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Chapter Four - Restless

After a couple of hours of rather fitful sleep Yuki's blue eyes fluttered open and the she-wolf gazed around for a moment through the haze that often accompanies just waking from sleep. As her vision cleared she noted, from the position of the sun outside her one small window, that it was mid-afternoon. This was the only way to mark the passage of time because she didn't have a clock in her room… for that matter she had very few furnishings. The bed on which she slept, as well as a chair that she normally draped her Exorcist's jacket over. That was the extent of it. There was also a small closet where she hung her few articles of clothing but the truth was that she required very little. Her life with the pack had prepared her for a life of hardship and, to be truthful, what little she had at the Order would be considered luxury after that. But that didn't mean that it was better.

Yuki was a creature of instinct and was more than capable of surviving without any of it; and not just of surviving but flourishing.

With this thought in mind the white wolf leapt easily from the bed, not even bothering to shift into her human form. By now the other members of the Black Order were accustomed to seeing her in such a manner and since she wouldn't be around them for more time than it took to get outside she saw no need to transform. She needed some fresh air and a chance to clear her head and mull over everything that had happened on her last mission. For this she would retreat to the forest outside headquarters, having always enjoyed the peace that it offered. For no one else ever ventured there.

As she padded down the halls, away from her room and toward the front door, Yuki regarded each person that she passed. Some of them she didn't like, most of them she tolerated, and there were a very few that she actually liked. The few that hadn't treated her any different just because she happened to be a wolf/human hybrid. They were among the exceptionally rare who saw only the person on the inside and not what was on the outside.

What was on the inside…

As these thoughts reverberated in her mind Yuki couldn't keep herself from once again conjuring up an image of the Noah that she had met while on her last mission. The lithe man with the piercing eyes; eyes that had bored into her soul and a melodious voice that had compelled her to listen to his words even while every instinct that she possessed had been screaming for her to escape by any means possible.

"And that was the beginning of one of the strangest encounters of my life," Yuki thought to herself as she left headquarters, stepping out into the bright sun. Stretching her front paws slightly, Yuki crouched low in an effort to elicit a spine-aligning pop. Feeling the vertebrae realigning Yuki straightened up, enjoying the feel of the sun on her snowy white pelt for a moment before she turned and loped toward the forest. There was a path that led into the shady depths of the forest but Yuki didn't keep to the trail. Raising her muzzle into the air she sniffed the wind for a moment before choosing her direction and moving at a steady trot, her keen eyes focused on her chosen path.

"So much for a relaxing moment to clear my head," she muttered to herself as she caught the familiar scent of Akuma. She was still too far away to determine how many of them there were but knew that she would have to do something about it since they were way too close to headquarters.

It simply wouldn't do for the Earl to discover their whereabouts since that would make their battle exceedingly more difficult.

"I can't believe that with all their anti-Akuma security measures this still managed to elude their knowledge," Yuki grumbled under her breath as she loped through the forest at a steady pace.

"Well in their defense people do tend to turn a blind eye to that which they do not wish to acknowledge," a calm and eerily familiar voice called out, adding to a conversation that had been intended to be wholly one sided.

Skidding to a halt Yuki turned to the side to see the silhouette of the Musician standing mere feet away from her. Here she had been bemoaning the fact that the humans hadn't been aware of the presence of the Akuma and then she completely missed the fact that there was a henchman of the Earl within easy striking distance. Her blue eyes flashed as she snarled, "Unacceptable."

"And in your defense I only just arrived here," the Musician said, his voice melodious as always. There was a rather roguish grin spread across his face as he gazed at the wolf, speaking to her as though he could read her thoughts and knew exactly why it was that she was so annoyed.

"Typical male," Yuki said with a scoff, refusing to allow him to know how close to the mark he had been. "You automatically assume that I'm thinking of you."

"So what were you thinking of then?" the young Noah challenged, his eyes locked onto the she-wolf. "If not me."

"The Akuma," Yuki replied without hesitation, deciding that a half lie wouldn't be quite as bad as a blatant one. And she had initially been thinking of the Akuma, at least until the Musician had shown up. "So is that your doing?"

"Hardly," the Musician stated in a calm manner as he fell into step beside Yuki. "I would never resort to such crass methods. It's merely happenstance that they and I are here at the same time."

"So then why exactly are you here?" Yuki asked as she once again continued on her way, deciding that the two of them could talk just as easily while she made her way toward the Akuma. Because the fact that the Noah was here didn't really change the fact that she had to do away with the creatures before they stumbled upon headquarters.

That is assuming that they didn't already know where it was.

That thought actually served to send a shiver down Yuki's spine but she suppressed these feelings that served no purpose. She would simply track down the Akuma and destroy them… and hope that the Musician hadn't been lying when he had told her that his allegiance was no longer to the Earl.

"Guess I'll burn that bridge when I come to it," she thought to herself, twisting a familiar saying so that it was more to her liking.

"You seem oddly distracted," the Musician observed, gazing down at her from his spot at her side. He seemed to have no difficulty keeping pace with her, a fact that surprised Yuki to a small degree.

"How could I not be distracted?" Yuki countered, rolling her blue eyes toward the heavens. He really was a typical male. "I have to go and get rid of the Earl's henchmen before they find the headquarters of the Exorcists… because it would be decidedly bad if the fat bastard gained that particular knowledge."

"That would indeed be a tragedy…"

Yuki's eyes flashed as she heard his rather flippant tone about this serious situation and she suddenly turned on him with a snarl. "I swear, if this is all a trap or something, I will rip out your throat."

"A decidedly unpleasant thought no matter how you look at it," the Musician said, not really seeming all that intimidated by her threat. But he did admire the fact that she was brave enough to issue it, even in light of the fact that he had already proven that he could kill her. "And I have no need for traps… they're merely a waste of time."

His tone was arrogant but his words seemed sincere enough so Yuki turned away from him once more. Her keen sense of smell alerted her to the fact that they were growing very close to the Akuma and she quickened her pace in response to this fact. The sooner she dispatched them then the better off she would be.

There would be time enough to deal with the Noah after that.

"Look," a voice called out from a nearby clearing, having apparently noticed that someone was approaching. And seeming to know that the new arrival had ties to the Black Order. "It'sssss an Exorcisssst."

Yuki's left ear twitched as she noted the hissing quality to the voice and, as she and the Musician entered the clearing, she became aware of the reason behind it. The lone level two of the group looked like an odd mechanical serpent of some sort.

"L-L-Lord Noah…" The level two seemed astonished to find the Musician trailing along beside the Exorcist but the Noah didn't even acknowledge the creature. He merely positioned himself against a tree, his arms crossed over his chest as he waited for Yuki to take care of the assembled Akuma. He could easily dispatch them himself, without so much as moving from his current spot, but was resolved to allow the Exorcist to take care of things.

For various reasons.

"You should focus less on him and more on me," Yuki snarled as she leapt toward the Akuma, using the distraction caused by the Musician to her full advantage. Snapping her jaws she just barely missed tearing out the Akuma's throat; the beast dodging her attack at the last possible moment.

The Musician gazed on, his eyes calculating as he watched Yuki dodge the Akuma's attack before launching another of her own. In truth there were several reasons why he had followed her to this place, not least of all the desire to see her battle skills in action. Granted this wasn't the main reason for his intrigue but the young man was still in denial about those particular feelings so it was best to just not address the issue at present.

"Damn you Exorcissst!" the level two hissed as Yuki swiped him with one of her large front paws, her claws raking across his side and tearing it open. The creature turned to his companions, a group of level ones. "Don't jusssst sssstand there… attack!"

Spurred on by this command the group of level ones flew forward, each one pointing a large number of guns toward the wolf. Teeth bared Yuki leapt forward, ricocheting from each Akuma and destroying it as she went. All that could be seen was a blur of white dodging through the group, large explosions following along in her wake.

"Impressive," the Musician mused, watching as the remnants of the level one Akuma fell to the ground in the wake of the she-wolf. She really was a force to be reckoned with, which made him feel that the choice that he had made had been a good one. She would most definitely be of use to his plans.

Baring her fangs Yuki turned back toward the level two, the only one remaining at this point. "And now for you," she growled, her eyes narrowed as she gazed at the serpent creature. The Akuma had merely stood by as she had destroyed his companions, seemingly too stunned to use her moment of distraction to his advantage.

"Now let's see how she plays this one out," the young Noah muttered, his arms still crossed over his chest as he gazed on. His calculating eyes were analyzing everything that he witnessed, the Musician all the while plotting how this would play into his grand master plan.

Crouching low Yuki waited for the Akuma to attack, her eyes never leaving the face of her opponent. She would give him a couple of moments to initiate an attack but if it took too long then she would be forced to take actions of her own. Because she simply didn't have the patience to deal with the creature's stupidity right now. It took a few moments but the serpent finally decided to attack, leaping forward in a head on offensive.

Which was just stupid.

Yuki easily dodged the attack, skidding to the side and whirling around to snap at the Akuma. Her jaws once again came within inches of the creature but she didn't let this fact discourage her. Patience was a virtue in battle and Yuki had been taught from an early age that anger would only lessen your chances of victory.

And giving the enemy any sort of an advantage usually ended in swift death.

Dodging to the left and then to the right in rapid succession Yuki managed to disorient the Akuma. He couldn't seem to keep up with her, only able to see flashes of white, and the she-wolf used this to her advantage. Leaping forward her front paws collided with the creature, knocking him to the ground. Without hesitation Yuki used her fangs to rip out his throat, leaping away just in time to escape the ensuing explosion.

Panting slightly owing to the exertion of the battle Yuki turned her attention back to the Musician. "So did you gather the information that you needed?" she questioned smugly.

All the Musician could do was gape, once again astonished by exactly how perceptive she was. "I may have just met my match with this one," he couldn't help but think to himself as Yuki continued to gaze at him with that smug expression on her face.

That had to be a first.

A/N - End of another chapter, hope that you enjoyed. Please be kind enough to leave a review and tell me what you thought.