In the Stygian blackness of Yamaku Forest's innermost sanctum, in a little clearing unbeknownst to mortal man, a blood-red moon shone upon a deep black pool. Mirrorless and bottomless, to gaze into the pool was to gaze into the darkest depths of one's own heart – and then fall forever into purest insanity.

Part of the pool raised up a sickly appendage, as though attempting to form a wretched and sickly mockery of nature's sacred creations. The five-fingered prong slapped wetly down onto the earth... and became bone.

Towards the clearing, Stiddaroli-clad feet paced unhurriedly. Although they moved in total silence, the nearby animals scurried and flitted away before they could attract that unholy being's attention. Only humans are stupid enough not to know instinctively when evil incarnate is walking by.

Another limb formed out of the murky pool, dragging itself up until the head showed. Holding his jawbone in place with one hand, this unnatural miscreant hauled itself up, its ribcage not quite so empty as its skull: a heart of pure and unadulterated darkness beat arrythmically within, and with each untimely beat its arteries and veins spread, wrapping around and into muscles that ravelled together in stops and starts, jerks and jolts, even before the naked eye. Well – two eyes, watching from the edge of the clearing: they narrowed with a sense of wry amusement, as though this whole charade was a spectacle put on for their pleasure alone.

The organs formed within the ribcage, but it wasn't until the lungs were connected to the voicebox that the scream began. In a perverse parody of an infant's first cry the initially raw and hoarse scream emanated from a skinless, faceless mouth, mind-killing terror and excruciating agony etched deep into the lidless eyes as they squidged into being.

This strange, depraved creature slowly continued hauling itself out of the desecrated pool of its unnatural rebirth, its skin growing to cover bare veins and nerves even as they scraped over the blasted ground, yelling out its torture all the while. Finally it came to rest, groaning and heaving for breath, at the suited one's feet.

"So you're the new boy." Their free hand swilled a wineglass, a devilish grin forming on their face.

The wretched being on the ground coughed up some blood by way of a reply.

The suited one tossed a briefcase onto the floor beside him. "Clothes. Put them on. We don't want you scaring the ladies." They paused. "Well. Not yet." Grin.

As soon as he was decent the newborn said "You're my contact?"

They nodded. "That's right. I have the privilege of being our mutual master's ambassador in this realm. My other duties permitting, I will assist you in whatever way I may."

"Great. My name's Hisao-" They offered a hand to shake, which he took – and instantly regretted, for it was a grip as tight as steel hoops. He looked up into eyes as red and bright as the moon.

"I am also his enforcer. In the event that you should default on your end of the bargain, I will be the one to collect. Depending on how displeased our master is, I may be ordered to have some fun with you before handing you over. There are far worse fates than eternal damnation. Believe me."

Hisao swallowed. "Yes sir."

They smiled pleasantly. "Good. Also, it's ma'am. Not that you'd guess it by looking, of course." He detected a slight hint of pride, for some reason. "Can I offer you a smoke, perhaps a drink? It's warm, full-bodied and fruity."

"You... are talking about wine, aren't you?" asked Hisao, dubiously eyeing the red contents of the wineglass.

"Maaaaaybe." The newly-revealed she chuckled, taking a sip.

Hisao took the last article out of the briefcase. "...Not that I mean to offend, but this... thing... looks awful."

She glanced at the offending (and offensive) object. "Well it is demonic."

"It's a sweatervest."

"It's the best we could come up with at short notice," she said, her tone of voice suggesting 'better you than me'. "That particular item of clothing is woven from the hair of sacrificed virgins, so treat it with care. You wouldn't believe how expensive virgins are these days." She peered into her wineglass with a disgruntled look as if seeing a discomfortingly large figure floating on its surface.

"So, is it imbued with Dia-?"

Hisao didn't realise what had happened until a few milliseconds after. The woman could move faster than a snake could strike, in this case to place a finger over his lips. She shook her head disappointedly.

"Do not mention his name, nor the name of any other being of his level. To mention their name with knowledge of what they really are is to invoke their power. It is only to be done in the most extreme of circumstances, do you understand me?"

"Yes ma'am."

She nodded, her finger and the rest of that sinister hand returning to the pocket whence it had come. "Let's hope you continue to learn that quickly. And in answer to your question, yes, the sweatervest does have some of his power in it: it will protect you and grant you certain other benefits that will aid you in your quest."

"What other benefits?"

She grinned that all-knowing grin. "Well now, you don't want to spoil the surprise, do you?" Her hand re-emerged from its pocket, much more slowly this time, bearing a sealed envelope. The seal was, of course, in dried blood. "Contained within are the names and pictures of the girls you are to conquer for his lordship. They all go to Yamaku, the nearby school at which you will be staying and studying for the next year. Any additional souls you manage to capture during that year will no doubt sweeten the deal, but they aren't necessary. Something tells me you'll have your hands full with this lot."

Hisao hefted the envelope. "It seems heavier than that."

"There's also a cell-phone. My number's already in there, so you'll be able to call me wherever I am."

Hisao raised an eyebrow at her. "Even if you're... down there?"

She smiled lazily. "Wherever I am. There're a couple of extra freebies on the phone too, so feel free to have a poke around. If that's all, I have other matters to which I must attend." She turned adroitly on a heel, started to walk away, raising her free hand-

"Wait! You haven't told me your name."

The suited one paused. "Nor will I. Around here though, they call me Akira." She finished her goodbye wave. "Try not to have too much fun without me."