Man...all I can say is that I'm sorry. I don't have a good excuse for my extremely late update. So if you are feeling upset with me, then I understand. Hell, even I'm upset with me! -.-'

So, I'll just cut to the chase here since I've kept you guys waiting long enough already...

Disclaimer: I do not own Negima or any of its characters.

Now please, enjoy the chapter! :)

Chapter 23

"…Kazumi-San did a r-really good job wi-with that article on Kendra-San, d-didn't she?" Nodoka asked Yue from behind her library desk.

Yue, who was seated at a table not too far ahead of Nodoka, halted her book organizing and turned back to her purple haired friend.

"Yes…it sort of surprised me that Kazumi-San wrote so many compliments for Kendra-San in her article." Nodoka was surprised about the same thing as well.

"I-It is. Do you think i-it's because of when w-we read her thoughts yesterday?" The bookworm wondered meekly. The shorter girl pushed her chair back and rose from the table; deciding that she's done enough book arranging for the moment.

"Most likely. Kazumi-San isn't the type to sound so admiring of her story topic. She usually gives the facts in the bluntest and sometimes most interesting way possible." Yue guessed as she seated herself in her own individual desk next to Nodoka's. The shy bookworm nodded in agreement.

"Maybe so…w-where's Kazumi-San a-anyways?" She questioned meekly while scanning around the library curiously. The paparazzi duo was supposed to meet up with Nodoka and Yue in Mahora's second famous location; Library Island. But alas, the red head and her ghostly companion were running a few minutes late. Even though Yue didn't show it; she was feeling a little anxious of their arrival. Not because of their presence really, but what they would do afterwards. The four girls decided yesterday to do some research on this Anima person that was mentioned in Kendra's thoughts. It wasn't much at all, but it was definitely as good as a start as any in finding out the magic sensor's secret.

Finally, both bookworms' impatience subsided when they realized the large double doors slowly swing open to reveal Kazumi and Sayo in all their innocent yet sometimes sneaky glory.

"Nodoka-San, Yue-San, how's it going?!" Kazumi greeted audaciously but then halted to stare quizzically at all three girls holding a finger over their lips. It took moment for the wheels to turn in the red head's brain before realizing what they meant. She apologized, only in a much lower volume than before.

"Gomen, I forgot this is a library." 'Kinda hard to forget when you're surrounded by thousands of books' Yue thought with a sweat drop but then dismissively waved off Kazumi's apology.

"It's fine, Kazumi-San. Let's just get to work and research about this Anima person already."

"Ai, ai captain Ayase." Kazumi retorted cheekily with a small salute.

"At ease" Yue replied blandly without looking back at the slightly surprised news reporter. 'She played along?' She thought incredulously. The paparazzi quickly shook off her musings and followed the library duo with Sayo tagging right along.

"So where do we even start with this whole Anima research thing?" Kazumi questioned as Yue settled down into the chair of a computer desk. Nodoka grabbed a chair from a nearby reading table and sat to her blue haired best friend's right. The journalist did the same but sitting to Yue's left while curiously eyeing the computer screen.

The short girl clicked the mouse over the internet icon and quickly typed into a Google search box with almost robotic movements; years of working on the library's computers had sharpened her typing skills significantly. Kazumi sweat dropped.

"Err…Yue-San, I don't think Google would have anything useful for us. I mean, this Anima guy might have something to do with magic which isn't even known yet…" The skeptical red head didn't receive a response at first as Yue just kept searching through the multiple links that appeared from her search. As she clicked on a Latin Translator website and began to ask for the English translation of Anima, the focusing girl finally answered without tearing her eyes away from the screen.

"I know" And that was it; there was no extensive explanation that followed Yue's response. This resulted in Kazumi, Sayo, and even Nodoka to smile nervously.

"Yue-San…I-I think you should e-explain it to them." Nodoka suggested weakly. Just then, the Latin to English translation for Anima popped up in the results box. There it read soul.

"Soul huh…" Yue muttered to herself before back tracking a couple pages and returning to the list of links she had before. Kazumi sighed in childish impatience.

"Come on Yue-San, tell me what's going on-"

"So it might be just what I thought. I've read some books on historical heroes and came across this legend. The book never stated who this man's name was…but it did mention that his main powers were soul manipulations." Nodoka decided to pitch in her own suspicions on the subject as well.

"We think th-that maybe the man in these legends and A-Anima are the same p-person."

"But that could be a really lucky shot if the book and Kendra-San were talking about the same person." Sayo interjected; she still had hope beaming through her tone though. Kazumi leaned back into her chair while stroking her chin in a contemplating manner.

"Well…let's just say that this was true for a second here. Do you remember anything about that historical hero you read about Yue-San?" Yue sat still in her seat for a moment, her eyes clearly showing the deep thought that she was in.

"…It said something about the man taking many souls because of something tragic that happened to him. It didn't go into detail about the tragedy…it just kept going on about the statistics on the amount of lives that he took and how; which was through soul manipulating abilities." Something in Kazumi's eyes twinkled from that statement. She could just barely feel the tell-tale sensation of a huge connection or discovery in the works. This approaching signal that was eagerly beckoning for Kazumi's attention was her paparazzi instincts; and the journalist was gonna follow it.

"Do you still have the book?" Kazumi questioned immediately. The shorter girl stared quizzically at her classmate's sudden stern features but went along with it anyways; it wasn't every day that a face like that was etched onto the new reporter's face.

"No. I've already read the entire book. It should still be in the library though, unless someone else checked it out but I doubt that." Yue stood up from her chair; Kazumi and Nodoka doing same with a motivation to dig deeper into this mystery.

"Do you remember what section the book is in Yue-San?" Sayo asked as she floated over to the said girl's side. Yue made a pondering expression for a moment; for once not entirely sure of where to start. Library Island was huge, huger than huge, and even though the bookworm duo spent tremendous amounts of time there and learned practically every turn and twist; Yue just couldn't quite remember where she placed that one specific book.

"Um…" Nodoka started shyly.

"I think I m-may have ran into a book like th-that a few days ago while checking the sh-shelves. I could show you where."

"Then let's not waste any more time." Surprisingly enough, the blunt statement didn't come from the ever blunt Yue but from an entirely focused Kazumi.

"Lead the way Nodoka-San." Both Nodoka and Yue glanced at Sayo; wordlessly requesting an answer for Kazumi's unusually serious behavior. The best friends were caught off guard for a second time today.

Sayo did not appear to be as lost as the other two were. A gentle smile was gracing her features as she stared upon Kazumi's determined face. That small grin beamed with so much pride. 'What's going on with these two?' Yue wondered and then coughed into her fist. This question would have to be approached another time; so she'll just forget this for now.

"Right, how about you show us where you found the book Nodoka-San?" The shy girl only nodded once in response; feeling a little distracted from her suspicions on the red head's change of attitude.

Huge may have been an understatement for the actual size of Mahora's library because it almost felt like a journey for Kazumi and Sayo. Neither girls voiced their complaints though, especially Kazumi. Her paparazzi instincts were continuously advising her to be patient; questions would be answered soon enough.

Her instincts came through for her again. Nodoka finally halted at a shelf that looked to have been collecting a little dust over the years unlike other shelves that were usually waxed clean at least three times a week. The purple haired girl traced a timid hand over the lined up titles of multiple books facing her until stopping on one. This book's condition stuck out like a sore thumb compared to the others. Nodoka pulled it out of its slot with a tug that required a little effort and stared somewhat displeasingly at its run down appearance.

It was a hard back book, but it could've been mistaken for paper back if a person didn't pay enough attention to the immensely softened structure of it. The book was also green…with greenish-brown blotches of grime scattered around it. The edges of the pages were also spotted with dark beige flaws; signs of perhaps liquid or oils that previously came into contact with the paper. The book seemed so ancient and worn out; Yue had read from this? Yue's next statement would give the others suspicion that she was actually a mind reader.

"Yes, I read it. The title seemed interesting to me so I decided to give it a shot. It was surprisingly more interesting than it looked." Kazumi and Sayo blinked dumbly in response.

"No I don't read minds. I just rationalize." 'She did it again!' is what Kazumi and Sayo thought simultaneously.

Nodoka stared at the somewhat faded out lettering of the title curiously.

"Legend of the Heroic Shikigami…" She muttered to herself.

"A Shikigami…" Kazumi started as she cupped her chin with her hand thoughtfully.

"…isn't that like some kind of mythical being that says whether someone will go to heaven or hell after they die?" Kazumi turned to Yue for confirmation.

"That's correct." The news reporter sighed before plopping down on a lounging chair; one of many placed throughout the enormous building.

"Well…let's get reading then." Kazumi could tell that this would take some time judging by the many pages the old book seemed to hold…

'I can't believe I'm doing this!' Asuna screamed in her mind; stomping grumpily along the paved pathway. She really was wondering why she even wanted to go to that place; well her in denial side was anyways. But then there was that small and almost always ignored part of her subconscious that had a different view on the matter at hand. It was a simple four worded phrase to explain the reason behind the hyper red head's actions. 'I'm checking on her-NO DAMMIT!' Asuna's stubborn side interjected furiously.

Her inner turmoil continued for a while until finally pulling back to reality at the familiar scene of a beautiful lane covered in the most up kept flora a rich family could possibly provide. This was the extensively long driveway that leads to the gates of the Yukihiro mansion.

Asuna abruptly stopped in her tracks with a hesitant bite of her lower lip. Her bi-chromatic eyes explained all too clearly the amount of uncertainty she felt from doing this. What was she supposed to say? Asuna just decided to come here off a whim; a whim that's been nagging on her mind persistently for two days straight. 'The hell am I supposed to say? Hey Iincho just came over to check up on you? No, then she'll think I've caught some whacky disease that makes me suddenly care about her!'

Asuna's spine went rigid, '…not that I care about her or anything!' There goes that stubborn in denial side of hers again.

Mumbles and whispered hysterics of the fiery red head were the only things heard in the pleasant atmosphere as Asuna approached further down the walk way. Finally, she could see just up ahead the giant steel gates of Ayaka's home. Already knowing the drill; Asuna stood next to the messenger box and casually awaited a familiar voice to escape it.


"This is the Yukihiro residence. Please state what business you have here."

"Open up Sebastian! You already know who I am." Asuna cracked a haughty grin when she recognized the sound of someone clicking their tongue in distaste in response.

"Ah…it's you Asuna-San…"

"Glad you're so happy to see me Sebastian. Now seriously, open the gates already."

"Not until you state your business with Ayaka-Sama." Asuna sighed and rolled her eyes.

"I came to check on her! Open the gates Sebastian!"

"…What's the capital of Africa-"

"Sebastian!" The man's voice cackled over the intercom.

"Hai, hai, Asuna-San" With a definite squeak, the giant gateway began to automatically swing open to reveal yet another exquisitely up kept floral garden. Down the center of it was a fairly lengthy walkway that lead to Ayaka's mansion; the path branching off to the side for the garage.

"I'll seriously never get use to this…" Asuna muttered in slight awe as her expressive orbs scanned her surroundings curiously while approaching the door. As soon as her right foot made contact with the door mat, the door itself was opened promptly by a butler.

His nose was raised ever so slightly in the air as his smug nature openly emitted from him. He wore the classic black 'penguin suit', as Asuna would put it, as his porcelain white gloved hand held the gold encrusted door knob. Finally, his black hair was slicked back by obviously too much hair gel since it glistened significantly every time light shined on it.

"Asuna-San" The butler greeted somewhat regrettably. The red head raised her nose to mock the butler and replied in a rich person impersonation.

"Why Sebastian old chap, it's a true pleasure to be relished in your presence again. I also see that your hair gel reservoir hasn't run low as well."

"Bet you only knew five words in that entire statement. As expected of your low vocabulary I suppose." Sebastian shot back, still not allowing Asuna entrance into the mansion and eyeing her in expectance for another comeback. His expectations were met.

"Bet I can break the record in how far I can shove my foot-" Sebastian held up his hand to silence the girl and then slowly revealed a broad smile. Asuna smiled back just a widely and patted Sebastian's shoulder while laughing.

"Gomen, gomen! I just got carried away with the game a little!" The grinning butler waved off Asuna's apology with a chuckle of his own.

"No harm done Asuna-San. Just try to keep your passion for the game under wraps the next time you visit. But for today, I won." Sebastian bowed once as if he was thanking an audience; succeeding in his goal to irritate Asuna a little.

If there was one thing Asuna disliked, it was losing.

"Okay, okay! I swear; if your head got any bigger it would have its own orbit. Just take me to Ayaka-San already." Sebastian stood from his bow with a mocking smirk plastered onto her face, 'cocky little…' Asuna's mind growled.

"Hai, Asuna-San, please follow me." The victorious butler began to lead Asuna to Ayaka's room which was on the third floor, 'I'll never understand why she need's three floors!' She really didn't understand the reason for having three floors of beautiful rooms if they aren't even used in any way whatsoever.

"Hmmm…it's still not the same…" Ayaka muttered as she threw down her giant silk pillow along with the rest of the disheveled ones. The bothered blonde has been trying to figure out a dilemma for quite some time now.

Ever since she woke up from fainting, the class president felt this emptiness in her that was uncomfortable beyond compare. It didn't physically hurt at all, but more like her heart was craving this rare warm feeling that it once had while she was unconscious. She had no memory of the source of that wonderful feeling, but all she knew is that she wanted to feel that addictive and comforting sensation again.

It was a little embarrassing to admit; but Ayaka couldn't deny the theory that it was also soft, like a soft touch. 'So does that mean…someone was holding me while I was unconscious?' Ayaka's cheeks burned pink as a strand of saliva hung from her mouth after fantasizing over the possibility that it was Negi who held her. Although in a normal person's mind, a ten year old holding a middle school girl was a bit of a ridiculous scene rather than a romantic one.

Suddenly, Ayaka was awoken from her comical fantasies as a knock resounded from her door.


"Eh, ah w-who is it?"

"It's Sebastian Ayaka-Sama. You have a visitor." Ayaka raised an eyebrow suspiciously.

"Who's visiting me?"

"…the royal pain in the bottom Ayaka-Sama-"

"HEY!" A second and familiar voice shouted angrily from behind the door. Ayaka groaned and rubbed her face tiredly; just when she thought today was going to be relaxing. The blonde momentarily pondered on whether or not to release the guard dogs on Asuna but eventually gave in with a tired sigh. Yes her and Asuna were rivals; but they weren't enemies so sending dogs on her was indeed a little harsh.

"Hai, let her in."

"…really?" Sebastian asked incredulously, 'maybe her brain hasn't gain back enough oxygen ye-'

"You heard her Sebastian, let me in!" Asuna slapped Sebastian's shoulder again with a cheeky grin, 'score one for me ya cocky penguin!' The man in a penguin suit sneered at Asuna before straightening up his demeanor. He then politely opened the door for Asuna with his eyes closed and nose smugly raised once again.

"Now that's more like it! Iincho baby robber! How's it going?" The red head greeted after flashing the silent butler a triumphant grin and then waltzing into Ayaka's room. Both Sebastian and Ayaka's eyebrow twitched.

"Don't make me kick you out." Ayaka warned with a glare.

"Shall I get the dogs Ayaka-Sama?" Sebastian asked hopefully; which earned a growl from the red head.

"No Sebastian, that won't be necessary. That will be all." Sebastian bowed and then curtly left; gently closing the door behind him. The two girls were silent for a few moments; Asuna calmly swinging on her heels and Ayaka somewhat impatiently awaiting the reason for her rival's visit.

"So…" Asuna started as she casually looked over Ayaka's room and purposefully avoided looking into those emerald green orbs. 'I should have fully planned this out.' Asuna thought sheepishly.

"So?" Ayaka repeated skeptically. The wealthy blonde seriously wasn't in the mood for Asuna to dance around the topic at hand. She just woke up from fainting yesterday and still felt a little weak from it. Also, she was more eager to return to deciphering where or who, to be more specific, gave the blonde such a feeling that made everything seem right with the world. So in the class representative's eyes, Asuna was labeled currently as a hindrance rather than company.

"So…how's it going?" Asuna's lips twitched as she forced a cheesy smile to appear across her face. The red head was right; she really should have planned this out before coming.

"Oh, just perfect really. I was light headed for a few hours yesterday after fainting. Then today you show up to call me an Iincho baby robber and even made Sebastian want to release the dogs on you." Ayaka flashed a mockingly sweet smile at her visitor.

"And, you already asked me that when you walked in you incompetent gorilla." A vein pulsated on Asuna's forehead.

"What? I come to check up on you and this is the thanks I get?! Such poor manners from a Sh-"

"I dare you to finish that sentence…" The blonde challenged dangerously. Asuna flashed a toothy smile and proceeded to voice the last word slowly.




"I'm not joking with you!"


"That's it!" Perhaps Ayaka wasn't feeling as faint as she thought a few moments ago, because a physically weak person wouldn't be able to chase after a super athletic classmate so easily. The ever annoying girl continued to effortlessly run out of Ayaka's grasp; jumping over the occasional obstacle as she did so. Asuna wasn't running away because she was scared; far from it.

She actually just wanted to see Ayaka's frustrated expression from not being able to wring her hands around Asuna's neck. This is what Asuna missed, and the unnoticeable yet joyful shine in her bi-chromatic eyes proved it.

Unfortunately for Asuna, her fun had to come to an end as Ayaka halted and leaned forward to rest her hands on her knees; panting in exhaustion.

"How…can you…run so…much?!" The tired blonde gasped with a scowl. Asuna only stood proudly in response and basked in the victory. Although she outran Ayaka, it wasn't exactly a fair win since Ayaka was still drained; but this is Asuna and she'll take any victory she can get. Sebastian was definitely one of many who knew this hard headed feature about the expressive girl; especially from the 'games' that they would play from time to time.

"The real question is how can you run so little? Time to work off some of that chubbiness Iincho!" Ayaka's cheeks burned with fury.

"Who're you calling chub…ch-chub…" Her rants were caught short though as the room suddenly spun and the strength in her legs began to fade.

"Eh? Iincho?" Asuna's slightly worried face contorted into a whirlpool of colors; Ayaka had over worked herself.

"S-stupid…monkey…" Her vision began to obscure and the last thing Ayaka saw was a weirdly familiar sight; Asuna diving in to catch her, 'where have I…seen this before?' Finally, her mind blacked out completely.

"…ugh…what…what happened-"

"You're finally up."

"Eh?" Ayaka's eyes fully snapped open and darted frantically from side to side. She then flinched as a flick made contact with the back of her ear. Using a split second of logic, Ayaka was able to realize that the angle of that flick could only work if she was lying right under someone. The frazzled blond looked up and felt the tip of her nose graze against a burgundy strand of hair.

"Do you think you can sit up now? Your fatty weight is making my legs numb…" Ayaka's cheeks tinted pink in embarrassment as she felt a sturdy arm supporting her head and the other wrapped around her waist. Asuna was looking down at Ayaka with slightly cheeky yet, surprisingly enough, worried green and blue orbs. Then, as the final blow, Asuna's thighs that have been serving as a large pillow for Ayaka's body gently pressed into the blonde's back.

With a startled yelp, Ayaka abruptly sat up and in the process, her forehead collided with Asuna's.

"Ow! Jeez, what're you doing?" Asuna chided as she freed one of her arms to rub tenderly at her sore head. Ayaka did the same as she sat on the floor hunched over and rubbing her abused head.

"W-why were you holding me?!" Ayaka growled; her combined emotions of embarrassment and anger getting the better of her. Asuna blinked in surprise at Ayaka's reaction. The red head was hoping for more of an appreciative reaction. 'I mean, I looked after her when she was unconscious at the school and just now!' Asuna glared at the fuming fair-haired girl.

"I was just trying to help!"

"Well I don't need it!" Asuna guffawed in disbelief.

"Wha-Are you serious?! Ayaka, you just fainted! What did you expect me to do, leave you on the floor there?!"

"You could've just laid me in my bed and called Sebastian!" Ayaka snapped back irritably. Asuna's face flared up red with fury, 'this ungrateful little!'

"Why did you come here anyways?! Everything was just fine until you arrived!" Ayaka continued chiding her rival; only intensifying Asuna's temper.

"You know what, I give up on you! You're impossible!" Asuna shot up from the floor and stormed towards the room door. Ayaka's mouth gaped in incredulity.

"I'm impossible?! Like you're one to talk! I can't even go a day without you giving me a migraine!" Unlike how Ayaka expected, Asuna only continued to stomp away and then, after swinging the door open, she halted and turned to Ayaka.

"…I can't believe I actually cared about you!"



Asuna slammed the door closed; leaving Ayaka to silently stare at her door in shock. The atmosphere shattering slam left both the blonde's ear drums and heart quivering. But maybe that wasn't the only thing that rocked her to the core. Ayaka's green eyes narrowed in skepticism.

"…I felt that warmth again…when she held me?" There was no way she could believe that.

"Hmmm…they're shouting louder than usual. Maybe I should check up on Ayaka-Sama." Sebastian muttered to himself as he continued to shoot worried glances up the extensive flight of stairs. He heard some intense shouting bouncing around the atmosphere up above; and there was no mistake in assuming that the voices belonged to Ayaka and Asuna.

The butler's ears then were abruptly acquainted with a new sound; the repetitive tapping of running feet, and they were getting closer. In a flash of red, Asuna dashed by a startled Sebastian and hastily made her way for the door. Sebastian reached out a hand in the upset girl's direction and shouted out to her.

"A-Asuna-San? Where're you going?!" Without turning back, Asuna directed her bubbling anger in the form of a powerful yet pained yell at the baffled man in a penguin suit.

"Away from here!" A door within the Yukihiro mansion was slammed for the second time today.

Sebastian, frozen in place and his arm still outstretched to the door, was in deep confusion. He thought everything was going just fine since the girls were so quiet during most of the visit. But then there's shouting, angrier than usual shouting, Asuna storms out of the house, and stated that she wanted to be anywhere but here. 'What happened?'

It was rare times like these when Sebastian desired he didn't work as a butler so that he wouldn't have to follow the common courtesy of one and walk into that room to figure out what's going on himself.

Perhaps any old butler would just assume that Asuna was in the wrong and always will be since she's just an underclass citizen. But this was Sebastian, the man who's been Ayaka's butler since she was a little girl and in the process, became fairly involved in both her and Asuna's lives. He wasn't sure when he started to see the girls as some of the most important people to him, but all he knew is that something was wrong and he truly wished to know how to fix it…

"Here you go Rainyday-San. I believe this is all the work that we've done today." Mr. Sudoku said as he handed a small stack of paperwork over to Zazie's awaiting hands. The tan demon, after gingerly taking the worksheets, nodded once in thanks and proceeded to leave the math classroom.

Obviously Mr. Sudoku was unaware of the fact that Zazie had a lot more than just skills in gymnastics, because she also had skillful ears. There was no doubt that she overheard the bald teacher grumble under his breath about a troublesome transfer student and being a miss know-it-all. Zazie connected the dots and couldn't help the small smirk that spread across lips as she slid the door closed behind her. 'Kendra likes to have fun during class it seems…'

As Zazie paced leisurely down the halls with her destination in mind being Kendra's dorm room, her thoughts wondered off to how Kendra's school life was back then. It still made the half demon sick to her stomach remembering what the transfer student told her. 'She went through all of that and still managed to look so content…' If Zazie's views on Kendra's strong resolve were ever doubted before, then it was definitely solidified into stone after learning that tragic story.

The tattooed girl had to inhale deeply to keep the sudden and powerful feelings of regret from showing out on her face. Her Hanyou heart felt like it was being compressed further and further into itself every time she thought about this. 'I wonder if this is how Kendra's sensing abilities feel.' She wondered…

"I'm…bored…" Kendra muttered dully as her legs unconsciously swung back and forth at a leisure pace while sitting on her kitchen counter. Yes, the magic sensor was seated on the kitchen counter. The reason why is because for the past few hours after her argument with Anima, her attention was stuck at a borderline between busy bodied and sluggish.

The level in between these two varied emotions was flummoxed. She had no idea what to do; whether to do everything and anything, or to do absolutely nothing at all. Either decision would ultimately lead her to the same results anyways; that would be sitting in some misplaced area and staring into nothingness while wondering what to do next. The magic sensor sighed irritably while once again holding up her hand and flexing it open and closed.

"Just ya wait bite-size…I've got some interestin' news for ya." She claims that Evangeline should wait, when ironically; it seemed that Kendra was doing all the painstakingly endless waiting. 'Was I a'ways dis impatient?' The dark skin girl pondered inwardly; which was most likely true.

Kendra knew that she was growing desperate for something intriguing in the slightest to happen since she believed that the next sound she heard was an amazing gift sent down from the Holy Father himself.


"Comin' " Kendra hopped down off the counter and practically ran to the door. But before opening it, she forced her bubbly emotions to be brought down to a minimum and tried to appear as calm as possible.

"Yo" She greeted blandly once opening the door. It seems that straightening her demeanor was a waste of time though since Kendra's liveliness returned with pleasant delight upon realizing that her visitor was Zazie. Kendra smiled.

"Hey babe, ya finally back." Showcasing a smile of her own; Zazie held up the small stack of papers and waved them casually for the magic sensor to see. Kendra, who regrettably knew what those papers were, sighed dejectedly.

"Is dat da work I missed today?" Zazie nodded and had to hold back a giggle as Kendra over dramatically hung her head in grief before allowing the tan demon into her dorm.

"And let me take anotha' guess…it's all from Windex shine." Kendra hypothesized as she searched through her school bag for a pencil and scratch paper. Unlike the other girls of 3-A, Zazie didn't abruptly halt where she stood and stared in deep confusion at the transfer student. Instead she just strolled over to the couch and made herself comfortable.

"Do you mean Mr. Sudoku?" Her assumption was right on mark and Kendra couldn't help but laugh in pride at her girlfriend's quick wits.

"Haha! Yeah, how'd ya know?" The dark skin girl asked as she sat next to Zazie while also receiving her day's work from her. The tan girl placed a finger on her chin and looked to the ceiling in fake contemplation. Kendra immediately remembered this game and smirked cheekily.

"Hmmm, well, I had to visit each of your teachers and pick up any work you missed. Every one of them made a comment about you, but only Mr. Sudoku's was different from the rest."

"Oh? And uh…what exactly did Windex shine say?" Kendra asked as she shifted closer towards her lover; compelling Zazie to giggle again at the magic sensor's coy yet curious expression.

"Mr. Su-no…Windex shine, whispered under his breath about a troublesome transfer student being a little miss know-it-all." Kendra raised an eyebrow while wrapping an arm around the Hanyou's waist.

"So how did dat help ya figure out dat he was Windex shine?"

"This of course." Zazie could just barely withstand not cracking up as she patted the top of her head, but then broke out into giggles upon seeing Kendra lose her composure all together.

"Oh my god! I know! His head is too shiny! Ya would think he uses Windex to clean it!" Kendra gasped between her laughter; and instead of calming down as time passed, her laughing was prolonged even longer as she listened to Zazie's melodic and contagious giggling. The same thing was happening for Zazie; and as a result, both girls were in slight hysterics and not even sure if they were laughing about Mr. Sudoku's significantly hair free scalp anymore.

"Okay, okay, let me get dis work here done so we can' go ova to half pint's place." Kendra said after finally regaining some of her senses and getting back to the matter at hand. Zazie nodded and rose up from the couch to head into Kendra's kitchen; all that laughing made her thirsty.

Now even though this was indeed Kendra's dorm room, the magic sensor had established a long time ago that whenever Zazie came over to her home, it was practically her home too. It took a lot of patience and persistence, but Kendra was eventually able to convince Zazie to just literally make herself at home. So this would explain why Zazie held no guilt whatsoever as she poured herself something to drink without asking Kendra permission; there was no need to ask for it in the first place.

As the half demon walked back to the small table that Kendra was now working at; she couldn't help but blink a little in surprise as she watched the magic sensor's writing hand practically turn into a blur and finish the math work in less than twenty minutes.

Her surprise then altered to deep bewilderment as Kendra sighed in relief after conclusively throwing down her pencil next to her finished work.

"Thank god, dat took foreva."

"…eh?" Zazie muttered in disbelief.

"Forever? Kendra, you did that work in about twenty minutes tops." Kendra's eyebrows furrowed.

"Twenty minutes? Are ya sure it wasn' like forty? 'Cause it kinda felt like…" The dark skin trailed off as her eyes widen in sudden realization, 'my speed increased again...Damn!' Zazie, who was having thoughts similar to Kendra's, placed her full glass on the table and then stated sternly.

"We're seeing Evangeline-San…now." Kendra held no arguments as she placed her complete work in her school bag, grabbed a jacket, and opened the door with her features just as stern as Zazie's.

"Beautiful ladies first."…

Yue sighed as she closed the ancient book and then passed it over to Kazumi. Without waiting another second, the news report reopened the document and began to vehemently scan over the text.

This wasn't the first time she's done this though. For the last near hour now, Yue, Nodoka, Sayo, and Kazumi have been searching for any clue they could find in the green manuscript. So far, they've found nothing and patience was wearing thin within three of the four girls.

Kazumi was the only one who still had some fight left in her. This was just like the challenging sensation that would burn passionately in her heart whenever the red head would collect stories for her articles. Not too many of her classmates knew, but the journalists was like a completely different person once she got in the groove and felt her reporter senses tingling into over-drive.

Yue, Nodoka, and Sayo obviously noticed this and the short blue haired girl just couldn't help but to finally let her curiosity about this unusual sight momentarily steer her away from Anima. She leaned over to Sayo slowly.

"Sayo-San, have you been noticing that Kazumi-San has been acting kind of odd?" Once again, Sayo gave a prideful smile.

"Kazumi's always like this actually…" The ghost girl could feel her translucent cheeks convert into a soft pink as she spoke her friend's name without the honorifics. This change in addressing the journalist was going to take some serious getting used to. Yue's bland eyes suddenly gleamed with curiosity.

"Kazumi-San's always like this?" Sayo nodded.

"Mhm. Whenever she gains enough info for her articles, she would work on putting them in the newspapers for hours without rest. Kazumi would look so determined during those nights that it amazes how she still has so much energy left over." Those were one of things that Sayo truly admired about Kazumi. In her opinion, if someone could bounce back from a night long job so easily with practically twice as much exuberance as the day before, then that person deserved some kind of medal for determination and endurance.

"I see…" Yue trailed off indifferently as the girls continued to stare curiously at Kazumi's staid features.

"What's going on here Ane-Sans?" All four girls felt their hearts leapt into their throats from Chamo's surprise arrival. The little white rodent had appeared out of nowhere and stood casually in an empty spot of a book shelf.

"O-Oh, it's just you Chamo…" Kazumi muttered while held her hand over her rapidly pounding heart. Her moments of unbreakable concentration were also one of her most vulnerable; so Chamo's sudden arrival made Kazumi jump out of her skin. The same could be said the other girls as they also clenched their chest and stared wide eyed at the albino ermine.

Chamo whipped out yet another over-sized cigar and was about to take puff until Yue yanked it away from his furry lips.

"Hey! That's mine Ane-San!" With a definite snap, Yue broke the cigar in two and threw it into a nearby trashcan. After returning, she narrowed her eyes slightly at the gaping magical animal.

"There's no smoking in the library." Chamo puckered out his lips in a half pout-half scowl.

"Boo Ane-San, boo!"

"Don't 'boo' me. Why are you here Chamo?" Before said rodent could answer, Kazumi regained her usual energetic personality and grabbed Chamo by the neck; bringing him to face her fully.

"I was just about to ask that! So, what do you need you little perv?" A vein pulsated on Chamo's head.

"Hey! I prefer to be called a worshipper of the female sex!"

"Eh, but that's a mouthful! I'll just call you a perv instead. But seriously, why're you here Chamo?"

"I saw you Ane-Sans in here working pretty hard on something. And hey, don't you know the saying, don't judge a book by its cover?" All of the girls blinked once in confusion but nodded slowly nevertheless.

"So at first, I thought, 'oh it's just Yue-Ane-San and Nodoka-Ane-San. They're probably doing something boring.' But then I realized, maybe you guys actually could entertain me a lit-" Kazumi chucked the rodent behind her carelessly.

"ACK!" Kazumi's broad smile didn't even falter as Chamo's shout of terror followed by the faint thump of his ermine body colliding with the hard wooden surface of a book shelf rung in her ears.

"Okay then! So far we've haven't gotten very much from this book-"

"It's not that easy to kill me Ane-San! I come from a long line of cats and still got five more lives to lose!" Yue, Nodoka, Sayo, and Kazumi sweat dropped; the little animal was just spouting nonsense now. He probably hit his head just a tad too hard on that landing. Nodoka finally spoke up to the limping ermine.

"Ch-Chamo…perhaps we could t-talk another t-time. We're b-busy at the moment…" Ignoring the stuttering girl's words; Chamo hopped on top of Kazumi's head and then stated clearly.

"Then I'll help you Ane-San's out!" Kazumi, her orbs raised up at the small rodent, raised her eyebrows skeptically.

"And how can you help us? You don't even know what we're doing here Cham-"

"So what're you Ane-San's doing here?" Chamo interrupted with an innocent ermine smile; pretending that he didn't hear the journalist ridicule his habit of never thinking before speaking.

"Well…" Sayo started reluctantly as she glanced at her classmates; silently asking for whether or not to clue Chamo in on their investigation. Finally, Yue sighed in defeat.

"We're trying to figure out the secrets behind Kendra-San's powers. So far, all we've got is that this person named Anima has something to do with it."

"Oh, that's it?" Chamo asked; almost as if sounding like the girls were having difficulty solving a kiddy puzzle.

"Not, 'that's it', this is turning out pretty impossible." Sayo interjected with a pout. A long silence fell upon the girls and ermine as Chamo shifted his glance between them.

"You Ane-Sans should probably know this…"

"Eh? Know what?" Kazumi asked curiously.

"That I know who you're talking about and Kendra-Ane-San's pow-ACK!" Chamo once again screamed in fear as he was abruptly removed from Kazumi's head and practically pinned to the floor under the journalist's heavy hand.

"Hey! What's your problem Ane-San?! Ya bipolar or something?!" There were some nights when the small albino mammal had disturbing nightmares that involved violent middle school girls hell bent on murdering him somehow. Asuna was definitely included in most of them. But right now, he could've sworn his nightmares were becoming reality as the four girls loomed over him.

"Tell us…what you know." Kazumi demanded firmly. Chamo gulped, 'Kami save me!'

A puff of intense heat rushed out of slightly parted lips and then contorted and mutated its shape in mid-air. Moving as if the burning blaze had a life of its own; it slowly resembled the form of dragon. The artistic fire creation would linger in the darkened atmosphere for a few moments before dissipating completely.

Then, another breath of fire was blown but this time twisting upward in a double-helix. Both endings; top and bottom, came to a connection and resulted in the profile of a massive coil. The top end then flattened to give it a smooth arc; now the inferno resembled an enormous nail.

"Heh…I a'ways was artistic." Deveron chuckled as the combusted element obscured from view once again. He rose from his bed mattress covered in disheveled sheets and stared out the gaping hole within the wall again. Just like always, the lights of Columbia were still as bright and undying as ever.

Deveron's red pupils flicked to the side as the sound of desperate yells reached his ears. 'They're still awake huh…' By they; he meant Sam and Shon. It seems that the parents were still feeling a droplet of rebellion in them and were yelling at the top of their lungs for help. Today would be the third day of the two adult's imprisonment and also the third without food and water.

The dark skin boy searched his mind for some common knowledge; trying to remember whether or not a person could live going three days without food and water. Not being able to come up with a solid answer, he shrugged his shoulders and decided to check on Sam and Shon's conditions.

With a swift turn on his heels, Deveron headed to the door but then halted as he felt a small force of resistance on his sleeve. He didn't have to look down to know what was hindering his advances.

"I'll be back, love…Just goin' to check on our prisoners." Poyo, lying on her side in the ruffled mess of blankets that was called a bed nodded once drowsily before releasing her lover. Before her tan hand fully slid off Deveron's sleeve, he caught it with one hand and kissed it tenderly. Just the faintest trace of a smirk appeared across Poyo's face before being replaced with a mouth slightly gaped from her calm breathing. The demon girl fell asleep.

Deveron chuckled at his lover's seemingly innocent ways before leaving the room and closing the door behind. He paced slowly down the deserted and crumbling hallway; the echoing of his footsteps and his prisoners' shrieks combining into an almost sinister symphony. The ruby eyed boy smirked as he basked in the blissful music of dread; it gave him this strong sensation of power. He treasured this sensation greatly.

Once reaching the end of the hall, he stood next to the splinter door for a few moments to clearly listen to Sam and Shon's desperate shouts for freedom. He cackled in amusement at the large amounts of despair hidden between their words and finally decided to open the door with a twist of his key.

"Knock, knock…" He announced playfully while tapping lightly on the door as he swung it open. Deveron only received a splint second change in demeanor from the parents; their attitudes converting from desperate, tired, and afraid to stern, angry, and silent. He then looked in front of his feet to realize that the Twinkie hasn't been unwrapped.

"Ah, y'all still haven' eaten? Now dat's not good. Y'all should eat or else you'll get sick." He chided sarcastically while picking up the plastic wrapped treat.

"And who's fuckin' fault do ya think dat is…" Sam grumbled bitterly; his voice even hoarser than before. Shon's voice didn't sound any better. Her vocals were so strained from the yelling and lack of water that she couldn't reach a volume any higher than a whisper now.

"P-please…we need food a-and w-water…" She pleaded quietly. Sam, sensing his wife's resolve drop more and more rapidly by the second, leaned his head against hers in the most comforting way possible.

"Awwww, old couples are so cute!" Deveron commented with a large hint of sarcasm. Sam scowled bitterly at the boy as he unwrapped the Twinkie, broke it in half, and approached Kendra's parents. He held out the individual halves; one hovering over Shon's mouth and the other over Sam's.

"What kinda sick, twisted game are ya goin' at now?!" Sam growled as he leaned away from the sugar induced snack.

"No game. Y'all need food. Eat it." Deveron stated simply. The two parents' shoulders tensed for a few moments as their minds plunged into inner turmoil. There was always the possibility that Deveron planned this ahead and actually poisoned the food. Or maybe he would try to catch them when their mouths are open to burn their tongues to a crisp. Multiple cruel and unusual scenarios ran through their heads until finally, Shon slowly began to lean forward.

Sam harshly nudged his wife.

"Shon, no! Don' eat dat!"


"No! Don' trust dis mutha fucka!" Deveron hissed in fake hurt as he turned his back to the bickering prisoners.

"Ouch. Dat really…burns Mr. Johnson…" Deveron chuckled under his breath; finding his little pun quite amusing. His silent cackling then grew into creepily hysterical laughter; hunching over as he worked his lungs vigorously.

"Dis fucka is crazy…" Sam muttered in horror. He just couldn't believe that this was the same boy who befriended Kendra years ago and nearly saved her from spending the rest of her life hopeless and alone.

With Sam and Shon's mouths now gaping open in terror, Deveron took this chance to abruptly turn around and then shove the Twinkie halves into their mouths. He'll just have to force them to eat.

Sam tried to gag the food back up his trachea but found that it was only suffocating him. Also, with his hands still tied behind his back, there was nothing for him to do but swallow if regretfully. Shon, who showed no resistance whatsoever, slowly chewed and swallowed her portion as well. Deveron smiled broadly.

"See? Now was dat so bad? Remember what I said, I can' have y'all dead yet. So just eat 'n stuff when I tell ya." Deveron began to exit the room; not even budging under the holes being burned through him from Sam's viscous glaring. The fire manipulator's red ringed pupils then lighted up with sudden recognition as he opened the door.

"Oh, 'n if y'all behave tomorrow, I'll get ya some water too…well, if I remember anyways."

"Fuck you" Sam responded furiously as Shon just hung her head silently. Deveron once again laughed at the father's ability to ignore his words and to only hear what he wanted.

"Again…ouch Mr. Johnson. Ouch…" Deveron closed the door behind him and locked it. He just stood there for a few moments with his hand gripping the knob.

"Hmmm…didn' Poyo say her father lead a pretty big demon tribe? I gotta ask her 'bout dat." The dark skin boy mused to himself before shrugging once again. He then folded his arms behind his head and headed back to Poyo's side in the bed; he'll just ask her about the whole demon tribe business tomorrow…

Yep! That's all for now! I'm pretty sure things will pick up by next chapter. So please, I ask of you again, be patient and wait for my next update. X)

So until then, please...