Welcome back my Darlings! Apparently writing the chapters the way I am doing it now is always going to take a while. However I feel like this is a good way to do things. I feel like I have more time to focus on it, catch mistakes and make up my mind about how the writing goes. I don't have much to say this time around. Work is normal. I think I'm finally settling into a routine. Though sometime after getting the first draft done, Yule introduced me to a show and I finished it in two days even with work. Then I found out the next season won't be out until sometime next year. I am hooked and now I have to wait. My brain decided that it needed to know more and I fell into the fandom hard. A new character popped up and she shoved Rey from the light. Eventually Rey managed to steal the light back so you guys can totally blame Yule for this chapter taking so long. Just remember that. Yule not Cheshire's fault. *grins* You'll find I fixed a few things if some of the previous chapters. Just a few minor mistakes. Hopefully it goes better. Now, onto my favorite part! The reviews!

Dear Alexc1209, Yes, Rey has no sense of self preservation and irritating the Earl seemed like fun. As it was she almost made him cry. He's probably questioning his sanity a lot sooner than he should be but Rey has that effect on people. She's a brat. Are you really surprised that she stole Tyki's wallet? He left it where she could get it. Silly boy. It's hard to be Tyki. Niko is an interesting case. He did grow up with Rey and Allen. They're siblings and thick as thieves. They really love each other. Enjoy!

Dear QUEENVitch, Aaaah! Hi! I love new reviewers! I love to hear your thoughts and feelings about the chapters and the characters! I'm so excited to meet you and I hope to get to know you more. I apologized about how long it takes for a chapter to be written, edited, rewritten, edited again and then published but I feel that the content it better. I hope you'll bare with me. I'm so glad to hear that you were grinning like a loon. I love to make my readers smile! Thank you for answering my question! Enjoy the chapter!

Dear Destiny's Gem, AAAAAHHHH! I MISSED YOU! I MISSED YOU SO MUCH! I'm so happy you came back. I've missed your thoughtful comments and often right guesses. Sometimes I swear you can read my mind. I was so sad when you left. Yes, Rey is having none of Tyki, or anyone else's shit. She's more of a brat than Luca. Yes, Rey's magic will play a bigger part in this story. I do love it as well. I always wanted her to be a bit different. Her magic is one of those things that sets her apart. Yes, I do love a good mystery especially about a character. You have to share all your theories with me, via pm or review. I wanna hear what you think is going to happen. You and everybody else, absolutely loves Joyd. Even I do. He's fun. Not for Tyki but for the rest of us. You're making me blush bright red with all your praise. I agree that I've grown since I started writing VIG and I'm hoping to improve even more with SoG. I still have quite a bit to learn but the more you practice the better you get so here's hoping! I hope I live up to your expectations. If you have any criticism let me know. I'm happy to hear and improve when told. One of Rey's hobbies will always be tormenting Tyki, he just makes it too easy for her. I do agree that he's reactions are great. I am doing my best to show them more. Never apologize for long reviews. They make my week. I love them all. I can't wait to hear from you again. Please enjoy the chapter!

Dear WinterYule, So FF tricked you into writing me two reviews! I am the clear winner here! I'm excited and I'll try to answer all of your questions in both of them but if I miss something I apologize. I tried. Yeah mini-Rey is kinda like Road. The two do share some similarities to each other. How they are and who they pester when they are bored is one of those things. Unfortunately for him, Tyki is on both lists. XD He can't escape. They will find him and he will entertain them whether he wants to or not. Cross is probably gonna shoot Rey though. He does it a lot. Anyway you are correct, Rey was Cross' first child, then Allen and finally Niko joined their little ragtag family. Thank you so much, I was going for creepy but I wasn't really sure if it worked or not. If you have time could you tell me what worked and what didn't? I'm really trying to improve on that part. Thanks! The Noah hitman definitely needs a break and or a vacation but since I'm not getting one neither is he! Sucks to be Tyki! Haha ha haha *Komui evil laugh* So you're suspicions of the voice. How interesting. Yes, Rey is called Little One by past!Mana. She knows a bit about the Noah because of the time that she was with Cross was a bit hectic. He wanted her to know something. And she's endlessly curious so she pestered him about everything too. So you think the memory might've been distorted by the dream? Hmm, well you'll just have to wait and see. Cross was the one who recorded the video and it's just for her. He's aware that Rey is prone to panic attacks so he tries to help. Yes Rey definitely steals Komui, and anybody else who's not smart enough to hide it, 's coffee. If it's unguarded it's fair game to her. Yes she's gonna take several years off Komui's life with her bullshit and bad habit of emulating her Master. Yes she is very aware of how pretty Tyki is. She is, kinda, genuine is warning him that Lenalee will fall in love with him if she sees him. She's aware that Lenalee likes pretty faces. Allen should definitely be worried and he will when he finds out but for now Tyki's her dirty little secret. Niko loves his siblings and he knows it. It wouldn't be them if they didn't tease him and he teases right back. But yes Cross is screwed, hardly able to deal with one and then he ended up with three for his trouble. Several people have concerns. The CROW was looking for something and yes Rey's eyes light up when she uses her magic. Can't wait to hear what you think of that. Good luck! Yes the famous payphone scene. It's still one of her favorites. As you can see she stepped it up this time. She got Rhaps to help and yes she totally made him cry with it. They definitely set the tone for their relationship with this fight and him trying to deal with her. She is totally keeping his hats because she loves them and he can't manage to hang onto them either. It's hard to be Tyki. She was very proud of the hat trick. Very proud. He does have a headache and she's not making it any better. He is the Earl's precious Tyki-pon! He's so thrown by her weirdness that he doesn't even know what to do. He's gonna have to start thinking if he wants to stop losing to her. XD Poor boy. He is very taken aback. He doesn't understand how she can go from battle to sex so quickly. He's never had an exorcist flirt with him. I do love her wording there though. She's not hanging up on Komui like that on purpose it's more like it didn't occur to her because she's hyper and wants to talk to Niko more XD She loves her little brother so much. Yes that's where I left it. You'll find out what happened below. Enjoy!

Dear 15th, Good evening my lovely 15th, I missed you dearly. As always your timing is completely impeccable. I swear you are psychic with when you review. I always love hearing from you. I'm sorry it takes me so long to write these chapters and that you have to wait so long but I really want them to be the best that they can! I hope you understand! I love the telephone scene too much not to put it in. Rey is getting madder and madder. She's the mad hatter! She's even got the hat for it! I wonder if a little of the mad hatter when into the Earl. Hmmm, what do you think? You will see Rey crash soon. You can't always be high. Tyki was far too irritated with her to tease her. He'll do it later when he's pride isn't so injured. XD She really hurt it. He will definitely bring it up later. One of those moments that he used it as a distraction to try and kill her but he'll mock her later. I can't wait to hear what you think of this chapter! Enjoy!


"If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself."

― George Orwell


BANG!

The door flew open, slamming against the wall with a resounding crash. Viola flew through them.

"It's awake!" The blond shouted at her.

"I noticed." She grinned. The group gathered around the bubbling cauldron. Auryn leaning on his shillelagh, as he watched the glimmering lilac liquid bubble.

"It's strong. The source is dipping deep into it's roots." He hummed.

"Should we be worried?" An older man asked, brushing his brown bangs away from his eyes. "We still don't even have an image of it."

"What did you mean by "dipping deep into it's roots" Auryn? What does that mean?" The blond asked. The old man smiled down at him kindly.

"It means that the magic used was natural and unbridled. The source has been hidden for hundreds of generations. I was but a young man the last time it reared it's head."

"It only appears once in a blue moon." The other man snarled, glaring at the blond for ignoring him.

The blond turned to him, lips pulling into a sneer, "I didn't fucking ask you, Markku. Stay out of it!"

"Boys." Viola warned, not willing to deal with another fight.

"Sorry." They grumbled together. The doors flew open again.

"I feel it! Are you tracking it? Tell me you're tracking it!" The woman shrieked as she stopped to stare down into the cauldron. "Where's the picture?" She asked, turning her gaze to the blond.

"There isn't one. Obviously." He rolled his eyes at her.

"Why the hell not?" She demanded.

"Because there isn't! Jeez, what part of that is hard to understand?" Viola sighed as the two began to fight.

"Well I guess this just proves that you're nothing but a two-bit magician after all. Probably got a rabbit up your sleeve." The woman snapped.

"First off, it's a rabbit in the HAT. Secondly, I've got more power in my pinkie finger than you've got in your entire waste of space body." The blond argued.

"This is not productive." Auryn advised, the pair paused turning their gaze to him. "You each are a part of the troupe for different reasons. You bring eclectic talents to the table." They were silent for a moment.

"I'm still better." The blond mumbled under his breath.

"Excuse me?!" She shrieked at him. Auryn sighed and dropped his head while Viola rubbed her temples.

"HEY!" Markku shouted, ending the argument. "The cauldron stopped bubbling!" All heads snapped to the cauldron. As he had said the lilac liquid now stood still as if it had never been boiling in the first place.

"No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no!" The blond cried, grabbing the edge of it, searching for even the smallest bubble. "Damn it!" He cursed loudly, running his fingers though his yellow hair, noting the growing hints of green in it.

"What happened?" They shouted at him.

"It appears the source shut itself off again." Auryn stated calmly.

"Tracking spells don't work if it's not active." Viola sighed. "However we know that the spell works." She turned her attention to the blond. "Can this stay? Will it began to boil again when the magic returns or do you need to add or change something?" He sighed, running his hand down his face.

"I don't know. It's new. I'll have to go back and look at it. I altered the recipe to fit our needs. I took notes when I did it. I'll have to consult them. It probably should," then he shrugged, "if not, I'll just make a new batch that will. It should be simple enough. I'll get on it." With that, he turned on his heel and left.

"We don't have it yet," Viola sighed, "but we will soon."

"Viola," Auryn called. She turned; seeing the look in his old steely eyes she nodded.

"Leave us." She ordered the other two.

"I'm going to go make sure that imbecile doesn't mess things up." Markku grumbled.

"Markku, leave him be. Let him try before you attempt to take over. He made the first one just fine. This is his specialty after all." She didn't even turn to address him. He frowned petulantly but left without another word. The woman followed after him.

"I do not wish to alarm the others but I need not remind you that if we lose the source again, it will be over. We will be finished. It disappears so often that it can be almost impossible to find. I swore those fools had killed it off the last time. I was thoroughly surprised when it resurfaced almost two decages ago. The guardian has been hiding it meticulously. We mustn't let this opportunity slip by." He warned her, leaning heavily on his shillelagh.

"Do you think the guardian is dead?" Viola asked with a contemplative look on her elegant face, brunette eyebrows drawing together.

"I do not know. I believe we should find the source before we need to know. It is unguarded at the moment. Let's not look a gift horse in the mouth." He explained causing her to nod.

"I will press the time issue. Perhaps Riaan can find something to give us a bit more information on it." She hummed, tapping her cheek thoughtfully.

"A wise idea indeed. We have many resources. Now would be the time to use them." Viola smiled at Auryn.

"That you for your wise council. As always it is irreplaceable."

"No, thank you, Viola. It was you who brought us all together. It's your vision and I have known you long enough to know that you will not stop until we have the source." Viola smiled at him with all her teeth.


"Fuck!" Niko ran, his feet thundering against the cobblestone. Behind him four level one akuma floated after him. "Gotta lose them! Damn it, why are they chasing me?" He asked Argos who flew beside him. "Seriously," He sobbed, "I'm the only one without innocence! So why me? I swear this is Rey's fault." He paused, throwing himself around a corner and into a dark alley. Pressing himself against the wall, hoping silently that the akuma would pass by him. "Somehow." He added. He wiped the sweat from his forehead when the akuma disappeared. "Well, that was excitin." He groaned.

"Hee hee heehee! There you are, you little pest!" Niko's head snapped up to find a grotesque humanoid level two staring down at him from the roof of the building he leaned against. "Now come out from your little hidey hole." It sang, it's monstrous size too big to fit in the marrow passage way. Instead it lay on it's side, flailing one arm with long jagged claws scraping at the wall above his head trying to reach him. Something yellowish green dripped from the talons.

"Move!" Rey's voice sounded in his head. Throwing himself to the side on her command, he rolled across the cobblestone, scraping up his hands and arms as he skidded to a stop. The substance hit the ground which immediately made a hissing sound as it ate away at the ground.

"Acid. Fucking fantastic." The arm swung wildly, trying to get him; acid flying all over the alleyway. "Hey! Watch it with that!" He shouted diving out of the way again. "Ouch." He groaned. He'd be hurting later. Shoving himself to his feet he ran for the mouth of the alley.

"Not so fast!" Another level two appeared in front of him.

Niko fell as he slid to a stop, "Shit!" He backed up, dodging more acid as the second akuma, a demented wolverine, or that's what he thought it looked like, akuma prowled closer.

"Hey! He's mine!" The first one shouted.

"Yeah well, you're too big to get him, so now he's mind. Better luck next time, friend." It grinned, revealing yellow razor sharp teeth large enough to tear his head clean off. Niko gulped, as his head swiveled around.

"Gotta find a way out, gotta find a way out, gotta find a way out." He chanted. His eyes fell on the sewer cover. "That'll work." Kicking the dirt at his feet up into a cloud. The akuma began shrieking unable to see him or each other. Prying the lid up he dropped down, landing ungracefully. "Well that smarts." He whined, getting up. "I'm so over all this running. I hate it." He started walking; Argos flying by his head. "Shit, I better call Rey. That bullet almost hit me. Destroyed the phone." Argos rang and rang but Rey didn't pick up. Niko stared up at Argos, brows furrowing. "Try again." He ordered, trekking through the sewer. "Call Allen. Maybe he knows where she is or if she's okay."


Half an hour later and neither of his siblings picked up. Niko stalked down the road, having climbed out of the sewer moments earlier. He grumbled under his breath, running his fingers through his messy hair hissing when they caught on knots.

"You need to brush your hair more often. I don't care that you don't like it! Otherwise it's gonna be one giant knot." Rey chided, pulling a brush through it. A loud snap filled the room. "Aaaand you broke the brush." She groaned. "I hope I can get this out. Seriously Nikola, take better care of your hair. If you don't I'm gonna have to cut these knots out. It'll make for a very interesting haircut." She threatened teasingly. "Go shower, you stink. I'll whip something together for the knots. Go! Get!" Rey shooed him away.

"Damn it, those two better be okay. I hate being kept out of the loop." Niko complained, pulling out of the memory just in time to walk into a wall. "Ouch!" He yelped, rubbing his newly bruised nose. He turned to his golem, "Don't you dare send that to either of them. I get enough shit as it is." He grumbled.

"There you are!" Whirling around he found the wolverine akuma from before, running down the street straight at him.

"Aw shit!" Turning on his heel he ran for his life. "I'm tired of this! Why are they chasing me anyway?!" He demanded though Argos didn't answer him. The other akuma appeared.

"Come here little boy! It'll be fun~!" The akuma cheered, swiping it's claws at him. He crashed to the ground, narrowly avoiding the acid needle like bullets. Together they chased him down a dead end. He backed up till his back hit the wall.

"Man, I would kill for Rey to be here. She'd get us over the wall in a blink of an eye. Then again," He paused, "these fucking things would already be dead if Rey was here." He sighed, missing his sister dearly, not that he would ever tell her that.

"Time to die~!" The akuma chorused together.

Finding no way out Niko sighed and dropped his head, "I guess I have no choice. Argo, unlock," The bronze golem split open revealing a large mouth full of sharp teeth. A magic glyph appeared glowing brightly. "Harlequin, fire!" The glyph turned green and fired two blazing bullets. They flew through the air, whistling as they went.

"Your little darts won't hurt us!" The wolverine akuma boasted but Niko just smiled as they both exploded. Pulling his shirt up over his nose he bolted to his nearest hideout.

"Damn it! I can't believe I had to use two more bullets. Shit, Argos, how many do I have left?" He sighed again as his golem showed him. Damn it. Rey, Allen, you better find Master soon. Or at least come home soon." He slumped into his pile of pillows, exhaustion over taking him until he fell into a fitful sleep.


Tyki waltzed into the wreckage of the hotel grinning as he sang, "Come out, come out wherever you are~! Come on Little Butterfly, time to play again." Met with silence he tried again, "Aw, don't tell me you're dead. That would be such a pity, but I suppose butterflies tend to die like the insects they are." He hummed thoughtfully. He phased through the rubble, searching for the exorcist, or her corpse, he didn't really care either way, in the debris. She had at least two pieces on her. Possibly more. I'll have to search for her body when I find her. Jeez where is she? He questioned in his head, still ignoring the memory.

"Now, now, there's no need to be like that. I'm right here." She stood on the banister of the second floor, right in front of him, "If you really wanted to see me again you could've just asked for my number." She smiled coyly at him. "Of course my family would insist on you courting me properly. She teased.

"In your dreams." He snapped back.

She laughed, "I'm pretty sure we established it was in your dreams." She winked, bending down to dust herself off. She tutted upon examining her coat and it's damage, "You really don't know how to play nicely, you've ruined my coat. These are expensive," she paused glancing away for a second, "mine especially." She brushed her pants off.

"Why yours especially?" He questioned, taking a few steps towards her, but she didn't move from her spot, still fussing with her clothes.

"Didn't you know? Each exorcist's uniform is designed specially for the exorcist and their unique fighting style. Some do different things. Style is just one thing. Dai and I fight differently so our coats look different. Preference is also a factor." Tyki paused. Thinking about her words and the previous exorcists he'd fought.

"That's true. Your friend's was more of cloak than a coat," his eyes traveled over her form again, eyeing her coat, "while yours is more form fitting." Another thought occurred to him. "Day?" He asked, arching an eyebrow at her.

"Daisya, I dunno," she shrugged, "he's from Turkey."

"And you're from where?" She smiled at him, walking back and forth on the banister.

"Oh you know, here and there." He glared at her.

"Wow that tells me so much. Though I suppose that makes you a mix."

She snorted at him, "Well not all of us can be pure Portuguese." A pout pulled at her lips while his eyes widened.

"How'd you know?"

"Your accent."

"Nobody's been able to tell in years." He said rather dumbly.

"I lived in Spain for a while and crossed the border more than a few times. I got used to it. Not that big of a deal. I think it's cute." She winked at him. He shook his head.

"Regardless, I will admit you continue to impress me." You survived quite an explosion. I wasn't holding back that time." He examined her wounds. Her knees were raw and red, blood seeped through her coat's left shoulder, the elbow jutting out unnaturally, her fingers black and blue, and a rather nasty cut across her left eyebrow with blood dripping down her face. Her hair messy and falling out of their loose braids, she did look like something exploded. "You're hardly injured." He commented.

"I could say the same thing to you, My Love." She argued, twisting her elbow and popping it back into place. "Not many people get up and walk away after I slam them into a bunch of buildings." He interrupted her.

"You make a habit of that?" He snorted, unbelieving of the exorcist's claim.

"Only the people who irritate me." She shrugged. "Still, I definitely rebroke your ribs, though whether they'd headed or not from last time I can't say. Either way it's hampering your breathing, your left leg is severely damaged, broken at best, at worst I tore the muscles, because you're limping and even now you're putting all your weight on your right leg. Most likely have a concussion from the amount of times I've hit you in the head and I'm almost certain the ringing in your ears has returned."

He sighed, "You're far better at this than I originally thought." He stopped, replaying her words. "My Love?" He questioned arching an eyebrow at her choice of nickname.

"Butterfly?" She shot back.

"What? It makes sense. Butterflies are beautiful but fragile." He looked away from her as he defended his choice. She giggled.

"So does mine, you just don't get it! Though you've proven to be a bit of a dunce~!" She sang, smacking her hand against her temple.

"Oi!" He snapped causing her to laugh more. A strangled cry from the lobby halted the conversation causing Butterfly to bold. Running along the banister she jumped to a piece of rubble before hitting the floor, never stopping. Cursing, Tyki took off after her. Feet thundering against the floor he quickly closed the distance between them.

Taking a deep breath, Rhea pushed her body faster, pulling ahead with little effort. The blinding fear coursing through the receptionist clouded her Ki as she got closer the bloodlust of the akuma began to filter in too. Flying into the lobby she found a single level one, cornering the clerk who cowered behind his desk.

"Harlequin, invoke!" The akuma spun towards her as her innocence activated, drawing it's hate towards her. Seeing her coat, the akuma fired every gun at her. Diving out of the way she rolled across the floor. Whether it did anything to the Noah she didn't know but highly doubted it would injure him. She whirled around to the clerk, "Get out!" She waved him towards the door. He ran out into the chaos of the street caused by the explosion. Leaping out of the way of another barrage of bullets she whipped Harlequin out, slicing through the akuma in a single sweep.

"That hurt, Butterfly." His arm snaking around her shoulders locking around her neck as he growled in her ear. Seeing no other option, Rey sank her teeth into the flesh of his arm. "Ow!" He released her, sending her rolling away. "Did you just bite me?!" He demanded looking down at the teeth marks in his arm. She stood, smacking her lips together a couple times with a thoughtful expression on her face.

"Hmmmm, tangy." He blinked a couple times as she licked his blood from her lips.

Examining the injury his eyebrows furrowed as he asked, "How did you burn me too?"

"Eh?" She cocked her head to the side like a puppy. "Burn you?" He twisted his arm so she could see the red scorch mark though superficial in nature. She contemplated it for a moment before brightening up.

"Oh!" She smiled, popping the first two buttons of her jacket, she pulled it open revealing the green necklace glowing angrily against her bare skin.

"You have two?!" He growled still clutching his injured arm.

"Nope!" She popped the p with a smile, "I picked it up on another mission. I just haven't had time to hand it over." His eyes flicked from the necklace, to the deep blue strapless top she wore to the scar on her right shoulder just barely peeking out from the edge of her jacket. "I guess it doesn't like you." She shrugged, causing the jacket to slip a little farther down her shoulders.

"I don't particularly like it either." He sneered, straightening up.

Smiling she cooed, "What's wrong, My Love? Not having fun?" She rocked on her feet, bouncing on her toes as the adrenaline flooded her veins.

"I'd be lying if I said yes but you what they say, all good things must come to an end." She tilted her head, eyes sharpening as he spread his arms out wide. Feeling something prick at her neck, her eyes darted down to see the hair on her arm standing on end. Immediately her eyes widened as hundreds of butterflies flew from within his body.

"Butterflies?" She asked, still she jumped back.

"And yet still you run." He taunts, causing her to arch an eyebrow. She watches, her eyes tracking their every move, as they circle round and round before dive bombing her. Shrieking, she falls back onto her hands before vaulting away.

"They bite!" She accused with a pout. The pout turned into a smile. "I have to give it to you, carnivorous butterflies are a new one." She rolled to avoid the swarm's second attack, Harlequin sliding up her left arm. "Buuuuu~t, it's not good enough!" She sang, leaping into the air, swinging her arm at the legion of butterflies. Thousands of feathers flew through the air, shooting them down. "Shadowed Frenzy!" The Noah ducked and rolled out of the way as she landed in a crouch once more. "I don't like being bitten by insects." She said, eyes darting around for the Noah in the dust cloud.

He purred in her ear, "Would you prefer I bite you?" Whirling around, his foot connected with her side sending her crashing into the wall. She fell from it, prodding her ribs gently. Wincing as they moved when she touched them, she forced a grin to her lips.

"Buy me dinner and then we'll talk." Smirking he seemed to consider her offer.

"Perhaps." He shrugged, "Could be fun."

"Oooooh, now I'm all tingly. You've gotten my hopes up." Grinning, she clenched her fist, fingers dyed black, drawing all the feathers around them back to her. The Noah cried out as several speared through him on their way back to her.

"The hell was that?!" He demanded, clutching a particularly nasty wound in his side.

"Shadowed Frenzy." Rhea explained easily. "I'm amazed you dodged as many as you did." The feathers consolidated into gauntlets and she slid into her stance. "Ready to dance, Love?"

"But of course." His smirk matched hers as another butterfly appeared and grew into a large star shaped shield. He met her left hook with the shield. Sparks flew and lightning cracked between them as they pushed against one another. "I must say, I'm impressed Butterfly. Not a single one of your comrades have been able to stand against me, yet here you are, grinning like that damn cat, not even giving a millimeter." He braced the shield with his other hand, digging his feet into the ground he shoved harder. She growled as her boots began to slide against her will. "Aaah," He sighed, "there it is."

"Damn you." She hissed, sweat starting to drip down her skin. Flicking her fingers downwards, her innocence followed, sliding over her boots into familiar armor. Letting up on the pressure she allowed the Noah to gain ground. As he staggered forward she leapt up over the shield.

"Shit!" He cursed, raising his shield only for it to halt, unmoving no matter how hard he yanked. His eyes quickly found the tendrils of her innocence wrapped around it, anchoring to the floor. They came alive and wrenched it away. "Aahh!" Her foot connected with his face, sending him careening away. Landing on the first foot, she swung around, the thick heel on her boot catching him across his cheekbone, leaving a long shallow slice. With the tendrils connecting to her fingers she swung the shield back around and into him. It shattered upon impact and sent him flying into the wall.

"So dark matter has an effect on you as well. Good to know." She hummed, more to herself than him, thoughtfully as she watched the dust cloud spread, eyes darting back and forth, searching.

"My, my, my, I seem to be underestimating you," his voice came from behind her, causing Rey to whirl around. A hand grabbed her by the back of her coat, revealing him in the smoke.

"Son of a bitch!" She cursed.

"That's two hits to my face in just one move, never mind my entire person." He flung her into the wall, leaving a huge dent in the wall. She cried out as her ribs hit the unyielding object. He rushed after her, quickly pinning her to the wall, his are against her throat. "Now that was a beautiful sound." He cooed, taking the time to move a stray lock from her eyes before flashing a massive grin, "Make it again." He threw her into the ceiling.

Falling, Rhea latched the claws of her gauntlets into it, the chandelier shaking as she hung for a moment, chest heaving, her entire body riddled with pain. Swinging her body back and forth she managed to plant her boots against the ceiling. "Spikes." Shifting her feet a few times her hands let go, leaving her hanging. The chandelier rattled again.

"Well, I guess that was too much for her." He sighed when she didn't fall back down. "A pity-"

"Worried about little old me?" She cut off his sigh. "Aw, My Love, you're making me blush. I mean that much to you?" His head snapped up to find her watching him from her place on the ceiling, twin braids hanging down.

"Well, you're just full of surprises, aren't you?" He chuckled.

"You're avoiding the question~" She sang, arching an eyebrow at him.

He heaved another sigh, "I will admit that you've endeared yourself. I've never met an exorcist like you. You've been the most fun I've had on this side of my life for a while." He looked up at her. "I don't like that smile, though."

"I'll take it," her grin grew causing the cat to appear in his mind again, "for now. But I'm gonna keep at you. You're gonna love me." He snorted.

"If you keep it up, your head's going to swell to the point where you stay up there on the ceiling." He pointed out.

"And yet you don't argue my original point." She comments.

He glared up at her, "Are you going to come down and fight or not?"

"Do you want to get your ass kicked again?" He snarled at her remark.

"That was a draw at best!"

"You ran away!"

"It was a tactical retreat!" He shot back.

She rolled her eyes at him, "Yeah, whatever helps you sleep at night." The spikes released and she fell. He bolted to the side, narrowly avoiding the back heel drop that would've shattered his skull.

"You keep saying you're playing but that could've killed a normal person." He tutted from the top of the crater. She straightened up, head tilting back to meet his eyes.

"Fine," she shrugged and immediately, he hated it, "I'll hold back."

"Don't you dare." He snapped, lunging for her. She threw herself to the left, rolling away, and out of his range. He followed her as she ran from the crater. "Oi! Don't run away."

"Why? You do it!"

"You are just itching for a fight." He chased after her. She whirled around, stretching the gauntlets from her arms into a long whip.

"Isn't that what we're doing?" The whip snapped out, wrapping around his arm, yanking him to her. Rhea's feet connected with his body, "Or are we just flirting?"

"Flirting?!" He demanded, dragging himself from the wall. Their eyes darted up, just as the wall he crashed into crumbled, collapsing into rubble.

"Whoops." They winced together.

"That was your fault." Rhea told him.

"Are you going to blame me for everything?" He questioned with a scowl.

"Hey! You're less likely to get scolded for the property damage." The both glanced around, wincing again at the remnants of the hotel entryway. "Definitely your fault." She nodded, standing up. He stared at her as she brushed herself off. He waltzed towards her.

"You can't blame me for everything." He complained. Behind him the light of the sunrise began to trickle in.

"Shit, is it morning already?!" She gasped. He whirled around. True to her word, sunlight filtered in between the edges of the shattered wall.

"Well would you look at that. Perhaps it was later than I thought when I attacked you." He hummed thoughtfully. Rey's eyes flicked up to the chandelier again. A wicked grin spread across her face then vanished.

"How far up is it? Can you see?" She asked, pushing up to her toes, as if trying to see. The Noah took a few steps forward, complying with her request. Green eyes jumped to the chandelier. "Well?" He took another step. "Sever." She ordered swiping her hand causing Harlequin to slice through the chain holding the chandelier hanging over the Noah. His head snapped up at the sound.

"Lethal and cruel," he grinned at her, "but that won't hurt me."

"Oh, I know." She smirked back. "That's why I'm doing this." Tendrils burst through the floor wrapping around his legs and feet rooting him to the ground as she snapped her fingers. Harlequin covered the three tier diamond chandelier. His eyes widened as it came crashing down on him.

Tyki felt the moment the wretched innocence slid from his body. Groaning in pain he activated his ability. He dragged himself from the wreckage of the hotel. Every part of his body ached. His pride the most. In his head the memory raged.

"Shut up!" He roared at it, instantaneously the pain flared in his chest, forcing a harsh cough from his throat. "I can't believe she threw a chandelier at me." He growls, pausing to cough again. His body shook violently. "I can't believe I fell for it. I can't believe I lost another piece to her! Fucking hell!" His face contorted into rage. "Now I ever sound like her!"

"Who threw a chandelier at you?" Tyki groaned as Road's voice came from behind him. Coughing harshly he pulled his hand away to find blood in his palm. Clenching it, he winced again at the pain radiating through his body. "Hey!" She whined but he started to walk, as best as he could, away.

"It's none of your business." He grumbled under his breath.

"Tyki~! Share!" Road fussed, flinging herself onto his back with her arms wrapping around his neck.

"Ouff!" He staggered, collapsing to one knee as she knocked his broken ribs around. He pressed a hand to the aching bones, attempting to ease the pain coursing through him. "Get off." He groaned, coughing. "Please get off." He choked out as his coughing fit grew worse. The aching pain turned into a burning pain in his chest. His vision blurred and filled with black spots. Road lept off, rushing forward to catch him as his knees gave out and he pitched forward. Prying his hand away her eyes widened when she saw the blood filling his palm.

"You've punctured a lung!" She panicked upon seeing it. Heaving him to his feet, she did her best to drag him, manifesting her door as close as possible.

With her hands full Road kicked her door open. "Earl! EARL!" She screamed, fulling dragging Tyki, who slumped over her, vision completely gone.

Sheryl came thundering in with the Earl hot on his heels, "Road," he panted, "Darling, what's wrong?" His eyes widened when he saw her desperately trying to keep Tyki upright with little success. "Oh my god! What happened?" He rushed forward taking him from her. Tyki hung entirely limp in Sheryl's grasp.

"He said somebody threw a chandelier at him." Sheryl paused at Road's explanation.

"Well," he blinked a few times, "that's a new one."

"Bring him in here, Sheryl. Quickly!" The Earl ordered motioning to the closet room. Sheryl hauled Tyki in, Road following doggedly at his heel.

"Do you know who?" He questioned as he set Tyki down.

"No," She shook her head with a sigh, "They were already gone. Long gone."

Lero spoke up, "He said her."


Rhea came to with a groan. White walls surrounded her on all sides. Groaning louder than before she forced herself to sit up. With reckless abandon she began ripping out the tubes that connected to her arm. She tossed them to the floor, her nose wrinkling at them. Throwing the blankets off she shoved her aching body out of the bed.

"Leaving already?" She whirled around from digging around for her jacket. Standing in the doorway, a middle aged doctor with short brown hair and an old pipe beneath a large bushy mustache. She froze as he smiled, turning to the blonde nurse behind him, "Would you please fetch a glass of water. I'm sure she's thirsty."

"As you wish, Doctor." She turned on her heel and left.

"Please return to your bed, Miss Exorcist. You need the rest. You've been asleep for several days." He said as he stepped into the room. Immediately Rhea drew her weapon, falling into a battle ready stance. Harlequin ready to spring into action. The doctor held up his hands in defense. "Woah now! No need for violence. I'm not going to hurt you."

"How did you know what I am? Only akuma call me exorcist." She accused.

"I did not mean to upset you." He slowly sat down in the chair by her bed, hands still held up in surrender. "I merely do not know your name but I've seen that coat before." He motioned with his pipe to where her tattered jacket sat near the trash. "I lost the last one," he sighed sadly, eyes glazing over slightly, "So I saw to you myself." He explained coming out of the memory. "I refuse to see another exorcist die."

"Thank you." A knock sounded at the door.

"Come in!" The doctor called cheerfully.

The nurse returned with the glass. Smiling, she handed it to Rey, "I put some sugar in it so it will be easier to take your meds!" She chirped happily. Rhea arched an eyebrow but took the glass.

"Thank you." The doctor's brows furrowed but he didn't say anything. The nurse left causing Rhea to stick her finger in the glass. Bringing it to her lips she sucked the liquid from it. Her nose wrinkled. "Inheritance powder. How lovely." The doctor choked.

"What?! No! She wouldn't!" Rhea set the glass down as he protested.

"If it were sugar I'd be able to taste it. Arsenic is tasteless and odorless. She only said she put sugar in it because you can still see flecks of it." Rey tossed the medication into the trash with an easy throw. "No offense but I think I'm going to skip it."

"Why would she..." He started to get up, only to collapse back into the chair.

Rey shrugged, "Who knows. Money, rage, revenge. Hate or I remind her of somebody or something she doesn't want to see or think about. Could also feel that she's releasing me from my tormented life. The possibilities with humans are endless." The doctor shook his head.

"I don't think I want to know what you've been through, for you to speak of that so nonchalantly." He sighed.

"Oh, if he only knew." The Voice chuckled.


Rhea dropped out the window, landing silently on her toes. Her bag tossed over her shoulder, Rhaps fluttering by her shoulder. Her newly vacated hospital room sat silent in the dead of night. No doubt she'd be in trouble the next time she called Komui.

"Are you running away, Little One?" The Voice asked.

"No, but you heard Komui. He's sending a legion of finders after me. It doesn't help that they've got several days on me since I crashed. I won't be able to move the way I do and I really have a bad feeling about my brothers being alone for so long. Not to mention I need to call Niko again." She bit her lip as her eyebrows furrowed, "But I've got to get to a place where I won't be seen." Her eyes darted around for any sign of movement. Seeing none she reached out with her Ki.

"See?" The Voice told her, "There's nobody awake at this time of night. Also there's an abandoned house at the end of the road. We passed by it earlier." Following his directions she slid into the house. Finding a room on the second floor with moonlight spilling in through the window she sat down, spilling one of her belt pouches she shifted through its contents. Pushing aside her herb and spices she dug through the pile of miscellaneous junk.

"Where is it? Where is it? Where is it?!"

"Calm down, Little One." The Voice said as she began to throw things over her shoulder. "I'm sure your brother is fine."

"Yeah, but you don't know that for sure, besides I have no idea what cut our signal off. Was it My Love or did something happen on his end?" Her nails scraped at the floor as she frantically sifted through.

"Is that really what you're going to call him?" The Voice almost cringed.

"Yeah, what of it?" She demanded.

"I hardly think that's appropriate." He chastised. "Perhaps-"

She cut him off, "Found it!" She raised it high over her head triumphantly.

"A broken hairbrush?" The Voice asked dully. "I must admit, Little One, I was expecting something a bit more useful. Why do you even have it? You don't brush your hair. It's bad for it." It explained obtusely.

"It's not mine! Jeez, it's for tracking Niko." Repositioning herself she sat cross legged on the floor. The hairbrush held between her fingers in her lap. Muttering a few words, her eyes lit up white as her vision swam for a moment then cleared. "There you are." She sighed, seeing her younger brother curled up in a huge pile of pillows. "No, you've been hurt." Her eyes zeroed in on the scrapes and bruises all over his pale skin. "Niko, I'm so sorry." She whimpered. He couldn't hear her but she had to say it. Her eyes watered but she forced them down. "We'll find Master soon. I promise." She reached out, brushing her fingers through his hair. Rey sighed when they passed through him. "Soon." She promised as the spell died out.

"Feel better?" He questioned. She nodded, stretching with a yawn. "You should sleep. Especially if you're going to out run those finders that will most certainly be looking for you." She shoved the mess of things back into the pouch and curled up on the bed, eyes drifting close before he had even finished speaking. "Sleep well, Little One," he grinned, "you have magnificent things to do."


"Why is it that my job never brings me anywhere nice?" Rhea demanded as she stalked towards the falling shambles of the asylum. Windows were broken, shards of glass littered the ground around it. Planks of rotting wood, strewn about with broken bits of the bricks all around. The smell of moss and mildew penetrated Rhea's nose. She wrinkled it as the smell burned. The wind whistled through, the shutters creaking as they swung back and forth, banging horrendously when they hit the wall.

"Well, doesn't that look lovely?" The Voice noted sardonically. She shoved it away and stalked into the asylum. Immediately the hair on the back on her neck rose. Her stomach twisted and turned as if somebody were trying to wring it out, pitching like the ocean until she felt nauseated. Eyes watched her from every direction. Energy crackled in the air.

"This isn't innocence." She moved through the silence, her boots avoiding broken and loose tiles. "Innocence doesn't feel like this." She glanced up at Rhaps, noting how closely the golem flew to her. "I think we'd better go. Come on, Rhaps." Turning on her heel she headed back the other way. As the hair on her arms began to stand up she threw the doors open only to hit an invisible wall. "Son of a fucking bitch!" She cursed, rubbing her aching nose.

"How eloquent." She flipped The Voice off and stalked back down the hall, yanking her hood up over her head.

"Stay close." She told the golem.

Rhea groaned as she roamed the halls of the asylum with absolutely no luck. She pulled her jacket tighter as if it would war off the unnatural sickening cold of the dead place. She perked up as she rounded a corner, feeling a familiar presence.

"What the fuck is this place?!"

"Having some trouble, My Love~?" She purred, leaning against the wall. The Noah whirled around to face her.

"What the hell are you doing here?" She rolled her eyes at his demand, pushing her hood down.

"Pretty sure it's the same thing you're doing."

"I do NOT feel like fighting you for the innocence today." He bemoaned. She smirked at him.

"Well," she drawled, walking over to him, not drawing her innocence at all, "you're in luck." She chirped. "Because this isn't innocence." He blinked at her several times.

"It's not?" She shook her head. "It feels creepy." He argued causing her to roll her eyes again.

"Just because you don't like the way it feels doesn't immediately make it innocence."

He pouted, then grumbled, "Well then what does it make it?" She shook her head with a sigh.

"The Earl really needs to educate you Noah better." She walked past him, not having been down this hallway yet.

"Hey," he jogged after her to catch up, falling into step next to her, "you never answered my question."

"It's magic."

"How do you know what magic is?" He questioned as they rounded another corner, his hands shoved into his coat pockets.

"My Master is a very capable sorcerer. Also," she grinned at him, "I'm a witch."

He snorted, "Don't I know it." She chuckled quietly to herself before stopping. When he started walking right past, she grabbed his arm, freezing him in place. "What-"

"Shh!" She spit harshly, a finger to her lips. Closing her eyes, she tilted her head to the side, leaning slightly towards the corner they'd just come around. He listened too. "Do you hear that?" He nodded. "I think we have company." The sound of something thumping against the floor soon split into multiple pairs of feet thundering down the hall. Rhea began backing away from the corner.

"Uuuhhh, do I wanna know what that is?" My Love questioned. Slowly he began to back away with her.

"Well I can't say that I do," She told him, still sliding backwards. "Harlequin, activate." She felt the liquid hum to life on her skin.

The Noah opened his mouth the speak when a monstrous black spider appeared from around the corner. All eight of it's eyes trained on them. All three stood still for a moment before it charged.

"Shadow Warp!" Harlequin covered Rey in an instant, she grabbed the Noah and flew away in a burst of black petals. The spider shrieked and pounded after them. They flew up four flights of stairs before the pair separated, both rolling across the floor in opposite directions as she dropped him. "Ow." She groaned sitting up.

"That hurt! What the hell was that?!" The Noah demanded getting up. Rhea winced seeing the burns on him.

"Whoops, sorry." She apologized. "I kinda forgot that it would hurt you. I might have panicked." She rubbed the back of her head sheepishly. He walked over and offered her a hand.

"Well, you didn't leave me behind." She accepted the hand and he pulled her to her feet with ease. "Still, what was that?" He asked, brushing dirt and cobwebs from his pants and jacket.

"The spider or the innocence?" She questioned, brushing herself off as well.

"The innocence. Kinda hard to miss the spider. Especially one that's 12 meters tall."

"Shadow Warp allows me to move with a burst of speed. It has its advantages, like when you're fleeing from a 12 meter spider." She smiled cheekily at him. He snorted.

"That's certainly a new one. Never been chased around by a giant spider." The screech echoed through the asylum as the spider appeared again.

"Run!" They fled, with the large pincers snapping at their heels. "Shit, I'm gonna do it again! Hold on!" She grabbed him again and warped away.

"We have to get out of here!" He shouted as he skid, this time ready for the sudden landing with both ending up on their feet.

"I already tried. The building is sealed off! I tried as soon as I got here! We've got to find the sorcerer who's doing this. Kill or defeat him and we'll be able to get out." She paused, "Or I think so." She screamed as the spider fell through the ceiling from the floor above, taking her to the ground as it landed on top of her, the red on it's body reflecting in her eyes. My Love snatched her out from under it and fled.

"Fantastic! How do we do that?" She warped them away again only to land a mere meter away, her gasping for breath. "What was that?!" He demanded.

"You're heavy! Not to mention that your dark matter is probably draining me even more." She hunched over, hands resting against her knees heaving oxygen into her aching lungs.

"No time for that!" He shouted, yanking her down the hall with him. He skid to a stop when the spider appeared before them.

"Watch out!" Her warning came too late and it struck them both. Rhea lay on the ground, eyes hazy as her vision blurred. Across from her the Noah had already succumbed to the blunt force trauma. Heavy footsteps walked towards them, brown boots coming into her sight.

"Good job." A man praised the spider from above her head. She tried to force herself up, arms shaking to support her weight.

"Who are you?" She struggled to get the words from her throat.

"Oh? You're still awake? Oh dear. That won't do." Pulling back he kicked her in the face, turning her world black.


She came to with a pounding headache and a throbbing pain in her face, particularly her nose and lips. She tried to move but found her entire body immobilized. The Noah, right next to her, still unconscious if the way his head hung against his chest gave any indication, remained motionless.

"Wake up! Wake up!" She struggled to kick him with no luck between the white threats wrapped around her leg and the burning pain shooting through it, like liquid fire in her veins. "Oi! Wake up!" She snapped, jolting him out of whatever dream he'd been having.

"Ugh, where are we?" He groaned, looking around. He tried to pull away but didn't move. "What the hell is this?" He tugged harder but the white strands held fast.

"It's spider silk," the man from before answered, striding in, with the spider skittering in behind him. Rhea made a face at the hulking creature filling the room, the low light catching it's black and red body with a sickening sheen. "It's quite strong. I doubt even you two could pull free."

"Who are you?" The Noah demanded, glaring at him.

"Ah," The man smiled pleasantly, his brown eyes crinkling at the corners. "Now that's no way to ask for somebody's name." He tutted. The Noah's face wrinkled as the man scolded him like a child.

"More importantly," Rhea cut in, "what do you want with us?"

"Oh nothing in particular, you lot have just been making quite a bit of noise. I thought it might be fun to see what some of you were like."

"You lot?" They asked together.

"Oooh, that was very intense." He continued to smile at them. "Can you do that automatically or do you need to rehearse?" The both glared at him. His smile broadened. "If I were anyone else I think I'd be intimidated by that look. You both do it very well. Unfortunately for you, to me you just look like children pouting. So unaware of your insignificant place in the world, caught in the web of the spider."

"What the hell are you babbling about?" Tyki snarled. The man watched him with an easy smile but deep in his eyes a different emotion hid. He couldn't put his finger on it. His eyes flicked over to Butterfly. He ran them up and down her figure, gauging her injuries. They zeroed in on the blood dripping down her left leg, staining her leather boots.

"Funny, you pay more attention to her, than you do me. I could end you in a moment with only a single thought." Tyki arched an eyebrow at him.

"You carry innocence? If you're an exorcist then why would you attack a comrade?" He questioned, furrowing his eyebrows. He waited for the spider to glow green and for Butterfly to step away, completely free. To say they'd been messing with him. Neither happened.

"No, tell me, Brute, are you really so vain to believe innocence is the only thing that can kill you? How sad for you."

Butterfly cut him off before he could snap at the man, "You still haven't told us who you are and what you want."

"A shame the lady doesn't seem to have any manners either." He cooed, running his fingers down the contour of her cheekbone to her jaw. She jerked out of his touch.

"Giving you my name would imply wanting to see you again, which I can't say that I do. Not a big fan of giant spiders chasing me around in dark abandoned asylums. I could've spent that time better. My idea of a date is a bookstore and a cup of coffee." She drawled, boredom evident in her eyes. The man's smile sharpened at her barbed words.

"Is that so?" He questioned carefully.

"Duh," she rolled her eyes, "that's why I said it."

The man chuckled, "I admire your honesty. So few people these days actually mean what they say or say what they mean. It's quite refreshing. Very well, I am Mateus Cardoso. It's a pleasure," he emphasized the word, "to meet you." Tyki arched an eyebrow at that.

"Wish we could say the same." Butterfly interrupted. The man, Mateus, threw back his head and laughed.

"My, my, my, you are quite a bit of fun." He smirked at Tyki, jabbing a thumb in Butterfly's direction. "She's a riot. Is she always like this or am I special?" He hummed, eyes lighting up at the thought of getting special treatment from the girl.

"Not in the slightest." Tyki shot him down. "She's always snippy."

"Aah, too bad." He sighed sadly. "Perhaps in time." He purred. "Now tell me," Mateus grinned, getting right in Tyki's face, "what's it like? Being the Earl's favorite."

Tyki snarled at him, "I don't know what you're implying or what you think you're implying but you better reconsider or you're about to have a very bad day."

"Ah yes," Mateus continued to smile, "I forgot that the Earl doesn't stress education or manners among his thugs. Very well," he shrugged, "I shall put it in layman's terms. What's it like being the Earl's whore? Is he gentle? Is it love making or does he fuck you hard? Tell me, do you like it or do you just close your eyes, whimper silently and wait for it to be over?" Tyki's features twisted as his lips curled back into a snarl.

"You better shut the fuck up right fucking now!"

"Or what?" The sorcerer grinned, "you'll spread your legs for me too? As flattering as that is, I'm not too interested. Though it makes me wonder, are you the family harlot or just the Earl's? Do they take turns or are you loosen enough to take more than one?"

"You son of a bitch! Why don't you-" Mateus cut him off my slapping him across the face.

"That's enough of that! I am getting rather tired of your attitude. I think it could use some adjustments." He waved his hand at the spider, glowing brightly, causing it to stalk forward, focusing on Tyki with a predatory intent.

"You're a sorcerer!" Butterfly exclaimed. He grinned at her.

"I am! I'm so glad you noticed! I was beginning to think you were as hopeless as he. It seems, My Dear, there's still hope for you left. Unfortunately that won't save you." He turned to Tyki and flicked his fingers at the spider causing it to lunge. It's massive grotesque fangs sinking into Tyki's leg. He let out a scream of pain.

"Activate!" The innocence shot out, flinging both man and spider back. Slicing it's mistress free, it turned and cut the Noah free as well. Rey grabbed his hand and fled. The Noah staggered, struggling to keep up with her before collapsing to his knees. "We gotta go!" She grabbed him and warped away. Feeling the razor sharp petals slice the spider to ribbons as it tried to catch them again. It screeched in pain.

"Ugh! You useless piece of shit!" Mateus shouted as he incinerated the spider. It shrieked in pain causing Rey to wince.

"I'm sorry." She whispered to it before Harlequin severed it's head and zoomed back to her. She warped them away once again.


"That fucking, son of a-" Rhea slammed the door shut, glancing around the room that she found herself locked in with a Noah who cursed loudly. She rolled her eyes with a huff upon finding nothing and waited for him to stop.

"Do you know him?" She finally asked.

"Why would I ask his name if I didn't know him?" He demanded.

"Hey! Don't get snippy with me! I'm not the one who sicked a spider on you! Shit that looks bad." She hissed upon seeing the wound. She pulled his leg closer to her.

"What the hell kind of spider gets that big anyway?" He questioned, wincing as she prodded the wound.

"It wasn't natural," she sighed.

"How do you know? Stop touching it!" She shot him a glare when he snapped at her.

"Because as I said before, my Master can use magic. Mateus is a sorcerer. He used magic to enhance it's size, speed, strength, and aggression. Not to mention it's venom."

"Venom?" He asked, watching her eyes dart back and forth as she chewed on her lower lip.

"I think it was a redback." He blinked at her several times causing her to explain. "Judging by the red hourglass on it's stomach I'd say we're dealing with a black widow which happens to be one of the more venomous spiders. The red stripe on the top indicates that it's a redback." He groaned watching as she ripped the leg of his pants up the seam. The two large holes bore deep into the muscle and he swore he could see the bone. The skin all around them burned red.

"So I've got venom coursing through my veins?! Is that what's interfering with my healing ability?" She shrugged.

"Possibly but I doubt it. Could you use your abilities earlier?" He shook his head. "Then Mateus probably did something with magic. He seems to know about us and the war. Did you hear the way he spoke about us? "You lot" It was weird." He nodded.

"Yeah, it was. People aren't supposed to know about my family. It's why I was shocked that you knew what I was." She shot him a cheeky smile causing him to roll his eyes.

"Okay, I think I can get the venom out..." She trailed off.

"But..." He prompted.

She winced, "But it's probably gonna hurt more than anything I've ever done to you." She warned.

"Which is?" When she didn't answer immediately he snapped, "Just spit it out!"

"I can purge the venom but it would mean putting Harlequin directly in your veins."

"What?! How do I know you won't just kill me?"

"You're just going to have to trust me! Just like I'm going to have to trust you when I succumb to it!" He stopped at her words, ignoring the fact that she had yelled at him. Then his eyes widened.

"That's right, your leg, it was bleeding earlier." She dropped her gaze from his.

"When it landed on me. You pulled me out from under it but not quickly enough. It bit me. The venom has been in my system for too long. I can't get rid of it. You just got bit. So if you trust me not to kill you right now then I'll trust you not to kill me when I can't defend myself." She explained. Another shot of searing pain forced his decision.

"Just do it!"

"Okay!" Wincing she drove Harlequin straight into the wound. He screamed again before gritting his teeth. "Talk to me! It'll help. What do you like to do when you're not Noah-ing?" She asked upon hearing his teeth grinding together.

"Noah-ing?" He asked, almost smirking.

"I don't know what to call it!" She snapped, bottom lip sticking out at him. Pain coursed through his system.

"Poker!" He grit out. "I like to play poker." She smiled, her other hand rubbing circles into his skin.

"Me too. We should play sometime."

"I hope you're okay with losing." He actually did smirk this time.

Rhea snorted, "Oh, Sweetheart, I never lose." He rolled his eyes.

"Of course not. We'll see."

"Promise?" She grinned. He nodded, wincing as the emperial liquid slid through his veins, climbing towards his heart. "Stay with me now." She warned as the pain spiked, forcing him to curl in on himself. "What else do you like to do?"

"Read." He choked out.

"Me too. I like Edgar Allen Poe. Have you ever read his work?" He shook his head as his vision went white.

"No, I've never-I've never-i've" His eyes rolled back and he collapsed to the floor.

"No, no, no, no, no, no, I need you to stay awake! No sleeping!" He groaned at her words.


Finally Tyki's vision cleared and slowly he sat up. Harlequin sat next to it's mistress. He eyed it carefully, swearing that it watched his every move, then slowly he turned his gaze to Butterfly. She raised her head to look at him.

"Butterfly?" He asked, reaching out for her. Sweat dripping down her, her hair stuck to her skin, her leg appeared to be swelling, the ragged leather of her boots, ripping more at the jagged edge. He winced seeing the bite, looking far worse than his had.

"You're up again? You passed out on me for a while. How do you feel? Any lingering burning pain?" He shook his head and moved closer to her. "We need to move." She stood and swayed as her innocence climbed her form. He jumped to his feet.

"Butterfly, are you...?" He trailed off.

"Fine, just waiting for the room to stop spinning. We need to go." Started towards the door, "I'm-" She collapsed. Tyki dove, just darely catching her before she hit her head. He winced as pain shot through his arm; rolling up his sleeve he found a large burn patch from his wrist to the crook of his elbow.

"What was that?" He questioned, scooping Butterfly up in his arms. "Now, how do I get out of here?" He looked around. The room, clearly a patient's, had only one door and no windows.

"Come out, come out wherever you are!" Mateus called. Tyki listened carefully for a few moments. Butterfly's flying silver pet, her golem, he realized, hovered by his head, attentively keeping him and it's mistress in view. He eyed the circular red dragon decorating it's face instead of the eye that he recalled her friend's golem having.

"He's a couple floors up, I think." He hissed to it. The golem bobbed up and down. "I suppose that's your version of nodding?" He questioned, arching an eyebrow at it. The golem repeated the action. As Mateus grew close Tyki slipped through the door and out of the room. Running silently he slid to a stop at the front door once more. Shifting Butterfly so she leaned against his shoulder he pressed a finger to the front door. Pulling it back with a hiss, he glared, upon finding that he still could not exit due to the magic field covering the building. "Now what?" He challenged the golem, not that he expected it to answer but it felt weird to not talk to the sentient thing.

"Abata," Tyki's head snapped over to the golem as a seam appeared and split open into a mouth, a deep baritone playing from it, "ura masarakato,"

"What the fuck?" He demanded.

"Barrier Destruction!" Blinding light shot from it's mouth and the magic around the building shattered like glass. Tyki stood, jaw hanging slack, staring at the door. The golem closed it's mouth, full of needle sharp teeth, on his ear causing him to yelp in pain as it tried to drag him and subsequently it's mistress out to safety. Pulling his ear away, ignoring the blood, he ran out, shoving the door open with his shoulder, Butterfly cradled close to his chest.


Mateus watched the Noah flee, tilting his head to the side thoughtfully. Slowly he turned on his heel, walking passed the spider corpse and down the stairs. Finding no carcass he looked around more.

"Did he take her with him? How unusual. Oh dear, Brute, what will the Millennium Earl and your siblings think when they find out you saved an exorcist's life. Think of the backlash. A pity, I was hoping to play with her some more. Well after I dealt with you." He stopped at the still swinging door, inspecting the scattered pieces of his barrier, "But I suppose," he left the building ignoring the fact that it collapsed as soon as he stepped through the doorway. "Now I have something else to research. Hopefully the wheels will spin again. How did you get out? Hmmm, Brute?" To his left a swirling portal appeared, unfazed he stepped through it, deep in though, uncaring of his change in surroundings until a voice spoke.

"And just where exactly have you been?" Mateus turned around to face the woman addressed him. He glanced up at the hat on her head, the purple flowers decorating the vines that wound around it for a second then back to her face.

"Ah, Viola, how lovely to see you again." He smiled charmingly.

"Mateus," She growled, stepping closer to him. "Where have you been?"

He held up his hands in surrender, "Relax I wasn't messing around with any of our plans, just playing with a few people. Nothing too important. Just an," a devious smile crossed his face, "just an old friend. Yes, we were catching up. I got to meet his girlfriend. Lovely little thing. Able to keep him in line perfectly. I'm quite enamored with her myself." He spoke easily as Viola watched him with an arched brow and her arms crossed over her chest.

"You know," she cut him off, "I allow you to do as you please as long as you pull your weight but right now we are in a very precarious situation, you cannot, CANNOT," She emphasized walking closer, forcing him to step back only for her to continue until his back hit the wall, her finger in his face, "put that in danger because of whatever spat you have with this person. This plan must go off without a hitch, if we lose it, we're done for." He smiled at her.

"Viola, darling, relax. It has nothing to do with the source. I was just messing around with those fools making a mess of the world." Viola sighed at his words, pinching the bridge of her nose.

"Please tell me you are not fucking with the Noah, I know you have your issues with them-"

He cut her off, "I DO NOT have "issues" with them," he added air quotes with a roll of his eyes. "I was just playing. You let your little sex dolls play with them and C-" Viola glared and clenched her fist. Mateus' eyes bulged in his head as he choked, pressure constricting his throat, preventing him from breathing. He claws at his throat grasping for something that could not be found. Viola held his gaze steadily.

"Do NOT interrupt me. Don't tell me you've forgotten, Mateus. I made you. I saved your life when you were dying in the streets like a rat. I took you in, fed you, clothed you, and taught you. I cultivated that spark in you. If you think even for a moment that if you interfere with my plans I will hesitate to stomp that spark out, you are sorely mistaken. You are here to serve me. Do not forget your place. I gave you this life, I can take it away." The magic flickered away and he fell to his knees gasping for air. She smiled as she walked by his kneeling, panting form. "It's so nice to have you home, Mateus. Don't forget to join us for dinner."


"Our names won't be remembered

If we die like trampled flowers

I refused to be forgotten

Written off as less than worthless."

― Unknown


Well, there you go! More names of these mysterious people who know about the war but don't seem interested in it. What do you think the source is? Is it real? I'm curious on what you think of Viola and Mateus especially. Rey and Tyki had their first 'have to deal with this together so we can kill each other later' moment. Hope you all enjoyed! Next time on Shades of Gray, Rey and Zack meet up and attend a party! Until next time, Cheshire's out~!