The rain spattered against the window pane, sounding like fingers tapping the glass. Valkyrie checked that no one was going to walk in on her then opened her wardrobe door and let the Reflection out of the mirror.

"Can you just hide under the bed until I leave?" she asked it, "Skulduggery said to wait here for Fletcher." The Reflection nodded, hunkering down to hide.


Valkyrie picked up her Necromancer ring from the bedside table ans slipped it on. Her phone began to ring and, even before she reached for it, Fletcher Renn appeared out of thin air behind her.

"I wish you wouldn't do that," she said without turning around. "It's bad for the phone."

"Sorry." He looked ashamed, But reluctantly, Valkyrie turned to face him. Fletcher's ridiculous hair was looking rather sad; the rain must've given it a challenge. Valkyrie smiled and held out her arm. In a heartbeat they appeared before an unmarked shopfront in the pouring rain. Letting go of Fletcher, Valkyrie strode toward the big black car waiting across the street.

Skulduggery Pleasant rolled down the window and stuck out his skull.

"Ah, there you are." The detective straightened his hat, "there has been a change of plans." Valkyrie raised her eyebrows, but she let Fletcher ask.

"What sort of change?"

"An international change."

Valkyrie opened the side door and waited for Fletcher to get in.

"I'm the man here," he complained. "Aren't I supposed to do the door-holding?"

"Get in," she said, grumpily. Fletcher obliged and sat beside her, running a hand through his soaking hair to make it stick out straight again. Valkyrie tried hard not to laugh at him. Skulduggery's phone rang and he pushed his hat aside to answer it. A familiar voice became audible, even in the back seat.

"Hello?" Ghastly sounded put out, even over the crackly connection.

"What is it?" Skulduggery responded.

"Is it true? China's just told me they're sending you out of the country."

"You're at the library?"

"Had to find a book."

"It would seem the place for that."

"Can't the Japanese Sanctuary take care of itself for once?"

"You've dealt with them before?" Skulduggery sounded amused.

"Well, no, but I've heard the stories."

"Haven't we all?"

"There's a reason they're always in trouble."

"I know." Skulduggery hesitated. "You want to come, don't you?"


"Very well, I'll come and get you." Skulduggery hung up and shrugged his skeletal shoulders.

"What was all that about?" Fletcher asked, dumbfounded. Skulduggery buckled his seat belt and turned the key in the ignition before turning to face them.

"Have you ever heard of the Suzumiya Phenomenon?" Both Fletcher and Valkyrie shook their heads.

"Three years ago, the Japanese Sanctuary caught wind of a strange happening in central Japan. A girl, Haruhi Suzumiya was the main catalyst. It seems she is unconsciously developing a completely new branch of Adept magic, similar to the spell used to protect the Book Of Names."

"So it has to do with willpower?" Valkyrie broke in.

"It does indeed. Until now, the Japanese Sanctuary has only assigned people to discover more about her and her powers. Lately, however, she has become nothing short of dangerous."

"Dangerous in what way?" Fletcher asked, a bit nervously.

"To put it simply, she has the power to destroy the world."

"Is that all?" The teleporter was incredulous.

"No, It's not." Skulduggery stopped at a red light and turned in his seat. "It seems some unknown party has been working to keep her under control but every time she is bored, annoyed, angry or otherwise displeased, she unconsciously opens a portal between realities."

"Ah," Valkyrie said. "It wouldn't happen to be a certain uh, familiar reality, would it?"

"No." Skulduggery responded. "Though it's similar."

"Oh, joy." Valkyrie grumbled" Just don't get trapped inside this time, alright?"

"How are we getting to Japan?" Fletcher asked, changing the subject.

"Well, I was kind of hoping that you'd been there at some point."

"Nope, sorry."

"Well, that certainly puts a damper on things." Skulduggery pulled up in front of a familiar tenement building and parked the car.

"Out." he said, and tapped his collar bones, sending the fa├žade up over his skull.