DGM fanstory ~Volume 3 "Misery's Habanera"~ [Chapter 41 - Chapter 60] | MangaHelpers

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DGM fanstory ~Volume 3 "Misery's Habanera"~ [Chapter 41 - Chapter 60]


MH Senpai
MH中毒 / MH Chuudoku / MH Addicted
Nov 30, 2006
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I decided to already post the chapters we have so far in this thread because snooge told me that volume 3 consists out of ~130 pages at least @.@. Holy shit, so many.

Jaques, Magier and Ameratsu arrive in a small camp.
Happy children are screaming: " Everyone! Brother Jaques is back! He's back!"
Many people are coming near Jaques the cry of joy and want to hug him.
Juaques has tears in his eyes aswell.
Magier is confused stares at Jaques. "So this is your little family? The ones you love and care for?"

Magier knew Jaques for a long time now. She knows he despises mankind at least as much a she does.
He saw him kill innocents without an expression. She fears his anger. But now she sees him crying in front of so many people.
She sees a smile full of warmth not the smile that made her shiver.
This smile made her angry this false kindness makes her anxious to kill everyone.

Suddenly he comes close to her and says: "These two are my relatives Magier and Ameratsu. Please give them a warm welcome."
Magier gives him an angry stare but suddenly all the children come near her and hug her.
"Wait no hihi that tickles stop." she said but to late she falls on the ground and the children start to play with her.
A single tear flows down her face.

Jaques goes away from this scene and searches for his three guardians.
"Ah Raphael, Michael , Gabriel there you are. Have you been alright after the battle?"
Michael answers:" Yes of course, Brother, we had no serious wounds and after we got your message we came here and waited for your orders. Jaques explains the situation and about the thundergodbird...
"As you can see something interesting will happen in about a week. But before that you have to master these."
Jaques draws a large box out of his bags and opens it inside are a sword, an axe and a rifle made of a completely black material.
"These are dark matter weapons it was obvious that you need a demon's weapon to defeat demons.
You will have to learn the abilitys and your powers will multiply."

"JAK-KUN!!! Get this children off me!" screams magier.
"Well it seams I have to go I'll come back later and tell you about the weapons."

Part 1:
Zeran knew he had to end it all today. It's been a couple of weeks since he last found out Shia had been resurrected as an Akuma. Since today was... He needed it to end on his own terms today. He gently stroked the blade of Jigoku. Come on out... My Innocence....
"What are you doing?" Ying suddenly appeared behind him.
"GAH!" Zeran jumped and fell over. "Itatatata...."
"Interesting..." Ying looked over Zeran's fallen body.
"Who said you could come into my room?" Zeran moaned.
"I came to deliver what you requested," Ying said in that trademark monotone.
"Ah, that," Zeran stood up and dusted his clothes.
Ying took out a small bottle with three pills in it. Two white ones and a black one could be seen clearly.
"The two white ones allow you a temporary increase of strength and speed, but will like I guessed, corrode your body. Since you are not a parasite type, most likely, you will die if you take one. The black one should be avoided altogether. It pushes your body past their original limits and you will become near-god. But it will also corrode your body twice as fast. It is a more concentrated solution. I tried diluting it with your blood, but the corrosion can’t be stopped completely." Ying said all in one breath.
"Thanks, but when did you take my blood?" Zeran asked.
"When you were asleep," Ying said without hesitation.
"Thanks for the invasion of privacy..." Zeran said sarcastically.
"Please answer my first question," Ying said emotionlessly. "What are you doing?"
"Shut up and watch," Zeran closed his eyes and stroked the blade of his Jigoku. A faint light was emitted from Jigoku and Zeran applied pressure to the spot where the light was being emitted. He then quickly swept his hand across the blade all the way to the tip and a small explosion of light appeared in his hand. He was clutching a piece of raw Innocence.
Ying slowly backed away. "Innocence... I didn't know you could do that."
"Well I didn't either. I just randomly did what came to mind," Zeran shrugged. He held it out to Ying. "Doesn't it look pretty?"
"I'm not that fond of Innocence..." Ying answered truthfully.
"Really?" Zeran shrugged. "I think it's quite beautiful. And it'll grow even more beautiful if it finds the one it's meant to be with. Right now I'm compatible with this Innocence because of my beliefs. So if someone believed the same things I did but with even stronger feelings, then they'd have a higher compatibility rate."
"Why are you telling me this?" Ying asked uncertainly.
"Because I won't be here for much longer..." Zeran clutched the tiny bottle of pills.

Part 2:
Zeran arrived at the train station and bought some tickets.
"Where's Zeran going?" Tabitha asked Stephanie. The two had just come back form shopping at a nearby store. "He seems to be lost in thought."
"Who knows who cares?" Stephanie replied jerkily. "It's his business."
"But I want to see," Tabitha quietly followed behind Zeran.
"DAMN IT! Tabitha! WAIT UP!" Stephanie followed her and the two of them got into the car behind Zeran's. They found the nearest empty seat and sat down.
"Ara?" Shima blinked. "What are you guys doing here?"
"Eh??? Shima???" Stephanie blinked. "What are you doing here?"
"I'm going to visit a friend," Shima answered. "What are you guys doing?"
"We're stalking Zeran," Tabitha grinned.
"Eh? Is that so?" Shima said nervously.
"Don't tell me, you're stalking him too?" Stephanie eyed her suspiciously.
"I admit it," Shima lowered her eyes. "He was acting WAY too nice to everyone today. The only time he's ever nice is when he talks of my sister... So today MUST have something to do with Shia."
"Ah... is that so?" Stephanie looked away. That guy... Always making us worry like this... I DEFINETLY WON'T LET HIM OFF THE HOOK UNTIL HE TELLS US EVERYTHING
Zeran sneezed. I just had a really chilling feeling...
On the very last car behind the one that the three girls were in, Ying sat silently, pondering what Zeran had said.

Part 3:
"What do you mean you might not be here any longer?" Ying asked questioningly.
"Who knows?" Zeran shrugged.
"Are you planning on doing something today?"
"Something like that..."
"What is it?"
"Nothing you need to be concerned about. And like I said, smiling when you don't have to isn't right... You should only smile when you're happy."
"Don't try and change the subject."
But he had already left.
*end flashback*
there has to be something important he's doing today Ying thought.
Then the train stopped at a station and Zeran walked off...

Part 4:
"Hey isn't this..." Tabitha trembled.
"Why would he come here???" Stephanie curled her hand into a fist.
"What's wrong?" Shima asked.
"This place is..." Tabitha started to cry. "Where Onii-san..."
"That bastard..." Stephanie growled. "It's the place where my sister killed Edward."
Shima looked shocked. "But what does this have to do with him being so nice today?"
"We'll find out," Stephanie said.

"Ah, Edward," Zeran knelt down beside his grave. "Sorry, I couldn't do much for you on that night. I hope you can forgive me." He knelt down and silently prayed. When he finished, he stood up. "Sorry, but my business here today isn't with you. I have to go do something else."
"Eh? He's walking to the Bookman's place?" Stephanie exclaimed.
"Why would he go there???" Tabitha asked questioningly.
"We'll find out." Shima gulped.
Behind the girls Ying silently followed.

At the old Bookman's house Zeran sat down in the grass.
"You can come out now," Zeran said quietly.
"Eh???? Did he know we were following him????" Tabitha exclaimed.
"My Tengoku has been trembling again," Zeran said quietly. "So come on out Shia."
"Ah you found me out," said a voice from behind the house.
"Of course," Zeran stood up and drew Tengoku. "It's your 'Purity' after all."
"Keh," Shia spat. "Like I believe that."
Zeran threw his Jigoku katana at Shia's feet.
"EHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH???" the three girls exclaimed. "Why would he do that?"
so that's why he took out his Innocence earlier Ying thought.
"Today is the 5th anniversary of the day I met you," Zeran grinned.
"So you remembered..." Shia said coldly.
"How bout it? A duel to the death between the two of us?" Zeran grinned. "I removed the Innocence from that blade, but with your ability you can still activate the same attacks as if it had Innocence."
"Interesting," Shia grinned cruelly. "Why do this?"
"I win your soul is saved," Zeran said. "You win, I'm killed by my 'Sin' so I don't mind either way."
Shia picked up Jigoku and grinned. "Bring it, EXORCIST!"
"Innocence Hatsudou," Zeran took a stance.

“I’ll make the first move,” Shia grinned and disappeared.
“Where did she go?” Shima watched in horror as the huge battle began.
“Too slow,” Shia appeared from behind Zeran and pointed Jigoku at his throat.
Zeran ducked and countered with a swing to Shia’s face. Shia jumped backwards and a small cut appeared on her face.
“Oh? You’ve gotten stronger,” Shia grinned. “IT WOULDN’T BE FUN IF YOU DIDN’T!”
She jumped into the air and tried to slice downwards, but Zeran blocked the strike with Tengoku.
“Ugh,” he groaned. The two swords stared to beat along with each other in a strange rhythm.
“What is it?” Stephanie strained to see. “Something is happening with Tengoku and Jigoku!”
The flash of light between the two swords became bigger and bigger until it engulfed everyone.
“I don’t believe it…” Shima gasped. “It’s… Shia?”

A young Shia grabbed a young Zeran by the hands. “Hey come on… We’re going to be late.”
“Late for what?” Zeran struggled to catch up.
“You’ll see!” Shia grinned.
The two children arrived at an abandoned house.
“What’s special about our clubhouse?” Zeran said.
“Stop complaining and just come!” Shia pouted.
When they walked inside, Shia beamed. “TA-DA!”
Inside the house was filled with decorations everywhere. On a small table, there was an even smaller cake sitting on top of a plate there.
“Shia… You…” Zeran tried to speak.
“Sorry, Zeran-kun,” Shia grinned apologetically. “I tried to get you a better present, but I didn’t have enough money. This was all I could buy.”
“You spent… all of your money?” Zeran uttered.
“Because… it’s Zeran-kun’s birthday right?” Shia smiled brightly.
“YOU IDIOT!” Zeran shouted. “Didn’t you say you’ve been saving up for the past year to look for your sister? Why? Why did you spend all of it on me?”
“Because Zeran-kun is my special friend,” Shia said brightly. “And it’s your birthday, so be happy okay?”
Zeran grabbed Shia and hugged her. “You idiot…” Tears started to flow from his face. “I’m not worth anything.”
“Zeran-kun…” Shia hugged him back. “You’ll always be my most important friend. Forever and ever.”

“AHHHHHHHH!” Zeran shouted and pushed Shia back. “Tengoku! OUGI! Tenkai no Raionkei no Ryuu!” A gigantic lightning dragon flowed from Tengoku.
“Heh, let’s see how you deal with your own attack!” Shia shouted. “OUGI! Makai no Enjyu no Phoenix!” A gigantic flaming phoenix emerged from Jigoku.
“THIS WILL END EVERYTHING!” They shouted in unison.

Part 6:
The gigantic attacks clashed and the resulting explosion shook the earth and possibly the heavens as well. Shia and Zeran were thrown back to the ground and another bright light erupted.
“Another memory?” Stephanie braced herself for the aftershock.
“This is too dangerous!” Shima shouted. “You guys have to stay back!”
“We want to see,” Tabitha said with pure determination. “What makes Zeran the way he is.”
Stephanie nodded in agreement.
“He has some good friends, doesn’t he?” Shima grinned.

“OW!” the young Shia tripped. “It hurts…”
“That’s a big bruise,” young Zeran commented. “It’s even bleeding.”
“What should I do?” Shia frowned. “I can’t get home like this and I left my special medicine at home.”
“I’ll carry you,” Zeran looked away.
“Eh?” Shia looked at him in surprise. “Why?”
“I SAID I’D CARRY YOU DIDN’T I?” Zeran growled. He knelt down. “Now hop on.”
“Un!” Shia got on and Zeran carried her. Shia slowly closed her eyes and fell asleep.
“Hey you’re heavy!” Zeran strained. He looked back at Shia’s sleeping face. “Heh, you fell asleep, eh? I guess it can’t be helped.” He hummed a small lullaby while he carried her home.

Shia got up first and charged at Zeran, Zeran jumped backwards barely avoiding her attacks each time. “TAKE THIS!” Shia thrusted the sword forward and struck Zeran in the chest.

Part 7:
Zeran coughed up a lot of blood while Shia laughed maniacally. “How’s that exorcist?”
“ZERAN!” Stephanie and Tabitha ran forth to aid him. Shima walked slowly towards Shia.
“Long time no see,” Shima said slowly.
“Onee-san,” Shia frowned. “What the hell are you doing here?”
“I…” Shima began.
“Can it,” Shia pointed Jigoku at her throat. “I don’t want to hear anything from the sister who abandoned me.”
Zeran sliced the air where Shia was a second ago. “Oh? You can still fight?”
“You guys get the hell out of here,” Zeran commanded. “NOW!”
“Never take your eyes off your opponent,” Shia whispered from behind. Zeran jumped and barely dodged a lethal swing.
“I will protect Shima with all my strength, because it’s what Shia would’ve wanted,” Zeran said, his breath getting more and more shallow.
“You can’t beat me in that condition,” Shia scoffed.
“You’re right,” Zeran said and took a white pill from his pocket. “Itadakimasu.” He popped it in his mouth and swallowed it.
“Hahahaha…” Shia began to laugh but stopped when Zeran appeared behind her.
“Now who’s slow?” Zeran said silently.
“YOU BASTARD!” Shia swung again and Zeran dodged to the side with ease.
“How bout one last clash to settle everything?” Zeran suggested.
“BY ALL MEANS!” Shia rushed at Zeran. He appeared behind her once more and brought his sword downwards and she blocked it with all her might. I’ll give it everything I got they thought simultaneously. “AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!” they yelled their battle cries and pushed the limits of their strength to their maximum.

“Mom… Dad… why did you die?” a young Zeran walked on a muddy road. It was raining heavily, but Zeran had nowhere to go so he didn’t care. “What were those things that killed you?” He tripped laid still. “Why… Why is it me? Why do I have such bad luck?”

“I DEFINETLY WON’T LOSE!” Zeran yelled.

“Are you alright?” a voice asked.


“Why are you crying?” the voice of a young girl asked. Zeran stood up and wiped the mud from his face.

The swords were shaking violently in their owner’s hands.

“None of your business,” he yelled and pushed the girl to the ground. He continued walking along the muddy path.

One of the swords started cracking.

I’m doomed to be alone like this… the young Zeran thought and continued crying in the rain. Suddenly he didn’t feel the rain anymore. He looked up and saw an umbrella.

“Shia…” Zeran said quietly.

“What’s wrong with you?” Zeran shouted. “Leave me alone!”

“Zeran-kun…” Shia whispered.

“Aren’t you cold if you stand out here in the rain all by yourself?” the little girl held her umbrella out to cover Zeran while she was getting rained on.
“Why do you care?” Zeran retorted.
“My name is Shia,” she smiled brightly. “Let’s be friends.”

A sword shattered completely and blood was spilled into the sky.

Part 8:
Jigoku spilt into pieces and Shia had a huge wound across her body.
“Don’t think it ends here exorcist!” Shia yelled. “With my ability I’ll make as many blades I want!”
“Sorry, but it’s over…” Zeran said and appeared right in front of Shia.
“Eh?” Shia looked in surprise.
Zeran clutched something in his right hand and pushed it into Shia’s wound.
Rasengan Innocence Hatsudou!” Zeran shouted and pushed the Innocence deep into Shia’s bloodstream.
“Ugh1” Shia coughed and the black make-up disappeared, revealing Shia as she always looks.
“Shia,” Zeran said softly. “You’re back.
“Zeran-kun,” Shia cried and ran into his arms. “I’m sorry for injuring you. It’s all my fault.” She continued to cry while Zeran gently patted her head.
“I should be the one who’s sorry,” Zeran said solemnly. “Just now… I killed you with my own hands…”
“It’s alright Zeran-kun,” Shia smiled brightly. “Because I wanted you to be the one to kill me. Now… I don’t have much time to live. The Innocence is destroying me from the inside out.”
“Shia!” Shima called out.
“Onee-san!” Shia smiled. “I’m glad I could see you one last time before I died.”
“Baka…” Shima cried. “You’re the most idiotic sister in the world.”
Shia cried happily but it wasn’t tears that flowed out, instead it was blood.
“Ah, my time is up,” Shia smiled sadly. “Good-bye…”
“Hey… Shia…” Zeran looked into her eyes.
“What is it Zeran-kun?” Shia never stopped smiling.
Zeran leaned in closer and kissed her on the lips.
Shia blinked in surprise, Shima smiled, and Stephanie covered Tabitha’s eyes.
Blood trickled out of Shia’s lips and into Zeran’s mouth.
Shia pushed Zeran away and yelled, “Don’t drink that, you’ll die!”
“Too late,” Zeran grinned and swallowed it.
“Why would you do that?” Shia gasped.
“Because I was going to die anyways,” Zeran said. “The pill I took was also Akuma blood.” HE rolled up his sleeves, and showed her the pentacles that were appearing on his arm. “I also… don’t have much time left.”
“ZERAN!!!!!” Stephanie rushed over to where they were. “You mean… you were…”
“Yeah,” Zeran grinned. “I was planning to die today.”
“Uso… Uso darou…” Tabitha watched in horror. “Zeran… you… can’t die…”
“You’ve found some great new friends,” Shia said happily. “I’m sorry I can’t stay with you anymore.”
“I’ll join you shortly anyways,” Zeran shrugged.
Shia smiled one last time and said, “Sayonara… Zeran-kun… I’ve always loved you.” She turned ot dust and her soul vanished into the sky.
“Looks like it’s my turn,” Zeran said as the pentacles began appearing faster now that a catalyst has been added to increase the corrosion process.
“Idiot,” Ying walked over.
“Eh?” everyone looked surprised. “What are you doing here?”
She picked up Tengoku and stabbed Zeran in the same spot where Shia stabbed him.
“AGH!” Zeran groaned in pain.
“What are you doing?” Stephanie lifted her up by the collar.
“The Innocence is now in direct contact with his bloodstream. The corrosion should stop momentarily.” Ying stated matter-of-factly.
“So… I live to die another day,” Zeran sighed.

Part 9:
Tabitha watched over Zeran while Shima and Stephanie made the grave for Shia.
“Hey where did Ying go?” Tabitha suddenly noticed.
“She disappeared?” Stephanie asked.
“There’s a note here,” Tabitha bent down and picked it up. “It says: I have some personal business to attend to, don’t expect me back anytime soon ~Ying”
Zeran got up and shouted. “SHIMA MOVE!”
“Eh? Why?” Shima said surprised. A huge shadow stood behind her and Tabitha and Stephanie all looked in her direction.
“So you killed one of our toys,” Jacques said quietly. “The kids think I’m taking a bathroom break, so I’d better make this quick.” He drove one of his hands into Shima’s chest and pulled it out. “It’s all stained with dirty human blood now.” He looked at it disgustedly.
Zeran stood up and glared angrily at Jacques. “I’m sorry Shia, I broke the only promise I made to you. I couldn’t protect Shima like you wanted.” A tear trickled out of his left eye.
“Zeran, you should lay down,” Stephanie said. “I’ll take care of this guy!”
A black aura surrounded Zeran and it was centered on his right eye. The Innocence in Stephanie’s hand also exploded. It shone and collected the scattered Jigoku pieces around itself and then embedded it along with the Jigoku fragments into Zeran’s right arm.
“What’s happening???” Tabitha said in fear. “What’s happening to Zeran?”
“His Innocence is fusing with his right arm…” Stephanie said in disbelief. Is what you’re feeling now… so strong that your Innocence can even react from so far away?
Zeran’s right eye whirred and made mechanical noises as it turned from it’s usual black to a blood-stained eye with strange markings.
“Come Jacques of the Noah,” Zeran said in a voice that did not belong to him. “Let me settle this once and for all.”

ED theme:

So that took a long time… ANYWAYS…. After the battle Stephanie and Tabitha wind up seriously injured along with Jacques. Zeran has also disappeared elsewhere. Nobody knows where he is. When the next person writes his or her next chapter, please start the story with: ‘A few weeks after Zeran’s disappearance’ Thanks for reading!

Omake Time:
Lavi’s April fool’s Day

On a fine April 1st, Lavi was bored out of his head. “Ah, man… There’s nothing to do at HQ…” He kicked a nearby stone.
“Hey did you know?” a finder was talking to another finder. “Today is April Fool’s Day.”
“What’s that?” his friend asked.
“It’s a day where you pull practical jokes on people,” the finder said. “For example, oh my god there’s an akuma behind you!!!!!!”
“Where???” His friend jumped.
“April fool’s!” his friend laughed. “That’s what you do on April fool’s Day”
“Ah I see,” his friend laughed.
“April fool’s Day, eh?” Lavi snickered to himself. “This ought to be good.”

Lavi quickly gathered his necessary materials and worked constantly on plotting his two most gullible victims. That’s right; it’s Allen and Kanda… Lavi snickered. What an awesome way to spend a day like today! Lavi told a finder to give a box to Allen and give a bowl of Soba to Kanda. He told the finder quietly that he wasn’t allowed to reveal where he got it from, and that it was from a “friend”.
“Do your best Mr. Finder,” Lavi said nonchalantly. Now the fun begins…

“Eh?” Allen looked in surprise. “A present for me?”
The finder nodded. “It’s from a person who wishes to remain anonymous.”
“Oh, I see,” Allen opened the box and his eyes sparkled. “THEY’RE CHOCOLATES!!! I <3 CHOCOLATES!” He quickly popped one in his mouth and spat it out. “
“These are filled with alcohol!!!!!!” he continued spitting and rushed into the nearest bathroom to remove the taste from his mouth.
The finder moved on to Kanda’s room...
“What the hell do you want?” Kanda glared at the finder.
The finder shrunk under Kanda’s merciless gaze. “A friend sends his best wishes with this bowl of deluxe soba.” Kanda quickly took it and closed the door to his room.
The finder sighed and quickly left, glad he was left unscarred.
In his room, Kanda quickly ate his delicious soba, but quickly stopped and spat it out. “What the hell? It’s filled with… moyashi (bean sprouts also what Kanda calls Allen)??? I HATE MOYASHI!”
“WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON???” Allen and Kanda shouted in unison.

Allen and Kanda stormed into Komui’s office. “KOMUI WHY DID YOU DO THAT?” they shouted in unison.
“Eh? Do what?” Komui blinked innocently.
“You put moyashi in my soba!” Kanda growled.
“You gave me alcohol induced chocolates!” Allen shouted.
“I did no such thing!” Komui protested.
“Oh really?” Allen pulled out his Crown Clown and Kanda drew his Mugen. “Do you think we can persuade you to tell you the truth with these?” they said in unison.
“Eh?” Komui whimpered.

Several beatings later, Komui cried. “I didn’t do it! I swear on the heart of the innocence I didn’t do it!” he pleaded.
Allen and Kanda took one last look at him and then walked out.
“I don’t even get a sorry????” Komui cried.
“Shut up scum,” Kanda growled. “You’re lucky I let you live.”
“Komui-san, I’m going to find out who did this and make him pay severely. You’d better hope you had nothing to do with it.” Allen threatened.

“Who would do something like this to us?” Allen thought carefully.
“It has to be someone with a grudge against us,” Kanda pondered.
“It has to be someone who knows what we hate,” Allen said.
“It has to be…” Kanda and Allen thought for a few moments. “YOU!”
“So moyashi, you hated me enough to put moyashi in my soba eh?” Kanda growled.
“I could say the same thing Kanda-san,” Allen stuck his left hand out. “How dare you give me alcohol-induced chocolates!”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about. Don’t try to hide your guilt by saying I did something I didn’t,” Kanda drew his Mugen.
“I didn’t put moyashi in your soba!” Allen defended himself. “But if you insist on lying, then I’ll have no choice but to force you to tell me by force…”
“Want to take this outside?” Kanda grinned evilly.
“Gladly,” Allen grinned back.

Once outside, the two began to clash.
“NIGENTOU!” Kanda unleashed his Mugen’s second ability, twin energy blades.
Allen prepared his left arm for action. “Crown Clown…”
Kanda jumped and tried to slice Allen. Allen dodged out of the way and tried slicing downwards. Kanda blocked it with his 2nd blade and jumped back.
“Che, not bad,” Kanda commented.
“You too,” Allen grinned. Allen jumped and shouted, “CROSS GRAVE!”
Kanda jumped back and barely avoided a huge impact. “HAKKA TOUROU!” he shouted and unleashed an energy wave. Allen jumped and avoided it, but Kanda was expecting it and cut upwards. Allen swung his head back in time to avoid a near lethal blow. The fight continued until…

The two were panting from exhaustion. “Let’s settle this with one last move, moyashi,” Kanda suggested.
“Here I come!” Allen jumped and launched himself towards Kanda. “CROWN BELT!”
“MUGEN!” Kanda charged towards Allen as well, when suddenly… a clipboard smacked Kanda upside the head and he fell to the ground. Allen tripped over Kanda’s body and crashed into a tree.
“Geez what are you two doing at this time?” Rinali sighed. “You’re disturbing the peace. What’s going on?”
“I don’t think either of you would do that,” Rinali sighed. “When you think carefully it doesn’t make sense.”
“She’s… right,” Allen said.
“Then who did it?” Kanda growled. “I’ll slice them apart.”
“I DID IT!” Rinali yelled. “What are you going to do about it?”
“That’s what I thought now come on!” Rinali grabbed Allen and Kanda and pulled them towards the infirmary. “You’re all beaten up.”
“Forget it,” Kanda pulled his hand away. “I’ll be fine by myself.”
“Suit yourself,” Rinali shrugged. “Let’s go Allen-kun.”
“Eh? Yea…” Allen stuttered.

As the two walked to the infirmary, Allen said quietly, “Rinali you didn’t give me the alcohol induced chocolates did you?”
Rinali sighed, “Of course not, but how else could I get you two blockheads to stop fighting?”
“I’m really sorry for causing you all this trouble.” Allen smiled apologetically.
“It’s fine,” Rinali smiled brightly. “Allen-kun is Allen-kun. That’s the way I like it best.”
“Rinali…” Allen looked at her.
“Ah here we are,” Rinali pointed to the infirmary. “You can walk the rest of the way yourself right?”
“Ah? Yeah…” Allen said.
“Then I’ll be off,” Rinali walked away. “See you later Allen-kun!”
What a mood killer, Allen thought bitterly.

A knock came from the door of Kanda’s room. Kanda opened it and saw Rinali.
“What do you want?” Kanda said tiredly.
“You need medicine,” Rinali sighed. “You don’t have any right?”
“I don’t need medicine,” Kanda said. “It’ll be fine within a day or two.”
“Liar!” Rinali poked Kanda’s ribs and he doubled back in pain. “See, a couple of your ribs are broken, Allen did quite a number on you.”
“Shut up,” Kanda winced.
“At least let me treat a few of your wounds,” Rinali sighed, growing impatient.
“Whatever,” Kanda sat down on his bed.
“What’s that flower?” Rinali asked when she saw a rose in a vase.
“None of your business,” Kanda said seriously.
“Geez, you are so mean,” Rinali pouted.
“You didn’t actually put moyashi in my soba did you?” Kanda said quietly.
“You figured that out as well?” Rinali asked surprised.
“I’m not THAT dumb,” Kanda retorted.
“Well I had to say something; otherwise you’d keep going at it until one of you died. And seeing how you two have really powerful Innocence… It wouldn’t be pretty,” Rinali said.
“Sorry,” Kanda muttered.
“Eh?” Rinali looked surprised.
“Don’t make me say it twice,” Kanda muttered. “Now if you’re done, get out of my room.” Rinali finished up and headed for the door.
“By the way, I have an inkling of who did it,” Rinali said to Kanda. “Grab Allen from the infirmary and head out to the garden.”

“Hey Rinali, why’d you call me out here?” Lavi asked.
“I just wanted to have a small talk,” Rinali smiled brightly. “Did you hear about how Allen and Kanda almost killed each other?”
“Yeah, I know!” Lavi laughed. “It’s so hilarious! I mean they honestly believed they did that sort of stuff to each other? What a bunch of morons!”
“Do you know who did it then?” Rinali asked. “I promise I won’t tell.”
“Ah, I did it,” Lavi grinned. “I hired a finder to deliver that stuff to Kanda and Allen. But don’t tell those two okay? It’s all a part of a holiday called April fool’s day! I really got them good!”
“Oh?” two voices said from behind the tree.
“Eh? Who’s there?” Lavi jumped back in fear.
“Teme (Bastard) so it was you all along,” Kanda growled.
“I should’ve known you would do something like this Lavi,” Allen glared.
“Eh? Rinali? What’s going on?” Lavi looked around trying to find a means of escape.
“I said I wouldn’t tell,” Rinali grinned. “You brought this upon yourself Lavi.”
“Uh…” Lavi looked at Kanda and Allen’s weapons. “April fool’s?”
“Mugen/Crown Clown,” they moved in closer and closer to Lavi.
“Don’t you dare call me that,” Kanda invoked Nigentou
“I’m sorry Lavi, but you know how I feel about alcohol,” Allen cracked his claws.
“CAN’T YOU GUYS TAKE A JOKE?!!!!?!?!?!??!?” Lavi’s voice echoed throughout the entire HQ.


-A few weeks after Zeran?s disappearance-

A young girl named Enpitsu walked down a dusty country road. She wore knee length pink dress and white knee high boots. Her height marked her as young, not even a teenager. Her hair was a light brown, with slightly unusual bangs. A small black cat followed behind her, a huge red ribbon around its neck. A perfectly normal little girl?..

That is, if you ignored the ridiculously large bazooka-like contraption strapped to her back.

Yep. Perfectly normal.

------------------~N. America Black Order HQ~------------------

?OUCH!? Tabby complained loudly. The bandage on her side showed blood leaking through. ?Aw man??..opened it up again? She gingerly poking the bandage and yelped when the pain was greater than expected. Dressed in a loose tank and tight bike shorts, Tabby was, what else, training. She was alone in the training hall now, which was unusual after Zeran?s disappearance. When Stephanie and Tabby had come back with vague reports of the strength of Jacques, many had begun to fit extra training into their schedules. ?It wasn?t like either of us even really saw much of anything anyway,? Tabby silently mused, ?We were both knocked out pretty early in the fight? Tabby herself was making great progress in her training though. ?But I?m still no where near the others!? Tabby thought sourly, kicking imaginary rocks on the floor. ?BUT I?M NOT DONE ?OW!!!!!? Tabby?s outburst sent another wave of pain into her side. ?owowowowOW! ...Better go to the infirmary or something, get this patched up? Tabby mumbled as she staggered off


A few hours and bandages later Tabby was once again in the training hall, much to the protests of the nurses. She was just rewarming up when Rinvak came walking in, an extra sour look on her face. Tabby knew that face well. It was Rinvak?s patented ?I?ve-got-a-mission-and-guess-what?-It?s-with-you? face. Might as well make the best of it.
?Rin-chan~!!!!! What?s the mission?? She said with the biggest smile she could muster. Rinvak glared, sighed, and put her hand on her hip. Score one level on the Rinvak Annoyance Meter!
?How quickly can you be ready?? Ooo?..must be urgent.
?15 minutes??
?Make it 10? Real urgent.


12 minutes and 45 seconds later, Tabby and Rinvak were pelting out the door.

Once they were on the train, they began to look over the mission details. It was more like a hastily scribbled note from Lione, but whatever.
?Reports have just came in that a small swarm of akuma have been spotted a half hour from here. Something is destroying them though, and we suspect it may be a new exorcist. Help and protect her, then bring them back here it that?s the case.?
?Maybe its Zeran-kun!? Tabby said excitedly.
?Maybe???.? Rinvak murmured.


?Wah, so many akuma!? said a sweet little voice.

And then the sweet little voice blew up one of the akuma.


By the time Rinvak and Tabby arrived at the station, the clouds that had been hovering about all day had decided to let go of some rain. By some, I mean full out downpour. Rinvak muttered something under her breath about ?wet wings? but kept moving. There was no doubt where they had to go. On the horizon, they could see numerous bright bursts of light.


?Fermium!? Eny cried, looking around frantically around for her cat. ?She must have fallen off my head!? She said as she glanced around, desperate to find it. Not the smartest thing to do in the battle you know.

?Watch out!? came a voice, ?Behind you!? The little girl spun around in time to see a rather large cannon charged and aimed at her head. It was too close, there?s no she?d be able to dodge.

?North Wind!? called another voice, followed by a huge gust of wind that ripped through the akuma and several of its friends. Two girls dropped in next to her. Exorcists by the look of it. Well, wasn?t it her lucky day.

?I thought that attack did more damage than that!? said the shorter one with a teasing smile. She had this ridiculous looking thing floating around her neck. It was probably some form of Innocence, but Eny thought her bazooka looked much cooler.

?Shut up!? said the taller girl, turning a little red, ?It?s this rain; my wings are soaked!?

?Whatever, this rain suits me just fine!? said the short one.
?Oh really now? Why? Some result of your training?? the taller girl said, cocking her eyebrow.

?How long where they going to stand here and discuss things?? Eny wondered. The akuma weren?t attacking yet, they seemed to be weighing their chances against the 3 opponents. She doubted it would last this long. No matter, if worst came to worst she could just-

?Ya know it!? The small one chirped.

?Now you?ve got me interested. Let?s see what you can do.?

?Innocence, second opening!!!! Goddess Voice!? The ribbon around her neck burst in two. The two pieces snaked down her arms, leaving a series of deep red bands.

?Song of the Waters!? then she began to sing. Eny couldn?t make out what she was saying, but it was captivating. A pure sweet sound, in a language that Eny had never heard. Which was saying something, as she spoke over 20 languages fluently. It seemed to have the opposite effect on the akuma though. Almost instantly, several flung themselves at the trio, as if the song was driving them mad. Eny fired off several shots, but doubted whether she could protect both of them at the same time. She glanced over her shoulder, and from the looks of it, neither could the tall exorcist either. What the heck was the short girl trying to do?


That?s exactly what Rinvak was thinking too. Except, Rinvak?s was more like, ?What the HELL? Is she trying to get us killed?!?!? An akuma fired off a shot that barely missed her shoulder, and Rinvak instantly stopped looking to lodge a few feathers in its brain. When she turned back, she saw that one akuma was making a lunge at Tabby. Rinvak scrambled to make it over in time. With the rain, she couldn?t throw feathers far, so Tabby was screwed if she couldn?t get over there.

The akuma got within five feet and then was violently thrown back. By what though? Then she noticed the rain around Tabby. It was gathering itself into a rather large blob. As the seconds passed, the blob became more and more distinct. It took the shape of a woman, but she had no legs. Instead, the bottom half of her body narrowed out, curling around Tabby protectively as it went. ?What is that?? Rinvak found herself asking. Tabby stopped singing and turned to smile at Rinvak. ?A friend!? she replied. Then turned her attention to the remaining akuma. There were still quite a few. Hadn?t the little twerp in pink taken out any of them? Tabby seemed to notice this too, glancing around with a worried look. Hopefully the whatever it was she summoned new some tricks, because Rinvak doubted she?d be useful for long. Tabby took a deep breath and took a fighting stance. The water being took a similar pose. ?Are those bands guides then?? Rinvak wondered. Tabby took another breath and raised her hands, the being following her every move.

?INNOCENCE RAIN!? Tabby yelled as she thrust her hands forward, and the water bring burst into pieces. Like missiles, the droplets spread out in all directions. The water went through the akuma like bullets and and after, they promptly disintegrated. Within seconds the entire crowd of akuma was gone. Rinvak was shocked. When did she?!?!?! Tabby relaxed, and the bands on her arms unraveled and disappeared, her Innocence returning to its dormant state.

?Innocence. The guardian was infused with Innocence. When you sent parts it through the akuma, you we putting Innocence directly into their systems, am I right?? Asked the little girl, obviously??pissed? Wait, what? Tabby just smiled.

?YOU UPSTAGED ME DARN IT!!!!! AND I WANTED TO DO COOL STUFF TOO!!!!!!!? The small girl whined. Rinvak could feel a headache coming on. Tabby looked bewildered. The girl took the odd contraption she had been using on the akmua and pointed straight at Tabby. ?SO WHATCHA GONNA DO TO FIX THAT?!?!?!? Ack, not good. Rinvak threw herself in between the two.

?Err??who are you anyway?? Rinvak ventured. The small child seemed all too happy to answer this.

?IIIII, am Enpitsu Vachir, child genius. Member of the Black Order aaaaannd the youngest bookman EVAH.? Rinvak was reeeeally starting to dislike her.

?So??your not an exorcist?? Tabby asked.

?Nope!? Eny shot back, glaring at Tabby still. Tabby flinched.

?Then what?s with the bazooka? Isn?t it Innocence?? Rinvak wondered. Eny seemed slightly put off.

?Well, no, but, well, this is my greatest invention. It?s as close to Innocence as you can get without being Innocence. Guaranteed to knock out any akuma for at least a couple hours!? She boasted, with her chest puffed out.

?So it can?t actually defeat them?? Tabby smirked. Didn?t that girl know when to shut her mouth?

?SHUT UP YOU UPSTAGER!? She said, aiming the bazooka at Tabby again.

?Waa?it! Why don?t you come to the Order with us, one battle isn?t worth killing someone over right? There will be others right?? Rinvak said, her patience wearing thin.

?Che. Fine.? Eny said lowering her gun. ?I just need to find my cat, Fermium.?

?Fermium?? The other two asked in unison.

?It?s an element I recently discovered.? Eny said as a black cat emerged from the bushes.

?What, what kind of kid is she?? The two exorcists thought.


About an hour later, the three of them arrived back at the headquarters. Tabby had only managed a couple feet before collapsing, so Rinvak had to carry her the whole way back. As soon as they got off the train, Eny had run off ahead, probably to go meet Lione and complain about his subordinate. Because of Tabby, Rinvak had taken a slower pace. Tabby must have really tired herself out with that attack. But wow, to think the little squirt could have such power. Rinvak smiled at the sleeping form slung piggyback style over her back.

?You really have grown stronger?.?


A drop of sweat rolled down the side of Flames face, He was surrounded by Akuma. Blade and Stephanie stood behind him Stephanie clutched the newfound Innocence in her hand tightly. It was the first time he was put into a situation where he had to use his Innocence. When Ying and Flames had gone on their mission to retrieve Blade they didn't even encounter 1 akuma or Noah. "Paco Taima!" a crash of lightning riped the earth apart.

--------3 days before--------

"It would seem that we have concentrated all of our power on one aspect of our jobs as exorcists." roared Lione as he paced back and forth in front of Flames and Stephanie "Our jobs as exorcists are to save the souls in the akuma, Stop the Earl of Milenium, and" he paused as he emphasized this last word "to find the Heart, Do you two know how many Innocence we have found?" Flames kept his head down and Stephanie shook her head. Lione let out a sigh as he took a marker and scribbled on a piece of paper he held it up to show Stephanie and then Flames, It was a big fat 0.

"No way! don't you have other exorcists who do that sort of thing while we go out and kick Noah ass" Stephanie looked mad "So your telling me that WE" she gestured her hand between Flames and herself "Have to do everything!"

"Lione, whatever you want consider it done" Flames spoke up. He stood up looked at Stephanie "We are exorcists, He is our Leader therefore we do what are leader says"

Stephanie was gaping, she then shook her head ready to stand her ground when Lione spoke up "Flames is right, but I do like your Idea about having seperate teams. One to do Akuma clean-up and another for Innocence procurement. How about you and Flames here take Innocence procurement."

At that moment Blade walked into the room with his Elemental sword at his side. "I heard everything"

"Who are you?" asked Stephanie with a befuddled expression on her face

"I'm sorry I haven't Introduced you yet."Lione walked over to Blade and said "This is Blade he's the bookman Ying and Flames here brought back from the 'Save the Bookman' mission"

Stephanie held out her hand to shake hands with Blade but instead of shaking it he kneeled and brushed his lips against the back of her hand. Stephanie turned red and then slapped him. "Don't you ever do that again you perv!"

Blade merely rubbed the spot where she slapped him "You are the most beautiful exorcist I have ever seen." he turned to Lione who was awestruck and said "I would like to go on the mission with these 2, I have been stuffed up in this mansion for far too long" he then turned back to Stephanie who was blushing a little "I look forward to working with you"

Lione still stupefied came back to his senses when Flames asked him about the mission. "The mission is to procure a Innocence located approximately 3000 miled west of here there is a train that will take you about 2500 of the miles to a city called New Grove East and from there you can rent horses and then proceed the rest of the way to a little town called Kelfun. There you will meet a Geraldine Harris who will take you to an excavation site where you will take the Innocence and bring it back here where we have a team to send it back to HQ in Europe. You must protect the Innocence or else I'll kill you all personally." Lione handed a folder with the rest of the information to Stephanie. He went into a a drawer in his desk and pulled out 3 tickets "Here take these, I have blank tickets to anywhere I want just hand them to the ticketmaster show them the cross and then tell them the destination and that should be it. Any Questions?"

Stephanie stood up "You can get us free tickets! I bought my own ticket to Opalo and everywhere else" She sank into a chair in front of Liones desk.

"You'll be reimbursed at a later date" Lione looked a little depressed as he thought that he'd have to pay her back with his own money


The train cart was empty except for a couple seated near the front. Stephanie plopped into a seat and threw a bag next to her as to avoid Blade. Blade then came into the cart lifted her bag into a compartment and sat next to her.

"I thought I saw you head into here" Blade was staring at the back of the seat in front of him "I was wondering whether.." at that moment Flames walked into the compartment his spear was on his back, which was only inches from the roof of the carraige.

"The trip is going to be long Stephanie, I reccomend resting up and then going over a plan of action." Flames looked into the seat and found Blade sitting next to Stephanie. " Blade I didn't see you there...you should get some rest too.

Stephanie began shaking her head "No , absolutely not!" Stephanie hit the wall and a compartment opened up and some pillows fell on her and Blades head "Twice I have fallen asleep and I have had to walk very long distances to catch up with the group, who by the way didn't even wait for me!" She pouted and squeezed the pillow that fell on her head

"Blade spoke up "It would seem that you are forgetting the fact that we are neither irresponsible nor a 14 year old girl" Steph couldn't help but grin at this. Blade took a pillow and put it behind her head and then he took one and put it behind his own head. "Do you care for some 'pillow talk'?" Stephanie grinned again at this but smacked him regardless "I can learn to love this you know?"

Flames stood there and then moved toward the couple in the front of the train, the couple scared of him moved into the next cart. He sat next to the window his thoughts moving through his head as fast as the moving scenery.



The city of New Grove East was huge, Stephanie who had been worrying she would get left on the train had not slept a wink for 24 hours worth of train ride and was paying the price now, her hair was unkempt and she had bags under her eyes. Both Flames and Blade were well rested and went off to find a place where they would be able to rent some horses, leaving Stephanie at the train station to relax.

"So where would we find this place that rents horses?" Blade asked Flames while he surveyed his surroundings

"You should go back and get Stephanie, The horse rentals should be at the edge of town." Flames told Blade, who gave him a incredulous look, he then shrugged his shoulders and left.

Flames continued down the road and found a place called-

Nortons Quick Carraiges

We Get You From Here to There Without a Care

Flames looked up at the sign and went in. It was clean and and everthing had a polished finish. At the desk was a ginger-haired woman , he went in and rented a carraige with a driver then he waited at the edge of town.

"He-he-hello s-sir my name is Da-daniel Fawkes, whats y-yours?" The driver was a relatively young he looked about 15 he had hazel eyes set on freckled skin and his hair was ginger like the lady at the desk. He looked rather nervous staring at the tall figure that belonged to Flames.

"I am called Flames"
Flames turned to look down the road trying to catch a glimpse of his companions

"S-sir, why are we w-waitin here?"
Flames turned his head and looked upon the boy

"We are waiting for my friends who will be joining me very soon."
The boy stood quiet for about a moment

"So where are you g-goin sir?"
This time Flames a little annoyed turned around completely

"We are going to Kelfun about 500 miles west of here, we are going there for business, and Including me the passengers will be 3. "

"Flames! Flames can you come over here for a moment, Stephanie fell asleep in the station and I had to carry her all the way over here."
Flames turned around to find Blade a little tired holding Stephanie. Flames walked towards Blade and lifter her with ease from his arms and placed her in the back of the carraige.

Blade went around the front and introduced himself to the driver as Flames hoped into the carraige from the back. Flames was holding his spear and remembering that time when he spoke with the ancients.

"Flames remember that the wolf spirit inside of you needs to be tamed, but so far you have been unsuccessful so we must now tame it for you."

"To be sure we have not left you helpless, know that.."

Blade walked into the carraige and sat beside Flames as he gazed upon Stephanie

"Beautiful even when she sleeps." he said as he brushed some hair from her face with his hand.

"Okay sirs you better brace yourselves, our horses move pretty fast the run at about 50 mph easy so the ride might be a little uncomfortable, but its like our saying 'We Get You From Here to There Without a Care' but thats cause we move so fast there is hardly ever time for comfort" he turned and saw Stephanie lying down "oh well you might wanna hold on to that little lady cause if she keeps layin down she won't be for long" he turned around again "You ready?"

Flames was a little startled to see the stuttering young man, so energetic and courageous it was almost as if it was a different person sitting up there. Blade placed a grip on Stephanie and Flames gave a nod to Daniel as his eager face lit-up.

"Alright then, Giddyup"

With a startle the horses reared and then shot forward with a speed that rattled the carriage as it struggled to keep up with it. Stephanie despite Blades best efforts to hold her still, fell with a crash and woke up immediately with a bump on her head.

"Sorry guys but I told you to hold on tight!"

"What the...? How did I get here ? Where am I?" muttered Stepanie as she got to her feet shakily before crashing down again. After Blade helped her to her feet and into the seat beside him. She rubbed her head and shot questioning looks at both Blade and Flames.

"We are on our way to Kelfun, and It would seem that we have got our hands on a Speed Demon for a carriage driver." Blade began rubbed her head as he continued "You fell asleep at the trainstation, when I got there some kids thought you were dead and were poking you with sticks but I carried you all the way back. I hope you got enough beauty sleep but I don't see how you could get anymore gorgeous." She blushed as he said this and then made a sound as though she was infuriated by what he said and looked away.

The ride was quiet, the time drifted along fast as they all sat in solace deep within their own thoughts. Flames mind drifted on Poloma and how sometimes Blade and Stephanies interaction reminded himself of how he and Poloma used to act towards one another. In all of his years he had thought of no other woman other than Poloma who had promised her life to him, It was hard to think about her she was one of the best things he had in his life. Before he met her her father, the chief, made it seem as if he would only be useful for war and bloodshed, but when she said she believed he was more than a weapon, that he was someone who could exist for someone else, and who could forge bonds stronger than steel with love he was immediately drawn to her. They would meet everyday at a small lake where a giant tree stood in the midde. The tree was legend among his people, The Lifa Tree, where only the most ancient of creatures could go. At the tree Poloma would teach Flames many things other than warfare, she taught him songs, poetry, and laughter. He was happy as he let a smile cross his countenance.

The carriage came to a halt and Daniel Called out to them "Sorry, guys The horses need some water its a pretty hot day." The exorcists stepped out of the carriage to stretch their legs as Daniel went to give the horses water. It was indeed a very hot day the sun was blazing high in the sky as it must be 3 p.m already. Blade went over to help Daniel give the horses water which left him and Stephanie alone.

"Oh wow it's really hot here! I'll kill that Lione for making me come to a place where there was no trian....Soooo Flames we don't really talk much do we? I guess it's probably because your the quiet sort of guy, you know introspective and wise (lol snoog you remember that?)."

Flames was staring at her and she looked a little nervous and began to talk a little more, but it wasn't her that had his attention in the distance he could see something moving at a fast speed. From the looks of it it was coming from the direction of Kelfun, running away maybe "...so yea I usually go on missions with the usual people..." As the thing approached Flames couldn't make out the shape it looked as if it could be an..


"What?!" she said with an alarmed expression on her face, her eyes darting around feverishly.

He barely did it in time he grabbed Stephanie, and jumped away from the carriage as a towering figure emerged from the sand destroying the carriage in its jaws. "It looks like a giant shark!" said Stephanie as she jumped to her feet, meanwhile Flames eyes darted around looking for Blade and the carriage driver. Luckily it seemed that Blade protected Daniel.

The shark akuma had already retreated once more into the Earth as the 3 exorcists joined together. They all looked nervously in wait for the Akuma "Invocate Innocence!" blared out Blade ready for combat.

Then Flames spotted a rippling in the earth "Blade 5 O' Clock"

Blade turned with lightning quick reflexes and his blade turned to Ice, he then leapt and slashed at the akuma effectively slicing it in half. He landed behind it ready for more but it seemed that the the Akuma was down.

Daniel stood at the wreckage of the cart, after seeing that there was nothing to be salvaged he turned to the exorcists "What are you people? and What was THAT!"

Blade decided to speak first " We are exorcists, and that was an Akuma."

Daniel nodded as if satified and then "WHAT THE HELL ARE AKUMA!" his voice was shrill, this time Stephnie answered

"They are souls who have been enslaved by the Millenium Earl with the help of a person who loved the trapped soul" and before Daniel can scream again he quickly added "The Millenium Earl is a bad guy who wants to put an end to mankind and we exorcists are here to stop that!"

Daniel looked a little broken as he gazed upon the broken carriages then he saw his 2 horses dead. "Oh man.....These two were my fathers favorite Greased Lightning and Wildfire...." Stephanie went to comfort him and Blade walked over to Flames

"Thanks It was probably gonna eat me next good thing you spotted it!" Blade patted Flames on the shoulder "So what do we do now?!"

"The only thing we can do, continue the mission." Stephanie said as she walked over to the 2 with Daniel.

"I agree, the only thing to do is walk so lets get moving we might have about 50 miles left but we should probably stop at dusk and rest." Flames said with authority. The others nodded and they started walking.

The walk was long and they got thirsty cause of the beating of the sun. They had some rations with them in their bags but everything was gone with the carriage. Blade turned his blade into water and let them drink from it and also he started the fire with his sword that they were all now huddling around. The desert became unreasonably cold during the night. The 3 exorcists took 3 hour shifts during the night of watching over everyone first it was Flames then Stephanie and lastly Blade.

As Flames stood watch he found himself thinking again how close he was to being discovered. His secret was almost out of the bag and what an embarassing secret it was. Even as he stood watch he was nervous the idea of battle made him nervous. Before he knew it though Stephanie was tapping at his shoulder.

"Is it time already?"

"Just about, I really couldn't sleep that well just between you and me I prefer a soft pillow instead of a mound of sand"

Flames looked at her and then let out a bellowing laugh, he smiled at her "Well I suppose a pillow would be preferable." He stood up and said goodnight and as soon as his head hit the mound of sand he smiled and fell asleep.


The morning was just as hot as the preceding afternoon, Flames woke up when Daniel in his sleep made a jerking motion with his leg and kicked him in the face. He stood up and rubbed the left side of his face, It wasn't anything serious. He stood up and saw Blade fast asleep with is sword unsheathed at his side. At first he was alarmed he thought he might have been knocked out but when he spotted drool he eased down a little but knew he was going to have to talk to him about sleeping on the job.

He woke up everyone, and then he said that they'd freshen up when they get to the village.

They arrived in town less than an hour later, but they found the whole place in a state, blood stained the walls of the buildings, all of it dried now and the place reeked of baked corpse. Not a single soul was here they walked into a bar and found the people in there massacred. It looked as though every living thing in the whole places lives were snuffed out. They couldn't find a single living soul not even this 'Geraldine Harris' They moved toward the other end of town and all they found was more bodies. They eventually found a place that was completely deserted and used it to freshen up. Daniel who never saw anything like this in his life was shaking almost violently as Stephanie put him to sit in a chair

"Oh my god! Whats happened to this place!? is it the Akuma!?" Stephanie just nodded as Blade went to change places with her in consoling Daniel.

Flames found this deeply unsettling, that boy had been happy 24 hours ago and now he has seen things he will never forget in all of the rest of his years. Even though they came here to procure this new Innocence the loss of this boys own Innocence was, in Flames opinion, more detrimental than the idea of losing the Innocence they came here for.

After everyone was done they left the village in hopes of discovering the 'excavation site' as Lione had called it They walked past a a hill with a tree at the very top which reminded Flames of the Lifa Tree. After inspecting the perimeter of the town they looked a bit disheartened.

"I can't believe not one of the finders is around, they must have all been killed, how are we supposed to find the Innocence without them?!" Stephanie was pacing at the entrance of the town Flames kept a steady eye out for trouble and listened for Blade who was still gone.

"Guys! Guys! I think I found a clue!" Blade came running out and he had a piece of paper in his hand. "I was Inspecting the tavern where everyone was massacred and I found this map on a wall in a secret room in the back of the tavern!" He unfolded it and pointed to a spot on the map "I think that might be it and from the look of it its about 2 miles north of here" He slid his finger in between the 2 points.

"I've heard of that place its called Dovers Grotto" Daniel stood up still loking quite stricken "Rumors say that place is the place where Sound does not exist"

Flames looked at him for a moment deciding on whether on not he was going to make the journey then said "Well thats where we're going"

The trip was pretty quick Stephanies eyes were the first to clap upon the grotto. "How are we supposed to get dow-...." She just realized why it was called the place where sound does not exist. She moved her lips but no sound came out. Everyone tried to speak, but to no avail. Daniel even picked up a large rock and dropped it on the ground but it didn't make a sound and you couldn't even feel of its vibration on the ground.

The exorcists looked at each other, it would seem that this retrievel of the Innocence was going to be harder than expected. All of them raised their guards and Stephanie and Blade even activated their Innocence, Flames brandished his spear ready for a fight, and at the center was Daniel who looked as frightened as ever.

Flames spotted an area that had a couple of horses at the front of it, in front of the grotto had upturned earth and the rocks seemed to part very unnaturally. He gestured towards the others and they followed him. It was very narrow and Flames gestured for Stephanie to go first then Blade then Daniel. Flames began to head through it as well. The narrow space eventually became wider and it opened into absolute darkness.

Blade turned his sword into fire to provide light. The group headed further into the cave the darkness feeling as though it would devour them. They kept walking at Stephanie was the first to stop, about 20 feet away a there was a soft glow. They ran towards it and stopped in front of it. Flames who was the closest looked at both Blade and Stephanie both of their faces reflecting the light of the fire. They both nodded their head giving Flames the permission to pick up the Innocence.

Flames was getting nervous as hand neared the the glow. He moved his hand steadily and then Daniel tripped over something and bumped into his hand causing it to thrust into the light.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA" Screamed Flames clearly audible now, it would seem that all of the sound that this Innocence has held was coming at him all at once. He dropped the Innocence stopping the sound. Stephanie ran to Flames side and helped him up. Blade tapped Flames on the shoulder and pointed to the floor Flames couldn't see anything but then Blade waved his sword at the floor and a figure appeared. It was female and she looked like she was in the order. It could have been Geraldine Harris, but whoever she was, she was now dead. Daniel was cowering on the floor as he stared at the body.

Flames turned around as Stephanie lifted the Innocence with her hand for some reason it wasn't bothering her. Flames was unsure how this was possible but gestured so they could leave the cave.

When they finally saw the light they heard a bird soaring in the sky breaking the spell of silence. Stephanie was staring at Flames a little scared. "You have blood all over you!"

Flames felt his face but there was no wet blood anywhere. Blade walked over to him and turned his blade to water and Flames stared at his reflection in the water. The blood marks he had made when he entered The Burial Ground of The Ancients reappeared which meant only one thing.

"Lo-lo-look!" said Daniel pointing with a shaky finger.

Flames followed his finger and saw a lot of akuma. There was probably 25 . Flames brandished his Spear holding it high and ready to attack.

A drop of sweat rolled down the side of Flames face, He was surrounded by Akuma. Blade and Stephanie stood behind him Stephanie clutched the newfound Innocence in her hand tightly. It was the first time he was put into a situation where he had to use his Innocence. When Ying and Flames had gone on their mission to retrieve Blade they didn't even encounter 1 akuma or Noah. "Paco Taima!" a crash of lightning riped the earth apart. As it split a screech came from the bolt of lightning, it was the sound of a bird.

Stephanie and Blade looked at each other each with their mouths agape, but before they could say, ask, do anything, The group of Akuma came rushing in towards the small group. Blades sword turned to Ice as it cleaved two akuma in half. Stephanie who was protecting Daniel and The Innocence formed a tight coil and then it sprung forward successfully Impaling an Akuma. Flames Lightning bird was still active as he aimed it towards 3 akuma who were near. The lightning bird screeched as it flew, the ground splitting in its wake. One of the akuma leapt out of the way but the other to disintegrated when the Lightning bird hit them.

The 3 exorcists were fighting fiercely protecting the Innocence and Daniel. Stephanie was knocked against the wall by an akuma that looked like it was tangled up within thousands of vines. It Blade had just turned 3 akuma who were trying to kill him, into charcoal with a flourish of his sword. "Stephanie watch out!" Blade screamed as he rushed to help her. Flames heard Blades screaming was also runnign to help her. The akuma that looked like it was tangled in vines was a level 2 and it looked like it was going for a kill. Time seemed to tick by sluggishly as both Blade and Flames rushed to her aid. Both were close yet so far as the akumas whip like tentacle sed past as it tried to impale Stephanie. She was slowly regaining conciousness when a scream and blood splashed across her face and the rock behind her. In front of her stood Blade who turned his blade into lightning that surged through the vine and killed it. He fell to his knees but still held his sword high ready for a fight.

For Flames time stood still, he looked upon Blade who was lucky, The akuma didn't hit any vitals and Stephanie was safe. Time went back to normal as Flames looked around and there was at least 15 more akuma left. He ran towards them spinnng his lance and then screamed "Taima!" as he stuck the head of the lance into the ground. The lightning seemed to go towards the akuma and explode underneath them. When Flames made sure that all the akuma were dead he found Daniel cowering in the crevice that they had just come out of. He then headed over to Stephanie who wore a fearful expression.

Alot of blood was seeping out of his wound. Stephanie looked up at Flames "The vine must have had an anti-clotting agent on it!"

Blade looked up and them "Caut-cauteriz- it.

Stephanie looked surprised "You want me to do that!"

Blade nodded his head and turned his blade to fire and Flames took a stick on the ground and took some of it before it went out.

"Do you want me to do it?!" Flames asked as he looked into her very frightened face, Then she looked like she gained some strength

"No I'll do it!" She took the stick and closed Blades wounds with the fire. Blades screaming must have been heard for miles and when it was over he passed out.

The started a fire using the same flame that just burned Blades wounds closed. Stephanie said she'd take first watch cause she couldn't really sleep. She put the Innocence in a pouch, and told everyone to go to sleep.

]"To be sure we have not left you helpless, know that the Cheveyo Lansa was a gift from long ago to our tribe. It was created by a master and said that he had embedded within it the power to destroy demons"

"We think this is what you call Innocence, so we haven't sealed away your Wolf Spirit we have given you another weapon to fight!"

Flames opened up his eyes and across from him was Stephanie, he heard audible sobs coming from her direction. She then whispered something in Blades ear and gave him a kiss on the lips that was blocked by the dancing flames. Flames turned around to face the other direction and closed his eyes once more. Stephanie never woke him up again for his watch.

When Flames woke up the sun was high in the sky, He stood up and saw Daniel keeping watch "Good Morning Flames, see I'm not completely useless!" Daniel stood up and helped Flames ready the horses

"We're gonna have to take these horses all the way back to New Grove East" said Flames as he was fastening the saddle

"I know, these past 2 days have been scary, I've seen things in this world that I'll never forget" Daniel jumped up on the horse he was saddling "Thats why I want to join you!"

Flames looked at him and then shook his head implying 'If you want to'

They woke up Stephanie and she rode behind Daniel and Flames carried Blade who was still passed out on his horse.


When they finally arrived at the order the exorcists were extremely exhausted. Half-way to New Grove Easy Blade gained conciousness. When they arrived at New Grove, Daniel quit his job at Nortons, but made the Flames pay the owner for the horses and carriage which Flames found to be more irksome. Flames also paid for Daniels Ticket to the Order. They all slept in the train, but for some reason they still felt exhausted so when Lione approached them to ask about the journey, They all walked past him except for Flames. As Flames sat in Liones Office he explained everything to Lione, including his new Innocence.

"So who is this 'master' that created your weapon?"

"That same master created my weapon as well." Blade stepped into the light and so did Legno and little girl whom Flames didn't recognize

"We have been exchanging Information and we may know who this 'master' is"

Part 1:

"You like him?"
"N-no, I don't."
"Your face tells the truth. You ARE in love with him."
"...Okay, I AM in love with the doctor."
"I knew it. You're so sweet when you try to hide your true feelings."

The girl pushed Magier forward to the door and wheedled her to ring the bell to the doctor's office. Magier stood in front of the door, kinda nervous and insisted that he would not be there anyway. Unfortunately, or was it luck though, the door opened and a man, aged in middle twenties, stood in front of a slightly shaking Magier who tried to hide her nervousness behind black hair and black eye-make-up. She cramped her hands with the black fingernails into the white cloth of her flounced dress. Magier felt like the breath had been pressed out of her lungs and no normal sentence would come over her lips.

"Ah, the girl from the neighbour district, near the ocean. Ehm, Miss McDeran, right?", the man asked friendly.
Magier tried to look at him but it didn't succeed properly. She could just see his white coat blowing in the wind and his hands akimbo.
"Iwantedtoaskifyoucouldgooutonadatewithme", Magier stammered, quitting the try to look in his beautiful deep blue eyes where you could get lost and continued staring at the ground of the little stair with the thin black balustrade she was standing on. Her friend already had disappeared, at the first sign of the door opening. Such a coward, leaving her alone when she was so nervous. She had known it to a hair's breadth yet she just left.

"What did you say", the doctor asked cause he was unable to understand the girl's interwoven gibberish. "I'm sorry. Can you repeat it?"
"No", Magier answered tersely and ran away. So many times she already had watched him from far away, hidden behind a tree or a banch, so many times visiting his doctor's office because she purposely had blessed herself just to be able to see him and now no normal, understandable sentence went over her lips and she just ran away like a little child that was scared of something unknown. She was such a coward.

"The cogs wouldn't continue to spin if she kept behaving like this, in this childish manner."

Part 2:
The summer was followed by the autumn and the trees began to lost all their leaves. The countryside was coined by an ocean of red, brown and yellow colours. The sidewalk Magier always walked on was covered with chestnut's leaves and her black, knee-high boots with the chequered bootlaces had to clear the way through the ocean of leaves and chestnuts. After the shameful event at the doctor's door at midsummer, Magier was unable to pay the doctor a visit. It got colder the past days and Magier never went out without her long black cardie that reached up to the hollow of her knees and almost merged together with her boots.
"I guess I should search for an occupation and quit thinking about the doctor", Magier thought but at that very moment, a black cylinder landed in front of her feet, carried by the wind. She bent down to lift and save it from the swallowing waves of red toned leaves when she noticed a pair of bright black shoes in her field of view when she reached out for the hat.
"Thanks for stopping my hat of disappearing in the inifinite amount of colourful leaves of this wonderful season", a voice thanked.
"No problem", Magier responded and unbended, dusting the hat down but when she recognized who was standing on front of her and smiling, she dropped the hat immediately.
"You", Magier pointed at the doctor.
"Yeah, it's me", the doctor laughed.
"Ah, I am sorry, the hat...", Magier stammered again and her face turned red.
"No problem", the doctor said, bent down and lifted the cylinder as Magier had done it a few seconds before. "Long time no see."
"E-eh, yeah...."
"No injuries lately? No pitched knee or a sprained wrist?", the man asked laughing and was now walking next to Magier along the sidewalk.
"N-no", Magier answered ashamed. This reminded her of all her hopeful tries to go to the doctor's office. Letting herself fall from the branch of a tree and hit the knee or sprain a wrist, maybe even try to hurt oneself more seriously to be able to stay at the office for a night or two.
"I can clearly remember all the times when you came to my office every week. I was astonished at the beginning but after a while, it was normal to see you at least once in a week. I almost thought it was your aim but who should hurt itself just for the purpose to go to my doctor's office."
"Hehe, yeah. What a crazy idea.", Magier agreed. "Oh my god, I am such a fool", she thought immediately.
"But I was really surprised seeing you here."
"I just saw you in my office but never somewhere outside. I know that you live in another district but..."
"Your family name is McDeran, right?"
"Yeah, why?"
"I just wondered, it's no German name."
"Yeah, it...it's the family name of my father who's an Englishman. My mother is German. But both died of Hodgkin's disease a year ago", Magier said sadly and her head eased off and she kept staring at the different coloured leaves under her feet. Like the tears that never came into being, the time stopped in this manner when the doctor gently caress the cheerless girl.

"He was like a caregiver for Magier."

But this caregiver should turn into her misery.

---flashback end---

Part 3:
Magier stared into the sky. It was night, to be accurate: midnight. The small camp the Noah and, in her opinion, shitty little kids stayed in was too far away to hear any chime. Moreover it was impossible to hear a chime anyway cause the closest town where a campanile could have been stand, had been destroyed...by her hands. In her then endless fury she wouldn't have noticed any tower thereabout anyway. If there had been, it would have been burst to dust within seconds.
Magier stretched herself. It had been an exhausting day. Amaterasu had tried to persuade the children to play a trick on Magier but unfortunately the only way to annoy a person they knew was to tickle this person to death. And after the harsh insults of Magier some days ago, the children were scared of her. So it was no wonder that Jaque's try to bring them closer to the girl had dwindled into nothingness, also because Magier had refused to even be in one room with those vermins. When she said "vermins" she had not just won an angry look of Jaques but also a slap. Magier touched the spot where the slap hit her left cheek. She had been shocked back that time but then, after she had rally herself, immediately left the room without deign to look at the priest. Afterwards she really regretted her ignorance cause later the evening Jaques had been missing for a short period of time. Magier had begun to worry about him, even Amaterasu had done so cause it wasn't normal for a Noah of his character to leave without saying a word, especially not when it took so long. Magier had wandered around in front of the bathroom after she had taken all her courage and just entered it, not hearing of what Amaterasu complained about "destroying men's honour and disturbing their privacy". She had come out shaking her head. He had been gone. And so, the time of waiting had broached.
It was a suffer Magier hadn't known about and this shocked and confussed her the same time.
At midnight, Magier and Amaterasu had heard a rumpling and rushed to the bathroom, Magier at the front. When they shut open the door, the sight that had trended in front of them had been horrible. Blood had stuck on the white wall and even had continued to splash around. The origin from where the blood had drawn had been lying on the floor cowered. It was Jaques. His injuries seemed to be deadly, luckily they weren't. Magier had screamed as if she had never seen so many blood before and this point was which Amaterasu had wondered about and still wondered.
In the moment, Jaques was on the way to regain himself but up to now, he wasn't poised to tell them what had happened back that time.
Magier was kind of irritated by his silent manner so she didn't talk to him nor try to come in contact with him. But she wouldn't be able to bear it any longer. The distance between them. She threw a stone in to the lake she was sitting on thinking about past things. Her mirror image on the surface blurred.
"So you still can't look into the others' eyes properly, girl?", Magier whispered to herself, leaning back. "What a Noah I am please?"

Magier bent forward to take a handful of fresh water in order to clean her face and her mind. Shortly before the fingertips of her right hand were touching the water surface where stars and the bright shining moon reflected themselves, she took a look at her miserable face. It looked exactly the same as the time the doctor had caressed her. So cheerless and monochrome of missing feelings. No tear, no smile, nothing.
It was like staring into a puppet's face. But sometimes her true feelings just bubbled up. Everyone had feelings, no matter how hard they tried to hide them like Magier did it. And then, when a climax of complete excesses was reached, the feelings couldn't be hold back. Thus, for Magier, a point of climax was...
"When I encounter things I wish to forget, or...", Magier said. "...when I am fighting?"
Magier leaned back anew, steadying herself with the arms and slightly laughed. "When I am fighting. So this is what makes me feel content? I have really something in common with Tyki. I should tell him the next time we meet."


"What's with this girl?"
"I don't know. She just keeps staring at us. But with what look. Creepy."
"I'm shivering."
"Hurry and let's leave otherwise we will certainly get cursed."
"Haha, yeah. Let's leave."

"Why you are sitting here all alone?"
"I've been waiting for you", Magier replied.
"All alone?"
"The others are scared of me. That's why. They don't wanna be close to me nor talk or play with me. But I don't care."
"What about your friend who always accompanied you?"
"She's no longer here", the girl said in a monotone way as if she didn't care about this fact and the truth that lay behind it.
"And the other one? You had two best friends, right?"
"Both left me."
"Are you content with this way of life?"
"Yes, I am. As long as you are with me", Magier said and watched into the doctor's eyes.

Brown, red and yellow coloured leaves kept blowing in the wind, passing the two person by. One was sitting one a bench, wearing a black, flounced dress, the other one was standing close to the girl. A man by all appearance. He wore a black suit and was holding a cylinder in his left hand. It was like a timelss river the girl waded through. The summer was followed by the autumn, the autumn by the winter, spring, summer and finally autumn again. The only person who could save her from this swallowing infinity was the person with the black suit, the cylinder and the warm smile. The only person who concerned himself with her, who came close to her. But also the only person who was able to back her up into the timelss river.

"Deceit is a sin."

---flashback end---

Part 4:
Magier watched a shooting star passing by on the dark blue night sky and traced the line it had gone with her finger.
"Regret? Did I ever regret the life I've chosen as Noah?", Magier said as if she would talk with a person in front of her. "The answer is: No!
Did I ever regret how I had lived back that time? The answer is: No! Did I ever regret with whom I had shared my feelings? The answer is: Yes! So why do I regret sharing my feelings? The answer is: Deceit! Share your feelings and you will be disappointed. Except of feelings that redound to your advantage. Humans are ecoistic. So why shouldn't your feelings be of egoistic nature too? The answer: There's no answer. It's a common phenomenon, that's all. So, having feelings when doing something that satisfied you like fighting, is okay. But what exactly are those regrettable feelings that shouldn't be? Feelings you have because of satisfaction are egoistic. Feelings you share are regrettable but unavoidable. So there are two different meanings in the word "feeling". You should devide it into controlable and unavoidable feelings. Humans can't draw a distinction between those two constituents, that's why I hate humans. But how to wash away "unavoidable feelings"? The answer is..."

"You don't know it"

Magier startled up, then turned around and faced Jaques. She didn't expect him to be already fully regained. Moreover she didn't expect him to pop up behind her in the middle of the night. The female Noah wasn't able to hold the look she threw to Jaques, so she stared at the ground and it looked like she was searching a certain point on it.
"You're also human, you know", Jaques said. "Can you really cause such feelings to vanish? I doubt it. You can hide them but even a timeless river joins the ocean."

"You are definitely human. After all, you weren't able to beat a certain bastard, am I right?", Magier threw back in sarcasm.
"He used strength that wasn't given to him by God, so it was imbalanced", Jaques answered, still in his calm yet serious voice that slightly scared Magier. "But what about the Innocence? I heard something about an Innocence close to us."
"The exorcists have it."
"What are you telling?"
"I said the exorcists got it", Magier almost shouted. This topic was definitely not in her will and Jaques noticed it but he didn't care about the uncomfortableness the girl might felt for the conversation.
"Why haven't you got it first? Why did we search for it for so long, killing countless bookmen for the purpose to find this damned Innocence?", Jaque's voice slighty got a harsher sound.
"It wasn't the heart anyway. Furthermore..."

Magier's fist cramped into the grass under her hand and she felt like squeezing every little drop of vitality out of these culms. If she just had the ability of Amaterasu to reverts the animated to their origin and burst it to dust. Finally she looked up or at least tried it but it miscarried her.
Magier felt similar to the time when she had been standing in front of the doctor's door, totally unprepared when he had opened the door.
"Furthermore I was worried about your state", Magier replied but immediately added that she couldn't think properly that time, so she hadn't known what to do next.

"You're also human, you know. Can you really cause such feelings to vanish?"

"Then, I guess we have to wait for new orders from the Earl's side. I think he's already informed about the loss of another Innocence", Jaques said coldly. Magier nodded slowly.
"Amaterasu informed him."
"At least one guy who does his job properly", Jaques complained and turned his back to Magier who still stared at the ground with a miserable occuring feeling. "When we haven't received any new orders till the morning, we will continue haunting bookmen and information about the Heart, the Earl got his eyes on. It can't be that just one Innocence is hidden in this country."

And so he left, leaving a desperate Magier behind.
"I...am...human too", Magier whistled, grasping her head with both hands. "I...hate myself."

Hodgkin's lymphoma, also known as Hodgkin's disease, is a type of lymphoma first described by Thomas Hodgkin in 1832. Hodgkin's lymphoma is characterized clinically by the orderly spread of disease from one lymph node group to another and by the development of systemic symptoms with advanced disease. Pathologically, the disease is characterized by the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells. Hodgkin's lymphoma was one of the first cancers to be rendered curable by combination chemotherapy.

And finally, some things that could be unclear about this chapter. The girls that take Magier's name in vain in part 3 are just some random girls. The both mentioned girls by Magier are her best friends. One of them, she killed. You remember the little flashback in my earlier chapters?
By the way, I quoted some sentences you maybe can remember from my last chapter. Some important sentences. They are printed in cursive characters.

Part One
The sun felt good today. As she laid herself onto the ground, Stephanie sighed. Swimming ten miles in a day was quite tiresome and draining but if it was to make her stronger then it was worth the pain. At that moment, however, the exorcist didn�t agree with that thought. She felt the soreness in her legs and arms and a sense of dying entered her mind. She wondered if death would even be this painful or this draining...

Being one of the oldest exorcists did have its perks. Trusting her work ethics and maturity, Lione had allowed her to create her own training regiment and to workout alone. Unfortunately, there was also a drawback; discovering that the exorcist preferred to swim rather than run, the branch leader forced her to wear the official Black Order swimsuit that the main HQ had commissioned and that was designed by the Head Science Monitor.

Stephanie tugged at her bikini bottom and questioned the practicality of such a swimsuit for training. The only thing this bikini would be useful in would be working on a tan and maybe getting boys� attention.

As the sun warmed her body, she felt the water evaporating and the melatonin in her body kicking in. As she closed her eyes, she muttered to herself, "She never did like the light. I would go outside and enjoy the sun. She would rather stay in the shade and bask in its darkness." Stephanie always liked lying outside when it was sunny; it reminded her of her mother's hug, a sense of human warmth. The girl had not felt this way in a long time until recently.

The mission with Blade and Flames was supposed to be typical. However, she did not expect a sense of attachment to the Bookman and rather enjoyed this sense of being so close to someone again. Even though he made her feel special, part of her did still doubt and regret her decision to let her guard down, wondering if it was wrong of her to kiss him. Becoming involved with someone in a dangerous professional might just bring her heartache.

She felt her body going numb and sleep inching up on her. Thoughts of Zeran entered her mind. It had been weeks since the boy�s disappearance and HQ had not been successful in their search for the lost exorcist. She recalled how desperate he was to receive her forgiveness after the shampoo incident that he revealed the location of this secluded waterhole. Stephanie knew that she would be lying if she said that she did not miss him; torturing him daily was quite entertaining and gave her some happiness.

::SNAP:: Her body suddenly became alert and her eyes darted towards the direction of the sound. What was that? A lurking Akuma? An innocent animal? A peeping Legno? Not taking a chance, Stephanie quickly went to grab her clothes but because of her panic, she couldn�t find them. Damn it, this isn�t good. Looking at her black ribbons lying next to her, she summoned �Metamorphosis!� resulting in their wrapping around her.

::CRACK:: The exorcist faced the forest with her arms ready for battle. A figure was slowly coming out. The shadows of the trees blurred his face but from a distance, Stephanie knew that he was taller and more built than she. Was it that Noah whom she met at the caf� in Opalo?

Part Two
"Help me�" cried the figure as he limped closer to her. His hair was matted with sweat and blood while his handsome face appeared bloody and bruised. He had deep cuts all over his body, which caused the Asian girl to gasp at such a ghastly sight. He appeared harmless and was definitely not in fighting condition. Noticing his uneven walk, she ran towards him before he fell to the ground.

He begged, "Please help me" as he fell into her arms. The force caused the exorcist to stumble and cuss; he weighed about sixty pounds more than her and if she didn't do anything fast, he would fall on top of her. She didn't have the strength to push him off of her and she was far from Headquarters to call for help.

As if they were sensing her situation, her ribbons left her and enveloped the injured man. The exorcist quickly leapt away from him and examined him. He appeared like any normal person except his red hair really stood out. Could he be a Bookman?

Part Three
"What a shame that he escaped!" cried Magier as she stared into the distance with displeasure. I.A. was busy examining the mutilated body that lay before him with great interest as if he was critiquing an art piece.

Jacques looked up from the Bible he was intently reading and replied, "I suppose that it may be a blow in our quest but it�s beyond our control now." He was quite intent on reading and having this pointless conversation again was rather distracting.

Sensing that his sister didn't believe him, the Noah continued, "Besides, letting that one go may be beneficial." Hopefully, saying this will quench her anger and restlessness.

Before Magier could respond to such carefree words, I.A. interrupted her. "Relax, Magier! I'm sure everything will work out in the end. Why else would he be so calm in this kind of situation?"

Magier nodded to show that she understood what I.A. said. It was true that Jacques was quite composed despite the fact that they still haven�t received much information about the Thunder-god legend that the Earl was so intent on investigating. He had been awfully quiet ever since that bastard exorcist severely wounded him. But still, didn�t he understand that she was scared of losing him?

"What are you planning, Jacques?"

Part Four
Walking two miles in a deeply forested area while carrying a wounded and heavier man proved to be draining than training. Even with the help of her ribbons, Stephanie struggled to reach the NA HQ in time so the injured person could get treatment. He clearly needed help and appeared to have information that could aid the Black Order in their battle against the Earl�s forces.

"We're almost there," assured the exorcist. Talking to him was essential to keep him from falling unconscious and she was feared for the worse if she allowed him to sleep.

"Uuuuuuuuuhhhh," escaped her companion's mouth. Regardless of her best effort to make a conversation, the only things that the girl got from him were grunts, moan, and the occasional "I need to get to HQ. I need to talk to Lione!"

Several feet in front of the pair laid a bare valley. Stephanie smirked; even though it appeared like there was nothing in the area, she knew that she had arrived at HQ. "Hang on! We're almost there!"

There was no response, causing the exorcist to pause. She glanced at the man and noticed that his breathing was getting slower and slower. $#!+... The exorcist quickened her pace; if he died now, she could never forgive herself.

Part Five
As she passed the invisible shield, a sense of coldness passed through her body and a huge brick building stood before her. Did she make it in time?

"You're late! And why on earth are you walking around dressed like that?" came a booming voice at the entrance. With two Finders on each of his sides, Lione stood in commanding fashion, looking stern and concerned; anytime someone was late, he would worry and fear for the worst.

Stephanie quickly covered herself with her hands, hoping that Blade did not see her in such a state. After calming herself down from her encounter with the man, she had found her clothes lying near the clear pond. She had quickly tossed it on, leaving her top unbuttoned. Panting, she apologized, "Lione, I'm sorry I'm late but this is no time for lectures. This man needs our help!" and her ribbons quickly dropped the man into a Finder's arms.

Lione examined the injured male and gasped, "A Bookman?" He turned to the Finders and ordered, "Take this man to the hospital wing stat! Make sure that Ying treats him and that he stays alive!" The Finders nodded and ran into the building. Screams of "Move aside!" and "Out of our way!" reverberated and echoed throughout the walls.

The branch leader looked at his subordinate's direction and said, "I have no idea what happened but come into my office and tell me exactly what happened." Encountering a badly wounded Bookman in this area was a coincidence and suspicious at the same time.

Still trying to catch her breath, Stephanie nodded and headed up the stairs. She knew that when Lione wanted to get to the bottom of a matter, he would investigate thoroughly. She sighed; it might be a long night.

Part Six
It was two o'clock in the morning when the man finally woke up. As he opened his eyes, he let out a loud scream, causing everyone in the building to run into the hospital wing. Raising his arms to his face, he yelled, "Why the hell is my skin blue?!?"

Ying ran over and forced him to lay flat on the bed. "I used the ointment that Zeran gave us earlier. Since it worked so well on Stephanie, I thought I give it a try on the new patient. I have been trying to recreate the medicine without the side effect but haven't been successful." She hung her head in disappointment, causing some Finders to pat her back in order to comfort her.

However, the guy looked at her distrustfully. He didn�t know whether to believe that she was truly regretful or was mocking him because she was smiling the entire time during her apology. He looked around and noticed several people wearing black uniforms. In their direction, he requested urgently, "I need to see the branch leader of this branch. I need to talk to Lione right now!"

Lione stepped forward and introduced himself. "I'm the leader of this branch. And you are?" The man extended his right hand and replied, "Amiti. I have been desperately trying to find this place with my brother."

The branch leader observed Amiti�s bewilderment and glanced around the room. There were too many people in this room and this was clearly bothering the patient. He ordered everyone except the Exorcists out; Ying stayed behind to treat and observe him just in case he had any further reaction to the medication while Daniel was given permission to observe since he was new.

Once everyone else had left the room and returned to his quarters, Lione turned his attention to Amiti who had calmed down from his shock. "What is so important that you needed to see me so badly?"

Part Seven
Amiti sat up and let out a sigh. He explained, "My brother and I are from the Bookman Clan. We had been hearing rumors that the Earl had been seeking Bookmen so we were worried for our safety." The man was slightly trembling now, causing Ying to get some water. Everyone else was listening intently to his story, dissecting every word he said in an attempt to detect the truth in his tale.

After taking a sip from the cup the healer had given him, Amiti ran his hands through his red, wavy hair and continued, "We knew that we couldn�t defend ourselves since we weren�t compatible with Innocence like you. The first thought that came to our mind was to head here and hope that we could receive sanctuary until it was safe enough for us to travel again. Unfortunately, we came upon three strangers..."

The patient had now stopped talking and was looking contemplatively at the inside of his cup. Lione looked around and noticed the uneasiness surrounding the room. Everyone was eyeing at each other as if they were trying to confirm their hypothesis.

"Could you describe them?" asked Flame, breaking the silence of the room. The exorcist's words shocked Amiti out of his daze, causing him to accidentally spill his drink on his leg. The redhead shook his head and reluctantly spoke, "The group consisted to two males and a female. The oldest of the group reminded me of a priest while the girl looked like a normal school girl. The other person had an aristocratic air about him. They offered to help us on our journey in exchange for information about a thunder-god. Since we are sworn never to speak of the hidden history we record, we refused to tell them. This only enraged them and they transformed. Bloody crosses appeared on their forehead and their skin had a gray tint as if they were turning into some kind of monsters."

Part Eight
Upon hearing this, the three female exorcists shifted a little as they recalled their experience with the three Noah in Opalo. Noticing their discomfort, Lione signaled the exorcists to leave the room and they all followed their leader out the door. Ying stayed behind to observe the redhead; she had to make sure that he did not do anything irrational.

"What do you think of his story so far?" asked the branch leader. Even though he knew a living Bookman was valuable, he had to make sure that this wasn't some sort of trick. Everyone who had entered the Black Order had gone through this intense questioning so he knew that the exorcists would understand the process that Amiti was going through. He valued the opinions of his peers and knew that he could trust their input .

"I don't believe him," responded Daniel as he leaned against the stone wall with his arms crossed. He wasn't the type of person to trust another right away; to him, trust should not be given away freely. "Besides, where is his brother� if he HAD one?"

The branch leader pondered for a minute and addressed, "Legno, Blade. Do you know anything about Amiti or his brother? After all, you guys are from the same clan."

The Bookman cleared his voice and replied, "I knew of his brother Ahiram. He was well respected in the clan and trustworthy. I don't know much about Amiti but he was a quite reserved. He was a bookworm and kept to himself. Besides, he might know something concerning the diary."

Blade nodded in agreement but added his two cents. "It's just too suspicious that he encountered three Noahs but not Cross. Seriously, almost everyone here has met this evasive general."

"Isn�t HQ currently looking for him?" muttered someone; no one answered the question.

The Bookman continued, "Also, why doesn't he carry a katana? Almost everyone has this weapon--even that female Noah." Tabitha"s eyes lit up and she sighed dreamily, "Yeah, Kanda has one too..." Hearts swirled around her head as thoughts of the moody exorcist entered her mind. She was going to sleep well tonight.

Eny quickly shot back. "I think we can trust him! Just because he doesn�t have a clear past or fit the Bookmen stereotype doesn't mean we can't let him stay here. Besides, you guys didn�t trust me right away when I came here, remember?"

Tabitha quietly mumbled, "Yeah that's because you were a complete bitch." The Bookwoman glared at the teenager for a long time.

"We need more information from Amiti before we can completely judge him," suggested Flame. Lione smiled and nodded. Despite the fact that Flame was younger than him, the branch leader knew that the native was wise beyond his years.

Part Nine
Upon seeing the exorcists reenter the room, Amiti appeared startled. It was quite late and he thought that he had given him an accurate version of his account. Lione pulled up a chair and sat down near the patient�s bed. After making himself comfortable, the exorcist said, "We understand that you had a hard journey but we had one more question...where is your brother Ahiram?"

The Bookman looked down at his hands and they trembled. As tears welled up in his eyes, he began, "Those monsters were too much for us. They were merciless and vicious; they were out to kill us. I was severely wounded by the female and she was about to kill me when my brother pushed her out of my way. He told me to run to HQ while he tried his best to stall them. The last time I saw my brother, he was facing those three travelers..."

An unholy silence filled the room and Lione felt awkward and regretful for asking the question now. But before he could respond, Tabitha blurted, "Lione, we have to believe him! He has a tragic past...just like the rest of us!"

Part Ten
Rinvak shot the teenager a dirty look and muttered quickly, "Sorry about your loss." Tabitha was now patting Amiti's back; she knew what it was like to lose one's brother in front of one�s eyes. The feelings of powerlessness and sorrow, which she had repressed, had come back to her at once and she felt tears coming down her face.

"Wait a minute! I don't have a tragic past" commented Eny. "Don't group me with the rest of you!" Rinvak looked up from her thoughts and replied, "Now that you mentioned it, I don't have a tragic past either."

Lione glared at the two and spoke through clenched teeth, "Will you please shut up? Now is not the time to debate how messed up or emo this HQ is." After peace and order had been restored to the room, the branch leader cleared his throat and said, "Speaking of which, it is getting late and I know that we all have appointment with the shrink early tomorrow. We should go to bed and resume this later."

"What about Zeran? How is he going to hold up without his therapy session?" questioned Blade. Everyone in NA HQ was worried about the lost exorcist despite his cold manner towards them. Ying piped up cheerfully from the medicine cabinet, "Don't worry! He has his pills!"

All but Ying began to :sweat and slowly began to excuse themselves from the room. As Lione was about to leave, Amiti called out from his bed, "Wait! Do you not trust me?" He hated not being trusted especially by an important person.

Not turning his face towards the Bookman, the exorcist replied, "I judge a person by his actions, not his words. You should go to bed and regain your strength. Focus on that first and then on gaining my trust."

Amiti sighed and replied coldly, "Judge a person by his action, eh? Well then, what if I told you that I have important information about..."

Some while ago at HQ

"Can is speak to you lione, it is really necesarry": asked legno. Lione suprised by the question simply replied: "feel free to talk to me when my doors are open". Legno assumed the answer was a yes, the doors were open. Legno didn't know how to start with this delicate topic. Very carefull, he said: "it's something important I want to talk to you about. Sir. It's a hidden secret that I found in this library a secret that might be usefull in our war against the earl". Lione was suprised about what legno said, and he didn't know what to say. Maybe he couldn't say anything because the words secrets, war, earl,... were all that important running around in his head. Legno continued: "it is a book I have found. A diary of a traitor among noah, referring to a person and place with a secret he passed down. A secret..." This was the moment lione interrupted him, "a traitor among noah, a secret? Excuse me, but that sounds like talking about raining when there's no signs of clouds. Otherwise said, this sounds like nonsense. Can I watch the book?" Legno took the book out of his bag, and gave it to lione. Sceptical lione opened the book. "Nothing, nothing, nothing... There's is nothing in it? No words, just blank papers. Are you joking?" Legno was suprised because of the fact lione couldn't read it. He didn't know what to think about it. Was he destined to read it, was he the only one among the HQ members who could read this? He was certain there must have been people able to read it. How could the book been in the library?

Legno replied: "sir, this is strange. I have read the whole book. And you can see nothing? Sir you have to believe me, there's a plan, a secret that can be usefull." Lione: "I can't believe it? Sorry legno, it sounds like nonsense". Legno wasn't suprised, he could understand lione. He thought by himself that he would react on the same way. Legno answered: "sir. Does it matter to believe it?", lione replied: "does it matter to believe a noah? as you say." Legno replied back: "isn't it more important to believe in me, instead of believing in it". Lione was suprised and couldn't come up with something, "and your suggestion is?" Legno: "to let me go on a solo mission, to find out"...

- Present day -

Page 5:
I was born in kanto and I was cursed in kanto, a place where the sun can't shine. I wouldn't call it blessing as my brothers and sisters say. I wonder why me? Why that birth and why that curse? Never saw the light of the sun. Doesn't have that fact a meaning. Sometimes I think to myself, if my birth wasn't the badest thing that would happen. But I will not believe that, I have been born to determine the outcome of the war. The war that the excorsists will win.

Legno closed the book. "Kanto, the first place to find out more about the secret". "Wait for meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee". A finder appeared. His name was koko. It was the only demand of lione for letting legno on a so called solo mission. He had to take a finder with him... "euhm, why are you sitting sir?". "You see that road leading in the town? You walk further, I'll wait some minutes. To avoid another waiting later on". "Fine, See you later on": said the finder

- Meanwhile at HQ -

" what???? You send out a bookman, n�1 target of the noah, with a mere finder on a missiong. How stupid can you be?" Lione smiled: "trust me I am not that dumb"

- At Kanto -

"This is it." Legno stood there before a house, closed gates nobody could enter. The house was surrounded by trees. The only place in kanto with trees, and the only place where no sun could shine trough. All around the house, was only sheadow. It was the cursed house of the noah. "Let's enter and find some interesting things out" said the finder. Legno: "ikuzo".

The sun was setting and it dyed the land in a deep purple.
Magier was sitting at the fire poking the ember with a stick. "Ameratsu-san when will Jak-kun wake up? he's sleeping for three days already." Ameratsu looks at her obviously worried. "He was rushing himself. His wounds haven't completely healed and now his fever has risen. Gabriel is looking after him. He as to rest even if we need to force him."

Magier is looking at the fire again remmembering how strong Jaques is.
"What kind of monster was this Zeran? Jak-kun was so eager to find him that he used up all his strenght. And now it looks like he's having some serious nightmare.

In his tent Jaques lay on his bed. Sweating cold sweat hunted by voices he can't understand.
Then the memories he wanted to forget came rushing in.
"He killed it? Why?" An old chubby man was sitting in a small chamber.
"We don't know padre. Suddenly he got angry and broke his neck. The other children are scared of him. They want him to go away." Padre Francesco looked at the other monk with his caring eyes. "No, he may be a difficult child but also our best student. Noone else has such pure faith in god"
"But he's a monster! he killed a lamb with bare hands just because it angered him!" Padre got up and starts to speak with a harsh voice: "Then send this "monster" to me. I'll have a talk with him." "Yes Padre"

Ten minutes later a small boy, not older than 10 years came into the Padres chamber. "Ah mon petit Jaques. Sit down. I want to ask you something." Jaques sits down next to the Padre keeping distance. "The teacher says you get angry very often and then you start fighting with the others." Jaques hesitated, he never talked to the head-monk before.

Although he was the highest and most respected monk in the abby he kept the smallest chamber and refused any luxury.

"Yes, p-padre." "Why do you get angry child?" "Pierre was doodeling in class, he drew jesus and god walking under a rainbow. But isn't it a Commandment:

You shall not make for yourself an image, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. (Exodus 20:4)?"
The Padre was shocked about this accurate qouting. "Yes, of course but isn't he just a child? You needn't break his nose but talk to him first. And what about the lamb this morning?" Silence. The boy looked puzzled. "What lamb? I was late this morning so I could not care for the animals today" "You say you can't remember? Well, nevermind. Boy everytime you get angry. Read this." He took a book out of his shelf, it was small and looked like it was read everyday. "This is the first bible I tranlated myself. I will give it to you as a Talisman. May it bring you luck. And become a good priest will you?." The boy was smiling and crying at the same time while he rushed out of the chamber. Francesco smiled as he thought "My, my now he forgot to say thank you.

Four 7 years later

"Now do you remember?" the earl was looking at a young man whose forehead was bleading. It looks like crosses are carved on it. "Yes, Millenium-sama. Well, it themes like this monks are hypochrits helping our enemy and praying to a false god" His grip on the small bible tightens. Whispering "I'm sorry padre" he looks at the abby as it bursts up in flames.

Tears are flowing.

"You woke up now Jak-kun?" Magier said with a worried face. "Of course Magier-chan, shall we continue to go?" Jaques said as he tried to get up. Suddely Magier points with her sword at his throat. "No you'll rest! You nearly died you idiot! What shall we do if you die?" She cries and her hands are shaking. Jaques replies in a calm voice. "First you'll pray and prepare a decent funeral. And then you go on."

Part 1
“Come at me Jacques of the Noah,” Zeran said in a sinister voice. “Are you afraid of a little exorcist like me?” Zeran’s right eye (something like Allen’s eye crossed with Mangekyou Sharingan crossed with Geass) began to click mechanically.
“Che, you expect me to be afraid of you?” Jacques laughed. “This should be intere…” Zeran zoomed up to him at a speed in which even Jacques himself could not fathom.
“Feel like being afraid yet?” Zeran grinned evilly. He then let out a maniacal snicker. “Gyahahahahahahahahaha!!!”
“You bastard!” Jacques attempted to punch Zeran as fast as he could. Zeran’s right eye merely twitched and suddenly Jacques felt his own punch being redirected back at him.
“UGH!” Jacques coughed up some blood. “What… What the hell are you?”
“Saaa~~ (I wonder)” Zeran said nonchalantly. “I believe it’s my turn.” Zeran stretched out his right arm which was covered by the fragments of Jigoku now melded together with his arm by the Innocence.
“Innocence Hatsudou…” Zeran grinned evilly. His right arm turned into something similar to a claw crossed with a talon. Zeran laughed maniacally while he began to randomly swing his arm back and forth, giving Jacques severe cuts every time an attack landed.
“Damn… you… exorcist…” Jacques managed to say before he disappeared into thin air.
Zeran licked Jacques blood off his hands. “The blood of a Noah doesn’t taste all that bad.”
“Zeran?” Stephanie quietly approached him. “Is that you?” Tabitha was cowering behind Stephanie and trembling in absolute fear.
“…..” Within a second Zeran punched Stephanie away and glared at Tabitha menacingly.
“EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEPPPPP!!!!!!” Tabitha squealed.
Zeran grabbed her neck with his right hand and began to choke her.
“Now then, I wonder how long this pretty lady will be able to hold her breath.” Zeran said casually. “Or should I just activate my Innocence and skewer her?”
“GET THE HELL AWAY FROM HER!” Stephanie yelled and charged with her ribbons. Zeran didn’t even glance her way before drawing Tengoku with his left hand and slicing her across the chest.
“NO!!!!!!! Stephanie!!!!!!” Tabitha wailed with her remaining breath.
Zeran’s heart skipped a beat and he clutched his chest, his right eye already back to normal. Tabitha gasped for air as soon as she was let go.
“WAH! Stephanie!” Tabitha ran over to seek refuge.
“There, there,” Stephanie patted her head gently. “It’s okay now…”
“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!” Zeran yelled into the sky.
“Zeran?” Stephanie murmured. “Come back with us Zeran.”
“Thank you…” Zeran whispered and clutched his right eye. “For everything up till now.” He placed a small container of ointment in front of Stephanie. “Every second you spend with me, might mean a second closer to your death.”
“Zeran…” Tabitha, her voice hoarse, called out.
“See ya… or not…” Zeran dashed away and out of sight.
Stephanie fainted along with Tabitha.
*end flashback*

Part 2:
Riena D. Greyright walked across town whistling happily. She was a girl in disguise as a boy, and nobody in the town she lived in (other than her parents) ever figured out the truth. She often wore a hat to hide her long hair, because she and her parents were the poorest of the poor. The villagers would surely take pity on them if they found out her parents were trying to raise a daughter. They were considered scum to the rest of the villagers otherwise. Riena decides to retaliate by dressing up as a boy and stealing food for her parents and her to survive on. She didn’t mind. She wished she was richer, but she was pretty content with her life.
Today she was glancing past every shop and picking out what she should have for breakfast lunch and dinner tonight. hmm, Riena thought quietly. Should I steal the ham or the beef? She glanced upwards at the sky and grinned. Today feels like a good day! Hmm? Who is that sitting on the roof? She noticed a cloaked figure sitting quietly on top of a roof, staying absolutely still. Oh well, none of my business…
“Eh? Get away from me you thieving boy!” the butcher yelled at Riena. “How dare you come here?”
“Be quiet old man!” Riena stuck her tongue out and walked away. As soon as his attention was turned elsewhere, Riena jumped in and grabbed a piece of ham.
“AH HA!” the butcher yelled and grabbed her by the collar of her coat. “Thought you could try the same thing twice eh? Now what should I do with a thieving boy like you? Should I deliver you to the cops or should I cut you up and serve you as my meat?”
“Eh heh,” Riena chuckled nervously. “SOMEBODY HELP!”
“Nobody will help you!” the butcher smirked. “Everybody here has been pilfered by you at least once in their lifetime.”
“Let the brat go,” said a mysterious figure.

Part 3
“Eh? Who the hell are you to interfere?” the butcher glared angrily. “This girl has stolen something from everybody in this town and sold it all!”
“I’ll pay for whatever she stole…” the cloaked figure said and laid down some coins.
“Cheh,” the butcher let her go. “Thank this kind stranger you brat!”
“Thanks mister…” Riena clung onto his cloak. But then quickly stuck her hand inside and pulled whatever she could grab, which was a katana blade.
Wow a sword! It’s so light! I’m going to be able to make big money with this! Riena grinned happily as she ran off. Sorry mister but I have my family to think of!
“See, what did I tell you?” the butcher sighed. “Now she stole something of yours. Well it’s not my fault since I got paid.”
The cloaked man caught up to the prancing Riena, grabbed his cloak and threw it over her.
“WAH!” Riena yelled. “It’s so dark!”
“Give me back my sword please, ojou-san (young lady),” the mysterious figure said quietly.
“Eh? How did you know I was a girl?” Riena gaped at the guy who had bested her. He was tall, had hair to his shoulders, wore normal black clothes. But the weirdest thing about this guy was the white eye-patch he had across his right eye.
“Who are you?” Riena asked in awe.
“Kusanagi Zeran,” the figure said quietly. “You may call me Zeran.”

Part 4:
Riena had obediently returned Zeran’s sword, and he had quietly left. But he was on her mind the whole day.
“GRRRRRRRRRRR!” Riena ruffled her long black hair. “How did he know I was a girl? And what is with his reflexes? I’ve been a street rat my entire life and he caught up to me with ease! AGH!”
“Hey Riena are you alright?” her mother asked worriedly.
“If you have problems, you can always talk to us,” her father said calmly.
“It’s fine,” Riena assured her parents. “I’m going to my room.”
Riena and her parents lived in a small two-story wooden shack, which might as well be on the verge of collapsing. Riena stared at the ceiling while lying on her hard moth-eaten mattress. I have to find that guy and talk to him! Outside it started to rain slowly. I’ll go out now! Riena ran downstairs and grabbed her own handmade umbrella.
“I’m heading out to do something now!” Riena shouted to her parents.
“Be careful,” her parents chorused.
“Yea I know,” Riena grinned.
Outside it rained even harder, and Riena struggled to hold onto her umbrella against the wind. Where could that guy be? Don’t tell me he left town already? She quickly donned her cap and asked every inn in town for a clue to where Zeran was staying. None of the inns had him registered.
I don’t get it! Where is he!
Riena looked around one last time and was about to give up when she looked up at the roof when she first met him. He was still sitting in the exact same position under all the wind and rain.
Is he an idiot?????
Riena ran up the stairs of the building where Zeran was quietly sitting.
“HEY!” Riena shouted at Zeran.
“Oh, it’s the girl from earlier,” Zeran said quietly. “What do you want?”
“How did you know I was a girl?” Riena took off her hat and let her long hair fall down. “Everybody thought I was a boy!”
“Is that all you wanted to ask me?” Zeran said quietly. “It’s simple; I had a girl I liked a lot. Her eyes and yours were similar. That’s all.”
“And why are you out here in the rain?” Riena demanded to know.
“Because I killed that very same girl with my own hands,” Zeran said. “And I’m doing my best to repent.” Zeran looked up at the sky and allowed the rain to fall upon his face. Riena held out her umbrella and covered Zeran, allowing herself to be rained on.
“Hm? Why?” Zeran glanced at her briefly with his remaining eye.
“I DON’T KNOW!” Riena shouted. “I just felt like it, that’s all…” Riena began to cry. “But if I think of me killing my parents, the pain must be unbearable. It must be really hard for you.”
Zeran stood up and flicked Riena’s forehead.
“OWWWWWWWWW!!!!” Riena winced. “You bastard what did you do that for??”
“Your pity and kindness is unnecessary for murderers like me,” Zeran said quietly. “You’ll need your umbrella when you go home anyways.” Zeran stood up and walked off.
“WAIT!” Riena yelled and pulled on Zeran’s cloak.
“UGH!” the cloak choked Zeran as Riena pulled on it. “WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO THAT FOR????”
“Bleh!” Riena stuck her tongue out. “I hate gloomy bastards like you! If you say your precious girlfriend had eyes similar to mine then I’m guessing she would hate a gloomy bastard like you as well!!!!”
“Don’t talk like you know me!” Zeran snarled.
“SO WHAT?” Riena yelled. “Just because you had one mishap, it doesn’t mean the world is over! Move on with your life! Grow stronger! Drink apple juice! SOMETHING! ANYTHING!”
Zeran pulled his cloak away and walked off in silence.
Hmph! Why am I getting worked up about this guy anyways? Riena huffed. He’s annoying, gloomy, and very… lonely… I guess… Damn it… “Wait up!” Riena called. The rain continued falling as she tried to find the direction which Zeran went.
“Hey!” she asked an old man carrying an umbrella. “Have you seen a guy wearing a cloak pass by here?” She gasped when she saw a mountain of blood behind the old man.
“Now that you’ve seen what I can do little kid,” the old man’s features began shifting. “LET ME DEVOUR YOU AS WELL!” A monstrous beast replaced the old man and lunged at Riena.
“AHHHHHHHHHHH!” Riena screamed and braced herself for unimaginable pain.
However it never came. When Riena opened her eyes, Zeran was standing in front of her, blocking the old man’s attack with a sword alone.
“Stand back,” Zeran said quietly. “I never thought I’d find an Akuma out here.”
“What’s an Akuma?” Riena said nervously. “What’s going on?”
“JUST GET THE HELL BACK!” Zeran ordered and slashed at the Akuma.
“An exorcist?” the Akuma wheezed. “Out here?”
“Innocence Hatsudou!” Zeran yelled and jumped onto his Tengoku which floated in mid-air. He stretched out his black metallic right arm and revealed that they had turn into claws.
“Interesting!” the Akuma laughed. “But can it...” It’s words were left unfinished as Zeran stood silently behind it.
“May you go to heaven,” Zeran whispered as the Akuma was sliced into pieces. “You poor, poor foolish soul.”

Part 4:
“What was that?” Riena wanted to know. “What kind of monster was it?”
“It was an Akuma,” Zeran explained slowly. “When a loved one dies, and a desire to bring them back becomes overwhelming, the Earl of Millennium will visit you. He will lie to you and say he can bring your loved one back. All he does is trap their souls which should’ve gone to heaven into machines called Akuma. These Akuma with human souls then kill the person who summoned them to Earth and wear the person like a second skin. These Akuma kill continuously, grow, and evolve. The more they evolve, the more intelligent and powerful they become. People called exorcists, have something called Innocence. Innocence is the only thing that can destroy an Akuma. In addition it also sets free the trapped soul within the Akuma. I am an exorcist, a wielder of Innocence.”
“I see,” Riena said slowly. “Then the person you loved, was she turned into an Akuma as well?”
“Yeah,” Zeran said quietly. “She was.”
The rain continued its relentless downpour, and Riena began to get dizzy.
“What’s this feeling?” Riena swirled and swirled. “Oooh pretty butterflies…” And she fainted.
When Riena came to, she awoke in her own house on her mattress.
“Oww… my head hurts like hell,” she rubbed her head. “EH? Why am I covered in bandages?” She looked at her body.
“The Akuma’s special ability cut you,” Zeran explained to her from her left. “It could apparently make air turn into sharp blades which cut anything. That and you also caught a cold from being in the rain too long.”
“Oh,” Riena looked down. “How did I get here and who wrapped me up in bandages?”
“I carried u and I put on your bandages,” Zeran said while drinking from a water canteen. “It wasn’t easy seeing as you were heavy for your age.”
A huge iron object hit Zeran in the face.
“THAT HURTS!” Zeran yelled. “Is that how you repay me?”
“First you call me fat, then you strip me to put on my bandages?” Riena said blushing madly. “You have a LOT of nerve!”
“It’s not like I WANT to look at it!” Zeran countered. “ Besides there was nothing worth seeing.” And he received another attack, this time from a wooden statue.
“THAT HURTS!” Zeran yelled again.
“FINE MAYBE I WILL!” Zeran walked downstairs and out the front door.
“Geez,” Riena huffed. “How dare he look at my virgin body. Absolutely unforgivable.
“Ah Riena!” her mother came upstairs to her room and hugged her. “I thought you said you were going to be careful!”
“Sorry,” Riena apologized.
“It’s not me you should apologize to,” her mother scolded her. “It’s that boy who carried you here.”
“Eh?” Riena got angry. “Why should I have to thank that pervert?
“Because we were quite shocked,” her mother began. “When that boy came here, carrying you on his back. The both of you were bleeding heavily. But I think he received more serious injuries.”
“The poor boy brought you to your bed, when we showed him where it was. He then took out a funny smelling ointment and smeared it all over himself. He also took some bandages from his pocket and made a blindfold with it. He then silently undressed you, treated your wounds, and then wrapped you up in bandages. Your father and I would’ve done it ourselves, but we don’t know anything about first aid, so we left it all to him. He looked after you for two days straight! He was so diligent in his task!”
“Eh?” Riena gaped at her mother. “I was asleep for two days?”
“Yes,” her mother said worriedly. “You wouldn’t wake up, but the boy assured us you’d be fine. We’re all indebted to him.”
“Damn it,” Riena ran downstairs and opened the front door. “ZERAN!”
“Hmm?” Zeran looked at her briefly. “What is it?”
“Sorry…” Riena apologized quietly. “You didn’t deserve to be called any of those things.”
“I figured you were just upset,” Zeran shrugged. “You were just venting out your anger. I didn’t take it personally.”
“Are you leaving?” Riena asked silently.
A heavy silence filled the air.
“Yea,” Zeran said. “I need to pick up a few things. I’ll be back though… I promise.”
Zeran gently patted her head. “Grow up to be bright and honest. Never steal again, not even to survive. If you want something, find a job. Thief skills are unbelievably useful these days.”
“I get it…” Riena smiled.
“Here are some coins,” Zeran handed her a pouch filled with coins. “They should last you until I get back. Try not to get in trouble.” Zeran walked to the station.
“SEE YA SOON! ZERAN NII-CHAN!” Riena called out.
Zeran waved quietly as he continued walking towards the station.

Part 5:
“Checkmate,” Eny declared. “That’s your 499th consecutive loss, Tabby.”
“ONE MORE TIME!” Tabby demanded.
Eny sighed. “If you must.”
“Hmm?” Flames (who had nothing better to do than to watch two girls play chess) glanced out the window. “Who is that man coming towards us?”
“Who cares?” Tabby said. “It’s not an Akuma since no Akuma would be dumb enough to infiltrate a place filled with bookmen and exorcists.”
“Probably somebody coming back from a mission,” Eny declared. “CHECK!”
“SO FAST!” Tabby whined.
“But all of our exorcists are here at the base,” Flames commented.
“Who the hell is it?” Stephanie asked quietly from behind Flames.

As soon as Lione heard about the stranger, he assembled everyone at the front of HQ.
“Be careful everyone!” Lione yelled. “It could be a Noah!”
“I’m as ready as ever!” Blade smirked.
“I have a bad feeling about this,” Stephanie gulped and clutched her ribbons.
“Whoever it is,” Flames said calmly. “I will strike them down.”
“I’m bored,” Tabby yawned.
“What the hell?” Rinvak glared at her. “You should be more focused!”
“The enemy is approaching at approximately a slow rate. He is currently 1.5 km away from here,” Eny declared with a binocular.
Amiti gulped in anticipation
“It can’t be…” Ying said silently.
The tension began to build up as the cloaked figure drew closer. Suddenly the cloak figure jumped, and that’s when Lione lost it.
“EVERYONE ATTACK!” Lione ordered. A HUGE barrage of Innocence pelted the cloaked figure until only dust remained. “Did we do it?”
“My, my,” the figure’s voice said from behind all of them. “A welcoming party for me? I’m touched.”
“When did he…?” Lione gasped.
“Fast!” Blade turned and looked at him.
“This guy is unbelievable!” Stephanie turned as well.
“I thought so,” Ying said calmly. “Welcome back… Zeran.”
“EH??” everyone yelled.
“Who’s that?” Eny, Blade, and Amiti asked in unison.
“I’m not here to socialize,” Zeran said quietly. “I have a few things to pick up.”
“I understand,” Ying said. “Let’s go.” The two left briskly.
“WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?” Eny asked angrily.
“Zeran… is an emo bastard,” Lione said bluntly. “But he was also a highly skilled exorcist who could overcome anything given the right iniative.”
“ZERAN IS BACK!” Tabby rejoiced.
“What joy,” Rinvak muttered
I still have a bad feeling about this Stephanie thought bitterly.
Zeran went to his old room and took everything important out and put it in a knapsack.
“Medicine, medicine,” muttered Zeran as he grabbed things from his closet and shoved it into his bag. “Medicine, Kanda dart board… who the hell needs this? Picture of Rinali… Why do I still have this? My locket…” He pocketed it and continued rummaging. “Clothes and that’s about it.”
“Are you going away for long?” Ying said quietly.
“My eye,” Zeran pointed at his eye-patch. “The monster within is dying to get out. It might get released by accident one of these days. And you already know about what I did to Stephanie and Tabitha.”
Ying nodded. “May you fare well on your trip.”
“So you’re the bastard that sliced up Stephanie,” Blade said from the doorway. “You bastard, don’t think you’ll get away with it.”
“It’s not polite to listen in to other people’s conversations,” Zeran said quietly.
“Why don’t you and I settle this like men?” Blade challenged.
“Sorry,” Zeran appeared behind Blade. “I have no intention of picking on people who can’t even reach me with their sword.”
“WHAT DID YOU SAY?” Blade tried to draw his sword but couldn’t since Zeran drew Tengoku faster and prevented Blade from dtaking out his sword. Zeran’s left hand lingered dangerously around Blade’s neck.
“If you were an enemy, you’d be dead,” Zeran said coldly. “Don’t come near me again.”
This guy Blade thought. Is fearsome.
“ZERAN!” Tabby tackled Zeran to the ground. Blade: -_-‘’’
“I missed you so much!” Tabitha grinned from ear to ear. “Want to play like we always do?”
He’s fearsome? Blade thought. More like idiotic
“GET OFF OF ME!” Zeran yelled and pushed Tabitha on the ground. “Why are you clinging to me? Did you forget I tried to kill you?”
“I know Zeran wouldn’t do that,” Tabitha said innocently. “Because Zeran is a nice guy!”
“I’m not as nice as you think I am,” Zeran muttered.
“Yeah, you’re rotten to the core,” Stephanie grinned. “But we forgive you.”
“You too,” Zeran said. “Nobody is going to gain anything by staying close to me. In fact you might face death faster.”
“STEPHANIE!” Blade dived. “Let me burrow myself in those melons of paradise!” (Kon reference)
Stephanie punched him without even looking. (Matsumoto reference) “You sure you’re going to be alright on your own?”
“I’ll manage,” Zeran grinned. “It’s not like I need you guys to kick ass.”
“Idiot!” Stephanie smacked him across the head. “Your right eye… We’re all worried about that.”
“Thanks,” Zeran said. “But I’ll manage somehow.”
Zeran headed for the door, but Flames blocked his path.
“What do you want?” Zeran asked irritably.
“You must stay,” Flames urged. “If you did, we could defeat a lot more enemies a lot faster.”
“Sorry,” Zeran said. “I might kill you all if I stayed here.”
“Just go,” Lione said from behind.
“But,” Flames began.
“Let him go Flames,” Lione said. “Idiots like him don’t listen to reason. All he can do is swing his sword and kill stuff.”
“I understand,” Flames stepped aside and Eny appeared from behind Flames.
“Hmm,” she said eyeing Zeran. “Interesting.”
“I’m sorry little girl,” Zeran said. “I’m not interested in brats.”
“I’M NOT CHECKING YOU OUT!” Eny said hotly. “I’m observing you as a specimen, since I’ve never met you. From what I can judge, you seem semi-powerful, but there’s something holding you back form using all of your power.”
“Good job,” Zeran said sarcastically. “Now tell me my birthdate, my height, weight and social status, why don’t you?”
“Ha ha,” Eny said. “You think you’re so funny. My name is Eny. I’m a creator of ‘False Innocence’. Basically I make weapons which have strong effects on Akuma, but cannot fully kill them.”
“Can you give me one?” Zeran said thoughtfully.
“I happen to have a spare pistol,” Eny said. “You can have it.”
“Thanks,” Zeran said. “You’re not a bad kid after all, brat.”
“Why thank…” Eny began. “WHO’S A BRAT?!” and punched him in the face.
“That’s the fourth time today somebody hit my head…” Zeran rubbed his nose.
Part 6:
Everyone (except Lione: hates Zeran’s guts. Flames: who had been ordered not to bother with him. And Blade: who nearly got killed by Zeran) urged Zeran to stay at least one night at the base. Zeran reluctantly agreed and fell asleep.
He felt someone messing with his face and woke up.
“WHO THE HELL WAS THAT?” Zeran yelled but saw no one. But something felt wrong. I can see… with my right eye… He quickly reached up to touch his eye-patch, but it wasn’t there. Oh… Fuck…
“EVERYONE RUN!!!!!!!” Zeran yelled at the top of his lungs. Everybody rushed to Zeran’s room.
“WHAT’S GOING ON?” Rinvak demanded to know. “I’M TRYING TO GET MY BEAUTY SLEEP!”
“What’s wrong?” Tabby looked around confusedly.
“An enemy?” Stephanie asked.
“Yea…” Zeran said quietly as his right eye began to make mechanical noises. “Me”

Part 7:
“EVERYONE RUN!” Stephanie yelled. “NOW! If you value your lives! RUN LIKE HELL!”
“I’m sure we can beat him,” Blade said.
“I wholeheartedly agree,” Flames stated. “We can subdue him with ease.”
Stephanie gave them a pitying look. “You can try, but I can guarantee you won’t come back alive without a few limbs missing.” This encouraged Blade and Flames to run for it.
When everybody except Zeran was outside, Lione led them deep into the woods.
“Is everybody present?” Lione called out. “Where are the finders and doctors?”
“They’re all on vacation,” Tabby reminded him. “Today is the beginning of their day off.”
“Ah right,” Lione cleared his throat. “I knew that.
Tabitha rolled her eyes.
“Stephanie I think it’s time you told us everything you know about Zeran’s curse,” Lione said. “All you said was that he loses himself and becomes super powerful. What else do you know?”
Stephanie took out a golem from her pocket. “I forgot I had this on they day we followed Zeran. But it recorded everything. I want everyone to see with their own eyes… Just what Kusanagi Zeran is capable of.”
*Golem shows the battle scene*
“Unbelievable,” Eny breathed.
“So much raw power,” Blade clenched his fist.
“I can’t believe he could do that,” Rinvak muttered.
“Bloodthirsty,” Flames commented.
“We were right to run,” Lione said. “I couldn’t even catch the movement he made when he went up against Jacques.”
“This will be recorded,” Eny said. “You didn’t forget our jobs did you? Blade? Amiti?”
“No, we haven’t forgotten…” they chorused.
A terrible yell was unleashed into the night sky.
“Zeran…” Stephanie breathed.
Suddenly a huge BLACK lightning dragon exploded from the top of the HQ. It dived back in, snaking around every room and destroying everything in its path.
“MY RESEARCH!” Eny cried. “Well I still have that hidden lab…”
“This will take a huge chunk out of our budget,” Lione winced.
“Our home…” Tabby said sadly.
“All we can do now is hope and pray for a better tomorrow…” Stephanie said. “But… who took Zeran’s eye-patch?”
“Right now,” Lione sighed. “We must make preparations for a new HQ, but without any communications or any supplies, this will be quite strenuous. Plus the finders will be looking for us soon, so I suggest after Zeran goes on his rampage we stay by the remains of the base until we meet the finders and come up with a new plan.”
“HEY WAIT A SEC!” Stephanie yelled. “You’re NOT going to let him roam around killing innocents are you?”
“We have no choice,” Lione said bitterly. “If Zeran wasn’t berserk we could take him on easily. His cursed eye allows him to deflect attacks. Let’s say Flames tried to roast him, we’d get roasted instead. In fact, the more powerful we are, the more of a disadvantage we’d have. And eventually he’d pick us off one by one. If we die, who else will save this continent from the Akuma?”
“I KNOW THAT!” Stephanie yelled. “But… But…”
“Yo,” Blade said at a completely inopportune moment. “Don’t worry. I’m sure he’ll snap out of it somehow.”
“What makes you think that?” Stephanie said angrily.
“I don’t,” Blade said casually. “But it’s times like this, a man has to be comforting you know?” *PUNCH*
“You don’t have to hit so hard,” Blade whined as he rubbed his eye.

Part 8:
“Supervisor Komui!” a finder called. “We’ve lost all contact with the North American Headquarters.”
“Shit!” Komui swore. “There were a lot of exorcists there! Now our forces have greatly dwindled.” Can we still count on you? Allen-kun…

Part 9:
I’m weak… Zeran limped slowly. I couldn’t… hold him in… That bastard’s evil aura completely overwhelmed me. It’s just a matter of time before he takes over again. Zeran clutched his locket. Is this… my limit? Is there no way to save the people I killed? What was the reason I killed Shia in the first place? I can’t remember anymore. Riena… Even if I wanted to keep that promise, I won’t be able to anymore. You… will almost certainly be killed. My friends… No… they’re not my friends. They’re more like my family. Zeran smiled weakly. I almost killed them again. I’m too dangerous to exist. Somehow… I need to die…
Zeran collapsed on the ground and his locket and sword both fell to the ground ahead of him.
“Damn…” Zeran groaned and closed his eyes.

“Is that all you got?” a figure sneered at him. “Pa-the-tic.”
“Who the hell are you to criticize me?” Zeran yelled angrily.
“If I remember correctly, you wanted to surpass me right?” Kanda grinned maliciously. “The way you are now, even that baka moyashi can beat you with ease.”
“TAKE THAT BACK!” Zeran sliced at Kanda with Tengoku.
Kanda blocked his attack lazily.
“You pitiful human,” Kanda drew Mugen and unleashed Kaichuu Ichigen. Zeran was blown back and sent flying.
“You’ve been cursed, so what?” Kanda said. “So you have an overwhelming evil inside of you, so what? You tried to kill your precious friends, so what?” Kanda lifted Zeran up by the collar.
“Get stronger,” Kanda gritted his teeth. “Get stronger so you can suppress that curse. Get stronger so you can use that cursed eye to your advantage! GET STRONGER SO THAT NOBODY WILL HAVE TO DIE IN FRONT OF YOU AGAIN!”
“Shut the fuck up,” Zeran clutched his right eye and broke Kanda’s grip. “I don’t need a bastard like you to tell me that!”
Zeran readied Tengoku as Kanda prepared an assault.
“Are you ready,” Kanda grinned. “Nigentou…”
“There’s no way I’m losing now,” Zeran’s right eye clicked mechanically.
“INNOCENCE HATSUDOU!” they yelled simultaneously.

Zeran woke up and stood up tall. That’s right he thought. I have no reason to hold back anymore. My fear… will become my strength. I will give it my all to save the souls of those Akuma for Shia’s sake and defeat you… Kanda Yuu.
He picked up his sword and locket and continued walking. “I’ll find a new eye-patch at the next town,” he said to himself. “Then I’ll keep that promise to Riena. I won’t lose again… Not even to the Akuma within me.” Zeran stopped and yelled at the top of his lungs. “YOU HEAR THAT KANDA YUU? I AM GOING TO KICK YOUR ASS ONE DAY, SO YOU’D BETTER NOT DIE BEFORE THEN!” (Kanda sneezes and goes: ???)
Zeran’s right arm began to shine and turn into his claws and then into a new shape. What’s this? His right arm became a hand again but Zeran felt different. “Innocence hatsudou!” he yelled. A big glowing light came from his hand and a sword appeared.
“I see,” Zeran grinned. “My new weapon… Thank you for watching over me… Shia.”

“Zeran nii-chan is late,” Riena complained. “Hurry back…”

Stephanie stepped carefully over what appeared to be the remains of what had once been a desk. The group had headed back to the ruins of the old HQ to poke around and wait for the Finders. She sighed, running her finger along the remnants of a wall. A low whistle behind her alerted her to the small yet somehow imposing presence of Eny Vachir. The youngest Bookwoman leaped over the desk, her eyes widened in some mix of surprise and respect. “He did quite a number on this place,” She said, looking around them in awe, “Our Judas.”

Stephanie sighed, not looking over at the younger girl. “Don’t call him that. Zeren didn’t have any control.” The Exorcist frowned, sitting on a pile of ruble. Eny shrugged, taking another quick glance around, before kneeling beside the desk’s vestiges and trying one of the mostly uncrushed drawers. It jangled, then opened. With a smile, Eny began to rifle through the depths of the drawer.

“It’s a pity, too. I think I almost liked him. He seemed sort of intelligent,” Eny turned to look at the older girl, who smiled wispily.

“Well, be sure to tell him that when we see him next,” She told the young genius, standing and striding to kneel beside her, shifting through the papers in the drawer. “Is any of this important?”

“What makes you think we’ll see him again. He could be dead, for all we know. Either way, if he has any sense he’ll stay away from us. He doesn’t want to kill his friends, of course, so the only logical course of action would be to never see them again,” Eny said blankly, peering at a mostly legible paper and placing it on a pile to her left. Stephanie was silent, a sad look in her eyes. What Eny said was true. Odds were, they’d never see Zeren ever again.

“He’ll be back.” Stephanie jumped. Ying had appeared almost by magic on the other side of the desk. Her arms were filled with what seemed to be a few mostly usable medicines and bandages. “Zeren always comes back.” What seemed like the beginnings of a smile danced on Ying’s usually impassive face for a moment, before reverting to the quiet face that they’d all come to know as Ying’s normal expression. “You two should hurry. The Finders have arrived.”

Stephanie nodded, gathering the papers she and Eny had salvaged. The youngest member of their group stood, her cat leaping atop her head as she grabbed a few more of the papers that had not been destroyed before bounding over the ruined desk. Stephanie followed quickly. The three- four if you count Fermium- headed along the destroyed corridor without speaking.

Once outside, Eny ran to join Amiti and Blade to compare notes of the destruction of the HQ. Stephanie chatted idly with Rinvak, who held nothing but told Stephanie that she had “unloaded all that shit on your boyfriend and the newbie”, and Tabitha, who clasped several torn photographs and a large book on quantum physics. Stephanie wanted to question the younger girl, but the name on the front of the book with not Tabby’s, and though the print had been mostly ripped off, Stephanie caught sight of a large cursive ‘E’ at the start of the owner’s name and knew better then too ask why Tabby had saved her deceased brother’s quantum physics textbook. Ying seemed to disappear, but then again, it was Ying, what did they expect?

Following the Finders, the North American branch of the Black Order looked defeated, Tabitha wearily thought as Stephanie yawned, quietly allowing her head to come to rest on Blade’s shoulder. The Bookman grinned triumphantly, adjusting his pace to keep the Exorcist comfortable. Further on ahead, an indignant Eny was scooped up by Amiti, as the youngest member of their little group was falling asleep on her feet. Amiti seemed almost frightened by the yelling prodigy, but like any spoiled child her spell passed and she fell into sleep, curled into the elder Bookman’s shoulder, Fermy curled up on her stomach. Even further ahead, Lione spoke quietly with one of the Finders. Tabby guessed he was probably worrying about where they were going to stay now, whether anyone had alerted the doctors and desk workers, whether anyone had contacted the European base. Tabby smiled fondly. They were so lucky to have someone like Lione looking after them…

“Watch it,” Rinvak growled as Tabby nodded off, almost falling onto the other Exorcist. Tabitha grinned cheerfully.

“Sorry Rinvak-chan…” She said with a yawn. “I’m just sleeeepppyy….” Again, the younger Exorcist almost fell, but Rinvak roughly held the other girl up.

“Stay awake, cuz I sure as hell am not carrying you,” Rinvak stated. Tabby nodded sleepily. On her other side, Flames caught her as she nearly fell again. He looked at Rinvak, who shrugged and hurried along ahead. Sighing, Flames supported the younger Exorcist, and Daniel rushed forward to support her other side. Ying had appeared almost by magic at Lione’s side, still totting what she had saved of medicines.

“Has anyone sent a message to Lengo?” The Finders raised an eyebrow. “He’s on a mission, is he not?” Ying clarified. Lione nodded, rubbing his temples.

“Yeah, I forgot. Thanks, could someone do that for me?” A Finder rushed off to do as he said. Lione sighed. This stress was going to take ten years off his life by the time this whole Zeren mess was cleaned up. “Could you please kill me?” He asked Ying idly. The younger girl raised a bemused eyebrow.

“I’m afraid not,” She answered impassively, hiking her shoulders to keep some of her burden from falling. Lione smiled wearily, picking a few of rolls of bandages off of Ying’s pile, lightening her load. Ying had the common sense to forget her pride. “Where are we headed?” Ying spoke suddenly. Lione raised a surprised eyebrow. Did Ying sound… worried? That certainly wasn’t the pokerfaced Ying he knew.

“We’re getting on a train, and heading north. Where, even I don’t know,” He took a glance back at the group, dropping like flies into sleep. “But the sooner we get there, the better.”

Quietly, the North American Black Order filed onto the train that had pulled into the station. It was nearly three in the morn now, and the likes of Eny and Tabby had not been aroused after their first fall into sleep mode. The group had no energy for talking; they merely collapsed into their seats. Eny slept across two chairs, and Tabby was leaned against the window. The rest of their number soon fell, too, into sleep but for a frazzled looking Lione who murmured random phases along the lines of “Well, at least I don’t have to do any paperwork” and “Did I get in touch with Eny’s father?”- it was well known that Eny’s father was incredibly overprotective- and Amiti, who sati quietly in the same compartment as the sleeping Eny and petted Fermy blankly, staring out the window. Beside him, Rinvak, too, sat awake, idly looking at the blanket that covered Eny.

“So, um… Miss Rinvak, right?” Amiti seemed to want to start a conversation to fill up the silence. Rinvak only gave a grunt that he interpreted as a yes. “Where do you think we’re headed?” She let her shoulders rise and fall. Amiti sweatdropped. This girl was kind of hard to talk to… “So, uh…”

“Could you not talk?” Rinvak said gruffly. Amiti shut up. Their compartment fell into silence.

“Where are we going?” Blade asked Lione within the confines of the compartment. Stephanie had, as usual, fallen asleep almost the moment the train had started, this time collapsing onto Blade. Beside the drained Lione, Ying sat quietly, peering at the other, awaiting the answer to Blade’s question. Lione sighed.

“There’s a back-up base up in Boston. It’s even more low-tech then our old one, but it’ll do,” He answered, his eyes trained on the window. “We should be almost there.”

“Finally, we’ve been on this thing for hours!” Blade whined, leaning his head back. Ying smiled bemusedly. Lione just grinned, standing and bustling out of the compartment, saying something about telling the others they’d be arriving soon.

The rise and fall of Stephanie’s rhythmic breathing, the shouts of “Boston?!?” from the nearby compartments, the wordless amusement written on Ying’s face made Blade think, maybe tragedy should strike them more often. It seemed to bring them all closer together.

Eny and Tabby awoke as they approached the station, Tabitha growing quieter and quieter as they drew closer. The bustle from the cubicles drowned out all other noise, before the train stopped moving and the North American Black Order unloaded, taking what they had salvaged from their own base- Amiti, who seemed to think that as the newest member needed to prove himself, took both his and Rinvak’s fair share, despite Rinvak’s protests.

As the train drew away from the station, leaving the group on the platform, a red sun began its rise over the Charles. A new day had come.

Part 1:
Magier was sitting at Jaques' side until he fell asleep, forced by tiredness and the pain his fever caused. Then, she moved away in order to get new cold water to care for his fever and lower it. She took the bin where a puddle of luke water rested in. When she passed Amaterasu by who was still sitting at the fire and had taken on the job of poking the ember with a stick, she stopped and turned her head to him.
"I...am going to get new water", Magier said tersely and she walked off to the little lake close to the place they were staying, not paying attention to Amaterasu's reaction.
"Do what you like to", Amaterasu replied still staring at the core of the fire. "But be careful."

Magier reached the lake she had intended to go to and filled the bin with fresh, crystal clear water. For a while, she just kept staring at the water surface as she had done it some nights ago and the water caressed her hands. It was cold as it should be.
"As cold as I am", Magier whispered into the night. When she stood up, she could see something flashing in her canthus. It came from the other side of the lake. What was it? Slowly, Magier lowered the bin, put it on the ground and turned her head to Amaterasu. Instead of looking, he was still busy with poking the ember. It was her chance to leave without making a noise in the world to follow the suspicious shadow she had seen.
She had a hunch and wanted to prove its realness. The dark gave cover to her. Furthermore, a Noah was used to the dark so it was no problem to move in it, even if bushes and branches bared the way. The closer Magier came, the more the unknown shadow was released. It was a person, that was sure but who exactly?
Something flashed under the coat the person wore and long hair blew in the wind. Suddenly, he stopped. Did he see her?
"Aaargh, I haven't eaten since days. I guess I can't repress it anymore. if this continues on, my stomach rumbles will draw Akuma", the person complained under the noise of a rumbling stomach.
"I guess you won't have time to eat anything, you bastard", Magier said loudly, coming out the hideaway. The black katana flashed in her hand in a dangerous way and her eyes were full of anger and obsession. She was obsessed with killing and torturing when she had found out who the person was she had followed.
"You", Zeran said grinning. "What's the reason for your visit, Noah?"

A dark lightning approached Zeran and he was able to avoid it with his right arm. When the dark light was gone he faced a Noah who was obsessed with dark desires and craziness. It was readable on her face where the bloody crosses slowly appeared and the skin colouring greyish.
"I will kill you, vermin. For what you've done to Jak-kun. I will torture, tear and rip the heart out of you. When I am done with you, you would wish to die", Magier said with a creepy voice and her steps were coming closer and closer. Zeran wasn't impressed by her words but rather stood up to prepare for an upcoming fight. Where the black arm had been, a white katana took it's place. It was the direct opposite of Magier's one. The only thing they had in common was the vibrating sense of cutting through something or someone.
"Such harsh words, young lady. Don't worry, the fight won't last for long", Zeran replied and lifted his sword pointing at Magier's throat.

Part 2:
The air seemed to vibrate under the influence of tension that arose between the Exorcist and the Noah. Crows were flying above the battle field and delivered the message of an upcoming fight and a possible corpse they could refresh themselves on. But strangely, the crows were gathering behind Magier. Zeran tried to take this unlikely appearance out of his mind. He had to focus on the fight. It was a Noah after all.
"She seems to be really upset, but why worrying", Zeran thought. "With my normal power I will be able to beat her. She doesn't look very strong anyway, more frightening but not strong."
"Here I come", Magier announced and with a speed, Zeran hadn't thought her of being capable of, the Noah approached him. The two katana met and the sound of colliding steel was hearable, accompanied by the cawing of the crows. For some seconds, Magier was really close to Zeran and he could clearly see a flash in her left eye. A pushing back and the attack began from anew. Several black thunderbolts appeared when the blades hit each other. But so far, it was easy for the Exorcist to avoid the attacks. Then suddenly, the Noah disappeared, popping up behind him unexpectedly. He turned around and could avoid the attack with his blade just in time.
"You're too slow", Magier shouted and carried out a graceful jump over Zeran's head, bracing her sword on his one and landed in the going-in position they were in at the beginning of the fight.
"I won't take you easy, I said", Magier responded. "Remember it when I stab my katana in your body and viscerate you."
"Tche, stupid girl. You won't even reach my body", Zeran jeered. "Let's enjoy this fight."

The ember crumbled under the constantly poking from Amaterasu. "Where is this girl?", he complained and finally looked up. He couldn't spot her from his place so he stood up searching for her. His search quickly ended when he stepped at the bank of the lake, seeing the bin half-filled with water. He took it and went to Jaques who should be firmly asleep but when Amaterasu kneeled down, Jaques opened his eyes and stared at the dark blue night sky. "Where is she?", he asked tersely in a monotone way.
Amaterasu looked at him and answered in the same monotone way: "She's gone. I don't know where she disappeared to but..."
He was interrupted right within his sentence by a rude response of Jaques.
"Then look for her!"
"Are you kidding me? She's sixteen years old. She can look out for herself. I am not her nanny."
In his slightly occuring anger, Jaques grasped the collar of Amaterasu and stressed what he had said.
"Look for her! She isn't able to look out for herself. She's too childish. She will do anything stupid otherwise."

Part 3:
The ground quaked caused by the strength that was about to be released. Zeran's katana vibrated and his long hair blew from the arising wind, releasing a white eye-patch. Gladly he was able to find a new one for the time being. But he wasn't sure how long this patch could be of any use. Magier stared at him with a look that could kill. Pure obsession flew through her whole body and the thrill was palpable in every
vein of it. But then she noticed the air that began to circle Zeran and her look lost its staunchness. What was he about to do?
"I never said, I won't spare you either. So, here I come!", Zeran shouted and with a similar situation which had happened at the beginning of the fight, Zeran hit Magier's blade with full strength causing it to tremble. Suddenly, the air around Zeran seemed to take shape and slashed Magier's cheek. Blood was dropping down her face but she just licked it appreciatively with her tongue. "This is going to be fun", she said.
"Don't think you can get off so easily", Zeran talked back, releasing another attack with his katana. The air surrounded Magier and slashed several superficial wounds in her arms and legs. But she didn't seem to care. Instead of getting angry she began to laugh like mad.
"Now, I know it. How I will torture you to dead", she said perfidiously.
She moved back several steps and the crows that had been resting on the branches of the trees which surrounded the area, gathering around Magier. "I will show you what pain is."
She lifted her katana highly above her head and the crows began to fly around the blade in circles, causing a storm to appear that origin lay at the pike of the blade. In a, for Zeran unknown language, Magier shouted: "Heerschar der weissen Kraehe (Host of the White Crow)!"
The storm began to take shape. The shape of a huge crow with minatory wings and claws. With maximum speed, the crow approached Zeran. He could avoid the attack but not without touching the sharp air that surrounded the huge crow. Blood splattered out of a wound at the left leg and when he landed, he slightly stumpled. But he wasn't aware of the crow's true ability. The huge animal splitted up into thousands of normal-sized crows who began to attack Zeran from everywhere. Soon, he was surrounded by a wall of black feathers and he lost sight of his opponent.
"What the hell-", he said, turning around in his living cage. A creepy laughter was hearable from the other side of the constant rotating wall.
"Like a captive bird in a cage."
"Shut up!"
"Shall I release the pitiful bird?"
Suddenly the voice was behind him and Zeran was able to see Magier materialising out of the wall and slashing after him just in time to avoid the attack anew but it pushed him back against the wall and the razor sharp feathers bored into his back. Blood spilled against the feathers and plunged them into a dark red colour. A scream and a harsh attack from Zeran's side destroyed the wall of feathers and they were falling on the ground, bursting to dust before they could touch it.
Suddenly Zeran’s right eye began to click mechanically. "You bitch."

Part 4:
Jaques let go of Amaterasu when a creepy sound let them shrink back for a second. It came from the north, the way Magier had headed to.
A bright light had caught the attention of both Noah. A shadow of a crow loomed ahead and Jaques sat up in a rush.
"What's wrong, Jaques? Do you think..."
"She can't..."
Jaques never finished the sentence. Instead, he stood up and rushed towards the direction where the bright light already had disappeared, followed by Amaterasu. "Hey, Jaques. Don't exert yourself too hard", he shouted.
But he didn't care, running as fast as his pitiful circumstances allowed it. He had to stop her, no matter what.

Magier stared at Zeran who crouched on the ground, touching his right eye with one hand. He seemed to desperately hold something under.
"What are ya doing there, you vermin?", Magier asked sadistic. "Already completely defeated?!"
"I said shut up!", Zeran shouted. A hard impact hit Magier and hurled her against a tree what caused the crows to startled up and crawing anew. Blood dropped out of a corner of her mouth but she wiped it of with the back of her hand.
"What was that", the Noah thought but there wasn't enough time to think about it cause the next attack approached. Magier succeeded dodging the attack but the tree bursted into pieces. Zeran appeared out of the dust the attack had left and attacked anew. Every attack pushed Magier several steps back although she could impede them with her katana. Finally, the bombardment of harsh hits ended and it gave Magier the opportunity to calm down her breathing.
"T-this bastard. I guess he gives me no other choice", Magier whispered.
Zeran stared at the Noah who squated on the ground, exhausted by the amount of attacks she had to take. His look was merciless...like Magier's. She stood up facing him.
"You made me really angry, ya know", she replied. "There weren't many on account of whom I have to release the next step of total destruction."
Her left hand, covered with several bleeding scars, wandered to her left eye. She shortly touched it, then pulling her hand away. The once yellow colour in it disappeared and left a darkish blue colour. The cross-like sign under her eye began to merge together with her left pupil and a pitch-black reticle emerged within her eye.
"You won't be able to attack me anymore", Magier jeered.
"Don't joke around", Zeran said and released another attack but Magier dodged the attack with ease, jumped into the air and attacked where Zeran left a gap of defense. Both blades clashed anew and the blow of the attack was senseable till the edge of the forest where Amaterasu and Jaques had arrived at in the meanhwile.
"What's with your eye, you monster?", Zeran beged under the force of Magier's weapon.
"As I said, you won't be able to hit me cause I can foresee your attacks, you idiot."
"Then, there's an easy way to surpass it", Zeran replied with defiantness. "Being faster than you won't be too difficult."
"Quit joking around, you asshole. There's no way you can be..."

Magier stopped in her sentence cause Zeran disappeared and popped up behind her. She turned around but was able to dodge the attack just halfway. The attack of Zeran's deadly white blade slashed her right shoulder and blood spread out of the wound, sharing out on Zeran's face.
"I...will...kill...you!", the Noah squalled under the pain the wound produced.
"You already said so", Zeran talked back equal.

Part 5:
Jaques and Amaterasu were close to the events. They could already see two figures facing each other. Amaterasu had to prop Jaques who nearly collapsed under the painful fever.
Then, the final blow had begun. Magier stood up, prepared for the deadly hit as well as Zeran. They were facing each other seriously. The next blow would decide the outcome of the battle. As in slow-motion, both lifted their weapons. The black one on the one side, the white one on the other one. Light and shadow. Good and evil. Hope and misfortune. Exorcist and Noah. One can't excist without the other one.
"LET'S GO!!!", both shouted at one go.
One step, bright lightning and a creepy sound of blades cutting through human flesh. Blood splattered along the whole ground, spotting trees and leaves in a dark red. Jaques and Amaterasu just came at the right time to look at the calamity. Amaterasu's eyes widened when he saw it. His strength left his body and he barely could prop Jaques who just stared at the carnage in front of his eyes.
Magier's sword had dipped into Zeran's chest, barely missed his heart. But also Zeran succeeded in his attack. He grinned at the girl and she grinned back. His white katana stuck in the Noah's left eye and blood dropped down the blade. It was a horrible sight. A puddle of blood cummulated under their feet and didn't seem to be willed to stop. To the surprise of the Exorcist, Magier began to laugh like mad. Then she faced him furtive.
"You~are~trapped~Exorcist", she said gaily. Then she moved towards the shocked Exorcist, causing the sword to run deeper in her head.
"What are you doing, you fool", Zeran shouted slightly panicky. But Magier just kept grinning.
"Stop, you fool!", Jaques screamed and delivered Amaterasu from his rigidity. "You will die!"

Part 6:
Magier moved towards Zeran, their bodies nearly touching each other, so that they could almost hear each other's heartbeat. The girl lifted her hands, touching Zeran's cheek and cramping her black fingernails in it. The ground began to crumble and darkness approached.
Black wings spread out the Noah's back and the katana in Zeran's body turned into a scythe which caused Zeran to spill out more blood. What was happening here?
Magier was so close to Zeran that he could feel her heavy, cold breath. The breath of death. The katana still stuck in Magier's left eye but Zeran already let go of it cause it had got a way to hot. It was a wonder that the blade didn't melt away.
"Heerschar der weissen Kraehe, Zweiter Akt (Host of the White Crow Act Two)."
"Stop it!!!"

The bright white crow appeared a new but this time, behind Magier. With deadly flashing eyes, it focused Zeran. A clock whose clock hands kept rotating, loomed behind Zeran and the fingers began to move towards twelve o'clock. His remaining life-time. Shortly, the crow's eyes turned red and what happened then, struck within seconds. Magier kissed Zeran on the lips. Zeran, too surprised to struggle, just saw the crow approaching and felt the cold spreading out in his body. Then, the crow cut through Magier's and Zeran's body who was trapped in the Noah's grip. He was unable to flee or defend himself. So he was at the mercy of the attack. He felt a piercing pain running through every nerve of his body when the crow's claws bore through his chest and interpenetrate. It was like facing the death, standing on the abysm of complete misery.
Nevertheless, the attack had effects on the Noah either. Magier's wings began to burst to dust. Indeed, they had blocked a great amount of the attack but they were unable to avoid the whole power of it on Magier's body. Apart from that, the attack cost Magier all her strength. Letting the death running through the opponent's body wasn't for free after all.
Suddenly, the white eye-patch lost its grip and fell on the ground. The process of the attack was disturbed by a creepy howl. Magier shrinked back and the attack stopped in its process. The scythe turned back to the old black katana. Moreover, it bursted into pieces when Zeran pulled it out. Magier's eyes widened when she saw what was happening there right in front of her. A short look at a totally changed Zeran with an uncontrollable killer instinct in his eyes who pulled out his katana from Magier's left eye, then a mechanically click, a scream and Zeran turned back to normal. But with the upcoming light in which the bright white crow disappeared, Zeran vanished too.

Part 7:
Magier lifted her hand while falling. Maybe she thought she could reach her opponent but he wasn't there anymore, disappeared in a flash of bright light. Magier hit the ground with her back and she spitted blood when she felt the hard, stony soil boring in her spinal cord. Blood dropped down her chin, merging together with the bloody puddle on the ground. She didn't notice in what a rush Jaques and Amaterasu ran to her, even not how Amaterasu kneeled down to look at her fatal wounds, especially the one she had in her face. It was inconceivable that she was still alive. Her left eye had been almost excelled.

"You blessed yourself again?"
"I-I am sorry."
"I sometimes really got the feeling you're doing it by your own choice. But that's absurd."
"Y-yeah it is...Ouch."
"It looks serious. What did you do?"
"I...fell down the stairs cause I was in rush."
"In rush?"
"I wanted to meet you so badly", Magier thought.

Jaques kneeled down as well.
"What a stupid girl", he said, touching her head. Suddenly, Magier's hand grasped the one of Jaques. The grip got tighter and tighter and Jaques stared at her in a surprised way.
"D-doctor", Magier whispered. "I have blessed myself again. Please help me."
Then she fainted, her grip broke away and she dived into eternal darkness and nightmares. The blood kept running and running and running.
"Magier-chan...", Jaques said.

"I...killed him..."
Magier stared at the blood that was dropping down her hands, through her fingers. Then, her look eastbounded...to the graveyard.
She took the person she just had killed at the collar and pulled the corpse to the dark place where every person shared the same destiny. Death.

A magier awakens in Juaques tent wearing his jacket. "What the?" She says as she realizes where she is.
Her body aches as she tries to move to a small mirror next to her.
She sees that her full body is covered in bandages only her right eye and a bit of her hair is not.
"I look like a mummy..... and I couldn't even beat this bastard!" She clenches her fist trying to remember what happened after the battle.

"D-doctor", Magier whispered. "I have blessed myself again. Please help me."

"Oh great! What have I said?" Her eyes fill with water and as she wants to wipe the tears aways Magier realises what she is wearing.
"Wait a minute," Magier thinks, "Does that mean Jaques is running around n.."
Simultaniously Jaques enters the tent.
Her nose starts to bleed the moment she sees him.
"Oh magier chan have your wounds opened again?" he says laughing. Magier blushes and anwers angrily:
"You moron! Why do you run around like this? Get some clothes already!"
"Oh well, your clothes are completely torn apart and you miss something to wear Gabrielles dresses
so I thought this is the best way or do you prefer to run around in your underwear? By the way it's pretty hot outside so most men aren't wearing a shirt." mentiones Jaques in the typical polite way that makes magier very angry. She feel like a small child getting lectures from a teacher. At the same time she wants to take a look outside.
"If you like it I'll send Gabrielle to you. She's a great nurse.
Your wounds don't need much care anyway. I admire your healing abilitys they are far superior to mine. See you later now rest."


Magier felt terrible.
"Far superior"
After I went all out screaming at him when he fell sick the positions have totally changed. "You miss something to wear Gabrielles dresses"
What does he mean by that? I'm a woman too. Gabrielle is so beautiful... is this the type of women he likes? Well, I never be this kind of blond bimbo!
Doktor liked me the way I was.
Ay what am I thinking? He's my brother.... well technically we share some genes like we're both from the same tribe but he's not my brother because we have the same parents.

"May I come in?" Asekes Gabrielle after she enters the tent.
Shes wearing a light white summer dress perfectly covering what noone should see and underlining what everyone should see.
"You have already entered before asking." magier replies sarcastically.
"Oh have I? Anyway I'm hear to change the bondages"


Gabrielle takes of the bondages but there are no wounds to see.
"Oh! You noahs shure are great! You have completely recovered in three days!
Except the left eye! Well, use an eyepatch untill it's fully recovered!"
Gabrielle says with a happy voice.

Is there an exclamation mark sell-out somewhere? This is not that surprising

"Are really all men without a shirt?" Magier said to change the topic. Gabrielle looks puzzzled.
"Yes they are but why do you ask?"
"Well Jaques came in and.."
"Oh I understand", Gabrielle interrupts " did you like what you saw?"
Suddenly Magier notices a change in Gabrielles presonality.
The bimbo became a cocky girl who seems accidentely beautiful.
The stance and talking seem to fit a trapper or a gambler but not to her.

"Well, yes when he wears this robe you can't see anything but a pair of broad shoulders."
Magier can't help herself but to giggle in a childish way. Gabrielle looks at Magier,
"Well mate, I didn't think you would have such a nice body aswell.
But give it up he swore abstinence."
Magier fell into a deep hole "Abstinence you mean never ever?"
"Never ever. He's a priest. I tried it and he resisted. I have to go now.
Might want to come with me and take a look at the men?"

Part 1
Riena quietly walked around town. In the short time Zeran left her and her family, Riena decided to make something more of her life. People still don't know her as the thief from before. They all think she's an angel who desended from heaven. She's always on her best behavior around everyone, and the entire town loves her. But everyday, she's been silently hoping to see Zeran again. It's been more than a month already yet no word of his whereabouts has ever reached Riena's ears.
That bastard promised me he'd be back, Riena thought bitterly. What in the world happened to you... Zeran nii-chan...
"Oh Riena-chan," the grocer's wife called out to her.
"What's wrong?" Riena obediently walked over.
"I ran out of forest mushrooms for some soup," the lady sighed. "Would you mind getting some for me? I'll pay you with some money and some of my famous broth!"
"YEA!" Riena nodded happily. The grocer's wife's broth is good enough to die for.
So this was how Riena's day began. It was no different from the other days she did favors for the other villagers and recieved payment to help her and her family survive. Ever since she changed her way of life, it's been a lot better than when she was stealing.
"Ri-" A voice called out out of nowhere.
Riena looked around. Am I imagining things?
"-ena" the voice finished.
Something is calling me... Riena looked around but saw nobody. Is it coming from the forest? She picked up the pace towards the forest. It seemed more eerie than ever, but Riena was more focused on the voice which called her. What was it and where did it come from were some of the questions on her mind. After near 3 hours of searching without finding the source of the voice (or any mushrooms for that matter) she decided to headback, dejected and tired. Suddenly the voice came again, only clearer.
"Riena" that single word was all that was said.
As if like magic, Riena suddenly knew where the voice came from. She rushed through the part of the forest she hadn't looked through and saw a huge tree.
Chained to the tree was a bloodied angel.

Part 2:
Riena screamed her head off.
The angel had 6 wings, 3 black on his right and 3 white on his left. The angel's entire body was covered with blood and 6 giant stakes nailed his wings to the tree. But the wings glowed and did not bleed. The angel's glowing silver hair covered his face, and it was clearly a beautiful creature. The chains strapped his arms to the branches, and locked his arms and legs to the trunk of the tree. Staring at this angel was another girl besides Riena. She had smooth silky black hair down to her shoulders and a gentle expression on her face which made her look very pretty.
"Oh?" the girl turned to look at Riena. "Good evening. How are you?"
"What..." Riena opened her mouth. "What is this?"
"It's a poor boy," the girl smiled sadly while looking back at the angel. "His heart is as you see. It's all beaten and bloodied, and it can't fly anymore. All it can do is just watch on from that position."
"Why?" Riena asked. "Surely this person can't be all that bad?"
"Humans all do bad things without realizing it. It's one of our greatest weaknesses," the girl said quietly. "This boy lacked the strength to control his actions and he wound up hurting a great deal of people. He can never forgive himself nor can he expect others to forgive him for it. So he chained himself up like this."
Riena paused trying to take this all in.
"It's true humans are like that," Riena began. "But while we hurt sometimes, we also manage to bring happiness as well. It's what somebody taught me. He taught em that I couldn't simply live my life by making others unhappy. I had to work to make everyone smile."
"It's good you believe that," the girl smiled gently. "Are you by any chance, Riena?"
"Huh?" Riena blinked. "Yea I am... How do you know my name?"
"This boy," the girl pointed. "Who drowns himself in his sins, unable to truly connect with anyone for fear of losing them, and tries his very best to repent for his past mistakes, is the one who told me."
"How would he know me?" Riena said slowly... Unless! Riena rushed to the tree and took a closer look at the angel. It was Zeran's face. But how? Riena wondered. Zeran doesn't have wings nor silver hair. What's going on?
Riena turned to the girl. "This person is Zeran nii-san."
"Nii-san?" the girl laughed. "I guess that does suit him in a way. He tried so hard to protect me when we were little. But that's all in the past."
In the past? Riena wondered. She knew Zeran nii-san from before?
"Riena," the girl looked at her in the eyes. "From now on, I want you to take good care of Zeran for me."
"Eh?" Riena blinked.
"This poor boy," the girl sighed. "No matter how much he acts independent or cool, in the end he always needs somebody to stand by him no matter what. Otherwise, his heart will remain chained up forever."
"Why can't you do it?" Riena asked.
"Because I already long ceased to exist in this world," the girl smiled sadly and began to fade.
"WAIT!" Riena called out. "How do I save Zeran nii-san?"
"Simply free his heart from the tree he is bound to," the girl said before vanishing.

Part 3:
Zeran nii-san, Riena glanced up at him. What in the world happened to you?
Riena climbed the tree and tried pulling down each stake for every wing. Every time she pulled down a stake the wing would disappear. One by one she pulled it out with all her strength. When there was one reamaining...
"RAHHHH" Riena yelled as she pulled it out, and slipped. She grabbed onto the chains binding Zeran and sighed. Suddenly the chains shattered and she was thrown to the ground.
"Owwwww...." Riena groaned. "What the hell was that?"
Zeran's hiar slowly turned from silver to black again and fell from the tree straight onto the ground.
"Nii-san!" Riena yelled and tried to catch him, but her body was too small and he simply landed on top of her.
Riena looked closely at Zeran's body which was covered in blood. She couldn't hold back a tear as she saw his badly beaten face covered in blood. The same face who was smiling at her less than 2 months ago. This same face now devoide of life. She gently stroked his hair and gained a newfound strength. She got out from under him and ran into the village for help.
People immediately came out to Riena's cry and followed her into the forest. When they discovered the injured Zeran, the viallgers cooperated to bring him back safe and sound. At the inn, the doctor gave Zeran a full check up and then proceedded to treat his wounds.
"It'll take him at least a month to heal these wounds," the doctor shook his head.
"No way..." Riena gasped.
"Don't worry," the doctor tried to cheer her up. "A month will pass by quickly."
Riena nodded and asked to stay next to him while he recovered.
"Zeran nii-san," Riena whispered. "You're probably not going to tell me what happened to you, nor are you going to tell me who that girl I met was. I hate it! I hate you not telling me anything! I want you to trust me..." Tears silently rolled down her cheek, and she slowly drifted off to sleep.
Zeran opened his eyes.

Part 4:
I thought I heard... Shia? Zeran groggily looked around. Where am I? I was fighting that Noah... But I did my best to hold 'him' back. Shit, that girl really wanted to kill me. Next time, I think I'll break my rule of holding back when fighting females and teach her a lesson, just once. Zeran touched his lips. Ugh... Kised by a Noah... Sick... She needs a huge spanking the next time I see her.
Zeran tried to get up but his body hurt and it felt heavy. Eh? Zeran took a better look and saw Riena sleeping on top of his body. I fulfilled my promise after all... He gently stroked Riena's hair. You're a lot different than when I first left you. You've become quite pretty. Zeran quietly wriggled his way out and looked around for his stuff.
"Zeran nii-san..." Riena mumbled in her sleep. "Don't go..."
Can I really stay here? Zeran touched his right eye. Will I...? An image of a town completly engulfed in flames and Riena's mangled body on the ground flashed through Zeran's head. NO! NEVER! Even if it comes me my very soul, I swear I'll never kill somebody precious to me again. But if I leave her alone, she may get killed by an Akuma... then it'll be my fault... What should I do?

The next morning, Riena found herself asleep in a comfortable bed. Eh? Wasn't I with Zeran nii-san? How did I get here? She got up in a complete surprise. "This is Zeran nii-san's bed! Where did he go?" Don't tell me... This is goodbye?

Part 5: (warning... emo overload)
Would Zeran nii-san really leave me? Riena clutched her chest. Then... I'll never see him again? She threw off her covers and ran outside. I don't believe it... Zeran nii-san wouldn't just leave. He can't! I won't forgive him! She looked all over town and asked every villager, but they all had no clue where he went, especially in his condition.
She ran to the last place she hadn't thought of, the forest, and tried looking for him, but found no traces. He isn't... here? Riena's legs gave way. You've left after all... I knew... I was a burden to you... But... No note... no sign to show you were saying good-bye. It's too cruel... She slowly stood up and walked, not knowing or caring where her legs took her.
Zeran nii-san was a very mean person, Riena thought. There's no reason I should be upset. He'd always keep to himself as if he was afraid that giving anything about himself away would mean the end of the world. That cocky grin he always had... It ticks me off! There's all these bad things... But why is it? Why is it when I think of him, my heart feels so much brighter. He is the only person to be able to see through me after all... Even if he can't see through himself, he saw through the exterior I tried so hard to make. I... Riena came to a clearing and saw a bright sparkling lake.
"There was a lake here?" Riena gasped. "It's so beautiful."
She took a seat with her knees pointed upwards and crossed her arms over it and continued thinking. I'm just a nuisance to him anyways. Maybe he and I were supposed to end it like this after all. Yea... It's for the best... She laid her head down on her knees. "Zeran nii-san... Never existed..."

Part 6: (nosebleed stuff)
A splash of water was heard far off. Riena stood up. What could that be? An Akuma? Riena quietlly snuck around (*hums Mission Impossible theme*) and hid behind a bush. Somebody was taking a bath in the lake.
Akumas don't take baths. Who could that be? Riena inched closer for a better look at the person taking a bath. She gasped as she inched closer. Zeran with a bandage around his right eye was silently washing himself, and Riena found it almost intoxicating.
"Enjoying the view?" Zeran called out from where he ws standing in the lake.
Eh? Riena blinked. Did he just...
"Come on out Riena," Zeran said. "You suck at hiding yourself."
Riena covered her eyes and walked towards him.
"Now you cover your eyes," Zeran sighed. "My sexy body isn't free for viewing you know."
"EH?!?!" Riena shouted while still not looking. "I wasn't looking... I was just... passing by!"
"You're worse at lying than you are at hiding yourself," Zeran sighed. "As a punishment, I demand you get in here with me."
"WHAT?!?!?!" Riena gasped and removed her hand. "YOU PERVERT!"
"Oh and I'm the one peeking on somebody else taking a bath?" Zeran grinned. "There's towels over there on the grass. I'm wearing one right now. Go ahead, I promise, I won't peek." Zeran faced the other direction and waited.
Why am I going along with this? Riena obediently stripped and put on a towel. Is it because I'm relieved he didn't leave? She got into the cool clear water of the lake and lined her back against Zeran's.
"Okay I'm in..." Riena said grudingly.
"Good girl," Zeran smiled. "Now it's time for a little fun."
Zeran grabbed Riena and forcefully washed her hair.
"Ow! What are you doing!" Riena whined.
"If you calm down it'll hurt a lot less," Zeran said.
Riena silently obeyed and true to his word, it became like a gentle scrubbing. If a casual observer saw these two, he would conclude they were very close siblings. Soon Zeran finished up, sighed, and turned back.
"Why are you here?" Riena said. "Aren't your wounds serious?"
"Don't 'Meh' me!"
"I'll 'meh' you as much as I want to lil midget."
"You are so insensitive."
"How so?"
"You promised you'd be back, and I waited for so long."
"I'm here now."
"You come back all bloodied up, how do you think I feel?"
"........" Zeran remained silent. "Can you do me a favor?"
"What is it?" Riena asked curiously.
"Forget about me."
"You'll be safer if you do.
"A girl asked me to stay by you no matter what."
"What girl."
"A pretty girl who was very slim and looked very kind."
"She did, huh?"
Damn you... Shia, Zeran thought bitterly

Part 7: (more nosebleed?)
Zeran turned around and wrapped his arms around Riena's shoulders. "If you don't forget me... Many tragic things will happen to you and this town. Is that alright with you?"
Is that alright with me? Riena wondered. Would I risk the death of all my friends and my parents just so I won't forget? No... I'mnot alright, but I know Zeran nii-san will definetly protect me so "Yes it is alright with me," Riena said firmly and gently touched Zeran's arm. "If you can promise to be here when I need you, then I'm alright with it."
So charm doens't work on this girl after all, Zeran thought. "I'm getting out now," Zeran said and released his arms. "Otherwise, my skin will look wrinkly."
"Eh wait I'm coming out too," Riena said and stumbled over a small pebble in the bottom of the lake. She fell over backwards into the water.
"Idiot," Zeran muttered. When Riena didn't resurface for a few minutes, he began to get worried. "Don't tell me that idiot can't swim..." Zeran groaned. He took a deep breath and looked underwater. He quickly located the unconsious Riena whose towel had fallen off. (ZOMG LOLICON) Zeran choked and quickly gasped for air. "WHAT THE HELL!" he yelledand went back in. He quickly picked up Riena's body, closed his eyes, and held her body close. Finally Zeran reached the shore and gently set her body down. He draped a fresh towel over her and sighed.
What a predicament, Zeran thought as he dressed himself. How can I wake her up? Zeran checked her pulse. It was faint and she wouldn't move. CPR it is then, Zeran groaned. He pinched her nose and blew into her mouth. He kept repeating until Riena coughed up water in his face.
"How did I get here?" Riena groaned. "Hey this is a fresh towel!" Riena immediately glared at Zeran. "What happened to my old one?"
"It's some where at the bottom of the lake," Zeran said.
"You looked didn't you?" Riena accused. "It'd be impossible for you not to."
Zeran remained silent. "Sorry..."
"Don't think I'll let you get away for that!" Riena yelled.
"I'm not just apologizing for looking at you," Zeran said quietly. "If it wasn't for my childish desire to make you do something you didn't want to... You almost died..."
Riena quieted down.
"More misfortune will befall you if I stay," Zeran said ominously. "That's why I have to leave." He reached into his pocket and pulled out the pistol of False Innocence which Eny gave him. "You can use this to stun Akuma while you run."
"NO!" Riena shouted and hugged Zeran tightly. "If you weren't here... I don't know what I would do. Plus that girl asked me to stay by you. I'll definetly stay with you no matter what."
"Baka..." Zeran shed a tear and held Riena tightly. "Foolish sentiments get you nowhere."

- At the house of the noah traitor in kanto -

"So this is it, here we are supposed to find something in this house" said legno. Legno turned around and couldn't fin his finder, koko. "Jeeezzz, where's it that guy. Away or late, that guy is like a pain in my ass. What the heck? Gonna go inside anyway with or without him"

Legno slowly opened the door of the house and entered the house. Overconfident to reveal some misteries, his first impresions were dissapointed. A huge house, better a rich man's house with nothing special. It was just a house with rooms, etc. but nothing special. "Well misteries are supposed to be found on a difficult way" There must be something, let's take a look he thought by himself but at the same way worrying about where and what koko was doing.

- Near the house -

"Damned, maybe I have should have told legno about the light I saw in the forest in the backyard. But what the hell, I can't do antyhing against my curiosity" said koko. Koko was slowly walking around in the forest. The light dissapeared, and he had no idea what he was searching for. But the light must have a reason he thought. Koko continued walking deeper into the creepy forest

- In the house -

"So many rooms, and nothing interesting. Is this really a place where any important secret can be found." Legno entered several rooms, but his attention was driven away by one door. A door at the end of the hall. Slowly he opened that door. "This must be it. Hope I'll find something in here" But again nothing special. Legno, as usual was cautious and researched the room in every detail. In the middle of the room, something strange happened. Legno couldn't move, the book became a light. "Damned what is this, can't move. Is this a trap? Arrrrrrrrggggggggggghhhhhhhh!!!!!"

- Somewhere in the forest -

" This sound, the scream of legno. Damned he's in trouble. I shouldn't have left him. Need to go back" As soon as koko turned around, there it stood before him, a sheadow. Koko felt on the ground...

- In the house -

"Where am I? What is this?" "Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhh...." Legno heard a scream behind him and turned around. he couldn't believe his eyes. A small boy laying down on his bed. "Get away, it hurst. My head? Pain, pain, pain... What's happening to me." The boy getting out of his bed, was running towards legno. His face was creepy. Legno feared an attack. "Innocence activated" Nothing happened. "Damned, can't use my innocence, what's happening?" Legno ready to defend himself with anything he got. "Come on... What do you want of me" The boy walked towards legno with murderous eyes. "let's see": said the boy. Legno feared of being killed, such a murderous aura. Slowly the boy approached legno. "It's now or never". Legno grabbed his stick to slap the boy, but he couldn't. Eyes and mouth opened, legno couldn't believe what he saw. The boy just walked through him. "What is happening?". Legno saw the boy running to a mirror. "What's the meaning of those crosses on my forehead, what's the meaning of the colour of my skin". "You are my precious. You are mine. Follow me"

- At the forest -

"Finder? Only a finder? Is that everything?". " A level 2 akuma" said koko. "Well this you lucky day" smiled the level 2 akuma, "this your end". Koko smiled back...

- In the house -

Legno came back to the real world. He couldn't believe what he saw, he saw the boy becoming a noah. But he didn't know why? Why? That event. Did it have a meaning? Suddenly legno couldn't believe his eyes. When he entered the room, the book he had with him was closed. But after that event, the book was opened on page 5

Page 5:
I was born in kanto and I was cursed in kanto, a place where the sun can't shine. I wouldn't call it blessing as my brothers and sisters say. I wonder why me? Why that birth and why that curse? Never saw the light of the sun. Doesn't have that fact a meaning. Sometimes I think to myself, if my birth wasn't the badest thing that would happen. But I will not believe that, I have been born to determine the outcome of the war. The war that the excorsists will win. Therefor I wanted you to enter my house. With my noah ability, this unrevealed line must be revealed: JUST LOOK AROUND...

"Ahhh there you are. Legno... Suprised to see me?" As soon as koko entered the room, he couldn't believe his eyes. "What's this?". "Latin". It was the only thing legno could get out of his mouth. There they stood in a room, walls written full of lines written in latin...

Boston was something very different from what the exorcists were used to, There old HQ was in the middle of the forest desolate and perfect for headquarters, Boston was a tad different. It had people everywhere and they were out in droves, all of them out and about doing whatever was to be done from shopping to peddling they all lined the streets as the exorcists looked on a little dazed and confused.

"Well everyone here it is, Boston, Massachussetts." Lione turned around and Faced the group of them standing together, in uniform they looked a little like Liones own little private army. "I'm sure you may all be asking why it is that I've chosen Boston, I told Blade while everyone was sleeping that it's because we have a back-up base here and it's pretty low-tech." Lione saw a couple of the faces flinch at that " Don't worry! It'll take some time but I'm sure we can bring it up to date in about a couple of months, but for the meantime you will have to manage."

Stephanie cleared her throat to get Liones attention, "Yes, Stephanie."

"Where exactly is this base?!"

Lione looked turned around and opened his arms "Somewhere out there."

"You mean you don't know! Oh GOD! I think I should reconsider professions" Rinvak yelled in exasperation.

Lione disregarded this outburst "I don't know, but I have a way to find it."

"And how is that?!"Stephanie asked with a touch of annoyance in her voice.

"Like this" Lione went into his uniform and pulled out a box, he opened up the lid and 5 golems jumped into the air they danced around as the sun revealed that they were all different colors. "I just got these yesterday, They are the latest models in golems and they have the location of the back-up base in them so just follow them and it should take you there. "They all have names the red one is Kit, blue is Nita, green is Cuchullain, violet is Pooka, and the goofy orange one is Amadaun" the orange one was spinning at a a pretty fast rate and fell down from dizziness.

"I need some medical items before we leave to the new HQ" Ying said in her usual monotone voice

"I wanna go exploring with-" Tabitha said as she grabbed Eny's hand "with HER!"

"I'd also like to find a smith, my sword is a little dull and I haven't had the chance to sharpen it in ages" Blade said as he examined his sword.

"Alright then Flames go with Ying and..." Lione looked around and smirked "Stephanie you could go with Blade, both of you can take a Golem, Pooka with Blade and Kit you with Flames...oh yes and Nita you can go with the girls"

"Now Cuchullain and Amadaun lead the way to the base! Everyone Follow me or follow the Golem!" Lione marched forward and Rinvak, Amiti and Daniel stood carrying everyones belongings after him luckily Amadaun was moving pretty slow so they could follow him

"Damn everyone! They go wherever they want to go and leave US to carry the luggage" Rinvak was thoroughly pissed. "If I can get my hands on any of them I will kill them!". At that moment Amadaun twirled up into the air and spiraled down, successfully knocking everyone over and having luggage fall on top of everyone.

"Geez, that hurt! If I find that golem I'll kill him" Daniel said right before another piece of airborn luggage fell on his head, knocking him out."

Amiti tried to bring Daniel back to conciousness, but no success then Rinvak came and shaked Daniel real roughly and slapping him to conciousness
"Ouch! Get off you cow!" Daniel yelled after coming to his senses.

"WHAT DID YOU CALL ME!" but just before Rinvak could do serious damage Amiti shook her on her shoulder "What do you want can't you see I'm in the middle of something?"

"Yea, but ummm I think we may be lost..." Amiti said noticing that the trainstation was nowhere in sight and neither was Lione

"Wow this place is really lively!" laughed Tabitha as she ran through the shopping district dragging along Eny who had Fermy scurrying after her chasing Nita

"Yea it is, but I would appreciate it more if you let go of my arm!" Eny said as she forcefully removed Tabithas hand around her forearm. "Geeez now its red, Fermium stop that right now! We're going to need that golem if we plan on finding the base later!" Fermium was trying to catch Nita but she was dodging all of its clawing, almost playing with the cat "But I am interested on what you golems are made of...NO! FERMY" Fermium had just caught Nita and was planning on having it join the sardine she had earlier in its stomach when Tabitha kicked Fermy away from the golem.

"Thats what you get for trying to eat cute little golems!" Nita was fluttering around Tabithas head in gratitude, as Eny's face held a mortified expression.

"Fermy! Are you alright?! Did the mean girl hurt you?" Eny was looking over her kitten and turned around to face Tabby "Your lucky Fermy isn't hurt! Cause if she was I'd-"

"You'd what, tickle me to death?" Tabitha gained a sinister experession on her face "Please, I'm older than you small fry its best you realize now that you, can't do much to me."

Eny was seething she was going to retort and make Tabitha look extremely stupid, but she thought of a better idea. "Maybe your right, but one day you'll be 30 and I'll be 26 and we'll see who's laughing then!"

"HA! You are just a child, you can't even give a good response to an insult!" Tabitha looked proud and continued walking down the street with Eny following her

"How about we go and get something to eat, I'm a little hungry, and so is Fermy thats why she insists on eating Nita."

Tabitha stopped and felt her stomach, she turned around as a loud growl came from her stomach, "Your right, I can't remember when when it was I last ATE! It must have been a century ago!" Tabitha grabbed Nita and put the golem in her pocket and she started running looking for the nearest restaurant, she didn't have to look far

Ollie's Shackhouse

Tabitha looked up and ran inside, Eny and Fermy quickly followed her in.

"I'm gonna have 2 burgers with everything PLEEEEEASE!" Tabitha was already ordering when Eny showed up

"You must be an idiot!" Eny walked by Tabitha "We'd like a table for 3 please." The hostess looked at the 2 young girls and guided them to a table for 3, and had them seated after showing them a menu.

"Ummm, Why are we sitting at a table for 3?" Tabby asked

"Because, Fermy needs a seat too!" Eny picked up the menu and started looking through it.

Tabitha picked up the menu, most of the food sounded good and she decided on the cheeseburger with no onions extra pickles. The waitress walked on over to the table and introduced herself .

"I'm going to have 2 orders of the most expensive thing on the menu, and a pink lemonade" Eny declared as she handed the menu back to the waitress

"So 2 orders of the lime seared prawns?" Eny nodded, The waitress turned to Tabitha " And you?"

"I'd like a cheeseburger well-done no onions extra pickles, and a glass of iced tea" she said as the gave her menu to the waitress

"Okay coming up" The waitress took the menus and left Tabitha and Eny. They sat in silence for a few minutes waiting for their order

"Why are they taking so looooong?" Tabitha wailed in her seat

"Geeez and your calling me young? Be patient, they have to make the food!"

The waitress came back and gave Eny her pink lemonade and Tabitha her iced tea.

As Tabitha sipped on her iced tea she looked at Eny " Why do you act like your 10 years older than me?"

"Excuse me?"

"I mean you treat me like your older than me sometimes."

"Well maybe if you act more like your age I won't have to make up for the age difference!"

Tabitha and Eny both shot scathing looks at each other and turned away. They sat in silence until the food arrived. They both sat in silence as they ate, Eny wasn't going to feel guilty now.

"Excuse me, I'm going to the ladies room...and I'm taking Fermy" She got up and picked Fermy up who was licking his plate and left Tabitha alone. Eny sat in a corner and watched Tabitha as the bill arrived and she looked at it, a look of horror was written on her face. Then Tabitha sat there for awhile as Eny watched pretty soon it looked like Tabitha figured out that Eny wasn't coming back. The waitress approached Tabitha and Tabitha made the gesture of pulling out her pockets revealing nothing except for maybe a few dollars to cover her cheeseburger but not enough to cover the $30 a piece lime seared prawns that Eny had ordered. The waitress left and came back with the manager and by this time Eny was rolling on the floor, but she decided that this was the time to make her escape. She left the restaurant with a giant grin on her face hugging Fermium Nobody messes with my cat

Stephanie walked down the avenue with Blade as he browsed the stores looking for a blacksmith. Geeeez, I'm sure Lione put me with him on purpose. I haven't really had a chance to think over what happened with Blade all those weeks ago, and he wasn't even concious. Stephanie looked sideways towards Blade who got her stare and gave her a cheery smile, she blushed and turned away I wonder if he knows that I kissed him. If he knows he doesn't seem mad, and that smile...

"Hey Steph! I found one." Stephanies attention shifted to the smithery and walked in after Blade. the place was dark and dingy. The smith was short but really muscular and looked like he was losing his hair. Around the store were all sorts of metal work displayed on the walls. He had everything from axes to pots and all of it looked expertly done. "Wow! I'm sure this guy could sharpen my sword he definitely looks competant." Blade walked over to the smith " Excuse me, but I'd like for you to sharpen this sword."

The smith took the sword and inspected it meticulously, he weighed it in his hands and shifted the the blade into the light where he watched the light dance off the blade, Then he glided the back of his nail across the blade and inspected the cut, after doing this he put the sword on the counter. "Sir, I'm not sure what your here for, but this sword is in perfect condition." Stephanie looked at the sword and then at Blade, on his face was a smirk.

"Hehe, you are pretty sharp I was just hoping you would take the sword and sharpen it."

"Sir, I'm sure you're well aware that I couldn't sharpen this sword if I tried, and it would destroy my equipment" The smith raised his finger that he used to test the edge of the blade and the nail was split cleanly in half. "Good thing I used my instincts and decided to touch it lightly with the nail of my finger, because If I used my skin or pressed any more heavier with my nail, I would be a smith with one less finger"

Stephanie stared at the mans nail."W-wait, so your telling me that his blade is that sharp?!"

"Yes, It was obviously created by a smith of likes the world has never seen before, I wouldn't be surprised if it could cut a hair that would just drop on the blade" The smith plucked a hair out of Stephanies head "Sorry ma'am but I'm a balding man." and dropped it on the blade and sure enough the hair was cut cleanly.

"Well, I was wondering if you know and smith who was capable of such work or have heard of any rumors or stories?"

The smith looked into Blades eyes "Well the only story I know of comes from greek lore."

"Well please enlighten me my dear sir, for I have never heard the tale"

The smith stared at Stephanie and then back at Blade "Well the name of the god was Hephaestus, the god of fire, especially the blacksmith's fire, was the patron of all craftsmen, principally those working with metals. He created alot of things from various materials. He forged bolts for Zeus and Eros, the god of love, he formed the arrows and Helios' chariot or goblet...well thats all I know I hope I was of some help."

"Sir, your tale was of the utmost importance, but just one more question."

"Yes sir?"

"Do you think that this sword might be formed from such a god?"

The blacksmith eyed the sword for a few minutes before he answered the question "I might be willing to bet my life that this sword was not created through normal means but by a god" he paused to look at the sword one more time before he could finish "but by a god I think not. I have to say though whomever created this didn't use normal anything from materials to smithing."

Blade smiled and sheathed his sword "Well sir, I'm glad that you could help." he then gestured to Stephanie that he was leaving and proceeded through the front door. They walked in silence for several minutes before anyone said a word "I believe that this sword might have been created by a person who the tale of Hephaestus was based on."

Stephanie looked a little confused "Wasn't your sword created like the other weapons from the order?"

"No, and neither was Flames spear. I believe though that the person who created these weapons might be a little...special"

"Special? Well if he managed to live this long I imagine so."

"Well, I was thinking that he created these weapons a long time ago, I found mine in a rock and Flames said that the spear was handed down to warriors in his tribe every 100 years." Blade touched his sheathed sword "I came to this man, because rumer has it that he is a master smith and I was hoping if he wasn't the master then at least he can point me in the right direction."

"Well he did didn't he?" Stephanie looked back at Blade and he smiled again at her, so this wasn't a date after all...

Blade smiled at her "Would you like to go on a date with me?"

Stephanie smiled a little inside and then ::SMACK::.

"So is that a yes?!"



"..." Flames stood there following Ying through all the medicinal shops picking up this and that. It was like this when they had gone to find the bookman who turned out to be Blade, Extremely quiet.

Ying was walking into another medicinal shop, looking through all the shelves trying to figure out which one was which. Most of her supplies were depleted and i would take a great deal of time to restore it to its former glory, and she had Flames around who looked quite able to fetch a few pounds of herbs and other salves and remedies.

"Flames will you please pass me that green jar on the top shelf?" Flames obliged and reached for the jar when he saw in the corner of his eye a man's hand reaching for Yings pocket. but before he could move Ying with inhuman reflexes grabbed the mans hand as it was just about to reach into her pocket.

"Excuse me sir, but if I catch you doing that again I'll break more than your wrist." The man looked at his wrist and noticed that it wasn't broken.

"!" Ying squeezed his wrist tightly until a very audible snap was heard throughout the store "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!"

Ying let go of the mans hand and looked at Flames "I'm sorry, now will you please get the green jar for me?"

Flames picked up the jar and placed it inside the basket filled with other assorted herbs and serums. Just who exactly is this lady? She was obviously more than a doctor, because the medicine chiefs in the village used to be trained spiritually not physically and Ying... Flames replayed the scene in his head slowly, the man didn't even touch her before she felt his presence and her hand moved extremely fast catching him. He then thought of her hands and how they snapped that mans wrist with just a squeeze Her reactions were inhuman, I myself wouldn't have noticed until his hand was in my pocket. Ying looked at Flames and smiled her very fake smile. "Ying.."

"Yes, Flames how may I help you?"

"I was aware of your proficiency in battle, but that was..."

"I was trained for that sort of stuff, I was used for battle as I imagine you were."

Flames stared at her, his file was only read by Lione and only a few of the people in the European branch had read it.

"I didn't read your file, even though I tried to." Flames stared into her face."I've read everyones files at least those who have them, and those who don't have classified profiles"

People other than me have classified profiles? I wonder if Stephanie has one?, After his last mission with Stephanie, Flames now considered her a friend and he didn't have much friends other than Lione.

"I needed to know them, or else I might not know who I have to kill" Ying smiled again, which usually had the usual effect of sending shivers down Flames spine.

Flames cleared his throat a little "So how did you know that-"

Ying was looking at a bottle of which contents still looked...alive "I knew because, I am intelligent and I can see that you show signs of being used. For instance, you follow orders without questioning them thats a sign of years of service and while with your intelligence you can pass as maybe an advisor your technique in battle is a little too refined. Meaning you have seen many battles and have shed countless gallons of blood. Like me"

Flames looked at her, part amazed and part scared. She came up with all of that without even really needing much, and she was right.

"Well I think that I have everything that I need from here, I'll go to the register and you can carry the bag with the other ones and then we can head off to the next store."

Flames shrugged his shoulders wondering how many more bags he would have to carry.

"O GAWD! Now we're lost all because of you!" Daniel said as he dangled Amadaun by his long orange tail. "I mean really! Aren't you suckers supposed to be helping us? How about you carry some luggage?" Amadaun looked frightened before Rinvak punched Daniel in the face and took Amadaun from his grasp

Rinvak closed her eyes and when she opened them they looked dreamy and vulnerable and she had pouted her bottom lip a little "Amadaun, I was wondering if you could maybe take us to the base here in Boston?"

Amiti's face held a shocked expression, I can't believe it, she's flirting with the...golem

Amadaun started to wizz in the air, and just kept spinning and then lost speed after a few minutes and started moving ahead. Rinvak gave Amiti and Daniel the luggage to carry as she followed Amadaun carrying one small bag. Daniel struggled under the weight of the baggage as Rinvak walked ahead with Amadaun. Amiti looked just as worn as he was and was sure that wherever base was it wasn't close enough to keep him from falling on his face.

I haven't felt this carefree in ages Rinvak thought, as she stopped to look at a street merchants wares, she turned around and saw that Amiti and Daniel were still following though at a snails pace. Amiti is nice but, I have enough stress without having to carry luggage, as for Daniel he deserves it Rinvak picked up a little mirror and was looking at her reflection when the merchant came to speak with her

"I see you have found a very interesting object." The merchant was a old, tall handsome man dressed rather shabby and he had his hands in his pockets "You see that mirror is one that was given to Queen Elizabeth I when she was crowned, by her secret lover." Rinvak was paying close attention to the mans words "They say that her lover used another mirror to signal to her times to meet in secret."

"Secret?" It was Amiti

"Yes, sir secret." The merchant came around to the other side of the table, he picked up a jewelry box on the edge of the table. It was solid mahogany and had designs painted in what seemed to be liquid gold, and on the corners were orifices that seemed to hold some jewels, Rinvak rubbed her hand over the surface "This is a jewelry box that was rumored to be 'Pandoras Box' at one point but has since been used to contain a power that will change the world, The only problem is the key is missing, also the keyhole is nowhere to be found." The merchant showed them all sides of the box to reveal nothing but the liquid gold design. "The box will reveal the keyhole once, and only after all of the original gems are put back in place. I was once was a very rich man and I squandered every penny of mine to find the 4 jewels and the key, but now I am penniless and have nothing except..." The man pulled his hand out of his pocket and on it was a ring with a single sapphire set into it and showed it to Rinvak and Amiti.

Amiti looked at the ring, and gasped. "Could it be?!"

The merchant placed the finger with the ring against one of the holes in the jewelry box and a soft click was heard. "I'm too old now to continue the journey of finding the other 3 and the key, but maybe you two will be able to make more progress than I ever have."

Amiti looked at Rinvak "I would like to do that, but sir I'm sure we couldn't possibly be able to afford it."

The merchant looked at the two and smiled "For you lovers I shall give it to you for free, may what you have help your journey and enrich the lives of those around you!"

Rinvak began to choke, the thought of her and Amiti being a couple was the most preposterous thing she had ever heard.

"I'll also give you the diary of my travels, may it help you." The merchant handed everything to Amiti who had dropped the luggage a long time ago.


"O-of course not!" Amiti gave everything to Rinvak and went to pick up the luggage,"Oh I forgot!" then he dropped it again and pulled the ring with the sapphire off his finger and slid it on Rinvaks ring finger who began to blush a little at the moment and he then rushed over to the bags to pick them up and chased after the mad Daniel.

Rinvak stared at her finger for a little while and then turned around to thank the merchant, but when she did nothing was there.

"Figures that no one would be here yet." Lione stood at the front of a large dilapidated church. Cuchallain floated around Liones head as he sighed thinking about the amount of money that would be spent on bringing this up to date.

Lione stepped forward and climbed a few steps to the large double doors. He pushed the doors open and they creaked. There was a a thick coating of dust on the 7 feet of floor exposed to the light by the door. He looked in and sighed again, It's going to be at least 6 months before I can even make this place livable, So what am I going to do? Rent rooms in town? He walked in as he opened the doors further and walked past the oak pews. He looked toward the stained glass windows in the front of the church, in the gentle light was a figure. Liones heart stood steady. He walked slowly as the figure became clearer. Whoever it was, it was kneeling at an altar.

"Excuse me?"

The figure looked a little startled and then turned its head

"Who goes there?" The voice came from a woman, a woman who was powerful Lione recognized the authoritive tone in her voice as that of a woman with great strength.

"Lione Parcoeur, Leader of-"

"The North American Black Order Headquarters?!"

"Yes, how do you know about me?!"

The shape stood up and then hit a switch, the stainglassed windows let out a stonger light revealing the church in its entirety. She turned around and walked at a quick pace to where Lione stood, she was a nun and she stood before Lione looking through him with her icy blue eyes, eyes that seeme so familiar.

"I am Sister Madeline Price, but you may call me Madeline"

"Madeline, you haven't answered my question. How is it that you know of me?"

Sister Madeline Price brushed her robes and then looked into Liones face with an upset look "I am a little upset that you know not of me or my 'organization'" she played with her robes a little more "But I am leader of an organization that exterminate akuma locally in the Boston area."

Lione was shocked, I don't ever remember of hearing of such a group, an organization that destroy akuma locally? Impossible, you need Innocence to do that., and as if reading Liones mind Madeline raised her left hand revealing a ring, a ring that Lione was very familiar with, he began to shake his head in shock.

"I am aware that you were acquainted with the previous owner of this Innocence, Ring of Force, Julia Rose Sheffield."

"H-how ? A-are you an exorcist?!" Lione stuttered lost in his shock

"Thats a hard question. I'd have to say the best answer is I was an exorcist. You see I was in the order, but I ran away." Madeline picked up the bottom of her robes and walked up to the pulpit and gestured for Lione to follow her, he obliged. " I know your in shock but what I'm about to show you might send you over the edge. So just tell me when you are feeling okay." Madeline was now standing next to Lione in the pulpit.

"So you're, I mean were an exorcist? How did you run away? If so why create an 'organization' that deals with akuma? Why don't you just go back?, And why did you take the Innocence with you?"

Madeline sort of smiled at this "Yes I was an exorcist, It's a secret, I found that no matter how far I ran way from the order akuma just were there so I created this locally before the Order had the idea of opening a chapter here, I refuse because of personal reasons, and It won't come off of my hand."

Lione looked at her face looking for any trace of a lie but found none.

"Are you ready then?

Lione nodded, and Madeline pressed a button on the pulpit. It was an elevator and it took them down, down and farther down. It was dark and he could hear the breathing of Madeline, then the darkness broke and there was a lot of noise. Lione looked around and it was the most technologically advanced headquarters he had ever seen, not to mention the most gigantic one, it was almost s big as the city it was under.Cuchullain flitted about happily absorbing the information for Lione to recall later just so he can make sure that it wasn't a dream.

"It wasn't this big before, but luckily I am an heiress to the Price fortune, which is probably enough to buy the planet." Lione looked around there were people all around, building robots, researching weapons, studying akuma behaviour, and discussing The Earl of Milleniums whereabouts.

"Oh my God, what is all of this for?!"

Madeline cleared her throat "For War."

Eny giggled, rushing through the streets of Boston with Fermy clutched in her hands. Tabby was going to be sooooo annoyed. Well, she deserved it. Nobody messed with Fermy. Laughing, Eny turned a corner… and ran headfirst into a person.

“Ow! What the hell-?!? Watch it!”

Eny picked herself off the ground and found she was looking into the face of a very annoyed Daniel. The luggage he’d been carrying spilled about him, opened and broken on the sidewalk. “What-? Aren’t you supposed to be with that girl, umm…?”

“Tabitha is washing dishes in Ollie’s Shackhouse,” Eny informed the other, placing Fermy on the ground. “Aren’t you supposed to be with Rinvak and Amiti?” Daniel rolled his eyes, picking luggage up and shoving it into random empty spaces in the bags he’d been carrying.

“Yeah. The bums are somewhere around here,” He stated, visibly annoyed. “Flirting like a couple of school girls.” Eny raised an eyebrow.

“Oh really? Well, if Amiti gets involved with an Exorcist, we’ll have to set him straight. He’s not allowed to get attached to anybody. The whole bias thing,” She said simply, bending to rub Fermy’s ear.

Daniel rolled his eyes. “What’s the matter, kid? Jealous?” Eny snorted.

“Me? I am not interested in the opposite sex yet. But I have done calculations based upon the females on my mother and father’s sides and puberty should occur for me sometime in the next year. My mens-!” Daniel cut her off.

“Heyheyhey! Listen, this may come as a surprise to you, but no one wants to hear about your… Anyway, would you just help me?” He said with obvious aggravation. Talk about TMI…Eny shrugged, and began gathering some of the objects strewn about. Once all the bits and pieces had been collected, Daniel was once again overloaded with luggage and Eny scooped up Fermy, running ahead to meet Rinvak and Amiti, and once again, Daniel was left yelling angrily at a running back.

“This is it?” Stephanie asked incredulously, her eyes running over the rundown church. Blade raised an eyebrow.

“It’s… crap,” Was the only description he could come up with. “Where’s Lione?” The pair looked around, before stepping into the church. “Lione?” Blade called. No answer came. Blade grinned suggestively at Stephanie. “Hey Steph, we’re alone…”

”No,” Steph answered without even looking at him. “Oi! LIONE!” She yelled.

“Steph?” Their leader’s voice alerted the pair to his presence. “Finally, more of you. Come,” He beckoned them, pushing the button Madeline had pressed before. The pair rushed forward into the elevator. “It’s amazing,” Lione said on their way down through the dark. The doors opened…

“Oh my God, you’re right… It’s…” Stephanie gasped, stuttering.

“I though you said it was low tech!” Blade accused, looking around in awe. Lione shrugged.

“Sister Madeline Price fixed it up,” Lione said quietly with a grin. “Flames and Ying have already showed up. Flames is getting settled; Ying’s in the medicine room.”

“What is all this?” Stephanie asked, looking at the bustle. Lione opened his mouth to answer, but from above them in the church, his named was called. He sighed.

“That’d be Rinvak, Amiti and Daniel. I’d better go. Why don’t you two go get settled? I’m sure Madeline will give you rooms,” With that, Lione was off again. Stephanie and Blade exchanged glances. Everything was so different here…

Finally, every member of the North American Division of the Black Order had entered their new HQ and swept off to their new rooms by members of Sister Madeline’s unofficial order. Even a fuming Tabby had arrived- and managed to chase Eny through the entirety of the new hideout, breaking several tables, robots and one very annoyed scientist’s coffee mug before Eny finally escaped to one of the labs, where she- along with several of Madeline’s people- was experimenting on Pandora’s Box. The last Lione had heard, they could not open it, but they could confirm it did not contain Innocence. Many of the overtired Exorcists, Finders and Bookmen had retired to bed in their new digs. Only Ying, who Lione was pretty sure never slept, and Lione himself were still awake. Lione had already downed four cups of coffee, and was working on his fifth when Madeline found him, standing in the doorway of Ying’s new doctor’s office, sleepily helping the young girl arrange the medicines in the cabinets.

Madeline raised an eyebrow as she watched the worn leader shift through the salvaged papers on Ying’s new desk, his eyes glazed over. “Lione.” He snapped back to reality, taking another sip of coffee. “I’m sorry, but we need you to fill out some paperwork to send to Bak and Komui.” He looked confused. “They need to know you’re alive.”

“Oh. Yes, of course,” Lione said quickly, taking another mouthful of coffee. Madeline beckoned.

“We’ve prepared an office for you,” She told Lione as she led the exhausted man through the large base. Quietly, the pair stepped down a hallway. “This is my office,” She explained, pointing at a door embossed with the name ‘Sister Madeline Price’. “And this is yours.” The door beside Madeline’s had a piece of notebook paper taped to it, ‘Lione Parcoeur’ hurriedly scrawled across the white sheet. Madeline opened the door.

Paperwork seemed to line the entire office, and all good things Lione had thought about this office disappeared. This, he decided, is what Hell was like. Mountains and mountains of paperwork. In an almost zombie-like state, Lione slid into the chair behind the desk- it was comfortable, a blue, plush seat that seemed to welcome Lione like an old friend- and sadly began to chink away at the paperwork.

Less then ten minutes later, Ying stood in the empty doorway of Lione’s makeshift office, staring blankly at Lione’s body, who had, for the first time in several days, collapsed into sleep.

The days went by fast as they settled into their new home. The Exorcists threw themselves into their training with an almost inhuman vigor- when questioned upon this excitement, Tabitha had explained to Lione between gasping breathes, that “Next time… We see Zeren… We won’t have to run.” The Bookmen- sans Eny, who stayed locked within the lab for the first several days, running tests on the box Rinvak and Amiti had purchased- had carefully prodded Madeline’s people, recording the history of this unofficial order. Ying had been given plenty of work, as at least one of the Exorcists seemed to be collapsing of exhaustion each day. When no one was in her care, she had done as she usually did- disappeared. Lione had attempted to set to work on his paperwork mountains. When the group- even Eny had been dragged from her lab and Lione from his procrastination- finally ventured from their new underground home, the light had seemed blinding.

The excursion ended with half of the Black Order thrown into the dirty waters of the Charles River.

They did not go out the next day.

“I’m boooorrreddd…” Tabby complained, taking a breather from their constant training. A sudden clanking drew the attention of all three of the Exorcists who stood in the cleared training area.

“Eeeeee!” A familiar voice screamed. Tabby, Rinvak, and Stephanie exchanged glances, before rushing towards the noise.

“Is Eny dead?” Tabby asked, excitedly as the trio reached the source of the shriek. Lione removed his finger from his ear.

“No, she is not dead. She’s whining.”

“Pity,” Rinvak muttered. Tabby nodded energetically. Stephanie raised an eyebrow. Did those two just… agree? It was rather hard to think with Eny’s incessant crying.

“What’s the matter with her?” Stephanie yelled, placing her hands over her ears.

“We can’t find the cat!” Lione answered loudly. “OI!” He yelled. “SOMEBODY FIND THIS CHILD’S CAT SO I CAN WORK!”

Tabby, Rinvak and Stephanie exchanged another glace. Finding a cat… that couldn’t be that hard.

Fermium yowled. He had gotten out of the HQ. Where was girl? Where was food? He yowled again, but his nose picked up a scent. Dancing along the streets of Boston, Fermium followed his nose to a scent he’d known working with his girl.

Looking up through shining cat eyes in the Boston night, Fermium found Akuma.


Stephanie and Tabby were upstairs in the church, looking for the lost kitty. In her tantrum, Eny had found her bazooka, and at the risk of damage to the new HQ, something no one wanted, Lione had ordered everyone to pitch in.

“Fermium!” Stephanie called again, crouching down to check under a table. No luck. ‘I hope the poor thing isn’t hurt somewhere!’ she thought as she peeked under a bench, ‘It would just devastate Eny!’

“Yo Fermium, you little rat, ya in here?” Tabby said in a bored, dry tone. She was peering inside a rather small vase. “Hmm……guess not.” She put the vase down and picked up a book off the table, flipping through it idly.

“Don’t you think that you should try harder to find Fermium?” Stephanie asked with a hint of anger in her voice.

“………Not really.” Tabby replied, not taking her eyes off her book.

“I mean, this is all your fault, you did kick him.”

“Meh. That cat is pretty pathetic if that’s all it takes.” Tabby said icily. Stephanie had had enough of this.

“What is your problem today? You’re acting like Rinvak.” She demanded. Tabby’s gaze hardened

“They’re on their way…….” She muttered darkly.

“Who are-?”


“Oh, not now!” Tabby cried. From the other end of the building, a woman was running full speed towards them.

“TABITHA!” The woman cried again, sweeping the young exorcist into a great big hug.
“Ok, what’s going on?” Stephanie said, slightly dazed by the woman’s sudden appearance.

“Honey, let go! You’re suffocating her!” called a man approaching the group.

“Oh!” The woman gasped, quickly releasing Tabitha.

“Thanks Mom, you nearly kille-“

“Your mom?!?!” Stephanie stammered. Stephanie gave the woman another glance over. She was a little on the short side, with lighter hair than Tabby, but the same shape face and the same bright blue eyes. She was fashionably dressed, her hair done up elaborately

“Tabitha, sweetie, aren’t you going to introduce us to your friend?” The older woman asked sweetly.

“Um, er sure. Mom, Dad, this is Stephanie. Steph, this mom, Christine, and my dad, Tom.”

“Pleased to meet you.” said Tabby’s father. He was a little on the heavy side, and comfortably dressed. His hair was the same color as Tabby’s, his eyes a dull-ish blue. Suddenly, Tabby’s mother swept Stephanie up into a big hug like the one she’d given Tabby.

“It’s so wonderful to see that Tabby was older friends! Especially pretty ones like you!”
“Can’t………breathe!” Stephanie gasped out.

“Ack! Sorry about that!” Mrs. Brown ((I don’t think anyone remembers, but that is Tabby’s last name)) quickly left go. Tabby hid her face behind her hand and sighed.

~Somewhere underground~

“WHERE.IS.MY.KITTY!!!” screamed Eny for the umpteenth time. She pointed her bazooka menacingly at the group of finders in front of her. “Well?!!?!”

“Er…..ya see, we haven’t found him yet but,…..” One of them stammered out.

“WELL WHAT ARE YOU DOING STANDING HERE?!?!?!?” She screamed, “YOU INCOMPETANTS SHOULD BE LOOKING FOR MY FERMY!!!!!!!” She pressed a button on the bazooka and it made an ominous ‘vrrm’ noise. Several of the Finders jumped a step back.

“Ca-a-a-lm d-d-do-wn!” one of them said, “We’ll get right on that!”

“You’d better, ‘cause I *sniff*, I…..I MISS MY POOR WITTLE KITTY!!!” And with that, the flood gates were open. Unsure what to do, the Finders just shrugged and slipped off. Several minutes later, when Eny got herself together (well, sort of =_=;;; ), she saw that there was no one around. “Those meanies. Leaving me to cry like that. Why doesn’t anyone care about Fermium and me? *sniff* I’M TELLING TO LIONE OF YOU GUYS!” she bellowed down the empty hallway. Halfway across the building, one of accused sneezed.

“Dude, you okay? That was a monster sneeze!”

“Yeah, I’ve just got a wicked bad dust allergy.”

Back upstairs, Stephanie was seriously wishing she had laser vision. Then maybe her death glares would go more than make Tabby look moderately uncomfortable.

-ZOMG, Flashback! =D-

As soon as Stephanie’s lungs had fully inflated themselves, Mrs. Brown had gotten a big smile of her face. “So, what part do you sing?”

“Huh? What do you mea-OW!” Tabby’s foot came down of Steph’s, HARD. “What was that fo-?!?” she started.

“She sings Alto.” Tabby answered quickly with a big smile, covering up Stephanie’s second question.

“Okay, really, what-OW!” Tabby stomped down on her foot again. Stephanie opened her mouth to tell her to cut it out or else, but she noticed Tabby’s desperate eyes.

“Go with it, please!” Tabby said through her smile. Her instinct told her something was seriously wrong here, but something –either Tabby’s eyes or her now throbbing foot- told her it would be best to go along. Plastering on her biggest smile she said;

“Er yes, that’s right!” Wasn’t Alto a singing part or something, why would Tabby say that-Steph’s thought were interrupted-again-but this time by Mrs. Brown.

“So, is the chorus master around today? I’d very much like to meet him!” she said happily. Standing behind his wife, Mr. Brown cracked his knuckles. Stephanie got the impression that he’d like to meet the chorus master too but for a different reason-wait.


“SHH!” Tabby inclined her head towards her parents, who had become immersed in a conversation of there own about Tabby’s Dad’s knuckle crack.

“Fine. I’m quiet. Chorus master?!!?” Stephanie whispered. Tabby shrugged and put on a guilty face. “What the heck is going on?”

“Y’know how I told everyone I ran away to join the order?” Well, I sorta got caught as I left town. My parents never really approved of what Ed said about his Finder work, in fact, they’d pretty much cut all ties with him, so I couldn’t really go saying ‘I’m leaving to go be with Ed’ and going back home was also not in my best interests…….so I sorta fibbed. Pulled the old ‘you wouldn’t have understood if I told you routine’ and told them that the Black Order was well, not an organization of underground demon fighters…….”

“…………what did you tell them?”

“……………….that we’re a super-prestigious traveling chorus?”

“………oh HELL no.”

-Flashback ovah!-

Seeing that her attempts at melting Tabby’s brain were failing miserably, she quickened her pace a little to walk beside the younger exorcist.

“Why a chorus of all things?” she asked. Tabby glanced over her shoulder to make sure her parents we’re listening. Mrs. Brown was admiring the décor, asking enough questions to Mr. Brown that he had to pay attention.

“It seemed, I dunno, logical at time. I was a good singer before I got my Innocence, I took lessons and stuff. Made sense for me to run away for that.” Tabby shrugged.

“Well if they ask me to sing, you’re on your own.”

When Tabby’s parents had finished their conversation, they had decided they really needed to meet the ‘chorus master’, the Tom was right, they needed to know what kind of supervision Tabby was under, but Mrs. Brown had also assured them that Mr. Brown wouldn’t scare him like ‘last time’. Mr. Brown looked a little dejected, but stopped cracking his knuckles. So off they had gone, to the office of the ‘chorus master’ that didn’t exist. How Tabby was going to pull this off, Steph had no clue. She also had no clue how Tabby’s parents would react when this lie went to pieces. And worst of all, how would they react if they found out Ed was dead?

Eny had searched his office, the library, dining hall, and several rooms. And there was no Lione anywhere. She was starting to get ticked off again.



By some incredible stroke of luck, Lione had been wandering around upstairs.

“Oh hey Tabby, Steph, what’s going on? Find Eny’s cat yet?” He said nonchalantly.

“LioneyouhavetohelpmemyparentsandhearandIneedyoutogoalongwithsomethingprettyplease-“Tabby said lighting fast under her breath before Lione clamped a hand over her mouth.

“Woah woah! What’s all this now? Puppies in a well?” He said with a bemused look on his face.

“Ms. Motormouth here told her parents that we’re a traveling chorus, and now her parents are here and they want to meet the ‘chorus master’” Stephanie said bluntly. Tabby turned bright red.

“When did you tell them that-“ Lione started to ask.

“Tabby where did you go?” called her Mom from around the corner.

“Over here! I found the chorus master!” She said cheerily, though her face looked a bit panicked.

“Wait, what? Do you expect me to be?!?!?” Lione exclaimed.

“He just needs to talk to me and Steph in private for a sec first ok? We’ll be with you in a minute!” Tabby said cheerily again, but she was looking at Lione with those big puppy dog eyes Stephanie hadn’t seen her use since Ed’s death. Lione sighed.

“Alright. Fine. In here” Lione pulled the too of them through a door into what was, in fact, an office, probably Madeline’s. He plopped Tabby in a seat. “Start from the beginning.” He ordered. Tabby then told him the same thing she’d told Stephanie. When she was done, Lione let out another big sigh. “You’ve gotten yourself in pretty deep.” He commented.

“I know, but if I’d gone back when they’d caught me, you’d be out one exorcist, wouldn’t you? So you’ve got to go along, pretty please???”

“You’ve got me there. Fine, I’ll go along with it. But at some point in the future, you’re telling them the truth.” Lione started for the door.

“Yush, yush of course! Thanks Lione!!!” Tabby grinned from ear to ear.

“Yeah, yeah,” Lione opened the door and stuck his head outside. “Mr. and Mrs. Brown? You can come in now.” Tabby’s parents came in, and Tabby stood up to give her Mom one of the two chairs in front of the desk Her Dad took the other and Lione sat on the other side of the desk. Tabby’s Mom spoke first.

“I’m Christine Brown. It’s so nice to meet you Mr.-?”

“Mr. *insert name*. Lione *insert name*” He stood up and extended out his hand. Mrs. Brown shook it, and Lione turned to Mr. Brown. Mr. Brown gave him a good look-over with the hairy eyeball, and Stephanie saw Lione’s eyebrow twitch a little. After a tense moment, Mr. Brown grasped Lione’s hand and gave a firm shake.

“Tom Brown.” Lione sat back down and Mrs. Brown began to ask something when the door was thrown open.

And in marched Eny, face in a very nasty scowl. All the Order member’s faces paled. Mrs. Brown was unfazed.

“Oh hello. Are you a member of the chorus too?” She stood up and offered her hand. Eny glared at the hand, then pushed it aside and marched up to the desk. Mrs. Brown looked shocked.

“LIONE! WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?!?!??!? I’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR YOU EVERWHERE. YOUR STUPID FINDERS AND IMCOPETENT AND BIG MEANINES TOO!!!!!” Tabby was now as white as a ghost. Mrs. Brown was staring with her mouth agape. Mr. Brown had his eyebrows knitted together.

“Umm….Eny…..can we do this some other time? I’m sort of busy right now……” Lione sighed. But this really set Eny off.

Eny’s mouth, put her other arm around her waist and lifted her up.

“I’m sorry about that. She’s a bit cranky sometimes. I’ll just go put her down for a nap.” Stephanie then quickly excused herself and the kicking and screaming Eny from the room. As the door shut after them, a dead silence settled over the room. Tabby looked as if she was going to pass out. Lione coughed.

“So, where’s our son?” Mr. Brown asked.

“PUT ME DOWN!!!!!” Eny screamed as soon as Stephanie took her hand off Eny’s mouth.

“Fine.” Stephanie dropped her.

“What was that for meanie??!?!?! That hurt!” Eny pouted.

“Good. Do you have any idea what you done?”

“Embarrassed Lione in front of some people? ‘Cause he deserved it that slacker-“

Stephanie slapped Eny across the face.

“You selfish little brat. You really are a selfish little brat! I thought maybe there was some decency in you, but I guess-I don’t know.” Stephanie stared at the floor for a minute. Eny’s pout deepened to a glare. “Well, since you’re so egotistical you won’t even care when I tell you…..but I might as well. Those were Tabby’s parents. They don’t approve of the Order, and now they know she’s in it because of your outburst. And because of your outburst, they’re…..they’re probably not going to let her stay here. And Ed. Lione’s going to have to tell them about Ed’s death. What if Tabby’s mom is goes crazy with grief? We’ve got enough akuma to deal with without you helping create more thank you very much. And with Tabby gone, we’ll have one less exorcist to deal with said akuma. So congratulations on reducing humanities’ chance of winning.” Stephanie glanced over at Eny to see if her speech sank in. Eny was almost burning holes in the floor with her glare. That brat-

From the other end of the hall, there came screaming and the sound of something breaking.

“MY SON! WHERE IS MY SON?!??!?!” Which was followed by hysterical sobbing. The door was thrown violently open.

“You’ve let my son die, and you expect me to let my daughter follow the same path?!?!? What kind of sick bastards are you people?!?!?!!” Stephanie heard Mr. Brown yell. Then the three of them left. Mrs. Brown kept on her feet by her husband’s arm around her waist, his face so full of hate and rage it hurt just looking at him. And Tabby, her wrist in her Dad’s iron grip being dragged along, crying almost as hard as her mother.
Eny watched all this with blank eyes.

“…..it doesn’t matter who wins who loses. I’m just here to record it as a bookman.” Eny said firmly. Stephanie clenched her fists to keep herself from slapping Eny again.

“Should have called that one. Should have figured your ego would get in the way of admitting anything was wrong. But that objectiveness you’re claiming you have, what crap that is. You can’t be objective only when it’s convenient, or use it as an excuse. You have to live by it. You-“ Eny got up and ran down the hallway. Stephanie didn’t follow.
“…………you’re such a child, Eny.”

Lione stared into an empty glass whose round surface reflected his stressed face. A single drop of the remaining alcohol shortly kept hanging on the edge before it dripped down when he tilted the glass downwards to search the base for remains of the alluring liquid. He sighed.
"Sometimes, I really hate my job", Lione muttered, with a desperate try of a pout. He was a bit drunk, thus he didn't notice a strange person taking seat by the side of him at the bar. Many nerve-racking and troublesome things had happened lately. His dim eyes kept peering at the base of the glass in his right hand. The unexpected incident yesterday had finished him off. Lione could clearly see the angry face of the father and the appalled one of Tabitha's mother in his mind. He had feared the father to flail but luckily nothing of the sort had happened. However, the look of furious parents wasn't less worse. He had tried everything to persuade the parents of bringing the young female exorcist back but just hearing the name of anything or anyone related to the Black Order switched them to mute. He just had to find a way to bring Tabby back to the Black Order. Not only because he was the leader of the american branch, but also as an act of friendship. Furthermore, the loss of a talented exorcist weakened the fight against the Akuma, the Earl and the Noah-family. Lione's head hit the smooth surface of the bar what caused the person close to him to take notice of the desperate man.
"If this continues, I possibly need a neurologist," Lione almost sobbed. Suddenly a bottle with a white liquid crossed his sight and he looked up to identify the person who held it out to him. He stared into the face of a girl with hair as marine green as the sea illuminated by the warm light of the sun. She smiled at him, shaking the bottle in her left hand.

"Wanna have a pull?", the strange girl asked friendly. Lione nodded thankfully, grasped the neck of the bottle and took a great pull. But after some seconds he began to cough, tapping his chest.
"What is this?", he called forth. When the cough had died away, the girl answered in an amused manner.
"It's just rum, sweetie."
The girl turned around, so that she could clearly look at the leader's strained face.
"Tough day?", she asked, focusing him with her green eyes while playing with the bottle cap which identified with a brown cork.
He slightly laughed. "If it were just a single day. I have the feeling of carrying months of strain on my shoulders."
"You seem like a guy who can take a fair bit."
A chuckle found the way out of his mouth.
"Do you think so?"
She leaned back and drank off the bottle of rum at one gulp. Lione was amazed by the girl's stableness. A full bottle of such a high percentage drink had bowled a grown up man who could deal with a great amount of alcohol. When the girl noticed the leader's amazement, she deposed and smiled. "A steady habit of mine. With nothing than rum on your ship you get used to this."
Only now, Lione noticed the strange clothing of the girl. She indeed wore black pants and boots but a dark red, white flounced coat that reminds him of the pirate's clothing was casually thrown over her shoulders.

Lione rubbed his eyes as if the alcohol had stolen his prosaic mind. Well, he had lived through many strange things so why should this confound him. "Never seen a pirate?", she asked.
"Well", Lione answered truthfully. "No real one at least. What are you doing here, in Boston?"
"Oh, I have some business here. Nothing urgent so I can relax a bit. Sometimes, taskmasters can be real slavedrivers. But as soon as I finished it off, I have to leave Boston, meeting with the man who could kindly accomplish his affairs by his own. Well, he clearly knows what to do and I admire his power but the accomplishment kept adhere to us."
If Lione wasn't so drunk, he would have pressed her on but he left it at that. A moment of silence occured. Minutes passed by without any exchange of words. The pirate girl pushed back the bar stool and was about to leave. She took out another bottle of rum and put it right in front of Lione.
"For tough days", she said with a wink. Then she left the bar but not without putting her pirate's hat with the creepy skull decorating it on.
Unaware of another yet unwelcome encounter with the girl in the future, Lione took the bottle and stared at it for a while before his head fell on the cold wood of the bar and he fell asleep.

A hot-tempered, slightly furious girl wandered through the endless hallways of the hidden HQ, caterwauling every person who crossed her way.
"Fermy, where are you?", Eny yelled. "And where the hell is this damned slacker who calls himself a leader?!"
When Eny stopped, she stared at the stony ground and a sad shine glew in her eyes. "I merely want my beloved kitty back."

Magier stared constantly at Jaques' face when they were sitting around the fire. It was almost night, to be precise dusk. The orange light of the sinking sun merged together with the shine of the fire, creating a palely red coloured sea and let the forest which surrounded them immerging into black ink. Amaterasu had not joined the group that was sitting around the fire, consisting of only three persons. Jaques, Magier and to her disfavor, Gabrielle. Instead, the boy nestled and leaned against the trunk of a tree while observing the whole amusing scenery at his feet.
When Jaques noticed Magier's look at him, he turned around smiling. Immediately, Magier shrinked back and looked at the ground. Why did she blush just now? Although it had been a while since the conversation with Gabrielle, her thoughts just circled around one thing: abstinence.
The girl could not understand how this should work. Everytime she thought about it, she rubbed her head in discontent and incomprehension.
After some seconds, Magier could not bear Jaques' look resting on her body. The way he focused her was kind of embarrassing. She stood up all of sudden and shouted something ambiguous which Jaques didn't understand.
"How can a person manage to do it never ever!" She left the little group leaving a clueless man behind and headed towards the clear blue lake close to them. Gabrielle laughed in her sleeve but when Jaques looked at her with an asking facial expression she just shook her head and stressed that she didn't know anything either. Of course, this was a lie.
Magier kicked her mirror image which was displayed on the calm surface of the water. Little water waves occured, half created by the sudden impact, half by the breeze that had began to bring up. When the water calmed down, another image was reflected in it. Magier turned around and stared angrily at the amused face of Amaterasu.

"Well", he bent forward. "Any problems?"
"It's none of your business", Magier replied in a nippy way. "Piss off!"
"Wow, wow, wow...you're a girl. Quit speaking like that."
"Why don't you just leave me alone?", Magier asked, almost with a stifling sob. She turned her head towards the lake so that Amaterasu was unable to see it from his place. Another wave appeared on the water although there had been neither a breeze nor an anew kick from Magier's side.
An additional tear dropped down Magier's face and merged together with the clear blue water. The male Noah's eyes widened. It was seldom to see her crying. Amaterasu sighed, grasped Magier, turned her around and hugged her. The girl was too surprised to defend. Amaterasu, the person who concerned about nothing than himself, hugged her all of sudden? Magier tried to push him away but the boy was stronger.
"Don't struggle! Am I not allowed to comfort you? I am your big brother."
The embrace became tighter and Magier felt like being trapped. Instead of feeling cheered up, Amaterasu's words made her angrier and angrier. Finally, the girl managed to push the Noah away with force.
"You're not my big brother! I have no real siblings! I have no family!", Magier screamed. The picture of the doctor suddenly popped up in her mind and she stepped back, almost fell into the lake.
"Is it so", Amaterasu replied and his looked turned into a cold manner. "What about Jaques? Don't you like him? Don't you feel comfortable being with him?"
"Shut up!!" Magier collapsed, keeping shut her ears with both hands. The male Noah began to wander around her, his look bent on the kneeling girl. His steps echoed in her ears so that it nearly ached. Amaterasu had clasped his hands behind his back and kept speaking of the family. Magier shook her head as if she wanted to cast off the words which invaded into it. But the letters just marched in and formed the words "family" and "siblings" in her mind's eye. Yet, the words vanished when a puddle of blood superimposed on them.
Magier stood up at one go and Amaterasu was too surprised to act when he paused in his constant walking. A hard punch hit his face and he could feel his hair touching the water of the lake when he was thrown onto the dirty ground. Magier kneeled down anew but this time, collared him. She punched him again and again till her fist began to tremble. The female Noah lunged out but was stopped before she could hit Amaterasu anew. She felt a hand holding her arm. She turned around enraged. However, when she saw Jaques' face, her facial expression changed into fear.
"What are you doing there, Magier-chan?" The way he said it sounded kind of dangerous. Of course it did. She had been just basting Amaterasu in a cruel way. Just now, Magier noticed that Amaterasu had not defend himself. Had it been on purpose? Amaterasu stood up in order to get rid of the shocked girl. He wiped away the blood that dripped out of his nose and mouth with the back of his hand.
"I incited her, Jaques. It's my own mistake. Excuse me, I have to go to clean my shirt", he said tersely and left.

Magier thought she had misheard something. Her mouth stood open when she watched the boy leaving. Jaques left it that way and turned to Magier, giving her a blow on the head with his bible. Magier rubbed her head in ache.
"Ouch. I am truely sorry", she said embittered. "I will try to get along with Amaterasu."
"You can always talk to me, you know?"
He turned his back to her, being on the way back to the fireplace. But he stopped when Magier called his name.
The girl's heart was thumping like mad and it felt like bursting in pieces any moment.

"Do...do you love me?", Magier asked stammering but bluntly.
A moment of silence occured but finally, he replied. "Yes, I do."
Magier's heart made a skipper. He had really said it? But this dream was already about to shatter.
"I love you the way just a big brother can love his sister."
Then he left without saying any additional word. Magier's heart lay into shatters.
It was of no use to love him the way she wanted if he never reciprocated those feelings.
"A big brother, huh?", Magier whispered.

Part 1:
Zeran groggily got up from his bed. Damn… this is tiring… He shook his head. I can’t fall asleep. These nightmares… For the past couple of days, Zeran has been having nightmares. Nightmares, where he sees everyone heading towards an unknown location. However, behind them follows a shadow of death. One by one they die in front of him, and Zeran could only watch on. I need to calm down…He stood up, picked up Tengoku, and headed outside.
Am I being selfish? Zeran stared at the bright stars. I ran away from everyone, because I wanted to forget. It wasn’t because I wanted to save them from myself. It was more like I wanted to forget the fact I killed Shia. Zeran stretched out his hand to the sky as if to touch the never ending stars. What do I want? What do I want to protect? These stars… He closed his hands and made a fist. Somehow… I know the others are in danger.
Suddenly, Zeran hears singing from a place not far off. This voice… That brat… Still up at this hour? He silently walked to the source of the voice. What he saw took his breath away. Riena was singing in the open field, her long black hair illuminated by the moonlight.

Something like a silent dream,
Which I see everyday,
Brings me endless warmth and joy.

These infinite stars in the sky,
All looking down on this small planet,
Looking down at you and me.

Why must dreams end so fast?
That which we call a dream,
Because it’s better than the harsh reality,
We must wake up to eventually.

Hearts bound by fate,
Are also bound to be separated.
As surely as the sun rises and sets
The moon in the sky will remain unchanged.

A distant memory
Like a serenade
Plays peacefully
And keeps us whole

Suffering and sadness
Can all be washed away,
If you believe
That a better tomorrow will come

If you trust in me,
I can make a dream
As beautiful and delicate as any pearl,
So that you may remain happy for days to come.

Because as long as the rivers flow
As long as the birds sing
I can promise you
I won’t let you be alone

This I promise you…”

Riena ended her song quietly. Zeran quietly walked away without disturbing her. Thanks kid. I’m staying for one more week, then I need to head out. It’s better if I don’t tell you. He quietly walked back to bed.
Riena sighed. Zeran has been so distant these days. He even forbade me from calling nii-san. I wonder what’s going on. I should ask him about it tomorrow. She walked to her house and stood in front of it. What am I going to do from now on? I’m… so lost… What’s left for me?

Part 2:
Riena woke up to the sounds of screams. What the hell is going on? She ran outside and saw a black metallic figure ripping out the internal organs of nearby villagers.
“MORE! I NEED MORE BLOOD!” the figure yelled in a whining pitch.
Riena trembled in fear. What the hell is this thing? Is it an Akuma? She ran back inside her house and shut the door. Then there was a knock.
“Is anyone in there?” said the same wicked voice as before. And then the door shattered to smithereens. Riena screamed and was thrown onto the floor.
“What’s wrong Riena?” her father ran from the backyard to see what happened.
“NO DAD! DON’T COME!” Riena pleaded.
“I spy with my little eyes, a nice little family for the devouring,” the Akuma laughed.
Riena’s father could only stare in fear and horror at the monster that was suddenly before him.
“What’s this? Too scared to move?” the Akuma laughed coldly.
“ZERAN! WHERE ARE YOU?” Riena screamed. “GET YOUR ASS HERE NOW!” A sudden whooshing sound was heard and the Akuma was dragged out of the house.
“Your fight is with me,” Zeran said while pulling a wire wrapped around the Akuma.
“I’m sorry,” the Akuma said apologetically. “I can’t believe I missed out on your presence. EXORCIST!” The Akuma snapped the wire and lunged for Zeran’s chest. Zeran parried however something went wrong.
“Shit… What did you do to my chest?” Zeran had trouble breathing even though the Akuma’s attack completely missed.
“I have the special ability of ‘cutting’ air,” the Akuma said. “Wherever I cut, that place no longer has air, and my opponents are left breathless.”
“So that was it…” Zeran grinned while panting heavily. “My sword is feeling really heavy right now. I guess humans can’t do anything without oxygen huh?”
“NOW THAT YOU UNDERSTAND THAT, DIE!” the Akuma screamed. Zeran stepped sideways once more only to have the air sucked away from him again. I can’t last long like this…I have to end this fast.
“TOO LATE!” the Akuma zoomed behind him, and stabbed Zeran through the back.
“ZERAN!” Riena screamed.
Part 3:
Zeran collapsed on the ground. He couldn’t breathe and struggled to keep his thoughts straight. I lost…I can’t beam this Level 3? I’ve beaten another Level 3 before… I’d also beaten Shia… but that was with a drug…What’s holding me back? Why can’t I win? Sorry… Riena…
I’ll tell you what’s holding you back!
Who are you?
Heh heh, take a wild guess…
The Akuma within?
We have a genius here
I need less sarcasm…
Do you want to win and save the brat?
Take off the bandage and let me free!
I can’t…
Otherwise, your life ends here
Even still, I can’t… I said I would win without relying on your power…
If you die here… Tell me one thing… What was the point of killing that girl precious to you… if you’re just going to give up here?
Zeran stood up and grabbed his bandage around his right eye. I’m sorry… for whatever I may do… “RELEASE!” Zeran pulled off the bandage and fell into nothingness.

Part 4:
A huge surge of dark power erupted forth from Zeran’s body.
“WHAT’S THIS POWER!??!” the Akuma screamed.
“ZERAN!” Riena yelled out.
When the dust cleared, Zeran was standing with a black sword and a white right arm. On the right arm was an insignia of a black pentagram. His right eye began to whir click as it always did, and Zeran stood still with an evil chuckle.
“Die,” was all Zeran said. The next second the Akuma was skewered by at least 20 different blades and sliced in half. It exploded without another second’s wait.
“Zeran?” Riena said, shivering. This awesome dark power. I feel like I’ll be engulfed by it any second.
“No, sorry,” ‘Zeran’ looked at Riena. “I’m not your precious Zeran.”
“Then who are you?” Riena shivered.
“I have no name,” ‘Zeran’ said. “But for now you may call me Hei.”
“Why won’t Zeran come back?” Riena demanded to know.
“Brave little brat aren’t you?” Hei grinned. “I just mutilated a Level 3 Akuma in a second and you still have the guts to make demands?”
“Where is Zeran!” Riena glared at Hei.
"He's in here," Hei pointed at his chest. "He won't be coming out for a little while."
Hei walked over and touched Riena's face. "But in the mean time, how bout I teach you some respect and manners?"
Hei thought for a minute. "Let's start with your parents... Yo Mr and Mrs. Greywright."
Riena's parents both came from their hiding places. "Thank goodness it's you Zeran. We thought we'd get eaten alive by that monster." Riena's mom sighed.
In the blink of an eye, a blade skerwered Mrs. Greywright's throat. And then a second in Mr. Greywright's throat. After the intial two blades, more and more continuously stabbed their body in various places.
"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Riena screamed and cried.
Hei just laughed and laughed. "Oh come on girly. Don't you know? Death happens everyday! Now... do you know my power?"
A bullet hit Hei in the head. Riena was clutching her False Innocence gun that was given to her by Zeran. "Fuck... you..." Riena snarled.
"Bitch..." Hei slapped her across the face. "Do you know how much that hurt? I won't give you a quick death like your parents... I'll make sure to use these claws and rip out your intestines one by one, and make sure you're still alive so you can feel the excruciating pain."
Hei grabbed Riena by the neck. "Now let's begin." He extended his claws and reached for Riena's liver.
"Zeran..." Riena cried. "Zeran..."
"He's not coming to save you now!" Hei slowly reached for her liver.
"Zeran..." Riena continued crying. "Why... won't you save me anymore? Have I been a bad girl? I see... You must hate me so much that you never want to see me again."
"You're an idiotic girl aren't you?" Hei grinned and stopped. "I love to see you suffer. Maybe I'll watch this for a little while longer before I move on to killing you."
"I've lost my parents... and Zeran hates me... there's nothing left... Maybe it'd be better if I died here and now," Riena continued crying in her daze. "Zeran... isn't coming to save me anymore. But... I still want to say... Sorry... for whatever I did to make you hate me... Zeran..."
"It's over now," Hei zoomed in with his claw.
Part 5:
Hei stopped, dropped Riena, and screamed. "YOU LIAR!" he screamed. "You said, you'd let me be in control!" Hei clutched his head. "The next time you let me out, I'll kill all of your friends and make sure your soul is dead for good!" He gave one final bloodcurling yell and collapsed.
Zeran silently stood up and helped Riena to her feet.
"Zeran?" Riena stopped crying. "Zeran! You did come to save me!" She clung to him and resumed her tears,
He took one glance at her then pushed her off. "I'm leaving this place in two days. During that time, don't talk to me." He said in a tone that would freeze the sun.
Riena looked up at him. "Why? Why are you like this? What did I do to make you hate me?"
"Get out," Zeran said. "I don't want to see your face again." He carried the corpse of Riena's parents on his shoulders and walked out.
"Mom... Dad..." Riena finally broke down and continued crying until no more tears would flow.

I have no right to talk to her again... Zeran quietly buried Riena's parents and prayed for the safe departure of their souls. As long as I am an exorcist and as long as there are Akuma... there is no such thing as a happy ending. With this burial... I am not just burying Riena's parents. I will also bury my memories and feelings for Shia and Riena. I will bury them all. I am an Exorcist. There is no such thing as happiness for people like me. Zeran stood up and returned to his room.

I want to see Mom and Dad again... I don't care if I die... Even if I get to meet them in the form of an Akuma... I think I would be satisfied... There's nothing left in this world for me anyways. Riena quietly thought in her bed. I need to at least tell him good-bye... She silently stood up and walked outside, past all the dried blood and corpses to Zeran's room.
She gently knocked on his door. "Zeran?" she whispered. There was only silence to be heard. "I know you don't want to see or talk to me anymore. So I'll just say it. Before I met you, I was just a street rat, living off other people. Nobody cared about me and only hated me. I thought I would live the rest of my life that way... But, you came along and showed me a new way to live. I was really happy." Riena felt tears slide down her cheek.
"It was really fun, just being with you." Riena sighed. "It was like I gained an older brother and a best friend at once. But since you're leaving the day after tomorrow, I guess it can't be helped. I don't blame you for what happened today. I know you would never do it on purpose. Thank you for everything you did for me. I guess this is good-bye. I want to go see my parents one more time. So this is the last time we'll meet. To my most precious person, I love you from the bottom of my heart. Good-bye."
Zeran heard the clattering of her footsteps away from his door. He had been leaning against the door listening the entire time. "Riena..." Zeran cried silently.

Part 6:
Zeran woke up. I guess I dozed off... Riena... you sure know how to squezze my heart... Wait... She said... "the last time we'll meet" and "I want to see my parents one more time" Don't tell me... FUCK!
Zeran ran at top speed to find Riena. "Tengoku!" he shouted and jumped on it. He manuvered it through the air until he saw Riena's figure with another. A figure in a top hat...
"RIENA!!!!!!!!!!" Zeran yelled. "GODDAMN IT!" He activated both of his Innocence at the same time.

Riena had already called upon the Millenium Earl.
"Good evening," he said in his usual cheerful tone. "You want to bring back your parents right?"
"Yes..." Riena said firmly. "I don't care if I die and become an Akuma, I just want to see my parents again."
"How rare!" the Earl grinned. "You know about Akumas and yet still wish to become one?"
"There's no reason for me to stay on this planet any longer," Riena whispered. "So I'd like to see my parents."
"Here you go!" the Earl presented his Model Kit of science Akuma. "Now call your parents' names and we'll have you into an Akuma in a jiffy."
"MOM! DAD!" and the Akuma came to life.
"Riena!" the Akuma called out. "How dare you turn us into an Akuma?"
"Now my Akuma! Kill her!" the Earl shouted.
"RIENA!" a voice shouted from above. "INNOCENCE HATSUDOU!" Zeran quickly disposed of the Lvl 0 Akuma in a second.
He grabbed her by the collar. "YOU IDIOT! IDIOT IDIOT IDIOT!" He felt his eyes tearing up. "There are always reasons to live! Just because you cna't find it at the moment, it doesn't mean you should give up right away!" Zeran held her close. "idiot..."
"Zeran..." Riena said slowly. "I..."
He quickly let go. "Millenium Earl..." He glared with a ferocity that exceeeded anythign he ever felt before. "It's you..."
"I know it's me" he grinned malevolently. "And you are an exorcist right? But I've never seen you before..."
"REMEMBER MY NAME THEN! IT'S KUSANAGI..." Zeran sliced through the Earl's hat with his claw. "ZERAN!"
"What impudence!" the Earl glared at Zeran with his demonic eyes. "You'll pay for that!" the Earl brought forth an army of level 1 and 2 Akumas. Zeran calmly focused. "Jigoku! UNLIMITED BLADE WORKS(cannot be used due to copyright laws) Hell's Gate! Tengoku! Heaven's Gate! (yes I stole it from DtB)" A storm of blades rained down on all the akuma and the Earl, but the Earl managed to avoid them all. Then a tunnel appeared in the sky and sucked in all the carcasses. However the Earl seemed unfazed.
"I seem to have underestimated you," the Earl said. "But you are still not a threat to me or my plan. The exorcists are all gathering in Boston, and when the time comes I will eliminate them all! There are two people who can stop me. General Marian Cross and Allen Walker! But they are nowhere near here! You are all doomed" He pulled out Relo and faded away.
Zeran collapsed, having used too much power.

Part 7:
"Zeran" Riena called out gently. "Are you feeling better?
Zeran looked around and found that he was on Riena's lap. He could see every inch of her face clearly. Her long eyelashes and her azure blue eyes. Her long black hair looked as smooth s ever. Her small nose,and small lips... Riena punched him. "Where are you looking?"
"Not at your small breasts that's for sure," Zeran siad casually which earned him another punch.
"Hey..." Riena said quietly. "Are you really leaving?"
"You heard tubby," Zeran said while looking away. "the exorcists are gathering in Boston. I'm going to help them. I have to..."
"You can do it..." Riena said sadly.
"What are you going to do from now on?"
"I don't know." Riena looked around. "I don't have a home anymore, and I don't have any relatives nor acquaintances to help me... What can I do?"
"You can come with me I guess," Zeran said. "But... I don't really have a right to stay with you..."
"Is that what you were worried about?" Riena smiled. "I odn't blame you for it. I hate Hei for it... But it's not your fault. You and Hei are two different people." She leaned down and kissed him.
Zeran stood up abruptly. "WHAT WAS THAT FOR?"
"Oh what, so you didn't like it?" Riena glared at him.
"Why would I?" Zeran glared back. "You're just a brat!"
"Well excuse me for being a brat!" Riena snarled.
"Just hurry up and collect your stuff..." Zeran said. "We're going!"
"You don't have to tell me!" Riena walked off in a huff.

When Riena returned, Zeran was nowhere to be found. On the ground was some coins and a note.
"Dear Riena, I've decided it was too dangerous for you to come with me. I've gone off on my own to Boston. Use these coins to chase after me, or you can go somewhere else and start your own destiny. The rest is up to you... I just wanted to give you a choice, and not force you into something that would get you killed. ~Zeran"
Riena picked up the coins and discovered a locket underneath it. It contained two pictures. One on each side. On one side was a young cheerful Zeran and on the other was a pretty girl. The same girl Riena had met in the forest where Zeran was 'chained'. Do you even have to ask? Riena clutched the locket. I'll chase after you no matter where you are...

Author’s Notes (Pre-reading)
I know, I know! You guys are going to say, “Soooooooo long!” Sorry for the length but there was no way I could possibly shorten this without ruining the transitions or the chapter. It had to be perfectly descriptive so you could imagine the scenes in your head. I wanted to explore the characters’ psyches more and believed that some characters needed to be more badass. Besides, it’s quite ironic that Chapter 60 would have 60 parts (not including the author’s notes). :sweat I only wrote one chapter for this volume so just consider this a makeup for the chapter I didn’t write. :)

This chapter will tied up the events from my previous one and the title of Chapter Forty-Six will now make sense after reading. I know that there are many parts but I have separated each sub-arc with ++++ so you know when to take a break. For kicks, I decided to add four omakes to certain parts of the chapter (these events didn’t happen but it would be funny if they actually did) and a poll so keep track on how long it takes you to read the chapter! Another thing you could do is watch how much smaller the scroll bar gets after clicking every spoiler tag (I’ve done this a lot).

I hope you enjoy reading and that you like the twist.

Chapter Sixty: Treachery Has a Kind Face

Part One
Lione shuffled through his piles of paper, franticly searching for the funding request form. He still wasn’t used to the new location despite the fact that the move occurred over six months again. The branch leader was still adjusting to the change in scenery and environment. The climate in Boston was much cooler and rain seemed to be drawn to the area. Still, the city was more populated and supplies could be easily replenished. The female exorcists definitely appreciated the shops, which were sparse in Jamestown.

He looked down at his desk and sighed. He felt burdened by all the work assigned to him and despite his best effort to finish on time, it appeared that it just kept piling up. Sometimes, he wished that everything would magically be done or that he could just quit. However, something always brought him back to his senses. Maybe it was his attachment to his subordinates or perhaps his fear of what would happen if he disappeared. A better reason would be the fact that Komui would kill him if he quit.

Something sparkling caught the corner of his eyes and he turned to see a clear, brown bottle glistening to the sun. It laid a unique, clear prism on his desk and he couldn’t help but admire it. Lione was trying his best not to drink any drop of rum. He shuddered as he somewhat remembered the last time he got drunk.

Part Two
Stress from his responsibilities and the fallout with the Brown family had caused the branch leader to retreat to one of the local pubs. Normally, he would drink responsibly and never to the point of blacking out. However, he threw all caution to the wind and just let himself go. Rum was his best friend and confidante for the night and he was going to make the best of it.

He had no idea how he managed to get back to headquarters (he would later find out that Madeline and Flames had dragged him back from the pub; everyone was worried since Lione had been missing for several hours) and he recalled little about that night. The only thing that he could remember was a beautiful woman with subtle green hair and a kind, mischievous face.

Part of him regretted not asking for her name or any sort of information that he could use to track her down. For some odd reason, she seemed different from most women whom he had met. As his fingers rubbed against the bottle neck, Lione secretly hoped to meet her some day particularly after his days as an exorcist were over.

Part Three
The exorcist quickly put the rum bottle into a drawer. It was silly of him to reminisce about a lady whom he would never meet again. Besides, it would only bring back another painful memory—something that he never wanted to experience again.

Though drinking away his sorrow appeared like a good idea at the time, Lione deeply regretted that decision the next morning. Waking up, his body felt numb like he was experiencing an out of body experience. Suddenly, he felt the sudden urge to go to the bathroom and he spent most of the day in there. The branch leader still couldn’t return to the room without feeling ashamed of his actions.

Any sound no matter how light it may be caused his head to ache which made it unfortunate that Eny decided to continue her cat search. Screams of “FERMIUM, WHERE ARE YOU? HAS ANYONE SEEN MY CAT?” pierced his head like swords. Only after Lione posted the sign proclaiming “NO SOUNDS OF ANY SORT ALLOWED OR YOU’LL FACE THE CONSEQUENCES OF YOUR ACTION PERSONALLY! :mad” did silence in his wing of headquarter return.

As he looked out the window, Lione sighed and thought about his first encounter with Amiti. Despite the fact that he was near death, his emerald green eyes had a fire within them that relayed urgency. What information could this Bookman have that he was willing to die just to tell him? If it could help the exorcists, then it was more than what Lione expected of him.

Part Four
:: flashback starts ::
Lione stared at the Bookman in front of him in disbelief. How could the person not complete the sentence? Leaving him in suspense was not a cool thing to do especially to a person deeply stressed or captivated by the moment. It could give someone a heart attack.

Noticing that he had the branch leader’s attention, Amiti cleared his throat and responded, “The Noahs are on the move. My brother and I unfortunately stumbled upon a camp which was rumored to be run by a Noah. After recording what we observed, Ahiram and I left. We just saw a lot of topless men so we thought it was THAT kind of camp. However, I guess the rumors were true since we were attacked on the way to Jamestown.”

Lione stared at him intently; the boy was slowly gaining his trust but he didn’t want the Bookman to know. If Amiti knew, he probably would not reveal any more. And the boy’s change in demeanor startled him; he appeared meek and frail at first but the person lying on the bed was cold and malevolent. However, the branch leader brushed it off as post traumatic syndrome disorder; it was expected from anyone who witnessed a loved one’s brutal murder.

“Where is this camp?” demanded the exorcist. The redhead calmly took a sip of water and stared pensively at his mug. He retorted somewhat mockingly, “My, my! How your attention has changed within a minute! If I tell you, what do you plan to do with me?” The Bookman did not see the point in revealing too much if he was going to be tossed away.

Lione tried his best to contain his annoyance. The world was endangered by the Earl and his allies and Amiti was acting rather selfishly. “Protect you, of course! There is no point in letting you become easy prey to the Noahs.” Apparently, this answer satisfied the boy for he smiled and replied, “It’s up north in Massachusetts. There, you will find the Noah base.”

:: flashback ends ::

Part Five
If it wasn’t for Amiti, HQ would not have been relocated in such an abrupt manner. Boxes still remained unpacked and some of the staff still could not locate important files or research. The dust from the dilapidated church above was irritating his allergies every time he rode the elevator down to the base. No matter how hard he tried, this base did not feel like home.

However, the move did save them especially after Zeran’s destruction of the original branch. Lione shuddered at the thought of losing everything so the current chaos seemed acceptable. Besides, he was eternally grateful for Amiti. If it wasn’t for that bit of knowledge the Bookman provided, the exorcists would not have been prepared for the enemies’ advances. “The Noahs are heading north, huh? I wonder what is so important there.”

As the sun was beginning to rise, the exorcist yawned. He had pulled all-nighters before but as he grew older, it was beginning increasingly difficult to do so. He closed his eyes until something caught his attention. Straining his eyes, he noticed a black raven flying towards the building and landing on a tree in the courtyard. Lione stared hard at the bird and wondered what the harbinger of death was trying to tell him.

Part Six
The cold air caused the girl to shiver and she grabbed the arms in front of her. As much as she admired him, Magier questioned his sudden interest in visiting the sea. It’s not like he hadn’t seen water before.

Before she could open her mouth to ask, I.A. muttered, “Why are we here? It’s so cold in this filthy region. The sea salt is affecting my breathing and you know that I hate sudden, long trips.” He was shivering as much as Magier even though he was wearing pants.

Jacques stopped walking and turned around. Giving his companions a stealth look, the former priest replied, “I thought that we needed a break from being cramped in the camp. Besides, we still needed to do the job that the Duke Millennium had assigned us so I doubt he would appreciate our prolonged stay.”

Magier dug her nails into his arm and laid her head against it. He was surprisingly warm and she was hoping to steal a bit of his escaping body heat. Jacques turned in her direction and ruffled her hair. “What’s wrong? Are you cold? I thought that you were a big girl and could handle these conditions. None of my guardians complained about the trip and they left earlier than we did.”

Part Seven
The Noah shot back, “I’m wearing a skirt! When you start walking in a skirt in these conditions, then you can talk! Besides, your guardians left camp when it was sunny and warm out; we left in the middle of the night!” After saying that, she turned her face away from Jacque; she was afraid to see Jacques’ reaction to her outburst. In her mind, she pleaded, “Please, don’t punish me!"

I.A. started laughing so hard that his stomach started to ache. He couldn’t stop and nor did he desire to do so. He was starting to feel warm from all of this chuckling. “My, my! Someone didn’t wake up on the right side of bed this morning! I guess that means that she didn’t have pleasant dreams about Jacques last night. Did they concern Gabrielle?”

Magier quickly tried to draw her sword, threatening “You little brat!” The mere mention of that woman’s name angered the Noah. If she could, she would have killed that guardian a long time ago. However, this would upset her older brother and she could not bear seeing his reaction to her action. Perhaps, if there was an accident… these thoughts were exciting her.

Before she could strike I.A. down, Jacques held Magier’s hand down and whispered, “For people who have been complaining the entire time, you guys have a lot of energy to spend bickering with one another.” He released the girl’s hand and commanded, “Magier, stay close to me!” The Noah shifted his body, cleverly turning the girl’s face away from I.A. He glared at him and forcibly admonished, “You walk on the other side of her! We’ll act as a wind barrier for her for the rest of the journey.”

Part Eight
“How much longer are we going to travel?” complained I.A. He could no longer feel his legs due to all this walking. He looked at Jacques who appeared to be distracted by something. “Jacques?”

Jacques faced his brethrens and assured them, “We’re almost there. I’m just waiting for something. Let’s sit down and rest for a while. It’ll be a long day for us today so we might as well rest while we still can.”

Upon hearing that, Magier and I.A. collapsed and lay on the soft, firm earth. “I never thought that we could ever stop,” muttered the girl and she glanced sweetly at Jacques who was leaning against a strong oak. However, he didn’t seem to notice as he kept glazing at the city before him. It appeared dead in the middle of the night.

Despite the fact that he wasn’t looking in her direction, this satisfied the female Noah; with the moon reflecting off his face, he looked like a philosopher who was trying to gain enlightenment about the world around him as well as a general who was about to lead his army into a bloody battle. The look suited him well.

Part Nine
The rest lasted around three hours. Magier and I.A. were lying next to each other in order to keep warm and both were about to fall asleep when Jacques commanded, “Get up! It’s time to go!” Both of his companions shot up and looked around confused. It was so sudden and unexpected. Besides, they were just getting comfortable.

“What? What happened? Why do we have to get up now?” said I.A. as he began to yawn. The sun was now rising, radiating the world with its warm glow. Magier squinted her eyes and jerked suddenly. “What is that?” as she pointed to a light shining in the distant.

Jacques smirked and helped his two siblings up. “A friend.”

Part Ten
The knee high waters were cool and refreshing and the faint scent of jasmine lingered in the air. The cicadas were buzzing and birds could be heard chirping in the distance. It’s been a while since she had been in the area but Stephanie knew that she was home. She always hated working the rice paddy fields since the work was tiresome and repetitive. However, deep inside, she kind of missed it. Life might have been hard but it was simpler and less troublesome. She did not have to worry about saving the world or whether her life will end that day.

As she waddled by some stray lotuses, the exorcist headed towards the shore in order to visit her old home. No matter how much she tried, the land seemed to be moving farther and farther away from her as if it was teasing her. Frustrated, she screamed and slammed the water with her fist, forming ripples that spread throughout the field.

Oddly, her reflection did not match her appearance. Despite the fact that the girl in the water had the body of a seventeen year old, she wore clothing best suited for a twelve year old and had two pigtails that intertwined together at their ends. She appeared to be innocent, uncorrupted. Where am I?

Part Eleven
Suddenly, some thing slithered by Stephanie’s legs, causing her to jump. It felt like a snake and moved by so quickly that the Asian had no time to register what it was. She stared at the water again in order to catch a glimpse of it but nothing showed up. She sighed and muttered, “It’s just my imagination. It probably was a lotus root or something.”

When Stephanie continued her attempt to reach the shore, she felt like she had a target on her back. Every so often she would turn around only to see nothing but endless fields. Her surroundings had suddenly become eerily quiet; only when she moved did the sound of splashing water echoed throughout the area. The trek was proving tireless now; her feet were getting stuck to the mud as if the earth did not want her to leave. Her legs were becoming numb due to the water and she really wanted to sleep.

“I’ll eventually get home so I might as well just keep going,” she assured herself. As she tried to lift her right leg, it got snagged against something and she reach down to release it. When she did that, green ribbons swept past her face and before she could react, they wrapped around the neck, attempting to bring her down.

Part Twelve
Stephanie quickly ripped them away from her and started running to the land. More ribbons lunged at her and she dodged them. The exorcist turned around to face her opponent but no one stood before her. Still she was not going to take a risk and commanded, “INNOCENCE ACTIVATE!”

Unfortunately, nothing happened. Her red ribbons, which she always sported proudly on her long black hair, had disappeared, leaving her defenseless against a dangerous enemy. In complete denial, she spoke again, “INNOCENCE ACTIVATE” and yet again, nothing occurred. What was it? Could it be that her Innocence was refusing to respond because she was not its conformer yet?

“Damn,” muttered the exorcist as she sprinted towards the shoreline. Strangely, the land seemed to sense her urgency since unlike earlier, it moved closer and closer to the girl. The enemy was still attacking as if it knew that it would lose its prey the instance she stepped foot upon the coast. More threads were sent in Stephanie’s direction that it was becoming more impossible to evade the attacks.

Part Thirteen
Fifty yards (45.72m) away from the shore, the opponent caught her, wrapping a green ribbon around the exorcist’s right arm. Stephanie still kept moving but it kept becoming increasingly difficult as more and more bands enfolded her. She was so close to the shore and yet so far.

Despite the enemy’s best effort, the exorcist finally landed on the soft ground and frantically tried to stay on it. She unluckily fell and the pull of the ribbons became increasingly stronger. As she dug her nails into the soft earth, she felt herself slipping into the water. She growled and tried to drag herself; she knew that if she fell any further, it was over.

As if it could sense her determination, a new barrage of ribbons was sent, enveloping the exorcist and making it impossible to see her. Her grip on the soft ground was slipping and her body was growing weaker. A sense of fear and terror entered her mind as she splashed into the water. The ribbons were holding her down and every time she struggled, their hold on her grew tighter. As she felt herself losing consciousness, she slowly breathed her last breath.

Part Fourteen
The girl jerked up from her bed and started panting. She brought her hands over her eyes and muttered, “It was only a dream.” Her entire body was covered with sweat and her arms were trembling. Despite the fact that she came to the realization that it was just a nightmare, Stephanie couldn’t help but feel like she actually lived it.

“Hey, are you okay?” came a quiet voice from across the room. The exorcist turned her head towards Tabitha’s direction and replied, “Yeah. I was just having a weird dream-- nothing that I can’t handle.”

“Oh my god, it’s six o’clock in the morning!” complained Rinvak. She had gone to bed late due to training and a little flirting. Besides, the longer she could avoid the girls’ dormitory, the better. It’s not like she did not like the room. Each gender was sequestered to separate ends of the base and the rooms were enormous. Everyone had a bed and dresser made from mahogany so she could not complain about the furnishing. What she could not stand living with girls she considered immature. She shot a dirty glare at Tabitha, hoping that the exorcist would get the hint and go back to bed. Stephanie said that she was going to be fine so stop talking, she thought.

Part Fifteen
“Oh, someone’s cranky!” mumbled Tabitha as she crept from her bed. She was thirsty and was heading to the sink to get some water. “Hey, where are you going?”

Stephanie had gotten off from her bed and putting her exorcist top on. “Oh, I’m just going to go for a short walk just to ease my mind. I’ll be back shortly so just head back to bed.” She grabbed her shoes and started to head out.

“Wait!” whispered Tabitha. The exorcist poked her head back into the room and replied, “What?!” The teenager threw Stephanie’s capri and commented, “Your pajama shorts doesn’t match the top. You’ll look funny if you went out like that!” She placed her cup on her dresser and tucked herself back to bed.

Stephanie caught the bottoms and gave Tabitha a weird look. “Thanks… I guess,” said Stephanie as she quickly changed and left, accidentally slamming the door behind her. Rinvak left out a loud groan and grumbled, “She’s going to see Blade.”

Part Sixteen
“Oooooooo… young love! How cute!” remarked Tabitha. “Speaking of which, how are things with Amiti and you? You should go and see him now.” This only resulted in Rinvak’s throwing her pillow at her, knocking her cup of water all over her bed.

“Hey what was that for?” demanded the exorcist. She had quickly fallen asleep only to have a pillow slammed into her face and cold water spilled all over her bed. Tabby glared at Rinvak and angrily said, “That was a rude thing to do especially when I was going back to bed.”

On the other side of the room, Eny was trying her best not to giggle so loud. In her free time, she had created a machine that could convert her voice to another else’s and in this instance, she chose Tabitha’s. Even though she had muffled her laughter with her pillow, her entire bed was shaking. Ever since she had lost her beloved cat, she decided that if she was going to suffer, someone else would too. That someone she decided would be Tabitha and she spent most of her time and effort on achieving this goal.

Part Seventeen
:: whack :: Something hard hit the girl’s head and she jumped up from her bed, only to face the angry eyes of Tabitha. “That was uncalled for! You shouldn’t be blaming me for your actions!” scolded Eny as she hid her invention into her pajama pocket.

“How did you do it? I know that it was you so don’t even deny it, you little twerp. Where did you put it?” the exorcist coldly demanded. She was pissed and whoever crossed her was going to feel her wrath. The Bookwoman backed away only to have Tabitha grab her.

“Don’t think I have forgotten all the pain and suffering you made me go through earlier. Do you have any idea how hard it was for me to escape from my parents and to come back here?” the exorcist growled as she lifted Eny up. All the anger she had pent up was now getting released and Eny was the unfortunate target. “You pissed off the wrong person.”

Part Eighteen
:: flashback starts ::
“Mom! Dad! You’re both being ridiculous and irrational!” yelled Tabitha as she was dragged from headquarters into the quiet streets of Boston. Tears were streaming down her face and in a distance she could hear distant screams from the Black Order headquarter aimed at someone. “Let go of me! You have no idea what you’re doing right now.”

Her protests instead caused her parents to quicken their pace and to tighten their grasps on her arms. The exorcist still struggled but it only tired her out more. She could her parents muttering, “My God, they have brainwashed her. We need to get her away from their horrible reaches!”

Before she knew it, she was back in her childhood home—a place that she had not been for years. Tabby was brought to her room and locked inside. Apparently her parents learned from previous experience since her windows were barred causing the girl to sigh in exasperation. Escape seemed impossible this time; what was a crafty teenager to do?

Part Nineteen
“Tabitha, I’m opening the door right now so stay away from it,” said Mrs. Brown as she unlocked the door. The exorcist wanted to make a run for it but when she did, she only ran into her father’s arms. “We’re leaving this god forsaken city to visit your grandmother in Washington D.C. The farther away we are from here, the better for your head.”

A part of Tabby’s mind went into panic mode; she could only imagine her ultra old-fashioned grandmother’s expression if she saw her right now. “Stand up straight. Good heavens, what on earth are you wearing? How many rosaries do you want me to say to repent for your sins?” This was a fate worse than hell.

“You can’t do this!” protested the exorcist. “By doing this, you’re saying that Edward’s death was in vain. You’re only helping the Earl in his mission. Can’t you see that?” This outburst only resulted in her getting a slap from her mother. Mrs. Brown glared at her only surviving child and coldly scolded, “You little ingrate! Don’t you ever use your brother to propagate that cult’s lies?!” With that, the Brown family abandoned their brick home and headed towards the train station.

Part Twenty
As expected, the train station was quiet at night. Most people preferred to leave for their destination during the day. Only those that wished to escape and vanish would leave at unusual hours and tonight it seemed that the Browns wanted to join these people.

Mr. Brown tightly gripped Tabitha’s arm as they wanted for the train to D.C. The trip would take a few days, which disgusted the exorcist. Long train rides were boring but being around two grief-stricken and irrational people would make the trip unbearable. She had to find a way out.

A loud whistle snapped the girl out of her thoughts. The train had arrived and she felt her parents push her into their respective compartment. Unlike the posh train booth that she was used to staying in, the Browns stayed in a bare and uncomfortable one. She sat down near the window and watched as Boston grew farther into the distance.

Part Twenty-One
Around 2 o’clock in the morning, Tabitha noticed that her parents were drifting into unconsciousness. Her mother sat right across from her while her father was next to her, blocking her way into the aisle. She closed her eyes and listened carefully to her surroundings. Her father’s snores and her mother’s light breathing alerted the exorcist that they had finally fallen asleep.

Carefully, she tiptoed around her parents’ feet, quietly thanking the luck that both of her parents were deep sleepers. She slowly opened the door, which unfortunately creaked. The exorcist stopped and looked at her parents. They both turned towards the window, muttering about how much they hated the Order, how they wanted to punch Lione, and how stupid Tabitha was. Silently saying farewell to her parents, she sneaked out to the hall and sprinted to the exit.

The train was moving pretty fast and Tabitha knew that it would be dangerous to jump at this rate. She was already several miles away from headquarter and the longer she stayed on the train, the distance would increase. The exorcist muttered a quick prayer as she jumped into the darkness.

Part Twenty-Two
“Innocence, activate! Goddess song!” she ordered. A spirit appeared and caught Tabby before she hit the ground. “Thanks!” expressed the grateful girl as she got off the spirit’s arms. She was experiencing the greatest adrenaline rush at that moment and immediately started running towards the distant city.

She couldn’t wait to see everyone and his/her reactions upon seeing her unexpected return. Lione would probably freak out and send a message to her parents, which they probably wouldn’t receive due to the distance between Boston and the capitol city and the Browns’ refusal to read anything associated with the Order. Rinvak would definitely roll her eyes and sigh. Stephanie would welcome her back with a hug and force Blade to do the same. Flames would smile in amusement but would not say anything. The new Finder Daniel would give her his usual toothy grin and greet, “Howdy, kiddo!” Ying would flash her usual smile while Amiti certainly would not notice since he lived in the library. And Eny… well, Tabitha could not wait to see her.

:: flashback ends ::

As she pushed the Bookwoman to the ground, Tabitha couldn’t help but feel so much better. All her fury was finally released and she knew that Eny finally got what was coming to her. She swore that no misfortunate would ever touch her or her loved ones again and was adamant on keeping that promise.

As they rolled on the floor fighting, Rinvak got up and snatched Stephanie’s pillow from the bed next to her. She covered her head with it and sighed. It was looking like a great start to a horrible day.

Part Twenty-Three
As she walked down the corridor, Stephanie knew that once she came back Rinvak was going to get on her case. That girl really appreciated her beauty sleep so her slamming the door did not help the situation. She reasoned that if Rinvak did not waste her time flirting with the new guy she might have gotten her work done sooner and thus, would have gone to bed earlier.

When she arrived to the boys’ area, she quickly held her breath and ventured in. For some odd reason, this side of the living quarters always smelled like dirty laundry and sweat. The girls’ side had a flowery scent even though it had been occupied for the same time as the boys; what did the guys do to their side?

Upon arriving at her destination, the exorcist knocked the door and entered. She almost tripped on the dirty shirt that was lying on the floor and she stared in disbelief. The “floor” was covered with clothes, books, and papers; even their beds had stuff lying on them.

The room layout was quite similar to the girls (minus the mess, of course). Five mahogany beds were lined up with three beds on each side of the room; two of them were left unoccupied, awaiting the return of the two missing members. Amiti’s bed was empty though it was left unmade. He was an early to bed, early to rise type of person. The Bookman was the only person who willingly went to bed at nine and wake up at five to get work done. It didn’t help that he was now obsessed with the Pandora’s Box that Rinvak and he bought.

Opposite of Amiti’s area laid Flames in deep sleep. Unlike his counterpart, he liked to stay up deep into the night and wake up late. Even though he had a new Innocence, it appeared that the werewolf deep inside him remained. She looked at him somewhat enviously. Despite the fact that she and Blade had become “official”, he spent most of his time with the native, trying to find the mysterious Hephaestus. Sometimes, she wondered if she had to compete with her fellow exorcist just to get some alone time with the Bookman.

Part Twenty-Four
She waded through the mess until she came to Blade’s bed. He reminded her of angel and she couldn’t help but admire him. She shook his shoulder until he woke up. He yawned and groaned, “Huh? What’s going on?”

Now alert enough, he smiled and teasingly flirted, “Oh, hello, lady! What honor do I have to be graced by your presence?” He quickly moved his blanket so she could sit down next to him. She sat down and kissed his forehead as he caressed her hair. As she began telling him her nightmare, he brought himself up and rubbed her back to comfort her.

After she finished her story, he looked at her with concern and consoled, “It’s okay, Stephanie! I’m here and everyone here is safe. There’s no need to worry. Why don’t you lie next to me and just go back to sleep. Everything will be okay in the morning.”

Unfortunately, this was not what Stephanie wanted to hear for she got off his bed. She glared at him and retorted, “First off, I’m not a five year old. Second, even if I were or acted like one, you’re not my mom! I feel like you didn’t listen to me.” Blade quickly jumped from his bed and tried to calm her down, saying, “Of course I listened to you. You were telling me about your dream but it’s just a dream.”

Part Twenty-Five
She looked at him for a second and sighed, “Okay, what was my dream about?” The Bookman looked at her blankly and guessed, “It was about the Earl?” This only infuriated the exorcist as she released herself from his hug. As she stormed off, tripping every so often, she muttered, “Maybe if I was Flame or knew anything about Hephaestus, you would pay attention to me. I’m going outside.” When she arrived at the door, she opened it and left, slamming the door.

Blade sighed and went to grab a clean shirt. “You better go after her,” groaned Flames who overheard the entire conversation. “She’s probably stressed out from training and worried about everyone else.” Seeing the young couple in front of him brought back many fond and frustrating memories of Poloma and him.

The Bookman nodded and quickly grabbed his shoes and Innocence. Through his research as a Bookman, he knew that when a woman was mad, it was best for a man to get back on her good side. Otherwise, his life would be hell.

Part Twenty-Six
As he headed towards the elevator, Blade recalled the advice Flames shouted at him when he was about to exit the room. “Admit that you were not paying any attention but say it in a romantic way.” He sighed as he pushed the up button. How could he admit fault without angering Stephanie more?

:: ding :: The elevator door opened and the Bookman rushed in, slamming the “L” button. He paced the floor, pondering what he should say to convey his feelings that he actually did care for his girlfriend and that he did not take her feelings lightly.

The elevator beeped, alerting Blade that he had arrived at his floor. He grabbed his Innocence and ran through the church. Dust flies around him, causing him to cover his mouth in order to prevent him from coughing. Though it was a clever disguise, the messiness of the top level was somewhat annoying.

Part Twenty-Seven
When he arrived outside, the Bookman looked around swiftly, searching for any moving object. In the distance, he noticed a female walking slowly along the trail leading to the city. Sprinting towards her direction, he screamed, “Stephanie, wait!”

Stephanie turned around and smiled. A manic man was heading in her direction and she knew only one person would be crazy enough to do that. She paused just to make his trip easier and awaited his arrival.

When he stopped in front of her, she chuckled, “Do you know how ridiculous you look! Your shirt is wrinkled and your pants are unzipped. You have horrible bed hair. You look like a bum!” Blade who was panting the entire time checked himself out and started laughing. “I was in such a rush to see you that I didn’t care what I looked like.”

Part Twenty-Eight
After calming done, Stephanie stood up straight and inquired haughtily, “So why are you here? It’s obvious from your appearance that you aren’t here to impress the ladies.” Blade placed his arms around her waist and replied charmingly, “I don’t need to impress the ladies. I already have one.” He noticed her blushing and continued, “I’m sorry that I was not listening to you earlier. I was tired and the sound of your voice was so enchanting I thought I was in a dream.”

Stephanie turned and slapped his face lightly. “That was the corniest and cheesiest thing I’ve ever heard.” Blade was nervous now; he thought he understood what Flame had told him but he guessed he didn’t. Suddenly, he felt a finger on his lip and a soft voice spoke, “But I’ll forgive you just this once.”

He breathed out a sigh of relief and silently praised Flame. In his happiness, he brought Stephanie closer to him and kissed her. He must have startled her because she struggled at first. Eventually, she stopped and tightened her hold around his neck.

Part Twenty-Nine
As she pulled herself away from him, she whispered, “I think we should head back before everyone wondered what happened to us.” Blade smiled sheepishly and nodded. They started their trek back, holding hands in awkward silence. Every time they glanced at each other, they quickly turned away and smiled.

“So I think that kiss was a lot better the last one,” began the Bookman. Stephanie looked at him puzzled as he continued, “The first one we shared, I believe I was ‘asleep’.” Stephanie’s eyes widened in horror and she screamed, “You were awake the entire time?!?!” He slowly backed away and explained, “I wasn’t awake the entire time. I was asleep until you kissed me. Think of it like a Cinderella story.”

Enraged, Stephanie started to storm back, grumbling, “He was awake the entire time! I feel like a fool,” Blade ran after her, scolding himself for bringing it unto himself again. When will he ever learn? “Stephanie, wait! I’m not saying that it was a bad thing…”

Unexpectedly, she stopped but it wasn’t because Blade was calling her. When he finally caught up with her, the exorcist asked her companion, “When you came out here, did you feel the cold presence of the barrier?” He thought about it for a minute and answered, “Now that you mentioned it, I did. It occurred really fast because I was in a rush to catch up with you but I did sense it. Why do you ask?”

Part Thirty
Stephanie started swinging her arms back and forth. “I don’t sense it. There were no cold chills or any sensation at all. It’s like it’s vanished.” She looked at him with concern and he knew that it only meant one thing. “Someone removed the barrier.”

However, before he could move, Stephanie pushed him out of the way and ordered, “Innocence activate!” Her red ribbons blocked the green bands that headed in their direction. “It’s been a while, sister.”

The Akuma smiled evilly from her hiding place in the trees. “Good morning to you, sister! Though I doubt our dear mother would appreciate you cuddling your boy toy in public. She always hated PDA.” She turned to Blade who looked offended to be called that and greeted, “So you’re courting my sister. I must tell you that my family has very high standards and that you must receive our approval before seeing her. However, since I’m the only surviving relative, I guess you just have to impress me.” She quickly aimed a barrage of ribbons in his direction only to have been repelled by her sister’s.

“I won’t let you harm him,” Stephanie replied darkly and tossed her sister aside. The Akuma looked amused and joked, “You must really like him. After all you’re more than willing to die for him.” As the exorcist charged at her opponent, her twin licked her lips and prepared herself for the attack. She had a lot of rage pent up from the last battle and she couldn’t wait to release it.

Part Thirty-One
“Stephanie!” screamed Blade as he headed in her direction. However, a blade appeared in front of him and he barely managed to dodge the attack. After landing on the ground, the Bookman stared at his opponent. The girl appeared to be an innocent schoolgirl appearance and he could easily mistake her as someone’s younger sister. But the girl had a dark, evil presence around her that sent chills up his spine.

He stood up and raised his katana. “Get out of my way!” He was in no mood to fight a child nor did he have the time to do so. He had to help Stephanie and warn HQ, which was a good distance away, about the danger. Still, he could not determine if the person in front of him was an Akuma or Noah; if it was the former, it would not be much of a problem compared to the latter.

Magier looked at him quizzically and grinned. “Why are you in a rush? Don’t you want to fight me?” Her skin was becoming darker and bloody crosses appeared on her forehead. Blade toughened his stance, thinking that it was just his luck that he had to face a Noah.

Part Thirty-Two
When he didn’t answer, she glared at him and taunted, “We’ve been watching you two the entire time. At first we were going to attack your girl since she was easy prey but then you showed up.” Her face was growing darker and more intense. “We saw you laughing and flirting. Seeing you happy made me sick!” and she swung her sword recklessly at Blade.

The Bookman had no idea how he managed to block the erratic blows from the Noah but somehow he did. He pushed her back as he started heaving. She was strong and formidable despite her fragile appearance. He had to be careful around her but it was going to be a hard and long battle.

Magier started laughing, shocking the exorcist. In her mind, she replayed the happy couple earlier and part of her wanted to throw up. And yet, part of her wanted to be like that. Why couldn’t Jacques be that way to her? Why wouldn’t he like her kiss him or hold him? Why couldn’t he love her like that? She stared at Blade and threatened, “It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed a good fight. Don’t worry about your girl and concentrate on your battle. Do your best to keep up with me, Mr. Bookman.”

Part Thirty-Three: Omake – Technical Difficulties
Ever since their childhood, the sisters had fought each other. Even their mother claimed the moment they were conceived, the twins started their long rivalry, joking about all the kicking she had to suffer through her long nine months. They fought for attention, toys, whatever siblings could bicker about. Therefore, one could conclude that the current clash was nothing new but a continuation of their war.

“Why must all little sisters be like annoying flies? I wonder if I should test your creativity,” screamed the Akuma as she sent a bombardment of ribbons shaped as spears toward her sister. The exorcist summoned her ribbons around her, causing them to act as a shield. Stephanie leapt up and started to spin her Innocence at a high speed, resembling a top.

As she aimed her ribbons at her other half, the Akuma sent her weapon to stop the drill from spinning. “Stephanie” knew that her challenge would have been answered but she wasn’t expected this much creativity.

“Owwwwwwwwwww!” yelped the twins as both collapsed to the ground. The screams startled Blade and Magier as they lowered their katanas to see what had happened. In a distance, both opponents could see two girls holding their heads in pain and a bundle between the two of them.

“You idiot! How did your ribbons got tangled in mine?” demanded the exorcist as she tried to yank her Innocence towards her. The knot looked overly complicated and it would take forever to untangle. By the time she did untangle it, Stephanie would vulnerable to any sudden attack due to the short attacking distance.

The Akuma grimaced and shot back, “Well, excuse me! You were the one who was trying to drill me and you expect me to take that willingly. Stop pulling; you’re yanking my hair! Why don’t you untie your ribbons from your damn head?”

Hearing what her sister had to say only caused the exorcist to pull harder. Having enough of it, “Stephanie” began to pull her ribbons, resulting in the exorcist to glare at her. The Akuma’s twin replied, “Why would I remove my Innocence? Like I would give you the advantage! Besides, both of my strands are tied up with yours.” Both sisters began to stare at each other and it appeared that none of them was going to budge anytime soon.

“Blade! Please come here! I need your help!” requested Stephanie when she noticed that the Bookman and the Noah was staring dumbfounded in their direction. “I need you to cut my sister’s ribbons so I can use my Innocence.” Her twin glanced at her for a second and looked like she was going to admonish her for involving an outsider to their duel.

“That’s stupid of you to request that! He’s your boyfriend so he should cut YOUR ribbons and not mine, you selfish pig,” scolded the Akuma as she then began to turn to the katana wielders’ way. “Lady Magier! Could you cut my ribbons from my bratty sister?”

The Akuma felt a slap across her face and noticed her sister standing before her. “Stop stealing my idea and get your own,” threatened the exorcist. The Level 5 (she had leveled up since the last time they met) wiped her mouth and muttered, “Don’t touch me, you brat!” as she yanked her ribbon causing the exorcist to fell backward.

As the sisters started bickering (again), Blade turned to the Noah who only gave him an unsure shrug. “Wouldn’t it be easy if we just cut both of their ribbons?”

Part Thirty-Four
Sirens were going off like crazy in the front section of headquarters and the base appeared to be in complete mayhem. It seemed that everyone was sleeping or working peacefully one second and then the next, it was a war zone. Lione had rushed out of his office once he heard the explosion near the elevator. To his horror, the ceiling had collapsed and a cloud of dust covered the floor. Groans from the crushed Finders and staff echoed. What could have caused the ceiling to fall in like that?

Groans later turned to screams of terror and pain. Lione quickly activated his Innocence as thousands of Level 1 and 2 Akuma began shooting from above. As his shadow swallowed the Akuma, he ran to the entrance and barricaded it to slow down the enemy’s advances. The branch leader calmed himself down silently saying a prayer for those who perished from the attack. He straightened up and headed to the command center. Lione knew that as the leader of the North American branch he had to take charge as soon as possible or the situation would become hopeless.

“Summon all available exorcists here immediately! I don’t care if you have to wake them up! Send them to me so I can give them assignments!” Lione ordered as he entered the room. Staff members sprinted from the room and headed to the dormitories. As he deactivated his Innocence to conserve energy, the exorcist turned his attention to communication personals and requested, “Send a message to the main branch and inform them about the situation.”

Part Thirty-Five
“Lione, what the hell is going on?” snapped Rinvak as she and the other girls entered the room. The bags under her eyes revealed that she had little sleep, explaining her crankiness. Tabitha and Eny appeared pissed but it was not due to lack of sleep or the ringing alarms. From the scratches and bruises on their bodies, Lione deduced that they got into a catfight.

The door opened and Flames walked calmly in. “I didn’t hear the alarms from my room so I apologize for not coming earlier.” Lione nodded and quickly noted, “Where are the other boys? Amiti and Blade are supposed to be in the same room as you.” He quickly turned to the girls and asked, “Where is Stephanie?”

Eny answered, “She went to go for a walk. I assume that Blade is with her since they’re always together.” Lione cussed silently to himself; this only meant two things. Either the two exorcists managed to avoid the attack or were ambushed on the way back. He prayed for the former though deep inside, he knew that it was the latter event occurred to them.

“What about Amiti?” he questioned. His subordinates looked at each other and shrugged. Rinvak began to worry as she rubbed the sparkling sapphire ring on her finger; despite the fact that she had been quite cold to him, she did truly like him. Though she could not imagine their relationship being like that of Blade and Stephanie, she did believe that there was a possibility for them to be together. Before she could say anything, Flame responded, “I haven’t seen him since last night when I went to bed. He probably is at the library since he’s been busy with his research.”

Part Thirty-Six
Lione sighed but knew that it was too late to send someone to search for him. He had to do with the men that he had and utilized them wisely. Suddenly, a staff member entered and shouted, “Lione, we have a problem! The Akuma have destroyed the main entrance. Estimated time for their arrival to this location is 20 minutes.”

The head exorcist slammed his fists against the desk and muttered, “Damnit!” He turned to his staff and ordered, “Evacuate the area; there’s no point in staying if you’re only going to be massacred.” Turning to the exorcists, he pointed to the youngest girls and said, “You two, lead the staff and Finders through the secret passages so you can escape!”

Tabitha protested, “Lione! I’m old and strong enough to fight. Let me stay and help you.” She wanted to prove to the branch leader that she was capable and mature enough to handle such dangerous missions but the assignment he had given her seemed simple and pointless. The Finders and staff could easily follow the paths to the exit so why did they need an exorcist to do such a task?

Lione approached her and quietly placed his hands on her shoulder. He gently spoke, “It’s not that I don’t trust your ability. This battle probably will not have a good ending and I want to ensure that at least some of us have a chance to fight another day. Do you understand?” Tabitha nodded and grabbed Eny’s hands. Sprinting out the room, she ordered, “Everyone, including you brat, follow me!”

Part Thirty-Seven
After the staff and the two girls left the room, Lione looked at Flames and requested, “Ying and a bunch of healers are still in the medical wings. Please get there as soon as possible and get them out of there. The last thing we need is a branch with no medical staff.” The native nodded and left the room. Hopefully, he would face no enemies, making his job easier. If not, he wouldn’t mind bashing some Akuma so in the end, it didn’t matter.

Watching the exorcist disappear down the hall, the branch leader sat down on the table. Rinvak stood awkwardly before him and wondered what task he would assign her to do. Would she be a sacrificial lamb, staying behind to fight the advancing enemies? Or would she be asked to look for Amiti?

“Rinvak,” said a voice that startled her from her thoughts. Lione was looking at her with sorrowful eyes, making her think that she was going to be asked to do the first one. She always felt that Lione favored the other exorcists more so she was expecting the task. As she readied herself for his assignment, she heard him say, “I want you to come with me to find out why the barrier disappeared.”

She shot her head up and looked at him questioningly. Did she just hear what she just heard? Lione must had read her mind because he replied, “It’s not like I’m going to leave one of my own to face certain death. We need to see why the orb Flame had given us didn’t work. Besides, the library is on the way out so we can get Amiti.” She nodded and followed her leader out the door.

Part Thirty-Eight
“You walk so slow! At this rate, the Akuma will catch up with us,” complained Eny as she stepped on Tabitha’s foot. Tabitha winced and angrily thought to herself, “One minute she’s saying that I’m walking too fast that no one can catch up and now she’s claiming that I want too slow. Make up your mind, girl!” She turned around and glared at Eny. “Well, you’re making so much noise right now that even my deceased deaf grandpa could even hear you!”

Before the girls could throw blows at each other, Daniel ran and separated the girls. “This is not a time to squabble. We’re all scared right now and the last thing we need is an exorcist and a member of the Bookman clan fighting. Let’s just get to safety and plan a strategy from there.” He released them from his grasp and started walking forward. Tabitha looked down at the ground and realized that the Finder was right. There was no time to fight with that annoying twerp and Lione expected her to lead them out safely. She got up and held her hand out Eny. The Bookwoman looked at her suspiciously but reluctantly took it.

As Tabitha pulled her up, Eny muttered, “Just because we have to work together now doesn’t mean we’re going to be best friends.” The exorcist rolled her eyes and mumbled, “As if I want to be yours.”

Part Thirty-Nine
Tabitha pushed her way to front, grateful that she managed to grab a golem before she left. Despite his slow speed, Amadaun knew what it was going and its bright orange color stood out against the dark tunnels. Besides, it had a good pace that was perfect for leading a group through a new area. Eny had decided to stay in the back just in case someone got lost or an enemy caught up. The exorcist really liked the arrangement since it meant that the girl was far away from her, hence allowing her to keep her sanity.

The golem turned around and started making a beeping noise. A part of Tabitha wanted to jump for joy since that meant that the exit was approaching; the other part was still worried about the others left behind and was anxious about the scene that awaited them. She turned around and announced, “We’re almost there so we can rest once we are a safe distance away from the base, okay?” The Finders and the staff started smiling once they heard the news. They didn’t know how much further they could walk in the dark and the smell of the ancient tunnels was getting to them.

As if it could sense the happiness of the group, Amadaun started to speed up. Tabitha silently cursed to herself, hoping that it would slow down. She lost track of it as it rounded a corner and she stopped for a moment in order for her to hear its buzzing. “This way,” she commanded as she waved her arms to the right. In the distance she could see the orange golem head towards an earth colored door. They were almost home free.

Part Forty
The door unexpectedly opened and a gloved hand reached out and captured the golem. “Well, well, well! What a pleasant surprise to meet you here, pretty lady,” came a haughty voice. Tabitha jumped back and got into a fighting position. She recognized that voice and figure standing in front of her.

I.A. smiled reminding the exorcist of a clown. He crushed the golem in his hand and let the powder fall gently on the ground. “It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? I believe the last time we met, it was in Opalo. Do correct me if I’m wrong.” By this time, Eny had pushed her way to the front, wondering what the holdup was. She gasped once she saw the dark skinned person in front of her; she had never met a Noah nor did she desire to be introduced to one.

The Noah eyed her carefully and as if he could read her mind, he introduced himself. “I am I.Amaterasu of the Noah Clan and I assume you’re from the Bookman Clan. Your service would be deeply appreciated by the Earl.” Tabitha brought her right arm in front of Eny as if she wanted to protect her from him. She wondered how on earth the Noah discovered the passage. Only those in the Order knew about it so his appearance was unexpected and suspicious. She was snapped out of her thoughts when the I.A. began laughing.

“Do you really think that you can defeat me?” teased the Noah. “Bookwoman, if you come with me, I assure you that you will be treated well and that someone—or shall I say something—will be happy to see you.” He held up a pink bow, which caused Eny to react. That belong to Fermium; how did they get her cat… and the Order couldn’t? She now knew that the Order may be good when it comes to protecting people but when it came to finding a missing feline, they were useless.

Sensing the wavering resolve of the girl, Tabitha pushed Eny back. There was no point in sacrificing one’s self just to save one dumb cat. Besides, they didn’t know if I.A. actually had it or what he planned to do after he extracted all the information from her. “I guess if you won’t surrender yourselves, I’ll have to take you by force,” he snarled as he charged at the crowd.

Part Forty-One: Omake—Smooth with the Ladies
As the Noah came charging straight at them, the only thoughts that entered Tabitha’s mind was to protect Eny and the Finders behind her. Still, she needed to come up with something to stop her enemy. But how could she defeat someone whose ability was to turn any living thing into dust?

Before she could think of something, the exorcist witnessed something that she never expected—I.A., her opponent, fell to the ground in a quite goofy manner 20 yards (18.288 meters) away. Though the passage had been in existence for a long time, the tunnels were cramped and the ground was uneven. And unfortunately, the Noah had tripped and had potentially lowered his cool status.

As he looked up at his enemies, I.A. whispered, “Could you please overlook this and let’s try this scene again.” He was an important person after all and couldn’t bear to have anyone let alone an exorcist think lowly of him.

Eny piped up and made a hand gesture that resembled that of a Boy Scout, “Nope! I can’t allow that. As a member of the Bookman clan, I must record everything no matter how embarrassing it is.” The Noah glared at her as he rose up from the ground, “If you won’t forget it, then I’ll make you forget it!”

Tabitha stared angrily at Bookwoman next to her, thinking that an agreement with the Noah seemed like a good idea at the moment.

Part Forty-Two
Flames was quite surprised to face little resistance as he made his way through the base. Every so often, the exorcist would have to battle a Level 1 Akuma but they were nothing that he couldn’t handle. The ringing of the alarms had died down, which confused the native as he ran towards the sign that proclaimed “Medical Staff Only”. It reminded him of the eerie silence of the exorcist dormitory. Why weren’t the alarms working?

“We need to get out of here now!” Flame shouted when he entered the room. The medical staff looked at him quizzically from their work benches. From the look of it, the exorcist deduced that they didn’t know about the chaos and attacks that was occurring at the moment. Some of them were conducting research or taking care of other patients as if they didn’t have a care in the world.

Ying approached him and asked monotonously, “Why do we need to go? We’re busy working right now. Is something going on?” He looked at her with alarm and told her, “Didn’t you hear from the control center? We’re under attack and need to evacuate immediately!” The medical staff then began panicking, shoving important research and items into bags. The pandemonium in the room reminded Flame of the chaos outside.

Part Forty-Three
As she was packing her bag with various medicine and herbs, Ying answered Flame, “We lost communication with the control center early this morning. We also didn’t hear any alarms so we couldn’t have known that we were under enemy attack.” The native glanced at her with concern and started to head over to the back.

“Where is the alarm located?” he asked as he examined the room carefully. The healer pointed to the box which was above the door leading to the patients’ beds. He immediately ran over and observed it with interest. Suddenly, he broke through the box and yanked the machine out of its socket. “What are you doing?” questioned a medical officer. It appeared that the exorcist was losing his mind.

Flames ignored the inquiry and continued pulling out the alarm. Wires were ripped away from the walls, causing them to crumble. As the debris fell, the staff covered their faces and debated whether they should sedate the native. He appeared to be causing more harm than good and he was beginning to frighten them.

Part Forty-Four
Before they could make their move, the exorcist stopped. He was holding a piece of wire in his hand and looked shocked. Ying approached him and asked, “What’s the matter?” She looked at him intently, wondering what was bothering him. Flame handed her the wire he held in his hand and responded, “The wire has been cut.”

A voice from under a table shouted, “Of course, it’s cut! You pulled it out!” A murmur of agreement was heard throughout the room as the staff sensing that it was safe to leave their hiding place ventured out. Flame shook his head and explained, “These wires weren’t cut because of me. Notice how they were cleanly cut with a sword or knife. Someone intentionally did not want us to know about the attacks.”

Flames quickly gathered the entire medical staff together and peered out the door. The hallway was cleared and it was quiet. It appeared secure enough to bring them out and he knew that the secret passage leading to the exit was only a few meters away. As long as he could lead the group there, it would be okay.

Part Forty-Five
The exorcist signaled the staff to follow him and they complied. The walk was made in awkward silence and Flames couldn’t help but feel like there was a target on his back. The fact that no enemy was encountered was suspicious and strange. Still, he did not want the others to be alarmed and kept his qualms to himself.

As he approached the hidden passage, he felt a burning sensation all over his body. As tattoos appeared on his skin, he grabbed his spear and pushed the medical staff back. A group of Level 2’s charged but they proved no match for Flames—he was one of the top exorcists due to his extensive experience and disciplined training.

“Come on! Let’s pick up the pace before more come into the area!” beckoned the exorcist as he and others ran through the corridor. The secret exit was around the corner and the sooner they get there, the better. A wall stood in front of them but Flames knew better; a door that the Finders had cleverly disguised was there and it would allow them to escape.

Part Forty-Six
As he was about to open the door, his hand felt a sudden shock and Flames immediately pulled it back. His hand was bleeding and he turned his attention to the direction of the shooter. There stood a woman holding a rifle with smoke coming out of it; she was surrounded by two men each bearing their own weapon.

“Good morning, savage,” Gabrielle greeted as her white form-fitting dress swayed. She appeared like an angel but Flames knew that she was a demon in disguise. As he grasped his hand, he quickly slammed his body into the wall, creating an opening for the medical staff. As he grimaced in pain, he yelled, “Everyone, go to the passage and escape! I’ll stall them until you’re a safe distance away.”

“But Flames,” Ying protested. “You’re wounded. Let us heal you first and then we’ll leave.” The exorcist angrily shook his head and replied, “There’s no time for that. Leave now!” The staff looked at him bewildered and then entered into the tunnel. Ying was the last to leave and gave Flame a disapproving look before she disappeared into the darkness.

Flame turned to Jacques’ three guardians and growled, “I will be your opponent. There is no need to involve them in this battle.” Holding a dark hand axe, Raphael laughed and replied, “It doesn’t matter if we let them go or not. Lord I.Amaterasu will take care of them. We’re only here to cage the wolf.” Drawing their weapons, the guardians faced their opponent sternly. Flames smiled back despite his worries that he might lose control today.

Part Forty-Seven
Rinvak was surprised by the speed they were traveling. As she ran to catch up with Lione, she noted that she had never been to this section of headquarters before. The only people authorized to enter this area was Madeline and Lione, resulting in rumors that the branch leader was having an affair with the nun. Of course, no one believed it but people like to joke about the possibility.

“How much farther are we from the library?” she asked. Lione glanced at her and answered, “There’s a secret shortcut to the library nearby that only Madeline and I know about but we should find out why the orb gave out on us. I’m positive that Amiti will be all right; if he could survive a Noah attack, he can survive anything.” He shot a smile at her, hoping that it would comfort her.

It must have done the trick because Rinvak starting to quicken her pace. The room where the orb was located appeared before the two and Lione stopped before the door. He placed his hands on the scanner until the machine went, “Access granted.” The metal entrance opened, revealing a magnificent room that caused Rinvak’s mouth to open.

Part Forty-Eight
The room was surrounded with countless stone Ionic columns. Lights sparkled in the rotunda and the pillars encircled a single round altar. Lione walked forward and his steps echoed throughout the room, breaking the silence. “Rinvak, do you plan on staying back there all day?”

The girl snapped out of her daze and nodded. The closer she walked toward the center, the more splendid the room appeared. However, she knew that she had a job to do and walked up to Lione who was now at the altar. He didn’t appear to be the Lione that she knew and recognized as her leader. Instead, he seemed lost and confused. “Lione?”

He slowly whispered, “It’s gone.” His subordinate looked at him questioningly and replied, “I beg your pardon?” The branch leader turned and repeated, “It’s gone. The orb is gone. It was here yesterday but it has disappeared. Where could it have gone?” He collapsed onto the floor, thinking about the worst case scenarios. All the pressure from his job and this recent development had finally taken their toll of the leader. Thinking about it now, Lione was about to swear off his abstinence; that bottle of rum was quite tempting at the moment.

Rinvak realized that he was panicking and tried to calm him down. “Maybe it rolled away or maybe Madeline took it? She probably knew about the attack and got it before escaping.” Unfortunately, this did not help for Lione still seemed distraught over the missing orb. He got up and responded, “We need to get out of here and we need to find Amiti. We’ll investigate and find out who has it and why afterward but escaping is our top priority now.”

Before they could head to the exit, a cold voice came from the shadow that sent chills down their spines. “Are you looking for this?”

Part Forty-Nine: Omake—The Problem with Technology
”Okay, here goes,” muttered Lione as he placed his right hand on the scanner. As both exorcists watched the laser move in silence, they expected the door to open any second and were readying themselves.

“Access denied!” Lione gave a puzzled look and Rinvak just shrugged. Thinking that maybe he moved a finger during the scanning, the branch leader sighed and placed his hand on this scanner again. He forced himself not to move as he felt the heat from the laser sweep by.

“Access denied!” Rinvak swore that the computer sounded too gleeful as she watched Lione cursed under his breath.

“Stupid piece of crap! This is why I hate technology!” exclaimed the head exorcist as he began hitting and kicking the wall. One of his punches landed directly on the scanner, leading his subordinate to believe that it was going to break at any second.

“Access granted!” The door opened, leading to a magnificent room. Lione cleared his throat and straightened himself up. He turned to address Rinvak, “Come now, Rin! This is not time to linger or panic.” He entered the room, leaving Rinvak to stare at him in disbelief.


Part Fifty
Rinvak turned around and shouted, “YOU!” Despite the fact that he was standing in the darkness, she recognized the figure as none other than Amiti. The orb that he held in his right hand gave a faint glow that illuminated his face, highlighting his features. She was about to run towards him when Lione placed his left arm in front of her preventing the exorcist from doing so.

“How did you get in here? Only Sister Madeline and I are the only ones who knew about this room’s location and are authorized into this room,” questioned Lione darkly. He sensed something sinister about the Bookman—something that he hadn’t detected since the first encounter. Where did this bloodthirsty, murderous intent come from?

Amiti began circling around the pillars and smirked. Slowly he started chuckling like he heard a joke and tossing the orb like a toy. Lione eyed him, his arm still protecting Rinvak. He could see her face trembling as if she no longer recognized the person in front of her. “Answer me, Amiti!”

Part Fifty-One
Instead of responding to Lione’s command, Amiti startled the exorcists by chuckling. “The person you have known as Amiti had died a long time ago. I have thrown away my old self and name and have been reborn as Uriel.” Before the exorcists could react, the Bookman hid behind a column and Lione moved in order to see what he was doing. The exorcist noted that the redhead appeared to be dragging something heavy and backed Rinvak and him away. He gasped once he saw what Amiti brought out.

Madeline appeared beaten and drugged. Her breathing was shallow and skin was pale like snow. She reminded him of a rag doll with her tied up, limp body as he angrily glared at the Bookman. “What have you done to her?” he demanded as he clenched his fists. Rinvak was now looking at Madeline frightened; she had no idea that Amiti was capable of doing such a deed. He was always sweet and helpful. What caused this transformation? Would he have done the same thing to him once he was done using her? More importantly, how could she not see this part of him during their interactions?

As he dropped the body in front of him, Amiti answered, “It’s amazing how some people could be useful. Take, for example, that bratty Bookwoman. I figured that she was quite attached to her cat but I didn’t expect that kind of reaction from her! She almost single handedly destroyed HQ that I even thought I didn’t have to do the job. With all her commotion for a dumb cat, she created enough drama and strife for an emo hero.

“Then, there was the lovely Brown family. I didn’t think much of them until they found out about Edward’s death. Their anger and grief really troubled everyone at HQ particularly you, Lione. If I knew that you would have reacted the way you did, I would have brought the family over earlier. With all these distractions, there was no way any capable leader could have foreseen this! Though I must admit I was disappointed at first when I heard that her parents took her away but I did get excited when she ran away and returned. One more exorcist to die…

“And this lovely woman helped me into this room. I’m sure that you can forgive her. I drugged her tea this morning and forced her to tell me where this room was and how I could get in.” He kicked her body, causing the nun to groan. This in turn pissed Lione off and he activated his Innocence. He didn’t want to see Madeline hurt anymore especially by someone dangerous.

Part Fifty-Two
Before his shadow could swallow Amiti, a figure sprinted and pushed the Bookman out of the way. Getting up off his feet, Jacques patted the dust off his priest garments and greeted, “Good morning, Mr. Exorcist! It’s a pleasure that you have us over at your own home.” He held his right hand out to Amiti who gladly accepted it. The boy tossed the Noah the orb who examined it amusedly.

“Ah, excellent job!” praised Jacques as he handed it back to him. “I’m glad that the gauntlets that I have given you proved to be useful.” The Bookman smiled and proudly displayed his gloved hands to his former comrades. Lione instantly recognized that it was created from black matter and contained great power. He whispered to the exorcist beside him, “When I give the signal, run to the exit and don’t look back. I’ll rescue Madeline and stall them the best I can.”

Rinvak continued to gaze at Amiti as if she was in a horrible dream. This could not be happening—headquarter was not getting attacked and her crush was not a traitor. This had to be a bad dream. She felt someone squeezing her hand and noticed Lione’s concerned look. She nodded to acknowledge his order and readied herself. Goodbye, Lione…

Part Fifty-Three
The branch leader sent his shadow towards the enemies and Rinvak started running. Suddenly the earth quaked, causing her to trip. She got up and continued sprinting towards the exit only to be blocked by a familiar black uniform. “Leaving so soon?” came the charming voice.

Amiti smiled at her and held his hand out to the girl. She slapped it away and jumped back. He laughed and asked, “Don’t you want this orb back?” She did not answer and her arms were raised in case of an attack. “I guess you don’t want it back. Oh well, I have no choice anyway.” He wrapped his hands around the orb and crushed it, letting the sparkling powder fall to the ground.

Stunned, Rinvak glared at him and yelled, “Why? Why are you doing this? Why are you betraying us? I don’t understand; I trusted you!” Tears were forming now as her face lowered. She heard Amiti sigh annoyingly and heard him walking towards her. She couldn’t force herself to move despite her desire to get away from him. Was she paralyzed by fear or by an unseen attack?

Part Fifty-Four
As his hand gently touched Rinvak’s face, he muttered, “I knew that you were going to say that. I suppose I should tell you since you are so eager to know.” He began to circle the exorcist and to unweave his tale. “As you know, I am a Bookman and my main purpose is to record and research the hidden history of the world. At first I hated my job because my assignments were boring and uninteresting.”

Rinvak watched Amiti’s footsteps; they were moving faster as if they wanted revealing the approach of the climax of his story. “However, I found something that caught my attention,” continued the Bookman. His voice revealed his excitement and joy. “I began my research on the Earl’s plan. At first I was horrified and disgusted by it. Yet, as I continued investigating it, I couldn’t help but agree with his reasons.”

He stopped moving and hit a pillar with his fist, causing an explosion making Rinvak jerk. “This world filled with humans is rotting away. Purging it of filthy humans is far better than letting it suffer any longer. I wasn’t sure if I was worthy enough to join the Earl but Jacques gave me the resolve to do it.” His eyes were opening wider, revealing the thoughts of a madman. Rinvak finally found the strength to speak and meekly asked, “The Earl and his allies killed your brother. How could you still work for them after that?”

Part Fifty-Five
Amiti looked at her hurt and scratched his head. He responded awkwardly, “I guess I didn’t think about Ahiram. He is my dear brother and yet I haven’t thought of him in such a long time." His face turned dark as he whispered, “The Noahs didn’t kill him. I did.”

Rinvak gasped and backed away. “You… you’re joking, right? You wouldn’t dare to kill your own family, your own blood?” The Bookman eyed her like a snake and slowly walked in her direction. “I tried to recruit my brother to join me but he refused. I wanted to save him but he didn’t want salvation. So I rescued him the only way I knew how—I killed him.” He stopped and sadly spoke, “It was hard the first time I stabbed him but the more I did it, the easier it got. Before you knew, I was enjoying the experience”

The exorcist felt chills run down her spine as he demonstrated the attack with his hands and silently tried to summon her Innocence. Unfortunately, nothing happened as if the Innocence sensed her hesitation to fight her opponent and refused to listen. The Bookman’s voice changed from sadistic to angry as his tale continued.

“Unfortunately, my fun ended when that female Noah entered the scene. She didn’t know that Jacques and I were allies and began to attack me. Lord Jacques had to separate us and ordered a Level 4 Akuma to send me to an area where I could easily encounter an exorcist. Who knew that I would encounter its sister who was moved by such a pitiful sight?” He smiled at Rinvak and gently muttered, “If that didn’t happen, I wouldn’t have met you, right?”

Part Fifty-Six
He slowly walked up to the exorcist and began stroking her face. The exorcist quickly jerked back, rubbing her face where he had touched her. She had felt like he was slowly burning her face and if she hadn’t moved at that exact second, she was sure that he was going to disfigure her. Amiti laughed, “This gauntlet that Lord Jacques had given me has such amazing power that most could only dream of. Don’t you want me to save you?”

The exorcist shot back angrily, “You were going to burn my face, you psycho!’ She then looked at him sadly and asked, “Before we battle, I have one simple question to ask you.” Ever since she found out the truth, this question had been bothering her and she needed to know the answer. Amiti stared at her confused and answered, “Go on.”

The exorcist cleared her throat and softly begged, “Did you ever love me?” The Bookman’s eyes narrowed and he lowered his head. His response felt like a thousand daggers stabbed her heart. “No, I never did feel anything towards you.” The tears were flowing down her face now and she couldn’t stop herself from bawling.

Amiti sighed and declared as he eyed the exorcist’s left hand, “I’ve been doing research on this Pandora’s box for a long time now. Apparently, it holds an Innocence but the key to opening this contraption lays with that ring on your finger.” He clenched his fist and hit the ground, causing the earth beneath Rinvak to crack. As she fell deeper into the darkness, she heard him say, “I think it’s time for you to return that ring.”

Part Fifty-Seven: Omake—Preserving Appearance
The Bookman always enjoyed having an audience. When he was young, he had to compete with his older brother for attention so anytime someone was willing to listen, he knew to take full advantage of it. And today, it just happened to be Rinvak—a female exorcist whom he had fooled into believing into thinking that he actually cared for her. It’s amazing how women are so desperate to be loved that they let their judgment down.

“So you betray us for that horrible reason? I can’t believe that you would do something like this to us, to me! I was a fool for actually trusting you,” lamented the girl. Part of her was angry at him for his actions. However, most of her rage was aimed at herself for not seeing his true colors beforehand. Maybe Amiti was right; she was desperate to be loved…

“Bravo! I knew that you were special; after all, you’re smart enough to appreciate my reasoning,” praised Uriel as he began clapping his hands. Unfortunately, he forgot that he still had his gauntlets on, resulting in a shockwave aimed at Rinvak.

At that moment, the exorcist did not know what to do. Shall she cover her ears in order to prevent damage to her eardrums? Or she should use her hands to keep her skirt down, preserving her dignity? Within a split second, she covered her ears, rationalizing that saving her hearing was more important. She prayed that keeping her legs tight together would do the trick as she felt a blast of wind fly by her.

After the attack had died down, Rinvak opened her eyes and was surprised by what she saw. Amiti had shifted his body ninety degrees and had cupped his right hand next to his eyes. His face was blushing as he quickly blurt out, “Even though I switched sides, I still want to maintain my integrity. I didn’t look, honest!”

Rinvak glared at the Bookman and angrily screamed, “I can’t believe that I used to like you, you pervert!”

Part Fifty-Eight
Lione ran towards Rinvak immediately after seeing Amiti—no wait, Uriel—head in the exorcist’s direction. However, the gap separating the two was too great for the head exorcist to make his move. Besides, he noticed a blast coming towards him, causing him to jump out of the way.

Jacques smiled at the exorcist and applauded, “Your reflexes are amazing. Please don’t forget that I’m your opponent, Lione. I’ve heard so much about you from my fourth guardian to the point it made me sick. He talked so highly of you that even I had to admire you. That’s why I’m so eager to break you.” He gathered protons in the air and sent another blast towards his adversary who barely dodged it.

His cockiness, however, got the Noah in trouble as his feet got caught in Lione’s shadow. “I just need to envelop your entire body and then this battle is over!” shot the exorcist. Jacques eyed Lione with great interest when he suddenly brought Madeline’s body in front of him, using her as a shield.

Part Fifty-Nine
Startled by this unexpected move, the branch leader released his shadow. A figure dashed by him and before he react, he felt a sharp pain in his stomach. He fell to the ground and tried to catch his breath. Jacques stood before him and grinned.

“Mr. Exorcist, please live up to your hype,” the Noah mocked as he kneeled down. He pulled Lione’s hair so he could stare directly into his enemy’s face. The exorcist’s eyes pierced him with anger and hatred. “I hate having high expectations for someone only to be let down in the end.”

Jacques threw the exorcist across the room, creating a dent into the wall. The impact dazed Lione who was resisting the urge to fall unconscious. He struggled to keep himself standing and shook his head violently. Unfortunately, before he could recover, someone charged and began choking him.

Part Sixty
“Foolish exorcist! Are you still resisting your fate?” taunted Jacques. He dragged Lione across the floor and tossed him towards the altar. Lione quickly got up and sent an attack towards his opponent. Jacques swatted the shot away. “Have my assaults greatly weakened you already? Or are you playing possum?”

Lione smirked and responded, “Don’t think that I give up so easily. I made a vow that I will protect everyone at this branch with my life and I will keep my word.” He summoned all of the shadows in the room and aimed at Jacques, causing a huge explosion.

After the dust settled, the exorcist surveyed his surroundings, searching for any movement. Did he get the Noah? Something hit his foot and he looked down. Madeline’s eyes stared at him and she seemed lifeless. He heard distant clapping from behind and a figure whose face was slowly regenerating was approaching him.

“What an annoyance! Don’t you comprehend your circumstances? As I speak, my sister is going to add a rare exorcist doll and a Bookman to her collection and my dear brother is blocking the secret exit. My guardians are trapping the werewolf and your precious ally in front of you is slowly weakening. Your order has fallen; accept your defeat.”

Author’s Notes (Post-reading)
Wow, I watch a lot of trash TV according to all the relationship advice I have in the chapter. Don’t be like Amiti; be like Blade or Flames.

It’s kind of weird and amazing how the previous chapters indirectly hinted at this one so there was little revision made. :clap2

To clarify the one-on-one battles, here you go:
Stephanie and Blade versus “Stephanie” and Magier (Ribbon-katana versus Ribbon-katana)
Tabitha and Eny (with Daniel and Finders) versus I.A. (Battles of the egos/wills?)
Flames (and Ying – she stayed behind but Flames doesn’t know) versus Gabrielle, Michael, and Raphael (Battle of the Loyal Second-in-Command/Assistants – they’re pretty much close to their respective leaders)
Rinvak versus Amiti/Uriel (Angel Versus Demon)
Lione (with an incapacitated Madeline) versus Jacques (Battle of the Sexies – just for you, magier :amuse)

Yes, I know that Amiti’s name changed (Raijatsu named him and I just put it in for him) and then I continued using Amiti but that part was told through Rinvak’s point of view. To her, he will always be Amiti.

@ magier, I had no idea how to introduce the new Noah but I left a lovely hint of her presence. I figured that you could introduce her better anyway. Also, I thought that it would be nice if there was a competition between Road and you over each’s respective doll collection. Your character reminded me of her so it makes sense that there will be a friendly competition between the two.

I just realized that it will be Raijatsu, rosa, and tune’s first times writing a fight chapter. Hoorah? Sorry if this screws you over but I know that you guys can do it. I’m looking forward to the Lione-Jacques battle. ^^

Another clarification: Lione didn’t get stabbed only punched in the stomach. And at the end, he’s doing the Frodo look (you know the one in which he glances over his left shoulder and gives you that pathetic look that causes girls to melt) except Lione probably would be more shocked than pitiful.

The setup is perfect if you want to kill off certain characters :: hint hint tune ::

Request: don’t kill Amiti yet. I’m still attached to him and I think I’ll be using him again. Also, deathshadow asked that he does not get the ring; he can either have the ring or Pandora’s Box but not both. Rinvak will enter the five stages of dying after the battle is over (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) which will be great to write for anyone. Blade and Stephanie need to be alive for another storyline that deathshadow is planning. The characters can get injured or captured but please don’t kill them. I personally believe that none of the main characters will die in this event (unless someone wants to kill him/herself off) since I know some people are planning their future chapters with these characters.

Please no deus ex machine. It seems farfetched if one person defeats everyone (heck Allen could barely defeat a Noah). I hope this isn’t too much to ask for :sweat Besides, there’s plenty of fighting that needs to be addressed in more than one chapter.

Anyways, hopefully you enjoyed reading this chapter despite its length and outcomes. I won’t be writing for a while due to the MCAT.

Don’t forgot to fill out the poll :amuse
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rhapsody blue

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Re: DGM fanstory ~Volume 3~ [Chapter 41 - Chapter 59 so far]

Finished putting all of the chapters and omakes into Vol. 3 and the grand total is....

:: drumrolls ::

148 pages! :eek


MH Senpai
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Re: DGM fanstory ~Volume 3~ [Chapter 41 - Chapter 59 so far]

OMG....as much pages as a manga. ^___^

rhapsody blue

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Re: DGM fanstory ~Volume 3~ [Chapter 41 - Chapter 60]

That's true. Now all I need is a cover, and I'm set. :amuse


MH Senpai
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Re: DGM fanstory ~Volume 3~ [Chapter 41 - Chapter 60]

You're so sedulous. But when it comes to my hobby, I act hardworking as well. When it comes to school...laziness in person xD.

rhapsody blue

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you know, it was really cruel of me to end volume three with a cliffhanger

good thing this isn't like a real manga or else we would have to wait 4 months for the next volumes lol


MH Senpai
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Oh yeah, this would be...cruel @.@. Unbearable.


Can I ask who decides the volume names?
Not just the who but the when and the why please


MH Senpai
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Two or three people (including me) just talked about this volume some days ago. it was like two or three days before your return. We thought that, since our DGM-fanstory seemed to have musicla inspired titles, we will go with one this time, too. Title comes from me. Snooge thought it was nice. Don't you like it? We can still discuss a new name.

rhapsody blue

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Um...I already got Volume 3 done and made it into a pdf file.

I put up a synopsis of what happened so people decided the title, which magier gave. Since no one else says anything about it, I picked that name.

The reason I like the title because of these reasons:

1. Misery because everyone seems to be miserable in this volume (e.g. Zeran, Magier, Lione, Eny who causes everyone else to be miserable, Amiti, Jacques, Tabitha, etc) .

2. Habanera means, according to dictionary.com, "A slow Cuban dance". The volume started out slowly, but it quickens its pace toward the end where the action began.

Together, the title complements what happens in the volume.

:offtopic2 It looks like the first half of Volume 4 will be battles while the latter half may be the aftermath. If you want, you can think of a title for the new volume. I will post a synopsis after Chapter 80 is posted.


MH Senpai
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Yup, thanks for supporting me, snooge. That's why I have chosen this title. It perfectly mirrors the mood/situation of the characters. Moreover, I dealt with the Habanera which is part of the opera "Carmen" in my music lessons. That's why this title popped up in my mind ^_^.

rhapsody blue

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You can now d/l Vol. 3 (without the cover) HERE