Welcome back my darlings. I know I've been gone for a while, I'm sorry if some of you thought I wasn't coming back. I can assure you that if I ever stop writing this story I will tell you. Everything has just been so hectic but I imagine that like me you're here because you're trying to get away from it so I won't bring it up. I apologize for vanishing on everyone. I want to thank all those who have reviewed and keep with me all this time! You all mean so much to me! I can't thank you enough for all your love and support! Now on to the reviews!
Dear Alexc1209, Well I can't tell you if you're on drugs or not but I hope for your sake you aren't. But the voice in Rey's head, if it's not a hallucination then what do you think it is? I can't wait to hear what you think! Yep! Road wants to play with Rey, what that means for her is anybody's guess but we'll find out! Enjoy!
Dear Wolfs Child, I'm glad to hear that there were no complications and that he's healthy! As for Conflicts of Interests, it would need to be reworked but I'm open to trying again, if that's something that you would like! I did like the story line personally. But again it would change to Rhea. I hope you enjoy the chapter!
Dear Arkytior's Song, There's no need for you to apologize! I'm the Queen of being late! I'm just grateful for a review at all! I'm always happy to hear from you! Enjoy the chapter!
Dear Bloodmoon25, So Rey seems unstable? Can you tell me why please? I'm interested in knowing what you are counting and what it makes you think of? I'm always excited to hear what my readers think! The nightmare, huh? Yeah that was pretty hard to write. I wasn't completely sure about it and rewrote it more times than I'm willing to tell you! Let me know what you thought of it. I can't answer any of your questions because they have to do with the story but I'd love to hear your theories! Unfortunately coffee is the more accessible of the two so I'm just gonna roll with that! Thanks for your concern though! Enjoy the chapter!
Dear Kyokosa2gawa015, Hi! Nice to meet you! Thank you so much for reviewing! Awww, you're making me blush! 15 does that so much and now you're doing it too! You're so sweet saying those things to me! I can't wait to show you them falling in love too! As for who's side she'll take, well you'll just have to keep reading to find out! For more Tyki and Rey scenes just keep scrolling. ;D Enjoy!
Dear 15th, Hello my wonderful and forever faithful 15th! I've missed you so much! I should've updated sooner! Yes, unfortunately the holidays are always too short though I ended up working Christmas Eve but that's normal, unfortunate...again XD. I love our talks too! I always look forward to your reviews! I apologize for being gone for so long DX I'll try not to do it again. Thanks for the compliment! The story itself has some meaning to Rey but I also wanted it to be something interesting and hopefully more unique. Would you like to see more fairy tales? Rey has admitted to wanting to do something with the sleeping death curse. Should I indulge her? Please stay safe and healthy! I look forward to hearing from you again! Enjoy the chapter!
I'm lost in this moment
Time slipping past
When I'm with you
I am home
"Madrid?" Rhea demanded. Komui looked up from his paperwork. "We just got back from France, now you're sending me back out? I thought we were hunting the Generals down!"
"I know and I'm very sorry for this, Rhea, but it's important. After what happened with General Yeager-" He stopped abruptly when her gaze snapped away from him. The memory flashing before her eyes and for a single moment she heard the song again. "I'm sorry," he apologized, "I didn't mean t-"
She cut him off, "It's fine. It's in the past. So what does this have to do with anything? I thought we were going to be looking for the Generals."
"You are. Every exorcist is being put into a team and being deployed to find a general, once you do you have orders to protect them. It has become clear that the Noah clan is targeting the generals hoping that one of them has the heart. Whether this is true or not is unknown but even if it is not we cannot allow another general to perish." Komui answered. "You have been assigned to General Cross," he silently noticed the wince as if she were in physical pain, "along with Allen, Lenalee, Lavi, and Bookman. His trail leads east with his last known sighting in India by Allen." Rhea just shook her head with a sigh.
"You are not surprised?" The voice asked curiosity lacing it's tone.
"Not a bit. It's just like Master." She responded lazily before tuning back into Komui saying something about the innocence in Madrid.
"-so we cannot allow this piece to fall into the hands of the Noah."
"And I'm the only one with innocence that can act as transportation." She groaned, connecting the dots of his thought process.
"Your innocence can move faster than any trains as well as fly over oceans and lakes. You will be able to catch up with your group." Rhea whimpered silently at the logic of it all, wishing that she didn't have to do it, already knowing that she would be on her own for days and days with only Rhaps for company and her own imagination for entertainment. In the back of her head she heard the voice make a snide comment about her being lazy but she ignored it in favor of learning more about the innocence from Komui, though she did pause to give it the metaphorical middle finger.
"So what's it doing?"
"What's what doing?" Rhea glared at the man, arms crossed and hip cocked out, foul mood leaking from her body.
"The innocence. What else? We were just talking about it!"
"Oh yeah," Komui said, causing her to roll her eyes.
"Again I ask you, are we sure he's brilliant?" The voice chimed in.
"So they say. Now stop interrupting." She shooed it away.
"Ahh, that." Komui nodded before straightening up and fixing his glasses, finally deciding to be serious. "Rumors have been springing up about a green amulet with an unearthly glow. The amulet is said to cause bad luck. The rumors are centered around an old cathedral on the outskirts of Madrid. The church originally took control because of the rumors that it was haunted. Believing it to be a demon possession they tried to exorcise it, it did not work which led them to turn their theory to innocence. Unfortunately bad things happen to those who put it on. Recently it's been stolen several times but always returned after tragic things happened to whomever took it. The new priest who knows of the Order requested that we investigate. The finders I sent have called and they agree. I need you to go. You'll have to hold onto it until it can be handed over to a general or can return it to Hevlaska but I wouldn't count on the last one. It's going to be a while." She nodded at him.
"After I retrieve this piece of innocence I'll be joining up with my team in looking for Master, right?" Komui nodded.
"I'd like you to leave Madrid, head to Barcelona, cross the sea to Sassari then to Rome. From there you can travel across Italy and the Adriatic sea and head to Romania. General Cross hasn't been seen since India but we believe we have a lead that he's in Romania. Hopefully you will catch them before he gets much farther." She nodded.
"Yes, it will probably take a little longer and most likely meet up with the others in or around Ukraine." She agreed, making her own prediction. Komui dipped his head in agreement.
"Rhea, listen to me very carefully, this is important." Her eyes darted up to meet his, startled by the sudden seriousness in his tone. "I need you to check in at least once everyday with Rhaps. Preferably twice. The Noah clan is hunting the generals but that does not mean they won't stop to kill you. Due to you using your innocence to travel I cannot send any finders with you. You'll be all alone with no help even if you called," he sighed, leveling her with a severe expression, "and it worries me to send you all alone but I have no choice. We have entered the final stage of the war and you are soldiers." Rhea watched as his eyes hazed over, no doubt thinking of Lenalee as he reminded himself of this fact more than her. She could understand it. War the only thing many of them had known. Both Kanda and Lenalee had been young when they were found to be accommodators and taken away to fight for humanity, whether they wanted to or not. She and Cross found Allen at the tender age of ten and she herself had only been seven. For a moment she found herself back in the country where she had been born, cold and hazy she vaguely remembered Cross' towering form looming over her. She heard nothing he said, his mouth moved but she heard nothing. She shook old memories away.
"Of course. I'll check in every day. I'll do my best to check in twice a day if it will make you feel better. I'll check in before I head out and when I stop for the night." She smiled causing him to return the favor.
"It would, please be safe." She nodded at him again and turned to leave when he spoke again, "For Allen's sake if nothing else." Rhea paused mid-step. Komui sighed, pleasantly surprised that his words seemed to affect her. Allen seemed to be a rare gift indeed.
"It seems that life is changing." She hummed to the voice as she left Komui's office.
"Oh?" It inquired, she could almost see the raised eyebrow and slight smirk.
"Yes, I have a feeling things are about to get a lot more interesting." She began to pack her bag, throwing in clothes, herbs, bandages, her sketchbook, various pencils, a few small knives, her lighter, a pack of cigarettes, and other miscellaneous objects.
"What kind of interesting?"
"There are different kinds?" She questioned back innocently.
"Don't play dumb with me, Little One."
"Very well. I believe that we'll start meeting some new people. Won't that be fun?"
"Fun? What do you mean fun?" The voice sounded suspicious which only caused her to laugh.
"As I said, meeting new people-" The voice cut her off.
"You don't like people. You don't trust them. Why would you want to meet more?"
"Rude!" She huffed before explaining, "You're right. I don't like people but hopefully the Noah will be more fun than the akuma. Maybe liven things up a bit."
"Little One, these people are trying to kill you," The voice sounded concerned, "They should not be treated lightly. This is not a game. You are fighting for your life. Your life and your brother's life which holds no value to the church." The last sentence sounded tentative, almost as if he regretted saying it. She stayed silent for a while. Her train didn't leave til morning yet socializing felt like too much work, instead she reclined on her bed, arms tucked behind her head, toying with her loose hair idly. Allen needs to make friends, she thought with a sigh, even if he won't have them for long. "That's a dark thought." The voice commented, wondering if she had dismissed it's earlier point.
"Master-" She stopped, her thoughts drifting to the red haired man who she would soon be hunting down with her brother.
"It's been a while since you've seen him." The voice supplied.
"It has, and yet, I still haven't forgotten his words."
"He warned you about the Noah clan?"
"Yes." The voice thought about asking for more information but thought better of it. Instead it retreated, leaving her to brood over the enigmatic Noah clan for most of the night, only falling asleep in the early hours of the morning.
"Miss? Miss?" Rhea woke with a start, almost activating Harlequin, her head snapping wildly around. The train attendant who had been trying to rouse her jumped back, holding his hands in the air. "I'm so sorry to wake you but we've arrived in Madrid."
Covering a yawn as she sat up from where she'd been curled up she spoke, "No need. I didn't mean to startle you. Thank you for waking me. It would've been embarrassing to accidentally ride the train back and have to do it again." The employee nodded and left. Rhea watched him for a moment with a critical eye, when he made no move to come back she disembarked the train, vaguely noticing than another man got off right after her.
As she wandered around the streets, her eyes darted around noting anybody and everybody who got near her or moved oddly. So far nothing had happened. She received several strange looks but brushed it off as her uniform. Skin tight clothing was unusual to say the least. Her eyes darted over her shoulder. A lumbering figure shambled after her.
"If you get weird stares why don't you wear a dress over it like your friend does?" The voice cut in on her observation.
"Lena?" She questioned, arching an eyebrow.
"Oh, is that her name?" He sounded uninterested. "Either way she gets less stares then you."
"Lenalee is also about a thousand times prettier than me. It works better because people look at her and expect her to be a certain way. She's pretty and soft, like a lady would be, or the way they want them to. I don't. I don't look anything like Lena." Unconsciously her fingers wrapped around her left braid and tried to straighten it and the wild hairs that stuck out of it. "I never have and never will. Not much I can do about it. Best to leave it in it's dark hole and hope it starves." She tossed her braid back over her shoulder before thinking better of it. Reaching back she tied her braids back and pulled her hood up over her head. In Rhaps smokey reflection Rhea caught a glimpse of the man that had been following her since she left the train station.
"Are you worried?"
"No," she paused, glancing at the reflection once more. "Not about him anyway."
"Yes, I didn't sleep well."
"I'm tired of these nightmares." She veered off the main road and down an alleyway and slowed to a stroll, still keeping an eye on the man, through Rhaps. "They keep cycling. It's either about Yeager, HER, or the Noah taking Allen. I don't even know what they look like." She covered her face with one of her hands as she came to a stop, taking the moment to compose herself. "I only see shadows, with the stigmata and wide grins. Not even the gold eyes I know they have." She started walking again, taking steady even steps.
"Your imagination is getting the better of you." He warned her. A large hand wrapping around her shoulder, meaty fingers digging into it drew her attention away from the voice and to the man spinning her around. Her back hit the wall and she made a small sound. The man that towered over her covered in grease and dirt. His stringy hair hung in his face and he smelled of stale cigarettes, flat beer, and cheap company.
"Give me all your money and I won't hurt you." He growled, lips curling back to reveal a sparse group of yellow and black teeth.
She smiled up at him pleasantly, "I don't have any." She watched as his lips pulled father back and he screamed, his eyes squinting at her and blood rushed to his face.
"What the hell do ya mean by that?" She leaned away as he bellowed.
"Do you mind getting out of my face? Your breath is rancid and I'm pretty sure that vein in your forehead is going to explode." She noted, eyeing the vein as if it would soak her in blood.
"You little-" She cut him off, a sudden left hook sent him across the alley and into the wall. He grabbed it to regain his balance. "You wanna fight?" He wiped the spit from his chin with the back of his hand. He swung at her only for her to duck out of the way. His hand connected with the bricks causing him to yowl in pain. Swinging around him, as if she had been dancing, she kicked out, dropping him to his knees. He fell with a quiet thump. Fingers threading through oily hair, she slammed his head into the wall until he didn't move. He crumpled to the ground when she let go. Not sparing the limp body a glance she left the alleyway, Rhaps fluttering after her.
"Hehehe hello, little exorcist!" Rhea looked up to find a level two clinging to the side of the building. "That was so cold!" It cackled as it flung itself off the wall at her. Rhea shot forward, rolling out of the way.
Whirling around she called, "Innocence activate!" Black smoke rushed through her sleeves, forming a battle axe with a wickedly gleaming blade. With a swift strike, one of the many legs of the spider like akuma came off. It screeched and flailed, leaking oil over the street. All around her people screamed and ran from the massive creature. She leapt at the akuma as it skittered away, bringing her axe down on it again, another leg falling to the ground. Then another and another. In a flash of swings six of the eight legs had been sheared away.
"I don't know you," it coughed dragging itself into the shrouded alleyway away from the exorcist stalking forward. "You, who are y-" SHINK! The blade whipped out.
"Deactivate." Rhea ordered, leaving the alleyway, the head rolling away. Digging into one of the pouches on her hip she plucked the directions that Komui had scribbled onto whatever scrap paper he'd found. She glared at the illegible writing, before looking around, and seeing no cathedral in sight. "Damn it! I can't read this shit! Fucking hell! I can read Allen's, Master's, and Niko's handwriting, how the hell can I not read this? Can anybody or do we all just pretend that we can?" She demanded to Rhaps who bobbled up and down.
Rhea cursed more as she wandered down street after street. Finally finding a church, not the one she'd been searching for, she noted, she wandered in, hoping to find somebody to tell her where the cathedral stood.
"Can I help you, my child?" Rhea jumped when a priest spoke, her head snapping over to see him standing just behind the door she'd opened. Rubbing the back of her head, mussing her plaits a bit, she stepped out from the doorway. His kind brown eyes widened when they found the rose crest on her chest. He offered a bow, "How may I be of service Lady Exorcist?"
"Please," she waved her hand in front of her, "you don't have to call me that." The finders did it all the time, but the priest shouldn't have to. I don't even really like it when they do it, she thought to herself. She rubbed her hand along her arm and dropped her gaze.
"Of course, my apologies." He replied. "What can I help you with?" She looked up at him again.
"I'm looking for a certain cathedral, unfortunately the directions that were given to me are illegible. I was hoping that you could help me."
"Oh!" Are you here to collect the cursed amulet?"
She nodded, "If I can find it."
"You're not too far off. If you-" He didn't get very far.
"Father Fernandez?" A young woman had come in behind Rhea. "I need your help!" She blurted out. Rhea swung around. "I fear something terrible has happened!" Thundering footsteps could be heard rushing towards the church. The woman spun around, slamming the door on whoever had been running.
"Maria! Maria, let me in!" A man bellowed through the heavy wooden door. Maria struggled to keep it closed.
"No! You're not Diego! I don't know what you are but you're not Diego! Not my Diego!" She shouted back, tears streaming down her face.
"Maria, just listen to me! Please!" He kept pounding at the door. Maria pushed harder. The door banged as they both pushed in opposite directions.
"Maria, what's going on? Are you and Diego fighting?" Father Fernandez asked, rushing over to the still sobbing girl.
"No! That's not my husband! It's not! That's not my Diego!" Rhea listened to the fight. Slowly she walked over, leaning against the other door, which had been locked when she came in. Through the crack she could see a man with brown hair, in his early 30s, with a crazed look in his too wide eyes.
"Yes I am!" He roared back.
"NO! You haven't been the same since your sister died!" Rhea arched an eyebrow at that.
"She was only 12! She was murdered! How could I just go on with it! How could you be so cold!"
"Open the door." Both Maria and Father Fernandez turned to stare at Rhea. "Open the door. It will be okay." She promised Maria softly, reaching over to brush her tears away.
"Trust her, Maria. If you trust me, then trust her because I trust her." Father Fernandez spoke gently. Gulping, Maria nodded and stepped away from the door. Father Fernandez pulled Maria back, and out of the way as the door swung open and crashed into the wall.
"There you are." The man stalked in, heading straight for Maria who quaked behind Father Fernandez.
"You must be a level two to have this much thought and energy." Diego whirled around to find Rhea still leaning against the locked door, arms and legs crossed casually.
"Exorcist!" He shrieked, lunging for her as he shed his skin. Maria screamed upon seeing it crumple to the floor.
"Activate." Rhea ordered, cracking her neck as she headed for the akuma. Harlequin slid into the battle axe once more. She met the akuma head on as her innocence sliced through it and it's head rolled away. It exploded as Rhea landed on her feet, Harlequin leaning against her shoulder. "Man, these things are getting more and more brazen." She turned to Maria who slowly came out from behind Father Fernandez, "Are you alright?" The woman didn't move, her eyes locked on where Diego's skin lay.
"How long? How long was he dead?" Maria finally managed to choke out.
"Perhaps it's best not to know." The priest tried to comfort her.
"Did he suffer?"
"No," Rhea paused, thinking of how the akuma kills it's summoner, "it was quick." She answered as Harlequin deactivated, sliding up her arms once more. Maria sank into one of the pews. "She'll need help. Seeing an akuma is not something you get over quickly, some never do. Never mind when it's a loved one."
"I will see to it. She will get the help and support she needs." Rhea nodded.
"Good. Now," she scratched the back of her head sheepishly, "about that cathedral?" She spoke hopefully.
"Right, of course." She handed him the paper again and he looked at it for a moment. "As I said before, you're not too far off. I can see how you got confused. You're right, this writing is illegible." She shrugged restlessly. "If you exit the church and take a left go all the way down the street, take another left, then go about half way down that street and take a right. From there you should be able to see it. Then you take three lefts and four rights. Then down that street take the third left and that will lead you to the main street and the cathedral is all the way at the end." She nodded, glancing up to make sure Rhaps had recorded all of it.
"How the hell did that illegible scribbles translate into that?!" She demanded to herself.
"Perhaps he forgot a few steps?" The voice answered, amusement clear in his tone. She made a face in response and returned to her conversation with the priest before he realized what had happened.
"Thank you, Father. I should be going now."
"Be safe on your journey, my daughter. I will pray that God watches over you and all who put their lives on the line for the sake of the many." She inclined her head at him and swept out of the church.
"Tell me, Little One, why do churches make you uncomfortable?" She ignored the voice.
"Rhaps, connect to Argos." Rhea ordered.
"Sleeping the day away again, Niko?" She giggled softly.
"Sorta. Not really my fault." She grinned as the boy argued, she could see his face as if he stood in front of her in that very moment.
"It never is." She teased. The knot that had formed in between her shoulder blades when she had been in the church melted away. "And how is that? Did you stay up all night, reading again?"
"No, not last night." He didn't deny that it had happened before, "I may have, possibly, snuck into Lord Rodriguez' personal study to, uh, liberate," she snorted at the way the last word spoke almost like a question sounded so much like her own way of wording things. "A few of his books. Nothing important, just a few rare and priceless ones. He won't even notice that they're gone...probably...most likely...possibly...?" She started laughing loudly, as she turned down an abandoned alley.
"Good job, Niko. Truly. That's wonderful!"
"It's not like he understood them anyway!" He snapped back at her.
"Anything good?" She asked as her boots clacked against the cobblestone.
"I wouldn't waste my time if it wasn't." He snorted, rolling his tired brown eyes. She could see it.
"So? What'd you grab? You're killing me with the suspense." He laughed dryly at her response.
"We both know it takes a lot more than some suspense to kill you. You're practically unkillable."
"I think you're confusing me with Master." She argued.
"I don't think I am, but okay." A ribbit sounded from his end. "Hush, you. I already fed you. Your arguments are invalid."
"He givin' you lip again?" She grinned.
"Yes! He's taking after you. This is all your fault!"
"ME?!" She protested, "What did I do?!"
"You gave him an attitude." He huffed.
"It's not my fault you can't control your own pet!" She argued back, snorting slightly as she took another left turn. "Now what kind of books did you liberate?" She changed the subject before they fell into their normal bickering that could go on for hours.
"A few runic books. Some from vikings, some from druids. One of them looks Russian. I found another book in Latin."
"Are they all magic books?" She could hear him rifling through things. A few familiar curses slipped past his lips and something fell. She giggled to herself as she recognized the thump sound that meant something had fallen on his head.
"No, I found a few that are on old herbs and medicines. Some of these herbs are extinct, Rey. I'm not sure even you could do anything about it. This book is older than anything. Even Master." They both burst out laughing at that.
"I dunno, Niko. Master is pretty ancient. Might even be older than the Earl himself."
"I think Master is older than the Earth itself."
"Then where does he come from, Niko?" The light of the sun began to dim as it set behind the horizon but she didn't care. People bustled around her but nobody got close enough that she felt she should be worried about them being an akuma.
"Hell." He snorted. "Clearly." He stated, as if the most obvious thing in the world.
"Right, of course. How stupid of me to forget that."
"Yeah, I mean really, Rey. How could you?" The church came into sight. She sighed upon seeing it.
"Hey, Niko, I gotta go now, but I'll check in with you later. Dig through the books a bit and tell me if you've found anything interesting."
He sighed, "Yeah okay."
"I'm sorry. I wish we could talk more."
"I know," he sighed again, she could picture the way his eyes would dart down away from hers and to the floor. She wanted to reach out for him but she couldn't. "You've got a job to do. I won't hold it against you."
"I'll catch up with you soon. I promise."
"I know. Be safe." He called. She looked up at Rhaps right before the call disconnected.
"I love you Nikola." She smiled as he stammered on the other side as the call disconnected and then she stepped into the church.
"Welcome Lady Exorcist!" The priest greeted as soon as she set foot inside. She jumped back, catching herself before it became obvious. She inched away from him subtly. "I am Father Lopez, I was the one who contacted the Order. The finders are searching for the amulet, I apologize but it appears that I've lost it. I swear I only turned my back on it for a moment but alas-" She cut him off by holding a hand up.
"It's fine. It happens. I've met my fair share of thieves." She waved him off.
"You mean yourself, Little One?" The voice asked, smirking at her.
"Hush you." She pushed him away and returned her attention to the priest who had started talking to her again. She listened as he told her about his own experience with akuma and an exorcist he'd met when he'd been a child, nodding every so often to signify she was listening.
"I'll never forget the way his gun felt to me. You give the same feeling though you don't have his red hair." He noted.
"It's not the exorcist himself, but the innocence he carries. I carry it too." She allowed him to inspect Harlequin as it slept on her skin.
"I joined the church immediately after he saved me. I knew that God had saved me for a reason and I would do anything to help him as he had done for me." She smiled awkwardly as he continued, clearly lost in his own memories.
"Could you tell me about the innocence and it's power?" She tried to direct the conversation back to the original topic.
He laughed, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly, "Ah, I can't tell you much about it. I've never put it on due to the fact that anyone who is foolish enough to do so perishes. The very few who do survive are never the same. Often they are taken to a safe place."
"They're thrown into an asylum?" She questioned, lips curling back in disgust.
"Unfortunately, that is what the families chose to do." Her fists clenched in her lap until her nails bit into her palms and her knuckles turned white.
"Don't lose your temper. I know you don't like it but there's nothing you can do about it." The voice calmed her raging emotions. "You aren't there. Don't let them drag you down, don't forget what you do have. Allen, Niko, Cross, these people are your family. Don't worry about the rest of the world. Let it go." He ordered. She sighed.
"Yeah I know, I just don't know how some people can do that. I guess family doesn't have the same meaning."
"Nothing you can do. Focus on your mission. Why don't you visit Niko when you're done? He's somewhere near here isn't he? Lord Rodriguez's main mansion is around here, isn't it?" She smiled at that thought and unfurled her hands, stretching her fingers out.
"Yeah, that's a good idea. Thanks for helping me keep my head." The priest continued to talk, giving her the regular signs of all around craziness. She nodded as he spoke, cataloging the signs and listening as the rain began to pelt the roof of the cathedral.
"Will you be able to handle it?" Father Lopez asked after a moment, a look of fear crossing his face.
"Only a person who wields innocence can so yes, I'll be fine. Anyone else," other than a Noah, she added silently, "will succumb to it's powers."
The conversation ended when the huge double doors opened allowing a group of finders to shamble in. She stood and strode over to them, "Did you find anything?" Out the door she could see that the rain had started coming down harder.
"I apologize, but we have not. We've been searching all day, otherwise I would've personally met you at the train station." Rhea waved the weary finder off.
"There's no need to apologize, I am completely capable of getting here by myself." She pushed away the voice, cackling loudly. "Madrid is a large city and the amulet could be anywhere. If we're lucky it's still in the city. You have no reason to baby me when we have a piece of innocence to find. You're all exhausted, and I can see it. We can continue searching in the morning, after we've all had a good night's sleep and some food."
Father Lopez leapt to his feet, "I'll get that started on that right away! You need nourishment!" He rushed away.
"Thank you." Rhea called after him, he nodded at her over his shoulder. She turned back to the finders, "Well come in out of the rain and sit down. You'll catch your death of cold out there." The finders all trudged in and collapsed into the pews. One of them sat next to her.
"My name is Alexander and I'm the leader of this group." She nodded at him to continue. "Unfortunately the amulet was already gone. It was taken earlier the day we arrived. We've been searching since. Nobody has seen it. I wanted to have it back before you arrived but as you have seen we have failed."
"You have not failed. You only fail when you don't try. You've been looking and thus you have not failed. You merely have yet to succeed." She answered with ease. "Oh, how rude of me, my name is Rhea." She offered him her hand, which he shook gently, a smile playing on his features, "It's nice to meet you."
"It's nice to meet you too, Lady Exorcist." Alexander nodded.
Please, you need not call me that."
"It would be disrespectful to call you anything else!" Alexander argued.
"Dinner is ready!" Father Lopez interrupted the conversation. "Please follow me to the dining room." The finders followed the priest while Rhea found that she no longer felt hungry. Instead she departed from the cathedral out into the courtyard. She swung up into the tree with the ease of years of practice. Finding the highest branch that would hold her weight, she settled on it.
"Rhaps, play a lullaby, whatever one is up to you. I just need music." The dark golem perched above her head and began to play the clip, over and over. It floated through the air, carried by the soft breeze, carrying the fresh, crisp air. The rain had ceased during the conversation she had with Alexander. The haunting music box like melody soothed the whirling of Rhea's mind allowing her to settle in. The softly murmured words along her mind, keeping the voice quiet as she picked out the constellations in the stars and heard the stories play in her mind.
Alexander and Rhea traveled the streets of Madrid, searching for the lost amulet. Rhea's eyes drifted around slowly. She can feel her eyelids drifting low. She needed coffee. Without a word to Alexander she veers off towards a small cafe. She steps in and orders coffee. Then another and another. Alexander watches with wide eyes as she drinks five cups of the caffeinated beverage. He opened his mouth and closed it again multiple times as she drank it.
"I've never seen somebody drink that much coffee other than a scientist." Alexander stuttered, eyes still as large as dinner plates. Rhea looked up at him, chewing her lip for a moment.
"Yeah, I kinda don't sleep well, so I drink a lot of coffee." She ruffled her plaits sheepishly.
"I can understand that. Sleep is hard to come by in the world." She nodded, feeling less sheepish about it. A scream drew their attention before anything else could be said. A young woman took shaky steps away from a large group of akuma with all guns pointed at her.
"Oh boy." Rhea groaned.
"Well that looks bad." Alexander commented but Rhea had already taken off, running out of the cafe, pulling the liquid innocence from her skin.
"Get her outta here, Alexander!" She could already see the green glow from around the woman's neck told her that they had found the innocence but so had the akuma.
"Yes Lady Exorcist!" Alexander shouted, flinging the woman up over his shoulder and ran off, back to the safety of the cathedral. She glanced back at them once before turning to the akuma waiting for her though she could still hear the woman screaming.
"Why is it that all they ever do is scream? Can't they at least scream AND run at the same time?" She grumbled to herself. The akuma hovered all around her. A mix of level one and twos surrounded her.
"Quickly! After the innocence!" One of the level twos howled.
"Harlequin, activate!" Rhea shouted, leaping up, the gleaming axe blade slicing through the closest akuma. Three level ones were next, sliced into steaming pieces. Another level two lunged at her only to lose it's head. She whirled around and took another level one down. Taking a deep breath, she grabs her axe, and leaps, twisting the blade in her hand, round and round. Another level two gets too close and dies. Another level two gets close, it's large stinger spiking out towards her. She sheared the stinger from it's body and then cleaved it's head from it's body. Another level one lost it's head to her glimmering axe. Seven more level twos lunged for her, causing her to dance around carving the heads away before turning on another group of level ones.
"I know you,"' one of the level two akuma hisses when she lands. She turned towards it, arching an eyebrow at it.
"Oh? And who am I to you?" She questioned, shearing through four more level ones, ignoring the explosion of the dying level ones.
"You, the others speak of you." The level two, an odd looking serpentine like akuma with strange legs sticking out from it's body. It skittered back and forth, looking for a way around or behind her.
"And what do they say of me?" She inquired, spinning the blade in her hand with an easy flourish.
"The little upstart! You've been appearing and disappearing all over! Causing the Master great sadness, I can't wait to return to my lords with your head!" It cackled and then lunged. Rolling her eyes she met it head on, her feet touched ground as it's head rolled away. "I guess it's true." It spoke one last time as it died. Three level ones led by a single level two made their way towards the cathedral. Rolling her head around to look at them with a groan.
Sighing at them, "Looks like it's gonna be a long day." She groaned and rushed after the fleeing akuma.
Twilight had fallen on Madrid by the time Rhea trudged back to the cathedral. Exhaustion clung to her body and soreness filled her muscles. Every time she finished, more would appear. Her innocence laid against her skin, completely still, unwilling to move more. Her energy vanished at a frightening pace during battle. Pushing the large door open, she stepped in, hoping that she could just sleep. Chaos met her. She slumped as she took it all in. Reaching out she snagged a finder by the hood of his jacket halting his hurried movements.
"What's got everybody so excited?" The finder looked relieved upon seeing her.
"Lady Exorcist!" The man grasped her hands, hope lighting up his features. "The woman carrying the innocence has fallen to it's power! She's attempting to fling herself from the cathedral! Father Lopez and Alexander are trying to stop her but it's not working! She's so close to the edge! Alexander tried to remove the innocence but it wouldn't come off and only seemed to set her on her path of death!" Rhea groaned, rolling her eyes once more she stopped the finder's frantic babble.
"Enough! Take me there now!" Not even bothering to nod the finder took off, leading her to the woman and the innocence. "Alexander shouldn't have touched the innocence." She groaned as Rhaps flew with her, a constant reminder that she wouldn't be able to escape. Thundering up the stairs she took them three at a time, already overtaking the finder with ease. Throwing the door open with a band she ran over to where the other two stood. Father Lopez offered the woman his hand.
"Please, let me help you." Father Lopez begged. Alexander saw her as she skidded to a stop in front of the woman.
"This is Rhea! She's an exorcist! She knows how to handle the innocence. She can make the voice go away." Alexander told the woman, trying to coax her down from the edge.
"She has been given a gift by God." Father Lopez spoke softly, "Trust her and she can help you. Just let her help you." He pleaded. "It's what we're here for. Just let us help, Child."
"Can you really get rid of it?" Her large blue eyes looked at Rhea, who slid closer and closer, hopefully, the dark shadows under them rivals her own, indicating nights of insomnia likely innocence induced.
"I can help but only IF you let me help you. I need you to come here please. It will only take a moment." The woman blinked several times.
"I'm so tired, but it won't let me sleep. No matter how much I beg." Rhea smiled, doing her best to let her sympathy show through.
"I know, I know. I don't sleep well either. I truly understand, I do. I can make it go away. Just let me." Rhea held out her hand, "Please just come here." The woman shook her head, backing away, towards the edge.
"What if you can't? I just want to sleep forever. You can't do that can you? I've tried. It won't come off. I've tried!" She sobbed, getting hysterical.
"I understand that you're exhausted, but taking your own life won't change anything. I promise I can help." Rhea crept forward millimeter by millimeter. Still reaching out for the woman with her hand. The woman stood, only a hairsbreadth from the edge.
"I'm sorry." Rhea's eyes widened at the warning as the woman let herself fall backwards off the cathedral, arms spread out wide like wings.
"Wait! Lady Exorcist!" Alexander and Father Lopez shouted after her as Rhea dove off the cathedral after the woman. Rhea's fingers wrapped around her shoulder, pulling her close into her embrace.
"Harlequin! Activate!" The metal slid from her skin, twisting around them over and over, creating protective layer after layer until Rhea and the woman were completely hidden from sight. The cocoon hit the ground with an earth shattering crash. The entire cathedral shook, sending everyone to their hands and knees. Slowly the finders gathered around the metal cocoon, waiting with baited breath. Everything stood still, just waiting.
"Are they okay?" One of the finders asked, shifting closer and closer a little at a time.
"Lady Exorcist!" Alexander rushed out of the church, and down into the crater. "Lady Exorcist?" He called again. The cocoon didn't move. "Lady Exorcist, can you hear me?" Alexander began hammering on the cocoon with his fist.
"Are they dead?!" Father Lopez demanded, sliding down into the crater after Alexander.
"Let's hope not!" Alexander yelled back.
"Boy, you guys just went straight for the worst scenario." Rhea's voice carried through as the cocoon cracked and then fell apart revealing both Rhea and the woman, unharmed. The finders cheered with joy. Rhea handed the woman off to Father Lopez barely concealing a groan behind clenched teeth. The young woman immediately clung Father Lopez and began sobbing as she begged for his forgiveness. Alexander offered Rhea a hand which she accepted. Alexander heaved Rhea to her feet, as Harlequin slithered back up her arms.
"Are you okay, Lady Exorcist?" He inquired worriedly. She nodded stiffly. "Are you sure?" She nodded again, making sure to appear less stiff than the time before.
"I'll be fine in a few days. A few bruises at most. I've done worse to myself." Alexander's deep eyes betraying his thoughts. She could see he didn't believe her. She shook his worry off and walked over to the woman who'd yet to let go of the priest. "May I take that off you?" She asked. The woman nodded, tears still streaming down her face. Reaching around slowly, in case the woman bolted, Rhea dug her fingernails into the knot and slowly untied it. The necklace came off with ease, sliding up and over the woman's head. "Ta da! All better. Now you just need some sleep." Rhea watched as the priest led the woman inside.
"Now, are you actually okay?" Alexander rounded on Rhea once more.
Rhea sighed at him, "It's not a major deal, it was only a few hundred meters." Alexander shook his head at her.
"Does your brother know you do these kinds of things?" Rhea froze, mid step as a shudder ran through her at the thought of what would happen if her family found out that she had just flung herself off a cathedral. "Guess not." Alexander snickered after a moment. "Well I won't tell but you should really take better care of yourself. You won't be able to shake those kinds of wounds off forever." Alexander pointed out.
"Thanks, I'll keep that in mind." Rhea sighed, waving him off. As long as nobody found out she would survive.
Rhea vanished from the church before the moon had fully risen. Alexander shook his head when he found the empty room. He'd come to bring her to dinner but the exorcist's room stood empty.
"Good luck Lady Exorcist." He shook his head one last time and turned back, heading towards his rapidly cooling dinner. The exorcist would be fine. He'd seen her flight. "You're one hell of a woman. I almost pity the next opponent you meet." He let the door swing shut, leaving the room shrouded in darkness.
In the light of the moon Rhea ran down the street, giddy with excitement, "Rhaps, track Argos! It's time to see Niko! I'm in the mood for some company." She grinned as her golem led the way. Sneaking through the streets, she weaved in and out, ignoring the people who stared at her. Her excitement washed away her cares about it. As she got closer she could feel Niko's presence. Slipping into his hideaway, she snuck up on the boy, who, predictably, had his nose buried in a book. A huge wicked grin spread across her face as she leapt, taking the teenage boy down to the ground with a battle cry. Niko gave a startled yell as he crashed to the floor. Argos, fluttered out of the way, joining Rhaps high in the air, recording the chaos of the pair flailing.
"Rhea!" Niko protested as he struggled, squirming to get out from under her. "Rhea get off! Rhea! You're fucking heavy!" Laughing loudly Rhea rolled off of him.
"Come on, Niko, don't be like that! I've missed you!" She grinned at him.
"You," he glared at her as he sat up, "are a terrible, horrible, no-good sister, you know that, right?" Rhea reached over and ruffled his already messy brown hair.
"You're still alive because of me." She snorted, settling down on one of the many pillows strewn about the small hideout.
"I would've survived just FINE on my own!" Niko snapped back, smacking her upside the head with the heavy leather bound book he'd been reading when she jumped him.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, sure, whatever you say, dear little brother." Rhea smiled at him, despite him hitting her with the book. She batted at the book lazily as he continued to swing at her.
"I thought you were on a job." Niko finally stopped hitting her with the book and settled down next to her.
"I was." She acknowledged. "However I finished and decided to have dinner and sleep here with you instead. I'd rather your company than a legion of finders. They all stare at me like an animal at the circus." She waved off the question, doing her best to banish the memories of the way the finders all stared at her.
"Ahh, yes, I can understand how that would feel. Heavens forbid other people treat us as if we're human too." She smiled as her brother rolled his eyes. His dry sarcasm comforting to her.
"So," she changed the subject, uncaring of her lack of subtlety. She didn't need it with her brother. "What did you find? Dig up anything more interesting? Whatcha reading when I came in?" She readjusted on her pillow.
"You mean before you attacked me?" He accused. She smiled, completely unapologetic.
"Yeah, before that."
"Well, actually one of the books I took was a book on mythology. I was in the middle of one of the stories before I had an intimate meeting with the floor." He glared at her reproachfully. She continued to grin at him.
"Well don't stop on my account." She spun around on her pillow, so she now leaned against Niko, squirming a bit until comfortably slumped into his side, her head resting against his shoulder, hair sprayed out over their backs. Shaking his head at her Niko opened the book, flipped back to the beginning of the myth he had been reading. Rhea closed her eyes as Niko's voice started to paint a battlefield before her eyes, one with crows circling above, foretelling the outcome.
"Do you really have to go?" Niko asked as they walked to the train station, late in the next afternoon.
"Yes, I should've left this morning." Rhea sighed, ruffling her hair.
"You can't stay another night?" He whined, trailing after her, his pet sitting in his pocket. She smiled at him, yearning to give in to his wishes.
"I wish I could. I really do but Allen is waiting for me." Rhea reminded him. Niko sighed.
"I know, I know. Allen needs you more than me. I am relatively safe here but Allen tends to jump head first into danger."
"Don't I know it." Rhea sighed in agreement with his comment.
"You're going to take care of him, right?" Niko asked, turning his head towards her.
Rhea nodded, "Yes."
Niko was quiet for a moment, almost as if he didn't want to say anything. She could see him chewing the inside of his cheek, his own personal tic that only she and Allen knew of. Though she figured that Cross probably knew. "You'll come back, right?" She smiled brightly, nodding.
"Of course, there's no need to worry, Little Brother! I promise we'll come back and when we do Allen and I will sneak out to see you. We'll have dinner and celebrate." He smiled back at her.
"We'll celebrate your birthday since we missed it." Niko pointed out which Rhea waved off.
"Oh, that's not important. It's not such a big deal." Niko reached over and smacked her upside the head. Rhea whimpered, rubbing the wounded area. "What was that for?!" She protested.
"Stop acting as if you aren't important. Allen and I care about you and we're happy you're alive, even if you are a twit," he muttered causing her to stick her tongue out at him, "so stop brushing your birthday off. We like it!" She smiled, a ribbit emitting from his pocket, almost as if agreeing with it's master.
"Okay, okay, okay." She smiled, holding her hands up in surrender. "When we get back from hunting down Master, we'll celebrate my birthday and probably Allen's with the way this is going." She sighed. Niko's eyes dropped down to the ground as they walked. Rhea's eyes snapped over to him. She smiled softly, "I promise that Allen and I will be back in time for your birthday. I swear." His eyes shot to hers and then away, as a blush spread across his face.
"I didn't mean it like that I-" Rhea shook her head, cutting him off.
"Don't worry about it." She pulled him into a one armed hug. "I know you didn't mean it like that. I still think that it's cute. You're my adorable little brother." She ruffled his hair as the train pulled into the station. "I love you. I love you and Allen and I promise I will take care of you both." Niko blushed brightly as she showered her affection onto him.
"Okay! Stop it! Gross!" He turned away, face still burning as he pushed her off. Rhea laughed in response.
"Alright, I'm done. Now it's starting to get dark so you should head home. I don't want you to be hurt or mugged." He nodded.
"Please be careful as you go. Take care of our silly little brother, don't let him do anything stupid!" Rhea nodded. She climbed onto the train. Rushing through the halls she opened the window to call to her brother.
"I won't let him do anything I wouldn't do!"
"That's even worse!" Niko shouted back at her. Grinning she waved back until he was out of sight.
"Are we all here?" A woman's voice asked, looking around the room, dimly lit by a scarce amount of candles.
"No," a man replied, "but enough of us are that we may begin. The others are completing their assigned tasks."
"Very well. Which order shall we start with?"
"The most pressing of course." The man answered, snapping his fingers another man stepped into the room, the light bouncing off his greenish blond hair. "The Eldest, is it awake?" He asked the blond.
"No. I cannot find it at all. The Eldest still sleeps. Either the accommodator has yet to be found or it has taken a different shape. If it's the second one then there's a possibility that it will awaken." He reported.
"Should we be worried?" A different woman asked, speaking for the first time, a man's top hat sitting on her head.
"I do not think so. The Order does not even know about it. I went through all of their files, there's nothing on it." The blond replied.
"Perhaps they decided to keep it a secret." The first woman suggested. The blond shook his head.
"No, something that powerful they would document thoroughly."
"What do you think, Auryn, you're the oldest among us." The woman in the top hat questioned, turning to the man that stood to her right leaning on an ornately carved shillelagh.
"I saw we leave it for now. If they do not know about it then we should let it sleep. If we poke it then it may awaken. That would be the last thing we need." He spoke in a raspy tone. "The more important matter at hand is finding the source."
"Do we have any leads on it?" The first man asked. All eyes turned to the blond.
"Yes and no."
"You lost it?!" The first woman shrieked.
"Enough!" The order from the woman in the top hat came out sharply, silencing the entire room, then she turned to the blond. "Explain." He opened his mouth but paused when an automobile pulled up outside. Two people got out and entered the compound.
"Are we late?" A soft younger feminine voice asked as they came into the room.
"We apologize. It seems that something big is happening. It appears those fools are going at it again." A different male voice snorted. Both came to stand on either side of the woman in the top hat. She smiled at them both. Leaning over to kiss the man on the check and then to the woman and kissed her too.
"It's not your fault. Let them fight. It won't get them anywhere. It's best to just ignore them." She advised before turning to the blond. "Continue your explanation."
"The source has been hidden from us for many years, no doubt by a guardian, however for some reason it seems to no longer be under protection. It is muted but traceable. It flares up and then dies down. It's like that all the time. Up and down. It appears to be mostly hiding though; shielded behind a powerful glamour."
"Can you find it or not, boy?" The first man snarled impatiently. The blond rounded on him, glaring.
"Do not call me boy." He growled.
"Oh," the first man taunted, "and who's going to stop me? You?" He challenged. "Now there's a funny thought." He started to laugh causing the blond to lunge for him.
"Enough!" The woman in the hat shouted, both froze in midair, an invisible power held them. Waving her hands in separate directions, she flung them away from each other. "Honestly, can't you two get along? We are family, you don't leave, so you better start getting along."
"Quit embarrassing yourselves." The newest man rolled his eyes at them.
"How about you just quit embarrassing us." The softer female voice added. The blond glared at her as he was set down.
"I don't see how you get to bitch, Miss Priss," he sneered at her, "I'm doing all the work while you only complain about it. Once you start doing some actual work, other than spreading your legs," he snorted, "then you can tell me how to do things, until then, be a good doll and shut the hell up." He got up, dusted himself off, and left the room, heading back to his own quarters, uncaring of how she responded.
"Well!" The younger woman huffed looking through the doors that the blond had left through, "He's getting rather high and mighty! Somebody should put him back in his place!" She glared at the doors as if they were the blond man himself.
"Calm down," the woman in the hat told her, "though he is young and brash and not always polite-" the young man cut in.
"He's never polite. I agree with Sister, he needs to be put back in his place."
"Noted." The woman with the hat's clipped tone, told them not to interrupt again. Both got the message and bowed their heads in apology. "However he is the closest to finding the source. We need him for it." She explained easily.
"I could do it." The young man grumbled.
"If you could have done it we would have sent you." The first man cut in, rather snappily, finally getting up and brushing himself off.
"Though young and brash," Auryn spoke causing them all to fall silent and turn to him, "he is an invaluable member of our troupe and the best suited for this task. He will grow out of it. We must give him time and gently lend a hand when he needs it. We do not wish to drive one of our own away." he stated sagely.
"Even so, perhaps somebody should go with him, not to interfere but just to keep an eye on things?" The first woman proposed.
"I say we give him a chance to prove himself, if I feel that it's going poorly then we will step in." The woman in the hat finally spoke.
Auryn spoke again with a nod of his head, "As you wish, Viola. We will follow your lead."
Viola smiled wickedly.
Rhea rubbed the sleep from her eyes as she stepped off the train. Night had long since fallen over Barcelona, the moon high in the sky. Stretching her stiff limbs she looks up at the moon as she straightens up, admiring it for a moment.
"First quarter, huh?" Her eyes quickly spotted the massive herds of akuma spread through the sky. "So much for getting any sleep tonight. Well at least I got some sleep last night. Niko sure does make a comfy pillow." She hums. "Still, another night of sleep would be better." She sighed. A woman stepped closer.
"Did you say something, Miss? I didn't hear you the first time." Rhea's eyes drifted lazily over to the woman who took another step closer to her as she started talking to her. The woman, clearly of noble birth, glided with her fancy maroon dress swaying in the light breeze that blew through the almost empty train station. Her pretty golden blond hair fell into tight ringlets held back with diamond pins. Rhea's eyes immediately went to the pins.
"Something wrong?" The voice asks.
"I want those pins. I really want those pins." She could see him shaking his head at her but she just ignored it.
"I said so much for getting any sleep tonight. Those things," she pointed up at the akuma in the sky, "are all over the place." She smiled at the woman, her fingers curling up into her sleeve, tugging on Harlequin. She hissed an activation word to her innocence. The woman moved towards her, jerking slightly as she did.
"Don't worry little exorcist, I'll help you sleep forever." The akuma shed it's human skin as it dove, making it only a few centimeters before Harlequin lodged itself between her eyes, it's skin still clinging to the akuma in some places.
"Too slow." Rhea sighed. "Work, work, work," she sighed, pushing her old leather messenger bag behind her left hip, she headed into town. "Keep close Rhaps. Let's not get lost again, or eaten by a cat," she smirked at the golem, "shall we?" Then she shook her head, "Komui and Master would kill me if that happened." Harlequin floated around her as she walked deeper into the city, deactivating it would be stupid. "Man, it looks like it's gonna be a long night." She notes to herself.
"Are you sure you're up to it, Little One? Perhaps you should sit this one out. I'm sure there are others that can handle it." The voice spoke as she paused, for a moment he hoped she would consider his suggestion. Instead she turns on her heels and went back to the body. Bending down she plucked the diamond pins from the limp hair, setting them in her pocket, and continued on her path. "Isn't that considered graverobbing?" The voice questioned.
"No. There's no grave." The voice rolled it's eyes.
Well into the night and Rhea found herself wishing that she'd been wrong about the night. Instead she found herself surrounded by akuma. All around her the akuma cackled to themselves, pitying the poor defenseless exorcist they'd cornered. Rolling her eyes, she waved her hand across her body from shoulder to shoulder. Following the direction Harlequin solidified into large feathers, hovering in the air above Rhea.
"Let's go." Swinging her arm out at the giant group of akuma she sent her innocence hurtling straight through them, skewering the akuma and killing them instantly. As soon as they died, twice as many took their place. "Aw for fuck's sake." She groaned, flicking her fingers back towards her body, Harlequin rounded on the new akuma and sliced through them. "Are they ever gonna end?" Jumping from the ground, to one of her feathers she climbed high into the sky. Moving from feather to feather she could see over the city, watching the finders that scurried around the streets, she looked for other exorcists with little luck. She glanced up at Rhaps, still fluttering by her head, "Am I really the only one here?" The sound of metal whipping in the wind alerted her to the akuma flying at her from behind, leaping out of the way, she twisted in the air, turning to get a look at the new akuma. A level two chortled as it swung around to face her as she landed on a different feather.
"Well, well, well, looky looky what I found! A hooded priest with the wretched crest. Looks like I found an exorcist! This should be fun!" The rest of the feathers melted and flew to her hand. The innocence hardened into the battle axe. "Oh boy! What's that?! I can't wai-" The akuma didn't finish as Rhea's axe sliced through it, ending it's life.
"All work and no play." Rhea sighed. "When's something interesting gonna happen?"
"Where are you guys right now?" Rhea's head snapped over to where Rhaps flitted about. Kanda? That was definitely Kanda's voice.
"Around 3 kilometers east of that odd tower, I think." Rhea grinned brilliantly, Daisya's voice came through next.
"I'm west of it, probably about 5 kilometers." Marie answered next.
"I'm to the south." Kanda finished.
"Hey guys!" Rhea chirped.
"Rhea?!" She giggled in response. Surprise laced their voices.
"What the hell are you doing here, Woman?!" Kanda demanded.
"Wow! Rude! Would it kill you to be pleasant for a change?" Rhea snapped back, glancing around, taking in her surroundings now that the akuma had been cleared out.
"Don't mind him. He's just hiding the fact that we're all happy to hear from you." Daisya covered as he golem crackled a bit.
"Oi! Don't speak for me!" Kanda yelled at Daisya. Rhea hopped down from her hovering feather, sliding down the wall into the safety of a shadowy alley. She allowed herself several deep breaths, steadying her lungs.
"Are you alright, Rhea? You're breathing heavily." Rhea shook her head, unsurprised that Marie noticed the way she breathed.
"Just tired. Not really a big deal." He grunted but didn't press the subject. "Anyone know what's with the sudden surge?" Rhea questioned. "Is General Tiedoll nearby?"
"We believe he passed through recently." Marie answered when it became clear that the other two weren't going to.
"I thought you were heading east with Lenalee and the beansprout." Rhea rolled her eyes at Kanda's nickname for Allen and how it bothered him to no end. Boys, she scoffed in her head.
"I am. Just happen to be passing through right now. I had to make a detour to Madrid first. I'm on my way to catch up with them now. I'm jumping from here to Italy. Just stopped for the night, not that it really matters now." Rhea groaned at the last part.
"Will you be alright, traveling all on your own for so long? It's quite a ways to the others. Last time we heard, they were in Romania and it's been a little while since then." Marie asked, concern lacing his tone. Still it managed to pull a smile from her.
"Of course. I'll be fine." Rhea answered.
"Yeah, Rey's tough!" Daisya confirmed, causing a wider smile.
"Can we get back on topic? The woman's too fucking stubborn to die." Rhea rolled her eyes at Kanda's bitchy tone.
"Yeah, sure." Rhea and Daisya spoke in unison though Daisya's golem made a snapping sound and almost dropped the signal.
"Don't get your panties in a twist."
"Be quiet, Woman!" Kanda snapped back.
"Where should we regroup?" Marie asked, diverting the conversation before the pair could start a fight that he and Daisya would have to listen to. He'd broken up enough of their fights to know the warning signs.
"You're pretty old Marie. Why don't you stay put and the rest of us will make our way to you." Rhea frowned as Daisya's golem crackled more with static.
"Will you be okay, Dai? You're not coming in very well. Is something wrong with your golem?" Rhea inquired, eyebrows furrowing. Marie smiled at the question. Rhea alone could get away with shortening Daisya's name.
"Of course I'll be fine! Don't worry about me, Rey! My golem's just a little banged up." She could see him waving her off.
"Hit it with Charity Bell again?" She drawled.
"Maybe." He answered sheepishly.
"Yeah," Rhea snorted.
"When should we meet?" Marie asked.
"Daybreak." Kanda ordered.
"Right!" They all chorused.
"Oi! Woman!" Kanda called.
"Hmmm?" She stepped out of the alleyway, Harlequin freezing into a battle axe. A horde of akuma already advancing on her.
"I better see you there." His tone told her he wouldn't discuss it with her. She would be expected to be there.
"Yes sir!" She mock saluted and lunged for the closest akuma. Marie chuckled at them both. Kanda didn't hide his feelings nearly as well as he thought he did.
"Be safe." Marie whispered though found himself wishing he could be certain they would be.
Rhea's eyes flickered to the east, causing the voice to ask, "What's wrong, Little One?" She continued to stare in that direction. She stood north of the tower but couldn't shake the cold hand clenching her heart and the heavy stone that had settled deep in her stomach.
"I've just got this funny feeling that Daisya's in trouble. I can't say that I'm comfortable with his golem coming in so poorly." The voice stayed quiet for a moment, as if contemplating something.
"I'm sure your friend is fine." He told her. She shook her head.
"No, I can't shake this feeling. It's been bothering me for a while." She reached out for his aura but found herself overwhelmed by all the colors. "Damn, he's too far away."
"Killing..." Rhea's eyes snapped back to Rhaps. Too much static came from Daisya's golem for her to make out anything else.
"What did you just say?" Kanda asked, though he got no response.
"Daisya?" Marie called but the golem didn't make another noise. Rhea narrowed her eyes.
"Daisya?" She tried. "Daisya! Answer me!" A lump formed in her throat. "I'm not kidding, Daisya! Answer me right now!" Rhea snapped. She growled, as Harlequin shot over to her, forming a board just in time to catch her as she leapt off the building.
"Rhea, what are you doing?" Marie questioned.
"I'm going to check on him. Something's not right." She hissed as Rhaps clung to her shoulder.
"Daisya's perfectly capable of taking care of himself." Kanda claimed, though the slight tremor, almost undetectable, in his voice betrayed him.
"I'm not taking any chances, not with Daisya's life." She responded.
Rhea sped through the air, weaving in and out of the buildings, her board slicing through any akuma dumb enough to get in her way. Closing her eyes she reached out for his aura once more and this time found it. Latching onto it she flew towards him, like a bloodhound on a trail, silently begging her hammering heart to steady and whatever deity listening that she'd be in time. She dropped out of the sky, rolling across the roof, crouching down to hide and observe. Seeing Daisya hanging upside down from one of the sparse lamppost with Charity Bell on the ground a meter away caused her to arch an eyebrow at the scene. This isn't an akuma's doing, movement caught her eye, pulling her out of her thoughts. A few steps away stood a tall man, shrouded in shadows. He strode towards Charity Bell and into the light with the grace of a big cat. His dark features betraying him as a Noah.
"That idiot! What the hell was he thinking?" She hollered in her head.
"It seems he bit off more than he could chew." The voice mused, causing her to reach out and smack it.
"Peachy, just peachy." She groused, Harlequin melting into shadows and sliding down the wall at her direction.
As Harlequin slunk through the shadows the Noah spoke his voice deep and smooth causing the hair on the back of her neck to rise, "Any last words?" He reached down to shatter Charity Bell.
"Well," Daisya grinned at him, "I was never bored."
"Ugh!" Rhea rolled her eyes at her idiot friend's chosen last words. "Go!" She ordered her innocences. Right before the Noah could lay hands on Charity Bell Harlequin rose up from the shadows, taking it's true form it roared in his face, Charity Bell wrapped in it's protective embrace. Dropping to the ground Rhea flew through her innocence feeling it solidify into sleek layered gauntlets with monstrously gleaming claws at the end of her fingers. She smashed her left fist straight into his face before he even saw her coming. She skidded to a stop as he soared through several buildings. Rhea felt the twinge in her arm and immediately twisted her arm sharply to the side as if twisting a key in a lock. Need to be more careful, she hummed, I didn't feel it unlock, she turned to face Daisya, placing her hands on her hips and glaring at him.
"What are you doing here?" He stuttered upon recognizing her narrowed lime colored eyes from under the shadow of her hood.
"Pray tell how this seemed like an appropriate course of action?" She demanded through clenched teeth.
"Uhhhh..." Daisya trailed as his brain desperately raced for a good excuse to appease his friend.
"Yeah, that's what I thought." Her seven centimeter talons sliced through the chains holding him to the lamppost like butter.
Daiya yelped when he hit the ground, "Ow! You could've warned me." He grumbled while rubbing his head. A flick of her fingers had Harlequin toss Charity Bell to him. He caught it, ignoring the stinging in his palms from the impact.
"Maybe that'll knock some sense into you." Rhea sighed, before turning her gaze to the dust cloud still hiding the Noah from sight.
Tyki pulled himself from the smoking ruins of the building he'd destroyed when he had gone sailing through it. Phasing through bricks and other debris he heaved himself to his feet. He waved his hand to clear away the dust from his face allowing him to breathe better. His other hand pressed against the side of his face, attempting to staunch the blood pouring from his raw bloody muscle. The punch, at least it felt like a punch, broke his nose, cheekbone, and jawbone. He could feel the broken pieces grinding against each other. He would've gritted his teeth had he been able to. It had been quite some time since somebody had landed a hit on him. Where the punch had connected still smoldered. The innocence burned the skin right off on contact. Blood seeped into his previously white gloves irreversibly staining them. Staggering out, he grabbed onto the wall next to him as the world spun for a moment. Finally he turned his attention to the exorcist he'd been about to kill earlier he found there now stood two. The kid, Daisya he'd said his name was, sat on the ground as his comrade read him the riot act. His eyes widened when they took in the curvy figure revealing the other exorcist to be a woman.
He tried to move his jaw with no luck. In the back of his mind the Noah memory commented, "Idi...ot." He rolled his eyes at the memory.
"Instead of bitching at me why don't you work on healing our injuries! Why the hell didn't you see her coming! Mighty hunter my ass!" He snapped back at the memory who gnashed his teeth at his host. Tyki rolled his eyes at it.
"Idi...ot. Fa...il. Use...less...idiot." Tyki glared at the memory continued to call him names and just give him shit in general.
"If you're so fucking great why didn't you see her coming?" He repeated his question but the memory simply turned it's back on him.
"Are you fucking serious?" He asked, unaware that he'd just said it out loud. "Forget it, I'll deal with you later." He turned back to the exorcists, the girl still yelling at Daisya though he couldn't catch the words or pinpoint her voice, she sounded familiar. He contemplated her for a moment. Didn't know girls could be exorcists, he mused. She's the first I've seen. I wonder if there's more, he shook those thoughts away as his gaze landed on her innocence, a pair of wicked looking gauntlets. He eyed the talons at the end of each finger warily after glancing up at the chains swinging in pieces from the post. Better not let those out of my sight, he sighed in his head.
Rhea turned sideways, keeping both the Noah and Daisya in her field of vision. She watched the Noah closely. Her eyes darted from his wounds to the way he carried himself and then his gaze locked on her gauntlets.
"Who's your friend?" Rhea jerked her head at the Noah as she addressed Daisya.
"He's not my friend." Daisya grumbled with a pout on his lips. "It's not nice to mock people."
"Obviously." She rolled her eyes at him and ignored his second comment.
"Be careful though," her eyes snapped to him at his serious tone, "he's fast. Real fast and somehow he repelled Charity Bell when I kicked it at him. I didn't see him touch it." She nodded absorbing the provided information, storing it deep within her brain.
"If he'd touched Charity Bell it would've been damaged. Unlike akuma, the Noah possess the ability to destroy innocence just as the Earl can. We should be careful." Daisya looked at the hand in his face. Smiling he reached past the claws and accepted the offer, letting her pull him to his feet. "We need to incapacitate him, the question is how." She whispered, making sure she couldn't be heard by the Noah.
"It's almost daybreak." Daisya noted. Rhea nodded.
"If we're not back Kanda will have our heads." Daisya shuddered at the thought.
"Yeah, the last thing I wanna see is you two going at it. You never go down without a fight." She smirked at him.
"For now, let's focus on this battle. Did he affect anything else, or just Charity Bell?"
"Just Charity Bell. I haven't seen anything move." Daisya confirmed. "So how do we deal with him?" Rhea's eyes stayed locked on the Noah.
"If nothing else moved then he's probably not telekinetic which is good for us. Let's see if we can keep him at a distance." Her eyes moved down to where Daisya's foot rested on Charity Bell. "For now," she let her voice carry now as Harlequin slid out of her shadow and up her boots, "let's play some football!" Nodding Daisya kicked it at the Noah who swung out of the way, staggering back against the wall to avoid the sound wave that went with it. His head snapped up only for the bell to connect with his back with a louder ring than before. Whirling around he found her behind him. The bell came whizzing at him again. He dropped down through the ground and out of harm's way. Rhea whipped around as he appeared just behind her. Jumping over his leg sweeping at her feet she twisted through the air, and brought her leg down on him, her shin connecting with his head. The greave she wore glimmered in the low light of twilight as the bell bounced off it, resounding again, this time even louder. The Noah skid across the cobblestone as she bounced the bell between her legs, each hit causing it to ring louder and louder. She kicked it back to Daisya. It came soaring at him again. The glass spread across the street from before flew up into the air from the shock wave. The Noah barely ducked, hands protecting his ears from the sound waves assaulting him. Rhea appeared above him. He rolled out of the way as she brought her foot down. The glass rattled with the force. She swung again and he dodged only to get hit by Charity Bell. Rhea slid along the ground, ignoring the glass cutting through her pants and skin, kicking the innocence away from the Noah once more.
Tyki raised his foot and then brought it down on the girl who just barely rolled away. His foot swung out and caught her in the side sending her crashing into the wall yet he hadn't felt her ribs break though it had been an awkward angle. The bell came sailing towards him but he shifted, ready for it now. Holding out his hand he called upon his power, rejecting the air causing the bell to freeze in place. It spun wildly against his powers but the kick didn't have enough power. He smirked only for a greave covered boot to connect with the innocence releasing another sonic blast sending both of them hurling back, though the girl managed to hook her foot under the bell and toss it back to Daisya. He slid across the ground, glass cutting up his skin. The ringing reverberating against his skull, drowning out all other noise. He sat up to see Daisya pulling the girl to her feet. She brushed off the tiny shards of glass and shook her head. At least that damn bell is affecting her too, he grumbled. In his head, the memory howled in pain. He watched as she leaned over and started hissing in Daisya's ear. He started towards them, unwilling to let them concoct another plan.
Rhea's eyes shot up to the building she had originally hit the Noah through. A church. "Help me drive him towards the church." She dodged a punch from the Noah that separated them with the Noah now standing between the pair. Nodding he kicked the bell towards her and the Noah darted out of the way. They kicked it back and forth, with Daisya sliding further down the street each time. Lunging at the Noah who jerked to the side causing her fist to connect with the wall behind, sending a crack up the wall. She moved to pull away but he grabbed her by the neck and flung her into Daisya who kicked the bell and then attempted to catch her. They fell to the ground in a painful pile of limbs. "Almost there." She whispered to him. The Noah appeared above them, bringing his foot down to smash their heads in. Rhea caught it with her gauntlets and threw him off balance. He staggered back though he managed to send her into the wall again. Daisya kicked Charity Bell at him. The Noah held out his hand to stop it, his eyes widened when Daisya rushed forward and kicked the piece of innocence straight into his gut. He hit the wall again and Daisya sprung backwards taking his innocence with him, hurling it to Rhea. She kicked it only to miss the Noah. The bell flew high into the sky, hitting the bell tower of the church and then fell back to the ground. A smirk spread across the Noah's face as she flew at him. He ducked out of the way of the punch which struck the wall again.
"Missed." He told her and planted his foot in her stomach. She rolled across the ground.
"She smirked back at him, "Wasn't aiming for you." As if on command the bell from the church fell from the tower, landing on him. "Now!" Both innocences connected with the giant bell sending a boom of thunder through the streets, shattering the glass of half the city. The Noah reemerged several meters away hands clutching his hemorrhaging ears. Grinning she leapt into the air before smashing her fist into the ground. The shock wave threw the Noah off his feet. Charity Bell hit him in the stomach and then Rhea appeared in front of him again. Centering herself, and planted her right foot she swung her left fist for the finishing blow. The devastating punch connected with the middle of his chest, smashing ribs and throwing him over five meters back before he crashed into the cobblestone, shattering it as he landed.
The Noah gasped as he struggled to breathe, his heart beating irregularly paralyzing his lungs. Rolling onto his feet he backed away from the blurry images of the exorcists before turning and retreating through the wall to his right.
Rhea stepped towards the wall only for her foot to hit something. Looking down she found the Noah's top hat sitting innocently on the ground. With a grin she picked it up.
"What are you going to do with that?" The voice asked.
"Keep it." She answered.
"Rey!" Daisya called from behind her, "Let's get going! We're gonna be late!" She turned back towards him, still clutching the hat in her fingers before placing it on her head.
She grinned wider over her shoulder for a moment, "Better luck next time, Mr. Noah." She tipped her hat to him.
"Well, look who I ran into," crowed Coincidence.
"Please," flirted Fate, "this was meant to be."
― Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Well there you go! Rey and Tyki have now met as Exorcist and Noah! I think it went well! I really enjoyed this version! I felt that it was far better written and shows more of Rey and how her mind works rather than her muscling her way through problems. Please let me know what you think of it all! I'm excited to hear from you all! I promise I'm already working on the next chapter! Everybody stay safe and healthy! Cheshire's out~!