That's right... Phoenix Journal is back! Or at least it's going to be updated more often.

Oh boy, where did left it? Oh right, I haven't introduced Mizore yet! Well, that'll happen when it happens. For now, I bring you this chapter of Book I: Burning Cold.

Read, enjoy and review if you like.

[The handwrite is different than Velkan's in this page. It seems to be added at a later date]

Entry 08 - The Neko's Suspicions

"Hi there! Nick writing!... I don't know if this is how Velkan does it, but it's going to be my way to say 'hi' to whoever reads this stuff. Anyways, I think I'll be writing some stuff about me.

Well, the first thing you may need to know about me is that I'm dead... Yeah, pretty weird right? The truth is I didn't believed myself when they told me so. All I know about it is me being in a strange place, where the sky is greenish gray and the clouds are dark, almost black. And there I was. Sadly, I don't remember anything from when I was alive. I was just standing in that place, like... waiting for something... or someone.

It was then when a chick came for me; she was like 16 years old or so, with long purple hair that reached her back flowing behind her in a ponytail. She was wearing what it looked like a white school uniform with black details. With her dark purple eyes she looked at me, and smiled. She told me that someone very important wanted to talk with me. Then she took my hand, and a bright light formed around us. I must've been on auto-pilot or something because the next thing I know is both of us walking towards a castle in the middle of nowhere (I mean like, literally, in the middle of nowhere because there was nothing but the castle itself. Heck, there wasn't even ground or soil around the building. It was just standing in the air for crying out loud!)

Whatever it was, we entered the castle and went to a secluded area that seemed to be an office. The girl -who I forgot to mention her name; it was Claire- told me that this man was in charge of the place with the weird sky. I'm sure she said a lot of other interesting stuff but I was a kid back then, no more than 10 years old, so don't blame for being a bit distracted by the sudden situation. After that, we opened the door with the label 'CEO'. Sat in his chair was a very thin man in his late fifties, wearing a black business suit with a steel tipped cane resting by his side. I distinctly remember him using a silver ring with a white stone in it. The man looked at me without expression, and then I looked at Claire, who nodded... Aaaand if Velkan let me, I'll finish this story the next time. Sorry but Velkan said I have to keep it short. So I'll get to the point of this entry.

Anyways, Velkan told me about this girl that looked like this Asia. I knew very well who he was referring to, and it turned out to be a little more difficult to track down than anticipated. As expected, she got a new identity but I managed to find 20 possible candidates to this day. I expect to shorten that list down to at least five girls before I report back to Velkan.

As for the other favor, I'll take it easy. The whole 'Asia rescue' thing is pointless to me. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure she is a good girl and all, but she's pretty irrelevant to the assignment. On another note, I got the specifics on Issei's Sacred Gear but I haven't been able to go throught it since my boss is out. Speaking of which, you woulnd't believe what was the stupid reason he gave us for being absent; family matters. I mean, come on, what kind of family could have that guy?"

-Morning, Hyodou Residence; Two days before-

It was early in the morning at the human realm. In fact, the sun was barely on the horizon much to Issei's annoyance. Rias had decided that the brief encounter they had with Freed Sellzen was more than enough reason for her lastest servant to begin to grow strong. And what better way to do it than some warm up exercises in the morning? It was beyond discussion the fact that Issei wasn't the strongest human host of the Red Dragon Emperor... or the human turned devil for that matter.

"Dammit" Issei grumbled as he was doing a few push ups. "I still don't get how doing some exercise is going to help me get devil powers like Kiba or Akeno have?"

"Do not worry partner" a voice spoke in his mind. "You already did 100 push ups and 100 situps. All that is left is a jog to school"

"Yeah, don't remind me. I'm beaten!" the human replied in defeat. As he was heading for his stuff to get to begin his school day, a blonde girl passed by his side on the sidewalk and Issei couldn't help but sigh, seeing the resemblance with a certain nun he met before."I just hope Asia is okay. It's been a few days since Velkan left and I can't just sit on my ass waiting for him to rescue her".

In all honesty, Draidg didn't understood his most recent host at all; the Sacred Gear where the dragon's soul resided, the Boosted Gear, it only had been owned by great strategists and bloodlust warriors. Issei Hyodou, however, was different; his main motivation in life weren't fights, nor sports, not even videogames like any other teenager. No, Issei was a pervert, or to be more accurate, Issei was THE king of perverts and was aiming to be the Harem King. How did someone like this kid managed to acquire the Boosted Gear? That was the big mystery to Draidg, but the dragon was sure that despite the inappropriate behavior around women, Issei showed real concern about his friends. The only thing the Welsh Dragon could do was try to cheer him up until they could be able to get Asia to safety.

"It will be alright." he said after a while. "I did not meet Velkan personally in the past, but you can be sure about something regarding the phoenix. Despite being clevers and cheaters, a phoenix always keep his word. He will come back, partner."

"Well, if you say so..." Issei begun. "Fine, we'll wait then."

Suddenly, his senses went crazy again. It was the same way he felt when he first meet Asia, and when they fought Freed. According to Rias, basically this feeling was his body reacting to near danger. Whatever it was, it wasn't good sign. Issei looked around him everywhere, trying to find out any possible threats, without success.

"Maybe I'm not used to being a devil, that's all." he said, relaxing a bit.

"Yeah, I get ya. It happened something like that to me back in the day." a voice said behind him, causing both Issei and Draidg to shudder. He turned only to see a boy about his height, with black hair and blue eyes, wearing a black hoodie zipped up because of the cold in the air and dark blue jeans. "Hi, you must be Issei Hyodou, right?" he said.

"Y-Yeah, that's me." Issei confirmed surprised. "Who are you?" he asked. "I didn't hear him coming!"

"Not even I sense him approaching!" an altered Draidg replied on the back of his mind.

"Not even a dragon could sense my presence?!" the stranger said excited. "Ha! I mean, I knew I was awesome, but not that much!"

"You can hear Draidg?!" Issei asked in shock, not knowing if he should be amazed or scared of this guy.

"Of course! The name's Nick by the way," he boy replied and leaned to whisper something to him." and a mutual red-haired friend of us sent me here."

"Velkan?! What are we waiting for? Let's go already!" Issei said out loud.

"Whoa, whoa! Hold your horses right there!" Nick said. "We still don't know where are they keeping her, or what their intentions are."


"Besides, it's not like we have something like a plan or anything." Nick replied grabbing the back of his head and smiling weakly.

"What?! But it's been a whole week!" Issei yelled, impatience growing inside him.

"Hey, I just got into town, you know?" Nick said in his defense. "Let me take care of the details. Why don't you go ahead and go to school? I'll see you after class."

"Where will you do until then?"

"Well, we still need to know where is she exactly, right?" he said, waving his hand as he walked away. "Don't worry, I'll come up with something."

"Wait!" Issei shouted as he ran to catch up with him. "If Velkan sent you then... you're not... human, are you?"

Nick stood there, processing the devil's question for a moment. Draidg, using Issei's eyes, could detect a trace of sadness in his face before quickly regaining his grin from before. "It wouldn't be that interesting if I were, huh?" he replied and then kept walking.

"He seems to be an odd one." Draidg said as they saw him disappearing in the distance.

"Yeah, it's creepy enough that he can just walk behind someone without noticing, but he acts like he doesn't care about Asia at all" Issei said back. With that, Issei finished the rest of his morning training and left to school.

-Morning, City Streets-

Nick had an idea to find this Asia girl, whom had managed to caught the higher up's eye for some reason. He was supposed to check some possible locations of interest in the city, in order to get to know the local factions of Devils, Angels, and Fallen, as well as assisting Rias Gremory and her peerage if they attempted a rescue mission. That was the plan.

But to Nick, this was also a golden opportunity; his role as Velkan's support didn't left him with much free time, and he was allowed to hang out in the human realm only for work-related stuff, like the time when he paid a visit to Lord Gremory's human mansion to take a look to Vizer's execution sentence... among other interesting documents. So this was a good chance to simply walk around.

"This is awesome! Finally I get time to just hang out, relax a bit in the human realm..." he said out loud. "And maybe, just maybe, find any clue about my past in the land of the living in the process."

On very rare ocassions, some of his memories where triggered by something he heard or saw when he was on earth helping the phoenix with his assignments. Up until now, he'd managed to remember a few faces but nothing else. And he hoped this walk through the city would clear up his mind and reveal something else about his former self.

Unfortunately, none of that happened after he took a look at two of the three relevant places for the local factions; an abandoned shrine dedicated to the Japanese Gods, as well as the city graveyard just in case, with no luck.

"Damn, I hate to admit it but this was a wasted day." Nick thought. "I'm not even sure if I want to check on that abandoned church at this point." And just as he arrived at the old building and wondering about whether wasting more of his free time checking it out or not, something, or rather, someone caught his eye.

"Hmm, who are you?" he muttered to himself as he hid behind the corner of a building. Two blocks ahead was the old church building grounds, and there were a distinctive group of people going inside it: a tall young women with long navy hair and a voluptuous figure in a very revealing purple trenchcoat-like top with a matching miniskirt; a blonde girl in a rather gothic attire and a cocky smirk; and a shady guy wearing a gray coat and pants, in addition to a fedora hat. Nick touched the black stone in his necklace, and a sudden darkness emerged from it, wrapping him and making him disappear form everyone's sight. Now he was invisible.

"Man, I'm so dead if Velkan finds out that I used the stone again." Nick thought, as he remembered the phoenix warning him about the extended use of his powers. "I'll try to get close to them, but if they turns out to be anything supernatural they may feel my presence."

Then Nick went through the sidewalk, avoiding the people that came and went by it. After a short walk, he was close enough to get to the particular group's earshot, just outside of the old church entrance. He poped out his head to have them in his sight.

"So, are we sure about this?" the man asked. They were in the building, but because the place was empty most of their conversation was being echoed though the walls.

"Of course we are in! We got that girl's Sacred Gear now, but we also need to get rid of those goddamned devils!" the girl in goth cloths said, rather excited.

"Why are you asking about it now? Are you planning on getting out?" the woman asked while narrowing her eyes in suspicion.

"You better not, old man." a voice said from the inside of the building. A boy with short, dark green hair and gray eyes showed up. He was wearing a somekind formal attire with a golden belt, with black pants, black shoes, a long-sleeve red shirt with golden cufflinks. He had a black and red cape around him, giving him a distinguish air "I didn't left our lair at Iwatodai for you to back down now."

"Don't be ridiculous, Malachi. All I'm saying is..." the man was about to keep talking but something seemed odd in the enviroment and looked around as if looking for something. Nick quickly took a few steps back as quietly as he could. After a while, the shady guy spoke again. "All I'm saying is that we don't need to follow her orders. Not anymore, if you know what I mean..." the man replied, adding a grin at the end.

"Phew... That was a close one. And no! Of course I don't know what do you mean!" Nick yelled in his mind, desperate to get any info now that the girl mentioned 'Sacred Gears' and 'devils'. "Could you be more specific?"

"Could you be more specific?" the woman said, a smirk formed in her face. Nick was shocked by his luck. "Are you implying a betrayal here?"

"What?!" the girl asked in surprise. "We can't just do that to her... can we?".

"Raynare may be a little off, but let's not forget to whom our loyalty is with." the boy said, trying to defuse the situation the man was creating.

"Hmm." The woman put a hand to her chin. "It's truth that Rayare has been strange lately. She truly is loyal to Azazel, and she plans on giving the Sacred Gear to him but..."

"The real question here is... Do we want that?" the man inquired, ignoring Malachi's comment.

"Ok. Now that is being specific!" Nick fist-bumped mentally. The girls didn't seem too convinced about this, but agreed in the end. After that chat the four fallen went inside the church, where Nick couldn't follow due to the large quantity of fallen energy he sensed, meaning a large group of fallen angels in the building. "Heh, and that guy didn't believe me when I said something would come off." he thought as he turned visible again without nobody notice him, and walked away.

-Evening, Kuoh Academy-

The school day was over, and by the time Nick reached Kuoh Academy, he had about 12% of a plan formed in his mind. Although he got more information than expected, he only knew that a group of fallen leaded by some Raynare was holding a girl with a Sacred Gear -possibly Asia- and planned to extract it from her somehow to give it to Azazel, a big shot among fallen... and that one of her lieutenants was convincing the others of turn on her as well. He didn't got to hear when or where the ritual was taking place, but it was something.

"I'm still not sure how are we gonna rescue her, though." Nick said quietly. "Should I introcude myself to Lady Rias with this information?" he asked in the back of his mind as he waited at the entrance of the school.

"... What are you doing?" a voice pulled out of his thoughts aboout ten minutes later. He turned, and saw a little girl with short pale hair and hazel eyes wearing the school uniform. She looked at him suspiciously.

"Oh, I'm just waiting for a friend of mine. He's late though" Nick said. "Have you seen him? His name is Issei Hyoudou." At the mention of her devil colleague, Koneko's senses went extremely alert.

"He's still in club activities." she said in her usual plain tone of voice.

"Oh, well too bad." Nick said. "If you see him, could you tell him I came looking for him?"

Koneko nodded. "What's your name?" she asked, trying to get some info out of him. But to no avail.

"Just a friend." he said, a smile in his face. Koneko watched him intently.

"That's not an answer." the girl said, earning a chuckle from the boy.

"And yet, that's what you got." Nick replied. He turned, walking away while waving a hand. Once he crossed the street and dissapeared from her sight, Nick was a bit upset with Issei. "So, you're too busy with your 'club activities' to listen what I got, huh?. It's the same thing with Velkan now that I think about it. I'm starting to see a pattern here..." he thought. As he walked on the street thinking what his next step would be, the boy didn't realize someone was following him, trying to discover his true nature.

-Nighttime, City Streets-

After following him for a while now, Koneko got the feeling that her suspicions was leading her to a dead end. The girl peeked from behind a large tree and gave a last look to Nick, just in case.

"Guess I was wrong." she thought. Then Nick seemed to walk towards something that lay in the middle of the street. Something that looked like hit by a car. It was a mixed race dog with dark brown fur. "Sometimes, life isn't fair." Koneko whispered to herself. A single memory flashed through her mind. One that involved a younger and scared Koneko, a small village... and a rain of fire destroying all around her.

Koneko shook her head, trying to put those thoughts at bay. By the time she looked again, the boy was crouched in front of the lifeless dog. "Well, I doubt they'll get angry with me for doing this once more." she heard Nick talking to himself after a while. The boy put a hand over the corpse and the other on the black gem of his necklace, and began to mutter words which, even though Koneko listened, was not English nor any demonic language she knew about. Just then, a strange darkness went from the jewel and through his body, to the hand touching the dog. Koneko got herself ready for combat, just in case he went out of control. The dark energy got inside the dead dog, and five minutes later Nick stood up.

"I'd better get going. Good luck dog, I remmember this being a cruel world." he said. After that Nick walked away, leaving behind the dog and a Koneko with more suspicion than before.

"What just happened?" the nekomata asked herself after making sure he was really gone. She went to the dog, which did'nt seemed to change at all. "I know what I saw." she thought. After waiting for another five minutes for something to happen, the girl decided that Nick, if that was his real name, could be a potential threat to the devils controling the rea... And most important, a potential threat to those she considered family; The Gremory. "Rias must know about this."

Suddenly, her senses detected a fast movement by her side. By instinct, the girl went to battle mode, putting her arms in front of her in a defensive position. However, she relaxed a bit after seeing her supposed attacker, who was none other that the dog that until a few seconds lied dead on the street. "What? Weren't you dead?" Koneko asked as she saw the dog running away into a near alley. Now she definitely had to tell Rias everything related to that boy.

-Meanwhile, Somewhere in the city-

In a hotel near outside the city, a girl sat at the edge of the rooftop held her gaze upon the city, lost in thought. She had been forced to made a decision. To choose between power to herself and to be recognized among her fellow fallen; or a friend that had been there for her from the beginning. With a long sigh, she was about to get inside the hotel when a voice from behind stopped her.

"I trust you made your choice by now," Malachi began. Next to him was Kalawarner, her arms crossed under her cleavage and a stern look on her face. "... and I really hope it's the same we both made."

"Honestly, to let Donasheek mess with your head like that." Kalawarner said coldly, making Malachi flinch.

"Kal! I thought we agreed to deal with this situation delicately!" Malachi exclamed.

"We don't have time for this nonsense!" the woman replied, looking right at him. "Raynare will need our support during the ritual, and we're in charge of keeping any threats to the cermony or to any of us four at bay."

"And that includes the devils that controls this area; the Gremory." Mittelt said, surprising the other fallen. "I know what needs to be done, and you guys know I would do anything for you. But... I don't know, the idea of having a power like that... all to ourselves."

A silence filled the air, in which each of the fallen imagine themselves with a Sacred Gear, as well as trying to keep focus on reality and the present.

"I know it's tempting." Kal said after a while. "Trust me, if I could put my hands on a Sacred Gear... the things I would do..." a mischievous grin crossed her face. Every time she did that, Malachi, Mittelt, and Raynare if she'd been there, were a bit terrified of her. But a seconds later, that twisted smirk turned into a more friendly smile. "But I would rather let the last of those damn things burn down to ashes before let any of you come to any harm."

"We need to stay together, like we always been." Malachi reassured the girl. "And then, once we've handle the Sacred Gear to Lord Azazel... who knows? Maybe he'll give us some vacations after all this!" the boy said. Kalawarner facepalmed, earning a chuckle from Mittelt.

"You're right. Let's get this thing done!" she exclamed. With that, the group went back inside the hotel and asked for a nice dinner, hoping to get some rest afterwards in preparation for the next hours, which were crucial to the plan's success.

Author Note: The plan is to get one story updated every day from Thursday to Sunday, starting the next week while I get used to my new weekly schedule beetween school, work, homework time and sleep.

I hope this works, so wish me luck! TJ out.