"Princess, Princess,

Why do you cry?

In a forest painted by the setting sun,

I made a promise to the demon boy…

That when the full moon ascends the sky in ten,

I'll become his bride.

Princess, Princess,

Why do you laugh?

Behind a wall of bamboo blinds,

The minister explains that

He'll hide and protect me,

Just as clouds do the moon in a hazy sky.

Princess, Princess,

Why are you scared?

In the far-off reaches of the highest mountains,

I hear the cries of the demon boy

That if Women are truly as fickle as the phases of the moon,

Then surely I shall capture and devour her."

-- "Crescent Moon" With art by Haruko Iida and story by Takamura Matsuda/Red Entertainment

The chiming of the bells was a beautiful noise. The chirping of the birds.

The…

Honking?

It was repetitive.

And it was long.

It lasted for so long, that her eyelids fell down slightly.

It sounded like a lullaby.

A beautiful, quiet, lullaby. And so nice… Then it was silent.

And a long, drawling honk pierced through the serenity of the moment.

The fear, the urge to scream, the urge to jump, was so great, that her lips parted, and a loud screeching noise sounded.

But it wasn't her.

One of the cars had screeched to a stop, the brakes squealing, and had completely rammed into the side of the other car.

Shouts, honks, and sirens soon flooded her ears.

And then, she could move.

Just like that.

It started out as a hand just barely moving, then, it accelerated.

She was laying on concrete.

It was dark.

And she was holding something.

She shoved herself up, eyes squinted.

And lifted up her hand.

It was a piece of cardboard.

And by just the little bit of light that there was in the alley, she could make out the word. The single word, that was etched out onto it.

Mariko.

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"Good morning, Mr. Walker!"

The girl's musical voice echoed throughout the empty lobby of the motel.

The lobby was void of people except for a gray-haired man behind the counter and the young girl.

"Good morning, Mariko." The old man was wiping off the counter. "I trust you had a nice night?"

"Yes, Sir." Mariko said with a small smile. "I still… I still can't thank you enough." She said with a sigh, grabbing a broom out of a small linen closet in the lobby.

"Oh, it's fine. I still wish you would let me pay you more and let the room be free."

Mariko shook her head quietly, though her pale cheeks reddened slightly. "I… I'd rather work for it. And it's fine!"

"But you shouldn't have to pay for food…"

"Again, Sir, I won't trouble you with that." Mariko mumbled, sighing quietly.

"But you're a child. I just don't like the idea of a child working here for one-fifty an hour…"

Mariko sighed. "Mr. Walker…" She glanced up at the man pleadingly. It was almost the universal code for, 'Don't trouble me any longer.'

The old man sighed. "I'm sorry, I just worry…"

He trailed off just as the TV from behind the lobby sounded.

"The serial killer known as BB has committed another murder today."

Mariko looked up from her sweeping. "Argh, another murder? By the same guy?"

Mr. Walker sighed. "When I was a child, we didn't have to worry about serial killers running around. We only had to worry about how fast we could go on our bikes and if we had enough money to buy that new racecar model."

Mariko sighed. "But it isn't the 'good old days' any longer…"

"Oh, we open in five minutes."

"Oh, uh, yes!"

Mariko dashed over the front and opened the door, propping them open with two doorstops. They slid several times, and she finally kicked them under the doors ferociously.

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The rest of the day passed, well… Normally.

People were chattering about the new BB murder, of course. But it didn't matter too much.

After all, this was Portland. Who was going to care? It was all the way across the country. Who would be scared?

Unless you had double initials. That would be a little worrying, but only one out of every forty-six people had those.

Only a few people came in.

Two were mothers with young children, five were couples, and four were just normal people coming in for a stay.

Of course, it wasn't quite Christmas yet.

Mr. Walker had offered a raise after Christmas, and she was considering his offer.

He had raised it a dollar. To 2.50.

She still wasn't sure if she wanted to accept it or not. The poor old man was doing enough by simply allowing her to have a room at the motel.

He had offered countless times to let her stay at his home. Let her have dinner with him… Let her sleep in the spare room…

Let her eat his food.

Let her take room in his house.

Let her go to school… Let her study and learn…

Let her take up his time to pick her up and drop her off.

Let her waste the leisure time he had by asking for help with homework.

No. There was no way.

But she could use the raise, despite how much her conscience nagged at her.

She secretly joked with herself that she was trying to act accordingly to her name, every time she walked down the aisle in the Wal-Mart, looking for the ramen that was on sale.

Yes, ramen can go on sale.

Every once in a while, she would get something decent. She could get some carrots, maybe celery, if they were on sale.

Someone could easily say that this was illegal, but in truth, she was pretty much volunteering. Although Mr. Walker always insisted on something, she always turned him down.

He always offered to just give her ten dollars an hour for doing absolutely nothing. But she always said no.

So she was really just volunteering.

And there was no law in Maine that said someone couldn't help out. Plenty of girl scout troops younger than Mariko did it.

Of course, those troops were all lead by grown adults. Who supervised. And the girls didn't live in the motel rooms. But did it really matter?

It was still 'volunteering,' regardless.

And so she ended day after tiring day, sweeping floors, cleaning windows, sometimes even helping out at the front desk.

This particular day seemed a little bit different to her. Well, not until she walked into her room, to find the sliding glass door open, curtains flowing in the winter breeze. She walked over to the crude, small desk that had come with the room, and stared at the piece of cardboard sitting on the desk, the letters scratched out next to the other piece.

Lawliet.

She stared, rolling the name out on her tongue.

Then a laugh sounded behind her.

She spun around, then found herself face-to-face with a Shinigami.

Oh my God!

It's someone reading this page!

-Spazzes out-

Arigatou for reading this far! Okay, sorry. I spazzed.

I've been working on this fic for a while as far as plot development ect.

And I'd like to thank the following people for their AMAZING contributions! This would not be possible at all without you guys!:

Silverstreek904, Invader Black, TallesBlue, and of Neopets… TNThatesReno!

You guys are all awesome in different ways, and this really wouldn't be possible without you!

Uh, lessee…

If you were brought here by the trailer, our contributors were:

TallestBlue - Mariko

Invader Black - L and Beyond Birthday

Camera - xD Yes, I contributed.

Lesse, the trailer won't be up before this chapter, I'm afraid, so if you really wanna see it, you're just gonna have to subscribe to Shashanyaara on YouTube and wait.

Once the trailer is actually made, I'll have the full cast in the description of the video.

Thank you to everyone who has helped me! You guys rock!