Chapter 1 - Satan's Champion
Rin could remember a time, long, long ago, when she had actually possessed a heart that beats within her breast. But that was a long, long, time ago. But even though the centuries had passed, the memory of it was still very strong within her mind. She could remember the familiar thump-thump it made if she positioned herself just right and listened. It was a soft sound, she remembered, warm and full.
Not having a beating heart was the only thing she regretted about this current life of hers. Of course, she knew full well that she wouldn't have been able to 'live' for centuries with one; a living heart grew old, got tired, and eventually it stopped beating and whoever owned the heart died.
A nudge to her side roused her from her thoughts. Glancing down, she found herself looking into soulful blue eyes, eyes that seemed to burn with a strange fire that was somewhere inside of them. "I shouldn't dwell on the matters concerning my heart?" Rin asked, tilting her head lightly to the side. Her hair, long and glossy and a strange blue in color, brushed against her cheek with that gesture. The big wolf-like creature wagged his tail, getting up as she did so.
"You're right, Shou." Rin reached down, patting the animal affectionately on the head. A rumbling growl sounded deep within his throat. Sometimes it took her awhile to figure out that he was undead, just like her. A creature born in a laboratory, possessing life but no soul, a golem, per se, before Rin had met him.
"Oi, you're finally getting off your lazy butt and doing something?"
"Hello to you, too, Chika-kun," Rin answered curtly, pushing past the spiky-haired boy. Shou gave out a warning growl as he trotted at his mistress' heels.
"You can't have Gopher to help you track the zombies," Chika snapped, feeling cross. There was simply something about this new recruit that set him on edge. He couldn't place his finger on what it was, but he didn't like her. He couldn't tease her, like he could with Michiru. They didn't argue, like he and Shito did, but what was in its place was a stony silence. Even his snipes, intended to hurt and thus prompt a snappy comeback, were ignored.
'You should just leave her be,' the Ferryman had said to him when he first discovered Chika pondering over her, an expression between a scowl and frown on his face.
'She's useful to us. That's all that matters,' was what the chairperson had said.
How exactly was she useful? She holed herself up in her own room for the majority of the time, for God's sake! How could that be useful?
A tapping sound returned Chika's attention to the present, and he yelped when he found himself staring down at a pair of dangerously flaming blue eyes. "Shou, behave yourself," Rin cut in before he could speak, and the huge creature retreated, growling. Chika took a breath and shook his head, recollecting his thoughts.
"You can't have Gopher," he repeated stubbornly. He didn't know why, but the fact that he was denying this girl use of the only one of them who possessed the Shinigami Eyes gave him satisfaction.
"You mean Michiru-chan?" Rin asked, turning around so that she could face him. Silver eyes regarded him for a moment before narrowing. A slow smile spread across her face, and it wasn't one that filled one with warmth.
"I won't be needing her."
Inubashiri Zen swore as he wiped at the blood on his chin. What exactly was this thing? He and his group had been studying this zombie for several nights, and now that they were finally attacking it so that they could guide it to where it, it simply wasn't dying. His swords lowered as he narrowed his eyes, studying said zombie critically.
"Maybe we should go back…" Toma Toko, the girl in their A-loan trio, glanced nervously at the zombie and backed away, behind the safety that Tsugumi Shuji and his machine gun could offer. Even though she was usually very optimistic, she was now beginning to worry. "I think we need to study this one some more. Please, Zen! Let's go back!"
Zen glared at her. "No way," he said flatly. "We're going to beat Z-loan and show them all that A-loan is the best. That's the spirit of competition, isn't it?"
"That spirit could very well get you all killed, you know." All three turned around, eying the silhouettes of human and canine warily.
"Great," Shuji muttered, reloading his gun, "More enemies to fight. Do you think we'll get more money for this?"
His eyes widened in surprise when he saw the huffing and puffing form of Chika emerge behind the first two, followed by Chika's indignant voice demanding to know how she got there so fast and how she knew the zombie was there in the first place. Z-loan… Shuji and Zen's eyes narrowed simultaneously.
The three new arrivals made their way down to ground level, Chika giving a whistle when he saw the state the previous three were in. "Having trouble?" he asked, looking amused. Zen would have very much liked to have sliced Chika's head off of his shoulders.
"I'll be taking that one off of your hands." Now they all turned their attentions from a triumphantly smirking Chika to an impassive Rin. "You seem to be having trouble with him."
Chika's jaw dropped. "Oi, Rin… you can't even fire an arrow straight. How are you going to fight against something like that?" He jabbed a finger at the zombie, who, much to everyone's surprise, had simply observed quietly from the sidelines, neither making a move escape or a move to attack, although everything about its stance projected wariness. "He's fast, and has power to boot. Arrows wouldn't do squat against it."
Rin shrugged nonchalantly. "Well, then… I won't use arrows."
"Huh…? But don't you only have arrows?"
Rin ignored him and turned to Shou, instead. "Go around and flank him," she commanded, and the huge creature slipped away, as silent as could be. Rin herself held out her hand to the side. The palm glowed red as ectoplasm shifted into a weapon. "Saa… for jobs like this I'll be using this. It's a lot heavier than the bow and arrows, but I can control it better." Her weapon sharpened into a scythe, its blade shiny and curved and wickedly sharp. "My Master made it specially for me for my tasks… it would be a waste not to use it."
She padded forward, bypassing Zen and Shuji, leaving a Toko stiffened with fear behind with Chika, and stopped no more than five paces away from the zombie. Shou was behind him, and because Shou could easily move to both sides, his escape was pretty much obliterated. "We'll make this quick, shall we?" Rin asked, holding the scythe idly at her side. One would have thought her to be very relaxed if they didn't see her muscles, taut and ready to spring into action at the slightest movement from her target. "You have broken the contract that our Master has given us to allow us to walk the earth with the living. Because of that, I, Rin, will be guiding you back to Hell where Master will follow through with his own procedures."
She smiled, but without mirth. "I heard it was unpleasant. What exactly did you do?" The way she spoke, it was as it she knew this zombie personally; it was like they were the best of friends in which one had gotten into trouble and the other was teasing.
The zombie spoke for the first time since meeting with A-loan, slowly, and his voice rasped a bit, like he was just getting used to speaking after a long time of being mute. "You are Rin, Satan's champion?"
She shrugged. "Don't know why everyone likes the word 'champion.' I just work." Those silver eyes of hers adopted a far-off look in them for the briefest of moments before turning into stone. "I do what Satan tells me, and when I'm done, I'll fade away. I can only hope for my own personal suite in Hell later on; I've had enough dealing with others." She placed the end of her scythe on the ground and leaned on it, watching him curiously. "Honestly, though, what did you do? He doesn't go lightly on his punishments. I suspect your soul will probably be ripped to shreds and rearranged in the most frightening of manners until someone fixes it."
"I was looking for someone."
This caught Rin's attention, as well as everyone else's. "Who?" Rin asked. "Who is so important to you that you are willing to kill to find them?" It only took things that were very important to one's heart to move a sophisticated zombie into hunting humans.
"I had a daughter," was the simple reply. "I was hoping to see her one last time, before I returned. That was why I asked the Death Lord for his contract."
Rin sighed, not looking very impressed. "When did you die?"
"1556… in the Shaanxi Earthquake," came his hesitant response.
Rin's expression softened. "I'm sorry," she murmured, straightening. There was no way his daughter would still be alive and walking on the earth. She'd either be in Hell or in Heaven by this time. "She won't be here," she said softly, taking up her scythe in one hand.
A cold wind blew the clouds along in the sky, showing the moon, shining in its crescent shape. "I'm sorry," Rin repeated as she raised the weapon. Moonlight splashed along the blade.
"When you return, search for someone called Ran," Rin instructed, holding that scythe above her head. "Ran is an officer for Satan and is in charge of the record book for Hell's occupants; she'll tell you if your daughter is there."
He nodded mutely, as if all of the strength had left him. The blade slashed down, diagonally, from shoulder to hip. The body fell and crumpled to dark ashes, blowing gently away, carried by the wind to be scattered to who-knew-where. Rin lowered the scythe, closing her eyes. "Oyasumi," she whispered.
And may you find that she's not on that list.
The huge canine materialized out of the shadows and stood at her side, standing quietly, only giving the faint twitch of his tail every once in awhile. The wind ceased to blow, and Rin was suddenly aware of how absolutely quiet it was.
"It's amazing, isn't it? How someone can hold onto feelings like the love of a parent for one's child even after suffering in Hell," she said, simply to have something break the silence. The quiet pressed down on her from all sides, and it was painfully similar to her living days, days she had felt she was better off forgetting. Yes… it was better to forget about the quiet, to forget about the pain…
Chika padded up to her, frowning. "You didn't guide his soul," he stated matter-of-factly, almost accusingly.
Rin raised an eyebrow nonchalantly, although inside she was glad to have something divert her from her current train of thought, whether on purpose or simply by accident. "I didn't need to guide his soul," she said, in that same tone he had used. "He is an occupant of Hell, and whether or not we like it, all occupants of Hell shall return to Hell in the end, one way or another."
Her grip on the scythe tightened before she heaved a sigh, watching as it vanished in a swirl of red light, returning to her body in the form of ectoplasm until further need for it arose. "We are under different contracts, than you, Chika-kun. Our contracts weren't given by Ferrymen, but instead by the God of the Underworld."
"So what kind of zombie are you?"
Rin shrugged, looking faintly amused. "Who knows? I never did familiarize myself with your way of classifying zombies," she said airily. "Think of us like angels. Angels aren't living, exactly, but they carry out God's orders and messages. Similarly, we carry out Satan's. I suppose that makes us the angels of Hell." She looked faintly amused with this before steeling her expression again.
"Zombies under our contract should be treated with extra care. The Death Lord's contract gives one near invulnerability unless you catch them on the day that they were given the contract, depending on the level they are. For instance, if one received their contract on the third of a month, every third day for every month, their bodies will become sapped of strength and it will be safe to deal with them."
"How's that?" Zen asked, overcoming his smarting pride to stare curiously up at her. "And that one didn't look like it put up much of a fight."
Rin shrugged. "No… it was a Level 5 zombie," she said simply. "They're the weakest in our hierarchy, so you normally don't need to catch it on contract days to send them back. The lower number the level, the more powerful the zombie." She frowned as she studied the two boys of A-loan. "But it seems like the contracts that Ferrymen give you do little against even Level 5 zombies… you two were lucky you didn't meet anyone stronger. It would have been the second death of you."
They bristled at this, but before they could snap out a retort, Rin was speaking again. "Shinigami Eyes also won't detect zombies with this contract. That's why Michiru-chan would have been useless, Chika-kun." She studied Toko for a moment with silver eyes before shaking her head. "Those blessed with Shinigami Eyes can see black rings around a zombie's neck, am I right? Satan's contracts don't leave behind visible marks. Rather, it's a feeling you need to learn to detect. Find yourselves a Grim Reaper. If they like you, they'll be more than willing to train you."
The expressions on their faces was 'how the heck are we going to find a Grim Reaper?' but she ignored it. "In any case, if you guys are going to be actively pursuing and hunting zombies, exercise a bit of caution, won't you? Too many deaths are troublesome, and I for one don't want to hear Ran screaming in my ear for giving her too many names to process, since I'm supposed to be in charge of those under our contract up here. She may be my mission partner but she gets so annoying at times."
She got blank looks before Toko ventured forth a question. "What level are you, if your… Master… specially made you a scythe like a Reaper's?" What did you do to have to get it, what exactly are you, were the unasked questions.
There was a silence in which Rin refused to look at any of them. Finally, she heaved a sigh. "I am a Level 1 zombie, classified Grade A, a member of Satan's elite strike force." A bitter smile crossed her face as she directed her gaze to them. "Held in a trial where Satan and God themselves were present, publicly banished from Heaven to the depths of Hell, where my punishment commenced. That is me."
A dry laugh tore through her throat. "That is Rin, Satan's champion."
A/N: Back! Yay! I've decided on a whole new turn for this fic... the way the previous one didn't quite go the way I liked it.
Sheesh, I love Rin. She's got to be my most favorite OC of all time. No romance in this one except for canon pairings. Rin would probably drive anyone insane if she's in a relationship and I'm a bit tired of making a new OCxCC at the moment. So she's here for pure friendship/mentor assistance and such.
And I personally loved the Grim Reaper, Zarume-san. So I'm going to give him a semi-big part. Yay for Zarume-san!
Leave a review? Comments? Critiques? Suggestions? Flames with explanations? Anything along those lines would be awesome.