A/n: Here is the next chapter, which will begin to peek into the dark nature of Howl, his mission, and the story in general. It took a little longer to get this one out, but the good thing is it is a little longer. I really appreciate all the support that this fanfiction has been getting, it really gives me motivation to keep writing, along side the fact that I am really liking this story.

Oh and to Zimmergirl who said that this fanfic was "the best Howl's Moving Castle story on the market" I really thank you for that, and I hope I keep up to expectations. Read and enjoy!

WARNING: Rated M for future coarse language, violence, and adult themes including sex and abuse. You have been warned.

The Devil's Advocate

By Gothic Tinkerbell

Chapter 2 The Plan

"Did you dispose of the trash?" Howl spoke freely, content in his knowledge that the girl lay entranced in his arms. He had found that it was much easier to bring them in enamored, love struck, and without their wits, rather than frightened – so the act of kindness was all part of the bigger trap, just as a spider tries to make its nest as hospitable as it can for a fly. Not that the wizard did not enjoy having a young, voluptuous, girl unconscious in his arms, her soft body pressed into his, a still face and slow breath against his shoulder…

This girl had been quite a find, he admitted to himself – a gorgeous and impressionable youth, someone he could mold and manipulate, break away piece by piece until he got what he was after…her heart. Of course there would be some fun and games along the way, you can't steal a girl's heart without intimacy and domination, and he liked both very much. The wizard smiled to himself at the thought of finally being alone with the girl, in the proper environment, getting inside of her head, inside of her emotions, inside of her body…

Howl could feel the steady pulse of her heart beat, fluttering like a bird below her softly heaving chest, but at the same time felt the inhuman absence of his own, causing his lustful fantasies to be struck by a cold gripping feeling.

He realized that he still had no answer from Calcipher. The vibrant yet enslaved fire demon was a great source of Howl's power. Though he did not directly contribute to any of Howl's magical mastery, or demonic dealings for that matter, he was the foundation for the wizard's lifestyle. Without the strength of Calcipher to move and maintain the moving castle, all the other lesser transports such as this carriage, and do the dirty work that Howl didn't want to deal with, the wizard would never have the time or the means to keep up his most enjoyed sport – a game necessary to keeping his body alive.

"Calcipher? Did you or didn't you dispose of the trash?" Howl asked the carriage, his annoyance piercing the air. His question was granted a response this time.

"Yes sir, the girl is gone….or what you left of her…" Howl sighed and rubbed his temple. He hated when the pathetic little flame had to pass a moral judgment onto his dealings.

"My, my Calcipher, are you trying to hurt my feelings? Hmmm? Why must you judge me? I don't question your lifestyle, do I?" His arrogance, sarcasm, and haughtiness became painfully clear.

"Of course sir, I just…" Calcipher tried to defend himself.

"You nothing….Do you ever think about my needs Calcipher? I provide you with all you need to survive - I am simply trying to do the same for myself. And I don't appreciate your judgment and your attitude, do you understand?"

The fire demon was never in a position to argue with his master, it was suicidal. "I understand….it was just a shock, it was so brutal-"

"Shut up." Howl was no longer sarcastic but bordering on angry. "I was only having a little fun, I needed to let out some steam," Howl smiled deviously, looked down upon Sophie and began to stroke her cheek, "I'm feeling much better now, and I don't want to talk about this any longer, or hear a single thing more about it from you either."

"…Of course. " The voice and the presence of Calcipher dimmed throughout the carriage, but the magical structure still tinkered on. Howl peered out the window, eyeing with pleasure the monstrous shadow of his castle appear in the distance. He had hid it well in his absence, and now felt quite content to return home, enjoy his rest, relaxation, and new playmate.

Howl mused, remembering when he had first found Sophie. The little town that bordered the waste was the easiest target for his needs, and powerless to stop him. It wasn't difficult to find a girl within its cluttered shops, smoky streets, and quaint houses, but to find the right girl – that was a whole different story. She needed to have certain qualities if she were ever going to be considered for the honor Howl planned to exercise on her.

These attributes included, beauty, for they simply had to be the kind of rare and natural girls who's smile could tear at your heart and eyes could hold your stare with awe - Howl could do both of these things and more, so he only expected the same from his playmates. The girls needed to be interesting, intriguing, and had to have an attractive personality along side their attractive face and body, because Howl could grow bored of people so quickly, and with the lengthy and intimate process of stealing a girls heart, if she bored him she'd be dead long before he would finish. The final, and truly the most important quality had to be that girl must posses some deep flaw and fear, which could be identified and exploited, making her easy to manipulate. She could be insecure about her own worth, someone who gave too much of themselves to others, someone who was afraid to trust, someone who was afraid to be alone, or in the case of Sophie someone who was simply lonely down to their very core.

Howl had come across Sophie wandering through life like a mist that wouldn't settle. As she tried to scratch out a life for herself and her family, she was hiding a wounded heart that had been neglected for too long, and Howl could see this. He could also see the fragile beauty on her face and in her soul, and knew that one day he would come back for her.

After honoring the lives of a few other lucky girls, the time soon came when Howl needed to summon another perfect woman to have.

The wizard smiled again, gently tracing Sophie's lips, as she lay listless in his arms. There was something different about her, he knew this, something inherently kind and gentle, and he wondered how this might change things. Would he finally have a challenge again? He sat through the rest of the ride home, while his castle grew bigger on the horizon, calculating the best way to woe her, win her, and make her his own. Every girl needed something different – a different fantasy, and different stranger to fall in love with.

As the carriage came to a stop before the moving castle, Howl felt confident that he knew just what Sophie was searching for, and would be exactly that.

A/n: hope you enjoyed it, and please keep up the positive response and the nicely put negative response so I can see how I could make this fic better. Thank you all, and I promise to keep it coming.

Look forward to the beginnings of Howl's and Sophie's interesting interactions.