The smell of decaying flesh perfumed the air of Kuu's room. Ragyn's eyes flickered a flame like red as sounds of wet flesh dragged across hardwood floors. Whispers like thousands of dead leaves scraping across concrete filled and deafened the ears of all those in the room. A clawed hand reached from behind Mackey and grabbed her neck squeezing with every ounce of its undead strength.

The once human monsters filed into the room as the wind picked up outside. The wind's howling joining in the unholy chorus of flesh against wood and dried lungs trying to take life giving air back into dead bodies. A man dressed in recent funeral garb reached out towards the Shadow. Something in the creature's mind flickering on something he knew but could not take hold of.

Ragyn took another step back watching the dead flesh he had animated. "I called your friend up Shadow. I think the Professor wants you to join him in death."

Kuu's eyes widened as lightening flashed illuminating the room in horrific clarity. There had to be twenty to thirty corpses of varying degree of decay in the room. Still more bodies bustled in the hallway trying to push their way in to the room. It was an effect for her to breath in through her mouth because the oder was enough to take away one's breath.

Ragyn re-adjusted her limp weight in his arms and turned to go. A large eagle of sorts weighted on the lawn to ferry him away. "Have fun." He leapt out of the window and down the balcony to the green ,almost perfectly trimmed lawn laughing. "Cereb..." He ran his hand along the giant bird's beak and tossed his hostage onto the Eagle's back. Within seconds they were air born. He would have liked to circle the area but his faith in human fodder was not total. The Shadow would make quick show of the ghouls.

The stench of the dead that permeated the room was almost suffocating. The jade in the cloaked fighter's eyes seemed to deepen into a cold fire, as the SIGs shifted their aim. Ragyn had seen fit to buy time for himself to cover his escape. Leading the horde was a mostly decayed white haired man in traditional Japanese funeral garb. Though almost unrecognizable, the one damning evidence at this zombie's identity was the shining scarlet ring on his hand. In life, he had been one of his own.

Rest in peace, Kobayashi Ryo.

No falter, the right SIG-P228 barked, a single bullet slashing forth into the rotting Kobayashi's forehead. There was the sickening rend of torn wet flesh, before the zombie crashed to its knees and on the floor. Even as the first shot had been fired, the sable being had already spun aiming the left pistol, triggered a shot into the eye of the monster that had a grip on Muchitsujo's neck. The monster's hand slackened, then the whole being collapsed, as the Karasu's daughter broke free.

Then the silhouetted creature whirled, bringing both pistols to bear on the approaching horde.

The next seven seconds saw the very embodiment of darkness as a swirling mass of black cloth, malice, and spraying 9mm bullets coming from what looked like all directions. One moment the Shadow was in the farthest part of the room, blasting the undead from cover. The next he was among them, pitching them into each other and shooting them at point blank range. Bursts of flame seemed to erupt from the sable blackness, punctuated by fallen corpses, this time truly dead.

Even in the fray, a mind was working, slowly planning and calculating. To his count, he had downed twelve of the roughly thirty zombies. Still more were coming through. But with each second, the alien sorcerer got farther and farther away with his quarry. Finishing them all was not on his mind. In addition, the Shadow sensed a cluster of new presences swiftly approaching from outside the house. Very familiar.

The cloaked avenger's shoulders quivered in mirthless laughter. Black Lotus would find something decidedly unpleasant in place of himself.

There was a rush of air in the room devoid of light, the zombies lumbering forth to catch their elusive prey. "Take cover and hold your breath. Get yourself to safety when this is over." came the hollow whisper right next to Muchitsujo's ear. The girl watched as something shifted from under the fighter's cloak, then was lobbed into the center of the living dead.

Then there was a hiss and a thick cloud of white smoke covered the room. Mackey felt the dark being disappeared from her side, and right at that moment the door opened yet again. Charging into the room was a cadre of newcomers she didn't recognize. Surprised, then horrified yells came from their mouths as the zombies found new prey.

A tall black form seemed to obscure and then fade from the window whence Ragyn had escaped. And rising above the screams of the Black Lotus and moans of the zombies was a scornful triumphant laugh. Such was his custom to mock those whom he had tricked.


A shadow seemed to spread onto the garden floor, then glide swiftly to merge with the darkness across the street. Jubei and Emeraude had seen the giant eagle leave the house, and just when Jubei had been debating whether to follow or not, the back door flew open and the Shadow was seated next to Emeraude.

"Full speed ahead. Follow that eagle,” commanded the whispered voice,

The chase was on.


Umi looked over at the boy who had entered the room and nodded. "What’s going on here Clef? Ascot? Why have we been called back?" She moved a step back from Ascot so that she no longer looked right at his chest but up into his face where his green eyes looked down at her from his long brown bangs. Was that a new hat he wore?

Mokona bounced into the room watching everyone. Happily he boomed, "Pupu PU!" Umi smiled at the creator thoughtfully. Okay so she knew a little bit about what was going on. The little boy had brought that out. Mokona bounced around the Knight and peered at Nova thoughtfully then jumped up into Hikaru's arms.

Umi gave a side-glance over at Clef. Still the same, still ever the same. Her eyes softened. Ascot, had he changed? His eyes seemed so much darker than when they had left. She had a sudden thought.

"Clef how long have we been here?" So she was asking a few more questions then what she should be telling but there was so much going on here. She wanted to get a few things down before she would tell the hapless Cephirean about Emeraulde.