Kaori: I have a defense! My internet wasn't working, so I had to get a new screen name... My new e-mail is Just look at my profile. And yes, I am a big fan of Kurama. So on with the fic!

Matthew: The court is adjourned... (slams a hammer hard on the drum, breaking it)


Laharl groaned. The happiness of yesterday--visiting Flonne in her dreams and finally letting her sleep in peace for once--had already evaporated. And now, he was leaning against one of the huge windowpanes of the Soul Tower, idly staring out into this world's rendition of a sky.

"Ah, Laharl. I thought I'd find you here."

Laharl groaned again and turned to face a scarlet haired kitsune, who had verbally harrassed him with his view of 'advice' for the past five hours. It seemed he had come back to nag him some more...

"Oh, you again...Are you sure you aren't a relative of that bitch? Nag, nag, nag, that's all you two do..." Laharl asked him insolently.

The kitsune blinked his emerald eyes innocently. "I have no idea what you're talking about, Laharl. How could you accuse me of such a thing?"

"Don't play dumb, kitsune." Laharl said, scoffing. "Anyway... what the hell do you want now?!"

"I haven't come here to 'nag', as you call it," He made the quotation-mark gesture with his fingers in a maddeningly similiar fashion as Laharl had done "I have come here to relay some news."

"It had better be good, kitsune," Laharl replied, staring at the fingernails on his left hand.

"Good and bad," he said, smiling serenely. "The good news is that you get to come back to life soon."

At this, Laharl sprung from his slack pose, grabbed the kitsune by his shoulders and shook him roughly while yelling hysterically "How soon is soon?! Today? Tommorrow? The day after tommorrow's tommorrow? The day after tommorrow's tommorrow's tommorrow?! I can't wait that long!!"

He blinked and patted Laharl's shoulder awkwardly. "Err... Laharl... calm down..."

"TELL ME! WHEN THE HELL AM I GOING BACK TO MY DAMN BODY?!?" Laharl shouted in his ear, several items in the room flying off their shelves at his volume.

"I believe you have made me temporalily deaf." The kitsune replied calmly.

Laharl shoved him away and leaned casually unto his previous position. "When am I going back to my body?" He asked slowly, using a voice of forced calm.

"Three weeks from now. But I'm sure that a few weeks is nothing compared to the thousand years you've--and Flonne--have been waiting?"

Laharl opened his mouth widely as if to denounce that statement, but quickly shut it. "I can't belive I'm saying this, but you're right. Any way I can tell Flonne about this?"

"No. You've already talked to her once in her dreams--talk to her again and you'll have to stay here longer." At the look on Laharl's face, he quickly added in a happier tone, "Might I add that Flonne has been far more cheerful than usual lately? She seems to be regaining sight of herself after your visit..."

The corners of Laharl's mouth moved up slightly; apparently, only Flonne had the honor of seeing a genuine smile from him.

"By the way... why am I being set free early? Why are you giving me special treatment?" Laharl asked curiously.

The kitsune rolled his eyes. "Because you're the most special little baby we've had here," he replied sarcastically. Laharl glared, but he seemed unruffled. "But if you want the truth..." He continued seriously, "It's because Baal is finally starting to be active again."

Laharl's eyes widened. "No... that's a lie! Baal's just a legend!"

The kitsune's eyes narrowed. "Don't fool yourself, Laharl. You know he's real; and now he's trying to conquer all the worlds. Or rather, kill every single person on the worlds just to see the terror on their faces. That's how he is.

"You're the only one who can stop him, Laharl. You. Not Priere, not Etna, not Enkou; you. That's why you have to be revived early; we need you there."

Laharl smirked. "No one can compare to my power, huh?"

The kitsune rolled his eyes. "Don't get full of yourself," And after throwing a fallen book at a now enraged Laharl, he left the room.

Priere grinned. Oh yeah, the old charm of hers worked like a... well, charm. She had successfully escaped Baal's castle and was now flying through the skies flapping her large red wings. Where she was headed? The Overlord's Castle or Celestia--whichever the hell was closer. She had to warn either one of them before Baal got to them; that way, they could team up against the Lord of Terror.

Yet she couldn't help but wonder... why had Baal spared her? If he was so ruthless, why did he let her live, instead of killing her right on the spot? And if he wanted to see her writhe and die in pain, then why did he lock her up in a cell? Were they walking into some sort of trap...?

"No!" Priere told herself, shaking her head vigorously. "What am I thinking?! This is no time for hesitation!" And off she flew, to the nearest area with help she could find... and that area happened to be Beauty Castle.

She landed at the castle's gaudy gate and pushed open the gargantuan doors. If she thought the outside was flashy, the inside was, if anything, even worse. Everything was decorated with jewels from head to toe, chandeliers covered the ceiling; practically every part of the castle was constructed of some rare jewel or metal.

"So this is why the call it Beauty Castle? Bit too flashy, though..." Prier murmured, frowning slightly.

"Flashy? Flashy, you say? Everything beautiful in life has to be flashy! When you're beautiful, let people know by showing it off!" A womanly voice called out, her voice reverberating through the castle.

Priere raised an eyebrow. "'Show it all off'? You mean, 'act like a slut'!? Listen, most people think it's an insult to their dignity to act like that!" She cried indignantly.

The womanly voice gasped. "That's such a nasty way of putting it!" She yelled back.

"Just show yourself, coward!" Priere replied, not in the mood to argue. What she needed now was help, not a headache...

She gasped again. "Coward? Me, a coward? The most malevolent witch in the galaxy, a coward?! How dare you!" In a flash of light and storm of purple tinted smoke, a blond haired woman in an extremely skimpy outfit was glaring at Priere with her arms folded over her chest. "I will make you pay! We'll fight, now!"

Priere shrugged. "Fine, you slut..."

This infuriated the woman even more, and she hurled a fire spell at Priere. "SHUT UP! SHUT UP!!" She yelled, blasting the Alternate Netherworld Overlord with a barrage of spells. Priere dodged all of them, then hurled herself at the witch and trapped her in a headlock.

"Listen. The reason I came here was for some help. And if you don't help me," She took out her baton and held it threateningly above her head, "I WILL shove this down your throat."

The witch seemed intrigued. "Hmm... I'll help, but...tell me, what exactly are we up against? And what do I get for my...services?"

Kaori: OK, so it's pretty short, and gomen that Flonne didn't appear in the chapter, but it's better than nothing, right? Three guesses who the witch and who the kitsune are; it's damn easy!