Act VI: Greed

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Scene XXII: Into The Dark

Kanagawa, Japan. 2021, September

Fea’s cries had been loud enough to alert most of the East wing.

Ato moved first, pivoting on his heel to head back up the hall and hurry to where Fea appeared at the end of the corridor from the stairway. He reached out, supporting her shaking shoulders and he knelt, looking up into her flushed, panicked face.

“What happened?”

“It’s Shio!” Fea cried, gripping Ato’s forearms with her dainty fingers. “He’s in the basement!”

Gritting his teeth, Ato stood up and motioned for Gado to comfort Fea before he took off, making his way down the staircase. The further he moved down the building, the colder the air became. He momentarily wished to run back upstairs and find his cloak – Shio’s miserable face in his mind was the only thing that forced him forward.

He came into a bright room, littered with flickering LED lights and white walls. Shadows danced down the windowless corridor and Ato steadied himself, warily moving across the unmaintained floor. Glass and debris crunched under the heels of his shoes, eyes flickering to the rusted plaque that read basement. Cold air kissed his bare wrists, rising the hairs on the back of his forearms.

At the end of the long corridor was a tall door, boarded with planks of wood. It had been decorated with caution tape and a warning sign with keep out written across it. There was no trace or sign of Shio and he grit his teeth, pressing a palm against the sealed entrance to the basement below.


Footsteps began creeping up behind him and Ato turned, guard up and hands balled. When Roiyaru’s face flickered under the LED lights, Ato’s first instinct was to scold him for venturing into unknown territory. He only held his tongue when he saw the frown and concern washing over the boy’s face.

“What do we do?” Roiyaru uttered, crossing his robe-clad arms.

Ato shook his head and moved, leading Roiyaru back down the corridor. “We need to tell someone.”

Kin smiled widely, greeting the crowd of teenagers climbing out of the bus. He had been taking mental notes from Hokori for years and had a knack for public speaking and addressing crowds. It made him the ideal candidate for induction day, and he was already calming the nervous kids as they followed him up the pathway.

“My name’s Kin. I’ll be yer tour guide this mornin’.” He cheered, waving a hand above his head to signal the group to follow him up to Yuugen’s foyer. “Ya gotta line up single file so I can get yer names written on the register, then we can be on our ways.”

He yanked open the glass doors and stepped on through to reception. Behind the counter sat Heishi, Hahen’s cousin and medical apprentice – who had volunteered to help with the tour since she was the closest age to these poor, nervous Sorcerers and Familiars. She waved from behind reception when the foyer became full of faces.

“Just sign your name here.” Kin hummed, tapping a hand on the reception desk. His eyes wandered to where Yumi had appeared through the double doors to the next block and he moved away with a smile. “I’ll leave ya with Heishi while she gives you your visitor badges.”

Yumi hovered in the hallway, waiting for Kin to join him. His face remained ever calm in the presence of these young strangers, unwilling to set their anxieties any higher than necessary if he could help it. When one of the younger girls looked his way, Yumi simply nodded and held his arm out for Kin; leading him into the middle of the corridor and away from reception.

“We have a problem.” Yumi whispered.

“What kind of problem.” Kin bit his lip and slouched, leaning back against the wall.

Yumi sighed, clasping his hands behind his back. “It seems that one of our newcomers have broken into the basement.”

“Ah, bugger.” Kin groaned, pinching the bridge of his nose.

“Don’t worry. You’ll just need to keep the students as far from the basement as possible.”

“Well, obviously.” Kin rolled his eyes and turned back to the group signing in with Heishi. He was thankful she was so giddy and enticing, able to hold the crowd’s attention. Rescheduling now would look bad and he needed a new tactic – which walked right into the foyer in the form of none other than Muzai Aibori. “Ain’t she a sight for sore eyes, eh?”

Yumi raised a brow, following Kin’s eyes to where Muzai stood. She looked clueless and small against the crowd. She could have easily blended in with them if she wanted to. Hardly looking the part as one of Yuugen’s Council members.

“Oi, Muzai.” Kin moved out of the hall and over to his friend, clapping her on the shoulder. “Come with me for a second.”

“What’s up?” Muzai asked, stifling a yawn as Kin led her through to the hall. “Is this about the news this morning?”

“No, no. That’s a matter for another day,” Kin crossed his arms and leant back against the wall again after slipping through the double doors. “One of the newcomers ’ave gotten into the basement and I got a bunch of kids to show ’round.”

“Well, I can help downstairs?” Muzai offered. “I’ve been down to the basement before years ago, so I have a little idea of the layout.”

“No, no.” Yumi shook his head. “You should stay here with Kin and Heishi. Just keep the tour short and simple. Stay on this level and above; there’s no need to go downstairs. These students need to know this is an academy; not a hotel with a crazy laboratory.”

“Heishi?” Muzai blinked. She turned back to reception and her eyes turned wide, recognising the young woman babbling behind the desk. “How did I not see her yesterday?”

“See?” Kin beamed. “Gives ya all a chance to catch up ‘n’ keep the kids safe at the same time.”

Kiba had been sent down to the bottom floor to guard the entrance of the basement along with Sozokujin. They had strict orders not to actually go in if they could help it and was later accompanied by Chikyu, who refused to be turned away after she claimed Shio’s actions were her responsibility.

“I don’t get it.” Kiba said, slapping a palm against the boarded door. “How could he even get in if the place is secure like this? No way could he nail these boards up from the inside, and I remember hammering these up myself.”

Chikyu sighed from her spot against the wall behind him. “It’s his ability.” She stated flatly.


“Yes,” Chikyu nodded. “He can walk through walls. Rather annoying when you try and keep him in one place. He will always find a way out, unlike his brother.”

“Poor soul has just lost his family,” Sozokujin spoke up, brushing her hair behind her ear. This must be his way of mourning.”

“Yeah, no duh.” Kiba scoffed, turning back to kick the base of the boarded door. “But that doesn’t give him the right to go down there. The sign makes it blatantly obvious that he should have stayed well away!”

“He probably knows exactly what lays down there.” Chikyu leant back against the wall and crossed her ankles. “He and his brother were part of The Enchantress’ Coven. No doubt he already knows what he’s looking for.”

“That could be rather troublesome.” Sozokujin tutted. Her ruby-brown eyes were piercing against the flashing LED lights when she turned back to Chikyu. “How on earth was he able to use his powers in the first place? No-one has been able to use Magick outside Concordia since Chiba’s Massacre. What do you have to say about that?”

Chikyu merely shrugged a shoulder. “Like I said, Shio and Kosho were in The Enchantress’ clutches before they came to the mountains. That woman is well known for tinkering with Sorcerers and Familiars genetics. Father once told me she created cyborgs and turned Familiars into Sorcerers. It’s entirely possible that she tampered with Shio’s abilities, too. A Dark Magick.”

“Well, then,” Sozokujin turned back to Kiba and motioned to the door. “Unless The Enchantress used the same trick on you, I suggest you take those boards down so we can go and inspect our little troublemaker, yes?”

“Please, the only thing that vile woman did to me was turn me into a tin can.” Kiba smirked, tapping his bicep. The small sound of metal beneath cloth filled the air in ghostly taps and his eyes shifted to Chikyu. “Your dad wasn’t wrong about cyborgs. Yumi and I are pretty much the real thing.”

There was a small spark in Chikyu’s yellow eyes when Kiba rolled up his sleeves and flashed the metal plates of his forearms. She watched as he turned to the door and reached out, yanking the planks of wood off one by one effortlessly.

Chikyu had never doubted the words of her biological father, but to actually see one of The Enchantress’ cyborgs standing in front of her, clear as day, certainly felt like a reality check being handed over tenfold. It made the matter of Yoku’s future plans all the more interesting in Chikyu’s eyes and she stepped forward, prepared for whatever may lay behind the door.

“You never did tell me what happened to that pipsqueak and his brother.” Kiba sparked conversation as he worked the prying wood from their nailed beds.

“Namakemono and Zensha?” Sozokujin stood at a safe distance, idly twirling a strand of hair between her fingers as her eyes watched Kiba work. “We’ve put them up in one of the unused classrooms and set your sister to stand guard until we can make further plans. The Chairwoman hardly seems concerned for them right now.”

Kiba stumbled back when he yanked a stubborn board out of its spot, resulting in a near landing on Chikyu. He dug his heels against the ground before he could topple back to save the embarrassment and tossed the board to the floor.

“Mistress hardly seems concerned about anything right now.” Kiba grunted.

“She seems concerned about the start of term.” Sozokujin countered with a hum.

Kiba scoffed and threw his hands into the air, signalling his lame excuse of a finish to the conversation. When he yanked the final piece of wood from the door, he paused. The irritable expression on his face vanished and he pushed back from the rotting wood.

Sozokujin took her own step back, wary of Kiba’s abrupt change. “What is it?”

“Blood.” Kiba replied quietly. He raised a hand, brushing the pad of his index finger over the splattered crimson markings strewn across the wood. “It’s fresh, too.”

“An equivalent exchange.” Chikyu spoke up and moved between Sozokujin and Kiba to stare at the bloody mark coating the door. “In exchange for defying molecules within a wall, structure or solid object, Shio must give his blood. Modified blood granted by The Enchantress’ experiments. It’s how he’s able to move through walls.”

“Sounds more like alchemy rather than idle Sorcerer Magick.” Sozokujin commented. “Alchemy hasn’t been used in many decades.”

“Indeed.” Chikyu nodded. “What’s more, Shio is a Familiar. Or was born as one before Yoku tinkered with him.”

Kiba groaned, pushing Chikyu aside with as much respect as possible. “Lady, just step back and let us get to work now. I’m sick of hearing the impossible today.”

Chikyu stepped back, allowing Kiba to yank the final plank of wood from the door and toss it down. Without the restraints keeping it closed, the door helplessly creaked open; revealing unending darkness within, followed by the stench of stale air, mould, and chemical waste.

“Well?” Sozokujin swatted the odour with her hand and turned to Kiba. “Only you would know the layout of this place, wouldn’t you?”

“Nah.” Kiba scoffed. “See, my sister, Yumi, Mistress and I were kept in a lab in Yamato. Yoku blew it up years and years ago and over the course of time, the wreck was turned into a junkyard. We were literally in the dark until Chiba’s Massacre, so I ain’t got a clue.”

Sighing, Sozokujin turned back to look into the darkness, catching the faint outlines of a winding stairway within arm’s reach. “I suppose it’ll just be a nice surprise for us all then, won’t it?” She lilted, stepping over the threshold.

Chikyu followed next and then Kiba took the rear, rummaging through his pockets for his old lighter. He hardly used the damned thing these days and only ever smoked when he was stressed beyond belief – much like this morning. Pulling his hand out of his trouser pocket, he held out his hand, using the flame as his only source of light.

It was an unbelievably short walk from the top of the stairway to the bottom. Chikyu paused first, turning her head to look back up and see the flickering LED lights above. She raised her brows with amusement, unable to stop the low chuckle escaping her lips.

“A spell.”

“Clever.” Kiba commented, less enthusiastic.

Their voices and footsteps echoed along the cold stone walls and floor. During its prime, this part of Yuugen had been used on a regular basis between each member of the Council, straight from Yokubo’s Council meetings to Yoku’s endless experiments. Now it was dark, empty, cold and beyond repair. The ceiling looked low, ready to crumble. The floor was uneven in spots, making Sozokujin trip over her high heels and reluctantly allow Kiba’s strong arm to hold her up.

The first room they came across was a large pair of oak doors that stretched up to the ceiling. One of said doors was open ajar with long lines running over the handle. Kiba ventured forward and held his hand over the handle, comparing the size to his large hand. In perspective, the marks were longer and thicker than his fingers – similar to marks from a bear with taloned claws.

“That’s utterly disturbing.” Sozokujin whispered, stepping closer to peer inside the room. She cringed, recognising the sight from her father’s files. “The previous Council room.”

A singular light flickered above the high ceiling of the courtroom, granting the outlines of the high table. It was rotten now, bloated and peeling at the foot. The columns were barely holding together and were bent in the middle, pressurised from the heavy ceiling above. The stand in the middle was barely visible, having been swallowed up by the swelling ground and cracked tiles. A lifetime of legacy turned to stale, old, darkness.

No-one chose to speak as they moved further down the corridor. It was a silent agreement since their footsteps were loud enough to cause a risk. If there was something lurking in the dark, they needed to make the least noise possible to save themselves from being caught red handed. Kiba and Sozokujin could remember the screams and mangled cries coming from the basement during their first months in the building. Whether they liked it or not, something was down here. And not just Shio.

Only after venturing further, did Kiba break the silence. He stopped, released Sozokujin’s arm and nodded to the steeled doors in front of them. The laboratory lay behind it, sealed between thick metal and a padlock.


“Wait here a moment.” Sozokujin spoke up and turned on her heel, disappearing into the darkness without giving Kiba the chance to stop her.

“Where the fuck does she think she’s going?” Kiba snipped, moving to follow when Chikyu stepped up, grabbing the back of his shirt with a strong fist worthy of a Lord.

“Wait, you have no idea which way she went and the last thing we need is to get separated down here, understand?”

Kiba’s jaw stiffened, eyes flickering from Chikyu’s serious face and the darkness where Sozokujin had vanished. He suffered the silence and groaned, stepping back against the locked doors. “You’re right…”

As if on cue, Sozokujin reappeared from the darkness with an axe in her hands. Her eyes flashed brightly from the light of Kiba’s lighter and she smiled, pulling her rosy-red lips back when she hoisted the axe over her shoulder.

“The hell?!” Kiba snarled, jolting to the side before he could drop his lighter. “How did you know that was down here?!”

“I didn’t.” Sozokujin replied quickly. “I was just lucky.”

Chikyu had noticed the woman’s quick reply while Kiba seemed ignorant, mumbling about how stupid Sozokujin looked coming out of the dark with an axe of all things. Chikyu kept her mouth shut when she moved, granting a clear shot to the padlock.

“Ah,” Sozokujin tilted her head with a sweet smile, holding the axe at arms-length. “I was rather hoping one of you would be enthusiastic about using this foul thing. I don’t want to chip a nail, you see.”

“I am impressed that your only concern down here is a chipped nail,” Chikyu snatched the weapon from Sozokujin’s hand and moved in front of the door, lining herself up to aim the sharp tip against the rusted padlock. “I suggest you avert your concern on whatever may be on the other side. I assume you felt the magnetic pull when we came down here, yes?”

Kiba frowned and turned to Sozokujin, a secret plea for an explanation. Sighing loudly, the vice-chairman rolled her eyes and propped a hand upon her hip, delaying her response as long as she could before Kiba’s lip began to twitch with annoyance. As always, he was at her mercy and she never got tired of seeing him squirm.

“Chikyu is simply referring to one of my father’s theories.” Sozokujin explained, waving her free hand through the air. “The rips to Concordia tended to radiate a pulse of magnetic energy; especially when Sorcerers crossed the barrier to dual. My father’s findings led the former Chairman to create the sonars and frequency tablets within Concordia to level out just the right amount of magnetic energy to be able to thin the barrier enough to tear and allow Magick through to this world.”

“Wait, wait, wait,” Kiba frowned. “So, if this lab is full of magnetic energy, then there’s a good chance we could be walking into a dual or something?”

Sozokujin merely nodded and turned back to Chikyu, cutting the matter short in time to watch as the axe was raised into the darkness and dropped, clearing the air and clanging against the padlock. The sound of metal on metal was piercing and they all winced as the sound echoed, bouncing off the halls and into the endless darkness around them just as the padlock dropped to the ground with a dull thud.

“Good job,” Kiba praised, bending forward to examine the lock. “A clean cut.”

“Not my first time,” Chikyu smirked, tossing the axe at Kiba, who dropped the lock just in time to catch the shaft of the weapon before it could collide with his forehead.

Sozokujin stepped between them and opened the lab doors. They was stiff and heavy to move at first, making things difficult to analyse any potential threat waiting on the other side. The heavy groan of metal screeched down the corridors, giving away their position if there really was a threat waiting for them.

Chikyu slipped through first, arms raised. She couldn’t help but feel a little disappointment at the lack of action on the other side and slumped her shoulders, scanning the empty room. When her eyes looked towards the cabinets, her heart sank at the sight of Shio sitting on top of one of the messy counter tops.

Kiba and Sozokujin moved to stop Chikyu from running aimlessly, but they were slow compared to her quick steps. She wasted no time in further surveying – despite being the one to advise them to be careful in the first place.

Shio’s face was blank. His lips were pursed into a thin line and his eyes were staring into nothingness. He paid no mind to Chikyu, even when she moved in front of him to examine his bloodied wrists. His arms were usually covered in sleeves or gloves to hide the marred markings from previous equivalent exchange. Today they were bare for all to see and the bloody mess was seeping into the white leather of his trousers.

“You idiotic child.” Chikyu snipped, reaching for his elbow to yank him off the counter. “Come on, you probably need stitches.”

“Can’t.” Shio replied in a whisper.

Chikyu rolled her eyes and yanked again. “I understand how you feel, but self-loathing is not the answer.”

Shio blinked his blueberry eyes and shook his head, dropping his arm back against his lap.

As Chikyu continued to persuade Shio to move, Kiba and Sozokujin timidly stepped into the room and looked around. The tiled walls were mouldy and cracked,. The shelves were empty, save for a collection of shattered vials and jars, and the counters were caked in old, damp paper stacks. Specks of blood – old and new – littered the walls and floor. Scalpels, needles, cannulas and IV stands were no-where to be seen, which was beyond suspicious considering whose room it had belonged to.

“The Enchantress must have packed in a hurry.” Kiba murmured, flicking his lighter shut. There were dim lights hanging above, giving the room a low glow of blue. He wondered if Shio had been the one to turn them on. No way could they have stayed on this long without maintenance. “Took all her equipment with her.”

The air was stale and damp and everyone turned silent. There had been a sound, a distant clutter which caused everyone to freeze and Kiba regretted turning his lighter off. Just when Sozokujin opened her lips to question the abrupt sound, a sickly scream cut through the air from the back of the lab.

Sozokujin stumbled back, her elbow knocking against one of the counters behind her. She screamed at the slimy sensation against her bare arm and pressed her hands to her chest; far more fearful than Kiba who had clamped a hand over his ear to save the ringing thumping against his head.

“What the fuck was that?!” Kiba snapped after the scream came to a gurgling stop.

Shio shuffled on the counter, hardly affected by the rattled scream. He raised a bloodied arm and pointed towards the back of the lab. “Over there.”

Kiba took a step forward, heart thumping and ears ringing. Behind the counters lined along the back were shelves and storage units; and between them was yet another padlocked door. Scoffing, Kiba took out his lighter once more and readjusted the axe in his hand to bash his way through when Shio stopped him with a sharp voice.

“I wouldn’t if I were you.”

Sozokujin swallowed her fear and spoke. “Do you know what lays beyond that door?” She tried to sound brave, simply curious and not fearful of the horrors lurking in Yuugen’s darkness.

“Of course,” Shio replied quietly, clasping his hands against his lap. “The Enchantress always said she had backup. She keeps them in preserve, cryogenic sleep. The Four Men of the Apocalypse lay behind those doors, along with others. She’s always got a finger on the trigger. With all that’s happening, she’s gonna let them out soon, and you don’t wanna be in the crossfire when they’re released.”

“Yeah?” Kiba pushed away from the bolted door and over to Shio, practically shoving Chikyu aside. “And if they’re all in cryo, how come one of them is screaming its head off?”

“The Four Horsemen are in preserve. They are her backup.” Shio’s eyes momentarily shifted for the first time since Kiba had walked in; just to look at the sharp edge of the axe in the man’s hand. “There’s always something on the loose back there. It’s probably just hungry.”

Chikyu pursed her lips, allowing her own eyes to shift and stare at the bolted door in the corner as if she could see through it and witness the horrors beyond. Her hand reached out blindly, hooking around Shio’s elbow once again.

“We can’t allow him to stay down here.” Sozokujin spoke for everyone in the room as per usual. “He will bleed out if we wait much longer and if he truly did belong to The Enchantress’ Coven, then he knows more about her plans than any of us. He’s a threat down here.”

“She’s right.” Kiba nodded, shoving his lighter back in his pocket before slapping his hand over Shio’s bloody wrists and attempted to summon a healing spell. Much to his own surprise – and Sozokujin’s, it worked. “That’ll stop the bleeding for now, but we still need to get him out.”

“I’m not leaving.” Shio remarked, pressing the heels of his feet against the counter to keep him in place. “I have to guard these doors. I have to stop them from opening.”

“Listen here you little-” Kiba grit his teeth and leant down – only to be cut off when Shio raised his chin and bite Kiba’s nose.

“Oh, my God!” Sozokujin yelped, torn between laughter and shook. “Chikyu! Get him off of Kiba!”

Chikyu’s face was riddled with amusement. She dropped Shio’s elbow and watched Kiba drop the axe to struggle for a second or two before intervening. She snapped her fingers together, forcing Shio to part his lips as he jolted, eyes rolling back against his head, and collapsed against the counter with a crash of metal trays and jars.

Kiba stumbled back, covering his nose with his hands. “Who the hell bites someone’s nose?!”

“Let me see,” Sozokujin tugged Kiba’s hand away from his face. She couldn’t help but chuckle. “It’s not bleeding, you’ll live.”

Kiba sniffed, turning from Sozokujin to hide his watery eyes. His weakness. He bent to retrieve his fallen axe and glared daggers at Chikyu as she moved Shio off the counter and into her arms. He nearly shoved her; but his childish antics were discarded in the seriousness of the situation.

“You could have been quicker about helping.” He spat. “What the hell did you use?”

“Counter spell.” Chikyu replied, dismissing Kiba’s obvious annoyance. “He’ll stay asleep until I decide to wake him and when I do wake him, he’ll need a straitjacket to stop him from using his arms until he calms down.”

With Chikyu’s words left to hang in the air, the group moved out of the lab and pushed the doors shut behind them. The gurgles and screams turned distant as they moved and followed the dim light of Kiba’s lighter as they paced themselves through the bowels of Yuugen’s basement.

Chikyu had stayed until Sozokujin managed to find an appropriate type of jacket for Shio to wear. Only after they restricted the man and awoke him did Chikyu leave, claiming she would rather sleep away her stress until the tour for Yuugen’s new term had ended.

It left Kiba and Sozokujin with the task of taking Shio back to his new room, which he would be sharing with Namakemono and Zensha. Shio hadn’t spoken since Chikyu woke him. His lips were pulled in a thin line and the glimmer of blue in his bright eyes were dark. He was pissed. But he knew when he was beat.

“-he still doesn’t know about us.” Tsume’s voice filled the air from around the corner, catching Kiba off guard.

He stopped in his tracks and cocked his head, listening on the conversation his sister was having. Rude or not, he was prepared to pull the big sibling card and say he was concerned or whatever.

“I know,” Yumi’s voice replied. “I was going to mention it this morning, but he was suffering with a bad hangover. Apparently he hooked up with someone, claims it was Sozokujin.”

Kiba’s cheeks flared, feeling Sozokujin’s glare on him from over Shio’s head. Her ruby-brown eyes were hard and cold, yet she was quick to turn her attention back to eavesdropping; just as curious as Kiba.

“Sozokujin? Yeah, he told me he wanted to see what was like when she got drunk.” Tsume laughed before she turned silent, followed by the sound of shuffled footsteps. “I just… want to be with you and not have to hide it from everyone, especially my brother.”

“I know.” Yumi murmured.

Kiba’s eyes flashed and his hand left Shio’s arm. He whirled around the corner and grabbed Yumi’s bony shoulders just in time to stop him from kissing Tsume. Yumi gasped, practically flying against the wall from the abrupt attack.

“Kiba!” Tsume snapped.

“You! Be quiet!” Kiba barked back, holding a finger to silence his sister. He turned back to Yumi and raised both of his hands. “And you!

“Kiba!” Yumi’s mismatched eyes were wide as he watched Kiba’s fist move. He ducked in time to avoid the punch and jumped to the side, slapping his hands against the wall for support. “Listen to me!”

“Listen to you?! What the hell do you think you’re doing with my sister?!”

“Kiba! Stop for a second!” Yumi moved again, dodging a kick to the gut and he scrambled to dodge the second punch.

Tsume stepped up, hurriedly putting herself between Kiba and Yumi before teeth could be knocked out. With his sister in his line of fire, Kiba halted his steps and narrowed his eyes. His chest rose and fell, frustrated, and overwhelmed. His lips parted, then shut. He repeated the action until he looked like a goldfish before he threw his hands into the air and turned away.

“Screw you both.”

Yumi and Tsume stared after Kiba. Nothing but guilt and shame washed over them and their tension rose when the irritable sounds of Namakemono’s laughter rang from inside his room having no doubt been listening to the whole thing.

“Excuse me, this one needs to join our other guests.” Sozokujin spoke up, breaking the scene.

She urged Shio forward and opened the door to Namakemono’s room, sending The King flying into the corner in giggles. Rolling her eyes, Sozokujin began to walk away – but not before glancing over Tsume’s red-beaten face.

“Just to clarify; I never slept with your brother.”

Juden forced herself to walk the empty halls with an ounce of shame hanging over her. She had tried to busy herself with an independent tour around the building but was cut short at the sounds of Yuugen’s tour going on and she ducked away before she could be seen.

She had gone back to her room and changed her dirty clothes. She had showered until her skin was red and scrubbed her chest and legs for what felt like hours. After pulling on her go-to tank top and cargo shorts, she had left for the empty halls again and wandered aimlessly through the East wing.

So caught up in her thoughts, Juden was unaware she wasn’t alone. Up ahead was none other than Kiba; beyond pissed. The soles of his shoes stomped heavily and by the time Juden looked up, they had collided with each other and she grunted, rubbing her shoulder.

“Ah, sorry.” Juden mumbled, stepping aside.

Kiba muttered something similar in response before marching along. Every footstep he took was loud and full of fury; igniting whatever annoyance had put him in a foul mood until he was near the end of the corner.

Juden pressed her lips into a thin line and carried herself forward, doing all she could to stop herself from sneaking a glance back. She managed to fight the urge, but Kiba didn’t. He paused at the corner and looked back – eyes wide with the memories of skin on skin, lips on lips. His hand jumped up from his hip, pointing a finger at Juden.

“It was you-”

An explosion had been the cause for cutting Kiba’s sentence short. The impact of the blast came from behind him and he was hurled forward through the air. Brick and rubble collected itself upon the floor in front of the newly made hole in the wall and two men stepped through; Narazumono Tsukon and Miryoku Fumetsu.

“Don’t mind us,” Nara hummed, raising his arms. A pair of steels cuffs were hanging from his left wrist as he dragged his fingers through his choppy, black hair. “We’re here for The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.”

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