I'd like to offer a special thanks to any one who reviewed and stuck around i've resumed writing this story so i should hopefully have another chapter out soon



"mind link"

Nick sighed as he closed his locker and turned to head to his next class. It had been a week and the words were still ringing in his mind. "You'll know instantly. You can't miss her. She's wearing a pink heart around her neck." sighing again Nick swung his backpack onto his shoulder and managed to hit someone in the process.

"Watch what you're doing Gautier" someone said.

Nick turned as he heard the voice and realized it was one of Stone's minions. A guy named Ben. Without a word Nick turned and continue walking.

"What are you too good to talk to me Gautier" Ben asked.

Nick said nothing.

"I'm talking to you" Ben said as he grabbed Nick and pulled him back.

Nick turned ready to fight but stopped as he heard a book click shut and someone said "leave him alone Cro-Mag."

Nick turned and saw a boy leaning against the lockers. He was thin and a several inches taller than Nick. He had mid length slightly disheveled looking black hair pale skin sharp features and gold eyes. He was dressed all in black including a long black coat that had a black leather book sticking out of a pocket.

It was a bad time to turn because at that moment Ben threw a punch straight for Nick's exposed jaw.

"Look out" the guy shouted.

Nick dodged. The punch missing by a hairs breath.

Ben snarled and turned to hit Nick again. He threw another punch but this time the guy got in the way catching Ben's fist. He twisted and Ben toppled to the ground.

"Let me go jackweed" he said.

The guy smiled "congratulations" he said. "You managed an insult with two whole syllables" he said. "It must have taken you hours of hard work to learn that."

Ben snarled a sound more animal than human but that turned into a whimper as the guy twisted his arm again.

He turned to Nick "I'd give him a round of applause but I've only got the one hand right now" he said holding up his free hand. "You mind" he asked.

Nick smiled it was too good an opportunity to pass up. He gave a few sarcastic claps.

"I swear Gautier you are dead the second I'm out of here" Ben said.

"I don't think so" the guy said as he let go of Ben's arm and hauled him to his feet by the scruff of his neck. He slammed him into the lockers and whispered something to him.

Ben's eyes widened in fear as the guy stepped back.

"Understand" he asked.

"Yeah I understand" Ben said nodding.

"Good now get out of here" the guy said.

Ben ran practically leaving a vapor trail as he moved as fast as a Were-Wolf could go.

"What did you say to him" Nick asked.

"I just told him what I'd do to him if he didn't learn some manners" the guy said.

"What were you going to do" Nick asked.

The guy smiled mysteriously "you really don't want to know trust me" he said. Then he cocked his head in an appraising way "you're Nick Gautier" aren't you.

Nick's smile dropped instantly "yeah that's me" he said. "I suppose you've heard some nasty things about me around here" he said.

"No I haven't heard anything about you from anyone here" the guy said.

"Really" Nick asked. "Then how did you know who I was" he asked.

"I'm new here I just started today" the guy said. "And a friend of a friend told me about you" he said. "All good of…" he started but stopped as someone shouted


Nick turned to see Caleb running towards him.

"Are you okay" he asked as he stopped in front of Nick.

"Yeah I'm fine" Nick said. "Why."

"I sensed…" Caleb started but trailed off unsure. "Something" he finished lamely.

"No there's nothing here I was just talking to…" Nick started turning back to the guy but stopped when he saw he was gone. "Where'd he go" he said.

"Who" Caleb asked.

"No one" Nick said shaking his head.

"Come on let's get to class" Caleb said.

Nick nodded in agreement "Richardson will skin us alive if we're late again" he said.

Zankou materialized in the dankness of one of the tombs that made up one of New Orleans' Cities of the Dead. "Urist" he whispered.

A ball of light bloomed over him illuminating the tomb in an unnatural sourceless light.

He cast his eyes around the room until he found what he was looking for. A large nondescript stone coffin in a back corner. He took a step towards it but stopped as a ringing sound filled the tomb.

Sighing he pulled out his phone and flipped it open. "What" he snapped.

"Where are you" a voice hissed at him over the line. "I'm waiting."

"I'm working on it now Scration" Zankou said. "Akri wants a veil to be cast over the entire city so that we won't be recognized" he said.

"Yes I understand that" Scration said. "Have you done anything about getting me into the school" he asked.

"We haven't gotten there yet" Zankou said.

"What have you been doing then" Scration growled.

"You forget yourself Daimon" Zankou said. "You may be one of Akri's Blood Knights but I am the leader of his Remnants" he said.

Scration scoffed "I've picked my teeth with creatures stronger than you for centuries" he said.

"And I can incinerate you with a thought" Zankou said. It was a bluff as one of his master's Blood Knights Scration was safe from all but a few.

Scration chuckled over the phone "don't bother bluffing to me boy I've had a lot more experience at it than you" he said. "However you are right it is senseless for us to squabble like this since we are of equal standing" he said.

"I agree" Zankou said. "Let me finish with the veil and then I'll see what our people are working on to get you into the school" he said.

"Very well I'll be waiting" Scration said before he hung up.

Zankou pocketed the phone as he returned his attention to the coffin. "Crtra."

A puff of air and grave dust burst from the within as the lid was shoved aside. Inside was a perfectly preserved skeleton dressed in a faded gray suit.

Zankou smiled as he drew a dagger and cut the shirt open revealing the ribcage. From within his coat he produced a small package wrapped in oil cloth. He carefully unwound the protection spells he'd placed on it as he unwrapped the layers of cloth.

Inside was a small golden skull with a leather leash type device attached to its base. A jewel populated each of its eye sockets. One a blood red carbuncle was an ancient stone imbued with the power to reveal the truth. The other was a glowing diamond which was used for protection and hiding because it had the ability to bend and twist light to form shields and cloaks about itself.

Zankou smiled at the genius of his own plan as he removed a small gray and red hematite from his pocket. historically a stone of protection this hematite had been altered to allow the wielder to cast out their mind and will allowing them to enact change upon the world at the slightest whim. He knew that his master held this stone's twin which was the controlling mechanism for the one he now held.

Turning his thoughts away from that Zankou pressed a button on the bottom of the skull allowing its jaw to open so he could insert the hematite before he closed it. That done he pressed a button over the carbuncle as a golden eyelid closed over the stone. Next he tapped the forehead revealing a third eye that held a smoky quartz which was the stone of illusions.

"Good" he said as he gently lifted the skull and placed it inside the coffin under the skeleton's ribs. With another word he sealed the coffin and took a step back. He mentally ran through the complex incantation that was used to activate the skull.

"Aciliar" he shouted. The word boomed through the tomb as the walls started to shake and the air began to hum. "Cestradal suveriatla desminos" he said as he drew a glyph in the air black fire giving it form.

"Dryeathil neamortis" he said as he sliced his palm with the dagger and smeared his blood over the coffin lid.

"Treion uthren actrion dertreimos" he said as he moved the glyph so it hovered over the blood and his other hand drew yet another fiery glyph.

"Vetyria iosola zetriomond brth setreintka" he shouted as he slammed the dagger through the glyphs and into the center of the blood smear.

Energy boomed through the tomb as the blood boiled quickly evaporating into nothingness. But he knew it wasn't gone he could feel it and its power still around him as the spells formed the first layers of the veil.

"Now" he thought as he twisted the dagger in the stone.

Dark power bubbled up from within the coffin flowing out to fill the tomb and beyond until it encompassed all of New Orleans and several dozen miles beyond.

Zankou sighed as he dropped to his knees relived it was over. He was so spent that he could barely move. But he was alive and had accomplished something that other Remnants years older than him wouldn't even dare to dream of attempting.

He groaned as the backlash of the spell hit him and the thought of having to summon another porthole to leave the tomb entered his mind. Panic set in then as he realized he barely had the strength to move let alone create a rift between realms.

But that panic vanished as a porthole opened next to him and a man stepped out.

"My Lord" he said. He was average looking. About six foot two with glacial blue eyes black hair that was spiked in the back a pointed black goatee and black claws instead of fingernails. Dressed in the loose fitting dark tunic and pants he was wearing he made an imposing sight.

But Zankou wasn't afraid. He was relieved because this was Caridax a demon and his personal bodyguard. "Thank Kaeleer you're here Caridax" Zankou said. "I need your help."

"It would appear that you do" Caridax said with a good natured smile as he lifted Zankou as easily as a puppy. "You should not attempt such things that are beyond your years" he said.

"I have to. It's why I'm the leader. It's why Akri trusts me" Zankou said.

"Yes I suppose so" Caridax said. "Well then shall we go" he asked.

"Yes" Zankou said sleepily as he fought to keep his eyes open.

Caridax nodded before he stepped through the porthole and they vanished.

Nick and Caleb sighed in relief as they made it to Richardson's class just as the bell rang. They quickly made their way to their seats to avoid getting yelled at.

"What kept you guys" Nekoda asked as they sat down.

"One of Stone's…"

"Something you'd like to share with the class Mr. Gautier" Richardson's shrill voice interrupted.

"Um no ma'am" Nick said as he turned to face her.

"Good because I have an announcement to make" she said. "We have a new scholarship student joining us today" she said. "His name is…" she trailed off as she squinted at her clipboard "Zarik Zicronam" she said.

"Actually Mrs. Richardson it's pronounced Zar'roc Zicronium" a voice said from the back of the room.

Everyone turned as someone walked in. Nick recognized him instantly as the guy from the hall.

Richardson looked back down at her clipboard for a moment before she said "so it is." "You may take your seat now" she said.

Zar'roc nodded before he sat in the vacant seat next to Nick.

Nick was about to say something but stopped as Richardson started her lecture. The lecture passed through a torrent of whispers about Zar'roc who only sat there calm and still as a statue listening.

"Any questions" Richardson asked as she finished.

"Yes I have one" Zar'roc said with a sly smile. "Why is it you teach" he asked.

"Excuse me" Richardson asked as the entire room went dead silent.

"Why is it you teach" Zar'roc asked again punctuating each word. "I mean it's obvious that you hate kids" he said.

Richardson turned flaming red with anger and looked like she was ready to explode "to the…" she started but stopped as the intercom buzzed.

"Mrs. Richardson please send your new student to my office" Principal Head's voice said.

Richardson smiled evilly at Zar'roc "with pleasure sir" she said as the intercom hung up.

Zar'roc raised an air of cocky arrogance about him as he did. "I think you did well" he said. "Let's pick this conversation up when I get back" he said before he walked out leaving a sputtering Richardson behind.

Zar'roc yawned as he walked through the halls of St. Richards. he stopped at his locker and flicked the lock open. He frowned at the small wrapped package that sat inside. As he took it out his phone rang.

"Hello" he said as he answered it. "Oh hi mom" he said. "Yeah I got them" he said as realized what the box was.

He flicked it open and was met with the sight of several neatly cut squares of fudge.

"Did you make them like I told you" he asked. "Good" he said a moment later. "Yes I'm on my…" he started but stopped as ringing filled the hall he sighed. "I've got to go" he said as he hung up and pocketed the phone.

He reached into an inner coat pocket and with drew a sleek black phone that looked almost twice as expensive as his other phone. "Yes" he said as he answered it.

"The package you asked for as been delivered to your home" a reptilian voice said over the line.

"Good what about the other thing I asked you for" Zar'roc said.

"We're working on it" the voice said "you must understand that with items of such power the process is delicate" it said.

"Well go faster" Zar'roc growled.

"I'm sorry but you can't rush art" the voice said.

"I'm not rushing art I'm rushing you" Zar'roc said. "I'll need them within three days I want them here in two" he said.

"Difficult but doable" the voice said. "I assume there will be extra compensation for my work" it asked.

Zar'roc sighed "tell them to double your pay" he said.

"Excellent" the voice said. "If you don't mind my asking where are you now" it said.

"I'm in that damned school" Zar'roc said. "On my way to meet the Principal" he said.

"Ah" the voice said. "With a little treat for him I assume" the voice said.

Zar'roc smiled "of course" he said with a chuckle that was followed by a short laugh from the voice. "Two days" Zar'roc said as he turned serious again. "Or I'll make you wish for the hell I found you in" he said as he hung up the phone slammed his locker shut and quickly made his way to the office.

"Where have you been" the ancient looking secretary asked as he walked in. "the Principal has been waiting."

"Sorry" Zar'roc said with a kind smile. "I got a little lost."

"And what is that" the secretary asked as she glanced at the box.

"My mom asked me to give these to Principal Head for her" Zar'roc said.

"Fine go on in" the secretary said as she turned back to her work. Zar'roc walked into the office and shut the door behind him.

"Have a seat" a man he assumed was Principal Head said.

Zar'roc sat in the chair and smiled at the Principal. "You wanted to see me sir" he asked.

"Yes" Principal Head said. "Do you know why you're here" he asked.

"I assumed I was here because it's my first day and you wanted to meet me" Zar'roc said. "Oh and before I forget my mother made this for you" he said as he set the box on Head's desk.

He looked at it quizzically before he opened it "you can tell her it was wasted effort I don't eat fudge" he said.

"oh that's too bad" Zar'roc said his smile never wavering even as he mentally cursed and made a mental note to have a little talk with his informant.

"To get back on topic in regards to why you're here" Principal Head said.

"Of course sir" Zar'roc said. "But won't you please at least try the fudge my mother made it special for you" he said.

"We have more important things to discuss" Principal Head said. "I was going through your records and there're a few things I wish to ask you about" he said.

"Alright" Zar'roc said calmly even as his mind was working a hundred miles an hour both trying to figure out what Head knew and what he himself was going to do.

Principal Head flipped open the folder on his desk and scanned the first few lines. "It says here your parents had you home schooled for the first part of your education" he said.

"They're my adoptive parents actually" Zar'roc said. "Both of my parents…" he started but hesitated a moment "left this world when I was young" he said. "My adoptive father had just received his degree in teaching at the time so he home schooled me" he said.

"I see" Principal Head said as he made a note in the file. "Then it says you went to Rockland Middle School in New York before coming here" he said.

"Yes" Zar'roc said his mind continuing to whirl. He'd only been able to come up with two solutions to his problems. One was to force the fudge down Head's throat which was about as subtle as a freight train. And the other idea was just as dangerous if a bit more subtle.

"The Principal there is a personal friend of mine" Principal Head said. "So I called and asked about you" he said. "He said they have no record of you."

Zar'rocs mind screeched to a halt and he almost let an exceptionally colorful curse slip.

"So I want to know why that is and what other parts of your record are lies" Principal Head said.

Zar'rocs mind started again and he resigned himself to what he had to do. "Eat the fudge" the words came out as more of a breath then sound. "I have no idea what you're talking about" he said.

"Don't lie to me" Principal Head said as he reached for the box flicked it open and withdrew a small piece of fudge.

"I'm not" Zar'roc said. "That other Principal must be lying" he said. "Eat the fudge" he breathed again.

"I find it highly unlikely I've known him for years" Principal Head said as he took a large bit of fudge.

"Bingo" Zar'roc thought as he smiled. "Alright how about a change of topic" he said as a slight red sheen rolled over his eyes.

Head's eyes turned glassy as he leaned back in his chair. "Very well" he said.

Zar'roc grinned wickedly as he said "there's a certain teacher that I think we need to have a talk about."

Nick groaned. Richardson had spent the last hour ranting and coming up with new assignments to make their lives miserable. With all the work she'd given them he'd be lucky to finish it by the time he had grandkids.

"Why'd you have to mouth off" he thought.

Zar'roc had seemed cool when they'd met in the hall and it had been fun to see Richardson riled. But now that it was affecting all of them it had gone too far. He glanced at the clock which still said the class had ten minutes left. He groaned again and let his head fall against his desk.

In that amount of time Richardson could probably come up with another decade worth of work for them.

Nick's head shot up as he heard the door opening. Everyone turned to see Zar'roc standing there.

No one said anything. They only glared.

All except for Richardson who had an all too satisfied smile on her face. "Back to collect your things Mr. Zicronim" she asked.

Zar'rocs face was completely stoic as he approached her "no I'm not" he said. "But you might want to think about it" he said as he dropped a piece of pink paper on her desk.

Richardson stared at it shocked.

"Principal Head issued a suspension for you and an investigation into your teaching practices is pending to determine if you'll be allowed to keep your job" Zar'roc said. As he finished the bell rang and he turned to go. "Oh and by the way it Zicronium not Zicronim" he said.

Nick saw something snap in Richardson's eyes as he said it.

She howled as she ran at him.

Zar'roc smiled as he side stepped and swept her feet out from under her causing her to trip and slide across the floor.

Richardson pushed herself to her feet and lunged for Zar'roc again but before he could get to him a security officer grabbed her and pulled her out of the room.

"One last thing" Zar'roc said as he turned to everyone else in the room. "Principal Head has asked me to tell you that he already has replacement teacher picked out and he will be starting tomorrow" he said before walked out of the room.

"Zar'roc" Nick shouted as he spotted him closing his locker and walking away.

Zar'roc stopped and glanced over his shoulder. "Hey Nick" he said as he slowed his pace allowing Nick to catch up.

"What did you say to Head to get Richardson fired" Nick asked.

"Nothing I just told him what I saw I mean it was obvious that she hated her job and students" Zar'roc said. "It was also obvious that she was unfair in her grades and assignments" he said.

Nick nodded "so what did Head want" he asked.

"He…" Zar'roc started but stopped as he felt a painful tugging in his gut. He cursed silently. "Sorry Nick I just remembered I have something important to do how about I meet you after school tomorrow and we'll talk then" he said.

"Sure" Nick said. "How about we meet at Sanctuary on Ursuline" he said.

"Sounds good" Zar'roc said as the pain in his gut tripled. He was visibly sweating now and small tremors shook his hands.

He sighed in relief as they exited the school and he saw a shiny black car parked in front. "I've got go" he said gesturing to the car. "That's my cousin here to get me" he said and without another word dashed for the car.

Nick frowned in confusion at the strange behavior but he shrugged it off as he turned to head to Sanctuary to meet his mother.

Zar'roc sighed with relief as he slammed the car door closed. "Home" he hissed as he squeezed his eyes shut against the pain and the car started forward.

"Something wrong" the driver asked. Zar'roc opened his eyes to glare at the man. He was a few inches taller than Zar'roc with coal black hair lightly tanned skin and sharp features. He wore a brown leather jacket jeans and a black shirt. The most noticeable things about him were the black sunglasses that hid his eyes the red claw like tattoo on his right cheek and the necklace that held a chunk of obsidian carved to look like a broken dagger.

"No I'm absolutely fine" Zar'roc hissed. "Now go faster I need to get home" he said. The car sped up as the man said

"And what did you learn in school today."

Red tinged the edges of Zar'rocs irises as he said "that my distain for idiots hasn't lessened with time" he said. "Nor has my hatred for idiotic questions."

"Ah" the man said. "And did you make any friends" he asked ignoring the last part of Zar'rocs answer.

"Azazel" Zar'roc snapped. "Enough."

"Very well I was just making conversation" Azazel said.

"Well it's annoying and remember Daimon you may be one of the Free but you walk by my hand" Zar'roc said.

"That is something I never forget" Azazel said. "You know I would die to protect you for everything you've done for me" he said. "Now why don't you tell me what's wrong and why you need to get home so fast" he said.

"Summoning" Zar'roc said. "Can't leave unattended" he said.

"Go I'll do it" Azazel said.

"Thank you" Zar'roc sighed. "Just take me inside and put me in my room" he said. Azazel nodded and with that Zar'roc released his hold. He felt a brief moment of disorientation as his geist left his body. But that quickly passed as the power of the summoning took hold and pulled him into the Nether Realm.

The first thing he felt as he manifested was the deep burning cold. That alone was enough to tell him where he was. He was in Azmodea. He looked around the dark room that was lit only by a small fire in the back of a monstrous hearth.

He turned as he felt a presence behind him. He watched as it emerged from the shadows. "Thorne" he said nodding to him.

"Zicronium" Thorne said.

"Why did you call me here" Zar'roc asked.

"I want to know why you're in New Orleans" Thorne said.

"Because I like the food" Zar'roc said.

Thorne frowned then something akin to fear and anger sparked in his eyes. "You're after him aren't you" he said.

"After who" Zar'roc asked innocently.

"Don't play dumb with me Zar'roc I've known you too long" Thorne said. "You're after the Malachi aren't you" he said.

Zar'rocs only reply was a slow vicious smile.

"Who sent you" Thorne asked as he took a step closer.

"Just a friend of a friend" Zar'roc said.

Thorne paled as there was only one being that he knew of that Zar'roc called friend.

"Why" he asked.

"I don't see how that is any of your business" Zar'roc said.

Thorne lunged forward in anger but Zar'roc side stepped him.

"Now Thorne is that how you treat an old acquaintance" he said. "Quite honestly I'm hurt" he said.

"Why were you sent" Thorne snarled. Zar'roc rolled his eyes "I'm just here to make all his little dreams come true" he said as he leaned against the wall completely relaxed despite the deadly orange aura that surrounded Thorne.

"Don't play with me Zicronium" Thorne said.

"I'm not" Zar'roc said in a board tone as if screwing with one of the beings on his top five hate list wasn't the most fun he'd had in a long time. "I'm just here to make sure the little Malachai gets everything he deserves."

Thorne paused at the answer unsure about it. He didn't know if it meant that Zar'rocs employer wanted Nick dead or turned. Either way it didn't look good for the rest of them if Zar'roc was allowed to complete his mission.

"Whatever you're trying to you know I can't allow it" he said.

"And what are you going to do about it" Zar'roc asked smirking slightly as he saw the determined look on Thorne's face. "Are you going to call daddy so he can try to stop me" he said.

"No" Thorne said as fire engulfed his hands "I'm going to stop you" he said as the fire shot out straight for Zar'roc.

He smiled as he vanished in a streak of black.

The fire turned following him as Thorne fired off several more. They converged on Zar'roc as bluish white light wreathed his left hand.

A wall of water erupted from the floor snuffing out the fire and releasing a cloud of steam.

"You call that fire" Zar'roc said.

Thorne turned slowly waiting for an attack. He knew Zar'roc too well to believe that he wouldn't use this situation to at least do a little damage.

There was a loud boom followed by a ball of scorching fire and searing wind that whipped past his head.

Someone snapped their fingers and the steam cleared.

Thorne stared at the large crater in the wall inches from his head for a moment before he turned back to Zar'roc. "Put those away" he snapped gesturing to Zar'rocs hands.

His right was wreathed in blue light and his left in red. "Why scared I'll call attention to your little hole here" Zar'roc asked as he shook his head.

"Look at you Thorne reduced to a squatter in Noir's realm when you once held a power that would have allowed you to crush him and laugh over his corpse. But no you gave it up" he said as he curled his lip in distaste. "And for what your petty humanity" he said as he turned. "Don't summon me again Thorne. And don't interfere with my plans or I swear next time we meet I will destroy you" and with that he vanished into the shadows.

Zar'rocs anger was pulling at the leash by the time he returned to his body and he needed something to lash out at. His eyes snapped open several seconds before his awareness returned and he realized he was in his room. He tore the covers off as he leapt out of bed.

"Azazel" he shouted.

The Daimon snorted as he blinked his eyes. "Oh you're back" he said as he yawned and leaned back in the black chair that sat next to Zar'rocs desk. "How did it go" he asked.

Zar'rocs only reply was a snarl as he moved to one corner of the large rectangular room that populated more than a third of the basement level of the house. He kicked aside the carpet revealing a trapdoor.

Without a word he pulled it open and descended a metal staircase Azazel on his heels.

"What's wrong" he asked.

"Nothing" Zar'roc snarled. "Where's the package" he asked.

Azazel pulled a wrapped rectangle from his coat pocket and handed it over.

Zar'roc nodded as he tore the paper off and opened the box. He paused in his descent taking a moment to admire the pendent that hung on a chain of black metal links. The pendent itself was made of the same black metal as the chain. shaped like a dagger it bore a large stone embedded in center the stone was impossibly dark seeming to suck light form the vary air and pull it down into the crimson depths at its center.

Zar'roc smiled as he removed it and hung it around his neck. An electric ripple of pleasure ran down his spine making him shiver before a feeling of cool power wrapped around him.

The box vanished from his hand as he continued down the steps.

"Zar'roc" Azazel said as he slipped past and blocked the last flight of stairs.

"Move Azazel" Zar'roc said his voice devoid of emotion.

"Not until you tell me what happened" he said.

"Move or else" Zar'roc said.

"Or else what" Azazel asked. "It's not like you have a weapon on you to kill me with" he said.

"I don't need a weapon to splatter you across these walls" Zar'roc said as tiny coils of red snaked through his irises.

Azazel was silent and unmoving.

"Fine" Zar'roc spat. "It's that accursed child Thorne" he said.

"Thorne summoned you" Azazel asked. "Why."

"He knows why we're in New Orleans and why" Zar'roc growled as the coils of red flared to bloody starbursts.

"He attacked you" Azazel asked surprised.

"Yes the little insect attacked me" Zar'roc snapped. "And he's lucky I didn't rip him apart for it" he said as he sighed. "But that doesn't matter for now let's go check and see if your demons have located our Malachai" he said as they reached the bottom of the stairs.

Azazel nodded as he quickly keyed a code into the pad next to the door. The door slid open admitting them to a room that contained about a dozen computers arraigned along two of the walls. Against the other were several work tables that held various weapons and vials of colored liquid along with several artifacts. In the center of the room was a large desk facing a flat screen TV that populated the last wall.

"Status report" Zar'roc said as he sat at the desk and flicked on the slim black and red laptop that sat in its center.

One of the demons rose from his spot and stepped forward. "No change sir" he said.

"You disappoint me Clarix" Zar'roc said.

"I'm sorry sir" Clarix said glancing nervously at Azazel. "But we do have some information that you might find interesting" he said.

"And what would that be" Zar'roc asked.

"We scanned St. Richards like you told us and we found two energy signatures that stood out among the others" Clarix said.

"What were they" Azazel asked.

"The one we were able to identify was a demon sir" Clarix said. "A Deava of significant power and age" he said.

"And the other" Zar'roc asked.

"Unidentifiable" Clarix said. "Though its power was similar in strength to the Deava's" he said.

"Zar'roc we can't ignore this" Azazel said. "Perhaps I should investigate" he said.

Zar'roc ignored him as several possible plans flicked through his mind. "Was there anything else" he asked.

"Yes" Clarix said "it appears as if an extremely powerful veil has appeared over the city and surrounding area" he said.

"What" Zar'roc snapped. "Who…" he started but stopped as a though occurred to him and he cursed.

He rose the chair shooting away from him as he did. He turned a look of sheer unadulterated fury in his eyes as he moved towards the door.

"Zar'roc what are you doing" Azazel asked.

"I'm going to put a few underlings in their place" Zar'roc growled as he stalked towards the door.

Azazel paled slightly when Zar'roc was like this the place he was referring to usually meant a fresh grave and they'd already been warned once what would happen if they stepped out of line again.

"My Lord wait" he said.

"What" Zar'roc snapped as he turned.

"You can't just go around killing those that anger you. Especially not right now well we already stand on the edge" he said.

Zar'rocs only response was a low growl.

"You know I'm right" Azazel said.

"They had no right to interfere" Zar'roc said.

"Perhaps they simply didn't know" Azazel said. "And besides is a veil really that bad" he asked.

Zar'roc looked thoughtful for a moment before he reached out and seemed to grasp some invisible object. He rubbed his fingers together as if he were testing cloth.

"The veil is solid enough" he said. "And now that I know about it it would be fairly easy to weave myself into it" he said.

"There you go" Azazel said relieved that he'd steered them away from a situation that would have certainly lead to their untimely deaths.

Zar'roc sighed as his anger drained away "I have homework" he said disdainfully. "Damn the humans for it" he muttered as he left to return to his room.

Azazel sighed before he turned back to Clarix "get back to searching we have three more days and I want the Malachai found by the second" he said.

"Yes Lord Azazel" Clarix said before he rushed back to his computer.

Azazel ran a hand through his hair tugging on it slightly in a vain attempt to lessen the pain of the headache growing behind his eyes.

He glanced at the small stack of reports that sat untouched on Zar'rocs desk before he gathered them up and left.

Nekoda sighed as she tried in vain to puzzle out what was wrong with Nick. He'd been different over the last week. He'd seemed distant and at one point almost afraid. "Nick what's wrong" her whispered words almost like a prayer.

"What do we have here" a voice hiss behind her.

Nekoda's head shot up as she spun eyes probing the area. The street around her was empty the only noise coming from the slight breeze and the grass and leaves it stirred.

She was about to turn around and resume walking when she heard a soft chuckle. "A little jumpy aren't we Guardian" the voice said.

"Who's there" Nekoda asked.

"I've had many names" the voice said its tone dripping with sadistic humor. "I've been called the Night Slayer, the Blood Blade, and the Binger of Sorrow" it said. "I am the Second Lord of the Free and commander of more power than you can comprehend" it said.

Nekoda ignored its rambling as she glanced around trying to pinpoint it. Her eyes fell on a patch of shadow that seemed slightly too dark to be natural. As she watched it stretched upward until it took on the form of a man. The darkness around him splintered allowing her to see him for the first time.

He was about six feet tall with slightly curling blond hair that just brushed the top of his high colored black coat. His cloths were as black as his coat and seemed to glisten in the dim light of late afternoon. It was his face though that held her attention. He would have been hansom if not for his intense blue eyes that glowed with a cruel light the strange swirling. The strange geometric tattoo that covered half his face. And his wicked smile that revealed a pair of fangs.

Power seemed to boil the air near him and all around him Nekoda saw grass and other small plants wither and die. It was then she realized what he was. A Kathoros Daimon. The most evil and powerful of their species the Kathoros were legendary for their skill in battle and their power is said to give even the Gods pause.

But he seemed different then the few Kathoros that she'd come across. His power was different. Stronger and much more ancient.

"Who are you" she asked again.

"Most don't get time to call me by name" the Daimon said as the sound of a weapon being unsheathed filled the air.

Nekoda glanced down and saw that he now held a three foot long leaf shaped blade made of a strange red metal she'd never seen before.

"But you Guardian may call me Scration" he said.

"And what is it you want Scration" Nekoda asked hoping to avoid a fight.

"Me I want nothing" Scration said. "but my master wants your head on a platter and I've been granted the ability to use whatever means necessary to accomplish this" he said as he smiled cruelly. "But it won't be any fun if you just sit there" he said. "Go on and draw your weapon Guardian" he said.

Nekoda complied manifesting a sword.

"Nice trick" Scration said. "Well you're at it you might want to make yourself a tombstone" he said before shot forward and the battle began.

Next time: Nekoda finds out exactly why Scration should be feared Zar'roc finds out who the Malachai is he meets Caleb and the two have a little chat and Acheron has a talk with a very old enemy.

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