A dream without the will and determination to pursue it is just blind ambition. I remember this one poem I was told by my comrades here in reality of what happens to a dream that is ignored in such a cruel way, and considering what I have seen in my initial exploits…it tells no lies for sure.

The solitary question that does remain despite how many times that all the others may be answered is…can dreams replenish themselves if someone possesses a strong enough will? If so, what is to say that my efforts to eradicate the nightmarish scum that dare to associate their filthy selves with the other well-meaning 'Dream Demons' will be all in vain?

Although Phalos is gone…or rather, that is what many want me to think, despite the chance of fate deciding otherwise…I must still maintain order here on the border between the real world and the world of dreams and fantasy so that incidents like those surrounding Heracles will not be repeated at any cost.

Anyways, I think I should introduce myself so that you can cite these musings of mine. The name's Yumechi Darkwing, and I am known by many nicknames. In fact, due to my control of shadows and unparalleled experience with the mortal psyche, I am known as the Dream Executioner due to the righteous and equal judgment I 'pass' upon the wicked who dare to take advantage of the mortals for their own personal gain. However, due to my secret weapon being literally and figuratively poetic in nature, I am also occasionally, and often affectionately, referred to as the 'Poisoned Poet'… That is a bunch of crap if I ever heard it. I am merely a divine shadow, an angel of darkness if you will. I merely wield the words of discord at my fingertips… Sure, I was the one who recorded such secrets, but that doesn't mean I like to use poetry as a weapon ALL of the time. It is just an inherited power I possess along with shadow manipulation, the divine endowment of Dream Emulation, as well as much more that I will get to at a more appropriate time.

Which is, unfortunately for both of us, not now…

I let out a long yawn as I attempt to rub the wrinkles of exhaustion away from my aching eyes. Today is definitely going to be ANOTHER fruitful day, I just know it. I just wish that school wasn't so freaking boring and lacking in creativity. Day in and day out, I have to sit through endless lectures, half of which disinterest me with the occasional pearl of knowledge to give at least some reward for such an exhausting effort.

At least at either a break or lunch, I can either go to a club meeting to discuss topics that challenge my intellect such as at Writers' Guild since I actually do enjoy writing from time to time to take my mind off of things, or I can usually do my work behind the scenes so that this school doesn't get overrun by those parasitic pests. Since I possess the gift of Dream Emulation, I can detect other Dream Demons if I so decide to allow my eyes to open to their true extent. However, because I need money to be able to thrive in this harsh world and it is enough of an effort to have to fight off whatever may lurk within my client's mind, I run it as a bit of a mercenary service that charges anyone with the exception of close friends for the removal of pesky 'nightmares'. But, I doubt any of them know about the existence of 'Dream Demons' at all, and yet they still trust me when it really matters, despite not knowing how significant my actions truly are.

As I run a slightly rusty comb through my tangled blondish-brown hair, I simply stare at myself in the mirror and allow my pupils to briefly reveal their true shape of a jagged crescent moon before they return to their uniform circular state. I am lucky that I can hide myself under my assumed identity of Yuuma Kagemura, a somewhat respected second-year who excels at simple topics like Literature, English, and History while still dredging through such menial topics such as Math and P.E. despite his dislike for such tedious drivel. In other words, it suits my personality quite well for not being my true identity.

However, if I stay here just thinking to myself for too long, I will miss the train AGAIN… What a shame. I hate to have to rush, but I loathe unpunctuality even more, so I quickly don my uniform which consists of a matching plain grey T-shirt and dress pants contrasted with brownish slip-ons that I got approved as a MINOR chromatic deviation, which is usually overlooked unless you are undeserving of such privilege, and rush out of the door before I even remember to have a little something for breakfast.

No matter… My panic ended up being unnecessary, as I discover that I actually arrived a few minutes early for the train. But, much to my surprise, I spot a familiar face in the crowd: A quiet, silver-haired first-year by the name of Kohaku Tsukino. Ever since the beginning of this year, we have been great friends despite my…reservations, if that is what you call it, about revealing the truth about myself to him. It is not that I wouldn't be willing to if he really wanted to know, but rather there hasn't been anything to suggest that I am even hiding something in the first place. It is also important to know that despite the difference in years, we don't refer to each other as 'Kouhai' or 'Sempai' under my own urging. Although it is very flattering to be given such honor, it just doesn't seem right for a friendship in my opinion. In the end, I don't need poor Kohaku-kun to develop an inferiority complex and cause everything to become thrown out of balance. Ironic that I, who constantly throws the society of my foes into disarray without any worry or care, would be so careful with my friends as to keep everything equal and fair. But, I digress…

I exclaim with a slight grin as I approach Kohaku-kun, "Hey! Never thought I would run into you here, Kohaku. So…what brings you to the Shirogawa line, my friend?"

Kohaku meets my gaze with an unusually stern expression as he replies, "Well… I thought I would ask you a little favor..."

I reply with a sigh as I place my hand upon his shoulder as consolation, "What is troubling so much that you are rendered so serious?"

He replies with an worried tone as the determined look in his eye begins to waver, "Well… You know how you hunt down nightmares? Well, I was wondering if you could treat me as a favor… I don't exactly have the money to pay you, but some weird creatures have been harassing me in my dreams and I want them to be dealt with as soon as possible."

I subtly smirk as I reply with a nod, "Mochiron… Just relax, and let me do my work."

As I wave my hand over Kohaku's face, he suddenly falls into a walking trance as shadows weave together the empty scenery that is my daydream realm, a simplistic shadow domain known by the name of Mugengoku, or 'Infinity Prison'. The reason behind its name is because once a dream demon is trapped within, it is nigh impossible to navigate to anyone other than myself, and many who try to defy the inevitable eventually just succumb to their own exhaustion anyways.

Just as I set Kohaku's body down onto the cold void below, I hear two familiar voices exclaim in unison as a vortex of fire and ice graze us both, "Konbanwa, otoo-san!"

I reply with a disappointed frown as I bring out the retractable blades within my sleeves for good measure, "Why are you two here? I thought you also didn't need a vessel, much less were desperate enough to try and claim one vessel together… Nevertheless, show yourselves. You know how much I hate cloak-and-dagger affairs."

Swiftly after issuing my command to those fools, they show themselves at last…and thank the heavens for that. You see, these here are my two spawn, and if you are wondering, I care not to share WHO they were incubated in, although you can probably guess if you know me enough. Their names are Embrek and Eserla, and although they are quite powerful for how rookie they are, they can be annoyances…or Embrek can be anyways. He is the reckless lad with burning red hair and a creepy grin that can usually unnerve the common onlooker. Then again, if you see his actions…you can see why many DREAM DEMONS are scared out of their wits when they hear he is on their tail. Eserla is…less of an issue overall, but while Embrek is very sadistic and rash, she is apathetic and usually sees humans and dream demons alike as food rather than as actual living beings that deserve respect. She resembles her mother, save for a light-bluish tint to her hair, and while Embrek's powers come from who-knows-where, I can safely say that Eserla inherited her power.

Eserla replies with a dissatisfied frown as she reads my body language like a book, "Oh…we hit forbidden territory again, didn't we?"

I reply with an over-exaggerated nod as I cross my arms in disappointment, "Uh-huh. Your 'vessel' just happens to be one of my friends in reality, and especially one who doesn't know about Dream Demons yet. Didn't I teach you to CHECK your vessels before you storm in?"

Embrek blushes with embarrassment as he interjects, "Well…Uh… Yeah, but…"

I turn my attention over to him and exclaim with a zealous glower in my eyes, "Get. Out. Of. Him. Now. I don't know how I can make this much clearer."

Eserla replies with a scowl as the air begins to freeze around her, "Then push us in SOME direction, father… Leaving us without a way to manifest ourselves is just plain rude, and you know that."

I sigh once more as I exclaim with an annoyed tone, "You know what… I will allow you to remain his vessel on one condition. You must cease your needless nocturnal torture, and instead approach him in a friendly manner later today. Make sure you actually get his approval for his body to be used as a vessel, and make sure he understands what he is getting into. If he actually accepts your offer, I will be waiting in the shadows and will show my true self to him once the time comes for the truth to shine bright through the shadows of uncertainty."

Eserla responds with an apathetic tone as she rolls her eyes with disinterest, "Whatever… If you want us to respect the wishes of our vessel, then swallow our pride we shall. Does lunchtime sound about good for you, father?"

I only nod as the shadows around us begin to fade back into the bright lights that are reality. Too bad one of the few times I fulfill a favor to a good friend…it ends up being one of the few beings that are more useful to me by my side rather than eradicated by my hand. But still… I should not overlook their power simply because they are my spawn. Their power still exceeds that bitch Mistleteinn by many levels of inherent prowess. The thought of how such a dreaded monster that ended the lives of many Dream Demons, and thus caused Sudden Dream Loss to actually become an issue amongst mortals, could be rendered so powerless in the presence of top-rate Dream Demons such as Eserla, Embrek, Cynthia Lockland, as well as of course myself. I doubt she even could match up against Phalos after how much her previous losses have drained her of her previous might. In fact, it could be considered more of an annoyance than anything that she seems to not be that easy to erase entirely from the face of existence… But, when she manifests once again, I will be there waiting to escort her to oblivion once more.

However, fate seems to have not pushed her in my direction quite yet, so maybe I will at least have a bit more time to gather up allies in this world before I have to pluck that weed yet again. That is at least good news for my fellow classmates, as I might be able to catch her before she carves too big of a scar into the will of the student body. I also hope for her sake that her blunt arrogance has died down a bit so she can actually look like she is TRYING to win this time. That way, it will be less unnerving when the time comes to knock her down to size.

I chuckle to myself as I break my pensive haze and exclaim to Kohaku as I place my hand on his shoulder, "Sorry. I couldn't totally eradicate that nightmare of yours, but…I have a feeling they will be less of a bother."

Kohaku replies with a slight smile as he stares at me with those eyes as endless and blue as the open sky, "Thanks anyways, Yuuki-kun. I appreciate your effort to fulfill my request despite how sudden it was brought to your attention."

I let out a sigh as I brush his cheek affectionately with the back of my hand, causing him to blush ever so subtly, and exclaim with an amused smirk, "You really need to trust in me a bit more, Kohaku-kun. You really should know by now that no matter how abruptly I may be asked, I never back down when a friend requests something of me. You have known me for quite a while, and yet-"

Kohaku interjects in a tender whisper before locking lips with me, "You talk too much, you…bakkun."

A mixture of raw emotion and confusion disrupts the calm of my thoughts. Although the logic center of my mind tries to put two-and-two together, the perfection of the moment and my…tendencies make my impulses overwhelming. Motivated by my lust, I caress the warm body of my dear friend as it seems to emanate with the familiar scent of a peach blossom that soon overloads my senses.

As soon as I am on the brink between this sweet reality and the total loss of control, I break away from his embrace and inquire with staggered breath, "How…long…have you felt this way about me?"

Kohaku replies with a warm smile as his pure white face becomes pure crimson from his intense blushing, "For about a month… I know it is not conventional, and many may even tease us for this, but…I honestly don't care. You are the only person I have felt so connected to, almost as though we were one at times. I…love…you, Yuuki-kun, and nothing can ever change that."

I feign a smile despite knowing deep down inside whatever I can even call my heart that I have been lying about who I am to him for so long. Is he in love with 'Yuuki', or has he seen past the mortal mask I masquerade in and harbors these feelings for the real me? I guess that I will know which that is by the end of lunch… Shame if it is only my fake identity that he bears this crush on. He is such a nice boy, and definitely could be quite passionate for a 'partner'…that is, unless teenage hook-ups have been outlawed now. Then again, I think it is good that they finally realize that teenagers are actually quite mature around here when it comes to the…touchier side of romance. But, that is beside the point.

No matter what happens or what has happened thus far, I should still keep this resolve. It is that resolve that snaps me yet again out of my fog of pensivity and allows me to board the train so I can arrive at school on time. I also think that Kohaku has gotten the hint that I need some time to think of how I want to handle this, because he doesn't press the issue the rest of the way. He has always known what my boundaries are after all… Maybe I SHOULD accept his affection wholeheartedly...after I have tested whether or not it is actually genuine or not, that is.

Ugh. Why does today have to be so…abnormal?