Next! Okay, for future reference and for personal reasons, I'm gonna be putting a time stamp on all the next chapters, like you will see below. Mkay then? Good. On we go on your mad little journey to the depths of what some might call my "sane" mind. (I forgot the "in" ;3)

November 4, 2013


If the ways of this world are based on equivalent exchange, as alchemy says, then in order to allow for a new generation to enjoy good fortune, then the price that we must pay is to carry the bodies of the dead across a river of blood.

-FMA


Kage's POV:

I walked through the forest, utterly alone as I hummed softly to myself, glee making my stride bouncy and cheerful. I couldn't believe it. All that opportunity just dropped into our laps, a real solid lead in this endless hunt for new members. But first… I grinned as I came to a clearing, seeing people with bulky lab coats subduing children with ragged clothing and uniforms, most crying for help and struggling. I swiftly netted all the adults with one hand, shadows sweeping around them and curling up off the ground as they cried out in shock and began to struggle, ignored by me as I made my way to the children. "Does anybody here know a young female by the name of Hazel?" I asked, and most raised their hands, including one bunch that were starting to give me dubious looks, obviously close friends. "Well, c'mon then." I said cheerfully, leading the way into the forest as they all looked at each other and followed, the lab coats being powered above the trees and dragged in our wake.

We came back to the stream as Akuma and DK packed up our stuff, the girl nervously fidgeting on a log. "Got 'em." I said brightly, breaking the silence as she looked up in shock, seeing the ragged bunch behind me and starting forward. "Rowan! Berry! Linden! Birch! Guys, how did you- what did she… GUYS!" she squealed, obviously at a loss for words as her friends all sighed in relief and moved to reacquaint themselves, one, a tall, thin male with dead-white hair and blindfolded eyes being tugged by a tiny, blue-haired girl that must have been only eight or nine as his head followed us, seemingly staring in horror. "Guys…these are demons." He finally croaked, and all chatter stopped as I grinned wickedly, DK slouching off the log and going to back me up as Akuma chuckled and walked to my side. "Well, I guess we're busted. Shame on the bad people." I said as the males behind me both laughed, and we grinned at the trembling teens. It's so much fun to scare people like this sometimes… I thought gleefully, and then shrugged. "But we're also demons that have stable souls, so you don't have to worry about being munched in the dead of night. In fact, DK's the only true demon here." I said, pointing to him as he gave a lazy salute.

"But you have meister and weapon…and witch…and Kishin…and something else…what are you?!" the boy whimpered as I snapped my fingers, the struggling lab coats drifting down from the trees to clump together by our log. "We…are Nightstalker. Ring any bells?" I said briskly, and several kids whitened. "Guess it does. Don't worry, we're mostly on a tame leash with Lord Death and DWMA and all them." I said dismissively, waving a hand at them. "W-what do you want with us?" Hazel stammered, and I tapped my lips with one finger. "Well, we seem to have a mutual problem. You want to get away from the nasty people here, and we need a lot of people with nowhere to go. I propose we solve it by taking you guys home with us, and see if you like it there. Choose fast, or slow, doesn't matter to me. If you cannot stand the thought of living with us, we'll pop you over to the DWMA and call it square." I said, and they all looked at each other.

"Well?" I asked expectantly, and Hazel stepped forward. "We'll…we'll go with you." She stammered, obviously bracing herself, and I grinned and nodded as DK and Akuma high-fived. "Great! Now if you excuse us, we need to find out exactly how to deal with these creeps." I said cheerfully, and as one DK, Akuma, and I all turned to the struggling scientists. "Right buddies, we can make you suffer everything you fear and more in about five seconds, so I suggest you make yourselves useful. Spill every last bean and I'll shove you on your way." I snapped belligerently, tossing my shoulders back as the shadows around each person's neck squeezed harshly, almost to the point of strangulation as the men and women in them thrashed and panicked, before relaxing and allowing them to babble.

And babble they did.

Right away I eliminated about half in terms of being useful, just because somehow (maybe I had done the intimidation act a wee bit too well) they had snapped under the pressure and were chattering like idiots. The rest were all either stony silent or sweating nervously, and DK nodded to me as Akuma licked his lips. It was obvious who was higher up on the pecking order, and I lowered the six or seven we had deemed to be important to the ground, quickly wrapping them several times in shadow as we gazed hungrily at the rest. "Oy-" I said out of the side of my mouth, not turning around. "Who in your ragged little bunch are Weapons? Come forward if you are."

Hazel and the littler blue-haired girl I had noticed earlier came forward with some others, and we smirked at them. "Kage, would you? I'm hungry." Akuma muttered, and I rolled my eyes, snapping my fingers as the shadows suddenly sharpened, decapitating the useless lab coats in identical showers of blood that vanished midair as they expanded, ribbons of darkness flying out from their bodies and wrapping around dozens of floating red orbs. "Bon appetite. Don't worry, we're not demonizing you, these are all Kishin souls and therefore safe for you guys to eat." I said cheerfully, and we quickly divided the Kishin Souls up, handing about three to each kid and saving several for our own snacks. Well, DK and me. Akuma seemed to have lost his taste for souls as simply a food after the blood transfusion, although he still enjoyed the occasional soul for kicks.

Hazel's POV:

I looked uncertainly at the five glowing orbs in my arms, feeling my gorge rise. I was expected to eat these? I looked up nervously as the others did the same, seeing Kage and DK swallowing down soul after soul with pleased, sated grins on their faces, Akuma watching us with a raised eyebrow. "You're weapons aren't you? Eat, it's good for you. Becoming Death Scythes and all that." He said dismissively, and I swallowed hard, closing my eyes and then sighing as I raised a pulsing red orb to my mouth, scrunching up my face and swallowing it down in one quick gulp, shudders racking themselves up and down my spine. Then I blinked, opening my eyes. "Hey…it's not that bad." I said in surprise, glancing down at the remaining four souls. "Really? Whats it like?" Berry asked curiously, tilting her head with her cobalt locks brushing across her violet eyes, and I shrugged, licking my lips. "It's like…it's like eating a big gummy snack or something. No taste at all." I said, and the others shrugged and began cautiously eating the souls as I quickly closed my eyes and swallowed my own, feeling a strange, tingly sensation travel up through the soles of my feet, enveloping my entire body and going up, like I was being crawled on by thousands of ants.

My eyes snapped open as I realized sound had been cut off, and cried out in shock to feel myself completely locked in shadows, kicking and thrashing and trying to summon my cannon as I felt a sharp pinch on my ear, making me stop with an indignant squeak of pain. "Just relax kid, Kage hasn't dropped someone out mid-shadow walk yet, and me n' Akuma are helping her. You've got it made in the shade. Actually, that's literal…" DK's voice chuckled in my ear, and I flinched away as his breath washed against the side of my face, icy cold and dead. Suddenly the dark was gone, and I blinked, looking around to find it night, shivering as a cold, moaning wind rustled through the lank grass around us, making the grey-brown plants waver and dance like a wave at sea as Kage and her brother stretched, the rest of us fetching up right beside me with faint pops, the shadows simply tearing open and closed in midair as my friends stumbled through.

DK was right next to me, and I gave him a nasty look before pointedly rubbing my neck, making his eyes dance with wicked mirth as he smirked and looked away, his red-black eyes shining with excitement. I suddenly realized where I was, and there were soft murmurs as the others pressed in close, a slight sense of unease tingeing the evening air. Kage and her brother didn't notice, staring up at the towering mass of shadowy, ominous buildings and lopsided pumpkins, a crooked fence weaving around the city before seemingly connecting by accident at the gates, which were mounted by a towering icon, a scarecrow-like creature with a huge pumpkin head that seemed even from here to have jagged, wet teeth. We were in a grassy meadow, a small dirt path winding through the tattered, dead greenery to connect to the gate, the other end vanishing inside a forest that gave me shivers, all the trees bare-branched, dead, no leaves except for the ones that swirled ominously, like in some horror movie, at the behest of that same icy, endless wind.

"Stake me to a post, it's great to be back home." Kage commented, stretching with a wide yawn as Akuma nodded, grinning slightly as they turned back to us. "Well? What do you think of Halloween Town?" DK asked mischievously, and we all shuffled a little closer to each other, scuffling our feet in the dirt and not answering as all three of our rescuers –although somehow that was seeming more and more like a misnomer– burst into laughter. "Yup! Every time, they're terrified!" Kage said with a wild laugh, tilting her head back to stare at the moon, her green eyes lit with a strange, haunting light for the barest second before she turned to us. "Well, I'm leaving you in DK's capable hands. Akuma, go tell Lord Death we found some meisters and are keeping 'em until further notice. I'll go tell Lock we have guests." She said briskly, and her brother nodded, seemingly waiting for something. She grinned, pressing her hands together and closing her eyes.

"Shadow take shadow steal, shadow make shadow real. Shadow take shadow steal, shadow make shadow real. Shade Wings!" she called out, the shadows whipping around her like leaves in the wind before suddenly arching from her back, doing the same with her brother as they both launched themselves off into the night with gleeful calls. DK watched them flit off into the night like macabre bats, shaking his head slowly with a slight grin on his pale lips. "If it comforts you, she was just showing off. Now she barely needs the incantation to cast the Shade Wings spell, or in fact most of her magical shish-kabob." He said, turning and bowing to us with a flourish in the direction of Halloween Town. That wasn't a comfort at all. "Well, come on this way, we have candy and souls galore, not to mention lots of gore." He said with a wicked chuckle, and we all followed him helplessly toward the gigantic hulking shadow, the moon laughing behind it as I saw the ragged shadow that was Kage swoop downwards and vanish into the inky darkness.

Poor Hazel and the others! You would have to admit, for someone who was just the average Joe or Jane on the sidewalk, Halloween Town, not to mention Kage, Akuma, and DK's macabre and morbid sense of humor, would be absolutely terrifying. And so, the beginnings of my crazy little plot are starting to take shape…a very crooked and lame shape, to be sure, but it's still a shape…bah, whatever. I'm gonna be iffy on Mondays, just letting you know, because every other Monday I have to attend FEP (Faith Enrichment Program) at my local church, which basically means I, a sworn pagan, have to sit for roughly three hours and listen to drivel about something I don't believe in. This may be an unfair and hurtful statement for those who actually ARE Catholic/Christian, but let me finish. Would you be crabby if every other Monday you had to sit in a room full of Twilight fangirls and be forced to sit down and shut up FOR THREE HOURS as they babble, and actually put in comments that agree with them? I imagine most of you would. That my friends, is the equivalent of what I go through every other Monday. I hate it because I have some many other things to do, like write Fanfiction, or watch Soul Eater AMVs, or Hellsing AMVs, or Vocaloid, or do my homework, or read a book, or READ Fanfiction, ect. Well, speak of the devil, I gotta GO to this snooze-fest, right now. Review, Request, Rcomment, Auf Wedersien!

6.10 PM, USA Central Time