After meeting with Kid, the group of wizards were then taken to the Death Room to speak with Lord Death himself. Insidious stood in front of the red iron door, remembering the first time he met Lord Death. The door creaked open, revealing the familiar corridor of guillotines.
"On second thought, I think I'd just like to wait outside." Lucy said.
"Nonsense! We must meet with him." Erza said, grabbing Lucy by the arm and dragging her through the doorway.
"Hey Erza, wait for me!" Nastu shouted, running to catch up.
"Is there any time he doesn't shout?" Kid asked Gray. "Also, where did your shirt go?"
"Huh? Ah not again!"
"I've been wondering about that too." Maka said.
"It's probably better if you don't ask." Insidious said before shaking his head. "That's not important anyway. Let's go meet with Lord Death."
The group ran through the guillotines to catch up with Erza, Natsu and Lucy, who were already standing on Lord Death's plinth, but the Grim Reaper himself was nowhere to be seen.
"I don't like this." Lucy said, shrinking behind Erza.
"Aw come on, where is he?" Natsu asked, scratching his head.
"Allow me." Maka said, walking over to the mirror and calling Lord Death. The mirror turned white before revealing the form of Lord Death, lying on a beach chair in the middle of the Bahamas.
"Hello, hello everyone! Great to see you all made it!" Lord Death said cheerily, giving a peace sign before sipping from a half coconut in his hand.
"Father, why are you in the Bahamas? There are several important matters you need to attend to!" Kid objected.
"You're such a buzz kill Kid." Death sighed. "Besides, now that they're here, we can get started."
"So what's the plan?" Erza asked, stepping into view of the mirror.
"We still haven't found the Zombie Kishin's whereabouts, but there have been several rumours about a Witch harvesting souls somewhere in the Mojave Desert, both pure and Kishin Eggs. It might just be Anguish. We've sent Sid and Nygus to investigate, but they're yet to report back."
"Where was he last?" Maka asked.
"He last reported in this morning in Las Vegas." He explained. "He was investigating the rumours of the Witch hunting souls."
"If that's the case, we should wait until they make another report. In the meantime, we can tell Black Star, Soul, Liz and Patty the plan." Kid said.
"Good idea Kid. So where do you think they should stay?"
"The Gallows Mansion should have more than enough room to accommodate them, provided the symmetry is maintained. However Insidious might like to stay in Maka's apartment."
"Righto kid! See you all later." Lord Death said as the mirror returned to its normal reflectiveness. The room descended into a brief silence before Lucy spoke up.
"He wasn't exactly what I was expecting."
Anguish made his way through the Mojave desert, his face covered by a black scarf to stop the sand from infiltrating his airways. Anguish adjusted his black coat as he walked on through the sandstorm.
The howling of the wind mixed with the quiet groaning of the Zombie Kishin beside him, which had grown significantly. It was now roughly three times as big as it once was, and its head had split into two, creating four hungry mouths each drooling thick rivers of saliva. Its body was now twice as long, eight mutilated torsos making a snake like body from the creature's thick base. From its elongated body sprung four arms, but each of the arms had two extra arms coming out of the elbows for a total of twelve clawed and grasping arms, most of them clutching various weapons like sabres, spiked flails and even an automatic rifle. Its base had several legs, most of them human but a fair number of them were bestial. The tentacles from its back had also increased in number. Now there were an immeasurable amount of sharp toothed tentacles bursting from the creature. Anguish was pleased at the Zombie Kishin's new appearance. It looked like it would inspire fear in the Grim Reaper himself.
The Zombie Kishin sniffed at the air, as if sensing the nearby souls. A wretched chorus of voices, some human, some not, spoke as the Zombie Kishin's primitive brain struggled to form words. "Master… Souls… There…" It said, pointing into the raging whirlwind with a single one of its many, many limbs. "Master… Eat?"
"No." Anguish said as the souls in question came into view. "These souls are the reason we are here."
The four souls in front of them looked nervously at the Zombie Kishin. One of the ones in front, a short man with a long nose in a top hat was the first to speak.
"Why have you brought us here? Surely you do not-"
"I assure you, I am not about to feed you to the Zombie Kishin. You are too useful to me for that."
A girl in an orange froglike hat breathed a heavy sigh before keeping a fearful eye on the Kishin in front of her. It was bad enough when she resurrected the first Kishin, but if news got out that she'd helped the second one, Lord Death would probably hunt her down himself! Still, it was better than the alternative Anguish proposed…
"Huh. So what did you need me for?" the third asked, scratching his neck. "Needle nose here would probably follow you if you were going to take a dump on the DWMA's doorstep, and you bullied the Frog Witch into following you, so what the hell am I here for?"
Anguish smiled nastily at him and inclined his head towards the Zombie Kishin.
"What?! No way. No fucking way am I gonna allow myself to be wielded by that thing." He snarled, crossing his arms. "That thing'll probably drool all over my engine if it doesn't try to eat me first!"
"I assure you Giriko that the Zombie Kishin is obedient to me and only me." Anguish said. "It's perfectly harmless. When I tell it to be."
"Speaking of the creature I have noticed while it is quite a fierce monster, it is no Kishin." Mosquito said. "Please explain."
Anguish narrowed his eyes at the tiny man, wishing he could punish him for doubting his plan. But he knew full well the danger he possessed to him. He doubted he'd have time to command the Zombie Kishin to attack before his life had been drained from his body. He still had not gotten all his powers back.
"True it is not a Kishin as of yet, but soon I will have the number of souls required to fully evolve it. Tell me mister Mosquito, are you a betting man?"
A look of realization crossed Mosquito's aged face as he smiled. "The gambling tournament in Las Vegas."
"Correct. I've decided to let the greed of others satisfy the greed of my Zombie Kishin." Anguish said, scratching the drooling monster's chin.
"An excellent and poetic scheme… Master Anguish." Mosquito said, removing his hat and bowing before his new master.
Giriko spat into the dust and looked back at Anguish. "Look, I don't give a damn about the DWMA, Kishins or any of that crap! Why the hell do you expect me to follow your orders, let alone work with needle nose again?"
"It's not like you to pass up a fight like this." Anguish smiled. "Laying low all this time must have really made you bored and dull. And since you don't have a Meister to wield you, the Zombie Kishin is your best chance to get into the thick of fighting."
Giriko's sharp teeth ground together as he considered what the pink haired bastard was saying. "You're right. And since we're fighting the DWMA I might get to tear apart that friggin' monk. Alright, you have a deal." Girkio said begrudgingly. "But I'm outta here the second someone says human sacrifice and points at me."
"That's three. So what about you," Anguish asked, turning his attention to the last of the gathered souls. "Free?"
The Half-Witch in question was sitting on his ball and chain, looking at the Zombie Kishin with fascination. "Well… You did bust me out of prison again."
Eruka looked at Free in astonishment. "Again?! Do you know what I went through to get you out the first time?!" she yelled. "How did you even end up in there again?"
"It's not my fault! After the whole incident with the first Kishin blew over, you guys left me behind while you skipped town!"
"You were sleeping in the hotel!"
"You didn't wake me up!"
"You said you'd kill me if I did!"
"I did? Oh yeah. Well… It's still your fault!"
Anguish cleared his throat, silencing the frog witch whose face now bore an extremely fearful expression.
"So Free, will you be joining us?"
"You got me out of jail. It's the least I could do." Free said.
"Excellent. Then when the gambling tournament is at its most congested, filled with those ignorant, greedy, stupid sub-humans, the Zombie Kishin will devour all of their souls and we will have a god at our command."
Buried inside a sand dune, many metres away, Sid and Nygus were monitoring the entire conversation with radio equipment and binoculars.
"This isn't good." Sid whispered to Nygus. "We need to report this to Lord Death immediately."
Insidious' eyes blinked open as the morning sunlight flooded into the living room. As he sat up, he rubbed his eyes and yawned, several vertebrae in his back popping as he did so. He wondered how the others were handling Death City.
"Morning Insidious." Natsu said as he padded around the house, a piece of burnt toast between his teeth.
Insidious almost fell off the couch in surprise. "Natsu! Who the hell let you inside?!"
"I did. The door wasn't locked." He shrugged before sitting on another couch.
"I guess." Insidious shrugged. "So how are the others?"
"Lucy's probably still in the mansion. She says the sun scares her." Natsu said. "Erza and Gray are taking a look around Death City with that guy from last night. I gotta say this place is pretty cool."
"Isn't it just?" said a voice from another room before its owner walked into the living room. "Long time no see Insidious."
"Hey Soul. How've you been?"
"I've been okay. Though you're looking pretty healthy for a dead guy."
Insidious shrugged. "I got better."
Natsu stood up and shook hands with the albino. "Hey. I'm Natsu, one of Fairy Tail's strongest wizards!"
"What, like Sorcerers? You must be pretty powerful then." He said. "Though I'd stay away from Black Star if I were you."
"What was that?" Natsu asked, making his way over to the window. The window shattered as an insanely grinning streak of black, white and blue crashed into Natsu, sending broken glass and furniture everywhere. By the end of it all, Natsu was flat on his back, Soul was pinned to a wall by a couch, Insidious was upside down and in the middle of it all stood a triumphant and laughing Black Star.
"Once again, the almighty Black Star proves his dominance over all foes! Kishin, Sorcerer, not even the son of Lord Death can stop me! Ahhahahaha!"
"Grrr, you jerk! What the hell was that for?!" shouted Natsu, blasting the furniture away from him as he got to his feet.
"So you can stand up. That's a relief. I would have been disappointed if you only went down after one measly kick." Black Star taunted, shifting into an offensive stance.
"If it's a fight you want, then that's what you'll get!" shouted Natsu, bashing his knuckles together. "Now bring it on, blue hair!"
As Insidious righted himself, he became aware of the presence of the red eyed demon in the room, looking around the wreckage of the living room before turning her attention to a KO'd Soul, the now petrified Insidious and finally the two in the centre of the room. Before either of them could blink, Maka was standing between them, her face a mask of pure, unadulterated rage. Black Star begun to sweat, as did Natsu. Maka grabbed Natsu's face with one hand and tossed him straight through the broken window into the street. In the same movement she picked up her book and slammed it into Black Star's face, sending him hurtling into the street at Mach speed. As Insidious climbed out of the rubble, Maka turned her furious face to him and Soul.
"Leave. Now." She growled.
Without thinking, Insidious grabbed Soul's arm and melded into the shadows before appearing moments later in the street where Natsu and Black Star had landed, both with welts the size of watermelons on their heads.
"How do you live with her?" Insidious asked breathlessly.
"By not ruining the furniture." Soul said, head still spinning from the fast shadow travel.
After Natsu and Black Star had regained some semblance of consciousness, they had decided to meet with the others. They found Gray, Erza, a slightly unnerved Lucy, Happy and several others Natsu couldn't identify at a coffee shop known as DeathBucks. A woman with long black hair and that guy they met yesterday and two more women.
"Hello Natsu, Insidious." Erza said pleasantly as she took a sip from her coffee cup. "I see you've been well Natsu. We've just been acquainting ourselves with Maka's friends."
Natsu was glaring at Black Star, who was returning the glare with equal ferocity. Insidious sat down and took his hat off, revealing his wild black hair and red eyes. "It was a rough morning. Black Star smashed in Maka's window."
"That would explain the bruises." Tsubaki said. "I told you that Maka wouldn't appreciate a fight in her living room."
"Who cares? When someone as godlike as me is in their living room, they should be stunned!" Black Star shouted as he stamped a foot on the coffee table, his foot dangerously close to Erza's strawberry cheesecake. Erza's face turned furious as she glared at Black Star, making him shrink under her gaze.
"Seems like someone can finally shut you up." Soul laughed, taking a seat. "So who are all of you Sorcerers? I'm Soul, the coolest guy around and Maka's Weapon partner."
"My name is Erza Scarlet. It's a pleasure to meet you Soul." Erza said. "This is Lucy, Fairy Tail's only Celestial Mage and our reason for arriving here."
"Nice to meet you." Lucy smiled with a wave of her hand before indicating to Happy. "This is Happy by the way. He seems to be getting along quite well with Blair."
"Aye!" said the two cats in unison before returning to their shared milkshake, staring lovingly into each other's eyes. The milkshake also had a fish sticking out of it.
"And this is Gray. Who appears to be missing his shirt and pants." Erza added angrily, causing Gray to frantically search for where his clothes had gotten off to before putting them back on.
"Please tell me that's not normal." Soul deadpanned. The current conversation was then wonderfully derailed by Black Star, in typical Black Star fashion.
"Hey, pink hair guy! You should fight me so I can show you how much better I am than you!" Black Star challenged, causing a vein to almost pop in Natsu's head.
"Did he really just say that?" Lucy asked.
"He gets so excited when he makes new friends." Tsubaki smiled.
"Oh now you've got me all fired up!" Natsu shouted. "Let's take this outside."
"Sounds good to me, although I bet I could kick your ass anywhere!"
As the two hotheads stepped out onto the street, Insidious quietly ordered something from the menu that looked like it was tasty.
"So what are you getting?" Erza asked, seemingly unbothered by the fact that Natsu was about to fight someone.
"I really have no idea." Insidious said, hanging his head slightly. "I just thought the picture looked good."
"You still can't read?" Soul asked, a large sweatdrop appearing on the back of his head.
Outside, the battle between Black Star and Natsu had begun. As Black Star charged, Natsu countered with a fire punch that sent Black Star sprawling. Leaping back to his feet, Black Star launched himself into the air before coming down with a kick which landed straight into his chest. Natsu stood his ground and shouted.
"Fired Dragon Flame Elbow!"
Natsu's fist connected with Black Star's own and the two started trading blows, each punch becoming increasingly powerful.
"So who do you think is gonna win?" Liz asked, leaning back onto the bench.
"I dunno. But Kid would win against both of 'em!" Patty smiled.
"It would be wise not to underestimate our friends Patty." Kid said. "After all, you do remember the last time we underestimated Insidious."
"Yeah. You were pretty good at that." Insidious smirked.
As the battle raged before them, Insidious' order had arrived. It was a giant slice of something dark brown with a delicious scent coming off it. Taking an experimental bite, Insidious' eyes widened.
"This. Is. Amazing." He said before quickly taking another bite of the cake.
After Insidious had finished the cake, Natsu and Black Star had stopped fighting. Apparently they had arrived at some form of mutual respect and the fact that they were both too injured from Maka's beating earlier that morning.
"Say Insidious, shouldn't you visit Sophia?" Kid asked.
Insidious dropped the fork he had been holding. He'd forgotten all about her. Leaping up out of his chair, Insidious disappeared up the street.
"Hey! Where are you going?" Erza shouted. Lucy stared at Insidious before realising something.
"He didn't pay for his cake, did he?"
As Insidious ran up the road, he saw someone step out of Sophia's Bakery. Red Hair. Sharp suit.
"Spirit." Insidious said, attracting the attention of the Death Scythe.
"I heard you were back in town." Spirit said, turning to face Insidious, revealing a large red handprint on the side of his face.
"I don't think I need to ask how well your incessant flirting is going." Insidious smirked, causing Spirit to nurse his injury.
"I guess getting killed by one Kishin wasn't enough for you huh?" Spirit said. "I've heard about this Zombie Kishin thing. But from what I've been told it isn't much of a Kishin since we've had no reports of spreading Madness."
"Maybe whatever is happening in Las Vegas is connected to Anguish and the Zombie Kishin." Insidious said.
"Maybe. So, I guess you'll want to settle things?" Spirit asked, turning one of his arms into a scythe blade.
Insidious made a move to summon his Moonlight Duellist's Arms but stopped. Before he had died, he would have jumped at the chance to try and avenge his mother. In fact he had tried to before the confrontation with Asura. But had he really been thinking about revenge? Ever since he had died, the angry memories that so often clouded his mind had disappeared.
"I don't need to." Insidious said, walking past Spirit. "I've moved on. I realised that I've got something now that avenging my mother would never have brought me."
Spirit smiled as his arm returned to its normal form and began to walk away. "Glad to hear it. You be good, alright?"
Insidious breathed a heavy sigh as he stepped inside the bakery. It was painful to let something like that go, but if he didn't it would haunt him forever. The smell of fresh bread assaulted his nostrils as the delicious cooking smells wafted from the back room. Insidious walked over to the counted and tapped the bell with a gauntleted hand, the tinny chime ringing throughout the shop.
As soon as Sophia stepped through the backroom door she froze, dropping the tray of baked goods with a clang and putting her hands to her mouth.
"Hello Sophia." Insidious asked, a small tear forming in the corner of his eye.
"I… It can't be… Is it really you?" she asked, making her way past the glass counter before pulling Insidious into a rib crushing hug. "I thought you were gone forever!"
Insidious felt Sophia's tears falling onto his head, and he couldn't help but start to cry too. The two stood there for a good few minutes, just embracing each other like a mother and her lost child.
"I missed you." She said, wiping tears from her face.
"I missed you too." Insidious said. "How have you been?"
"I… I've been well. The, uh… The bakery is…" She trailed off, not knowing what to say next.
For at least an hour, they sat in silence before they started talking about what had happened to them. Tried to re-establish connections. Insidious also relayed to her his new life in Earthland, how he and Maka had been used in the creation of the Zombie Kishin and how it was brought back to their world.
"Well if you're going to fight this new Kishin, I'm coming too." She said bluntly.
"You know I don't want you to do that." Insidious said.
"Well I don't want to just sit here watching you fighting a giant monster that's threatening two universes. Besides, you know I can take care of myself."
"That's true." Insidious said, recalling their travels as his mind filled with nostalgia. "But it'll still be dangerous."
"I fight Kishin Eggs on a weekly basis and I helped you guys take down Asura. I think I can handle dangerous." Sophia grinned. "And Tsubaki's been showing me some cool tricks I can use in a fight."
The door to the bakery clattered open as Maka and Soul in scythe form entered the shop.
"Insidious, Sophia. We need to go!"
"What is it?" Insidious asked.
"Sid's just reported back! We need to go to Las Vegas right now!"
Insidious, Lucy and Kid were on the floor of one of Las Vegas' most congested casinos looking out for any trouble. Lucy was wearing a simple figure hugging red silk dress, Insidious was dressed in the same black suit that he had worn in the Akane Casino and Kid was wearing his normal suit, Liz and Patty walking beside him in their formal wear. Kid put a hand to his ear and contacted the others through their earpieces.
"Is everyone in position?"
"Beta team is in position." Soul's voice replied.
Maka, Soul, Black Star, Tsubaki and Sophia had made up the Beta Team covering the top floors of the casino while Gamma team were comprised of Erza, Natsu and Gray who were mingling in the bar and restaurant, The Gourmand. Omega team, Happy and Blair, were doing surveillance on the outside of the casino.
"Gamma team are ready." Erza said.
"Excellent. What about you Omega team?"
"Omega team are watching the street. We've got you covered boys!" Blair meowed.
"Perfect." Kid said. "The other Meisters of the DWMA are covering every casino in Vegas. Remember that they could strike at any time. So for now, we just have to blend in."
So for a length of time, the teams mingled in their areas and Happy and Blair kept an eye out on the street. Blair's eyes narrowed as she saw a short man in a top hat enter the casino.
"Psst, Happy. You see that man down there?"
"Aye. Do you think he's with Anguish?"
"Most likely. We have to tell this to Kid and the others."
Mosquio made his way through the crowded casino of people, keeping in mind the plan. It was alarmingly simple. Make all the humans in the casino flee the building and run into the streets, where they would be devoured by the Zombie Kishin. Mosquito then became aware that he was being followed by some of those brats from the DWMA. He'd better start the plan then.
As Insidious, Kid and Lucy neared Mosquito, an explosion came from the back of the casino.
"Terrorist attack!" someone shouted.
"Everybody outside!" another yelled, causing a stampede of people to rush towards the exits. Once they were outside, Meisters from the DWMA would guide them safely out of Las Vegas. That was the plan at least.
Soon the entirety of the casino was empty, and Mosquito in the middle of it. Insidious, Lucy, Kid, Liz and Patty glared at him from across the room.
"It's you. I thought you were destroyed along with Baba Yaga Castle." Kid said.
"I escaped. But how I did is of no importance now. What is important is now I will help Master Anguish destroy the DMWA and bring about a new reign of Madness." He said. "I don't think I'll bother with my form from one hundred years ago. I think I'll take care of you brats quickly so I can move onto the others. Ah yes, my form from two hundred years ago. Back when I was at my fastest, and my nose was at its finest."
Insidious stared in curiosity as Mosquito's tiny from begun to bulge and shift before elongating and bulging. His nose grew in length and more limbs sprouted from his body. When he was finished, Mosquito looked like some kind of giant insect with an extraordinarily long and sharp nose.
"That thing looks so disgusting." Lucy said squeamishly.
"I agree. It is an abomination that must be purged from the earth!" Kid scowled. "Liz, Patty."
"I'd be happy to." Liz said, similarly horrified at Mosquito's new appearance before she and Patty turned into guns.
"Requip: Moonlight Duellist's Arms." Insidious said, summoning the silver rapier and dagger. "If he's as fast as he says he is, then we need to be faster."
"Ignorant children! You'll never see your death coming!" Mosquito said before launching himself towards them. Kid only narrowly avoided impalement on Mosquito's nose, but he was thrown backwards along with Insidious and Lucy as Mosquito slammed into them before leaping onto a wall and scuttling onto the ceiling.
"How creepy can this guy get?" Lucy groaned as she got back to her feet. "Open, Gate of the Giant Crab! Cancer!"
After a loud single bell toll filled the air, a man with a ridiculous hairstyle and two pairs of scissors appeared.
"Hey baby. What's happenin'?" he asked. "Need a little off the top?"
"Not right now Cancer. I need you to cut that bug thing down to size!" she said, pointing at Mosquito.
"Whoa. Baby does that thing need restylin'." He said. "I'll get right on it."
"Hah! You'll never keep up with me." Mosquito growled before leaping from the ceiling, his nose aiming straight for Lucy.
Cancer immediately blocked the attack with his scissors.
"Not cool baby, not cool."
"You insolent whippersnapper! I'll drain every drop of blood from you!" Mosquito yelled.
"I think you've said enough, gramps." Kid said, aiming his pistols at Mosquito and firing off a few shots. Mosquito disappeared and reappeared on the other side of the room. "He dodged it!"
"You young brats never learn!" Mosquito growled. Kid fired off another volley of shots, causing him to scuttle up the wall. Cancer snipped at Mosquito with his sharp scissors and Insidious stabbed at with both rapier and dagger, trying to land a hit.
Insidious stood back and aimed a spell at the constantly moving Mosquito and a purple magic circle formed in front of his gauntleted hands.
Mosquito froze as Cancer rushed in, shearing his long nose clean off. Mosquito roared in pain as the appendage splattered on the ground, sending blood all across the velvet carpeted floor.
"Let's see you defeat us now without your precious nose."
Mosquito gritted his teeth and looked at Insidious with distaste. "Do you have a death wish boy? If that's the case, I'll be glad to oblige! Behold, my form from four hundred years ago, when I was at my most numerous!"