"So, here we are." Lottie huffed as she placed her hands on her hips while looking around the deserted road, bright under the afternoon light. Lacie and Lily were trailing behind her, also looking around. There were only a few buildings lining the sides of the road, and they look pretty poor with large gaps between the houses filled with many kinds of plants, trees, and the kinds. The place looks pretty much untouched by the hands of greedy nobles yet.

"Yes." Lacie spoke up softly "According to Master Glen, this is the spot where Fang and Ardo were attacked."

"But it's strange…" Lottie frowned as her eyes seem to search for something on the ground layered with rocks and gravels "If they were attacked here, there were supposed to a trail left behind. Some specks of blood, at least. Their injury was too heavy for them to don't left anything behind."

"And they were strong too…" Lily stood beside Lottie, their height difference painfully obvious "I don't think any normal person could get them down easily."

"You heard their explanation, right? They said they were walking, and the next thing they knew, they were unconscious on the Baskerville's doorstep." Lottie sighed as she stomped at the ground. "There should be something, a lead… anything!"

"There is a lead." Two heads immediately turned to Lacie who met their gazes head-on "I heard that they found something with Fang and Ardo when they were found, it was some kind of necklace." She explained.

"And? Do you know where it is now?" Lottie arched up an eyebrow at the quiet girl who simply smiled in return of her dagger-like glare "And why, for god's sake, isn't it given to us?"

"A Baskerville was ordered to give the necklace to Jack Vessalius by Master Glen."

Lottie blinked.

"What?"

"A Baskerville was ordered to give the necklace to Jack Vessalius by Master Glen."

"I heard you the first time!" Lottie said voice thick with frustration. "You don't have to repeat it word-by-word… And why, out of all trustworthy people out there, should it be that damnable JACK VESSALIUS!" she ended her long sentence with a practical yell, which highly amused Lacie although she didn't show it on her face.

"Maybe it was because he trusted Mr. Vessalius more than anyone. They are friends after all." Lottie flinched when Lily said the word 'friend'. No, that idiot just couldn't… he is NOT the Master's friend!

But well, she did saw her Master smile fondly around him and whenever that blonde was around, he seems to be happier, like the thick veil of gloom that always surrounded him just lifted up for the bright cheeriness that is Jack Vessalius… but still…

"That stupid ORANGE!" Lottie yelled again, this time Lily laughed when she saw the elder's flushed, and extremely angry, face. While the other two are busy with themselves, Lacie took her time to look around until a gleam in between the rocks caught her eyes. Glancing to her companions to reassure that they aren't paying attention to her, she walked to the strange gleam and bend down to pick up whatever it is.

It was a heart-shaped locket with a small cross-like sword embedded in it, but the chains are too small to be put around neck—it'll choke. The triple small, dainty chains were made of a firm, cold metal while the locket was made from what Lacie assume as gold.

"Lacie?" Lottie's voice made Lacie jump and internally grateful that she had her back to the other two. "Are you alright?"

Trying to gather back as much composure as possible, Lacie turned to them with a strained smile after shoving the locket into her coat's pocket. Somehow, the locket felt like it burns with cold flame, across her clothes, right into her skin. Blocking out the sudden uncomfortable feeling coming from it, she answered that she's alright.

"Okay then." Lottie still has that suspicious look on her "We should get moving. Look into anything that might be able to help." She said with an air of leadership, as if forcing submission from her companion.

"Like an ice cream shop?" Lily suddenly piped up… and received strange stares afterward.

When Lottie was distracted by screaming angrily to Lily, Lacie worried her red lips in between her teeth. She suddenly has a vague guess who might be their opponent this time… and she dreaded it.

" This is not going to good" She took a deep breath and let it out as a sigh; suddenly aware of the presences of whom she believed is not an ally. Throwing a cold gaze over her shoulder to the general direction of that presence, she moved to follow her companion.

"She noticed us."

"That is expected."

"Not this quick."

"Well, then it will make this game even more fun than we expected..."

Look behind you and be careful of the shadows

Glen was sleeping soundly under a tree. Peacefully.

The weather was perfect, the warm sunlight broke through the trees, scattering the light to the ground in a golden glow. The birds are chirping, most are up on the trees while a more daring one chirped from atop Glen's head.

Overall, it was perfect…

At least until someone decided to break the peace by a loud exclamation of his name.

Holding back a tired sigh at the familiar voice, Glen could feel the little birdie on his head flew away. That's too bad, he like the company of that particular one.

Yes, Glen do keeping track of which birds ever sitting on his head, and that one was his favored one.

Opening one eye lazily, he answered back with a grunt. To must people, this subtle response will be ignored, thought to be the sound of wind or blended in with the wind's voice in the background, but his best friend are already very good with reading him (he called it The Glen-Radar or TEGAR… whatever it is) that he knew that answer will be enough.

When the golden-haired man does appear into his line of sight, though, Glen would've been jumped to his feet and into his silently worrying mode if only the sleep's spell has withdrew completely from his system. But, no such luck.

He stood up and brushed the dirt off of his clothes right in time with Jack reached his side, hands on his bended knees and panting. Putting his hand on the golden haired young man's shoulder in a form of silent comfort, Glen felt partially relieved when he saw the other smiled, appreciating the gesture.

"What is it?" short, to the point. That's how Glen always rolls, but Jack doesn't seem to mind. He was silent for a moment, trying to catch his breath, and then he straightened up when his pants already reduced to small puffs of breath and pulled a necklace from behind his coat.

Glen's eyes immediately went to the piece of accessory and widened slightly when he recognized it.

"Isn't it…?"

"Yes. It's the necklace you sent to me." Jack answered his unspoken question. "By the way, who was that Baskerville lady you sent? She was quite beautiful, I wonder if I could take her out to a walk to the park…"

"Jack. Focus."

"Oh, yes. Here," Jack move to stand beside him and held out the necklace so that the crest that was expertly hidden behind the gem could be visible to both of them. Jack could sense how the other's breath was caught in his throat and couldn't fight back a victorious grin

"That's…"

"Yes. I know you would recognize it."

"…why is that bird strangling a puppy?"

Glen moved his gaze to Jack when the hand that held the necklace suddenly dropped and witnessed his best friend's priceless expression that was directed at him; stuck somewhere between dumbstruck, shocked, and unbelieving, complete with the wide eyes and hanging jaws.

If Glen was normal, he would have laughed at that expression, or at least smile or let out a smirk. But, unfortunately, he was nowhere near the term 'normal'. What kind of normal people have a collection of huge birds inside of themselves instead of putting them into cages and hanging them to the roof (although, yes, the birds isn't very pleasing to look at—or to listen at if you don't want fire burn what is the remaining of your hair). Not to mention that someday he would turn into a flying poodle of black goo like a baby's saliva that just swallowed mud and spit it out again.

Yeah. He's not normal in every sense of words.

Slowly, as if relishing every second of it, he lifted a finger to push the jaws close. Seeming to snap out of it, Jack searched the Baskerville's face but found nothing but confusion in those violet eyes.

"You… really don't know what this crest is?"

"It's the Vessalius' isn't it? I recalled your family has birds as family symbol."

"It's not! While it's true that my family is a group of sadist with the sickest, but entertaining, sense of humor, this kind of crest will make them be gazed at like witches!"

Blinking, Glen's eyes moved from Jack's face back to the usually hidden crest.

"That… is a crest of a group of occult…"

"There! I know you were just playing with me!"

"…filled with big, blood-thirsty, carnivore birds." He moved his gaze back to Jack's face. "That kind of occult actually exists?"

That did it.

Jack covered his face with his hands in an ultimate facepalm to muffle his scream of frustration.

Sometimes, facepalms just felt so good

"…Did you hear something?" Fang asked, titling back the tea pot to stop the flow of tea in time to see the birds on the woods suddenly flew away like something has scared the poor those poor flying animals. He placed the tea pot down on the small table between his bed and Ardo's to stare out of the large windows and searched if there's anything he could use as a clue.

"No, nothing." Ardo replied from where he was lying on his side with his hand propped his head up to read the book he held on his other hand on the single bed that was placed right beside Fang's bed while the other man was still looking out. "Maybe you're just start hearing things. The doctor said that we'll start having it when the drug he used on us reacting up again."

"I guess you're right." Fang answered with relieve. "There. Let's have a tea, shall we?" he placed the white porcelain cup to Ardo's direction as the man perked up and dropped the book randomly on his bed.

"Ah… Earl Grey… I love this brew…" Ardo sighed after he took a sip of the high-class tea "It tastes even better with this kind of situation."

The last sentence seemed to catch Fang's attention and he turned his head to gaze at the younger man on the bed across of him, who is sitting up now on his bed just like him.

"And what kind of situation do you refer to? I don't know you actually like to be bedridden with various injuries like this, unable to work or walk." Fang said sarcastically. When he heard Fang's words, a sly grin made its way up Ardo's face and he lowered his cup.

"Do you know what day this is, Fang?"

"Eh?" Fang frowned as he tried to recall the days "…This is Monday, then what is-" then the thought struck him and he, too, grinned like a maniac before they sing-songed together

"It's Monday~"

Because everyone just hate Monday

"Here." Jack let the huge, dusty book slipped off of his fingertips and fell to the desk with a massive bang and a sudden storm of dust. Coughing into his fist politely, Glen could only look at the book before him with a raised eyebrow as he read the title 'Occultism And It's Legends'

"And? What is this?"

Moving to stand beside his sitting form, Jack pulled the book closer to them and began leafing through the yellowed book while mumbling to himself now and then. After a few minute (after Jack almost threw the book because it was 'too detailed' and he 'can't find the section he's looking for') Jack pointed to a large crest that took up almost the whole page with an air of victory.

"There!" He pulled out the necklace and put it beside the open book. "It's the same crest, right!"

"No…" Glen frowned softly as he traced the page with his gloved fingertips. "It's different…"

Whirled his head in surprise, Jack could only stare at the Baskerville before moving back to the two identical crests.

"What—? What is different, Glen?"

"The one on the book…. It was bigger."

Suppressing the sudden need to bang his head against the desk or the wall, Jack could only let out a frustrated cry

"Glen!"

"I'm kidding." Glen could feel the edges of his lips tugging up into an amused smirk at the childish wail his best friend produced "Continue."

Glaring at him with a gaze that would be scary if only the puffed-out cheek didn't present, Jack proceeded to point at the writing beneath the picture on the page.

"The Nightstorm?" Glen let the name rolled on his tongue and lifted an eyebrow "I've never heard of them before…" Jack glanced at him as if he couldn't believe that he never heard of this particular group.

"You're unfami—oh, whatever."

"What is Nightstorm, actually?" Glen finally asked after he got his share of amusement watching the golden-haired man.

"It's an occult group, one of the oldest, actually." Jack pointed to some pictures on the yellowing book "They worshipped a king, believing that there were another world where immortal lives—they also believed that if they are faithful enough, they will be one of them, the immortals."

"The immortals? As in someone who can live longer than the Baskerville" Glen raised an eyebrow

"I guess…" stated Jack, unsure if the immortals of Nightstorm can love longer than the Baskerville servants

"Why do they think being immortal is a good thing?" asked Glen

"Because they are clueless idiots." Jack decided with a satisfied nodding of his head.

"Said The Jack Vessalius." Glen countered with a tone akin to mocking.

"Oh, just listen to me this time, won't you?" Jack huffed "The Nightstorm, like I said, is the oldest group, that's why they have many allies, forces, and troops." Jack explained. "Knowing that they are present in this accident meant bad thing as it is. They are very dangerous."

"And how do you know about them?" Glen asked shortly, noting how Jack froze at the question.

"…I have my own resources and many" The man finally answered. Not telling that he got it from Miranda Barma, Arthur's sister.

Glen nodded, knowing that his friend did not want to talk about this subject anymore.

"Then, do you know where they are headquartered?"

"No, there's no record of it" Jack answered "The Nightstorm live separately while doing ritual everyday personally in their houses and will only gather when something big comes up."

"Something big? Like what?"

"I'm not sure… usually it was the eclipses, or the night of red moon, or the eclipse of an important star…. Oh, you know, that sort of thing." Jack tapped his finger against the underside of his chin "I think they believed that the pathway to their 'king' will be opened in those kind of nights."

"Is that so…" Glen mused with his thought and glanced outside at the darkening sky. Suddenly something clicked within his mind and he exclaimed his friend's name.

"Eeehh? What is it?" Jack asked while blinking cutely at him. Glen answered by pointing at one star that already glimmering despite the fact that the sun has not completely sunk to the horizon yet.

"That is Dravanir, the star of Dusk. It was known as the star that will guide people to the afterlife." Glen explained.

"Oh, I know that star." Jack said cheerfully as he moved to stand beside his friend by the large windows. "It was the opposite of the Star of Dawn… Iviry, wasn't it? And Iviry are said to lead the souls of unborn babies to earth. Like a guardian angel."

"Dravanir leads away, Iviry leads to come. They are opposites that completed a cycle." Glen narrowed his eyes "This will be our best bet."

"Best bet?" Jack titled his head and frowned "What do you mean?"

"By five days, Iviry will be eclipsed by Dravanir, it was known as the Day of Death in the past." Glen explained, recalling the memory of a Glen long ago "And then, by the midnight of the next day, Dravanir and Iviry will shine side by side until the sun came up again."

"A star eclipsed by another star…" Jack said breathlessly "And not to mention that both are considered to be major stars… yes, The Nightstorm will gather by the time Dravanir let go of Iviry."

"In six days, we might be able to catch the culprit of this affair." Glen nodded in satisfaction "Now, we only need to pinpoint where they might hold the ceremony."

In the darkness of the sinking sun, a raven that has been clinging on a branch outside their window flew away. Its eyes shone like a gem, already feeling the satisfactory of letting his master know about this important information.

But now, he has to fly.