of course, I did not forget about our mission,” he muttered, annoyed as he was stroking something in his arm. “It’s you I am worrying about.” Ellie, hoping the moonlight would help, squinted to look at the window’s reflection but she could not see what he was holding.

Frustrated, Sam stood up and walked up behind him. “Me?” she inquired. He turned to face her and there was a glint in his eyes. “I heard that you got into a silly fight with an exorcist’s daughter over a minor issue,” he commented. “From someone who prizes discipline, I expected better from you.” His comrade flushed with embarrassment before making a comeback. “Well, I heard that brat and her brother offered to be your friend and you blew that off!” she jeered. “What were you thinking? You could have found out some valuable information from them!”

“I don’t need them to find out information,” Shawn said bluntly as he glanced down to his arms. “I have Elise and others that can do the job for me and I am the secretary to a Branch Leader.” Ellie looked confused; who is Elise? That was when she noticed what he was holding; it was the doll that she saw blinked at her earlier. She put two-and-two together and realized that he was talking about the doll. What is going on around here? What mission are they talking about and what information are they looking for? Who are they?

She did not realize that Lyra’s bracelet was slipping off of her wrist until it made a slight noise on the floor. The two looked up at once and stared at the door. Panicking, Ellie hid behind a corner and held her breath. “I thought you told me that it was safe,” she heard Sam grumbled as she opened the door to look around for the eavesdropper. “It is safe,” Shawn argued, “I made sure of it. Besides, it was probably a mouse or something.” Ellie heard the woman sighed and walked back. Waiting for a few minutes, she returned to her spying. Something is going on here and she is going to find out what it is.

Sam was standing next to Shawn, who continued to look outside the window, but she was staring at him. After a moment of silence, Shawn finally asked, “What is it, Sam?” Sam looked at him hesitantly and walked behind him. “I am worry about you,” she stated as she was about to wrapped her arms around him as if she was trying to hug him from behind. “I know that you miss her but I cannot keep an eye on you forever…”

“You’re not my mother so don’t try to be one,” was his cold reply, which caused her to stop. Instead she just placed her hands on his shoulders and squeezed them. “I think it would be best if we don’t meet each other like this again,” she muttered in his ears, “We do not want to draw any suspicions and no one including them knows the family connections we have. Who knows what they will do to us?” Shawn just scoffed. “You’re the one who suggested that we meet each other tonight,” he said in a mocking voice. “So you’re the one at fault if we get caught. Anyway, if we are done, I am going to bed.”

Sensing that she should leave now, Ellie quietly ran back to her room. She has forgotten about seeing her dad or her nightmare. She even forgot about the bracelet which still lay on the wooden floor. By the time she remembered about it the next day, it would have been gone. Instead all she could think about was trying to remember all that she heard and not getting caught by any of the two.

Part Six
While that was happening, Tabitha was relaxing in the women’s lounge from a long day of hard work and training; apparently, each dormitory has their own lounge because Renee believed that everyone should have a place to relax. Each lounge has comfy sofa, enormous pillows filled with down feathers, and a fireplace. Even though she does miss the old headquarters, Tabitha really loves the relaxing atmosphere the room has. Well, it would be relaxing if Rinvak and Madeline would stop ranting.

”And then he forced us to do 100 chin-ups! Can you believe the nerve of that guy?” Rinvak grumbled as she stretched out on the sofa. “I can,” Madeline said tersely. “Today, he was, ‘Madeline, do this’ and ‘Madeline, do that’. He’s acting like he is doing me a favor because he ‘helps’ me get out of trouble with the Order. Now, with everyone’s telling him a great job he is doing, Zane’s ego has blown out of proportions!” Rinvak agreed, “I know what you’re saying. He even acts like he is the Branch Leader around her!”

“What do you think about Renee though?” Tabitha asked Madeline and Eny since they were the ones who interact with her. Madeline paused, sipping her cup of tea. “She’s alright,” she began, “but I prefer Lione over her.” The Bookwoman disagreed though. “If you think about this objectively, she is more efficient. Paper works are completed immediately and morale has increased significantly. You have to admit that your skills have increased drastically under Zane’s supervision too.” Noticing everyone’s glares, she added hastily, “But I miss Lione’s leadership too.”

Everyone became somber; no one knows what ever happened to their former Branch Leader. Many of the North American Branch staff now believed that he has deserted them just to save his own hide; some even called him a selfish coward much to his supporters’ anger. They were annoyed by how the staff members immediately have high opinion of Zane as soon as he “turned” the place around. “God! I can’t stand him!” Rinvak shouted with aggravation. She slammed her fists upon the table. “He is such a self-conceited, arrogant, and self-righteous piece of pig!” Tabitha looked at her; everyone knew whom she was talking about. “Yeah, he can be a maniac sometimes,” she muttered, hoping that would shut the girl up. God damnit, she came here to relax not to think about that guy.

“Which reminds me,” Rinvak began; she turned to Madeline and Eny. “Did you hear what Maniac said today during training practice?” The two shook their head. “He said that Reina was a hindrance in front of everybody! Poor Reina was about to burst into tears and was about to give up when she heard it. Luckily, Tabitha and I convinced her not to give up.” Both of them looked speechless. “He said that!?” Madeline gasped. “What was he thinking!? That poor child…”

The Bookwoman looked thoughtful as if she finally realized something. “No wonder I saw him talking to her before she left on her mission!” she mentioned, “He was apologizing to her and she accepted it. I was wondering what was going on between those two.” The winged exorcist snorted. “If I were her, I would never accept his apology that easily. I would make sure he would suffer everyday for his stupidity.” Madeline smirked. “Like I am doing with Zane?” Rinvak smiled back. “I think it was a brilliant idea of rearranging his furniture, my dearest Maddy,” she commended. “Too bad you cannot do the same for his ego.”

“Fortunately, she does not have the brain to do so,” a voice bellowed behind Rinvak. Everyone stopped what they were doing and turned around shocked to see Zane. He was wearing his Exorcist coat over his blue pajama as if he was stating that he still has authority over them even while they sleep. “Likewise I am surprised by what I hear; I would have thought you would have worse opinions of me.” Tabitha noticed that Rinvak and Madeline opened their mouths in horror when they realized that Zane heard their entire conversation; how long was he standing there?

“What do you want?” Rinvak growled. The blind exorcist just turned to her direction and gave her a rueful look. “Since I have hearing so many complaints about how the missions are too easy,” he began, “I decide to give you a very challenging one which would match to your ‘abilities’. So for your next mission, I want you and Tabitha to go back to the Noah’s base and try to find any valuable information which may help us find out what the Earl is planning next.” Tabitha stood up before Rin could say anything. “Are you insane?” she cried out. “We barely escaped from that place the last time and now you want us to go back? Are you trying to get us killed?”

The Exorcist Welfare supervisor looked at her mockingly. “Don’t worry,” he said in a condescending voice. “Maniac will be accompanying you in your mission in case you cannot handle it, which I doubt since you are sooooo prepared. Besides, I am sure that the Noahs have deserted their base since we now know its location. Anyway, your mission will start in two days at 5 AM sharp so you better get ready. But then I probably don’t have to tell you since you already know what you are doing. Oh, and Madeline? Tomorrow you will have to file over 200 reports into the right order and I want it done at the end of the day. If you do not finish in time or do it incorrectly, you will spend time in my office with me the whole night. Is that clear? Well then, good night, ladies.” Smirking, he walked back to his room.

“Argh! I hate that pompous jackass!” a frustrated Rinvak shouted after he disappeared from their sight. She was tempted to throw her cup, which was still full of hot chocolate, toward the back of his head while he was walking away, but she knew better. He was just trying to provoke her but she won’t let him get her. Madeline was steaming; Tabitha swore she saw smoke was coming out of her ears. Tabitha and Eny just looked at each other and sighed. Sitting back down, the exorcist stared out of the window. Flames and the others are probably having a better time than we are at this rate, she thought unhappily.

Part Seven
Flames couldn’t help but feel unprepared for the coming battle. This ambush by the Earl was unexpected and completely caught him and the others off guard as his thoughts raced through his mind, trying to think of the perfect solution that would limit the number of causalities and the damage that a fight would inflict onto the ship.

“Belle, Stephanie!” he commanded as he turned to his comrades, “Go back and protect the crew! Let Blade, Daniel, and I take care of this!” Though he did not completely trust Belle (she was after all present during his tortures), the man had no choice but to do so in this instance. He activated his Innocence, noticing that everyone else had done so likewise. It had been a while since he had fought with his weapon; his imprisonment had caused him to forget what it was like to use Innocence. It also didn’t help that Zane had ordered them not to employ it while they were at headquarters. Flames held his spear tightly and wondered if perhaps his body might remember what it was like.

“Are you going to use that dinky weapon against me?” asked Anlen as she stared at him with excitement. It had been a while since she had battled an exorcist though that might have resulted from the fact that she was busy pillaging and drinking. She brought her guns up to her lips and licked one of their tips. The Noah felt the adrenaline rushing through her blood, her heart beating at an incredible rate. This would be the perfect way to forget Lione and all the problems he had caused her.

Turning to her sibling, she hissed, “Let me take care of this one and you can go play with the rest.” Amaterasu smirked and saluted her as he jumped abroad the Black Order’s ship, acknowledging, “Ay, ay captain!” She watched with a psychotic grin as that blond twerp she called brother charge at a brunette boy and returned her attention to Flames who was awaiting her attack in fighting stance.

Aiming her weapons at him, she screamed, “Dance, you stupid exorcist.” A barrage of bullets fell upon the ground as the exorcist was forced to dodge quickly in order to avoid getting hit. Flames could hear the Noah laughing insanely as he hid behind the metal wall of the ship’s cabin. Her fighting was sporadic as if she had no concern for the safety of anyone including her akuma crew. It would be tough fighting her but he would have to in order to give the girls time to evacuate the crew.

Flames could hear heavy clanking approaching and his werewolf instinct kicked in. As soon as he noticed that whoever was responsible for the noise was within a few feet in front of him, he lunged from his hiding spot at his victim, slashing the level two akuma. As he looked over the carnage, he heaved heavily for air, his body on the alert for future attacks. The exorcist scanned the area for enemies only to find more akumas lurking in the dark. He rapidly dispatched them, recalling all of his anger over his inability to fight back at the camp.

Suddenly, the sensation of pain from his leg shot up his body, causing him to collapse to the ground and to howl. Flames looked up to find grinning Anlen staring him down, smoke coming out of her gun. With her weapon still up, she approached him, mocking, “I thought that you might have posed a greater challenge than this. However, the Duke Millennium has been getting on my case about my lack of work ethics so showing him your hide might appease him. That’ll give me plenty of time to drink before he nags again.” She pressed a gun to the exorcist’s forehead and whispered, “Say a prayer to your so-called god, Mr. Exorcist.”

The sound of a gun echoed throughout the room and Flames opened his eyes. The Noah was holding her hand in pain, cussing loudly. He turned to see Daniel with his Innocence aimed at his opponent, the boy’s face revealing how much concentration he had put into preparing his shot. Daniel fired several more time, resulting in the Noah to retreat behind some debris.

Rushing over, the boy placed Flames’s arm over his shoulder and carried him to a turned over table. “Are you badly injured?” he asked as he carefully laid his friend next to the wall. Clenching his mouth in pain, the native responded as he carefully removed the bullet, “I got shot in the leg but I’ll survive. How are the others?” Looking carefully over the table, the boy answered, “I haven’t heard from the others but the last I’ve seen of them, Blade was battling the other Noah while the girls were rounding the crew into a safe room located somewhere in the ship.”

He tried to sound confident in an attempt to show how mature and composed he was but deep inside, Daniel was troubled. Not only was he concerned about the others, but the secret orders from Zane echoed in the back of his mind. “If any of the exorcists show any sign that they are becoming corrupted by their Innocence or any indication that they have a chance to become of the ‘Fallen’, kill them.” Though he agreed to these terms, he wondered if he had the heart to kill his comrades and the more he thought about it, the more frightened he became with the possibility of this happening.

Daniel sighed as he noticed that Flames nodded, ripping part of his uniform to bandage the wound. He noticed that the concern look on Daniel’s face and thinking that he was worried about the werewolf’s health, assured him. “I’m fine. It’ll take a lot more than a silly bullet wound to kill me. Besides, Lione would murder me if he found out that I was defeated by a girl!”

“You know Lione?” whispered a surprised voice. Both exorcists turned around to see Anlen pointing her guns at them. Her face was full of anger and shock, her hand quivering from the revelation. “I said, ‘You know Lione?’ Answer me!” she barked as one of her guns fired and hit the ceiling.

Daniel and Flames gripped their weapons and prepared to attack. “How do you know about Lione?” retorted Flames angrily as he flung his spear in her direction. The Noah felt her right arm stinging from the cut he managed to inflict upon her and barely missed a shot from Daniel. Landing on the ground, the werewolf continued, “Judging from your reaction, the only way you could know about him is if you are the one responsible for his disappearance!” Glaring at her, he continued in a dark voice, “If you have harmed him in any way, I will kill you.”

As she prepared for the exorcists’ charge, Anlen smiled and pondered if she could ever get away from Lione’s presence.

Part Eight
Amaterasu landed onto the metal ship with a loud thud, feeling the shock from his feet moving up his body. It had not been that long since he had battled but it wasn’t that he was afraid to enter a fray. Earlier he had heard an exorcist barking orders to his fellow men, his ears becoming alert when he had one particular name. The Noah was intent on making her life miserable.

In the distance, the boy noticed two figures running from the battle into the ship’s interior. He hastened to followed, gaining speed with every second but a blade approaching from his left caused him to jerk back. With his sword aimed at the Noah, the Bookman stood, his eyes not leaving his target. He had anticipated this meeting for a while though he did not expect this opportunity to arrive so quickly.

“I will be your opponent,” he hissed as he noticed the haughty expression on Amaterasu’s face. “Focus your attention on me, not on them.” He tightened his grip and awaited the enemy’s next move. He recalled and analyzed all the information he had obtained. The Noah fought with his hands which upon touch turned any living thing to dust. His fighting style therefore depended on him being in close proximity. Keeping himself at a reasonable fighting distance would allow the Bookman to successfully combat and possibly defeat him.

Amaterasu looked at the boy and chuckled. Blade was concentrating so hard on finding out his weaknesses that his face made him appeared constipated. What a silly exorcist! His laughter caught Bookman off guard for a bit before he returned to his fight stance.

“What’s so funny?” he demanded. Blade was getting annoyed as he waited impatiently for the fight to begin. It was going to happen so why was the Noah delaying the inevitable? His heart was pumping harder and harder, his breathing becoming more frantic. The cold wind was blowing his hair all over the place, bothering him when they brushed against his eyes, clouding his view.

“Oh nothing,” Amaterasu began as he slowly removed his gloves and placed them into his jacket pockets. “I was just reminiscing when I first met you. If there wasn’t this silly war, we could have been best friends.” He noticed Blade’s face changing from a hard expression to “what the?” and continued, “We would have gotten along.”

He began to move and both the Noah and the Bookman circling on the ship’s metal deck, making loud clacking sounds with each step. “We would have been what you humans call ‘best friends’. We would have hang out with each other, done pranks, talk about whatever…”

“Make your point already!” interrupted Blade as he quickened his pace. This chit-chat was getting nothing accomplished except making him more irritated and more impatient. He was tempted to attack him but he was afraid that this was the Noah’s intention. The Bookman had to remain rational lest he fell into a simple trap.

“My, my how rude! You should let me finish my sentence before you speak, you boor,” scolded Amaterasu. Some people are just unpolished and unsophisticated. “Most importantly, if we were best friends, we would share stuff.” He winked and smirked in an attempt to insinuate something. However, it apparently went over the Bookman’s head for he asked, “What do you mean?”

This time it was the Noah who blinked and gave a questioning look. Was this guy in complete denial or just an idiot? He quickly regained his composure and hinted, “I think you know what I mean.” Blade showed no change in his expression and gave no response. Amaterasu sighed and elaborated some more, “You know that girl who ran back there with that former angel of Jacques. We could have shared her. I know from experience what she likes and how she is liked. After all, I was the one who deflowered her.”

Upon hearing that, Blade charged, swinging his sword with everything he got. He had never wanted to kill the man so badly until now. The Bookman had been in complete denial over the entire situation, hoping that the rumors were indeed untrue and that the change in Stephanie’s behavior was due to something other than her imprisonment.

His opponent moved to the left and soon he felt someone yank his hair and throw him to the ground. Amaterasu laughed as he stood over the boy and continued, “Did she mean something to you? She meant a lot for me. That girl made my stay a lot bearable especially she provided me with comfort only a woman’s touch could provide.” He dodged another strike before he smacked Blade’s right cheek with the back of his hand.

“You humans are all the same. Fighting with your emotions instead of your head is only going to get you killed,” he mocked as he watched the Bookman wipe his face. Wherever the Noah touched felt like it was burning. Damn it, he thought. He was getting irrational which was probably what the Noah wanted. Blade reached for his sword and replied, “I will never allow you to touch her again.”

“Is that a threat?” Amaterasu asked as he stared admiringly at his hands. The Bookman was already weakened and due to his injuries, he was not going to last longer. Still he had to respect his opponent for his determination in a losing battle; not a lot of people are fearless or utterly stupid when impeding death was near.

Blade struggled to get up and pointed his Innocence at the blond Noah. He kept telling himself that he was going to kill Amaterasu and survive. The more he repeated this, the more confident he became; it was the only thing that he got at the time. The Noah looked at him with amusement and noted, “Because of your efforts, I’ll make your death short and sweet.”

Blade chuckled and replied, “Don’t even bother.” He made one final charge carefully anticipating the Noah’s dodge and striking him in the arm. Amaterasu screamed in pain and instinctively swung at the Bookman who fell to the ground. His skin grew darker, the distinctive crosses revealing themselves with each second.

Holding his arm, he snarled, “You’ll regret doing that, Mr. Bookman.” He ran towards the Bookman and kicked him in the stomach, sending him flying across the ship. The Noah watched as Blade attempted to get up only to collapsed back to the ground. Amaterasu grabbed the boy’s head and slammed it repeatedly, leaving a pool of blood before tossing him against the ship’s metal railing.

Torturing Blade increased the Noah’s bloodlust and he knew that there was only one thing left to do. He picked up his opponent and threw him over the railing only to have the Bookman grabbing the railing before he fell into the raging water beneath him. “We could have been friends, Blade,” hissed Amaterasu as his hands reached for the hanging exorcist. “However, I just realize that I’m just a selfish person and it would have never worked out.”

He slammed Blade’s fingers and his grin grew wider every time he watched the pain expressed in the exorcist’s face. He slowly began to pry the fingers off and as Amaterasu watched the boy fall into darkness of blue sea, he muttered to himself, “But don’t worry, Mr. Bookman. I’ll send your girl your love.”

Part Nine
The ship rocked violently with each blow it received from the battles, making it nearly impossible for anyone to maintain balance. Still, Stephanie and Belle knew that they had a job to do as they scrambled throughout the ship, searching for anyone whom they needed to protect. At this rate, evacuation was the only option unless for some unknown miracle something saved the sink from sinking.

Every now and then, they bumped into some akuma that appeared to be more interested in looting than battling. However, they were not to be taken lightly as they were tough especially for those who had not fought in a while. “Are you okay?” asked Belle after they had destroyed the last akuma located in the dining area. Stephanie nodded as she gasped for air.

During her brief stay at headquarters, Zane had not permitted any of them to battle or even train due to the changed nature of their Innocences. In fact, the man probably would have thrown a fit because they were using them right now but under these circumstances, the exorcists on board had no choice.

Stephanie felt someone patted her back and immediately slapped the hand away. “Ow!” yelped Belle as she rubbed her right hand. “I’m your friend remember. I’m no longer working with the Noah.” The exorcist shook her head and apologized. Seeing Amaterasu again so soon had rattled her especially when she noticed the lust in his eyes. Her heart felt like it was getting stabbed and her skin crawled as if his fingers were there.

She quickly snapped herself out of her thoughts and whispered, “We probably should search the ship some more and gather any survivor before it’s too late.” She motioned Belle to the door and cautiously scanned the hallway. With the exception of the sound of explosion and thumping from above, it was quiet and still. No akuma was present or any humans for that matter. “Let’s go,” she mumbled as she exited.

Belle followed, staring at the exorcist in front of her in silence. She felt that she needed to prove her loyalty to the Black Order in order to repent for her previous sins. The former guardian knew that Flames did not trust her since she was present during his tortures and his assumed murder. However, she did not have any inkling from the others and she was somewhat curious and nervous to know about their opinions of her. After all, she was present and knew what they were going through; yet she did nothing to help them.

The girls stopped at the end of the hall and examined the area. Akuma had been in the area, leaving destruction and rotting corpse in their wake. Covering her nose, Belle cussed silently to herself, wondering why they were too late to save them. Walking carefully through the debris in complete silence, they remained on alert for any sign of life or any presence of an enemy.

“How do you think everyone is doing?” asked Belle in an attempt to make small talk. She observed Stephanie as the exorcist knelt to the ground and examined a thick, black coat. She breathed a sigh of relief as she realized it did not belong to an exorcist though she admonished herself for finding comfort in this fact; someone did die here after all.

“I think they’re doing fine right now. They’re stalling so we can ensure everyone on board is safe,” she replied as she lifted herself off the ground. “When we’re done with this, we’ll help them out.” The exorcist smiled to make her companion feel better and it must have worked because Belle returned it to her.

“So which way should we head?” asked the maude-haired girl as she looked around. The hallway split into two different directions with no light at the ends. They still had a lot of the ship to explore and there was not much time left if they wanted to finish the task thoroughly. She noticed the hesitation in her comrade’s face, realizing that she was thinking the same thing.

“Maybe we should spilt up?” suggested Belle. It would be dangerous to go solo but they would be able to cover more area by doing so. It seemed like the reasonable and only option. Stephanie stared at the ground for a minute, pondering the idea before answering, “I’ll head down this right hall. The captain and his crew’s quarters are located in this direction and since I have the most experience, I’ll take care of this. Your side of the hall contains the boiler room and storage area. Yours should be easier since they’re probably less people there but still be careful. They most likely would attract akuma.”

The girl nodded and watched as the exorcist disappeared from her sight. She couldn’t shake the feeling that something bad was going to happen but she took a deep breath before she headed in her own direction.

Part Ten
Stephanie hit the wall hard as the ship took another blow. The attacks were becoming more frequent and more violent as time dragged on and she couldn’t help but wonder if everyone was okay. The exorcist prayed that she did not make the wrong choice in abandoning Belle but she was confident that the girl could take care of herself. From what she had learned, she did betray Jacques which resulted in their rescue. Anyone who did that had to be brave.

The lights from the crystal lamps that lined the hallway were growing dim due to the loss of electricity caused by the damage. The wall mural showcasing the crew’s travel was torn and scraps. This ship which was so beautiful was now deteriorated, its glory never to be reclaimed.

The girl stopped when she arrived at the door labeled, “CREW” and yanked it opened. Suddenly, a chair was swung in her direction and she barely dodged it. “It’s okay, George! She’s an exorcist,” came a voice and someone offered Stephanie a hand. She looked up and noticed that there were around twenty or so guys in the room, all looking scared and worried.

A burly man looked away and muttered, “Sorry. We just heard that we were under attack so we thought that you might be an akuma. There has been a lot of screaming from above earlier and we freaked out.” Stephanie waved her hands and rambled, “No, it’s okay. There is no need for you to apologize. I would have done the same in your situation.”

She opened the door and scanned the area. She motioned to the men and instructed, “The akuma in this area has been cleared so you should be safe. Head over to the safe room located two floors above and wait until my friend and I return.” The crew nodded and one by one slowly ventured into the hall.

Before the last man left, he turned to the exorcist and asked, “Our captain is still in his chamber and we don’t know how he is.” Stephanie nodded and watched as he followed his friends before walking in the opposite direction. The captain’s chamber was the last room in this hall. Once she was done with that, she could head back and meet up with Belle and others.

It took her fifteen minutes for her to arrive at her final destination, a gold panel proclaiming “CAPTAIN” boldly inlaid. She turned the knob only to find a splendid room. A huge bed made from lacquered oak was located right in front of the door and the chamber contained various items like a globe and furniture. At the furthest point of the room was a desk that matched the bed, the chair with its back turned.

Stephanie cautiously approached it, thinking that maybe the captain might be there. She couldn’t help but feel like someone was watching her and tried to shake the creepy feeling off. “Captain,” she whispered as she arrived at the chair. “We need you to get out of here. We’re under attack and it would be best if you get to the safe room as soon as possible.”

The man seemed to be asleep, his eyes closed and his breathing appeared nonexistent. He appeared grandfatherly, his white beard sticking prominently and his body gave out an aura of wisdom and kindness. She had heard that he was loved by his crew and she understood why now.

“Sir,” she began as she placed her hands on his shoulders in order to shake him awake. However, once she touched him, his arms fell off leaving a trail of dust as it collapsed to the ground. The rest of his body soon followed with each bits and pieces turning into particles.

Upon seeing this sight, Stephanie backed away and screamed. It only meant one thing and she had to get away from there. Before she could make her move, she heard a click and saw a blond boy closing the door. Her heart dropped and she tried to maintain her composure. This had to be a nightmare, she thought.

“It’s really silly that the captain had a hallway that directly connected his room to the deck. If the ship wasn’t built this way, he could have been saved,” Amaterasu noted as he locked the exit. “However, if it wasn’t built this way, I wouldn’t have bumped into you, right?” He stared at the girl and noticed that her eyes were frantically looking around for the secret entrance.

He continued, “Don’t bother looking for that secret passage. I have already blocked it off.” The Noah placed a chair in front of main door and added, “I like your new uniform by the way. Did you think of me when you tried it on for the first time?” He sprinted towards her only to get slammed by her ribbons.

“Don’t even think of touching me,” Stephanie hissed as she raised her Innocence towards him. “I will never let you abuse me again.” The memories were still fresh in her mind and she trembled as she recalled them. She noticed a deep cut on the boy’s wound and demanded, “Who gave you that wound?”

Amaterasu glanced at his injured arm and shrugged it off. “It’s funny how you claim that you won’t let me touch you just like the guy who said the same thing gave me this wound. Would you like to know what happened?” The girl’s guard was still up but he knew that he had broken her before so it wouldn’t be long to do so again.

She gave no response causing him to sigh. Some people just like to remain ignorant. The Noah continued, “I killed him. If you like, I’ll let you look out the window though I doubt you’ll see his rotting corpse right now. It’s probably in some shark’s stomach right now.” He felt some ribbons sped by him, wrapping his body in their webs. He noticed that her eyes were darkening as the ribbons’ grasps tightening.

“Do you intend to kill me, Stephanie?” he asked. “After all I’ve done for you.” He felt her Innocence digging into his skin, blood slowly pouring out. As her murderous intent increased, the exorcist hissed, “Shut up. I’ve lost everything to you and the Earl.” First it was her family, then her innocence, and now Blade. What would be next?

His sudden chuckling caught her off guard and she demanded, “Stop laughing.” This was making her uneasy and suspicious. Was he going insane? The Noah replied, “You can’t kill me, not with that Innocence.”

Once he said that, the ribbons released themselves from him and enveloped the exorcist who looked shock over this turn in events. Patting his coat to remove any blood, he walked towards the girl who was struggling against her own weapon. Stephanie felt her ribbons slowly tightening, crushing her bones and slowly stopping her circulation. She noticed the Noah approaching and fought to remove her ribbons from her. Why did this had to happen now?

Amaterasu placed his hand on her face and made shoo-shoo sounds. Jacques’s curse still flowed in every ribbon’s strand and he knew what was going to happen soon. It was definitely his luck that it occurred now. “My dear Stephanie, your ribbons are going to kill you which is such a shame since I was hoping that you would be accompanying me on my sister’s ship. I needed your company to make my punishment less miserable.”

He lifted her up and carried her to the bed. Dropping her, he pulled his gloves up to ensure that they didn’t fall and whispered, “Of course, I could save you but there will be a price. However, right now you have no choice but to accept.”

Stephanie struggled to move away from him but she felt him grabbing her legs, dragging her towards him. He placed his hand behind her back, lifting her body towards him. As he brought his lips closer, he whispered, “Shall we relive some memories?”

Author’s Note – Post reading
That’s it! All twenty-three pages of it (twenty-four if you include Author’s Notes)! It wasn’t as long as Chapter Sixty (that will probably never be reached again). Anyway, here is a short summary of the chapter if you’re confused by the turns in event:

~ Zane’s making Madeline’s life miserable
~ Lyra and Ellie decided to have a room makeover and got into an argument with Sam
~ Training time with Zane
~ Ellie and Ewon decided to be friends with Shawn…and failing miserably
~ Ellie’s discovering that something up with Shawn and Sam. However, I don’t think anyone except her brother would believe her, which then caused them to investigate Shawn a la Harriet the Spy (hint, hint). ;)
~ The ladies’ night in that was ruined by Zane’s sudden announcement
~ Flames and Anlen battle
~ Before Flames is killed, Daniel saves him
~ Daniel has secret orders that if any exorcist becomes a Fallen or become corrupted, he must kill them
~ Anlen discovers that Daniel and Flames know Lione and their fight continues.
~ Blade battles Amaterasu and discovered what Amaterasu had done to Stephanie
~ Blade gets defeated by the Noah and is thrown overboard.
~ Belle and Stephanie are trying to evacuate the crew
~ They go their separate way
~ Stephanie meets Amaterasu and finds out what happens to Blade
~ Her ribbons act up resulting in disastrous effects.

Oh yeah Blade isn’t dead; his fate will be discovered later. And don’t worry; Stephanie will be saved this time but I’ll reveal that later :amuse

I hope you enjoyed.

Chapter 98: Bon Voyage

The Noah stood, her coat billowing in the wind, stance firm, and her gun pointed straight at Daniel, who had his gun pointed at Anlen.
“Care for a gun fight boy?”
Guns started blazing, Daniel swung a door open and hid behind it, using it to block the barrage of bullets.
Damn Daniel thought, she was good, but then again he was a rookie and she was a Noah. Daniel looked out from behind the door and ducked back as a second volley of bullets hit where his face had just been. Okay looks like Flames is still busy, I’ll have to be the bait for a bit longer, but that doesn’t mean I have to be a wimp. Daniel pushed down on the hammer and he could feel all the sound disappear on the ship and all of it was being absorbed by his gun.

Belle searched through the ship thoroughly, being sure not to miss anyone. She was left with the responsibility to find and secure whoever was left, and certain members were still quite obviously suspicious of her.
As she moved through the ship she came across the door, she pushed and pulled on it, but it wouldn’t budge. She tried to find another way through but this was the only way to get to the passengers rooms, where some crewmates might take refuge. She looked around and found a small ventilation opening and used her baton to pry it open. Once off she slid into the ventilation shaft which turned out to be a pretty tight squeeze.
The steel in the shaft felt cool against her skin while she slid along the shaft. The farther along she went she began to hear noises that sounded like people coming from a room near her, but there wasn’t any openings that would let her see.
Then a tiny clang was heard and she stopped. She looked around but could not see anything in the overwhelming darkness of the shaft. She tried igniting a small flame with her baton, however she couldn’t pull it out from beside her. So instead she disregarded the noise and kept moving forward. Then she saw something moving, it was a chain, but it moved like a snake would move when a snake charmer played his flute. Then struck, it wrapped itself around her neck choking her, and violently pulled her forward. The skin on her arms and legs began to get raw and began tearing as she was pulled through. She tried getting her fingers between the chain and her skin, but to no avail, it was too tight.
With a crash, she was out of the shaft and being held up in the air and was looked upon as if she were a curio in an old antique shop.
As fresh air failed to fill her lungs she began to notice the light in the room diminish. Slowly, the room dimmed from the corners of her vision to its center, and then it started turning black.
Belle noticed through the corner of her eye the door crash down and a figure appearing in the shadow of the door way. The figure quickly disappeared from the doorframe and Belle lost consciousness.

Stephanie turned her face away from the Noah, but she could still feel his repulsively warm breath on her neck, and his fingers crawling on her made her nauseous.
“Oh come on.” He said mockingly looking dejected “You are going to make me think you don’t like me.”
Stephanie turned to his direction and looked him in the eye, silently conveying her message to him.
“Oh you know I love it when you get that look in your eyes.” He said as he straddled her bound body “Oh how I love that look…and how it disappears every time I-“
Silence was all that was heard. Amaterasu looked around, and moved his lips again, more nothing. Agitated he got off of Stephanie and did a more thorough investigation of the room looking under the bed, though all he found was dust.
He went over to Stephanie and touched her, but it wasn’t how it should be. He had to hear her scream. It wasn’t possible to enjoy it without hearing the panic he put her through. Whoever was doing this must pay! Whoever it was who is taking away is pleasure must die!
He went over to the wall where a giant map of the seven seas hung with different routes drawn on it, and he tugged on it. It rolled up to the ceiling and exposed a cherry oak wooden door. Amaterasu opened it and left Stephanie alone, and in tears.

Daniel was confronted with the daunting task of keeping a Noah busy. Easier said than done Flames.
The sound seal was invoked, now he had one of two choices. He was either going to use Shatter or Unload. To use either he was going to need a clean shot, and the only way to get that would be to somehow get behind the Pirate Wench and shoot her then. He peered from behind the door, and the Noah let out another round of fire from her gun. Now she must have noticed that the sound is all gone, damn! He slid down behind the door and crawled over to hide behind some knocked over boxes. From behind them he managed to find more debris to hide from the sight of the Noah.
Doing this reminded him of that month he spent with Zane.

“The key to using innocence is first, understanding the ability. Second, you must understand the application of the form the equipment types, meaning: How do I use this thing in front of me? Once you understand these two elementary concepts, you would then proceed to combine the two aspects of your Innocence and create various uses and applications of them in combat.”
Daniel stood there looking a bit weary and perplexed. “I’m sorry, but what is it exactly that I’m doin’ here?”
“I’m sorry what was it you said?” Zane said as he cupped a hand around his ear
“I said, what is it exactly that I’m doin’ here?”
“First things first, Mr. Southern State, I do not appreciate you using words like doin’ or goin’ and such.”
“But sir, that’s just how I speak!”
“I’m sorry, but Daniel you’ll have to bring back the g’s. “ Zane looked at Daniel, and sighed Looks like I have my work cut out for me “Okay so I’ve heard that you’ve been a finder, so that means you have met the physical requirements, but I’m sorry to say that I don’t think that is anywhere near enough. I have heard that 2 children have somehow become finders. Anyway I need you to be able to keep up with me.”

Geez if the exorcists back at the base knew how formidable Zane was; they’d be a little less bitchy. On top of that their training regimen was his easiest course available. Zane has a Class SS training program, which only people General class, could complete. He was a genius at making people strong
Daniel was finally positioned behind the Noah. Keeping his hand at the ready, he stood up ready to fire, but the Noah wasn’t there. He looked around his eyes darting around and he saw a dagger fly in his direction. He rolled to the side and rolled out again his gun pointed in any direction.
Argh a sharp pain hit him in his shoulder and leg simultaneously. When he looked he had gotten shot in the leg and a dagger was embedded into his shoulder. He turned to the Noah “Shatter!” and a burst of sound shout out of the barrel of Daniels revolver. The bullet created a screeching sound as it flew through the air. Anlen dodged the bullet as it passed and all sound returned to the ship, but she was still damaged by the explosion of sound which caused the ship to shake violently and knock Anlen over. Daniel, still standing, checked the chamber on his gun. The long duration allowed it to fill up.
He pointed the gun at The Noah who looked up defiantly at the exorcist brat.
“Your that little bastard who did this last time aren’t you?”
Taken aback Daniel turned around and saw the other Noah. The Noah behind him didn’t waste time; she grabbed the dagger from his shoulder and put it to his throat.
Amaterasu looked menacingly upon the boy’s handsome face. It looks as if I’ll receive some pleasure after all. he thought as he pulled off his gloves.

Flames took his spear and wedged it in between the links of the chain embedding it into the ground. Then his face elongated into the snout of a wolf and his jaws chomped down onto the chain and shattered it with his powerful teeth.
Belle fell to the floor and then Flames, hand still on the spear, channeled a deadly current of electricity through the chain, following it back to the end, to that of its master, the akuma. The akuma died instantaneously.
Flames walked over to Belle and checked her vitals like Ying had taught him during their trip to collect the bookman so long ago. She was still alive, and Flames tried to reviving her with mouth to mouth. As he reached down Belle opened her eyes and in astonishment lifted her head immediately and knocked Flames in the face with her head, thus giving him a bloody nose.
“Oh I’m so sorry!” she ran to one of the bedrooms and grabbed a sheet to stop the bleeding she motioned for Flames to take the sheet, but he declined. He pulled out a cotton ball and used to plug up his nose.
“It is something handy to carry around rather than a sheet.” He said as he stood up. “I have a plan to get the invaders off of the ship, and I need your help.” Flames looked around the room. “By the way, where is Stephanie?”
“Oh she and I split up to see if we could find all the crew.”
Flames eyes narrowed for a second and then removed all doubt from his mind, I cannot afford to be suspicious of my comrades right now .
“Well I have a plan.”

“Caaaaaaaptain!” an akuma minion said as he ran through the ship looking for his master “Caaaaaaaptain! We have an emergency!”
Anlens ears perked up at this and dagger still at the exorcists throat she turned around and looked for the messenger. “Where are you!?”
The akuma rounded the corner and screamed “Our Jolly Roger is burning!”
“What! Who did it! I’ll have his head!” She threw Daniel to the floor and ran into sight of her ship. The Jolly Roger was indeed on fire, and the fire was shaped like a small fox leering down from the mast. “Who did this?! I demand an answer!”
“It was me.” Said Belle as she appeared on the deck of the pirates ship
“How dare you!? Light my flag on fire, and then step foot on my ship! I’ll kill you!” Anlen ran toward her ship drawing her cutlass in one hand and aiming her gun in the other.
“Ouroboros!” Belle said as she twirled her weapon and a small spark that looked like a drop of fire, dropped from the center of her baton and touched the deck. As it hit the floor it spread out in several lines and the rose up in pillars that spun. The moving fire preventing Anlen from entering the ship.
“My ship, my beautiful ship, what are you doing to it!?”
“Get off of this ship, and I want everything that was on your ship off of this one. Then and only then can you keep yours Pirate. Sail away and don’t come back” Flames said as he appeared lifting Daniel up with his only hand. The boy had an injury on his back and leg but nothing brutal. He seemed to be knocked out with his hair in his face.
“What are you talking about!? My beautiful ship is already aflame!” Anlen said sounding deeply distressed.
“Look closely Noah, It is but centimeters above the ground. My exorcist is using precise focus to keep all of that fire off of your ship, and if you, your akuma…” then he looked at Amaterasu “...or your brother makes any more of a mess of our ship, she just might lose her concentration and let it fall.”
Anlen looked at the fire and noticed it was indeed floating treacherously close to the floor of her ship. “Deal exorcist.” Anlen said sounding defeated. With that Anlen waved her hand and all of her akuma that were still alive appeared behind her, ready to board at a plank of wood joining the two ships.
Belle created an opening on the wall of fire, sweating from the power it was draining from her. Anlen and her crew boarded. When she noticed Belle didn’t put out the fire.
“Exorcist! Are you betraying me!?”
“Your brother is still not off the ship.” Flames said as he looked at Amaterasu who had moved next to a wall leaning on it trying so obviously hard to look nonchalant.
He began to chuckle and then stood up straight. “Alright exorcist.” He began walking to the plank, and as he stood on the center he turned to Flames “I thought you might like to know that my beloved plaything is downstairs in the Captains quarters, possibly dead by now. She has been there for awhile.” He turned around again and proceeded onto the ship but a bullet from behind Flames howled past him and hit the board destroying it sending Amaterasu into the deep. This cued Belle to quench her Flames and get off of the pirate ship. An akuma got in her way, so the firefox jumped down from the mast and burned the akuma to a crisp and she leaped onto the deck of the ship with Flames.
Anlen stood there and yelled to Daniel “I guess that’s only fair exorcist.”
This caused everyone on the ship to look back and Belle gasped. Daniels normally handsome face was cracking in certain places causing gaping marks all over the left side of his face, but the pirate called out for the exorcists one more time.
“You are clever exorcist. A Pirates ship is their key to freedom. It is worth more than their very life.” She looked at Belle and then at Flames “But don’t you for a second think I will forget that you have used my ship like you just did. You have made a powerful enemy.” She turned around and sailed toward her next destination.
“Bon voyage Exorcists!”

Stephanie was crying in the room, half because of the dreadful memories that had just been revived, and half because the ribbons were cutting through her skin and probably kill her by the time anyone came across her in the Captains quarters.
There was a knock at the door and she went to scream for help, but the ribbons slid up her face and stifled her words. The person at the door knocked once more, and then it went quiet.
The ribbons tightened, causing the ribbons to slide between her lips. She used this opportunity to bite down on the ribbon her teeth gnashing and trying desperately to tear it with her mouth but it tightened again causing the sides of her mouth to bleed from the ribbons deadly grip.
The teardrops from her eyes rolled down her cheeks and stung as they hit the cuts on her face. I’m so damn helpless! I thought as an exorcist I would finally be able to accomplish something great, but I’m still the helpless little girl I’ve always been. She cast her eyes to the bed and she winced in pain. First my organs will probably fail due to the pressure, or it might stop circulation to my brain and heart, or I might die from blood loss or… The teardrops became a stream of pain as she thought of another way she could die …of a broken heart.. She closed her eyes as she realized she couldn’t feel her feet or hands.
She heard a loud sound in the distance and she noticed for the first time the sound had returned. It had returned before when she heard the knock at the door. Then the door for the Captains quarters opened and in walked someone she was glad to see, it was Flames.
“Are you okay?” He asked as he turned his face into a snout and ripped the ribbons off of her feet and pulled them off of the rest of her body.
Crying she grabbed Flames by his uniform “Blade! He killed Blade!” tears fell from her face as she sobbed it out.
Flames wrapped his arm around her and stroked her hair “It will all be fine Stephanie.” She appreciated those kind words and will always like Flames for saying something like that when she needed it most but the thing was she lost faith in things being fine a long time ago. It was time for her to be strong like she never was, but for now she’ll just cry because her tears were her pain and pain was weakness leaving the body.

The beautiful white beach was blemished by a body that washed up onshore.
Coughing, Blade sat him up and gasped for breath, but his body felt dizzy and weak and he fell back down going unconscious. A blonde woman appeared and stood beside his body. She leaned down over him and rummaged through his coat and saw the exorcist badge on his lapel.
“Looks like I might be able to use this one.”

Its great to be back you guys! I had a lot of fun writing this, its mostly humor, the only thing I'm really good at, but i think it has the most actual plot I've ever written. XD Here we go!

Maniac had never thought he could be this uncomfortable sitting between two girls. He was normally uncomfortable around them, but this was ridiculous. On his left, looking out the window of the train car, was Tabby, brows knit together in worry. The normally talkative girl hadn’t said a word since a finder had called in a hurried report of the battle at sea.
The connection was shaky, so the finder had to cut his message to simply that Blade had fallen overboard, but due to extensive injuries on their side, they were unable to look for him and so could please send search boats out immediately. That in itself was distressing, save for right at the end of the message, right before the call ended; the finder had mentioned that Daniel would be in need of the most attention. After that, Tabby pleaded to postpone the mission for a little bit until the others got back, but Zane had ordered them to continue as planned. If there was anything to be found at the camp, the Order had to get there before it was blown away. So now Tabby was leaning her head on the window, staring wistfully out of it and sighing every now and then.
On his right was Rinvak. Obviously, she was still mad at Zane for this mission. She was sitting with her arms crossed, brows furrowed even deeper than Tabby, sort of grinding her teeth together and staring at one particular spot on the floor. Maniac wondered how long before the poor spot spontaneously combusted.
Maybe I should try to brighten everyone up a little he thought how ‘bout…
“At least this mission should be quick. Zane’s right, it is most likely deserted. We’ll be able get back to headquarters quickly and see who died.”
Yeah, that should alleviate some of this tension!
Tabby seemed to get twice as small.
On his other side, Rinvak seemed seconds away from punching him. Maybe agreeing with Zane wasn’t the best idea he’d had?
“I’m… going to go the bathroom now…” Maniac quickly excused himself and tried not to open the door as if he feared for his life.
As he closed the door, he heard Rinvak hiss “That jackass.” Maniac wasn’t quite sure whether she was referring to him or too Zane.
And no matter what he’d just said, this was going to be long mission

The eleven hours until the train finally reached Boston passed much quicker once Maniac had found himself an area not inhabited by emotionally high-strung females. Unfortunately, that area was either the aisles or outside the back of the train on the caboose platform. After getting suspicious looks from the train conductors after an hour and a half of pacing around, he’d had to settle for the caboose platform. The time did pass quicker, but by the time he got off onto the platform, he was pretty sure he’d caught a nasty cold, both girls were now death glaring him, and he discovered that they’d somehow lost his luggage. How that could happen in private compartment on a trip that was non-stop didn’t leave much room for theories.
“Real fuckin’ mature.” Maniac muttered he watched the train disappear in the distance, already way to far away to chase. “I was just trying to lighten the damn mood!”
“And making a girl cry again is defiantly the way to do that.” Rinvak called, already walking away.
“I don’t try to on purpose!” Maniac fumed, running after them. Why is Renee the only woman that makes sense?
“Well you’re really good at it”

It was like the camp never existed. Craters from the battle littered the area, but not much else. The Noah had done a pretty good job of clearing out. Maniac was haven’t trouble finding even a scrap of paper. It would help a lot though, if he wasn’t the only one looking. Tabby was still out of her mind with worry, twirling a long stick around in circles on a patch of dirt. Maniac had already asked her several times to get moving, that she was a hindrance like this. Rinvak had exploded at that one too, screaming something incoherent about ‘girls’ and ‘Riena’ and “insensitivity’ but it was hard to tell with the expletives. After that, Tabby would shake her head to clear her thoughts, and get to searching, but within five or minutes she’d just stall again and take to doing something useless like she was doing now.
Rinvak, well, she was stomping around, kicking rocks over and glaring at the ground as if it was going to find the information for her. Maniac wasn’t sure what to say to her that wouldn’t cause her to explode into tiny bits, and since losing an exorcist would defiantly displease Renee, he decided to keep his mouth shut for once.

After several hours of searching on Maniac’s part, the ‘accidental’ kicking of rocks into Maniac’s head on Rinvak’s part, and the accidental writing of Daniel’s name in the dirt on Tabby’s part, Maniac was about to go nuts out of frustration. The rock that once again flew into head seconds later didn’t help either.
“That’s fu**in’ it! There’s nothing HERE!!!” Maniac roared, his anger reaching the boiling point. Tabby, snapped back to reality by the yell, tripped and fell from the surprise. Maniac glared at Rinvak, expecting some kind of sarcastic remark. She was staring intently at some bird’s feather.
“Huh? Did you say something Maniac?” she asked. Maniac just about popped a blood vessel in his forehead. He stomped off back in the direction of town.
“Hey, Tabby, come here a second.” Rinvak called behind him.

Maniac had never thought he could be this angry sitting between two girls. In a complete 180 of the first trip, both girls were smiling like crazy and joking with each other. Which was more uncomfortable than before because while that was normal for Tabby, Rinvak did not smile like that. There was something seriously wrong here.
“What are you two plotting now? You’ve already lost my luggage, and Zane defiantly won’t be happy if you toss me out the window.” Maniac threatened, trying desperately to watch both girls at once.
“Well, Zane is a douchbag,” Rinvak said with a smile, “but that’s beside the point. Why would we be plotting anything?”
“Why? I seem to have offended you even though I’ve done nothing wrong. And you’re smiling. You don’t smile.” Zane hissed.
“Nothing wrong? I beg to differ, but then insensitive men like you will never get it. I can smile if I want too. It brightens up the mood.” Rinvak said, her grin never dropped from her face. Tabby giggled. Maniac could feel another blood vessal about to pop, so for his health, he stomped out of the compartment to sit at what seemed to be becoming his new hangout.

Several hours later, Maniac couldn’t take it anymore. No, it wasn’t the cold this time; it was the knowledge that those girls had to be plotting something right now. He had to know or he would go crazy. So he snuck to the door of the compartment and settled down to eavesdrop.
“-and did you see her shoes?”
“Yeah, they sucked. But have you seen mine?”
“Oh! Those rule!”
“Yeah they do. Really expensive too.”
“Proabably wouldn’t fit me though, my feet are kinda big”
“Well, we’ll have to go get some shoes when we get back!”
What is this?!??! Maniac thought. They’re mocking me!!! Goddamnit, I won’t let you two win!!!!!

As the train pulled into DC, Maniac was almost frothing at the mouth. But he was pretty sure they weren’t planning something. Because after a couple of hours, he had learned the fashion and hottie ratings of half the order. Kanda was absolutely gorgeous and perfectly cool and distant (Tabby had spent quite a bit of time on that thread), Zane had no style but that was mostly forgivable (“He is blind after all” Tabby had commented), and Lavi was in need of a haircut. A lesser man than Maniac probably would have become gay.
“Oh Maniac, sleeping in the hallway?” Rinvak commented with her Cheshire cat grin, suddenly opening the compartment door.
“I…was… just….damn.”
“Well, pick yourself up and let’s move,” Rinvak yawned, “It’s late and I want to report back quickly so I can sleep.”

“So, how’d it go?” Zane asked, sitting at his desk, looking perfectly awake although the sun was an hour from rising and Maniac had deepening circles under his eyes.
“Nothing to report,” Maniac mumbled, “the camp was completely cleaned up.”
Rinvaks grin grew to seeming impossible proportions. It was a very good thing Zane was blind. “Well, this slacker has nothing to report, but Tabby and I found something very interesting.”
“WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!?!?” ZANE, THESE TWO DID NOTHING THE ENTIRE FUCKING TIME OTHER THAN FUCKING GOSSIP!!!!!” Maniac was positively red with rage, almost foaming at the mouth.
“And yet this man refused to sit in the compartment with us and discuss the plan or the finds, lost his baggage, and found nothing himself.”
“Can you back that claim up?” Rinvak asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Well-l, no, BUT-“
“Maniac, could you quiet down for a minute? I’d like to hear what Rinvak has found.” Zane demanded. That was the last straw. Maniac stormed out of the room to find Renee and tell her of this great injustice.
“It’s a feather.” Rinvak said coldly, all traces of false happiness gone now that Maniac had left. She handed Zane the feather so he could examine it.
“That’s not unusual. Birds all have feathers.”
“If you could look at the damn thing, you’d see that it’s a very unusual feather for the area. It’s from South America. The Amazon in fact. It’s a feather from the tail of a Quetzalcoatl.”
“That is interesting. So you think there new base is in South America? There are a couple of other reasons it could be there, but it’s a good of a lead as we’ve got.”
“Is that some sort of twisted compliment?” Rinvak asked sarcastically.

While Rinvak was reporting to Zane and Maniac was searching for Renee, Tabby was waiting by the emergency entrance near the infirmary. Tabby’s worry was easily twice what it had been on during the trip. The boat that had been called to pick up the injured was almost to the harbor. It must be within a wireless golem’s range by now, but the nurses, running around preparing for the incoming patients, wouldn’t tell her anything about Daniel. What was so bad that they couldn’t tell her?
The emergency door swung open and a group of finders carrying a man ran through past her into the infirmary, where the nurses descended on him. As they passed, Tabby caught a glance of an exorcist’s uniform.
“DANIEL!!!!!!” Tabby screamed, fighting past the finders at the door into the room. “DANIEL! ARE YOU OKAY? IS HE OKAY?!?!?!” Tabby screamed
One of the nurses grabbed her arm. “Miss, you can’t be in here right now, please let us do our work!” the nurse implored.
“NO!!! I HAVE TO KNOW HE’S OKAY!!!!” Tabby shrieked.
“Miss-“One of the nurses hovering over Daniel moved to get some supplies and Tabby caught a look at his face.
So yeah, how'd y'all like it? Sorry if I screwed up someone's plans, but I thought it'd be a good idea to at least have most of exorcists in one place for the 100th chapter, since I can't write Noah very well :x That being said, can you guys save some Daniel/Tabby for me in the 100th chapter? X3 I'm addicted~

Okay, guys.... it's time. I wanna revive this awesome and gorgeous fanstory of us and so, I'll just post what we have so far from Chapter 100. The parts were written by Rai and me. So, chapter 100 will be some kind of start of the second round. I couldn't stand this state of abandoning anymore. So, have fun with Chapter 100. Rosa, I hope that you can continue with chapter 101.

Chapter 100

Rai's part:

Right after they arrived at the HQ Stephanie, Flames and Belle were sent into the basement to receive special treatment. This morning Rinvak and Tabby wanted to visit them but the science department did not allow it because the leader in charge, Zane, declared the basement to be the quarantine station and only the high ranking scientist had permission to go inside.
Tabitha rushed into Zane’s room. „How dare you putting Stephanie and the others into quarantine? They are or friends and not some kind of contagious illness!” Her hand were shaking she knew what she had done now was stupid but the last days were too much for her.
Rinvak arrived a few moment later. She was just as angry but she knew screaming wouldn’t worry Zane she decided to wait for his reaction before acting.

Zane put some reports written in braille on his desk and began his speech.
“I don’t know what you mean Miss Brown. I acted according to the rules and chief Epsteini signed it. Exorcists on the brink to become fallen are either put into intensive care or given the mercy-shot. Would you prefer the second?” He smiled as he could hear Tabbies breathing growing heavier. “Our main objective is to save the innocence that means as long as we can’t send them to the European branch we have to make sure they do not jump into battle. If you two could please leave now I want to plan their journey.” Tabby wanted to start speaking again but Rinvak pulled her back into the hall and out of Zane’s office.
The sun was about to set in Yucatan. The silence was only disturbed through a silent sobbing and a sudden sneeze. “What’s wrong Amaterasu? Was the water too cold for you?” Anlen looked at her pitiful brother. “If hadn’t waited so long to pick me up I might have gotten so ill.” replied Amaterasu sipping hot rum. Anlen tried to suppress her laughter. After all she could have picked him up earlier but he was simply too much fun to watch. “Anyway,” she said,” we will arrive at our brother’s camp soon. So be prepared” She went back to her crew leaving her relative alone.

A few hours later they arrived at the new camp. Jacques was already waiting for them and prepared a huge feast. “Today is a day to celebrate my brother and sister. I have found something very interesting here in Chichen Itza.. But rather than talking about it I will show it to you tomorrow. For now let us eat and drink our fill.” Both Anlen and Amaterasu noticed how delighted the former priest was. For Amaterasu this could either mean he would have fun as well or the end of the world. Anlen showed no real interest. If it could neither be eaten nor sold it has nothing to do with a pirate.

The dinner went on peacefully until Jacques had a request for Anlen. “My dear sister could you please bring Marigold something to eat? She already killed three akumas who tried to get near her she does not allow anything else than a Noah in her private rooms.” Anlen thought of objecting but on the other hand she’d like to get away from this tiring dinner. She took a plate and went out of the tent.

The ruins of Chichen Itza were in a surprisingly good state and she could hear people talking in some of the buildings. “Jacques really made this place his new home.”, thought the pirate.
When she arrived at Marigold private chamber she felt the other Noah’s massive energy vibrating in the air. Stones and rocks where flying around in circles and even Anlen could feel some force trying to pull her up. “Marigold! I’m here to bring you some food!” The Noah looked into the room and saw her sister sitting on a luxurious bed.

Anlen approached the girl slowly trying to keep her feet on the ground. Marigold gave her no attention and kept writing on a piece of paper whispering and crying. The Pirate looked on the paper and started to read. “FREedOM, I want to be ME! I wAnt tO LivE. I want FREEDOM.” The paper was filled with these words written in several layers over and over again. “So you want it too eh? I fear freedom is for humans only Marigold.” Anlen tried to comfort her sister. After all she sat in the same situation. Marigold looked at her, tears filled her eyes again. For the first time after her Noah blood awakened Marigold spoke to someone else than herself. “But we are humans too.” She whispered in Anlen’s ear.

Amaterasu entered Jacques chamber inside the main Castillo. “Anlen just spoke to me. She said she is going to take Marigold with her and leave me instead. If you refuse I should answer she does not care.”
Jaqcues looked at his brother and smiled with his demonic smile. “That does not matter brother. Since you are going to stay I might as well tell you what I found.” He opened a wall behind him and began talking. “Follow me I’ll explain while we are walking. Did you know that this place was used as the religious centre to pray to Kulkucan, to you may be known as Quezalcoatl?” The noahs went deeper and deeper into the maze of tunnels.

“But what exactly was this goddess? The natives even sacrificed humans to her. We know many religions were based on the strange effects of innocence but this place is different. They prayed to something that survived the great flood and the victory of the innocence.” The deeper they got the more Amaterasu sensed a vile stench like dozens of rotten akumas. “Off course I had to do some experiments to revive it. The time of it’s sacrifices was long over when we arrived here. Even the earl forgot about her.”

Jacques lighted another torch and threw it on the floor creating a burning oath before them. The light gave the expression as if the being in front of Amaterasu was moving but after a second of terror he noticed it was just a statue. On a throne shaped like a serpent’s head a woman was sleeping. The priest took a step forward and turned around. His grin was even more terrifying than usual. “What you see here might be the Akuma of the highest known level! She killed whole civilisations with a move of her finger. She might not have a human mind anymore but she still obeys to all of our wishes! As soon as we revived her the fated time will come! Judgement Day!” He started to laugh. His laughter awakened all of Amaterasu’s primal instincts. The days of disaster will soon begin.

Magier's part:

Tabby and Rinvak tried to calm down outside the headquarters. While Rinvak was leaning against the cold wall, Tabby looked up into the sky. Gray clouds covered the once blue sky over Washington D.C. but now rain was about to come up. It would most propably last for the rest of the day and dwindle not until next day. The weather perfectly resembled the exorcists' current temper. When was the last time when something worked out as expected? The only hope they had was a single feather of a birth found at the former camp of their opponents. But at the moment, it was of no use anyway since they had not enough exorcists who could rival the Noah. And who knows what awaits them there? Another berserk Noah?
The girls sighed. Dealing with Akuma and Noah was already enough so why did their leader have to steal their last remaining sleep by letting them worry about their friends who were put into quarantine? Sometimes, the thought of marooning Zane in a desert far far away from headquarters pleased Tabby deeply.
"Loine was indeed a work-a-holic but Zane is not quite right in his head", Tabby muttered with discontent.
"It's about to rain. Let's go inside again", Rinvak said when several drops bewetted the ground in front of her feet, forming puddles of dejectedness.
"Alright. But you should know that my fist is always prepared to punch a certain someone's face."
The girls were about to head back when a sudden voice sent chills down their spines and caused them to freeze in their movement. They turned around with wide-opened eyes looking for the source of a familiar voice.
The rain was like a protective curtain raised between the girls and the person the voice belonged to. They could just make out the outlines of the person in front of them but the voice echoed within their bodies like the ringing of a bell.
"It was quite a pain in the ass to find the new headquarters of yours", the voice said.
Tabby stared at Rinvak with a scared look. The voice was so familiar and yet so scary. Like a father who had to put his foot down in order to punish the naughty children. The silhouette became blurred by the rain which was so heavy by now that the exorcists were soaked to the skin. The rain dropped down their hair, along their foreheads and noses over the pale faces until it lastly merged with the puddles on the ground. The person approached the girls, slowly but strong-minded. Black boots churned up the puddles when they carelessly stepped into them and left blackwashed water behind. Black ink sidled the water like a snake, separating on spots were drops touched the surface and uniting where it was calm and undisturbed.
"It can't be...", Tabby whispered but she could not rely on Rinvak's sober mind anymore because the girl was as flabbergasted as herself. The figure was now close enough to be recognized. His appaerance was completely different from what they remembered. His walk was more self-conscious, his body more muscular than before. His eyes were dominated by gloom, his face was stiff. No hint of a smile was shown on it, no joy of reunion.

Lione lifted his white-gloved hand. For a short moment of time, a smile appeared on Tabby's face. She lifted her hand in order to meet the handshake but instead of celebrating his return, Lione pushed Tabby away and just went on walking, passing the two girls by without loosing his look.
"I have no time for friendly handshakes. I have to speak with a person who owns at least a little bit authority", Lione said coldly and headed towards the main entrance of the headquarter. Sad and confused glances followed his path.
"We did not see you for months. What happened to you?", Rinvak asked but failed to subdue the fear in her voice.
"The time, no doubt, has changed me", Lione answered and disappeared into the headquarters leaving two desperate girls and their shattered hope lost in the rain.
Anlen lifted her head. The pattern of the wooden table was printed on her cheek and remains of alcohol dropped down the edge of the table and disappeared into the darkness of the night which weighed heavily on her shoulders like a curse. While she had been drinking, the pirate's head had sunk onto the table's surface, beaten by headache. The liquor had poured out but Anlen had not cared about it at all. Nobody was nearby. Amaterasu and Jacques had vanished without a trace, Marigold was still in her chamber, apparently preparing for a new journey, and the rest of the crew was most probably on the ship napping with a bottle rum in their hands and salt meat between their teeth. Hence, Anlen was all alone, gone astray in deep thoughts like a lost sheep.
"What did you mean by 'We are humans, too'?", Anlen whispered into a green curtain of hair. "Do you consider a person who is living for more than 200 years by now a 'human being'? Are you kidding me?"
Anlen's arm swung around in order to find a hopefully filled bottle on the dark ground. Her finger tips finally touched the cold glass of a bottleneck, she lifted it and downed the drink with one gulp. This however gave her head another meeting with the table's surface.
"But what are those feelings if I am not human? I am no human being yet I am not dead because I can still feel something... So I am just a... monster? Seems so."
Anlen laughed but it froze when she sensed the presence of someone familiar behind her. When the girl turned around, she let go of the empty bottle because she was suddenly drugged with fatigue. It fell to the ground, shattered and Anlen slided off the wooden bench and landed prone on the grass.

Amaterasu approached her. As fascinating the Akuma was for his brother as scary was his laughter for Amaterasu and he had immediately fabricated an excuse to be able to escape from the dread downstairs. Yet he was sure that it was not the last time that he would see this 'thing'.
"Seriously", Amaterasu said."I can't bear his laughter. It's sending chills down my spine. Don't worry sister, you are not the monster. It's him."
He kneeled and gently touched Anlen's hair. It was so soft and silky that he felt like running his bare hand through it. A well-known feeling. But before he could proceed, a piercing pain went through the palm of his hand. He looked down just to find a dagger piercing through it. The threads of the white cloth began to break loose and color red where the dagger bored through the glove and his skin. Smirking, his other hand clawed at the hair and pulled Anlen's head upwards so that their faces were barely separated by the strained atmosphere.
"I thought you were asleep, sis."
"I'm afraid I have to disappoint you. I only snoozed for a little while", Anlen answered not less arrogant. "You should know your position, Amaterasu. Don't ever think of touching my hair again or the dagger will not just pierce through your dirty hand."
"Believe me, I know my position. But what about you? Human being... monster... You can't even decide!"
"SHUT UP!", Anlen screamed and pulled out the dagger with force. Blood spilled and stained her face. But the male Noah seemed unimpressed by her rage.
"I think I can consider this a honor: I've never thought of meeting you again, at least not in these holy halls... Lione Parcoeur."
Zane's voice echoed through the great hall of headquarters like a breaking wave. Everyone who heard Lione's name being said headed towards the entrance. Angry and happy faces were mixed up but they all shared the same feeling of curiosity which could not be suppressed. Zane stood on a balcony and looked down at Lione just like a ruler who stared at his subjects with an icy, merciless look. He was the new, officially nominated leader and Lione nothing but an exorcist who commited desertion. In other words: a traitor. Or so Zane thought. Meanwhile Tabby and Rinvak arrived at the place of unwelcome reunion. The members of the Order were standing around Lione, observing the whole scene. But they were spread in the whole hall and still far away enough in order to avoid contact with Lione. Nobody knew what exactly had happened to Lione and why he had been gone for months, so Tabby could not blame them for looking at him like an odious yet fascinating animal that could go mad in the twinkling of an eye. When Lione raised his voice, the whispering stopped and everyone became silent for the time being. At least since now, everybody noticed that he had not lost anything of his former strength. He had even gained new, unknown one over the past few months.
"Get off your throne, leader", Lione said. "I wanna talk to you, between man and man, you know."
The quiet resentment which Lione had put into the single word "leader" caused Zane to bore his fingers into the stony balustrade. He had done everything for the Order, he did not run away like a certain someone and betrayed the Order and his friends. The exorcist in front of him had no right to speak with him in such an insupordinate manner. Zane tried his best to answer Lione's naivety with a heroic smile. He calmed down and addressed Lione with a soocing voice.
"You don't know the situation you're currently in, do you? You are no leader anymore, you have no right to order me, Lione Parcoeur, not anymore."

Then, a scream of a whistle echoed through the hallways of headquarters and not even a second later, Lione was surrounded by a bunch of security guards.
"You are placed under arrest, Lione Parcoeur. Your commited crime should be well-known to you: Desertion", said Zane who was already sure of his victory but he was not aware of Lione's slightly changed personality. Yet, the time when Zane should get to know it approached faster than expected. Within the twinkling of an eye, the guards darted at Lione but they were no challenge for the former leader. He dodged the attacks with some simple movements while Rinvak and Tabby were looking at the scene with a worried and a startled eye. If they interfered with Zane's order, they would just give him another reason to punish them. Nonetheless, Lione was their friend, wasn't he? Somehow, both of them started to doubt this fact. He wasn't any longer the Lione they had known long time ago. A seemingly stable puzzle of memories began to fall apart. Slowly but surely, they would lose a dear person... forever.

Lione's movements were artful and quick. The exorcist perfectly knew where he had to set his foot in order to dodge the seemingly plebby attacks. While Lione was avoiding the guards' efforts to catch him as if he had not done anything else in his whole life, he began to unbutton his black coat. Zane was apparently irritated by Lione's ignorant temper. This guy did not take his arrestment seriously and Zane was on the edge of attacking himself but he did not want to lose his face by doing such a ridiculous action in front of everyone and go mad. Lione avoided a punch for the last time by ducking down. He threw his coat away and ripped his white shirt off, baring his naked, surprisingly muscular upper body. Tabby and Rinvak would have blushed if the situation wasn't that serious. However, the strange symbol on Lione's back deflated them. A symbol of ancient times was painted on his back with black ink.
"His Innocence... evolved", Rinvak stammered while trying to observe the fight as good as possible. Some members of the Order who had gathered together at the edge, shrunk back and Zane could not believe what kind of enormous power he felt there. It gave him a chill and conquered his lungs and throat, thus, making him unable to produce a single word of fright that would have possibly escaped his mouth. Lione placed his right hand on the stony ground and the symbol on his back began to move at that very moment. The winglike signs spread out and extended over his arms to the ground where they formed a circle under his feet. The winglike signs burgeoned, escaped the circle's grip, became reality and spread. The black wings clapped up and down once before they touched the ground with enormous power and caused a quake. The guards were sweeped away by the blast and the ground around Lione was smashed into pieces, leaving a small crater behind. This noisiness should have awakened even the last dormouse in the backmost corner of the HQ. Lione stood up and passed by Tabby and Rinvak in order to pick up his jacket of which he shook off the accrued dusk. Victory was his. He turned around to focus Zane with an impish smile on his face and did not pay any attention to the two exorcists who were staring at the crater in front of their dusky boots, being paralyzed by fear.
"I think we should talk in a room with less audience, Zane", Lione said. "I am sure we will be unimpeded in your office."
Zane nodded slowly and pointed silently at a hallway to Lione's left that directly led to his office.
Anlen's fist closed around the blade which cut the flesh of her hand and added more blood to the red glimmer that already covered the dagger. But it sufficed to calm her down. The blood shone in the moonlight like a light of hope. It was a proof of being alive after all. Maybe she still had a chance to remain human. She threw the dagger away and it disappeared somehwere in the surrounding darkness of the silent night. Gently touching her caused wound, Anlen stared at her brother. The hole in his hand was about to close but the hand should be barely usable for the time being due to the enormous loss of blood. Anlen was content with the result.
"Let's deal with our problem just like true men of sea would do it", Anlen said grinning. "Let's play Russian roulette."
Amaterasu answered with a smile, bowed assent and pointed at the wooden table. Anlen fished a card game out of her black coat. A skull decorated the clubs ace.
"How fitting", Amaterasu thought and sat down while Anlen was taking out a six-shot revolver and placed it on top of the table.
"You know the rules. There's one bullet in one of those six chambers. I don't know where it is hidden and you either. We will play a nice card game and the winner of the round can take the revolver and gamble with the other's life", Anlen explained, shuffling the cards. "The chance of discharging the first round is 17%. Let's start."

Owls were their silent observers, mice their heedful audience. The moon-drenched trees cast a shadow on the faces of the utterly fearless players. Nobody wanted to lose the own pride and deepest concentration was maintained until the final move had been done. Anlen rose and when the disastrous shadow, thrown by crows who passed by, disappeared, Amaterasu could feel the cold steel of a barrel being pushed against his forehead, accompanied by a mischievous smile.
"I guess we can call this a checkmate", Anlen said, almost laughing like a madwoman who cornered the victim and was about to viscerate it. But to Anlen's disfavor, Amaterasu did not show any signs of acrimony. It was quite the opposite. He had the same smile on his face when starting the deadly game.
"I don't think so", he replied certain of victory, achieving a look of confusion in Anlen's eyes. "You cheated. Typical of a pirate."
Anlen did not understand how Amaterasu could show up the fraud. It had only happened to her once in a lifetime, decades ago, shortly after becoming a Noah. When she was thinking about it, the game then had proceeded exactly the same way. The pirate badly tried to remember the opponent's face but she failed, as if someone had erased some memories from her mind. When she wanted to demand an explanation, Amaterasu had already disappeared, being swallowed by the depths of the night. She would not see him again and already would have left the camp when the curtain that was covering old memories began to disappear.