Author Note: Sorry about the delay... stupid virus! As always, R+R.

Episode Fourteen: Return to the Dark – Part 2

The sounds of chirping birds echoed off the trees as a knocked out human laid face down in the grass. Twitching a bit, the person finally woke up and looked around to get their bearing straight. Where am I…? Pushing off the ground, his body decided to quit as the young man found himself laying now on his back and looking up at the sunny sky. Oh right… I taunted nature and got shocked. Starting to remember his duel with lightning and being tossed like a rag doll, Joe found no signs of the camp or anything that looked like home. Looking to his right, he found a building and a small flower patch on his left. Wait a second… yea, this is Felicity's House. Remembering the home for orphans that Felicia had started up, the area was familiar from his years of playing the third game in the Darkstalkers series. Finally getting his body to respond, Joe sat up slowly and found that he was not hurt… but the level of fatigue was terrible. Damn, did I fight Pyron again without my knowing?

Making his way past the front gate, the area was seemingly quiet for being an orphanage. Turning around a corner, the reason to why it was so quiet became impossible as Joe suddenly fell. "WOAH!" Reaching back quickly, he was able to grab hold of the edge of the unplanned fall and held onto the earth tightly. Against his better judgment, the human looked down and could only see a swirling mess of darkness as he sighed. "I don't wanna know where that goes…" Feeling the patch of earth starting to give way, he went to float up and found nothing happening. Trying to force out his flight capability, the hanging human only could force out was gas. Ok, why can't I fly now? Trying to pull himself up was just the fragile ground needed as an excuse to shatter as Joe freaked out. "Someone please catch me!"

Not wanting to see the dark pit swallow him, he shut his eyes hard… but opened them back up as something had caught his arm and threw the human back onto the earth. Landing on his feet, Joe turned around and found a pair of winged demons staring at him. "See something you want?" Joe commented. Speaking in a language older than the human race, they charged in and prepared to strike down Joe but stopped dead in their tracks. Dead being the main point as their heads were now missing due to something or someone cleaving them off at the neck. "You are a fool."

Catching the head of one of the two demons, Joe panicked and tossed it into the hole. The head vanished into the swirling darkness as he looked up to find Donovan standing over him with the Dhylec in hand. "What are you talking about?" Standing up, it was apparent that something was amiss. Noticing Anita was sleeping in the large Dark Hunter's free left arm, Joe looked puzzled. "Well, explain… why am I a fool Donovan?"

"Can't you sense it? The sudden lack of life in the world?"

"Huh?" Looking around, nothing seemed to be different than the first time he was in the human world inside the Darkstalker Universe. It took a moment… but Joe soon came to realize something WAS wrong. Trying to throw his energy at a brick wall to check on himself… nothing came out. Jumping off the ground to fly, he found himself well grounded. "Wait… I'm normal?" This fact became true as he looked into the Dhylec's blade and saw his regular brown hair and eyes staring back at him.

"That would explain why you couldn't sense those two weak creatures… as well as Anita's lack of life." The child who was born with incredible powers even in her young age had the same motionless body frame as the kittens. "Donovan, when did this happen?"

Taking a seat in Felicia's Orphanage (or what was left from the hole in the ground) the half-blooded Donovan began to explain. It seemed that thousands of people started to just fall into comas at random for the past week. Doctors have not been able to find a trace of what could cause healthy individuals to just collapse and many began to suspect Darkstalker involvement. However, when on a hunt Donovan explained that he had found several different types of creatures that had become comatose as well. It wasn't that soon after that Anita had fallen to the unknown cause as well.

Standing up from the living room, Donovan's right eye began to react to the presence of a Darkstalker. Soon enough, Morrigan appeared in the room in her battle attire. "Oh? The hunter is here too?" Drawing out his sword, the Dhampir turned hunter was not as accepting of Joe's previous selection of allies against Pyron. Before a fight could break out in Felicia's home, Joe stepped between the two Nightwarriors to try and gain a truce. "Wait a second Donovan! Morrigan is not responsible for this either."

"You should be more trusting of those of the dark…" Morrigan allured. "… especially since you're just like me."

"Not helping!" Joe shot back at the head-winged woman. Picking up Anita's motionless body, the six-foot hunter was preparing to leave. "Hold on Donovan, we…"

"I refuse! You sought my help in the past… but that's over." Turning his back to the normal looking human, the normally calm and collected hunter stared down Joe with his still active yellow eye. "Next time we meet, you and I are going to settle our differences about those of the Dark… whether or not you regain your strength." Walking out of the orphanage and into the day, the door seemed to slam shut behind Donovan as if the wind was pissed off as well. Looking at the human, Morrigan was confused and popped the question. "What did he mean 'regain your strength'?" Gulping, Joe knew what would be coming next.

"WHAT DO YOU MEAN 'NORMAL'?" Flinching in fear, Morrigan's bats had suddenly begun to swarm behind her. Thinking about it again… Joe realized that telling her that his powers had suddenly disappeared was a mistake as Morrigan hated to deal with weaklings and those who couldn't satisfy her. Recovering slowly, he still had to deal with the now upset succubus over not being able to test her own strength against the one who was able to destroy a being of pure energy in one blast. "You can sense power right? Well look at me… do I give off elite power like before?"

Staring over the human in front of her, the head of Aensland was scanning Joe over for that 'fun' power from before. However this time… that power that had made her excited to keep tabs on a human was not there. Grabbing hold of Joe's hair, she began to shake and rattle the stunned male. "What did you do with that power?"

"I-i-i-i-I don't know!" Joe said while being shaken. One of Morrigan's bats started to squeak into her ear and relay a message from Makai World. Listening in to the message, it seemed that a meeting between several clans was going to meet and discuss a plan of action to deal with the unknown syndrome that affected their kind. "I don't have time to deal with you here…" Summoning a key, it flew into the closet door and opened up a portal to her castle. "… so you are coming with me!" Before Joe could voice his disproval, he was dragged into the closet as the door slammed shut.

Arriving from the Human World in a flash, Morrigan's attire changed back to her casual clothing to prevent those in attendance from thinking a fight was coming. Joe was stuffed in a corner room, away from those in attendance, if a human was seen deep in the chambers of Makai… who knew what would happen. "What do you mean several of our own kind had their souls removed?" Morrigan asked, still completely unaware of the situation in the Makai World due to her constant desire to shirk the responsibility of being the head of Aensland. Receiving a report from one of her butlers, it was a print out on how nearly thirty percent of the population in the Makai was now comatose. Mostly consisting of those under C-Class, it wasn't something that nobles would care about… however when ALL of their servants suddenly turn up un-responsive, it then became a matter of possible war.

Sitting in his room, Joe was still waiting for Morrigan to come back and escort him to a better location to question further. Growling louder… the human's stomach was complaining about not eating in several hours. Awww man… Looking around, there were various 'things' in glass containers… but nothing that even looked like it could satisfy his hunger. Meanwhile outside in the hallway… a group of Darkstalkers were being brought in for questioning. Sniffing the air, one of the shadows moved away from the group and approached the door to Joe's room. Hearing the knock on the black wooden door and sighing in relief, Joe opened the door to complain to his succubus 'caretaker'.

"It's about time…" However, instead of seeing the aqua-haired Morrigan… an old friend was outside. "Joe? What are you doing here?" Felicia asked.

Before he could answer, a pair of small red eyes was looking at them from the shadows. Realizing it was an alarm set to prevent anyone from getting near the human… Joe looked up and pleaded with the winged creature. "You don't want to alert the castle guard right?" Smirking quite evilly, the bat suddenly took off for its owner. Chasing after the bat as if his life depended on it, Joe filled in Felicia to what was going on. "So that explains why we were called into Morrigan's home." The feline answered. "We? Wait, who else did Morrigan bring into here?"

Rounding a corner, Joe ran right into something soft and fluffy. "What do we have here? A human screwing around in the Aensland House?" The gruff, aged voice belonged to the head of Bigfoot as the large creature went to grab Joe and crush his head for not apologizing right away for running into him. Before the quad-extra-large hand could smash in Joe's skull, Felicia called out to the beast. "Tundra stop… or I'm going to have your CD order canceled!" Freezing in place, Tundra looked down at a scared human with a smile. Not wanting to lose out on having a special autographed CD sent to the village, the extra-large Bigfoot suddenly changed his conduct. "I'm just playing around Felicia. If you know that famous Darkstalker, you are ok with me!" Tundra boasted and slapped Joe's back.

Now if Joe was able to access his abilities, a friendly symbol of affection from Tundra would be child's play and be nothing but a pat on the back. Today… that 'pat' would end up throwing the human quite a distance. "Joe!" Unable to grab her normal friend, Felicia watched as the brown haired human get tossed over a balcony and dropped to the floor below. Crashing through a table filled with paper reports, Joe stood up and looked around at a stunned crowd. The heads of Makai were shocked to see a human barge in their meeting, but nobles belonging to the Kreutz family saw Joe's face and became enraged. "That's the one who killed our teacher!" Bursting out from another balcony, a group of demons were in a fit of blood rage… wanting to kill the one who killed one of their own had override their years of strict training.

"Excuse me. I need to attend to this…" Stepping out from his seat, the movement of one of those sitting in attendance had to act to quell the violence in his clan. Joe could only watch as the group of ten demons were erased from the room. What the hell? Looking at the nearest wall, a series of imprints had been carved as if something had been thrown through the stone surface. Outside the building laid the knocked out forms of the demons who thought attacking in a neutral location would be ignored. Looking back at Joe… the sixteen foot tall creature coiled its scale lined tail around his body and moved back towards the table. Berial… are humans really Makai's next step in evolution?

To be continued – End of Chapter 14

Trailer for the next episode:

As the situation in the Makai and Human Worlds get worse, those in charge decide to kill off Joe… believing that he was the cause of those being left in comas. However, a long forgotten weapon from Makai's dark past is about to show its head once again.

Next time: Episode Fifteen: Unseal the Nameless Weapon!