Author's Note: Sorry for the wait. Reality caught me and tried to get me to come back. So I stabbed it.

Chapter 9- The Darkest Nights Hold the Brightest Stars

Birds chirped peacefully outside an open window that led into a quaint kitchen of a small house on the suburbs of a city outside Tokyo. At the counter in the kitchen, a girl stood by the cutting board, chopping vegetables while in the living room, the girl's aunt was watching the television. The girl poked her head in to look over at her aunt.

"Do we have any tomatoes left?" she asked, and the aunt said something, but the girl had become affixed to what was on the television and didn't hear. With a clatter, the girl dropped the knife she was using and rushed to the television. Her aunt jerked in surprise as the girl grabbed the television and put her face close to it.

"H-hey! It's not safe to put your face too close to the TV!" her aunt warned, but she didn't hear as she stared wide-eyed at a photo of a Tokyo street that was riddled with craters and broken walls. The girl wasn't staring at the craters or walls though. Her gaze was straight to the broken mask that lay among the rubble.

"That's Hei-san's mask...!" The girl said as a little girl stepped into the living room with a bad case of bed hair. The aunt pulled the girl away from the television with slight difficulty. When the girl had been pulled away, she immediately jumped and ran for the door, shocking her aunt. The little girl, busy flattening her hair, ran after the girl while the aunt stared after them with her mouth hanging open.

"Kana! Kanon! Get back here!"

Back in Tokyo, the sound of sirens could be faintly heard by everyone but the two girls that were stomping down the street angrily.

"That director was awful! I've seen better anime made by..." Kiko ranted as she and her girl shared the same grimace. The two rounded the corner and stopped when they saw the several craters and broken walls.

"Wha-What happened here?" Kiko's friend asked in surprise.

"Maybe they're making a movie!" Kiko said happily. The two looked happy again until someone landed in front of them. Kiko and her friend jolted in surprise, but Laharl didn't care as he grabbed Kiko's friend by the wrist and kissed her hard on the lips. Kiko's friend went wide-eyed and flailed her arms around frantically as Kiko stared in utter shock. After a few seconds, Laharl stopped and furiously rubbed his mouth.

"Stupid price," he grumbled before running past Kiko and her now collapsed from embarrassment friend. Kiko slowly turned her head after Laharl, still trying to sort out what had just happened. Laharl turned the corner and quickly rushed down the street, ignoring the people coming out to see what was going on. Laharl reached a fence and expertly pulled himself over it. He hit the ground and rolled to lessen the impact.

Laharl kicked off the ground and continued to run until he was forced to duck as a bullet barely missed his head. The sudden duck made Laharl stumble and roll painfully off the edge of a drop. He landed roughly on the cement of a train station before looking up to see his attacker.

"About time that old hag sent you," Laharl murmured as he stared up at Jeanne with her gun pointed at him. She said nothing before pulling the trigger. Laharl dove behind a pillar and ran for it as Jeanne reloaded her gun and ran after him. Laharl ran towards a crowd of people awaiting the next train that was approaching. Laharl glanced to the train and made a sharp turn towards the train rails. Jeanne watched Laharl jumped from the platform and smash through one of the train windows as it pulled into the station. The people were obviously shocked both outside and inside the train.

Laharl ignored them all and looked back out of the broken window to see Jeanne ready her gun towards him. Laharl gritted his teeth before pushing off the floor and running down the train, pushing the train workers away when they tried to catch him. A single gunshot from Jeanne was enough to make the workers and people dive for cover. Laharl ran down the train hallway until one door slid open slowly. Laharl took the chance and dove into the apartment before closing the door. Jeanne ran down the hallway and past the apartment Laharl had dove into. Inside the apartment, Laharl kept an ear to the door till he was sure Jeanne had left. He then looked to the two girls in the apartment.

Before he said anything, Laharl noticed something that had fallen from the older girl's bag when he burst into their apartment. Picking it up, ignoring the older girl's shouts, Laharl slammed the door open and jumped through the window across from it. Jeanne turned and ran from the new broken window. She left through the window too, but just as her feet hit the ground and she straightened up, a dagger identical to Hei's pierced her throat and the train. Jeanne looked down at the dagger and the blood flowing down her neck. Laharl stepped towards her and knocked the gun out of her hand when she raised it at him.

"Sayonara, doll," Laharl said coldly as he torn the dagger out of Jeanne's neck. Laharl watched Jeanne fall to the ground that was soon covered in her blood. Taking the time to properly clean the dagger, Laharl hummed softly while Jeanne's blood had reached his shoes. When he finished cleaning the dagger, Laharl spun it so it went into the train and into the door of the apartment. "Thanks for lending me it."

Laharl jumped up onto the platform and took just as the police arrived. Inside the train, the older girl removed the dagger from the wall and stowed it away in her bag.

"Kana, you okay?" the little girl asked and Kana smiled reassuringly.

"I'm fine. Let's go find Hei-san."

Huang panted for breath as he and Mao stopped in the alleyway. Mao glanced back at Huang and then looked down the alley.

"We should find transportation away from here," he stated and Huang nodded in agreement while clutching at her hurting shoulder. The two perked up when shouts and screams rang out. The two looked down the way they had run down before a giant chunk of the ground and surrounding walls was engulfed by an orb of pitch darkness. The orb shrunk and smashed into the ground as Laharl stepped out while chewing on something.

"Yo," he said calmly, despite the destruction he caused and the blood splattered all over his face and clothes. Huang retched as he looked at Laharl. Laharl wiped the blood off his face and spat the gum out of his mouth. Mao's ear twitched as he heard more people approaching.

"We'd best hurry up!" he said and Laharl nodded before noticing the lack of Hei and Yin.

"Where'd the two go?"

"Yin suddenly ran off ahead and Hei followed," Huang stated and cast a disgusted look at Laharl's clothes. Laharl pondered something before closing his eyes.

"Okay, you two get away. I'll catch up with them."

"How are you going to do that? We don't even know which way they we-" Huang started to say until Laharl's eyes glowed red and his skin emitted a bright blue glow. His body then disappeared, leaving his clothes to fall onto the ground. Huang and Mao stared in confusion before they both heard the people coming. The two dove down an alleyway and hid in the shadows.

Hei silently crept along the dark hallway, keeping a firm hold on Yin's hand as she walked behind him. Hei reached a door and reached for the knob until the door burst off its hinges and smashed against the wall along with a naked man. Hei stared in confusion at the naked man until he heard a familiar sigh.

"Man, this guy is three sizes larger than me," Hei glanced into the room to see a blue glow that slowly died down. Laharl stood among the fallen bodies of several suited men. Laharl adjusted the sleeves of his newly "acquired" suit before noticing Hei. "Oh good, I did teleport to the right building."

"What are you doing here?" Hei asked sternly, and Laharl waved him off, his usual condescending smirk back on his face. Hei felt Yin squeeze his hand and he turned to see her pointing down the hallway.

"More are coming," she whispered. Hei nodded and pulled Yin into the room, and was about to close the door behind them until he realized Laharl had broken it off. Giving Laharl a dark glare, Hei pressed Yin against the wall beside the doorway while Laharl remained in the center with blood covering the floor around him. More suited men rushed into the room and Laharl waved to them until Hei slammed his hand down into the blood, both Yin and Laharl safely standing out of the blood. The suited men spasmed and collapsed while Hei straightened up.

"Which way?" he asked Yin who was silent for a moment before pointing the wall behind Laharl.

"Three rooms down that way. There's an aquarium in the room," she said calmly. Hei looked at Laharl who was flexing his fingers before holding his hand up towards the wall. He placed his hands all over the wall and stepped back before flicking his nose. The wall exploded as Laharl took a carton of milk out of the fridge in the corner of the room, as they were in the break room. Hei grabbed the milk carton from Laharl's raised hand and gave it a quick jolt of electricity to heat it up. Laharl downed the hot milk and tossed the carton away. He then fished around for two more cartons before the three entered the next room and repeated the same process with that wall. After the last wall was destroyed, Laharl threw the last empty carton into the pitch black room that was lit by the fish tank in the wall. Hei glanced around, but saw nobody in the room.


"Below," Yin spoke and Hei glanced down at the floor. Laharl perked up at the shouts coming from the hallway.

"You two go. I want to play some more," Laharl said and happily jump-kicked the door off its hinges and into the waiting suit men. Hei grabbed Yin's hand again and tapped his foot on the floor till he heard a hollow sound. With a rough stomp, Hei smashed the trapdoor. Hei picked up Yin and jumped down the trapdoor with her in his arms. Landing on the floor, that was covered by a thin layer of water, Hei's eyes twitched from the sudden flash of light from the ceiling lights.

"Welcome." Hei flinched as he heard the voice. He then put Yin down on the floor and stood in front of her, blocking her from sight. The person across from Hei seemed to frown as he stared coldly at him. "Thank you for returning Yin, Hei."

"I'll kill you."

"Is that how you start all conversations?" Izanami asked calmly, as Hei whipped his dagger out of his coat and flung it at Izanami's head. Before the knife reached, it shattered into pieces. Hei perked up as Izanami's eyes had faintly glowed blue. "At first, I was wondering why you would abandon your wish, Yin."

Hei took a step back as Izanami took a step forward. Izanami stared at Hei, or rather through him to Yin.

"Wasn't your wish in the Gate that this human be safe from harm?" Hei's eyes widened as behind him, Yin looked down at the floor. Izanami kept his stare directed at Hei. "It was a bother. This man I hate, yet I wasn't able to kill him because of your wish. But now I can because you left the Gate. I wonder if you knew this would happen."

Hei cast a slight glance behind him at Yin who didn't respond. Hei glared back at Izanami and was about to use his electricity until Izanami raised a finger.

"I wouldn't if I were you. Unless you want to kill Yin again." Hei immediately stopped his power, much to the satisfaction of Izanami. "Now then, hand Yin back to me and I won't kill you. Think, contractor. Would you rather die fruitlessly or live?"

Hei was silent for a moment, making Yin raise her head slightly to look at Hei. Hei reached into his coat and took out his next dagger.

"I won't die and won't hand Yin over to you again." Hei said before rushing towards Izanami with his dagger ready. Izanami narrowed his eyes as Hei approached.