Chapter XXXIX: The Dawning

Zanna was sitting in a simple London Flat owned by her bookkeeper. When she had originally came here after fleeing the battle with those useless demons it has been covered with a thick layer of dust everywhere and covering everything. But Koumori's smaller, lighter half had proved his worth in that respect, cleaning and dusting and even cooking for the princess and her cohorts.

He even wore a little pink apron for Zanna's amusement.

Lately though, she wasn't feeling like herself. She didn't feel like scheming and she didn't want to train. A strange, alien lethargy had fallen over the princess, and she now had moments where she would stare at the walls, her violent eyes vacant and glassy, and she would look like a precious doll made of the most high quality china. To her cohorts it seemed as though the most powerful young warrior had passed into a strange depression.

"Lady Zanna has been acting very peculiar for the past week," Koumori observed as he dried his hands on the frilly pink apron. Despite Zanna's strange mood, he didn't dare take it off. She would wake from her trance and chew him up, spit him out, and make him work twice as hard for several hours. Though now he was mostly an errand boy since Ranmyaku and the others still hadn't come to challenge them.

"Our Lady must be exceedingly bored. She doesn't even have Hiekki to yell at or a weak demon team to amuse herself with." Rumi stated with the slightest hint of sadness and pity in her voice. She hated to see her mistress so unhappy. It had been a long time since she had punished either of them as well. That also disturbed them-especially since Koumori took the punishments as the way Zanna showed that she cared.

Koumori was not like Rumi. He didn't share her fanatic obsession with Zanna. His loyalty was one Gaines from fear-mongering and threats, not the kind of unconditional worship Rumi afforded the dark mistress. Moments like this he thought of Ranmyaku and Honzou and the others. How even though he had only been acting as a spy, he felt more in sync with them than he did with Zanna. He remembered their kind faces and how they accepted him without a single thought. Unlike other teams that had made him prove himself before letting him in, they had welcomed him instantly. 'I could see the goodness in your heart', Ranmyaku would explain later. 'You were a sweet, sad kid thrust into a violent, ruthless battle'.

Even now, in made him shiver how on point her analysis had been.

Dianna, who had been sitting in the kitchen helping herself to her secret stash of crisps, suddenly looked up and paused. She walked into the living room with Zanna and kneeled down. The tiny demon's eyes moved to look at her with alarming slowness.

"Zanna, I hate to wake you from your reverie, but I do believe it's time for your bath."

Zanna's eyes widened suddenly and she quickly glanced over to her two henchmen. "Rumi! Koumori! Come on. We're going to scout the area. Dianna, I'll take a rain check on that… bath…"

Internally, Dianna smiled. Sometimes it was easy to forget that Zanna was a young child, barely school age, with a very childish dislike of bathing more often than necessary. At least that would get her out of her funk. Well, the human hoped it did anyway. They were coming up to their final battle, and even if their opponents were weak and Zanna had a powerful ace in the hole, Dianna didn't want to think about what could possibly happen if they lost. Neither did Zanna. They both knew that Zeon would not accept anything less than total victory from his daughter. Dianna shuddered to think what ZANNA'S punishment would be for failing.

Diana plopped herself down on the couch and held out the bag for Ross who was sitting nearby. "Crisp?" She asked the boy. He reached over and helped himself before they leaned back and turned on some the C-screen and watched television.

The group was ready except Ai and Honzou. The missing team had gone out to train a little bit more before the confrontation. Compared to those two, it seemed everyone else in their little gang was slacking off.

They waited for several moments before Ai and Honzou finally walked up. They both looked determined and undeniably strong. It seemed that Tsuine's words had affected the little plant demon, especially since he had always known that he wasn't a huge help. He was dragging everyone else down, and knew that even by training his butt off he would still just barely reach everyone else's level of strength.

"About time you got here." Tsuine stated with a slightly cold air. He turned to Ranmyaku just in time to see her expression, which was reminiscent of her swallowing something incredibly bitter. He found himself staring at the ice demon, unable to look away. It felt like something important was staring him in the face.

"What?" she shouted loudly. Tsuine looked away with a roll of his eyes.

It was Honzou who broke the awkward silence that followed by talking to Bo. "Where is Zanna now?"

Bo stared at the green demon as though he has never seen him before before scratching his head and thought deeply. After several moments he started to float and pointed forward.

"It's that way… come on, I'll lead you." With that, the little poltergeist floated ahead with the small troup of demon's behind. There were only four of them compared to the eight that they had with them the last time, but Zanna's forces had gone from 8 to only 3. The deciding factor was the simple fact that Zanna was powerful. She counted for 4 demons on her own, not to mention she had the aid of the Nikumosuta.

Tsuine feared that this would be the end for all of them. Though not before he banished that creature once and for all to the gates of Oblivion and go down in history as the greatest Faian warrior ever.

Bo lead them forward, turning down streets and occasionally fading through kiosks and buildings in order to direct them further into the abandoned part of the London underground.

Shun looked around at the dilapidated and overgrown jumble of the Underground. It was out of use, though the near-silent hum of trains could be heard all around them. Zanna however, was nowhere to be found. "So this is it. The final showdown." Those simple words sent a shudder down their collective spines. This was it. Their last clash with good and evil.

"So. You all DID decide to show up."

Head turned in all directions, trying to find the owner of the voice, but she was nowhere to be found, not to mention the echoes that still bounced around muffled her authoritative voice. Bo seemed immediately entranced and drawn to the voice. He hovered out onto the tracks and paused. Lights flared up.

Zanna stood, balancing perfectly on a destroyed beam, her inky black hair flowing behind her and down her back. Bo floated to her, enslaved by her, completely submissive to his mistress.

"Bo darling… how happy I am you're here. I went through such trouble to get you back sweetie…"

Clearly Bo believed every word she said without second thought or question. Zanna smiled and began to stroke the young wolf demon between his ears. Although it left the team wondering if the young male could actually feel it, the contented look on his face at least showed that he was happy to be back in the presence of his mistress.

"What does the mistress ask of me?"