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A Different Beginning

Chapter Text

Fifteen:


In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the water. On the first day, it is said that God created light and darkness, and from this called them day and night, respectively. On the second day, he created the vast blue sky, that encompasses the world soon to called assiah. On the third day, he separated the seas using land with its green vegetation and beautiful flora that bore fruit with seeds according to their species. On the fourth day, God created the sun, the moon, and the stars to light the day and night sky. On the fifth day, God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems of, and he created the majestic winged animals that soar above the waters and land flying with freedom. On the sixth day, God created the living creatures that now roam the land of assiah, from the wild animals to mankind itself and thus, with his work done he rested on the seventh day.
But this was not how the story went, this was how God had the humans believe it went, using his grand benevolence. Afterall, God would never lie. The truth of this story hid in the Angels he cast down from the heavens. It was Lucifer and Samael who created day and night, light and darkness, time and space, the first day. It was Azazel, who created the vast blue sky and its clouds using his influence over the winds in order to honor God, his creator, the second day. It was Amaimon and Egyn, who separated the seas with the land, thus creating the garden of Amahara, the third day. It was Lucifer and Iblis, who created the lights that govern the day and night skies, the fourth day. It was Beelzebub, Astaroth, and Satan, who came together to create the creatures that swim and soar in the sea and sky, the fifth day. It was Satan alongside with Beelzebub, who created the living creatures who now roam freely among the land, but it was Satan who created mankind, the sixth day. It was God, who sent his angels away from Caelum, and banished them to the third world--Gehenna, the seventh day.*

Sighing, I closed the book that Sammy had given me six years ago, The Beginnings of Gehenna, as an introduction to the demon world in which our family resided in. At the age of nine, the same age I was when I found out who Yukio and Fujimoto really were, I never cried as much as I did at the sight of those two paragraphs. It wasn’t the fact that it was beautifully written or the fact that God lied to mankind about their creator, but to the fact that Satan, my father, and my brothers were later perceived as the bad guys. Was it so bad that His once Angels only wished to share the word of their creator? Was it wrong to create the Garden of Amahara, later known as the Garden of Eden? Was it wrong to create mankind? How cruel, I always thought.

Snatching my backpack off the hospital floor, I gently placed the normal looking book into its usual place in my bag. I counted down the seconds Yukio would be here, he said he would arrive around seven, knowing him that would be any time now. Looking at the watch on the other side of the wall, my eyes followed the big hand ticking closer and closer to seven p.m.
My gaze soon wandered to the comatosed body that was lying under the white sheets of the hospital bed. I looked at his closed eyes, that were once covered with crimson blood, and remembered the way Satan’s blue flames flickered and possessed Fujimoto’s body just like changing clothes.


“You should be happy, I was able to talk Father out of it. We made a deal, and all without unsheathing Kurikara, not like it matters anymore.” I whispered to the Paladin. I knew he couldn’t hear me, but just telling him this piece of information felt right. I don’t know if it was because I felt that I owed him for raising me, or if I wanted to mock him. Hint to him that I already knew of my royal lineage, but I knew it had to be said, at least one truth from what I have kept from him.


At that very moment, a young man who looked like me rushed into the room, with barely even a glance at my direction he made his way to the gray haired man who lied on the hospital bed. My brother grabbed the man’s hand, grasping it tightly whispering a prayer of wellness. Glancing away I allowed them to have their moment, as Paladin and student, father and son, and instead began to think of a million possible answers to the questions Yukio would soon bombard me with. However, I was not met with them, just silence.


I shifted uncomfortably in my seat, the silence was something I could never stand, nor was the thought of just staying seated and doing nothing. So I broke the silence with information of what the doctor had given me.


“Dr. Tachibana informed me that dad would probably regain consciousness in a month or two since the trauma to his head isn’t as severe as he thought it would be.” That was true, I made Father a deal, that as long as Fujimoto was still alive I would--


“I know, he told me when I arrived,” I heard my brother mumbled. I knew he was angry, what I didn’t know was who or what he was angry at. He could have been angry at himself for not being there to fight alongside the old man. He could have been mad at the old man for not protecting himself better. He could have been mad at the clergymen for not protecting his father better. He could have been mad at Satan for placing Fujimoto in a coma. He could have been mad at me for being born and placing Fujimoto in danger. But Yukio was never one to share his reasons of anger, so I acted as if I didn’t notice.


Acting. I’ve done it for so long that I even decided to make an even bigger challenge. Act dumb, naive, ignorant, and most of all, sisterly. In this context sisterly meaning, worrying about my younger sibling, protecting him from all his bullies and most of all, let him take all the glory. From the time Samael and Amai-nii to present, I had already convinced those around me, that it was my true personality, that I was a punk. I had then begun skipping classes as the junior level material was too easy for my liking, the people there were annoying and spending more time with Yukio than I already was did not suit me, but we can’t let Yukio know that though. Let’s not forget acting the way I was before I knew why my family was so protective of me. Even now, I have to act all worried about the old man, I have to act like a sister to the brother who lied to me. I have to act ignorant, and naive.
We spent an hour in awkward silence with one another, both us knowing that neither of us wanted to speak; around that time a nurse entered the room asking which one of us would be staying over since only one family member could stay after visiting hours.


“Yukio, you should go,” I spoke. I could feel his teal eyes on me with uncertainty.


“But nee-san---”


“You were called here on short notice, you were probably getting settled in your dorm as well. Go home and rest, I’ll take care of the old man.” I looked at where he was sitting and gently smiled at him, and seeing him relax, I knew I got him.


“Alright, but call if something happens okay?


“Sir, yes sir,” I said with a mock salute.


As he walked through the door I could hear him muttering a chant of protection over the old man’s room. Chuckling quietly I watched as the nurse brought a fresh blanket and pillow to sleep with.


“Would you like anything else miss?”


“No thank you, I don’t think I’ll even be able to sleep tonight, but I appreciate it, ma’am.” She looked at me with pity and sympathy, after all, I was a girl whose adopted father was just placed in a coma. Wow, humans were so easy to read, you just need to tell them what they want to hear.


“Are you sure? What about a snack or some water?”


“No thank you, ma’am.” And with a slight smile, the nurse left closing the door behind her silently.


Getting up from my seat, I walked up to the window and slid it open. Immediately fresh cool air entered the room along with two familiar shadows. Smiling, I looked at the two new figures in the room both of whom were taller than me and male.


“How did it go with Father little sister?” Asked the elder of the two.


“Same as always, a few words here and there, a few how do you dos and then Bam! He asked me the big question.”


The younger of the two brothers chuckled after all our father was the jealous type. And seeing me with Father Fujimoto always seemed to piss him off.


“In the end, we made a deal. In order for him to keep staying low and off the Vatican’s radar, I asked him not to kill the Paladin instead to put him in a coma. If he were to do that I would, in turn, register myself to become my exorcist and make the holy beloved Angels in Caelum believe that I am becoming an exorcist for revenge.This will then allow me to move around and do whatever I wish as long as I am in their eyesight and since you, dear brother, are the Head of the Japanese Branch I will be able to do that much easier. In addition, it also helps that I did not draw the demon sword from its sheath, this will say that I wish to have nothing to do with Satan, but I only keep it with me for it not be stolen and used for any bad purposes.”


I looked at my brothers as I shared with them the idea Father and I had thought of not too long ago. However, we were supposed to have this discussion after a month has passed in the school term, but I somehow pissed off Astaroth. Long story short, Astaroth’s soon to be host was killing pigeons for who knows what, I punched him--since I fucking love animals, and hours later he taunted me into an alley where he was possessed by my dear sixth older brother and that is where Father Fujimoto came in. Sighing for what seemed to be the fifth time in just a day, I grabbed Amai-nii’s hand seeking for comfort and silently asked him to be silent, which he gladly gave to me.
Feeling deep purple eyes on me, I grunted at his direction.


“Are you telling me that you wish to enroll yourself to become an exorcist? You? The spawn of Satan?”


“Hell yeah. The bastard put my dad in a coma, of course, I want to become an exorcist. I am going to fucking kill that demon.” I said to him angrily with a smirk at the end. My brothers did as well after all this was a show that only Yukio could hear. The little four-eyes arrived only seconds after I declared the plan father and I had come up with, he better have been glad I sensed him before Amai-nii went loose on him.


Mephisto did his usual amused laugh, not like he had to fake it though, this was a genuine laugh, and he now was beginning to work plans A to Z.


“As you wish then, Okumura Rin-chan. From this day forward I will be acting as you and your brother’s temporary guardian until Fujimoto Shiro wakes up. In addition, I will have you attend True Cross Academy this year, and I will provide you with all the necessities such as studies and board. In the afternoon, you will be attending Exorcist Cram School which usually last about three hours and thirty minutes. Think you can handle this?”


“You still want me to go to school? Was this a deal the old man had you make? Damn, fine. Whatever. I’ll do it.” And with that Yukio’s aura disappeared from the hallway, and a new plan had begun.


My lesson: How to tell lies with truths, and truths with lies.

Chapter Text

The Blue Night was an event sixteen years ago when Satan decided to kill holy men and exorcist around the world by attempting to possess their bodies. Many of the exorcists believed that Satan was trying to find a way to break free of Gehenna, but with no success. However, their belief was wrong, the true motive of the Blue Night was Satan’s attempt to rescue Yuri Egin, his human lover, from being burned at the stake while carrying Satan’s children in her womb. The only way to do so was by trying to possess a human vessel, but due to his flames, any host he decided to take was soon burned away into ashes. In the end, he was able to find a host strong enough to hold him for a few minutes to get the human free, but he soon burned away.

By the time any exorcist present, or the Vatican, had realized that the young female ex-exorcist had disappeared it was too late. Satan had already given her an escape route by using his flames to burn anyone in his path and using his influence among the demons to let her pass through their territories. Because of this night, many lives were lost, the innocent and the wicked. In return, three lives were saved, a woman, who the demons would be able to call their Queen, and her unborn children who were then to be known as the young princess and prince of Gehenna.

Placing the book down under my pillow, I got up heading toward the kitchen downstairs preparing to say my farewells to the clergymen. It had been two days since the meeting with my brothers in Father Fujimoto’s hospital room, and the day I was supposed to leave to true Cross Academy was here. Looking around I said goodbye to the room I had grown up in, the window overlooking the backyard where Yukio and I would spend our afternoons running around the sakura trees. The two twin beds with different colored comforters--royal blue for me and teal for Yukio, each with different stuffed toys from our childhood. I still had my little Mepphy doll and sidhe cat looked after with so much care, while Yukio had his stuffed bear and dog who he cared for himself. That was one thing we shared with each other, as much as we loved it when Fujimoto would help with laundry day, we took it upon ourselves to care for our stuffed toys. Picking them up, I carefully placed them in my carry-on bag before I even left the room with a sigh.

Leaving my room I found myself in the familiar hallway that held all of our family pictures, the first day Fujimoto brought us, the first Christmas/birthday we had, all the way to Yukio and mines graduation from junior high. Looking back now I could easily see the changes from picture to picture starting at when I turned nine. In the pictures I saw myself slowly beginning to distance myself from the liars, or as they like to call themselves “protectors,” but not too much that it seemed noticeable. Wow, I was such a sneak. My eyes and smile weren’t as big as when I hanged out with Amai-nii or Samael; instead, my smile looked natural with a hint of hesitation and force, just like how I always felt when I was around them. With a soft smile, I finally found myself on the top step of the staircase, I could hear the clergymen speaking with Yukio, congratulating him on becoming the class representative. By the time I was the last step, I stopped once I heard my name being mentioned.

“Yukio, I know that look, we all know that look. Who exactly are you blaming here? Yourself, us, Father Fujimoto, Satan, or Rin?” Asked one of the clergymen, Izumi.

“I don’t know Izumi-niisan.* There is apart of me that wants to put the blame on Rin, but I know she can’t help it, she didn’t even know about our heritage. The other part blames her for everything, from the first moment I could see demons to last night, I just don’t know.”

I looked down at the floorboards as I heard Yukio’s answer, I knew it, I knew it since that silence we shared in the hospital room. I knew it from the moment I saw him in Exorcist training, deep down he blamed me for who he is today. I could care less of the conversations he and Father Fujimoto had about finding better ways of protecting me. Silently moving up the twelve steps, I turned around and with loud trudging steps, I made my way downstairs once again. Afterall, I’m not supposed to know that Yukio knows about me. I could hear them quite down, waiting for me to enter the small kitchen.

At the last step, I turned to the left to enter the doorway of the kitchen. Looking up I could see Maruta and Izumi sitting at the kitchen table while Seishiro, the new Chief of the Monastery, and Naoya leaning against the far wall.

“Sorry I couldn’t make you guys breakfast. I overslept,” I said with a groggy voice.

I could see the clergymen and Yukio looking at me with a soft smile plastered on each of their faces. How sickening.

“Don’t worry Rin, you’re allowed to sleep in every once in awhile, and after that incident, you at least deserve some rest,” replied Murata.

I smiled at the man as I took my usual seat when I saw Naoya preparing me a bowl of rice and miso soup from the rice maker and stove pot.

“Thanks, Naoya.”

He smiled at me as he placed the two bowls in front of me, “It’s not as good as yours but I hope you enjoy Rin.”

I gave the man an affirmative nod when I tried both dishes, rice was always easy to make as was miso. He sighed in relief as he saw the nod knowing he didn’t mess up anything in preparing the meal.

“Nee-san,” I looked up at Yukio when I heard him speak. “Faust-san will be arriving a little before noon, so I advise that you have everything packed up by then.”

“Aww come on Yukio lighten up a little, will you? I’ll finish doing whatever I need to do before then, I promise,” I replied with a small pout and smile at the end.

07:20, read the clock on the wall, yeah, I definitely had enough time to finish preparing the rest of my stuff. I could hear Yukio send me a soft sigh, signaling that he trusted me at least with getting my stuff in order. Finishing up the last of my breakfast, I quickly said thanks and headed out to begin my to-do list.

By the time I had arrived from my errands it was already 09:40, meaning I had to get my belongings all tidied up and ready to go before my second older brother arrived. Walking through the ward protected entrance, I made my way inside the only physical home I’ve ever had. Looking around, I noticed that many of clergymen had probably begun to prepare for the noon service as they were nowhere to be seen. Shrugging, I climbed the stairs two at a time, as I walked past Fujimoto’s room, I could hear movement coming from within. Edging closer I placed my ear against the door to try to find out who it was. From the weight of their steps, I could tell it was a male wearing light spring clothing; however, around their ankles, it sounded much heavier. Sniffing the air I could smell the familiar scents of the other clergymen mixing in with Fujimoto’s in the hallway. The smell from the room, even more familiar, after all, how could I not know the scent of my younger brother? What the heck was he doing in there anyway? Pushing myself away from the bedroom door I silently made my way to the familiar door that belonged to me and Yukio. I smiled as I remembered the big fight we both had when we were trying to figure out what put on our door. Yukio wanted animals and nature, I wanted robots and characters from my favorite manga. In the end, Father Fujimoto decided on hanging a chalkboard on the plain white door so we could draw whatever we felt like.

Craning my neck to look back at the door I just walked away from, a thought crossed my mind at that very moment, I was never once allowed to enter Fujimoto’s room.Was it because he had Vatican information stored in there? Or because he had books about exorcists and how they eradicate demons? Glaring at the door I had to remind myself that I wasn’t supposed to know any of that anyway, after all, Fujimoto just told me two and half days ago what my lineage was. I hated it, lying that is, but what’s wrong with giving them the same treatment they have given me for over eight years now. Shaking my head, I didn’t even care about the reason why Yukio was in there anyway. Maybe trying to find an answer on how to with this situation, or maybe Fujimoto’s lesson notes for cram school. Honestly, I didn’t care, and with that, I walked into the room I shared with my twin.

I glanced to my side of the room and seeing that nothing was disturbed since when I left this morning I walked over to it.

“Better get all the belongings my brothers have given me first,” I mumbled to myself. Grabbing my usual blue backpack I began to stuff the books and other items that the eight kings of Gehenna have given me. A lux-lapis** from Luci, a book over poisonous bugs from Beel-nii, and the perfectly handcrafted Swiss army knife from Iblis were just some of them. As I placed each in the bag, I quickly grabbed the book I placed under my pillow earlier that day and threw it inside just in time for Yukio to walk into the room.

“Nee-chan,” he started. “I didn’t hear you come home, where have you been?”

Giving a pause to what I was doing I answered, “Here and there, we don’t know when we’ll back, I wanted to give our town a once-over now that we’ll be heading to True Cross. Sure we’ll come to see the guys here and visit the old man while he’s in the hospital, but I don’t think we’ll be looking around town. That and I did last minute grocery shopping to help these guys survive meals without me cooking for them. I also set aside some recipes for them to use for their meals, hopefully, they’re not too complicated for these guys. Ah, I should tell them that the groceries would arrive tomorrow because of all the things I ordered.”

I could practically feel the proud smile that Yukio had plastered on that moley face of his as I told him all that. Knowing him he was probably thinking that I could be reliable at times of need.

“Nee-chan, you do care, look at how reliable you’ve become!” exclaimed my sibling. Knew it.

“Hey! I’ve always been reliable thank you very much, I just don’t get to show it as much,” I stated with a pout at the end. “Anyways, if you bring this up again I swear to you that you will not be eating anything I make for two weeks Yukio.”

He chuckled at my statement and accepted the offer on the table. Grabbing his brown messenger bag that was on the foot of his bed, he began to walk back to the door.

“You sure you have everything Rin? I don’t want us to have already arrived you not have something important,” he said with slight concern.

“Unless you want to watch me get my womanly products in order then yes I have everything of utmost importance. Everything else like casual clothes has already been sent to True Cross yesterday.”

He sighed as I heard him mumble something he thought was incoherent, “Why do you have such crude manners Rin?”

I was trained by former angels who currently have a grudge on their father’s creator and don’t give a damn about manners brother dear, why the heck would you even ask such a stupid question? Oh, right.

“Go ahead and make your way down, I’ll be right behind you, geez Yukio it’s only what? 10? Chill, I’ve got plenty of time.”

“Yukio! Rin! Faust-san is here to pick you up!” yelled Izumi-nii.

“You were saying nee-san?”

Stupid Sammy and his need to use that stupid time power of his. Stupid Yukio for the “I-told-you-so” tone he just gave me. Both of them were probably even wearing their signature smirks, one more prominent than the other. I’m pretty sure I knew who I was going to be used as a punching bag in the next training exercise.  

“Whatever,” I mumbled, “Tell them I’ll be done in a minute.”

And I was, one minute later, I stood with my shoulder bag and backpack in hand in front of the monastery saying goodbye to the men who have helped look after me all my life. With one final farewell, Yukio, Sam- Mephisto, and I climbed inside the annoying pink limo. Mephisto still never answered me why of all the colors he could have chosen for the limo why he chose pink, but right now I didn’t care.

“Now let us head to my True Cross Academy!” exclaimed the clown to the driver. Giving him an annoyed look, I glanced at Yukio who was busy reading a medical book he just purchased. Was he always wearing his uniform? Where the heck was mine?! Damn you Mephisto.

The ride over to True Cross Academy was a silent one, with me and Mephisto occasionally munching on candies. As I began to drink a blueberry ramune, Yukio addressed me while he began to look for something in his inside pocket.

“Nee-san, how did you enter True Cross? I mean, you’re not exactly great at studying, so an academic scholarship is a no go.”

I could practically feel Mephisto’s glare at Yukio and a silent snarl on his lips, but before I could come up with an answer he did.

“I was impressed by your sister’s culinary skills, and thought with the new home economics program opening, she would be a perfect candidate for a scholarship. The scholarship application is very easy to understand. The application process consists of 3 parts; a test, creating a six-course meal and making that meal for a panel of judges. There are six judges in total, one for each course meal: Hors d’oeuvres/appetizer, soup, fish, salad, main course, and dessert. If the scholarship applicant is able to impress this panel of judges and pass the comprehensive test with flying colors, they receive the scholarship.”***

“Oh, was that what you were doing yesterday nee-san?”

“Yeah, it was kind of hard trying to impress six famous chefs who specialize in a specific course meal, but I did it!” I exclaimed.

“Who could say no to your wonderful dishes?”

I smiled as he mentioned that fact, “Woah! We’re here!”

I looked out the window behind me as I saw the buildings of True Cross come into view, all forming one big building. No matter how many times I saw my brother’s creation I was always in awe of its beauty. The way all the buildings came together and created a splendid view of the community and how the main center point was the academy and Mephisto’s home at the top.

“Welcome you two to True Cross Academy. This is the Academy Town with all of our educational institutions, please study to your heart’s content! Even though you two are still in the same year, due to your different scholarships you will be having different classes from one another. Yukio will be taken the general studies course, which revolves around a science, technical, engineering and math careers. While dear Rin will be taking the fine arts course, which is self-explanatory, it revolves around music, art, drama, and home economics. I hope you two find your courses to your liking.” explained Mephisto to us.****

Smiling at him I nodded in agreement and began wondering what my classes would be like.

“Oh, and Rin-chan,” started my brother as pulled up to the Academy. “Here is your uniform.”

“Why the heck didn’t you give this to me before?!” I exclaimed at the clown. “Get out, I’m changing in front of either of you.”

As both of my brothers left the limo, I grabbed the bag from where Mephisto left it for me and pulled out the girl’s uniform. Seeing the pink skirt, and tan jacket I knew he had given me the default uniform. From what I gathered yesterday at the application process, each program had a different colored uniform when attending their classes; however, when it came to school assemblies and other official school things the default uniform was preferred. I sighed, but I knew that I would see my official fine arts uniform when classes started up tomorrow, gosh, hope it was cool, if not Mephisto’s so getting it.*****

Getting out of the limo with only the bow needing to be tied, I was about to grab my things when Mephisto stopped me.

“Don’t worry about that, I’ll have someone drop each of your belongings in your dorm room.”

Nodding, I held the measly bow and began to tie it the way Fujimoto showed me when I first entered junior high.

“You’ve gotten better at that nee-san,” I heard Yukio say.

Grinning at up at him I nodded my head, “By the way, what’s got you all worked up?”

“Oh, I’m really nervous that’s all.”

“Yeah I can tell, but why?” even though I already knew, I still had to ask him or it wouldn’t seem Rin-like.

“Um, I’m actually the freshmen class representative,” he stated with a nervous tone of voice.

“So that paper you were reading on the ride here was your speech?”

“Yeah.”

“Amazing! That’s so cool! You’ll do awesome, I just know it! You’re so close to becoming a doc Yukio, and when you do you’ll be out there saving people. I’m so proud of you little brother!”

I saw a blush beginning to grow on his cheeks at my statement, but it was true. As much as I resented both of Yukio and Shiro, the fact that Yukio would become a great doctor was not a lie. Knowing his capabilities and growing up with him, I knew that he great potential that will help him succeed in life. I was actually happy for my twin brother. Man, he was going to hate me when he finds out the truth, that’s what makes things interesting after all.

My lesson: Playing stupid is a great way to hide someone’s true potential.

Chapter Text

This world consists of two dimensions joined as one, like a mirror. The first world, Assiah, is the material world in which we live in. The "mirror" world, Gehenna, is the world in which demons reside. Ordinarily, travel between the two, and indeed any kind of contact between the two is impossible. However, demons are able to pass to our world by possessing anything that exists within it. For example, coal tars are able to possess particles of dust and fungi that surround us. They gather around darkness and around humans with a dark nature.*

Unlike the world of Assiah, we know far too little of the demon world as it hasn't been seen by a human before. It has been stated that Gehenna is an expansive territory with no material present, that has existed long before Assiah. In addition, the only direct way to the demon world is through the Gehenna Gate which only Satan can open. Furthermore, we know that the world of Gehenna is broken into eight or more territories which are ruled by eight sub-kings under the orders of Satan. The following list shows them from what we believe to be strongest to weakest, and what they reign over.

 

Lucifer, the King of Light, who has shown affiliation with demons such as Seraphims.

Samael , the King of Time, who has shown affiliation with demons such as Phantom Trains, and Death.

Azaze l, the King of Spirits/Air, who has shown affiliation with demons such as Ghosts and Furfur.

Egyn , the King of Water, who shown affiliation with demons such as Reapers and Kraken.

Iblis , the King of Fire, who has shown affiliation with demons such as Peg Lanterns and Salamanders.

Astaroth, the King of Rot, who has shown affiliation with demons such as Coal Tars, Ghouls, Naberius, the Impure King, and the Impure Princess.

Amaimon , the King of Earth, who has shown affiliation with demons such as Goblins, Dekalp, Greenman, and Bariyon.

Beelzebub , the King of Insects, who has shown affiliation with demons such as Chuchi.**

 

You will be able to learn more on these Demons in The Introduction to Demons and The Classification of Demons . As you can see, out in the world there are Demons who are yet to be classified in with the eight Kings, but at the moment further research is still being done on all of them across the world.***

Stupid exorcist, you actually believe that you classified them from strongest to weakest? Sammy gave you the order of oldest to youngest. Oh well.****

"Freshmen representative, Okumura Yukio." As I heard those words while sitting in the auditorium, I closed my book and watched as my twin responded.

"Present," said my twin in a confident tone as he made his way from his seat to the stage.

"The freshmen representative got the highest grade on the entrance exam, right?" I heard a girl sitting in front of me whisper.

"Awesome!"

"Yuuka, isn't he cool?" Ignoring them, I put my attention on my brother as he took out his speech that he was practicing in the limo. I was kind of surprised he didn't have already memorized, after all, he works best under pressure. I could hear the occasional whisper of how handsome my twin look, and how well versed he was to be able to attend True Cross.

Smiling at those whispers, I remembered how weak and emotional was when we were growing up. Constantly being the victim of bullying because of how nerdy he looked, with big square glasses and moles scattered along his face. One memory, in particular, came up, it was after school and he was the first off to head home since I had detention and classroom duty. He was supposed to have already reached the monastery after a fifteen-minute walk, but to my surprise, he hadn't. Instead, he was surrounded by a couple of boys from our class who seemed to be beating. Hearing the soft sniffles of my younger brother, I was quick to take action. That included running up to them and yelling at their direction, that got them to scatter, especially since it was me. I had questioned Yukio if he was hurt and when he gave me an answer I helped him pick up his belongings. As I was doing that, I came across a ripped piece of paper with his dream of being a doctor written on it. I recall asking him if that is what he wished to become and giving him encouragement. Most of all, I can remember that tear-stricken. snot-oozing face with a smile that reached his eyes. I can't believe that the weak-bodied kid, always crying and getting himself bullied, who couldn't even work up the courage to declare his own dream is the teenager standing on the stage right now. Yeah, he's gonna be a great doctor all right. A wonderful doctor who works for the people and the exorcist , I thought in disgust.

"Passing through the gates of the Academy I so admired, I feel nervous just as much as grateful. All the more, I hope we will be able to further our skills through friendly competition. I'm the freshmen and general studies representative, Okumura Yukio." He finished, thank gosh he did, that speech couldn't have been any longer. Sure it was well read and done but seriously Yukio? 15 minutes?

I watched as the other students around me stood and applauded my brother for his impressive speech and his charisma. As the orientation came to an end, the freshman class made their way toward the doors where we would wait for our next set instructions. As I stood in the auditorium courtyard with kurikara and my bookbag on my back, I began to look at my surroundings. The usual coal tars, bariyon, and other lesser demons lurked in the shadows of the buildings, students, and teachers.

I sighed as I looked down at the pavement below my feet and heard the chatter of humans nonstop growing louder as more came out of the auditorium. As I watched swarms of students with their friends come out, I finally caught sight of Yukio who seemed to surrounded by others already. Looks like Mr. Freshmen Representative became Mr. Popular within his 15-minute speech.

"Okumura-kun," the girl who was in front of me during the orientation started. "What faculty are you in?"

It was honestly a simple question, but Yukio somehow had to stutter up his answer with a blush on his face. "T-The Special Advancement faculty for general studies."

"Wow! And you're so tall too!"

Looking away from the new fangirls, I walked around the entire length of the courtyard beginning to get a glimpse at the new group of friends forming. According to Mephisto and Yukio, we had around 200 students in the freshmen class, of which 96 were part of the fine arts program while 104 were of the general studies program. However, only a handful of these students were going to be an exorcist in training at the cram school, literally I could count them all on one hand.

"Freshmen! Listen up," I could hear the loud chatter of the students beginning to settle down as we heard the loudspeaker go off. "We ask students from general studies to please make their way to the school entrance hall, while fine art students stay in the courtyard. The rest of the instructions will be given to you as soon as this is done."

I sighed and began to make myself comfortable by crouching down on the pavement of the courtyard while some students began to make their way to the entrance hall or found a place in the shade to relax. Seeing as it might take a while due to the amounts of goodbyes being made for no good reason, I was about to take out my book until someone bumped into me causing me to fall face first. Feeling the pain shoot from nose to my brain back to my nose was annoying, mind you not as annoying as a certain act, but still annoying. Using my right arm to lift myself from the ground I turned around to look at the person who knocked me down. I gave the person a glare as he glared right back at me with brown eyes, but the glare soon turned soft. Before I was able to yell at him I could hear someone running towards us, Yukio, I could smell him as the air began to change.

"Rin!" I sighed as I turned my gaze from the male to my brother with a worried look on his face. Why of all times does he have to start being overprotective? It's honestly getting annoying right now.

"Are you alright? Are you hurt?" I could hear the concern he had for me, but honestly, I just wanted to beat the crap out of the guy who knocked me over.

"I'm fine Yukio, look, no scratches, blood, or bruises. It was just an accident, right?" This time both our head turned to the guy who had knocked me down. Finally getting over my tunnel vision, I took in the teenager's appearance. The guy looked like a delinquent, how the hell did he manage to enter the academy? Then again, I knew better than to judge someone by their appearance. However, that still didn't stop me from taking in his small goatee, stern expression, a large blond streak running in the middle of his brown hair and several piercings. My mind went immediately to general studies and cram school student.

"Um, yeah, I apologize, I didn't see you there," he said with sincerity. His voice sounded like he meant it, so did his eyes, his body language looked like that of a person who was deeply apologizing, so I nodded.

"It's fine. I guess I'm the one at fault here really, I shouldn't have been sitting on the pavement while others were moving around." Giving the male a small bow, I gave him a shy apologetic smile that I perfected long ago.

"See Yukio? Nothing happened, now stop worrying about me, I'm your big sister for crying out loud it's embarrassing when you worry about me."

"If it wasn't for your hot-headed personality I wouldn't need to worry about you nee-san," he stated. Yukio, you can be a real jerk at times you know that?

Giving him a goofy grin I gestured towards the entrance hall he was supposed to have been in already. "Don't you need to go somewhere little brother? If you don't go now, I will embarrass you in front of everyone, you know I will."

I saw his face pale at my comment, probably remembered the last couple of times I did exactly that when I got annoyed with him.

"Fine, but try not get in trouble on the first day of school for me? What would dad say if he caught wind of that?"

Dad, Satan, would laugh his ass off, and tell my brothers to tell me that I was stupid and could have done better by getting suspended. Dad, Fujimoto, would hit me upside the head, strangled me, grounded me, and make me read the most stupid book of all time, a book about the founder of True Cross, Mephisto. I cringed at the thought of it and mentally gagged.

"Deal."

"Woah, you two are siblings?" Exclaimed a male with pink-dyed hair.

"Technically twins, but yeah," I answered.

"Oh, that is-" he wasn't able to finish since he was cut off by the loudspeaker.

"Attention, all general studies students, this is the last call for you to make your way to the entrance hall."

"You heard your cue, go, have fun doing boring stuff. While I go have fun and doing amazing culinary art," I said with proudness.

Shaking his head, at my utter lack of maturity he left with only a glance of worriedness before leaving.

"We should head out too then, excuse us," I turned back to the guy who had bumped me earlier to see that the pink haired and a boy with glasses had joined him.

"Yeah! See you around," I waved them off as they made their way to the courtyard entrance to catch up with the other students.

It only took ten minutes later for only the fine arts department students to be left in the courtyard. It was at that time that one of the judges from the scholarship assessment was in front of the group.

"As you may all know, this will the department's first year for True Cross. I ask you all to take into account that you all will be held in high regard just as those from the general studies; however, you will also be asked to always be willing to learn in this course for the next three years for those who are thinking about majoring in any of the materials. Furthermore, I expect you all to never let the general studies department intimidate you, always strive to be the best. Finally, I ask for the top student of the fine arts department and the student who had the second highest grade in the entrance to make their way up here."

I could see the students begin to whisper over the fact that the two positions belonged to the same person. I could hear them beginning to whisper on what they would be like. What they didn't see was that the person was already standing next to the judge, and had begun their speech.

"Even though we all belong in a different fine arts course, whether it be photography, culinary, music, or art, we belong in the same department. We are the department that many believe we won't be able to share something with the world, but they are wrong. We are the department, that helps inspire others, help creative minds find a way to express themselves. We may not have an elaborate dream like those in the athletics department or general studies department, but seeing others smiling I believe that is a goal that we inspire to have. I hope we all have a wonderful learning experience that will help us and others in the future to come. I am the fine arts department freshmen representative, Okumura Rin."

My lesson: The best-kept secrets are the secrets that will take others by surprise.

Chapter Text

The word culinary is defined as "of, relating to, or used in cooking or in the kitchen" and art as "the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles." Putting these two words together, culinary art is about inventing new ways to create something unique and beautiful for people to enjoy. In this course, you will gain knowledge that will help expand and perfect culinary to your desire. Throughout the years, the culinary arts have continued to expand from traditional homemade meals to five-star restaurants over the world. In addition, through its years of evolution, culinary arts has found a way to inspire many across the globe to try new and unique ways to find a style to call their own.

In this course, you will be allowed to focus on finding a style that best suits your way of cooking. The instructors are all there to guide you through this process as well as instruct you on certain elements of the culinary arts. Information such as what benefits for health does an ingredient have, and what other purposes does it have and how to make it stand out or balance with the dish. However, there will be some specific basic cooking methods and techniques that you will have to learn, but it is up to you to choose if they fit your style. Furthermore, instructors are tasked to help students decide which methods fit their needs and the overall appearance and taste of the dish.*

"That is it for homeroom, classes begin next week, I hope to see you all then," said my homeroom the syllabus into my bag, I got up from my seat in the back and quickly shuffled out of the classroom before anyone could get in my way.

As I reached the first floor of the building, I made my way out towards the door to get to the entrance hall of the main fine arts building. It's a simple building really-ignore the fact that Mephisto made it-one of six buildings of the fine arts campus. The main building consists of five stories, six counting the roof, with normal classrooms for basic education, such as those in general studies, teachers' lounge**, and infirmary-bathrooms too. The five stories in the building are further divided: the first floor consists of the shoe lockers, the dance and the music (musical theater) departments classrooms. The second floor consists of the rest of the music department classrooms and a few warm-up rooms. The third floor belongs primarily to the teachers and infirmary. Floors four and five contain the arts and culinary departments classrooms respectively.

The second building is the fine arts auditorium, where they held our first, technically second, orientation, and the stage for choir, band, and theater to use. The third building, which is connected to the auditorium by a hallway in the east wing, is the music department. While the building connected to the auditorium on the west wing belongs to the dance department (fourth building) both of these buildings are three and two stories respectively. The fifth building belongs to the art department which is three stories in height with a wonderful view of the True Cross courtyard and town. The sixth building which is two stories in height and has both class sized kitchens and private kitchens is the culinary department building. And, according to the instructors, the building I will be using three times a week for class purposes and however many times I want for private purposes.

As I began putting on my regular shoes on at the shoe lockers, I had begun to hear students gossip over the fact of them being able to wear a uniform that differed from both the athletics and general studies department. However, this year the dean, aka Mephisto, allowed (read: forced by his little sister) us to do any modifications onto our uniforms if we so wished as long as it was verified by the teachers. All I knew was hell if I was going to wear that annoying frilly tutu he calls a uniform.

Grabbing my bag and placing my shoes back into the locker, I began to head out of the tall building that is way too elaborate for a high school. Looking around at the students I could already see groups beginning to form, some even looked like they had been friends for a lifetime. The students had looked to be the regular happy go, lucky people, while others the quiet types who would rather observe their surroundings then socialize. I saw glimpses of students with sheets of music in their hands, others with sketchbooks or canvases walking to their respected buildings probably already having a project to work on. Their voices carried themselves toward me as both them and their shadows began to complain of the fact that they really are not going to go easy on them just because they are fine arts students. I mean, I can't blame them, my first assignment was already given to me, but from what I could hear apparently it was somewhat easier than the rest. I kind of wished for more of a challenge, the little riddle about the dumpling was just too easy to get the answer.

Walking across the campus not only could I hear the humans complaining, and gossiping I could also hear their shadows beginning to do the same. Some of it was the same, something along the lines of the humans not realizing that their representative was also the daughter of Satan or whatnot. I scoffed at these gossips, after all, it wasn't as if the humans were ever going to find that out, at least, not yet. You are probably all wondering about the shadows now aren't you? Silly humans, did you not know that shadows are demons as well? Whether it be the shadows of a human, animal, or object, demons have always been attached to you. Passing a group of gossiping girls on their faces their each saw each other's laughter and pleasure, but their shadows showed a different story. Some shadows had become distorted and ugly, like that of a monster. These shadows I knew belonged to those who would use anyone and anything to get their way. Other shadows tended to stay still, silently watching their human ready to follow them at any given time, these are the mild groups. The funny thing about shadow demons is that they are demons who have always been latched onto a human soul since the day they were conceived. In addition, the more sins a human did the more distorted a shadow would become and more than likely try to consume the human it was attached to. As I was thinking all this, a wild shadow crossed eyes with me, I let my eyes flare up to a minimum and I saw it shudder as it began to settle down. Smirking at his response, I gave a small smile, one that only those with demonic sight could see, and walked away from the scene.

Exorcist do not know that it is our job as the children of Satan, to help Father keep these demons in line. These demons were once angels as well, not as big of angels as my father and brothers, but angels nonetheless. When my family was cast out of Caelum and into Gehenna, it was these past angels who have fought to protect the lives of the humans. Even now they still try to protect them, however, sometimes, their emotions can get the better of them and they act out in the form of possession. It's not their fault, not all of it at least, but because of their feelings of resentment towards God and the humans they decided to protect they often get caught in between. Because of all this, my siblings were given different kingdoms to take care of for certain demons, one demon more powerful than the next on the account of how close they were to humans.

As I walked over one of the many, and most secluded, bridges to get to True Cross Academy's main campus, I came across Mephisto standing in the middle of the structure.

"It is about time you got here little one," he said with that annoying clown smile of his face.

"You do know I had class right? Not actual class, but still class."

Giggling, what kind of all mighty and powerful demon giggles? He began searching for something in his coat pocket.

"Here you go little sister, one cram school key for you to use."

"Thanks," I said as I plucked the key from his hand. As I did that, I heard him begin to count to three in German and a puff of pink smoke appeared in his spot.

Looking down, I saw a small white Scottish-terrier wearing a large pink ribbon around its neck with a silver trinket hanging from it. It was cute and fluffy, to say the least, but it was my brother, there is no way in Gehenna that I would ever admit to that.

"Amai-nii is by far more cute."

I could hear a small squeak of approval coming from my bag that held Amai-nii in his adorable green hamster form.

"I hate you," Mephisto said bluntly with a glare. "You too, Amaimon."

I snickered at their bickering before speaking, "So dear brother. Where is the nearest door?"

"You ready to begin?" asked Amai-nii.

"Ready to show Yukio, Fujimoto, and dad exactly what I can do. Just you wait, I'll even one-up Yukio in every subject, and exwire missions he took before."

"Well, Rin-chan, the closest door is right under our very feet." Said Mephisto as his dog form slid through the white railings of the bridge.

Looking over the railing, I saw that he had landed safely and was waiting for me to jump down. Hoisting myself onto the railing with my right hand, I jumped and landed on the green grass with my feet. Turning myself around to where Mephisto was looking, I saw a door that seemed to be camouflaged into the brickwork of the bridge, but I could clearly make out a handle and lock. The gold key in my left hand, and book bag in my right, I unlocked the door and found myself looking into a crummy hallway.

"Wow, love what the Vatican has done with the place. The unnecessary stained glass, the tall wooden doors, even the old light fixtures." I said. "I thought that they would give their future exorcist more, I don't know, special attention."

"Never going to happen, my Princess, the Vatican is too cheap to give better education conditions for the exorcists in training."

"No kidding."

Mephisto chuckled at mine and Amai-nii's banter against the Vatican before speaking up.

"As much as I enjoy making fun of the Vatican as well, I believe that your class will soon begin. I would appreciate it if you were not late for the very first day, we want you to keep up an image do we not?"

Nodding I followed Mephisto down the hallway until we were in front of a door and I nervously shuffled my feet.

"Why are you, nervous Princess?"

"This is the first time I will be ultimately surrounded by exorcists, none of which are going to protect me if something goes wrong. I know I shouldn't feel so nervous about this, but what if you do not make it time to save me if they find out? What if I somehow mess up the plan?"

"You will not Rin-chan. Father believes in your abilities, you are our little sister. If Father did not believe in you, he would not have named you as the 9th Baal of Gehenna, the Princess of Shadows."

"That and it was your plan, Princess."

I looked at each of my brothers, who were still in their animal forms, and smiled at them. They always seemed to know what to say to me, if any other of my siblings were here they would do the same.

Taking a deep breath, I turned the doorknob and walked into the room as confidently as possible.

I say confidently but the place was filthy. For crying out loud Mephisto, don't you have anyone clean up all this mess? It was a simple room if you dismissed the cracks, broken windows, and the mold that was clearly beginning to sprout in the back corner next to old bookshelves.

As I guessed only a few students, seven in total, had actually entered True Cross as cram school students. Looking to my left as I entered the classroom I saw two girls wearing the general studies program uniform. One who seemed nice enough had short brown hair and graced me with a small smile. The other one, with really weird eyebrows, took one look at me and scoffed. Who does that? Who the heck scoffs at the first time they see someone? Rolling my eyes at her I began to walk to the front desk in the middle of the room. Placing my stuff on the table I silently slumped into my chair not caring about eyebrows' stare.

I tensed up as I felt someone's, other than eyebrows, stare at me coming from behind me. Craning my neck to look who it was I saw two others sitting in the very back. The first was a male who I had seen in the second-year corridors at the main building, he was a strange one that's for sure. He always seemed to only speak to a hand puppet, strange? I know. The second figure, a guy, girl? They might have had the look of a guy, but the smell of one was off. Our eyes met for only a moment until they ducked their head down to look at a game console that was in their hands. I glanced at their shadow trying to get a read from it but I was interrupted before I could question them further.

"Hey!"

I jolted in my seat as someone slammed their hands on the surface of the table I was sitting at. Turning back around, I was met with the same pink-haired boy who was talking to me back at the courtyard.

"Hi?" He smiled at my confused reply.

"I didn't know you'd be here, I thought I was gonna have to look all over for ya."

Wow, stalker much?

"Why?" I figured that sounded rude, but seriously who the heck says that to someone on their second encounter.

"Why, you ask? Because I wanted us to share contact information!"

Oh, he was flirting. I mentally laughed as both my brothers growled at him, with Amai-nii popping out of my bag for just a moment and Mephisto standing on all fours in a defensive position. I mentally asked them to calm down, and I knew they heard me when they did just that waiting to see how I would handle the situation.

"Sure," I said in an uncaring voice. "After all we are classmates now, we may need to contact each other for future missions or some other things."

I watched as his smile turned upside down, the gaze in his brown eyes turned from hopeful to despondent as he realized what I just said. Giving him a cheerful smile, I grabbed the cellphone he was offering me and quickly inputted my number and name. As I finished I handed him his silver phone back to him and with a small smile and a thank you, he went back to his seat. I followed him with my eyes and saw him going to sit down with the other two males I had seen earlier. I waved at them as the one who had bumped into me laughed at, whats-his-name, before he mouthed a sorry to me and waved back. I was tempted to get up and talk with them, keyword tempted, but I stopped myself before I did just that for the little episode Yukio was having outside the classroom.

I could smell him from a mile away, technically more than a mile, and hear his heart just as strongly. I knew he was freaking out at being a teacher for the first time, and especially to students who were the same age as him. As much I wanted to make fun of him, and oh gosh how much I wanted to, I didn't, I remembered the little nervous wreck I was only moments ago and stopped myself from laughing. Taking a breath, as I could hear the shuffling of one of his arms underneath his sleeves, I quickly got into "punk-mode" and "oblivious rin-mode" before Yukio walked inside.

"Looks like your teacher has arrived," stated Mephisto.

"Take your seats, everyone," said a calm and cool Yukio as he made his way toward the teacher's desk.

"It's a pleasure to meet you all, I will be your teacher in anti-demon pharmacology, Okumura Yukio." Well, that's your cue oblivious Rin, I thought to myself.

"Yukio?! Is that really you?" I freaked out.

Yukio gaze and glasses glossed over when he looked at me answered in a matter of fact tone.

"Yes, that would be me. Is something the matter, Okumura-san?"

Oh hell no. He did not just answer me by saying Okumura-san. I will most definitely be giving him nightmares for a week.

"No. I, wha-whaddya mean "is something the matter?" What's going on with you!"

"I assure you, there is nothing wrong with me. Now if you don't mind, I would prefer you remain quiet while class is in session."

I gave my best shocked looked I could muster at Yukio's way as he began talking to the rest of the class. Okay, half of that shock was real because Mephisto failed to tell me that Yukio would be one of my instructors. Did I mention I was going to hang him? No? Well, I did now. For crying out loud, he didn't give any sort of heads up to mentally prepare myself for the early encounter I would have with my twin. After a whole out mental war, I had with Mephisto, I finally jumped into the conversation Yukio was finishing up. Something about calling him sensei while in class or something like that.

"Now, then. How many of you have never sustained a mashou? Please raise your hands."

Looking around I saw the only ones who had yet to have a mashou were the two of three boys I had talked to earlier that day and the brown-haired girl. I silently judged them for just now obtaining a mashou, but I also praised them. It takes guts to see the ugliness of some of the demons...no offense.

"Three of you. Well, them, I think we should begin this first lesson covering the mashou rite. Now the classroom we are in right now is not in general use due to it currently being occupied by demons known as goblins. They are a low-level type of demon, only possessing enough magic to cause minor mischief and are relatively easy to handle. However, if They catch the scent of rotten animal blood they can become agitated and ferocious."

"I'll show you agitated and ferocious," muttered Amai-nii from the confines of my bag.

"Today, I am going to use a mixture diluted with milk, which goblins are found of. I will then dilute the blood in ten parts milk, and use a single drop of the resulting liquid to draw out a few goblins and have them aid us in our rite. So if you could all wait a moment while I set this up."

I knew he was going to take the boring way of bringing them forward. I smirked as an idea crossed my mind, Yukio, don't you think payback can be a real bitch? Getting up from my seat, I made my way toward the front and slammed my hands onto the desk. The blood and milk had moved only slightly, knowing I had to cause a scene in order to get closer to the concoction I did just that.

"Quit screwing around Yukio! Explain yourself, I could care less if we are in the middle of class!" I yelled. I could feel the other students' gazes on us, the one with the hoodies staring at us more intently. My attention went back to Yukio as he let out an exasperated sigh.

"As I said earlier, I became an exorcist two years ago. My training began when I was a young boy of seven, as I received a mashou from a demon on the day I was born. I have been able to see demons for as long as I can remember. I knew all along, it was you who did not. Now, would you move aside Okumura-san?"

Okay, that was a bit too much, the cold shoulder, the cold words, the cold voice. I admit I walked right into that, but are you fucking serious Yukio? How about you replace the word demon with you in that sentence, let the rest of the humans know who I am right from the start why don't you. I would have rathered listened to all that crap you spelled out in private than here in public where seven other people could easily overhear. I grabbed his hand as he picked up the stupid test tube filled with blood and milk, and it fell to the ground glass shattering in all directions. Well, there went my plan, but now I was all emotional and shit. The scent of mixed blood and mild hit my nose and disgust hit me and my brothers. Looking up from where my eyes were directed at the test tube to where a crash had just occurred, I saw debris and dust hit the desk behind the one I had sat at.

"Hobgoblins!" yelled Yukio as he got in front of me. His two pistols were already in his hands as he began to shoot at the hobgoblins who had appeared from the ceiling crashing down. I could make out Amai-nii hissing in the background as he felt the demons he was supposed to supervise beginning to get injured.

"Everybody, out of the classroom! They are weak, but many in number and they have been driven into a frightful rage. I must apologize; this was my mistake. I'm very sorry about all this, but, if you could all just wait out here while I eliminate the demons."

Yukio began to direct the students out of the classroom, and as he reached the last one, he looked over to me directing me to leave too. I glared at him, knowing that I was going to stay, there was no way I was going to allow him to eliminate the demons that brother is trying so hard to protect. Knowing that he wouldn't leave either, I grabbed him by the shoulders, looked him straight in the eyes, and for a brief moment, I knew that he knew what I was thinking. And before he protests or shoves my hands off him, I threw him out of the classroom and kicked the door shut behind him. I could hear his body fall to the ground and some of the students asking him if he was okay, which students I don't know. I pulled the closest desk to the door and blockaded the door from allowing anyone from entering and anydemon from leaving. The sounds of Yukio banging on the door had grown more intense by now, but I paid no attention to them as I concentrated on calming down the demons behind me.
Looking around the room to see where all the mixture had spilled I took off my jacket and began to wash it clean it all up. Who the heck in their right minds would make this mixture for demons? Oh, that's right, exorcist.

"Mephisto," I whispered. "If you don't mind, get me something to make this smell go away."

I could hear Mephisto muttering his magic numbers and begin to spray something in the air. Febreze. Really, Mephisto? Really?

Coming across the last splatter of liquid I saw that the King of Earth, in his human form, had already calmed down the hobgoblins and was beginning to coax them back into the dark crevices of the room.

"Hold up, save me a small one," I said to him. His gold eyes met my blue eyes as he nodded and began to grab a small hobgoblin.

I motioned him to place the young one on the teacher's desk as I made my way to move the desk from the front of the door. Before I even made a move to open the door for the other side, which was surprisingly quiet, I made sure that my brothers were already back in place and in their animal forms. I quickly made a beeline for the hobgoblin that was beginning to fall asleep and back to the door. Grabbing the handle, I turned it and held out the demon to a surprised little brother.

"I apologize for my burst of anger in class, I hope this will make for it," I said as I bowed to the surprised class. I could feel their gazes look from behind me, to me, then to the demon in my hand and all over again.

"How did you…" the one girl with the weird eyebrows trailed off as she looked at me with an impressed look.

"Okumura-san," started Yukio. "I expect that we talk about this later?"

"Yes, sensei," I said with no emotion in my voice and a blank look in my eyes.

"Alright class, thanks to Okumura-san's ability to capture a hobgoblin for us, we will resume class in the next classroom."

My lesson: Responsibility sucks.

Chapter Text

"Peace and harmony, those were the attributes that governed the dimension of Caelum when it was still young. It was in this dimension where God resided with his three sons, the eldest Lucifer--now commonly known as Satan--God's "Morning Star" who would wake the light and life in all of Caelum. The middle child, Michael, who stood by God's side through thick and thin and tried to become the perfect child like that of his elder brother. Finally, the youngest son, Buer, the son who provided God with knowledge of philosophy, logic, and ethics. Each of these sons became Archangels of God in their own right by providing him with anything that was needed for the purpose of peace and harmony to be given to all. And peace and harmony reigned for a millennium.*

At the end of the first millennium, it was then when the Morning Star began to court a young angel with the name of Yuri--"the light of God." Lucifer became entrapped with not only her beauty but her mind, the way she described the feeling of being able to serve their creator or the way she would help any Angel no matter the circumstances. But most of all he adored the way she acted when she became worried about others, like a mother who worried about her children when they were injured or depressed. In fact, he became so entrapped, that more than half a decade later wedding bells sang throughout the dimension of Caelum as the first son of God and the leader of the Archangels married. The celebration lasted for two days and three nights, but none paid mind to it as a celebration such as this would possibly not come again. 

On the third night of the celebration, God and his other two sons, congratulated Lucifer and Yuri as they were ready to depart on their honeymoon. 

"My son, may you two live prosperous and bring forth a new era soon." God had told them.

"Father, may you guide the new era we bring to peace and harmony, as we will help teach them your way of life." Morning Star replied.

"May you guide us on this path, my lord," said Yuri.

And with those words, they departed for three days and four nights, away from the bustle of the center of Caelum, and to the peaceful expanse of the outer dwellings.

Upon arriving at their destination Yuri turned to face her husband with a smile and a thought.

"My love," she began. "I wish to create something, something that will show our Creator the love we hold for him. I wish for his word to be shared by many, not just us Angels, but for something more."

"Something more? Whatever do you mean Yuri?"

Yuri gave him a soft smile as she shook her head, not knowing how to answer the Archangel in front of her. The gift she wished to present to the father of the Archangel she married would not exist until ten millennia have passed. 

It was a decade after their marriage that they were given the news of Yuri bearing a child. A child! However, even though this news was one that called for rejoicing, it was one that brought sadness into Lucifer. An angel who gives birth to a child always dies after they are born, and are reborn only after a century has passed. By the time Yuri is reborn, the child would have already reached the age of immortality and begun intermediate magic lessons.

It saddened them both knowing this. Yuri would miss their child's first step, word, magic spell, and first flight. But the thought of giving the man she loved a child gave her strength, plans for the future began to transpire in her mind, and the gift she wished to present to God would come with this child. 

Now understand, pregnancy for humans, demons and angels are different from one another. While it may take a human an average of nine months to give birth, it is doubled for demons and angels. While human children only have to worry for the basic humanoid formation, demons and angels must watch for other appendages (e.g., wings, tails, scales, etc.) to form for the offspring. 

And it was eighteen months later when the first child of the Archangel Lucifer and the light of God was born. It was a day of celebration on the part of the others, but it was also a day of mourning for the Morning Star.

A boy, with blonde locks and golden eyes, was born to both of them. Yuri took on look at her first born and had whispered, "My little bearer of light."

And thus the first born was named after his father, the one who woke the light to shine upon others, while his son would be the one to bring light to his father and shine it upon him. And light he did shine upon his father, but not only had their first born bear pure white wings, but also a thin tail that shined as bright as the sun as the end of it. However, they paid it no mind, as it was not uncommon for Angels to be born with them.

“I’ll be reborn again love until then, wait for me, as I will be waiting for the day you will find me again,” Yuri whispered to her love in a hoarse voice.

“I will my love.” He had whispered back, and with one final kiss, Yuri died with baby Lucifer still in her arms.

This cycle would continue seven more times, each child born with different powers that would change the world of Caelum.”

“And you kept the promise?” Satan looked at his ten-year-old daughter through the looking glass. An exact image of Yuri, from her raven-blue hair to her pale skin and Caspian blue eyes that were filled with curiosity and knowledge.

“Yes, child. It was my duty as a husband and as God’s Archangel to never look at a woman who was not my betrothed. Of course, there were moments that I truly believed that she was gone, but her soul was not yet ready to come back to me, not yet at least. You understand that your brothers and yourself were born under different circumstances correct?”

“Yes, father. Amai-nii told me that even though we all share the same mother, they were born while she was still an Angel. However, I was born while she was human. Do you think she'll be reborn again?” I asked with hope-filled eyes.

My father looked at me through the mirror, “I wish I could answer that my Princess; however, I sadly cannot. It is unclear whether or not your mother, Yuri, will return to our family again; after all, it took me a while to find her again before you were born. Until then, be patient, your mother will always be by our side.”

“Alright, father.”

“Now, go back to your studies, you'll need them in the future. This also includes your school studies.” Satan gave a stern look with his gold eyes. The look of a father reprimanding his daughter.

“Yes, father.” Rin gave him a small wave before the image of her father disappeared.

“Shall we begin Rin-chan?”

“Yes, Sammy.”**

My eyelids fluttered open as the conversation I had with my father ended. It's been five years since we've had that conversation, and there has still been no sign of mother; why am I so attached to her? I haven't even met her, I've felt her, but I have yet to actually see her, hear her, hug her. I sat up in my bed looking around my room. It was close to the same size room Yukio and I had shared back at the monastery, if you removed the second bed and desk from our shared room. A room all to myself, no roommates to bother me, no annoying brother asking me repeated questions, and most importantly no one to question my whereabouts. The perks of being the freshman Fine Arts representative and sister to the Dean of True Cross.

It's been three days since the hobgoblin incident. It's been three days since Yukio questioned me how I got them under control. It's been nine years, one month, and three days since I refused to tell Yukio the truth. The lie was simple and easy and not entirely a lie, Mephisto and I scared them, and we (read: I) decided to keep one in order to make amends with Yukio. He bought it, humans love to hear only what's convenient for them when they need it after all. Yukio had given me a strange look, but I ignored it I've stopped caring about his own thoughts when I found out his secret long ago.

Tossing off the blue covers that were on me, I glanced at the blinking red numbers on top of my desk. 07:50, I had enough time to just sleep again, but Yukio would probably ask me to join him for breakfast and the apparent tutoring I needed. I smirked at the idea of me needing to be tutored, my work had already been completed, I had a new cuisine picked out to make, as was instructed by my teacher during orientation. The homework Yukio had provided for us during our first class session and other materials provided by my other exorcist instructors have been completed. Honestly, how is that material called homework? It’s too freaking easy, then again what they know about demons is just the freaking tip of the iceberg.

Getting up I made my way to the window overlooking the park that was occupied with some late joggers. I giggled at them, why do humans worry about their physical appearances? It’s so much easier to accept who you are, and not let the social norms decide what you should or should not be. After all, demons don’t mind their physical appearances, they have long ago embraced who they are inside and out.
Raising my arms toward the ceiling, I could hear everything pop right into place and begin to feel myself finally waking up. I smiled in bliss, as I continued my morning stretches when I was interrupted by my phone ringing, and there was only one person who I had given that annoying ringtone to. Yukio. Sighing, I grabbed my phone and accepted the call, but before I was able to even get out a good morning, Yukio had begun to speak.

“Nee-san, would you like to have breakfast with me this morning? I understand that you probably still haven’t woken up yet, so I’ll send you a text message telling you where we should meet up. Oh! Before I forget, bring the materials that you received in the first three days of class, knowing you, you probably have to start any of them. After I hang up don’t you dare fall asleep, you’ll be awakened by your phone ringing again anyways. See you later Rin.”

I could feel my left eye twitch at my brother as he hung up, and not even a second later the message he had promised to send arrived into my inbox.

From: Four Eyed Mole Face

To: Nee-san

Subject: Breakfast Information

Message: Location - Votre Choix Café. When - 0830. Materials - Yourself, Komaken, and cram school homework. Please DO NOT be late.

What the heck? Seriously, what the double fuck?

Inhaling my anger at my dear brother’s message, I held it for a few seconds and exhaled it as I loosened my grip on my phone. I placed my phone back to its usual spot on my desk and went to the adjourning half bathroom; another perk, I get my own bathroom, but without the bathtub.

Less than ten minutes later, I had on crimson combat boots, denim jeans, a gray belt, a black shirt with a white hooded jacket on top. Grabbing my phone, keys, Kurikara, and backpack, I made my way out of the dorm and toward my destination. Along the way, I encountered other classmates who I wished good morning to and a smile. I even stopped to give advice to a few who were having trouble on figuring out what cuisine to create for their first assignment.

As I left campus, I came to find myself in the bustle of True Cross’ morning rush, adults holding cups of coffee or a piece of bread as they rushed to work, businesses opening up for the day, and random tourist here and there. I smiled as the smell of food from different restaurants began to fill the air surrounding me, the smell of the bakery just three blocks away mixing in with the smell of brewing coffee began to fill me up with glee. Food, any food, it’s smell always made me and my brothers melt right on the spot, the perk of being a demon, we have a refined palate, but sometimes our curiosity of being able to try new things lead us to try disgusting food that makes us barf. And not in a pretty way.

Looking down at my wristwatch I read the time, five minutes until 8:30, awesome plenty of time left. I began to make my way through the throng of people on the sidewalk as I made my way to the café with the fresh smell of ground coffee beans. As I arrived minutes later in front of the cozy corner of the café, I looked through the window to see Yukio already sitting in one of the corner tables reading a book over pharmaceuticals. Entering I came to see a few True Cross students spread out with their group of friends, some either on their computers others with a book in hand. Going up to the barista I quickly ordered for a Red Eye, as I needed a major jump start for the day, paying I turned around and made eye contact with Yukio who had placed his book on the side as he saw me enter.

“I have a Red Eye waiting for Okumura-san,” said the barista who had rung me up.

“Thank you!”

Grabbing my drink I made my way toward Yukio was located and plopped myself in the seat across from him. He raised an eyebrow at my choice of drink, but I just shrugged as he waited for an answer. After all, I can’t just say that the only reason I got this drink was in order to deal with whatever bullshit Yukio was probably going to throw my way in any second. Before I uttered a word at his direction I took a sip out of the steaming warm cup that was before me. Oh gosh, the taste, the smell, the smoothness of the drink as engulfed it made all my senses go into hyperdrive. Such deliciousness can only truly be known as heaven. The crisp and pleasant aftertaste brought me to a state of bliss and the aroma of its freshly ground coffee beans gave me my own type of high. Yeah, I can start the day like this.

Looking toward Yukio I could see an amused expression right across his face, he was trying not to laugh at the expression I had made for sure, but who cares, I got coffee.

“I’m planning on visiting the old man this weekend.” As I said that, Yukio’s expression became serious and quite.

“Okay.”

At least one discussion was out of the way, or so I thought.

“I want to talk about dad.”

Oh gosh, he’s going to ask me about what transpired that night, isn’t he? I looked him straight in the eyes as he asked his question.

“What was he like? That night I mean.”

What? What was he… I looked at Yukio and looked back down to the cup of coffee I still had in my hands. I stared down at the disappearing foam, thinking long and hard on how to phrase my next statement. I couldn’t exactly say that the old man was weak against Father, nor that what he did was in vain. No. This was my brother I am talking to, meaning this is just another lie that I had to make on the spot. Is it a bad lie? No, it’s a simple white lie, a lie that doesn’t provide the whole truth, just a truth that by younger twin wishes to hear.

“He was damn cool,” I say silently. “He’s in a coma because he protected me.”

I raised my hand in order to stop him from talking.

“It’s not because of revenge or anything like that, that I decided I to be an exorcist. I just...want to be someone strong, so when the old man wakes up, I’ll be the one to protect you both.”

A shadow was cast over Yukio’s expression as I tried to it. I then looked at his shadow, and to my surprise, it was smiling. Not in a demeaning or cynical way, but one of relief and guilt.

“In that case, I was the same way. I became an exorcist to become stronger.”

I looked at my twin and smiled, “I guess that makes us the Idiot Sibling Duo!”

“Yeah, no thanks.”

Well, there was one matter out of the way, now a billion left to go.

“So why did you call me here today Yuki?”

And so our conversation began from talking about Father Fujimoto to how the hell I completed all my homework without a flaw. And to say the least, it wasn’t all that bad.

Not the way we began to bicker over small details of how coffee should be taken or how my handwriting could be improved upon.

By the time we were heading out of Votre Choix Café it was close to 10 a.m.

“You going somewhere after this little bro?”

“Yeah, actually. A request came in, so I need to go and handle it, also I'll be taking care of some shopping while I’m at it.”

“A request? You mean, an exorcism!" Yukio nodded.

“Take me with you!” Yukio looked at me in total shock at my exclamation. “C’mon! You know I learn better when I see this kinda stuff in action. That’s how I got all of my assignments out of the way anyways. I’ve also already been on the field, technically, so screw any authorization needed just because I’m just a Page.” I declared.

“I do suppose you have a point there.” Yukio gazed at my direction before letting out a sigh of resignation. “I will allow you to observe, but only if you do exactly what I say.”
I eagerly nodded my head, with a giant smile evident on my face as I followed Yukio to the closest locked door.

“This is the supplier’s key, one of the few keys only qualified exorcists are allowed to possess.”

Um… Qualified? Oops.

I watched as Yukio had turned the small key into the keyhole of the wood door. On the other side, I saw an expanse of blue clear skies, a walkway that is probably 300 meters or so above the ground below us. The brick walkway led to a Japanese style house sitting on top of a tower-like structure with trees, flowers, and grass being vibrantly visible from what I could see. The landscape was beautiful, sure it wasn’t on par with Amaimon’s Garden of Amahara, but it could easily be second best.

As we came to a halt at the end of the brick steps that led to the home, Yukio turned around to look at me.

“I’ll be heading in to complete both the request and buy a few a things, so you wait here for a few minutes, okay?”

I literally came all this way for no damn reason. Gee, thanks, Yukio, I love how much trust you have in me. I appreciate it.

As if sensing my complaint he further explained how the shop was only open to exorcists and above as well as spewing nonsense of “no wandering about” and “don’t touch anything.”

Honestly, he can’t exactly expect me to listen to him, I’ll do the freaking opposite what he just asked me to do. Stupid Yukio, I’ll show you what happens when you treat your older sibling as an annoying brat.

Crossing my arms as I stood there waiting for Yukio to hurry his butt up, I glanced toward my right to see a different path leading to a black iron gate. Along the gates border, was laid a protective ward to fight off against demons. Beyond that, stood something closely resembling that of Amahara, except, this was only made from Japanese vegetation and with less wildlife. Amai-nii has a competitor in the business of Earth it seems. I perked up as my eyes went to look at a young girl, most likely my age, as she tended to the garden. She had on a brightly colored kimono with a colored haori, an apron that was not covered with dirt and grime, and a blissful smile that indicated that she enjoyed her work. She was surrounded by yellow and purple bulbs that she was beginning to plant in front of her. I was too caught up in the pureness and simpleness this human showed that I barely even registered that I had grazed the gate with the tip of my fingers until a burning sensation ran through my body.

“Shit!” I cried as one of the gate doors fell apart.

The girl looked up at the sounds and stared right at me before giving out a shriek of her own. “Demon,” she started. “A demon!”

“Huh?” I looked at her in confusion until I remembered the ward I seen earlier. “What the heck? I ain’t no demon! Sure I may not exactly be all human, but that doesn’t mean you should go deciding things like that.” I whispered the end at the thought of my Father’s true term for demons. We are not demons, we are fallen angels, angels who were cast down by God, we are the exiled. Demon is just a term that humans created in order to distinguish Angels from Exiled Angels.

I watched as she began to back up, shrieking in fear; however, I noticed that instead of standing up and running, she crawled away almost as if…

“Hey, is there… Is there something wrong with your legs?”

“Huh?” She turned her head to look at me, I could feel her confused gaze at me as I stared down at her bare feet. Her bare feet were dirty from the soil and fertilizer, and there was something greenish-brown wrapped around her ankles. This was probably the request that Yukio was asked to complete while we were at Votre Choix.

“Your legs. Can I take a look at them? Those injuries look familiar.”

The girl turned around as she watched as I slowly crouched down to her level. Looking straight into her eyes, I assured her that she would be okay, no harm would come to her if she allowed me to look. Seeing her nod, I gently grabbed her ankle and slowly raised the bottom of her kimono to the end of her knee. There I saw that the traces reached the top of her feet and extended to her knees. Roots, that’s what they are, more specifically a mashou from a demon, a Dekalp. I looked around us to figure out where the annoying demon was. That’s when I spotted her, right behind Shiemi, in the form of a Viola wittrockiana, a purple pansy. I glared at the young thing, barely even two centuries old, and she was already wanting to try and possess a human, how pathetic and utterly stupid of it. Well, someone was going to be getting a harsh talking to from their King.

“Um…”

“Oh! I am Moriyama. Moriyama Shiemi, sorry.” I looked back at her and smiled.

“Moriyama-san, have you been talking to anyone or anything for the past couple of days? From what I can tell, these are injuries that can only be produced from a Dekalp. These types of injuries can lead the Dekalp to possess unsuspecting victims. So, please, have you been talking to anyone lately in this garden?”

She looked me dead in the eyes and shook her head as if to deny what I was saying. I looked back, and gave her a stern look, asking her not to lie to me.

“After,” she started with hesitation. “After my Grandmother died, I kept hearing a voice, a voice that would help me get through it. The voice would talk to me, reassure me that I could protect this garden, Grandma’s garden. She promised to give me all the power I needed to protect this garden. I just. I just want to protect this garden, Grandma’s precious treasure. It’s my fault she died after all. She died because I went looking for the Garden of Amahara rather than stay and help tend to covering up the grapes. Because of the promise we made with the voice, I can’t leave.”

Amahara? The Garden of Eden. The garden Amai-nii had created for God, in honor for the peace and harmony he loved. Why was she looking for it? Unless… No, she wouldn’t. Her shadow shows no malice, she’s too, pure.

“You want to leave right? You don’t want to spend the rest of your life here, do you?

“What is it you really want to do? You want to find the Garden of Amahara don’t you? Or, do you think that granny of yours would tell you not to go?” I demanded.

“No. No. No, she wouldn’t. Oh gosh! How could I be so stupid! And now, my legs won't move, they won’t move!” She cried in desperation as she hugged my waist, her tears began to soak through my black shirt as she attempted to calm down. However, that failed. Unsure of what to do, I wrapped my arms around her shaking figure in an effort to comfort the pure child. I looked up to the young Dekalp behind Moriyama, as it kept shaking in anger and fear as I glared at it.

‘You may still be young, but you should know better than to possess humans, especially ones who have yet to be corrupted by God.’ I said to it mentally. ‘You will get a lesson over this situation from your King. Do you understand?’

The small demon vanished from the flower as it saw my eyes turn a hue of red, and I smirked.

Glancing down at Moriyama-san’s legs I noticed that the injuries had vanished.

“Moriyama-san. Look, I think the demon heard your plea.”

By this point, her sobbing had decreased as she pushed herself from the tight hug that she was given me. Looking down, she noticed that her once injured legs had healed.

“Do you think I can-”

“Why don’t we try Moriyama-san.” I stood up and held out my left hand towards her. “Come on.”

She looked at me, then at my outstretched hand before she took a breath, held it, and exhaled. Grabbing hold of my hand, I helped hoist her up to her feet.
She smiled as she noticed she was able to stand up on her own with her own two feet without falling down due to exhaustion.

“I’m fine. I’m fine! Thank you so much!” Her smile, it’s too freaking pure, but then it fell again.

“What?”

“I just remembered, I don’t even know your name.”

“Okumura Rin, but you can call me Rin It’s nice to meet you, Moriyama-san.”

“Okumura? Are you related to Yukio in anyway?” Her eyes lit up when she mentioned Yukio’s name to me. A light filled with extreme admiration toward a guy who lied to his sister. She has a crush on him, doesn’t she?

“Yeah, he’s my younger twin.”

“Wait. Younger? I thought… I thought you were the younger one.”

“Heh. Why don’t we get your bulbs planted.”

“Yeah!”

My lesson: Promises are strong bonds, but family is stronger.

Chapter Text

As Shiemi and I had reached the last batch of pansies, the smell of fertilizer was finally beginning to get to me. The smell lingered on my bare hands and most likely on my clothes, great, guess I had to do laundry tonight. As we sat there talking, well she talked while I listened, she went into detail of the stories of Amahara her grandmother had told her before her passing. The way she talked, with a face full of hope, determination, and fascination at the thought of coming across the only garden that was created for a divine purpose. However, the way she described it, with the fact that it was God who created the garden disgusted me. God creating the garden of Amahara? Don’t make me laugh. How dare he take credit for something he had no part in making. How dare he take the credit of my dear brother who spent years, decades, centuries in creating the perfect paradise on Earth.

I watched her with a steady gaze until I heard Yukio’s voice behind us.

“Nee-san! What have you gotten yourself into now? I can’t believe it, I leave you alone for one minute with a clear rule not to leave the front of the house, and here you are.” There goes my dear little brother, believing he has the authority to order me around just because of the way I make myself out to be when in front of him.

“Aw, c’mon Yukio, I was just hanging out with Shiemi here. She’s pretty cool and knows a bunch about plants, I think she’d make a great herbalist, heck, even an exorcist doctor like you.”

I watched as my brother’s shoulders relaxed at the mention of Shiemi who was currently watching him with excitement filled eyes, so he likes her too huh? Behind him, I saw an older women watch Shiemi with both a worried and stern expression across her features. Her gaze turned to me, sizing up my fertilized filled hands, my dirtied clothing, and my sheathed sword lying only an arm's reach away to my left. Then her eyes followed the fallen gate and her eyes widened and looked back at me in what felt like seconds. I continued to watch her movements as she reached for something in her kimono, an agrimony flower. I watched as she plucked each of the five yellow petals and let them be blown by the wind. My eyes narrowed only just as one of them flew by me and grazed my right ear, leaving a small burn in its wake. Agrimony, a defensive herb used to banish evil spirits and deflect hostile magic, my eyes darted between both Shiemi and her mother. Don’t tell me they’re witches. I’ve heard stories of witches from my brothers, in some shape or form each of my brothers and I were attached to a form of witchly magic, but it was Amai-nii who had a deeper relationship with them. It was no wonder the Moriyama family owned a herb store and had a garden filled with different types of plants each of them held their own purposes in both exorcisms and potion making.

I smiled at the women, hoping it would appease her mood towards me, in regards of the newly discovered information. I knew she and I were thinking the same thing at the time, she must be strong to have figured it out so quickly. Her gaze finally lifted off mine as she saw that I would cause no harm to her daughter and herself. Instead, she looked at the legs of the young girl.

“Shiemi, allow Yukio to look at your legs.” A stern voice indeed, this witch, she meant business.

Confused, Shiemi lifted herself up from her seiza in order to get into a better position for her legs to be looked at. As Yukio thanked her, she moved aside one part of the kimono to allow Yukio better access of examining her unblemished leg.

“Shiemi? How did those marks leave you already? They were there only moments ago!” exclaimed the elder Moriyama.

Yukio removed his hands from Shiemi’s leg seeing as there was truly no signs of any more roots on her person. He looked up at the girl in question, looking into her eyes and trying to figure out the reason for it. The confused girl's green eyes met mine when she was asked not knowing how to answer it.

“Are you talking about the green root like marks that ran up and down her leg Moriyama-san?” The heavy-set women turned to me as I asked and cautiously nodded and I could tell she was trying not to reach to the nearby Anise seeds that were on the working table.

“She had them when I first talked to her, but in the middle of our conversation, they vanished! It was freaking creepy.”

“That’s right! Rin was telling me that she read about these markings in one of her books. She said they were caused by a demon, a Dekalp, right? As we began talking about Grandmother they just disappeared just like that, I didn’t even feel anything when they were gone.”

I nodded to clarify her statement, and that’s when I felt Yukio’s gaze on me. I turned to him and tilted my head as his eyebrows furrowed at the mention of me diagnosing the cause of the roots. His teal eyes bore into mine as he was trying to read any expression that could possibly give me away but to no avail. His gaze turned back to Moriyama-san, who looked impressed at the mention of me diagnosing the cause, but at the same time alarmed. I smiled at her in return again.

“Nee-san told you?” Asked an uncertain voice provided by Yukio.

“Yukio,” I began, “I do know how to read. I found it really easy to memorize Earth type demons as some were affiliated with herbs that I use for culinary purposes.” Take the bait, take the bait little brother.

“Oh, I see.” He took it. “If Shiemi-san no longer has roots on her legs it’s safe to assume that the demon has lost interest in her or has probably died while in the process of trying to possess her. If that is the case, I would like Moriyama-san to take precautions and place extra wards around your home and garden as to not allow any demons to trespass. If you want, I can even place them myself right now, I’m not busy after this.”

“Angelica,” I muttered.

Yukio looked at me with confusion across his features, and before he was to ask the question that was running through his mind I answered.

“An angelica herb can be used to protect someone’s home from evil spirits or demons by sprinkling it in the four corners of their house it can create a protective shield. Just use the root.” I intentionally left out the part of it being able to dispel hostile magic when worn from him since exorcists have yet to encounter any knowledge on witches. And I believe that the Moriyama family, the coven they are a part of, and others would like it that way until they came out themselves.
Aw, Yukio looked impressed. You better be little brother, because I am not done yet.

Not by a long shot.

“Okumura-chan!” I jolted awake at the sound of my name being called by a male voice next to my desk. Looking up I noticed Adachi-sensei looking down at me with a stern glance before faltering his gaze when he met my eyes. He knew my grades would not suffer because of me taking a nap, so Mephisto probably warned him, that and he heard that I entered the school with his recommendation. I rubbed my eyes with no shame what so ever as Adachi-sensei continued his lesson on demon history and made his way to the front of the classroom. As he was doing so, I could feel a familiar glare being burned into the back of my head. From the corner of my left eye I could see it was the delinquent looking guy, and from his expression, he looked pissed. I heard him mumble something about why I was even here or something like that. But I ignored them and brought the textbook to a stand before falling asleep behind it. I don’t give a flying mint bunny what they think about me.**

I could hear Adachi-sensei sigh once more before ignoring me and getting back to the lecture, but that did not stop… Shit. What’s his name? I’ll call him Rooster for now. Anyways, Rooster, growled at me as he saw me getting comfortable to continue my needed nap. Wow, he went from rough guy to nice guy to rough guy again since I first met him. This week was too tiring, first an annoying Dekalp, then Belial-san gave me a new training regiment sent by my dear older brother and right after I began to play around with some ingredients for a new recipe I was planning. It’s truly futile to resist the lure of sleep.

That lure hit me throughout the rest of Demon History, which was a joke by the way as exorcists have been given no information near important for them to have by Mephisto. Then Demon Studies when I was questioned about Coal Tars, least powerful demons my ass, they were created for a reason. Third, Grimoire Studies, which was a bore, so I ignored to the best of my abilities.

And now I finally find myself in Demon Pharmacology, with Yukio standing in front of us with our graded tests in hand. Here goes, if I didn’t get the highest grade dear Amai-nii would be disappointed in me and then test me again, but demon-royal-family-style. No, never again. Ever.

Next to me, I noticed sweet little Shiemi fidgeting in her seat, her shadow was doing the same thing while smiling towards Yukio's direction.

“You cool Shiemi?” I asked as Yukio began calling out names one by one.

“It’s just, this subject is my specialty! I know I did great on it, I just do!”

“And you probably did Shiemi, but you usually call them by a nickname,” looking at her expression I saw it fall as I stated this information. “Wait, please don’t tell you wrote down the nicknames.”

“Um..”

“Moriyama-san,” at her name, she sighed and walked toward Yukio in shame. “It’s great that you use your own names for the plants but when it comes to tests, make sure to use the proper names next time okay?”

“OK.” Replied Shiemi with a dejected voice.

“Suguro-kun.”

So that’s Rooster’s last name, it fits, but Suguro? Where have I heard that name before, it sounds familiar to me, but where? As I was thinking all this, Suguro-san was walking right past me with a glare directed at me. The hell is his problem?

“Excellent work, Suguro-kun,” came an approving tone from Yukio as he was being handed his grade. As he turned around we caught each other eyes, blue met brown, curious met arrogant.

“What?”

“Nothing, if little Yukio gave his approval then you must be good. Don’t judge a book by its cover and all right?”

His raised an eyebrow at my statement and looked down at his test in turn. He lifted his gaze back to mine and turned over his test to show me his grade.

At the top of the page printed in red pen and in medium-sized font was the number 98 underlined twice.

“98? Nice.”

“What’s that supposed to mean? I studied to get this grade unlike you who keeps sleeping in every goddamn class that we’ve had for the past week. Unlike you, I have a reason to be here, I have an actual fucking reason for becoming an exorcist.” Hissed the male.

“I’m sure you do,” I stated. “What’s my grade Yukio?”

“100,” said Yukio with confusion laced in his voice. “A perfect score Okumura-chan.”

As he was handing me my test Suguro-san’s eyes widened as he saw the same red font on the top of the paper with the highest grade possible written across. Giving him a smug smile in return.

“Just because I don’t pay attention in class, does not mean I haven't studied either, unlike you all, I can’t learn sitting down. I can’t look at a textbook and memorize it, I have to actually observe the plants and practice the methods they teach us. So don’t you dare assume that I don’t study.

“Don’t judge a book by its cover you shit.” With that final statement, I grabbed my belongings and headed out the door to take our scheduled fifteen-minute break before Practical Athletics with Tsubaki-sensei.


 

To say the least, Practical Athletics was, eventful. Truly.

First was the bringing out of the Leapers so we could get see their movements, next was the “volunteering” of two students (read: Suguro-san and me, please do so now) so they could jump into a pit with one to get used to their movements. Fun.

After that came the kicking me down while running in the pit and hitting the cement face first, Suguro-san being pulled away by our teacher and being told that I was a “special case” who got into True Cross by the Dean of Academy himself. Then informed about the Blue Night and how it affected the male to grow a personal vendetta against Satan. That was a heart-wrenching story, and I wish that there was a way to turn back time and stop it from occurring to those innocent during mother’s failed execution.

Finally, Tsubaki-sensei left class early due to his so-called “Kitten,” why the hell did my brother allow this type of behavior in his beautiful Academy? Which led to the currently stupid bet that Suguro-san was proposing.
I looked at Suguro as I gave him an answer,“Yeah, sure. It sounds pretty interesting, however, I’m not gonna do it.”

“What?”

“A Leaper looks into the eyes of the people around it and it reads their emotions. If any agitated emotions are located from the person, then it moves in for the attack. What would happen if I messed up? I’d die, and I would really not like that, thanks for asking.

“Also, I’ve got my own ambitions, and dying for something as a petty bet like this one, yeah, thanks, but no.”

Next thing I know he is sliding down the sloped wall leading back into the pit with the Leaper. What an idiot. As he stood there I watched all three of them, the Leaper, Suguro-san, and his shadow. It was that moment when he exclaimed his ambition, “I’m gonna defeat Satan!”

My eyes glazed and hardened as I heard him speak those words to all of us in the room. Defeat my father? No one in their right mind has once been able to that, not even when my brothers and he were sparring eight to one. A difficult feat to overcome indeed.

That’s when I heard the laughter, an annoying high pitched disbelieving laughter coming from the one I nicknamed Eyebrows. I don’t mind people joking on the matter of defeating my father, I may not even mind people in general, however, I mind when people begin to laugh at someone’s ambitions.

Next thing I know, the shadow coward, Suguro flinched, and the Leaper saw red before it pounced on the male. Screams in terror followed from the surrounding students before I decided to be both stupid and smart and jumped into the pit like the stubborn headstrong demon princess that I am, and straight into the mouth of the Leaper.

As the Leaper’s small-sharp teeth bit into me, it drew out only a trace of blood that had me react in a defensive manner. As my blue eyes pierced its own beady black ones its fear became evident when it saw my eyes flare up in a wake. I gently grabbed its vocal sac, and patted it with my right hand, as it unclenched its small fangs from my being. When it finally let me go from its jaw I turned angrily towards the humans behind me, and with a projecting voice, a voice that I knew they would have to listen to. But not just them, I was also speaking to Yukio, who was currently hiding in the shadows phone in hand, and to the person on the other side of the phone, Mephisto.

“Listen here, and listen good Rooster. Get lost, ‘cause you're not the one who’ll defeat Satan, that job, belongs to me.

“Hey, Eyebrows!” the girl I called out looked down at me in shock. “I could give a shit load on what kind of person you are, I could give a shit load if you want to joke around. But don’t you ever, and I mean ever dare to make fun of someone's ambitions. If you do it again, I will fucking laugh in your face and laugh at the ambitions that you have. Now, if we are done with class since Tsubaki-sensei left, I think I’ll be leaving now.”

Dragging Suguro-san’s confused dazed body toward the foot of the ladder and away from the Leaper, I began to climb up myself. Reaching the top I could feel the wary glances from my classmates, some were in an accusing manner, others, like Shiemi, were worried. Speaking of my classmates I looked at the strange duo in the background, their gazes felt emotionless and curious as they followed my every movement. Strange, they don’t act like teenagers, heck they don’t act human. Catching Shiemi’s gaze I looked at her with a soft smile, “See you later Shiemi.”

With that, I walked out the building toward the locker room.

My lesson: Ambitions make a person stronger.

Chapter Text

The first time I had ever spoken to Father was three years after the appearance of Amai-nii in my life. His voice was melancholic when he spoke of matters of Gehenna, but whenever he spoke about my mother, his voice became as sweet as honey and soft as silk. His smile, the rare ones, were beautiful, his angelic blood that still flowed in his veins attributed to that. And his flames, his bright divine blue flames that sparked with life, were in its own a jewel. A jewel that he said was difficult to inherit, not even my brothers have been able to inherit the flame. Iblis came close when his powers came to him, but they were that of a regular flame if a regular flame included angelic powers. To say the least, we were all surprised when my powers manifested only a week after meeting Father.

My body’s core temperature rose dramatically, but my skin was cool, the type of cool that you only get when sitting under the shade of a tree. When Amai-nii noticed the manifestation he called for Samael and Iblis in hope of helping me figure out my power. Imagine our surprise the moment I blew up in a flash of blue because I complained about the recent lie Yukio and Father Fujimoto had told me.

Blue. The same blue I had seen dance around Father, the same blue he used to save Mother and me from burning at the stake. The blue that caused many exorcists to die in the process of saving us.

I watched as the flames danced between my fingers licking my arms like a puppy. Trailing my body, familiarizing itself to me, it acknowledged me as it's person. Father had once said that it could only be passed within a family, but it was rare, however, it passed itself to me. Father said those with the blue flames would one day unite the four dimensions of Caelum, Purgatory, Gehenna, and Assiah. The whole story sounded ridiculous, and I had no desire to believe in it, however, the way he told it, sounded real. It made me want to believe in it.

My first official training started only a month after, my father had encouraged me to start earlier than my brothers, and none complained. In order to successfully complete my training, Father had brought in each of them to help me get through the necessary teachings of both a demon and an angel. It helped that each were exceptional in a different subject in order for me to learn. The training was not as easy as I had hoped, it included getting up at the crack of dawn on occasions and even the occasional whack on the head when I did something wrong. Which were more times than I could count.

Iblis had been my go-to teacher when it came to helping me hone my flame, help me wield it as my own. “Don't let it control you, accept it, and control it yourself. Our flames, no matter how different they may be, are an extension of our hearts. They can be easily influenced by emotions and can turn deadly when we least expect it to be. That is why I will help you calm those emotions first before we begin training with your flames.”

Meditation was a constant when under the teaching of Iblis. Even if it seemed stupid and unnecessary the routine became calming after the first two weeks. My emotions had never been more at balance then they have been in my life. They felt real and supportive rather than destructive and false. They flowed around my mind in sync with it's every thought and aspiration, and it felt wonderful. Never had I felt so at peace when I was meditating.

Iblis had told me that it would be best to meditate every day if I was able, but if not at least 3 times a week would suffice. And suffice it did.

By the time we had gotten to controlling my flames, my emotions and thoughts didn't clash with one another. Instead, they mixed together to create a harmony out of my mind and heart. I was able to successfully control my flame within two years, it took practice but my brothers had promised that control over my powers would come in due time. Beel-nii had told me that it took him over a decade to be able to control the insects that now follow and trust him, imagine his surprise when it came to controlling my flames less than half a decade. Heck, he glared at me for a week straight during training.

It was after the first two years of training that I noticed shadows begin to creep around me and watch my every movement. My brothers were confused as to why the usually shy demons had begun to surround me, listen to me, and most importantly protect me. It was Father who explained the situation and gave me the title Princess of Shadows, it would take more training and a situation that allows me to prove myself to the fallen angels of Gehenna to obtain the title Queen.

Queen.

Classes at True Cross had officially begun in the second week of cram school where we were thrown right into the lion’s den, metaphorically speaking. If the scholarship exam was difficult, classes here were for serious players only, and I have already seen some students drop out. Currently, we were in the kitchens on an assignment given to us by Madam Yao, a famous Chinese chef who was teaching us due to a favor (one of many) she owed Mephisto. The assignment was simple, create the cuisine that influenced you to cook, when I say simple it means that the cooking part was simple, the grading on the other hand.

“C, the pastry is a little underbaked. I watched when you were applying the frosting, and I noticed that the cake was still warm. If you wish to be a pâtissier, you would have known that the first rule of decorating a cake is to not rush the process by placing frosting on a yet to cool cake. The decoration is a bit much, there is too much going on, that I can’t even concentrate on the taste and simplicity of the chocolate if you wish to continue studying here, and this applies to all of you, you should never rush a masterpiece. Never.” Said a stern voice at the front of the room.

The whole kitchen was quite as we saw Sato Haruo’s shoulders droop with shame, he grabbed the small plate and returned to his station in silence, not even looking up when the people around him encouraged him not to give up. I glanced at his cake and noticed that there really was too many decorations going on to even allow a person to focus on the cake itself. I sighed as I went back to my work, so many students have either gotten a B or C, not one has even come close to an A, and it is my duty to get their hopes up. As I placed the last of the dish on the plate I took a deep breath before making my way down the aisle. I looked down at the first dish I had ever created in my life and hoped this would allow me to take a hold of that A. The word, that was written using ketchup, on top of the yellow egg gave me that hope.

Onwards!

Onwards indeed.

Madam Yao watched my movements with those beady black narrow eyes, “What did you bring for me Okumura-chan?”

“Omurice.” I smiled. “It was the first dish I ever did by myself, and it allowed me to keep moving forward on the thought of being a chef. That and it was the only thing dad cook until I took over the kitchen.

“In order to create this dish I used 3 eggs, a quarter of heavy cream and salt, a teaspoon of vegetable oil, half of a small onion, ⅓ of a carrot, one garlic clove, 160 grams of cooked chicken, 260 grams of cooked rice, and 3 tablespoons of ketchup. Oh, and a healthy helping of determination. I hope that you enjoy the dish I have prepared for you Madam Yao.”

The Chinese women nodded as she grabbed one of the metal spoons she had on hand. I watched as the spoon broke into the egg allowing for an aroma of flavors to be let out, the steam began to rise in front of our eyes, as the filling ever so slightly pop out from underneath the egg. She allowed herself a spoonful of a little bit of everything and led it to her mouth. I bit my lips, not knowing of the outcome that would occur; my brothers have always found it surprising that the only thing that has ever scared me was people criticizing my dishes, but who wouldn’t find it nerve-wracking to see someone, not like the food they create? I could hear the way her teeth gnawed at the food when she swallowed it, and the hum of satisfaction that came from it. The sound that came after that, is what made my eyes sparkle with glee, that had a few students behind me gasp. I didn’t even notice that I had held my breath waiting to hear that one letter.

“A,” that was all she said, with a smile gracing her once stern expression. I bowed, and before I was able to remove the dish, stopped me by continuing to eat it and waving me off to my seat.

With a smile still evident on my face, I walked to where Sato-san was currently looking at me in awe and grabbed an unused spoon on his station. I dug into the cake, allowing the chocolate to be tasted by all of my taste buds. Madam Yao was right, it was still slightly underbaked, but the taste of chocolate still remained. I smiled at him once I finished the slice of cake in all of its glory along with the raspberries and strawberries that were used to decorate.

“5 more minutes were needed to have baked this perfectly, at least one minute was needed for it to cool, and I would have chosen two small raspberries to have decorated the cake. We all learn from our mistakes, I would know, that same dish took me about two weeks to perfect, and even then I sometimes mess it up. I know that you will do the same and learn from this experience as not what to do next time. I believe in you.”

Those last four words have been ones that I have used on other classmates, and I believe they loved hearing them. It was hard to have someone believing in anyone, who wasn’t family, it always took an outside source for humans and demons to be, motivated. He nodded in return, his eyes turning from shame to determination at my words.

“Yes, ma’am!”

My eyes widened in surprise before I smiled and made my way back to my station that still needed to be attended.

As I did so, I glanced every so often to the remaining students as they were each graded. Not surprisingly, no one came close to getting Madam Yao to smile or to even receive an A from the famous chef. My dear Mephy did say I had the best culinary out of all the scholarship applicants; however, I wasn't sure if he just said that to flatter me or because it was the truth. Either way, I have been the only one so far to receive an A from our difficult professor.

30 minutes later, the class had come to an end and all stations, and kitchenware had been cleaned and accounted for. I was left the duty of closing up the kitchen as we left following the professor. Taking one more look around I could spot an Ukobach sitting in the corner watching me, waiting for me leave its domain. Bowing to her, I left and locked the door behind me.

Looking over both shoulders and seeing the coast clear, I brought out the training room keys. Slipping the burgundy jeweled key into the kitchens keyhole, I turned it and walked into the newly renovated room.

Entering into the wide space I could see a multitude of weapons aligned the far wall. Dummies to the right, and a changing room to the left. Kicking off my shoes, and pulling back the bob of hair I had, I stepped onto the tatami mat and was I was met with a strong tackle on my right. With a loud howl of excitement and delight, Astaroth began his training session.

Grabbing a hold of his ram-like horns from where they had contact with my side, I lifted his head and growled. His gaze met mine, and the fight was on.

A fight against a fallen angel isn't the easiest fights to win, they often take centuries to win just against one. However, when a fallen angel and their half fallen angel sibling fight, it's hell on earth so to speak.

As our fists clashed one another, the room trembled at the sheer volume of contact being done. The walls vibrated and created cracks all around us, leaving nothing unscathed. The effect wasn't any different when our magic was being used to fight one another. As my blue colored magic met his crimson they canceled each other, bested each other, and missed each other. The demons we have at our beck and call came as they sensed our fighting, my shadows not yet used to fights were bested by Astaroth's rotted demons.

As we got closer and closer to the weapon-filled wall I quickly grabbed a katana. The shape, weight, and size fitted perfectly in my left hand as my right was currently holding a dagger. Opposite me, Astaroth took hold of a magic tipped spear, that began to turn dark when he touched it. Spotting a chance as we distanced each other made it look as if I was going in for the hit, instead I threw the dagger and it implanted itself in his right shoulder. He let out a cry of pain before changing his stance quickly to let his non-dominant hand take hold of the two hand weapon. I smirked and jumped back as he lunged forward ignoring the steel weapon embedded in him.

Before either of us were able to dig into our full potential, our bodies froze over, the hands on the clock facing me stopped working. My eyes searched for the source and found Mephisto and Egyn staring at us with annoyance. That is when I saw the damage we had done. The rooms foundation was on a tilt, cracks were scattered around the room, the tatami mat was torn, and the room was a mess.

Mephisto flicked his wrist and let us go, "I just renovated this room, did you really have to go and destroy it?" His gaze burned into my eyes, the glare he gave us reminded me of the one he had given to Lucifer when he was annoyed. Giving him a nervous chuckle, I let the katana drop to the ground and to my awaiting shadow. Scratching the back of my head, I looked down in shame, I really hated to disappoint my elder brothers. But, it was kind of funny.

"So it was a surprise attack today Astaroth?" This was Egyn who asked with his fox face and amused tone. Next to me, Astaroth shrugged his shoulders at our older brother as a response.

"She's got to be prepared for anything that they might throw her way. I know she already proved herself long ago, but..." I could see the hesitation that the next statement brought to Astaroth. And I knew why. The whole incident wasn't one of my fondest memories. I could still feel the scorch marks on my back, and the scars that had not faded were torture. Astaroth turned to me unsure if he was allowed to even bring it up, that name. That name that is forever ingrained in my head and skin.

"I know. We don't want another encounter like that of Gabriel again," as I said that name my scars burned and my head ached. I swallowed as I saw the scars underneath my leggings burn through, and the wounds on my back returned. This was the curse of an archangel, a curse that would never disappear until the one who put it there died. I glanced at my brothers as they cast their gaze away from the bloody name, they blamed themselves for it. They always have. Father was furious, he tormented angels who were under the charge of Gabriel, he burned the gates Caelum more times than I was originally told. Purgatory had become hell, and the souls wondering in there, scattered to the far reaches, trying to escape the fury of Father. My brothers were no different, they sent plagues upon their cattle and in their fields. Fire rained down from the sky, water became scarce and dirtied. Insects had infested many, and their food, anything that rotted there was kept for a far longer time then it should have been. Time was at a still or went too fast at occasions, the sky would have no light, and when there was it burned in a deadly blaze. Air became polluted and thick making it impossible to breathe, the earth that they used became uneven and would at times quake leaving a devastating wake in the aftermath. Spirits and ghosts had become unstable slaves, they fought against their masters, tricked them, and refused to work any longer. While the shadows lurked and silently drained the life of their attached person. It was a sight to see. All of this occured while I was in bed "sick," or was it I playing hooky? (Yukio and Father Fujimoto believed it so either way) for a week.

I breathed in letting the pain dampen before I spoke again. "It won't happen again. Because I know that you all will be by my side and help through it. By that time Father will be us, so will mother even though we may not see her for a time."

My brothers smiled slightly, at the thought of us all being together. It hurt us not being so, however, Grandpa decided the best course of action is to not let Father step one foot in the soil of Assiah. He was afraid of what Father would tell the humans, such as him being the true creator of this dimension. It was one of the many threats that consumed him, but it wouldn't be the last. A new threat was forming and he knew this.

“Princess?”

I blinked away the trance I was caught up in the look over at my brothers. “Huh?”

Sighing Astaroth spoke, “We asked what your meister will be.”

My meister? Oh right, Yukio had told us that we should be thinking of what type of meister we wish to do, I hadn't even been to think of that until now. Each one of them had their perks, but if I did more than two was that too suspicious?

Doctor, Tamer, Knight, Aria, and Dragoon, which to choose. I hate the usage of guns, too loud for my style. Doctor, I had Amaimon to thank for the training, also Lucifer since his vessel being all...yeah. Aria with their verses and chants sounded boring, but using to exorcise a demon from a human they are so be attached to? Not so boring. Tamer was one that I consider taking part of so that one was definite. While a Knight? For Gehenna sakes, I used sword and katana as my prime choice of weapon so of course, my primary meister would be that of a Knight.

“Guess we’ll see where the future takes us bro.”


 

As Yukio and I waited for the rest of the cram students to show up to one of the abandoned dormitories, I let out a yawn. Yukio glanced at me and I smiled sheepishly in return. Shaking his head he looked back toward the pathway leading to the building and leaned against the entrance. Sitting on the last step, I watched the first set of three arrive at the building. Eyebrows, Paku, and Shiemi. I watched their interactions mostly in the way Shiemi was being treated by the scowling girl. As much as I wanted to say something to Shiemi about this, she was adamant about making friends of her own; however, her definition of friends was off. Getting up I walked them through the interior of the building and informed them of the sleeping arrangements.

“The first floor has the kitchen, cafeteria, a lounge area and the dormitory office, the same format as the girl's dorm. We will be using the second floor for sleep and the baths will be used by the boys while the third-floor baths will be used by the girls. On the second floor, there are a total of five rooms. The left side of the hallway will have three rooms which will be used by the boys, two to a room. The right side has the two rooms that we will use, two girls to each room. There are two sets of stairs on either side of the building. The one on the left leads to the dorms while the one on the right lead to the bathrooms, don't worry each dorm level is connected to the bathroom as well. Hope none of you mind the sleep arrangements.

“Here, this lists out the schedule we will be following while our stay here,” I said as I handed them a schedule Yukio had asked me to give to the girls. “Go ahead and choose one of the two rooms, I'll room with whoever, I don't really mind.”

I watched as the girls nodded and made their way to the second story. When my attention turned to the males that just walked in. I watched as the Kyoto group and the puppet weirdo and the hood male followed behind them. I waved in their direction as they walked past; however, I frowned slightly when I felt my gaze follow one in particular. Turning away from them I came face to face with Yukio's knowing look and a raised eyebrow. I rolled my eyes at his train of thought, I quickly denied the fact that of having feelings for the guy. If I did, it had nothing to do with any romantic feelings. Romance was at the bottom of my list at the moment.

Moments later, the class had made their way down to the first-floor with the required textbooks for this study camp. Yukio began a long drawl of what the exwire exam would be like, but the way his nose twitched I could tell it was a lie or part of a lie. As we sat in one of the closed off rooms on the first floor, we had finished up a practice exam and were beginning to turn it in. Hearing the shuffling of clothing coming from my left I glanced up to see the three girls leaving the room, Paku and Eyebrows up front, and Shiemi in the back holding textbooks that clearly didn’t belong to her. Grabbing the last of my things, I slipped out of the room before Yukio or any of my other classmates could speak to me. I followed the chattering girls (Shiemi was being excluded out hardcore) and let their shadows do the spying for me.

Apparently, they were about to take a bath as soon as they dropped their items in their dormitory. I stopped walking for a moment letting them turn the corner before me and letting them drop off their belongings in their rooms, I knew I would room with the blonde. Letting them walk out and go to the stairs again, I followed soon after, abandoning my stuff in the room I would share. Again, I tuned my shadows to Eyebrows Radio, only to hear a flat-out rejection of allowing Shiemi bath with them. Oh, this won’t do, this won’t do at all. I frowned, wondering why the young witch had yet to do anything about the situation at hand, but she refused to budge, so she was that type of witch. As I finally saw a clear view of the young girl’s back, I could she was trying not to cry, or to be angry. Sighing at the scene, I walked up to her and grabbed her shoulder pulling on it toward the baths. I could hear a voice of hesitation coming out of her but I ignored it even after we entered the changing room. The voices that I could hear from the outside were silenced and we were met with a glare from Eyebrows and a smile from her companion.

“Sorry, hope you don’t mind. Shiemi and I will be bathing with you two, we have a long day tomorrow and I’d like to get to bed as soon as I can.” Did that sound sarcastic enough? Maybe. Yes, and to finish it off I gave them a sweet smile.

What came next shocked us.

Paku was flung across the room, a rotting smell invaded my nose, and the smell of Paku’s human blood triggered something in me. Protect. Human, protect. I swallowed a lump I didn't even know I had and glared at the demon that had entered this domain. The mid-level Naberius looked down and shame trying to ignore my stare. On one of its hands, I noticed a rune signifying that he was under orders from an Exorcist. I know brother allowed demons through his ward, to an extent, but they are sworn under oath to not cause any damage to the humans living there. If there was one that caused panic they would be dealt with immediately, seeing as that wasn't the case now, an exorcist had summoned it. I clicked my tongue before getting the other girl's attention.

“Shiemi, I need you to contact Yukio right now just in case he didn't hear that scream also check on Paku. Your Greenman will be able to summon any plants that you ask of it, you know why. Eyebrows, concentrate! If you don't get a hold of yourself right now then you won't be able to summon your two Byakkos.” My authoritative voice made the two girls take action.

Grabbing my sheathed sword I ran toward the direction of the demon hitting it directly at the center of the rune. Hopefully, that shocked the exorcist who summoned it enough, and it did just so. The demon’s body faltered for a moment, shimmered before it went back to normal. Damn, not enough. Scenarios from my earlier fights against one of Astaroth's kind came to me in mere seconds. Were the lights were on? Check. Humanoid or canine form? Humanoid. Necrotic seepage? Not at the moment.

Behind me, Eyebrows began to chant the verse she had used in the classroom before, Shiemi had pulled out her phone and quickly texted something before turning her attention to Paku.

Allowing myself to take in all of our surroundings I knew what I had to do. Grabbing a marker I had stuck in my pocket that morning I uncapped it and ran around the locker room, marking up the place with red liquid. At the moment my crappy rune would have to do, “Eyebrows! Get your Byakkos to get you, Shiemi, and Paku out of here now. I can't summon this demon until I know that you guys are safe, he doesn’t play well with other exorcists. Now go!”

I could hear hesitation coming from Shiemi and a shocked voice coming from the other girl. However, I ignored it and began to distract the Naberius that was in front of me, apologizing to me as it swung its fist in my direction. Scrambling of feet, and hushed female voices caught my attention as I saw them finally leave the room, outside I could hear Yukio’s and the others footsteps running up the stairs, but that was all it took for my chant to begin.

“Ni kazu shio ha chuu ei u jo, ni fuoha gen den no i tai ke, en kin nai kan, shin ki ei satsu, i na ra ke ha ki se no e ma.”*

The runes around me began to glow dimly before they burst in blue flames, the ground began to become mushed, voices of demons flowed in my ears and the door of Gehenna took hold of the demon above it. The Naberius tried to claw its way out but whatever the door has a hold of would never let go. I watched as the first head went under the bubbling mess, he probably already saw his home. The second head looked straight into my eyes and thanked me, the rune on his wrist already dissolving, freedom from those who abused their power. I smiled and silently wished him luck when a demon is ordered by an exorcist to attack their own master or mistress, it is chaos and torture for them mentally. They fight back, they gnaw, they growl, and most of all are not allowed to channel their full strength. Exorcists truly do not know how to care for the demons they summon.

Vanishing the gate as Yukio walked in, I turned to him and gave him a look.

“We’ll talk about this later.”

Grabbing the remaining clothing that belonged to the girls I made a quick get away from the scene. However, not before I heard gasps of horror coming from everyone. Stopping I stared at them in confusion, and that's when I felt cold. Looking down I could see my shirt was cut and the cloth was loosely from my body. Had I been that caught up in distracting the Naberius that I neglected my state of attire? The cold on my back shook me to place. My back. The word scarred on my back. The name permanently etched on my back. Gabriel. The world turned black, the pain was intense, and I knew, he found me.

My lesson: Pain comes no matter who we are, no matter what we do. Pain sucks.

 

Chapter Text

"Well, lookie here," I looked up from my crouched position to see a young looking person standing above me. At first glance, I wouldn't have thought anything strange about them, except that they were clearly a foreigner. However, their aura felt different, good or bad I wasn't sure, but the feeling I got from them was one that I didn't exactly like. The person's way of dressing was strange, not Sammy strange, extremely strange. Why were they wearing so many chains? Literally, their whole person was somehow interwoven with chains all of which were attached to letters that the white clothing underneath could barely be seen. In addition, attached to their right hip was what looked like a trumpet with a lily inside, on their left hip was a lantern, hanging from that was a branch filled with mysterious power and magic. My twelve-year-old self-tilted my head in curiosity as the blonde haired and almond-eyed person. The smile that they were giving me felt off, not the type of smile that a stranger would give to another stranger, but the type of smile that screamed danger.*

Before I could fully turn around and get away from them, I was lifted off the ground and was sent closer to the stranger. I swallowed dryly as I saw the way they were looking at me as if I were a piece of trash that they had to dispose of. I looked down at my hovering feet trying to look anywhere as long as it wasn't in their direction.

"You don't look like anything special child of Satan," as they said father's name my head turned to look at them. They smirked at my response and proceeded with the one-sided conversation. "You remind me of Auntie Yuri, but it's just your face, do you have anything else that is so special about you? The demons that I have come across with are whispering rumors about you having the same power as Uncle. I wonder, are the Holy flames of Caelum truly Holy and rare, or is that a front produced by Grandfather to keep the true reason of the flames. After all, from all the reports from our family line, the only ones that have ever received the flames are those from Eris' line."

"It seems that you know my name, but I do not know yours," I said. Somewhere in the back of my brain, the image of the stranger in front of me reminded me of someone. The way they dressed was too strange, other than demons, angels where the only other beings who would dress like this. The way that an angel and demon dressed is how their powers and status was identified back in the early years of Caelum, even today, it seems that many of the older angels have not forgotten this old law.

"My sincerest apologies young cousin, I am Gabriel, the Messenger of God and God is my strength."

"Gabriel the Messenger."

My mind began screaming at me, it yelled at me to get out from the spell I was under and run, get away from this Archangel as fast as I could. Stories that my family told me seemed to flood through my mind, this angel was no ordinary Archangel, they were the second child of Michael, the messenger of God who told the news to Mary of her pregnancy. They were the messenger who not only relied on the strength of God, they were the literal embodiment of strength, all they had to do was to add pressure on the ground and they could cause an earthquake. The first time they had caused an earthquake, Amaimon had just about had it. He had to be frozen in time for over two decades by Samael to calm down. However, even though this had pissed off Amaimon, it was worse for father. So much worse. It was thirteen years after Yuri was supposed to be reincarnated, however, by the time father had found her as a human child, God had impregnated her with Jesus. Satan was pushed to the edge with this news, his lifelong soulmate was to give birth to his youngest brother, she was stripped of any memory of him, and he was allowed nowhere near her. He could do nothing but stand in the background and watch as she was given a new role in the world of humans. He had to watch how she had given birth at the age of fourteen, watched as she married another human, watched as she became the mother of the religious world, and watched as she died with old age. And as she died all he could think was that he would never be able to see his dear wife in any lifetime again.**

"Yes, Gabriel the Messenger."

"What do you want Archangel? I have nothing on me, and as far as I know, I have done no wrong."

The angel tilted their head and gave a wicked smirk, then a chuckle and then a hardcore laugh.

"Nothing wrong? Nothing wrong, huh? I can see you. I can hear you. I can smell you. I can feel you. I can taste you," they listed off. "Your kind is nothing but trash, trash that must be disposed of, trash that should never have been made. Do you get what I am trying to say with this? You and that nerdy looking brother of yours were born out of a women that should never have been reborn again. You and that human insignificant brother of yours is nothing but a nuisance for our dear Grandfather."

"Insignificant human brother? Is that what you see humans as? Insignificant? Humans are not insignificant, they may have their faults but many have tried their darndest to stay on your good side. But you and the rest of my dear cousins have treated them like dirt, have trampled on them as if they insects, have destroyed their dreams and hopes. They pray to you, ask you to put them on the correct path, but you turn them away, you don't listen to them, you don't even see them. You, stupid angels, are nothing but prideful pieces of crap who do not understand them at all."

"That's right, we don't understand because we are higher beings that don't need petty things like their dreams. We don't need insignificant bugs."

Bugs. Insignificant. Petty dreams.

The creation of humankind by my brothers, father, and mother, were being called the same as bugs. A little brother that may have lied to me, but was still my brother by blood was being called insignificant, the man who took care of me was being compared to as a bug.

How the fuck was I not supposed to not snap?

I exploded.

Literally.

My flame engulfed both of us, and let's just say, their scream was music to my ears after the crap they sprouted. Grabbing Gabriel's face I sent 60-degree Celsius heat through my flames and toward their skin, I watched as the skin underneath my hands began to steam from the heat provided. The smell of charred skin was beginning to reach my nostrils, I mentally cringed at the smell but I did not let it deter me. As I was beginning to see the skin melt from their face, one of their chains wrapped around my waist and threw me off of them. I could feel the chain begin to dig itself into my being and crush my ribs in the process. Gabriel's chain kept swinging me around until they finally allowed it to let me go by throwing me into the densely forested area by the park.

My back hit against a tree, and I could hear my back crack, I winced and let out a cry of pain as the sound reached my ears. I tried to pick myself up again, but by the time I did, I felt a small tremor underneath my being that lost my balance and my face once again met the ground. Groaning I was about to try to get up again when I felt a heavy weight on my body.

"Now lookie here, a child of Satan will be hurt today. Or should I go ahead and just get rid of her? No, she will be a message toward her father and her brothers. This message that I am about to give you should be something that should forever be kept on you, a message that will forever remind you of who gave you this. Yes, I know the perfect message, young cousin."

I craned my neck to watch as their chains begin to change into 12 sharp silver lances, hovering above each of them were scripted verses. Looking at what each of them had written on them I swallowed a whimper and looked down as I felt the first lance being dug into my thigh and dragged to my ankle. Each of the verses allowed for damage to be done upon contact with demon skin, unimaginable torture upon contact, one that burned not only your skin but your mind as well. I held back a scream as I felt my skin burning, the metallic smell begins to fill the air around us by the time we were on the eighth injury. The more scars I was given the more I bit into my bottom lip and blood flowed into my mouth, I looked at the demons that had come out from their hiding place at the smell of blood. Before they came close to stopping Gabriel I pushed them away not wanting them to get hurt as well, from the corner of my eye I saw a small worm poke its head out before burrowing back into the ground. I glanced back toward the Archangel and I could tell he had not yet noticed the worm.

By the time Gabriel had finished with my back, they allowed their wings to show. An ugly pair of grey that held no merit to those of my family, "Aren't you a noble Archangel or what? Did your mother and father never teach you how to clean your wings?"

Another line.

"You're worse than a child cousin, I wonder who is truly the royal family of Caelum? Believe me, you and your family are nothing but commoners in my eyes, that is why your powers, your status, your wings, and appendages, are nothing compared to those belonging to my family." I cried.

"Oh? It seems I almost to forgot to put who the sender was." The gaze in those almond-eyes was that of utter amusement, their voice dripped with nothing but malice.

I watched as they grabbed one of their lances and heard as they muttered a silent curse, "May whoever wields this name of the Messenger of God, live with it till the ends of time either theirs or mine."

And so the name of the Messenger of God branded my back till the day I returned the curse or to the day I die.

The first to find my condition was Azazel, apparently, Beelzebub had informed him of the situation first as none of my other brothers were available in Assiah. I could hear him choke back a sob, as he began to clean the air around us, disinfecting it of harmful bacteria and pollution. The next two to arrive were Beelzebub and Amaimon, quickly the two began to work on gauze and a potion to help aid in stopping the blood loss that was occurring. I could feel the earth tremor once again under my being, Amaimon, and he was pissed, so freaking pissed that he had an expression screaming for vengeance.

As they had stopped the bleeding Samael and Lucifer arrived with some of Lucifer's followers in tow. From the way they dressed in white and gold, I could tell they were a part of his personal medical team. From the distance I could feel the shadows of Iblis, Egyn and Astaroth beginning to search for the Archangel, however, I knew he was far gone by now.

Since that year, I was given a personal escort everywhere, I saw my brothers less and less, and pain streamed all over my body forever more.

Groaning away my sleepiness, I glanced around me trying to identify where I was. The room reminded me of my dorm room back in the Fine Arts department except it included another bed on the other side with two desks in between. I could feel something close to my feet, so I tiredly sat up from my previous position of laying down. Rubbing my eyes so they could be better adjusted to the dark, I could see a figure shifting their position. The small amount of light provided by the stars outside allowed me to identify Shiemi. Her blonde hair cascaded down her arms that were folded in a way to act as a pillow as they laid on top of the bed. Taking a quick glance at the red numbers next to me I saw the time read 03:32. Damn, it's too early for any of this.

Letting my head fall into my palms, I allowed myself to remember what happened before I passed out. Why did they have to see that stupid scar? Stupid Gabriel. Stupid Archangel. Stupid curse.

I shook my head trying to erase the thought of him out of my mind, for crying out loud, I haven't seen that stupid grinning blonde in over three years. I gasped as his laughter came back to me, the laughter he had as he cursed me with the scars and his name. It was because of those scars that I stopped wearing anything girly. It was because of those scars Mephy allowed us to customize our uniforms as long as they followed school regulations. Feeling the mesh material of my black leggings, I groaned with discomfort as I realized I had worn them all day. Honestly, who wears leggings to sleep? Oh, this was uncomfortable, I thought as I moved my sleeping legs slowly; however, I'm glad no one took them off, explaining a name scarred on my back was bad enough but my legs as well? No, not happening.

Shifting into a more comfortable position, I noticed that I was wearing one of my favorite pajama shirts. The grey shirt, with a cute puglie takoyaki depicted on it, was long, but it did its job as being a great shirt to sleep in. As I sat in bed I began to think of all the possible ways I needed to explain the situation to everyone, sure Mephy and I have had discussions on this topic but the plan never came up. Sighing, I decided the best course of action is to not entirely tell the truth, but not give a lie either. The truth a blonde archangel scarred me one day out of nowhere because the whole I'm a demon thing. The lie a human blonde dude, who was the neighborhood bully who started the whole "Rin's a demon" rumors did the scarring. Yeah, that sounded good.

Sighing for the second time after waking up I managed to slip my way out from under the sheets without disturbing the sleeping figure. I watched my bare feet dangle out of bed, hovering a few centimeters above the floorboards. Sitting there I began to think about the past years and I wondered if what I was doing was right. Was it really okay to not tell Fujimoto and Yukio that I've known all along? This whole secret I'm keeping doesn't make me any better than them and I hated that feeling. That itching feeling that gnawed at my being, a family isn't supposed to keep secrets but here I am keeping a secret, many secrets. But, they kept the secret from me first, they didn't tell me anything until I accidentally pissed off Astaroth's vessel. I didn't notice how loudly I groaned at my own thought until I heard Shiemi moan. I turned my head toward her and watched as she stretched her arms above her head and her eyes droop with sleep. She tilted her head in confusion as she saw me sitting on the edge of my bed when she finally seemed to compute that I was awake she jolted and spoke in a rushed tone.

"Rin, you're awake!" Teary eyes looked at me as I begin to find a comfortable position to in. As my back touched the cold wall, and the blanket was pulled to my waist I looked to Shiemi allowing her to continue. "Um, Yukio wants me to ask you questions, please answer if you are able to. Do you know where you are? Do you know what happened before you became unconscious? Do you know what occurred to make you pass out?" The questions flowed out of the girl her eyes gleaming with curiosity and worry. She needs to understand that questions should be asked one at a time with space in between to allow someone to answer them. Looking at my hands, which were curled into the sheets, I gave her a small nod.

"Of course Yukio wants you to ask me questions," I muttered under my breath. "Yeah, I know where I am, we are in the abandoned boy's dormitory for extra study sessions to prepare for the Exwire exam. Before I passed out a Naberius had found its way into the girls' bath and attacked us for no reason. I'd rather not talk about what made me pass out, you guys already saw the scars, and I would like to keep that private for now."

Shiemi looked dejected as I mentioned my unwillingness to speak about the scars. "Don't worry, I'll tell you all when I am ready, until then, please don't ask about them." I smiled at her in hope that my statement would appease her, and when I saw her nod I knew it worked.

"You should rest in your bed Shiemi, we can talk more about this during breakfast with everyone," the girl silently nodded before getting up from her position. I could hear her back pop from the discomfort she experienced and I immediately felt guilty again. This is the life I have to keep up, and I knew the truth was about to come out sooner or later. But something in my gut told me that it would come far too soon for any of us to realize. As the creaking of the bed next to mine came to a halt, and the soft breaths of the young witch reached my ears, I cried. I really can't go any longer like this, my brothers would soon realize this about me too, but it's better they do not. A promise created by the family must be kept unless all parties have allowed it to be told.

I sat on the bed watching the moon's light create shadows from the greenery and the dormitory. They had begun to sneak around the building patrolling the vicinity after all the King of Demons himself ordered them to keep an eye on me. Every now and again, I could feel their beady eyes looking up at my window making sure I was alright, but I really just couldn't care at the moment. By the time sleep came to me, the sun was beginning to rise and a Seraphim had come to wake me as per the usual routine. Reluctantly I began to get dressed in a new school uniform that had been carefully laid out for me by a shadow while I too busy caught up in my thoughts. It was at this moment that I groaned (I've been doing this a lot) as I realized I had yet to take any sort of bath due to the attack from yesterday. Grabbing the stack of clothes that were laid out, I made my way out the door and into the hallway.

The walk to the baths was silent if I excluded the number of creaks provided by the aging floorboards. As I finally reached the staircase leading up to the third-floor baths, I failed to notice a pair of eyes following me until I heard a voice filled with concern.

"Okumura-san, are you okay?" I turned to my left and watched as the curtain of the boys' bath was separated by Konekomaru. The worried expression that he was giving me could rival that of Shiemi, darn both of their cuteness.

"I'm doing just fine Konekomaru, really. I was just heading to the baths. With all the commotion yesterday, I woke up realizing I had yet to take one. I can't show up to class all gross, especially in the kitchens. Do you know how clean a kitchen has to stay? It's the one place, other than a hospital, that has to be cleaned before and after you are to use it, my teachers would freak if they saw any of us be dirty and cooking at the same time. I would really like to avoid any of that before the morning class."

The short boy gave me a small laugh as I described how cleanliness is the number one rule that we must all follow in the kitchen. As I continued to describe it, I waved my hands to add a more dramatic flair at the end of every negative that could come out of an unclean kitchen. The types of embarrassments my teachers had put two students to go through in the past three days, and were those truly embarrassing. It's like a family member embarrassing you in front of your first crush type of embarrassing. Or the type of embarrassment that called for you to just live off the grid until the humiliation had just died down, or the "incident" to just never be mentioned again.

Ever. Again.

Ever. Again.

No, that was not a typo. It took me two repeats of those two words and the threat to never cook for anyone in the monastery ever again for them to understand to never speak of the "incident."

Excusing myself from the boy, I speed-walked all the way to the girl's bathroom not wanting to run into anyone else (namely Yukio) before breakfast. The two cutest members of our strange group were enough.

Walking into the locker room, I could see where the damage was dealt and was currently being cleaned up by a few low-level demons from Mephisto. Tempus*** demons were considered as being Mephisto's offsprings (weird right? My big bro is a father) and had the power to turn back time on anything or anyone they touch, but they could only go back in time for a limited number of days, no more, no less. I watched them as they worked and smiled, demons were peaceful beings, they only ever barred their teeth when someone or something injures an offspring or trespasses too far into their territory. One them looked up at me and gave a small bow before pointing toward the baths and giving me the okay signal, meaning they were ready for use. Nodding a small thanks, I made my way toward the baths for rest and relaxation after yesterday's turmoil.

Not even 15 minutes later, I was out of the bath and dressed in my school attire for the day. Dark black pantyhose covered my legs, a dark blue high waisted tiered skirt over a black long sleeve button up dress shirt with a white waistcoat. To finish off the ensemble of clothes a white military style overcoat with the True Cross Academy crest on the bottom inner corner.****

Slipping on my slippers I walked out of the baths and began making my descent back toward my dormitory where Shiemi was probably still sleeping. And just as I thought, as I entered the small room, there was Shiemi sprawled in bed with her blanket nowhere near her. Seeing the sight I let out a small chuckle as I glanced at the clock: 04:46. Putting down my clothes in the dirty hamper at the foot of my bed, I made for the alarm and began to set an alarm for the young girl, 05:30 should be good enough right? Setting down the alarm on my side of the room, so she wouldn't hit the snooze button, I made my way back outside my room and toward the ground floor kitchen.

As I walked into the kitchen I was greeted with the perfect balance of aromas provided by Ukobach who seemed to be working on finishing today's lunch for everyone.

"It smells delicious as always," I said as I replaced my white overcoat with a black grey apron that I left hanging by the door when I arrived yesterday. Ukobach turned to me and gave me a big smile in return. "I believe that the matatabi sake should be just about finish don't you think? I'll make sure to check on it later on and leave some out for Kuro.

"You finish the finishing touches for lunch and I'll begin with breakfast, sound good?" The little demon let out a sound of agreement as he continued working on making the omelets that would go in each of our bentos.

As I let Ukobach finish this, I began creating a traditional breakfast consisting of grilled fish, miso soup, and steamed rice. As I let those cook, I began to prepare the side dishes of tsukemono, nori, natto, kobachi, and a green salad.

By the time the time was 06:10 some of the students had made their way down from their dorms to get some breakfast. The first to arrive was the Kyoto trio, from the looks of Suguro he had just come back from a morning bath, while the other two still looked groggy, more Shima then Konekomaru.

"Morning you three," I said as I pushed three trays filled with breakfast through the kitchen window.

"How are you feeling?" I was surprised to hear Shima all serious as he asked me this, I would have expected Suguro to be the first, but it was the pink haired instead.

"I'll make it through the day," I paused. "Promise."

He nodded in understanding as he and his bespeckled friend made their ways to one of the tables.

I waited patiently to hear what Suguro had to say to me as his small shadow was currently shaking restlessly trying to find the right words to express his emotions. I heard him let out a breath and he spoke, "I hope one day you'll be able to tell us what happened. We're your friends after all."

Giving him a gentle smile I thanked him as he walked toward his friends.

The next person to walk to the window was Yukio, a stern expression decorated his face, and it didn't let up when he saw me. Instead, it seemed to have gotten worse as he saw my impassive expression. The look in his eyes screamed a want for answers, his shadow was restless to the lack of answers his human was given, and the way his fingers twitched was a tell of annoyance. Yukio could try to act as a mature adult all he wants, but he was still a teenaged boy who had a father who was still in a coma.

"Eat your breakfast first Yukio, I'll say what I have to say later." That seemed to keep him silent, as he took the tray and went to sit down with the other three students.

After that, the rest of the students began to arrive, and as I grabbed my tray I made my way to seat myself between Shiemi and Konekomaru.

Breakfast was silent. With the occasional seconds and going over the schedule, other than that, it seemed as if they were waiting for me to say something.

Sighing, I placed down my chopsticks, "You guys wanna know, I get that. I really do, but to be honest, I'm not ready. I know that I said we would talk about it Shiemi, but give me a bit more time, please?"

They all looked at me, some seemed conflicted, Yukio, Shiemi, and Konekomaru, and others seemed okay with it, Suguro, Shima, and surprisingly Kamiki. The other two sat there indifferently, but their shadows said a different story, the two were spiked with interest more so than the rest were. By the time 07:00 rolled up, it was time for morning tutoring before we had to be at school by 08:30.

"Before I leave, I am going to take one last look at Paku-san. Nee-san, do you mind preparing something easy for her to digest and bringing it up to where she resting? Moriyama-san may you come with me as well? I may need some herbs that you and your Greenman can provide."

Both Shiemi and I nodded at Yukio, "Oh! Ukobach and I prepared bentos for everyone, there are in the kitchen, I'll place them by the window for you guys. However, because I didn't know what you all liked so I kind of just let the contents be the same, hope you don't mind."

As I finished talking I could see Shima and Konekomaru's eyes sparkle at the mention of homemade food for lunch.

Walking into the kitchen, I made my way to the food pantry to grab a packet of instant oatmeal, I then went to the fridge to grab some milk to heat up and apple juice to go with the meal. Once I finished making the meal, I grabbed a food tray and made way up toward the room Paku was resting in. When I arrived at the door, I knocked before letting myself in.

"This should help," I heard Yukio say. "In a couple of days, the fever will subside and you will be on your feet again."

"Thank you Okumura-sensei." said a hoarse voice. Paku glanced in my direction, and I see the small beads of sweat on her forehead as I set down the tray.

"Good morning Paku-san. I brought to some oatmeal and apple juice for you to eat up also some honey in case you want it a bit sweeter. I hope you get well soon."

"Don't worry Paku-san, I'll stay here to help you while everyone else goes to class," said a worried Shiemi.

I glanced towards Kamiki as she just stood there unknowing of what to do.

"Hey eyebrows, if you are still worried, just stay here and protect her," I whispered to her as I passed to go back out. "Either way, she needs you right now."

With that, I left to grab my bag and bento before I made my way toward the Fine Arts department.

My lesson: You can't go through life without pain. 

Chapter Text

Just like the worlds after, the dimension of Caelum had a beginning. The Universe had grown lonely in the vast space it governed over, with no people to rule, and no planets able to be deemed habitable, it created two siblings. Ellowyn and Eris.

Ellowyn is what Caelum now knows to be the source of all creation. He, more so than his sister, held a high opinion on creating a world filled with joy and celebration. His soul was that of fire, war and power, energy and strength, and determination to achieve his will. To fulfill his wish, from his fire he gave life to three children, Aadn, Daifa, and Aadi. The first born, the majestic creation, and the beginning. These three, like their two cousins, would become the foundation of the four dimensions of Caelum, Purgatory, Gehenna, and Assiah.

On the other hand, Eris wished for a world filled with peace and tranquility. Since she was born, she admired how silent the world could be, in its expanse, no one was there to disturb this silence and only she, her brother, and their creator dwelled there. Her soul was that of water, with its tranquil form and pure undertone. Seeing as her brother wanted to expand this peaceful life into one filled with joy and noise, she couldn't help but feel, for the lack of a better word, annoyed. To help her keep this from happening she created Huda and Cataclysm. The peaceful event and violent event.

These two siblings, with opposing souls and natures, would never have expected what would come from the future. Ellowyn did obtain the wish that he wanted but later regretted it. When he saw what he created, the angels, he saw nothing but nuisances. Eris saw these new beings as pure children who needed the guidance of the old Gods. Eris witnessed her brother become distant with those he had helped create, and as she saw this, it broke something inside her. She started to wonder when Ellowyn's fire had died out. His once passionate fire had died out and in turn given that of a destructive nature. Confused about what she could do for her brother she asked the Universe to help her with a solution. A solution came in the form of the Holy Flames.

"Your line shall wield these flames alone, and only one of your descendants will be able to return Ellowyn his flames of creation."

"How will I know which one of my descendants is the one?"

"It will be one with a pure heart, a conscious mind of the world, and holds a deep respect for that of family. You will know who it is once they are born. Little by little, you will help influence their way of thinking and where they will pledge their loyalty to as the time soon arises upon them."

The Holy Flames has the attribute of that of an ordinary flame such as warmth and destruction, creation and passion. However, it holds water attributes such as devotion and grace, purification and tranquility. A form of magic that is fueled by two opposing forces could not have possibly existed, however, there it was passed down to thirteen individuals. A flame as passionate as the one who wields it, and a blue as beautiful as the water. Eris first saw this power manifest in the first child in Generation R in her family line. She watched as the child grew to be pure of heart and a mind filled with wonder; however, the child was not the one.

Two generations later, twins manifested the Holy Flames; however, before she could see either of them grow up, they died in an accident.

Nine other individuals would come and go before the thirteenth child appeared. The child was one graced with pureness and passion. A perfect blend of the attributes of fire and water. He outdid his own father's power of creation as he began learning magic. His flames did not appear until he was eight years of age, Eris seeing this held onto a sliver of hope that he may be the one to return her brother to normal. When she saw him marry a woman, with the same mindset as him, she could feel it in her heart that this was the child she had been waiting for. A child pure of heart, an open mind, and one with a great responsibility to family.

She watched over him, his wife and their eight children as they planned to give a gift to their King. She watched in horror as they were all stripped of the angelic status and tossed away as if they were nothing but yesterday's waste. She watched as they were disgraced and humiliated by the same angels they once called family. She watched as her hope's younger brother was killed off for aiding him. She listened as he cried in silence, she watched as he continued to care for children and the other demons alone with a yet to be reincarnated wife.

From her place in the Universe, she watched as her brother kept influencing his descendants to get rid of the humans. She listened as he ordered them to kill one another. Not being able to take it much longer, she began to influence the fallen star and his children. She pleaded for them to protect the young beings, and so they did. She pleaded for them to forgive the young beings, and so they did. She pleaded with them to understand the young being, and so they did. She pleaded for them to help the young beings, and so they did.

She watched in despair as she couldn't do anything more than influence her descendants. She could do nothing more but to watch and listen.

I was surprised with myself being able to the get through the rest of the day with no trouble. As regular classes came to an end so did another project. I had sent my shadows on a wild goose chase to find out who had sent that Naberius after me yesterday. I had a hunch who it might have been after seeing his display of summoning, but I myself needed to make sure before I sent out false accusations his way.

Walking toward the nearest closed door on the culinary floor she was stopped by a nearby shadow attached to a dance student.

"Your Highness, I have a name," the shadow started. "Neuhaus Igor."

That name was all it took for me to place the key into the keyhole and enter True Cross Cram School. The air around me felt heavy and it didn't let up as I entered the classroom. Looking to my left immediately I was surprised to see Kamiki sitting in her usual seat with a far off stare. From what I could see from her, I assumed she wasn't here by choice since she had stayed behind and did not attend any of her regular classes, according to her shadow. In a sense I understood her, from what I could tell she was a prideful young girl from a long line of mediums from the Inari shrine, I knew from that I could not delve any deeper. Afterall, my brother had been pissed off at the Nine-Tailed Fox since that incident occurred. However, she put her pride above all else, and now, she has lost that pride that she so dearly holds because of Paku. I sighed and walked toward my desk leaving her alone. I knew better than try to reassure someone who was currently lost in thought and clearly had no heart to listen to.

As the day dragged on, the teachers and the rest of the class had slowly begun noticing how silent Kamiki was being. The first, being the Neuhaus', was the tip of the iceberg. When he called upon her to fill out a summoning circle she had failed to pay attention, leading to Shiemi to be the one to fill it out, with a few mistakes. During our first fifteen minute break between classes, she had said absolutely nothing about her attitude, nor did I think anybody wanted to know about it. The second class, The Bible: Scripture Recitation Spells, with Angeline Maki had started off as always, by, of course, the teacher starting a verse and picking a student to finish it off, she, for some reason, picked me. Now I would probably think that she did this in order to catch me off guard (Lady, I need my sleep), but let's be honest here, she knew I was the adopted child of the great and powerful Paladin Fujimoto Shiro, so I just had to know the bible by now right? She guessed right.

"Let's see, Okumura-chan, I would like you to complete Chapter 5 from the book of Matthew: 'You have heard how it was said, You will love your neighbor and hate your enemy."

I looked at her for a moment and cringed an outright cringe. I unclenched my jaw and let the words flow out, "'But I say this to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; so that you may be children of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on the bad as well as the good, and sends down rain to fall on the upright and the wicked alike. For if you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Do not even the tax collectors do as much? And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional? Do not even the gentiles do as much? You must, therefore, be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.'"

Perfect? Perfect? Perfect?

No one is born perfect. Humans are often pushed to their limits to become perfect by their environment, even the ones who say that they will always accept them and their faults, in the end, they are thrown to the curb when they don't meet their expectations. They are abandoned and that often leads to doubt, insecurity, and depression. They begin to second guess themselves when they shouldn't and thus they are driven to actions that could put their mind and body at risk. So being perfect is something that humans cannot do no matter how much they are expected to.

So. Screw you, Gramps, and Matthew. But mostly Gramps.

Next to me, I heard Shiemi utter a congratulation, but to be honest, I didn't care. The Bible, which my Grandfather had made happen, was full of stories that made him out to be the good guy, and it made humans second guess their existence. It was a book that I truly despised.

The rest of the class dragged on until the last minute Angeline asked Kamiki to chant Psalm 30, now imagine my face when she stuttered to chant the 12 verses from our homework.

"I will extol thee, O Lord, for thou hast… thou hast…" She trailed off right on the first verse. The confusion on her face was evident, Angeline expressed her disappointment in her top student and went on to choosing Suguro.

"I will extol thee, O Lord, for thou hast lifted me up and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me. O Lord, my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me. O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave. Thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. Sing unto the Lord O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness; for his anger endureth but a moment. In his favor is life, and unto the Lord I made supplication. What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust; and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee forever."

With that, the professor left us alone to mind our own business while we waited for Yukio to arrive. Listening to Suguro being praised behind me I paid no attention to it as I got out the material we needed for Anti-Demon Pharmacology. I think it was probably 30 seconds after the praising began when everything went wrong between Kamiki and Suguro.

"Memorization is just fake intelligence."

The Kyoto group looked at her baffled, as she finally spoke after two hours of not saying anything to any of us."

"You say something? Because where I stand, you can't even remember four lines," growled Suguro.

I watched as their shadows growled and clawed at one another in response to their owners' emotions.

"It's not that I can't remember it! I just don't! While Arias are busy chanting, they're defenseless. Their party has to protect them. They are nothing but baggage." Kamiki snarled as she made her toward Suguro.

"What was that? Just because I want to become an Aria you think it's okay to piss on someone's dreams?" Getting up in a fit rage.

"You mean like defeating Satan? Oh please! You're nothing but a joke you know? And jokes are made to be laughed at."

"Kamiki. Do you mind shutting up?" The girl turned to me when she got in front of my desk. She flinched as she received my glare. "Did I not make myself clear to you before? If you fucking laugh in someone's face about their ambitions, I will give a shit load about your own, and I will laugh and laugh and laugh. You reap, what you sow, get that in your fucking mind before you speak. I know you are feeling emotional because of Paku-san, but do you really think she would want you to behave this way? I don't think so."

"What the hell? Who do you think you are? How dare you talk to me like that!"

"Who am I? Oh, I'll tell you exactly who I am, I am the daughter of-"

"Okumura-chan, Kamiki-chan, Suguro-kun, please, take your seats, the class is about to begin."

I looked behind Kamiki to see Yukio standing in front of the teacher's podium. He may have been addressing all of us, but his stare was directed toward me. The look he gave was one of a warning, 'not another word.' We kept our gazes on each other even as the other students had finally taken their respected seats. I let out a huff of breath as he began to address the class about today's class, all while throwing glances my way. Not being able to stand the 20th glance 6 minutes into class, I shoved my stuff into my bag before getting up to leave.

"Okumura-chan, take your seat."

"Sorry teach, I don't feel so good right now." I looked at him and allowed my pupils to slit up like those of a snake. I smirked as I saw his eyes widened in his response, and walked out of the room. Closing the door, I left out a sigh.

Damn, Yukio. Did you really think I was going to announce to the whole class that I am the one and only daughter of Satan? Don't make me laugh. Clicking my tongue, I stuffed my hands in coat pockets before sulking off to the nearest door and away from my classmates.


It didn't take a genius to guess something was wrong with me, as soon as I walked onto the roof of the old boys' dormitory, Kuro ran into my arms asking if I was okay.

All I could do is look at the sith cat and smile, as I clutched onto him and leaned against the wall.

Ah, my breaking point is near, I thought. Is it because of Gabriel? I am feeling uneasy, with him looking around for me.

Maybe, I will become a demon they will all fear in the future.

Maybe, Gabriel was right.

Maybe.


I looked at the others with Bariyons on their laps, all of them were quietly groaning in pain as Yukio began his lecture.

"I will have you all taking full responsibility as to what transpired today during class. I don't care who started it or what lead up to the discussion, however, I will have you all know that no single Exorcist works alone. An Exorcist must rely upon their comrades for help, that is why there are teams created to keep each of them safe. Do I make myself clear?"

There were a few mumbles and nods, but I just sat there, uncomfortable with both the situation and a bad feeling that I've been having in my stomach for a while now.

Maybe I really was sick.

Do demons get sick?

I mean we are allergic to miasma excreted by the Impure King, does that count?

"Yukio," I started. "Don't steal the old man's lectures!"

I smirked as I saw him visibly flinch.

"What? No, I didn't."

"Really? Do you want me to recall the 32 times we've had this same type of lecture? Sure maybe instead of Bariyons, it was a stack of books he kept adding to every ten minutes, but still!" I remarked and cleared my throat to begin impersonating the comatosed Paladin. "'Collective responsibility you two, you both witnessed and where part of the fight so deal with the consequences!'"

Yukio let out an awkward cough, "Anyways, I have a mission that will last about three hours, by the time I return I want you all to think about what you have done and get along. Because of the ghoul attack yesterday, I'll lock up every way in and out of the dorm, and place it under heavy wards."

"Lock? Then how are we supposed to get out?" and a grumpy Suguro.

"Get out? You don't," then he gave us an innocent smile before leaving the room.

Not even seconds later, the bickering between Kamiki and Suguro began once again.

"Well, at least we know who to blame," grumbled Suguro.

"Huh? You grabbed me first!"

"You started it!"

"Stop fighting with me in the middle! You both started this, now shut up already!" I exclaimed at the two of them.

"You know, you have a bad personality Kamiki."

"Tell me something I don't already know," she countered.

"No wonder people run away from you."

At that statement, the lights went out. I immediately got up and the Bariyon rolled to the ground with a loud thump. Walking towards the nearest window, I looked out to see the rest of the lights outside of the dormitory on.

"This isn't a regular blackout," I muttered.

"Do you think your brother shut off the power too?" asked Suguro taking out his phone to light up the room.

Before I could respond to him, I felt a demonic presence inside the building, one that reminded me of the Naberius. Was Neuhaus really going to attack us two days in a row? What was the point of all of this?

Wait.

The exwire exam.

Was this the exam?

This had to be the exam.

Grabbing hold of Kurikara with my left hand, I prepared myself for what was to come.

"Ghouls like the darkness."

"What?" asked Shima.

"Are you saying that the Ghoul got in again?" asked Konekomaru. "How is that even possible? Didn't Okumura-sensei say that he was going to place wards around the building?"

"What if someone, other than us, summoned it from inside the building? If we find this person, we have to destroy their summoning paper, or erase a part of their summoning circle."

"What makes you so certain, that it's someone who summoned the demon?" asked Shiemi.

"I remembered Yukio telling me that True Cross has enough wards that could rival that of the Vatican," I explained to her. "Anyways, we have to either find that person, or we have to get to the power room and turn the light back on to weaken the Naberius if only a little. We should divide ourselves into two groups that can protect one another. I want, Konekomaru, Takara, Shima, and Yamada, to focus on looking for a way out. If you find a way out send us a message immediately and we'll meet you there. The rest of us will make our way to the power room and see if we can get it back on, by no means should we engage the Naberius, it could easily overpower us. If we absolutely have to, its death verse should be in the last 10 chapters of the Gospel of John.

"Don't look at me like that, we should go our separate ways before it finds us here. I would rather us have a way out than being locked up with the Naberius."

They looked at me before nodding in understanding. As my group watched as the others made their way toward the entrance, we made our way to where the generator should be located.

"Hey Okumura, why'd you group us together, if you know that both Suguro and I won't get along?"

"Yukio wants you to work on your comradery right? This is the best to do so in a situation like this instead of a practice situation that they make us go through like in class, so suck it up you two, because you'll be protecting each other."

As we neared the corridor to where the generator was located we could smell the pungent stench of the Naberius near us. At that same moment, Suguro's phone vibrated, "Koneko, just sent me a message saying that they found an open window in the cafeteria."

"Good," if the Naberius finds us first before we get to the generator that's where we run to," I whispered them.

"Shouldn't we go now while we still have the chance?" Shiemi asked.

"No," I started. "If we can smell the Naberius odor from here than that means it's close, but without a certain location, we are sitting ducks. Get ready just in case it gives us no choice but to engage."

If I remember correctly, a Naberius has up to five types of powers and abilities.

Necrotic seepage. The fluid secreted by a Naberius is extremely toxic and, if left untreated, causes the body to enter necrosis. If in a dark area, the Naberius is able to secrete much more toxic fluid, being shown capable of spraying a mass amount in every which direction. The treatment for the burns caused by this fluid is aloe.
Enhanced strength, enhanced speed, enhanced durability, and human speech, if one is a high enough class, a Naberius may retain the ability to make use of its vocal cords, thereby allowing it to speak, albeit brokenly, as well as laugh.*

We silently walked down the corridor hoping to not run into the ghoul, but as always, life likes throwing crap right at our way as the Naberius' rounded the corner our way.

"Shit," I hissed. "Guys, it's coming too fast, we may have to engage it."

As I exclaimed to them, the Naberius let out its secretion in our direction, looking at the other three, I could see that they were getting quickly affected by the toxin.

"Shiemi, ask your Greenman for aloe and some form of protection for us. Suguro, begin chanting from the last five chapters of the Gospel of John, Kamiki, when your mind is at ease, summon your Byakko and provide these two with defense."

"Wait, what are you planning on doing Rin?" asked Shiemi.

"I am going to provide as a distraction, and try to make my way towards the generator, I think that is where the one who summoned the Naberius is located."

I could feel Suguro's gaze on my back as he was chanting, I turned to him and smiled before clutching onto Kurikara and making my way toward the Ghoul.

"Hey! You with the contorted face! Yeah, you! If you don't stop me right now, I'll go right to the generator room and turn on the lights that you hate!" I yelled as I began running toward the generator that was behind it.

Behind me could hear the tearing of skin, hesitating, I looked behind to see the Naberius splitting in two.

Shit.

This one was able to divide in two?

By the time it had finished dividing, Shiemi had finally set up a protection and was applying aloe to herself, Suguro and Kamiki. Kamiki on the other stood in front of the both them with her summoning paper in hand. The Ghoul not only divided, but they also divided their attention between the four of us. One of them began making its way toward the thicket that Shiemi's Greenman created, while the other began to follow me.

"I'll leave that one to you!"

I dashed onwards towards the generator room with the Ghoul in tow.

As I reached the room, I could sense the Neuhaus much closer than before, hearing the Ghoul closer, I began looking at all the labels that marked each part of the generator. I glimpsed at the lettering that spelled out BREAKER BOX, I made my way toward it as I felt a pair of eyes following my every move. Opening the panel, I turned on the lights and turned to face my teacher.

"Are you the one who did all this Neuhaus? Why would you do such a thing?" I questioned.

The man came out of the shadows and grinned at me, a cynical grin.

"What if I am?"

"Don't answer my question with another question!" I exclaimed. "Who are you that gives you the right to something like this?"

"Who am I?" He muttered. "I am a survivor of the Blue Night."

What?

"Satan possessed me for mere moments, but I lost this eye, "he said lifting up his eyepatch, "and my family, who tried to save me.

"I can never forgive Satan or any demon, let alone Satan's spawn. I will kill you, even if it costs me my life!"

He lunged at me along with the other Ghoul coming from my left. I glanced at its direction watching the figure fold in on itself, Neuhaus let out a silent curse as he watched his summoned demon disappear. However, he made no effort in stopping his onslaught on me.

Frowning I slipped Kurikara out of its red sleeve, and let the sheathed sword lay in my right hand. A bunch of simulations went through my mind at this point, if I unsheathed Kurikara here, the others would be able to see my blue flames. If I unsheathed Kurikara here, Neuhaus more than likely not stop his onslaught on me and would possibly even summon another demon. Another possibility of unsheathing Kurikara would lead to the others questioning fanged teeth and elongated ears all of a sudden. In the end, I couldn't unsheathe the sword, not today at least.

I clicked my tongue in annoyance and watched Neuhaus' snarling expression.

Humans are very scary.

I watched as one of his summoning circles on his arms began to glow and I felt an arm piercing its way through my left side.

"Tch," I moaned. "Do you. Do you feel better now?

"If that's not enough, you can continue. I'm used to stuff like this so, I'll put up with whatever you can dish out. Just, just don't involve anyone else in this! They have nothing to do this! They don't know, let me," I coughed. "Let me be the one to tell them. Please."

Neuhaus' eyes widened in surprise as he stared at me, "You think this settles it? Others will be coming, so be ready."

I frowned at his statement, "You know before you begin throwing words of insult, you should figure why exactly the Blue Night occurred in the first place. You should figure out what happened that night in one of the Vatican's chambers."

He frowned in turn and disappeared back into the shadows as we heard footsteps nearing us.

"Okumura!" I turned to see Suguro's fist flying in my direction connecting with my nose.

"What the hell Rooster?!" My eyes widened as I grabbed my nose. Did they hear? No, they were far enough that they didn't hear our conversation.

"Don't start spewing crap about staying together and then go off disappearing on us!"

Oh.

"Rin," I turned to Shiemi, her eyes looking at my blood-stained shirt. "Your hurt!"

"Ah, it kind of just happened, I guess."

"You guess?" asked Kamiki.

"Yeah? Adrenaline kicked in, man, what a pain."

"We should get you some medical help, even with the herbs that Nee can produce for me, it won't be enough for your wound."

I nodded, as I clutched onto the gaping wound. Underneath my fingers, I could already feel myself healing up. I narrowed my eyes trying to think the best way out of this, they would begin to question my healing capabilities, they would begin to ask questions and they would find out.

"For now, we'll stop the bleeding with this," I looked up at Suguro who beginning to tear into his vest. Before I could decline, the makeshift bandages were made. Shiemi grabbed one and began to wrap it around my waist, placing pressure on the wound, this continued until the vest had been used up.

"I'll contact Koneko, tell him that we should meet up back in the lobby. You okay to walk?"

I nodded and made my way toward the red sleeve I had thrown on the ground. Seeing this Suguro grabbed the sleeve and handed it to me before I could even bend down to get it. He watched as I began to place Kurikara back into its sleeve, his widened as he saw it.

"That sword," he started.

"Huh?"

"Where did you. Where did you get that sword?" His voice trembled only a fraction.

"My old man, he gave it to me before he fell in a coma two months ago," I said. "Weren't you going to call Koneko?"

"Yeah, yeah, I am." Throughout the phone call, he kept glancing between me and Kurikara.

As the call finally ended, all three of them helped me make my way back from the way we came from.

My lesson: Humans are suspicious creatures by nature.

 

Chapter Text

Date: XX-XX-XXXX

Since I could remember, Yukio had always been a crybaby, crying for the most unnecessary things, from a bug bite to a small paper cut. It had always been me that took care of him from the big bad monsters that hid under his bed. It had always been me that took care of his every needs when the old man wasn't able to. So, when exactly did the roles change? When did Yukio become the younger brother that began to care for his older sister? The younger brother that outdid me in everything and became the social butterfly? When did everything change between the two of us?

Maybe.

Maybe.

Maybe, it's always been that way.

Maybe it hasn't.

Either way, we are siblings through and through. Twins, that have bonded to one another ever since we were in our mother's womb. We survived the night that the Vatican and our mother's father were planning to kill us. We survived our premature birth together.

As long I know, death has always been waiting for us, whether it be because God has been after us since the beginning or because we were that unlucky.

Death was always waiting for us, watching us, clawing at us.

But it would just have to wait.

We weren't going anywhere anytime soon.

Making our way back to the lobby took longer than I would have imagined, it may have been partly due to the fact that I had to reopen my wound every time it would fully close, or the fact that Shiemi kept hovering over me like a mother hen. Or it could be the fact that after having to reopen my wounds every so often, my legs were getting the best of me with my blood loss. I would like to believe that it wasn't because Suguro and I kept fighting over letting me out of his arms, I did not need the blackmail that would soon follow by my classmates, I value you my pride thank you very much. It didn't help with Kamiki making comments on our fighting, we are not an old married couple and I would like to keep it that way. I am not saying the male isn't attractive, more like he isn't my cup of tea, and I love tea.*

Turning the corner, I saw a glimpse of Yukio speaking to Neuhaus-sensei, but he came to a sudden stop when he saw me in Suguro's arms. I would have laughed at how wide his eyes got if this wasn't a serious situation.

"Yukio, if you don't close your mouth, flies could fly in and make it their home again," I said.

"Don't ever bring that incident up again," my twin muttered. "But honestly Nee-san, you shouldn't be in such a hurry to marry, Father has yet to meet the guy, let's not forget last time you brought a guy home."

"I was teaching him how to make chocolates for White Day!"

"Of course, whatever you say." I could feel my eyebrow twitch in annoyance at his cheeky response. "Suguro-san, do you mind letting my sister down? I would like to see the wound Koneko-san told me about."

As Suguro let me down gently, I was knocked down to the ground by a foot to the back, "Oh, my. Excuse me, young Okumura-chan. Alright, thanks for your hard work, all you pages."

I craned my head to look above me and toward the annoying voice that belonged to the King of Time and Space. Around me I could hear the voices of my classmates as some began to worry about my already open wound and others questioning why the chairman was even there in the first place. Good questions, but they couldn't ask the most important one such as getting him off of me? Thanks for the love you guys, you make me proud to call you my classmates (friends?).

"What? You didn't really think I would let a mid-level dem-" I didn't let him finish his sentence before I lifted my body up against him and let him fall on his back.

"Look you clown, next time try not to land on an injured person, do you know how much that hurts?"

Mephisto immediately lifted his head when I mentioned my injury, eyes turning slightly red as he glanced all over my being to see my wound.

"Doctors please see to each of the students' injuries," as soon as he spoke five other exorcists appeared from the woodworks. Each of them going to different students, while Yukio rushed towards me.

"Okumura-chan, I believe that your wound should be best taken care of in a separate room," spoke my brother.

The three who were with me began to protest at yet another delay to my wound, until Mephisto spoke up. "I agree with Okumura-sensei, after all, that would means having to take off her shirt. And none of us want to deal hormonal teenage boys tonight. Now do we?"

The so called "hormonal teenage boys" began to turn red, red like the shoes of a famous hero protagonist.**

"Bunch of perverts the lot of you," I muttered under my breath.

That left the boys (technically only 3) flabbergasted and stammering, but before they could even say anything, Mephisto spoke once again, "Now if you haven't already noticed, you were all in a safe environment, the key word here is were. Leaving the auditorium in where we had a watchful eye on you all led us to improvise new hiding spots. Meaning that this was your Exwire Certification Exam! Technically it began since the study camp—" excuse me, since the what now? Meaning one of the teachers saw me summoning the Gate of Gehenna. Mephisto spoke on and on while I had my mild panic attack, Yukio seeing this began to excuse us and led us to a separate room, that looked to be a makeshift infirmary.

The worried younger brother that Yukio is began to talk about hypovolemic shock, and how my blood loss was affecting my body as he slowly unwrapped the makeshift bandage that was Suguro's vest. He sucked in his breath as he got to the second layer, of the bandage, and finally to the end. He let out his breath as he saw my skin begin to heal itself. Muttering how it was too much blood and getting an x-ray to see if my organs have healed as well. I glanced at Yukio's face to see something that I haven't seen from him in a long while.

Tears, he had tears running down his face, I didn't need any words to explain why he was like this. He was scared. He was scared of losing another family member, and I knew he would not live it down. His turquoise eyes glistened as the silent tears kept coming, the male who shed his once crybaby self, was crying in front of me. He kept his gaze down as he continued his work, grabbing a stethoscope from his many pockets to hear my heart and lungs, after that he continued to take my blood pressure before wrapping up already sealed wound, claiming it to be for prying eyes. As he finished doing this, he got up from his seat and walked across the room to one of the many cabinets, as I saw him taking out random tubes and chambers then proceeding to walk to the fridge and taking out a blood bag and a saline bag. Guess that meant I needed a blood transfusion. As he connected the tubing and preparing my arm for the 19-gauge needle to make its way into my arm he kept silent not saying a word. The few times he would stay silent when he cared for my wounds, it would always mean that I had taken it too far, he would never give me a lecture, but would instead silently scold me. As he finished inserting the gauge into my arm, he grabbed a piece of tape to keep it in place before placing a cotton path over it.

"Yuki. M'Sorry."

He walked out of the room explaining that he would return once he and the other exorcists have finished grading our results. As he opened the door, I saw the rest of my classmates standing alongside the opposite side of the wall, each of them looking up from their conversations to quickly bombard Yukio with questions. He motioned them inside and whispered something to them before making his way back to the cafeteria where I assumed the other exorcists still waited.

One by one the cram students made their way inside and toward my bed, Konekomaru and Shima sitting at the bed next to mine, Shiemi sat herself down at the foot my bed, while the rest grabbed some nearby chairs and surrounded me.

"How you holding up Okumura?" I looked over to Suguro as he asked me.

"I've been worse," and that wasn't technically a lie. I've gone through a lot worse with Gabriel, Neuhaus doesn't reach his expectations. I watched them flinch as I said that, no doubt remembering the scars I had on my back.

We sat in silence not knowing what else to say and for a while I listened to their shadows asking for my forgiveness, they claimed they should have been there, but it wasn't their fault, even I didn't know that the exorcist was a survivor of the Blue Night. Sure, exorcists have their own grudges and views against Dad, but when I heard my teacher claim he was possessed by my father, I couldn't help but just stand there with wide eyes. My brothers and father always spoke of coexisting with humans, and forgiving them of their sins but they would never actively seek hurting them. So, on the night of the Blue Night my Father possessing those exorcists wasn't because he wished to hurt them, but because it was the only thing, he could think of to protect the family he had. In the aftermath, he made sure he paid back the families he affected with boundless luck the following years.

"You were amazing out there Rin," whispered Shiemi. The others, minus the two silent males, nodded in agreement.

"You outdid us all Okumura-san, you'll definitely pass."

"If you say that Konekomaru, I'm pretty sure we all did, after all, this took teamwork." I said.

"Unlike you all, I probably won't pass," we turned to Kamiki as she spoke up. "Before the exam, Okumura-sensei kept reminding us about working as a team. In other words, the quality for exorcists is the ability to cooperate while fighting, and so that means I'd be the worst out of us, right? I mean, I was hesitating and letting my mind wander around to the point Okumura had to snap me out of it."

It took us by surprise hearing the first to speak out be Suguro, "You sure ain't the worst one here. Those guys decided to just sit off in the sidelines the entire time. Do you even have anything to say for yourselves?"

His exclamation led us to look over at the two silent students who have never spoke a word unless it was necessary. Meaning, Yamada spouting nonsense over the game he was playing and Takara using his puppet to speak, in the not so nicest of ways.

As we kept speaking to one another, no one noticed the time going by until Yukio walked into the room kicking everyone out and back to their rooms. I looked at each of their smiling faces before they left, and that's when it hit me.

These guys.

Each and every one of them.

They, they are my friends.

I always thought of them as humans that needed protection.

Humans that should show their gratitude to my father instead of the one who truly hates them.

I never noticed, that until now, I have always been alone.

Alone with my family.

My father, my brothers, memories of a mother I do not know, and demons who worship me for my blood.

They on the other hand.

They don't look at me as Satan's daughter, the Princess of Shadow demons, the wielder of the Holy Flames.

They saw me as Okumura Rin, a fellow exorcist in training.

It was these thoughts in my head that got me thinking something I thought I always knew.

Who am I?

Lesson: What's my name?

Chapter Text

"So, how'd you guys do for your first mission?"

"I mean, I had to clean out the Leaper's cage," said Konekomaru.

"I had to take a sample of Bariyoshi to Tamagawa." Muttered Suguro in an annoyed tone.

"I had to carry supplies to Yamaoku," answered Shima.

Suguro, let out an exasperated sigh, "We've only just become Exwires. It can't be helped that all we get are these sorts of mission."

"They weren't missions, they were just odd jobs!" exclaimed Shima.

"What about you Okumura-chan? You've been quiet for some time now," I glanced over to Koneko as he asked me this.

We were currently in Mephy Land for a group mission assigned to us by Mephisto himself. The four of us sat at the foot of Mephisto's statue (the narcissist) as we waited for the Kamiki and Shiemi to show up. While Yukio and Tsubaki-sensei stood close by, muttering to themselves about dividing us into pairs for this mission.

"I and my familiar chased after some Goblins around the main school," I said annoyed.

The three males immediately whipped their heads in my direction, shock written all over their faces.

"It isn't as exciting as it sounds. I would rather have wanted to take one of your odd jobs than running around the school campus for more than two hours trying to trap the little buggers. That and it didn't help that my familiar decided he wanted to take a nap rather than help me out."

My complaint was followed by complaints from the three, jealous of the fact that I had dealt with demons once again. It wasn't my fault Yukio used my ability to speak with other demons telepathically as his gain. Was it? Either way, I was exhausted that I ran around the campus using what Yukio likes to call "human speed," because according to him, students who had extracurricular activities during the weekend should not see my use of demonic speed.

As the three males kept talking to one another, I heard hurried footsteps coming from the entrance of the amusement park. I looked away from the Kyoto trio to see Kamiki with an annoyed expression following a blushing Shiemi in a True Cross general studies uniform, seeing the tight-fitting uniform on her, I immediately covered my chest. Millions of thoughts crossed my mind, but one kept coming back, how do they fit in a kimono?

"No kimono Shiemi?" Shima asked, a blush written all over his face, but he wasn't the only one, I glanced over to the others who had the same expression.

"Pervs," I muttered under my breath. The three of them immediately jolted in their seats and glanced behind them to see me glaring at them.

Shima chuckled nervously while Suguro and Konekomaru looked away, "I mean, you aren't lacking either Okumura."

Luckily Yukio didn't stop me from hitting the pink-haired brat over the head.

Shiemi, being the cute, naïve, and innocent girl that she is, paid no attention to the perverted gaze of the three hormonal teenagers, as she fidgeted with her skirt.

"Well, since my kimono wasn't suitable for missions, the director had me provided with a uniform. Sorry, we're late, I asked Kamiki-san and Paku-san if they could help me get into the uniform, I've never worn anything other than my kimono after all."

I glanced up at her, of course, she wouldn't have, witches of different nationalities have only worn traditional garments found in the country they settled in. This was primarily because they didn't go out into the battlefield, instead, they worked in the comfort of their own homes. Their occupation of work revolved around ecological and environmental groups, respected nature and its animals to the point of being vegetarians. They brought awareness to the world of how nature should be respected and protected, they were known to work in nature reserves or as park rangers, where they could keep a close eye on nature. Others, like Shiemi's clan, focused on selling supplies to exorcists or other humans who believed in the supernatural. However, their kind, depending on the country they settled in, hid their powers from those around them.

I smiled at her adorableness one last time before paying attention to Yukio as he spoke up.

"Alright, listen up everyone. This time, we're at True Cross Academy's Amusement Park nicknamed, "Mephy Land." To deal with the witness and damage reports of a ghost inside here, all the exwires have been recruited to help find it."

"Can anyone tell me the definition of a 'ghost'?" Kamiki shot up her hand. "Go ahead Kamiki-san."

"Ghosts are a demon who possesses material objects from human and animal corpses and turns them to vapor. Naturally, their characters are influenced by the feelings they had while still alive," Kamiki said with confidence.

Yukio nodded at her, but before he could speak again, I asked a question, "What age does this ghost appear to be?"

Everyone looked at my direction in surprise, "What? If we know what age this ghost is, I'm pretty sure we can have an idea as to why it choose this location to be tied to."

Yukio gave me a soft smile as he spoke, "That's right Okumura-chan. This ghost has the appearance of a small little boy, at the moment the damage is at the extent of him yanking on people's arms and legs; however, if we leave it unattended as it is, there is a chance that it may become evil and dangerous. Once you've divided into the pairs I am about to list off, I want you to scatter until nightfall and try to find it or at least find evidence of where it could have gone. If you end up finding it, call either mine or Tsubaki-sensei's phone immediately. If you have any question, please raise your hand."

Seeing that no one was going to ask any more questions, Yukio began to divide us into the pairs he and Tsubaki-sensei were muttering about.

When I heard my name called alongside Shiemi's I quickly grabbed the girl's arm and dragged her with me toward the direction of the shops. There we walked around glancing into shop windows hoping to spot any movement, but so far, we had no such luck. Along the way, we spoke to one another on how this being Shiemi's first time to an amusement park. I smiled and promised her that next time we should all come to Mephy Land to have fun rather than be here for a mission. The smile that she gave me was too adorable for words. Gosh, I hate how my mind and heart are too weak for cute things.

As we kept laughing, I immediately looked away from the girl and looked towards my right, "Is something wrong Rin?"

"I hear a voice," I said.

"A voice?"

"It's nearby, call Yukio."

I ran off from her toward the direction of the voice, behind me I could hear her speaking over the phone with Yukio telling him where we were at. Turning one last corner we found ourselves in front of the carousel, and on one of the horses, a ghost of a young boy wearing blue pajamas sat crying. I walked closer to the young boy, approaching him slowly, only speaking with him telepathically.

"Why are you doing this? Why are you here?"

The young boy sniffled as he looked over at my direction, he tilted his head in confusion as he saw that my lips did not move as I asked him questions.

"Why are you crying?" asked Shiemi beside me.

Next thing we know, the young ghost came flying to Shiemi crying into her chest on how he died before his parents could keep their promise. A promise filled with fun memories. Shiemi patted his head, trying to comfort him, as he kept crying. Until the boy became a little brat.

"Shut up, you hag!" he exclaimed as he pushed Shiemi away, specifically with his ghostly hands on her breasts. Before he flew away with Shiemi being a blushing mess. Great, another perv.

"Let's separate from here Shiemi," I said. "I'll call Yukio telling him that the ghost has moved on to a different location."

The witch nodded her head as she headed further away from me. Sighing I grabbed my phone from my vest pocket and dialed Yukio's number.

Scratching the back of my neck, I waited for Yukio to pick up his phone, after the second ring I heard the click of him picking up, but before I could even utter a word to him, I was thrown off balance. And by that, I don't mean a simple push to where I just fell on my butt, no, a push that sent me flying into a stand 6 meters away from me. On instinct, I clutched Kurikara with both hands not letting it fly off in a different direction as I crashed into the stand. I coughed as I tried to get up from the debris around me, and as I finally sat up, I heard a high pitched chuckled coming from in front of me. My whole body went stiff as I heard that familiar cold voice. A voice that had often protruded my dreams since I was 12, I could hear the person closer, not because of footsteps, but the chains that dragged along the cement floor of the amusement park. I could feel my whole-body shivering in fear, I had never expected them to find me so quickly. I never expected him to find me now while I was still considered human. As much as I wanted to stay still and cower, my prideful angelic blood would not allow me to do so. Standing up from the rubble, I patted down my skirt from all the wood fragments and dust, before sending a glare towards my cousin.

Taking a good look at their smirking face, I could see that just like my brothers, they hadn't aged a year since I have last seen them. I followed their gaze as they stared at the red sleeve I had clutched in my arms, they watched as I slung it over my right shoulder, my hand still clutching the strap. They tilted their head slightly in wonder as they glanced between the red sleeve and the way I protected it for the second time. I composed myself quickly underneath their watchful gaze.

"That sleeve is new little cousin, I wonder why do you keep it so close to you? First, when I kicked you into the stand, I saw you instinctively go for it, and even now, you still keep it in your hand, as if your waiting for something."

I clicked my tongue in annoyance to the messenger's observation skills, but then again, they wouldn't be much of an Archangel if they didn't have high observation skills. I tuned their annoying high-pitched voice as I listened for anyone nearby, the sound of Yukio's voice coming from my phone sounded erratic telling me that he would be there soon before cutting off completely. I could hear Shiemi not too far away from here yelling at the ghostly apparition to stop running away from her and going off about how he reminds her of herself. I listened for anyone or anything else before I tuned back to what Gabriel was saying. The Archangel went on and on how long it took them to find me at True Cross, on how annoyed they were with Samael's time and space voids scattered all over the city. Annoyed that they had to enter over 100 doors and any sort of entrance before they could finally sense me. Don't mess with the King of Time and Space, better yet, don't even try to enter his realm, it's stock full of mazes, dead ends, and rooms filled with anime figurines and other otaku related stuff. I smirked at their suffering of daring to enter the realm under the protection of a demon king, second only to Satan himself.

Grabbing hold of the nearest plank of wood in the rubble, which was fairly large and fairly sharp, I grasped it in my left hand before chucking it into the air and hitting my cousin straight in the nose with it. They staggered back in annoyance, while I immediately made a run for it away from Yukio, Shiemi, and the others. Behind me, I heard the second born of my uncle curse under their breath before unleashing their wings to catch up to my supernatural speed. I thought I was at a far enough distance to duck underneath an upcoming booth, but I was wrong. I could feel two hands yank my left arm into the air and I could feel myself ascending fast into the air. I struggled to get out their grasp but with no avail, Gabriel let go of arms as we arrived 10 meters above the top of the roller coaster before they kicked my stomach sending me straight down the 139-meter roller coaster breaking into the fiberglass and planks of wood that the structure together. I felt as the bolts came loose under my back, and felt as nails pierced through my clothing and into my skin. I quickly reached out to the nearest plank within my reach as I saw Gabriel make their way toward me, wings retracted, letting themselves fall towards my direction. Holding onto Kurikara in my right, and a second splintered wood in my left, I quickly prepared myself for Gabriel to reach me. However, before I could do anything to them, a chain made its way towards me hitting me straight in the head sending me flying into the ground below me. Not letting the pain get to me, I quickly got up with a grunt as set myself up in a batter position and using the plank of wood as my bat hitting Gabriel straight in the jaw. I took everything I had to not unsheathe Kurikara here and now, to allow my emotions to burst through me, to allow myself to go in a rampage, but I couldn't not now. Not after finding myself caring for these friends of mine. I couldn't—wouldn't let them see me in a blazing glory.

For the second time, I felt the earth tremble underneath my body, Gabriel's feet touched the ground, but this time with much more force. It forced me back down onto my back, above me, I could hear the creaking of wood, metal and fiberglass beginning to fall to the ground, where exactly? I wasn't sure until I heard a scream coming from my left, a voice that sounded all too familiar. My head turned in that direction so fast I felt neck pop, and not in a relaxing way. My eyes widened as I saw Shiemi clutching the ghost in her arms with her familiar right above her making a protective barrier over her. But I knew it wouldn't be able to hold the amount of weight that makes its way towards them. Without a second thought, I outstretched my left arm feeling the Holy Flames of Caelum as an extension of myself, pushing the flames closer to Shiemi I concentrated in burning the debris just above her until I could see no more of it.

Above me, I heard a cough, Gabriel.

"What's this? Did you protect a human? With your flames at that, have you finally unleashed your true demonic form? But where is it? Why do you still look human? Even back then you only looked human, but the strength you had was that of a newborn demon. Unless something is keeping you away from your true form," I watched as they glanced to the hidden sword and as they came to realize what it was.

"What do you have in that sleeve dear cousin? Why do you hold it so protectively in your arms child of Satan?" they muttered.

As they made their way to grab the red sleeve, I heard a voice coming from behind me, "Devour the seven princesses."

Both mine and Gabriel's head craned in that direction when we heard the voice, imagine my surprise when I saw Yamada summoning a sword from the middle of his chest.

"Slay the serpent," he cried as he slashed down at Gabriel who deflected the attack with their chains.

"Who are you?" questioned the messenger.

Yamada ignored the question by asking one of his own, "How did a 'big-shot' like you manage to enter the academy? I thought Mephisto hated your kind with a burning passion."

Gabriel growled as Yamada would not allow them closer to me, "You're a hindrance, you know? Humans should know their place in the world already, and that is beneath my feet."

The malice Gabriel held in their voice was genuine and true, they let out a sigh, "Perhaps we can play another time dear cousin of mine."

Gabriel began to walk backward from us until they went and began to jump from booth to buildings trying to get away from Yamada who was following close behind.

I watched as they became blobs in the distance as I began to myself up to my knees. I stayed their quietly, not uttering a single word, my body shaking and holding onto my heart as tight as I could. I swallowed a dry lump in my throat as I allowed myself to recount what just happened.

I was scared.

Scared.

Too scared to even think.

Too scared that I let adrenaline take over me and allowed only fight-or-flight instincts to kick in.

I didn't even have a chance to think before Gabriel got the best of me.

What was the point in all this training?

What I have I been training for all my life then if I allowed Gabriel to once again get the better of me?

Again, he was too strong. Even with all this training I had committed myself too, he was still too strong for me to beat in my human form.

I let the fear get a hold of me far too many times in that fight.

Fear of not wanting what happened three years to happen again.

Hell, I barely made it in time to save Shiemi.

I should have been more aware of my surroundings.

I should have paid attention to where exactly Shiemi was in all of this chaos.

If she had died because of my fear for my cousin, I wouldn't know what to do with myself.

My mind was in such a state of shock I hadn't heard Shiemi making her way towards me calling out my name in that worried tone of hers. I wasn't even aware that she was only a hairs width away from me until she hugged me. I didn't even realize it was her until I pushed her off of me yelling at her to not touch me. It was only when she asked if I was okay that I finally understood that my friend was worried about me.

Not a human.

A friend.

I looked around in surprise seeing Yukio, and Tsubaki-sensei making their way towards us a little further away.

"Where's the kid?" I think I asked because Shiemi told me he had disappeared.

I think she understood how out of it I was because she tried to keep my mood up, and oh how she tried. It wasn't her fault that the chaos had ensued, it wasn't anyone's fault but mine.

"Nee-san!" I looked over to where Yukio was coming from once again to see face etched with worry at my state. I looked down at my blood-soaked vest, the sleeves to my black collared shirt in tatters. My skirt messed up in so many places that I knew that I would have to order a new uniform altogether.

Before I could even say anything, a figure wearing a black hoodie appeared in front of me, Yamada.

"Yer slow, Yukio. 'Cause yer so slow I was forced to make my move."

I glanced up at Yamada and back down to his shadow as I watched it giggle in delight, Yamada spoke to Yukio as if they had known each for a long time.

"Long time no see four-eyes. Well, whatever. I've gotten tired of lookin' like this," he said as he began to pull off his hoodie.

My eyes widened in shock as I saw that before me stood not a male student but a female with an all to exposing a set of breast held together with what looked like a cheap red bra. Luckily, I wasn't the only one who stared at her in shock as she introduced herself.

"I'm Kirigakure Shura, an upper first-class exorcist," she stated with utmost confidence.

"I was dispatched by the True Cross Vatican headquarters to investigate the existence of the Japanese branch's 'risk factor.' In other words, I'm a Senior Inspector."

I frowned when I heard her say "investigation," had Mephisto known of this? If he had he wouldn't have let this happen in his territory, no, wait, he would have just to see how long this would amuse him.

The four of us stared at her as she showed her license and exorcist pin to us, "Anyways, I'll be taking this kid to the Japanese Branch Headquarters. Afterward, I'd like to talk with the Branch manager, Mephisto, so please bring him to me. As for the other exwires, they will return to their dormitories."

I felt her hands grab hold of my black collar as she pulled me up to my feet, "C' mon, Get up! I have something to say to you."

Before I could be dragged further away from where I was, Shiemi stepped in front of us.

"Rin is still injured; I can help take care of her wounds."

Shura smirked at the young girl and denied her help immediately. She continued on her way, walking us around the blonde and making her way toward the entrance of the park. There I could see the rest of the exwires huddled together waiting for us to arrive. Yukio or Tsubaki must have called them to return to the entrance and to await further instructions. Seeing that we were getting closer to them, the group quieted down as Yukio began to speak.

"Everyone, for the time being, today's mission is done. Please return to your dorms…" he trailed off as he glanced back to Shura who still had me clutched by my collar.

As we made our way past them, I could hear them question who Shura was and mutters of concern for tattered clothes. I chuckled because it always seemed that they have seen me with more bruises and tattered clothes than anyone I have met.

"What the hell does she want with Okumura?" I heard Suguro grumble.

"You! What in the hell happened? With all the tremors going on we couldn't even complete the mission."

I glanced over in their direction to see that Kamiki had asked this of Shiemi.

"I don't know. Rin did nothing bad though, we found the ghost and we got separated looking for him after he ran off. Next thing I know the earth started shaking and the roller coaster, what's the word, crumbled?"

I tuned them out, letting myself be dragged by the woman and away from my friends towards a 'Staff Only' door. There Yukio grabbed one of his keys attached to his waist and headed toward the door.

Making our way through the open door, I found myself inside surrounded with tall golden-brown walls and what seemed to be endless hallways on all sides, the floors polished to look like gold and candle stands proudly glowing with orange flames. In front of us a bridge connected with a tall door that looked to be opening up.

"This place is the center of the order of the True Cross, the Japanese Branch's base is hidden below True Cross Academy. While the Vatican headquarters are under St. Peter's Cathedral. Officially we don't exist, we're just an international organization with branches all around the world. We have a long history though. We've carried the burden of exterminating monsters all over the world for over two thousand years now." Shura informed me.

"That's right," confirmed a gleeful voice. I looked away from Shura who still held me by the collar and towards the voice in front of us.

"That is what we, the True Cross Order do. It's been a long time, hasn't it Shura?"

"Tch. Let's get straight to the point Mephisto. You're a bastard who's been hiding Satan's kid without informing the Vatican. What in the hell are you scheming here?"

"Don't be absurd Shura, I'm not scheming anything. While it's true I'm hiding her, everything is in the best interests of the Order," I watched as his smiling face turned cynical. "I'm raising Satan's kid to become a weapon for the Order! In these last two thousand years, we Exorcists have only fought a defensive war. Now we have the chance to take the battle to the frontlines."

In my peripheral vision, I noticed as Yukio got closer to me, clearly shaken for what our older brother had said. A weapon for the Order? Sure we decided on that to be our cover story, but, it still felt strange to be considered as a weapon for an organization that sees God as a greater force. That and my brother calling himself an Exorcist? He has never once exorcised demons as human Exorcists do.

"Even so, you must still consult with the 'TOP' before doing anything right?"

"In an ideal world at the very least."

"Was Fujimoto Shiro also trying to do this?" The way she said the old man's name made seem like she knew him on a personal level.

"You can say that until the power of the flames gained strength, Fujimoto was tasked in raising her. Whether it be because it was for raising a weapon or a child, you decide for yourself, or better yet, ask the man when he wakes up from his coma."

"I see," muttered the red-haired. "Whichever the case in, I'll need to report to the higher-ups. Before that, I'd like to interrogate this girl, I'll be using the great cell."

Mephisto chuckled before muttering under his breath.

"You bastard, always playing in calm. Whatever, don't regret this later."

When she dragged me off again Yukio began shouting at her, "Shura-san! Please wait! It's pointless to interrogate my sister, interrogate me instead. I can give you all the answers you need."

Shura paid him no attention as she made her way past the King of Time and Space and to a steel door decorated with different patterns. When she opened the door, she pushed me inside a plain room with pipes protruding out of the cement walls.

Turning look back at the older woman in confusion, this was supposed to be an interrogation room, right? Then why was there no tables nor any form of security?

"How are you acquainted with Yukio and the old man? Who even are you? An old student of his or something?"

The woman gave me a surprised look before speaking, "Yeah, I guess you could say I was his student 2 years before you and your brother were born. Back then I was training under him, but we lost contact a few years back."

I tilted my head as I spoke up again, "So were you like a sister-in-training or something like that who got stuck with the perverted geezer as your instructor? Man, tough luck."

Shura snorted at what I said, "Hell no, I've never prayed once in my life, kid. I might be an Exorcist but that doesn't mean I'm all for God and his Archangels."

I looked up as she said this, and Exorcist who did not worship God like most of the others did? Who exactly is she? From the glimpse of her sword I saw at the park, it seemed to me like a demon sword, maybe not as a high level as Kurikara but demon sword, nonetheless. She must hold an immensely high level of concentration and strength to be able to wield a sword of that type. A student of the old man huh? Guess I have to do more digging later. I glanced down at her shadow as it looked back at me, something about it didn't seem as if it was connected to a human, at least not a regular one. As I kept glancing between her and the shadow, Shura clutched her chest as if in pain, I looked over at her shadow, it clearly showing no sign of pain at all. Maybe it wasn't physical pain, mental? No that didn't make sense, the shadow would still be squirming around. Then, is she trying to distract me? Why? Why would she—Kurikara. She wants to grab a hold of it. Becoming aware of this, I clutched the hidden sword in my hand tightly.

"You okay? Did you get hurt trying to follow that thing at the amusement park? Maybe I should call for help," I said as I moved ever closer to door. However, before I knew it, her left hand outstretched itself to grab Kurikara. I kept a tight hold on the demon sword not allowing her even a fraction of an inch to be pulled closer to her.

"Kirigakure-san, I'm going to have to ask you nicely to let go of my sword, thank you," I said in a sing-along voice.

"Aw, c'mon kid. At least let me know why that Archangel got so interested in your sword at the very end of your little brawl."

"No can do," I grunted as she wouldn't let go of that tight hold she had on the sword. "The old man told me not to allow anyone to get ahold of it."

We stared into each other's eyes; blue met green in defiance of letting the other win. Our duel wasn't one of fists or physical action, but one with unsaid words and hidden meanings. Like they always said, eyes are the windows to the soul. Technically it was the demon called a shadow, but let's follow what the humans say for this. All of a sudden, the Exorcist let out a howl, not one in pain but one of laughter. Seriously of all things that could have gotten me off guard, it was her laugh that got me to let go. Like are you serious?*

She clutched the yet sheathed sword, wrapped up in the red sleeve called its home for who knows how long. Shura glanced between the way I handled myself on the way the sword was taken from me, and the sword now in her hands before she laughed once again.

"This is what Shiro was trying to protect so much that he was thrown into a coma? That crazy dam fool. Asking me to train a little brat like yourself. What was he thinking? He did become a good-for-nothing man, a shell of a man of what he once was. A coward."

When I heard her mutter that my mind went blank.

Sure, Fujimoto lied to me for 15 years never telling me that Satan was my father and that I was a demon. He may have kept me in the dark all these years and decided to help Yukio become an exorcist as soon as he was able to see demons at the age of 5. I may hate him for never once coming clean to me before it became too late, but I never once thought of him as a coward. Satan and my brothers taught me that of the old man, he may have been wrong to strip me of my family origin, but he was a man of integrity, and of high morals. Father said that he was glad I wasn't raised in this world alone; he was glad about who my mother and Samael had asked to care for me and Yukio. He had once told me, that if he were to go back and time, he would still have allowed Fujimoto Shiro to adopt me and my brother. And I agreed with him. For as much as I wanted to hate him. I couldn't, wouldn't.

Afterall, Fujimoto Shiro was and is my father.

"What did you say?" I asked quietly.

"Who the fuck do you think you are to talk crap about my father? Do you even know what happened that night? Do you even know what he went through for me? You don't know anything, you said it yourself, you lost contact with him. You don't know anything about how he raised Yukio and I. My father is in a coma because of something I did, he was no coward. And I'll prove it to you by becoming a better Paladin then he ever was," and with that ran to her, pushing her against the cement wall, grabbing hold of Kurikara again. I held my left forearm to her neck and kept her up against the wall when I could feel her shaking underneath me. What was up with her and laughing? She was almost as bad as Mephisto.

"Don't make me laugh you brat," she laughed. "So, you like Shiro huh?"

I blushed at her statement, "Huh? Why would I ever feel something like that for the perverted old man?"

"Whatever, for the time being, I'll be looking after this sword of yours. I caught a glimpse of what you could do at the amusement park with you burning away that debris-about crush blondie. You have yet to unsheathe the sword and gain your full demonic abilities, but you already have a way to draw out those flames, did this happen during that night? If you want it back, then get in control with those flames of yours in your human form and when you can beat me, you can have it back.

"Man, guess I'll be postponing that report of mine to the top and instead of teaching you how to wield a demon sword correctly," she said as she pushed me off of her. Holding out her hand, I reluctantly gave her Kurikara, the sword I had not let out of my sight for the past two and a half months.**

As the redhead lead me out of the interrogation room, I saw Yukio on the phone with concern written over his face, and then he smiled.

A smile I have not seen since Father Fujimoto had slipped into a coma.

"What's up four-eyes?" questioned Kirigakure.

Ignoring the female's question, Yukio looked over at my direction, his eyes wide and his smile still etched on his face.

"Nee-san. Father, he woke up."

Lesson: Fear is a strong emotion

Chapter Text

Hey guys!

 

Yeah, this is not a chapter, I actually want to tell you all that chapter 13 is kind of done (or at least it's planned out); however, chapter 12 is being a little tricky. Chapter 12 is supposed to be the reunion between Shiro and the twins, but it's not exactly going the way I want. 

So, if you don't mind, can you guys give me ideas and I think I can go from there.

To help, here is a little bit of what Chapter 13 is about: 

Camp and Shiro goes camping with the exwires.

 

Thank you for your patience!

xHalfPrincex

 

P.S. How is everyone? You doing okay? The county I live in, in Texas has just issued an executive order for everyone. So pretty much stuck at home unless it's an emergency, or I have to buy essential stuff (food, toiletries, etc).