Nobori awoke to shouting. There was an argument going on near him, more a heated dispute than a minor quarrel. Nobori didn’t like arguments that much. He was always of the argument that such arguments were worse than physical confrontation. At least with fighting, everything remained relatively simple, with low emotional stress other than physical pain. In fact, he would even go so far as to state that soap dramas that were full of arguments and screaming were a thousand times worse than any violent video game was.

Then again, the law didn’t seem to agree with him, and it completely ignored the fact that he stole regularly and beat people up for their wallets.

He blinked a few times, letting his eyes stretch awake and the warm air leave his mouth. The first thing he saw was a vast white surface and a giant, multi-legged beast crawling across his field of view and out the other end.

Feeling some bones crack, he lifted his neck, shaking absent minded dreams away from the room around him, which he only briefly remembered falling asleep in after being dragged here. It was barren, save for his bed and an identical one next to it. The paintwork hadn’t been done for a while, and it was beginning to peel in every possible place. In the bed besides him was half a body, the remaining half toppled over the side of it out of view.

The half a body grumbled in his sleep, muttering words made incomprehensible by the floor his mouth was attached to. It was slowly waking up, shifting round, taking his forehead off the ground and then suddenly sitting back on the bed in one swift movement as if he had always been awake.

Nobori recognised the boy instantly. The idiot from before turned to look at Nobori, seeing him stare at the ninja like he was some kind of space creature. He gave a groggy look of recognition, before raising his hand. “Hi…errr….Tazuna?”

“Nobori,” the guy said, wondering where he had got Tazuna from, considering neither had never even got round to introducing himself before. The ninja looked over him to Nobori’s shoulder entombed in bandages. Nobori snorted a laugh, and sat up. “Took a heavy shot from some freak with a knife. Those healing guys wanted to fix it, but that didn’t seem right for such a little graze.”

“You have three broken ribs as well,” the idiot replied matter of factly.

“Yeah, well, they’ll heal,” said Nobori, though it occurred to him he didn’t know where they had come from. He was also covered in multiple bruises that he couldn’t account for. “But it’s just not the same if you don’t let your body heal itself from a near critical wound inflicted by an opponent who had to sneak up on you to do it, y’know?”

“Um, I guess,” the idiot said, failing to notice the direction this comment was going. He looked himself over, checking his ankle. The strange white healers that Nobori only saw long enough to tell them to get lost appeared not to have waited to ask for permission from the idiot like they had with him. In fact, it seemed they had done a full job on the ninja, and he looked healthier than when they had met three days ago.

“Well, from what I heard, I don’t blame ya to be honest,” he said, waving his hand down at the idiot. “Why you had to register weapons, I have no idea. If this tournament’s supposed to be as important as they’re making it out to be, it should be more realistic. Any means necessary, y’know?”

The idiot was about to fail to comment, when they both heard a racket going on a few feet away from them on the other side of the door. The female voice was shouting so loudly that she was drowning her own words out and both of them failed to understand most of what she was saying.

“Just let me in! I have to talk to him,” the voice shouted clearly for one second. The muttered voice of someone else, a man, replied. Judging from the woman’s reaction, Nobori assumed that she had been refused.

“Just let me…” they heard an indignant grunt, as the woman made an effort to do something, shortly followed by a high pitched howl and the whimpers of a defeated dog. Seconds later, she burst into the room, her fist clenched aggressively.

“Hi Otsune.”


“What on earth…” Nobori said loudly, looking at the woman as if it turned out that she was the evil space creature and Sagara had just been in disguised. The one called Otsune glanced at the one apparently called Sagara for a moment, before straightening her top and curling her hair back around her ears. Behind her, a girl dressed in a hakama and carrying a large sheathed blade, stepped over the defeated man and bowed to him.

“Sorry about that,” Nobori heard her whisper, before turning to face them.

“Hey, Natoko,” Sagara responded brightly, ignoring the first invader. “Oh sorry. This is…”

“Nobori,” Nobori repeated. He wanted to get up and greet them. What was this idiot doing hanging out among such fine women. Well, the one with the sword had kind of a pug nose and the wrong type of cheek bones, but the shouty one with the glasses belonged in fashion magazines with only a bikini on.

“Right.” The ugly intruder bowed lightly to him, but he could only nod his head at her.

“You okay now?” Sagara continued.

“Um…yes, thank you,” she responded slowly.

“You’ve never been healed like that, have you? The first time’s confusing, isn’t it?”

Natoko’s hand instinctively ran up her spine and scratched it a few times, like there was an incurable inch there. “I guess.”

“The first time it happened to me my body spent a whole day insisting I was dead.” He laughed lightly, as if it was one of those events you recalled with nostalgia. “It was funny, but at least you’re all right now.”

“Yes. Yes, I am. All right… now” Natoko said. Nobori guessed she had the same feeling as him, that this was a bad time for a conversation, but still a little too tired to question its existence.

“Good,” Sagara responded simply, before going quietly and wondering why Otsune had been staring at him the whole time.

“Done, are we?” she asked sarcastically, like she was talking to a child who had carried on drawing on the wallpaper in front of her. “Like to talk a little more? Why don’t you ask, ‘Mistress Otsune? Why have you stormed in here, kneeing a grown man in the balls to do so?’” Sagara missed her condescending tone by a few miles, and just carried looking at her, waiting for her to answer her own question.

“Mistress Otsune? Why have you stormed in here, kneei-”

“Sarah’s gone missing, you moron! Sakura and Aki too,” she shouted, making sure every part of his body heard it.

“Oh… okay,” he replied, chirping. Otsune blinked, her anger fading for a split second, before doubling back and insisting its seriousness.

“What?” she yelled out. “They’re gone. They vanished when they were in the toilets. I was standing by the door. Who knows what’s happened to them.”

“Uh huh,” Sagara replied nodding, as if she had just told him they had gone missing in the supermarket and he knew they were in the toy section, perfectly safe. Otsune, hands now on hips, clearly didn’t appreciate the answer.

“Well, if it’s just a ‘uh huh’ problem, then I guess we can relax. And wait for you to find them.”

“Okay,” he said, giving Otsune a reaction she wasn’t expecting. He sprang out of bed, stopping as soon as he got up and turned to the corner of the room. “Melissa, help me look for them.”

A girl faded into view from the corner he was looking, and Otsune jumped back with a squeal of alarm. Melissa, who Nobori was kind of disappointed to finally learn the name of, sat there crouched, her face contorted into a mix of outright horror and extreme annoyance.

“Y-you…You just…I can’t believe you just…” she muttered breathlessly. Sagara just nodded, dismissing any problems she had.

“Could you help us? We need to find…” he stopped his polite request, seeing that she had someone with her. “Who’s that?”

Still slung around Melissa shoulder, the little feral girl they had found lay sleeping, looking rather content despite being kidnapped from her hotel room and brought amongst strangers.

“I got…I found her from the leads we got,” Melissa explained, trying her best to keep her voice level as she put th girl down on the ground before her. “She’s a strange one. It’s like she’s a beast. I figured she might have something to do with it.” There was a gap of silence as the rest of the room observed the girl. There was nothing special about her, though it was hard to tell much when she was sleeping. The only thing that was out of place was that she only had three fingers on each hand. Otsune, realizing that she had a moment to speak, did so.

“Who are you?” she finally asked, her own mouth only just closing after being open for so long.

“I am Sagara’s shadow,” the illusionist explained, her voice low as to hide her own frustration. “Wherever Sagara goes, I go.”

“She’s Melissa. A friend from home. Mom has her help out on missions,” Sagara explained more clearly, causing Melissa to let out a dog-like growl. “Anyway, Sarah and the others have gone missing. We should probably find them before they get lost.”

“Lost?” Otsune cried out, nearly realizing her anger. “They’ve been kidnapped. You don’t just disappear from a toilet like that.”

“Otsune?” Natoko said quietly, silencing the student. “It doesn’t sound like they’ve been kidnapped.”

“It doesn’t?” Otsune exclaimed. “Mind telling me how else a person disappears from a toilet when I’m standing at the only exit?”

“Kidnapping is possible…” Nobori muttered, grabbing everyone’s attention as he spoke to himself, “but not necessarily the only answer.” Realising that everyone was looking, he turned to Sagara. “We’re in that same place we were in yesterday, aren’t we?”

“Yeah, the InBetween realm. The whole tournament’s being held here. It’s the only place to do such a thing without attracting any attention.

“Says the guy who just revealed me to a typical student,” Melissa muttered under her breath. “Besides, none of that’s important. The tournament is over, Sagara. Please tell me you found something out.”

“The tournament’s over?” Sagara asked shocked, like he hadn’t been in the final match. Melissa’s right cheek flinched.

“Yes,” she replied, gritting her teeth.

“Did I win?” Her hand slammed into her forehead, and tried to keep it from falling apart at the seams.

“No. No you did not win. You lost and you fell unconscious and then you let Draynor carry on fighting for you and you nearly died because of it.”

“Oh,” Sagara went quiet at this. The rest of the room was looking at him with hushed voices as well. They heard a small snort from his nose, followed by a splutter of laughter from his lips. Soon, Sagara was on his back, laughing his head off, like he had just been told the world’s funniest joke. Nobori and Otsune stared at him like he had chosen the wrong way to respond to a loved one’s death. Melissa was the only one to look worried. She quickly got up and stood in front of him, her hands latching onto his shoulder, like he was the edge of a cliff.

“Sagara!” she bellowed, causing him to open his eyes slightly, before closing them and continuing to explode with amusement. “Sagara! Snap out of it.”

She didn’t sound worried for him. It was more of a command than anything. “Sagara!”

“Snap out of what?” he said, still giggling to himself, as he calmed down just as quickly as he started. Melissa exhaled heavily, looking relived. Melissa was about to say something when she heard a noise at the door.

“Sagara?” All faces turned to the door, and found a little boy staring back at them with furrowed brow and red cheeks. Realizing he was in the right room, another young child, a boy this time, jumped in and ran towards Sagara, ignoring everybody else, including the man he had to jump over. “You all right?”

“Hey, Timothy,” Sagara replied, still chuckling to himself a little. “Yeah, I’m fine.” He lifted his foot up and wiggled it left to right, before flexing his toes.

“Why do you remember his name?” Nobori complained on the other bed, with a critical edge to his voice.

“Easy to remember, I guess,” Sagara answered casually. “Well, easier than…than…” Nobori’s felt his neck shake.

“Oh my…It’s Nobori! Nobori!” The punk watched Sagara, muttering the name to himself like a mantra for a few seconds, before turning to Melissa. “Does he do this on purpose?”

“Unfortunately… no,” Melissa replied, now having given up her efforts on stealth and leaning on the side of the wall in plain view. “It’s how he’s always been. You should have seen him as a child; kept forgetting his own name. He’s just a freak really.” A gruff cough filled the room and grabbed everyone’s attention, passing it over to Otsune. She waited a few seconds.

“Are we all forgetting something all of a sudden?” she asked politely, but with a hint of homicidal rage in her tone. “We are missing three children, three children that are technically and legally in my care.” Her voice turned to a shout. “Could we please find them? And fast please, Fujiko and the others are waiting for us at the entrance.”

“Who’s that?” Timothy interrupted, not caring for Otsune’s problem and now noticing the unconscious girl who was still sleeping peacefully by Melissa’s feet. He stared at her with what appeared to be a mild concern and stepped towards her to see if she was okay.

“Later, oka…” Otsune went to say as she put her hand in front of him, her words stopped when she realized he wasn’t paying any attention to her. The young boy didn’t even notice her hand, and walked right through it as if it didn’t even exist.

“What the…”

Otsune’s first reaction was to grab again, as if she had missed a cup on the table. Then she quickly felt herself, to check which of them were no longer solid. Feeling flesh and bone as normal as ever, she turned to the boy that had just walked through her ghost style. Everybody was looking at him now as he lumbered over to the body on the floor and even Sagara was showing some concern for what was going on here. Clearly, being intangible was still something to consider ‘weird’ in this place, wherever this place was.

The American girl was the first to act, and simply stepped in front of the boy, whose appearance now seemed that of somebody desperate for water, drool dripping from his lower lip, staggering forwards like a zombie. The foreigner’s body was just as effective as Otsune’s hand was, and she didn’t even feel him go through her as he appeared out the other side of her. She turned and lunged at him like he was a rugby ball, falling to the floor.

She was up in an instant, figuring out quickly that it was pointless to continue trying. Now, Timothy was just standing there, his back hanging limply, like someone had removed one of his vertebrae and left him stood paralysed. No one seemed to know what to do next.

Instead they watched and slowly heard chanting coming from somewhere in the room. Otsune’s magnificent senses swam around the room, trying to trace the vibrations, and soon fixed onto the noise. It was coming from the unconscious’s girl shadow, which was stretching to meet Timothy’s. A few seconds later, her suspicious were confirmed, and a small ball like object had floated out of the darkness between them. Natoko realized it was a skull of some creature coming out of the darkness between them, clinging to it like an oily liquid.

It didn’t have far to come out of the shadow, for it was only the bald head of a demon with holes where eyes should have been. Everyone was rooted to the spot, powerless before what happened next.

“We are three. And we are one,” it bellowed silently. Otsune blinked, and fished her finger into his ear. The words didn’t sound right for some reason. “And yet, we are more than many.”

“Separated, yet together in spirit. We knew we would return to each other. We always have. We always will.” The words felt unique, like each one was at the beginning of a movie, and had an orchestra to back it up. Otsune felt the hairs on her back tingle.

“Though we knew,” it continued, apparently unaware of the presence of everyone in the room except the two youngest, one of which lay unconscious still, “we did not understand. The knowledge was there, but torn. Without memory, without soul, without instinct. One third of the puzzle could not understand itself without looking at the other pieces.”

“What’s it talking about?” Sagara asked, curious, but apparently unfazed. He looked like he watching television.

“I think…” the American` started, pausing for a second as she thought it over one last time. “That this may be the BlNiock demon.”

“The head?” Sagara replied, not taking his eyes off them, the pupils glowing green as he continued to watch. “None of them are demons, I don’t think.”

“Let us…rejoin,” the oily head finished, before diving into the girl. There was a short flash of red light that disappeared instantly, but had blinded everybody in the room. Otsune let out a small whelp before falling to the floor; Natoko stepping in front of her, her hands around her sword. Otsune quickly stepped round though, so as not to miss anything.

The two children were facing each other now; the girl still unconscious, but her body had lifted up and come level with the boy, both of them now swaying back and forth like they were puppets. The oily skull was doing nothing, even the black substance was no longer dripping, sticking in the air around the spirit like bubbles.

Then, the air around them exploded.

Otsune found herself spinning round to get behind Sagara’s bed,  the space in front of her was engulfed by purple flame. The older man swore, loud enough for everyone to hear, even though the whoosh of the inferno had also filled the room. He leaned back and fell off the bed, intending to use it as cover, even those he was bigger than it. The others stood, and let it flow through them. It didn’t look like it was hurting any of them, though they all started to sweat abundantly. Otsune couldn’t feel anything, and even the beds were perfectly fine, not even the cotton covers getting a single singe on them. As it resided, those around her started to pant heavily, the purple fire doing in three seconds what a three mile jog in twenty minutes would.

She had been too busy looking to the others that she almost missed the new presence in the room. Gone was the unconscious girl, gone was the boy who had fought Sagara and won against through child abuse, and in their place, where the floating skull had been was what could only be described as an actual demon.

The demon was purple skinned, its flesh reminding her more of leather than of human. On its head, unsurprisingly were two curled horns that jutted out on the forehead, just above each eye. Its lower jaw appeared to be missing, but only because the large, talon like fangs of its upper jaw were so long that they hid the creature’s chin under their metallic edge.

It didn’t look like it was in a costume.

For one, it was also very much naked, and Otsune felt her brain try to snap when she saw that it had what was necessary to be considered both genders. Trying to judge it objectively, if that was even possible with a creature she had never seen before, she guessed this new demon’s body to be double the age of the children it had been spawned from and might actually still be younger than her, if in appearance only.

Looking at the demon, it took Otsune a few seconds to realize that it was staring back at her. She almost felt that it was offended or confused at why she was looking at it, like she was an old man quite clearly ogling some young schoolgirl. As it stared back, its ruby eyes glowing dimly at her. Her eyes darted down for a second, out of the worst of curiosities. The demon seemed to notice this, and looked down as well, almost immediately letting out the most girlish scream imaginable. Its six fingered hands swinging in front of it to hide its privates and quickly turned around so that no one could see.

“What’s going on? Where am I?” it asked, sounding like a boy whose voice was just seconds from breaking but still keeping together. Otsune’s brow furrowed; it wasn’t what she was expecting. She was partly expecting to die at the hands of a monster.

“It is a demon!” Sagara said with excitement, apparently not listening to its question. Otsune saw that his eyes were still blazing green, and she could only guess that he now saw something, besides the obvious horns and talon like fangs, that proved it to be a demon. “I get it. Each piece on its own wasn’t demon enough for me to notice the full picture, like a jigsaw puzzle.”

“Who are you people?” it asked, its voice high pitched and full or worry. “The last thing I remember is…is…the tournament!” Its eyes bulged wide, and looked around to see if anyone had responded. The American was smiling.

“And would you like to tell is what you intended to do in the tournament?”

The BlNiock demon stuttered, realizing it said something it shouldn’t have, before giggling nervously. “N-n…nothing.”

“Oh really?” the American continued. “you do know that Demons aren’t allowed in the tournament, right? Either for participation or observation. It’s for humans only. You may not be breaking any of the Contracts of the Balance by being in the InBetween Realm, can’t stop that no matter how hard we try. But the second you step into a tournament designated area, you should know what would happen, even with your little trick.” The American smirked. She looked very happy to be dominating the creature, though she hid it well under the grimace. They both heard a snarl, and the America quickly jumped back to avoid a clawed hand as it swung at her. She had clearly got out of the way, when the sleeve of her garb was ripped, seemingly without cause.

“Stupid humans!” it growled, hissing huskily at the girl, as it bore down upon her. “You think anyone listens to the rules of the Futabatei anymore. Your power, your reach; they is limited. The contracts are no longer anything but deterrence.”

The American didn’t respond, but Otsune noticed she had no answer in her silence, like to say anything now would be to admit that it was true.

“Do you have any idea… how big the tournament is going to be this year?” it hissed cockily at the illusionist, her fly to its spider, as its one step forward caused three steps back for her. “Do you have any idea how many demons are going to be involved?”

“There are more than just you?”

“What?” it said, as if someone had whispered something into its ear. “That’s not possible!” It went silent again, and Otsune realized that the demon’s merging from its three forms must not have finished yet, and that parts of it still didn’t know parts that others did. “I entered…I lost! Whom did I lose to?”

“Me,” Sagara said calmly, having sat back down while all this was going on. The BlNiock demon swung round to growl at him, and Sagara took this as his cue. His hand glowed silver as the Draynor gauntlet was summoned and struck the creature right where its jawbone probably was. Otsune gasped, putting her hand to her mouth, as the demon’s teeth shattered and spilled out over the ground as ivory pieces. The demon fell to the floor, letting out a high pitch shriek as it did so. Sagara followed through and delivered another punch to its ribcage. Its body contorted as it fell to his strength and rolled over, an orange liquid that looked like it came from an ice-lolly steaming out of a small wound where Sagara’s fist had been. The ninja was just about to finish up with a blow to the back of the head when he just stopped, his fist still raised in the air.

Everyone looked at him, wondering why he wasn’t finishing the demon off, especially when it was clear he was about to win. Otsune was just about to ask him what was the matter when she realized she couldn’t speak, it was as if her mouth had been glue shut, or he had eaten a vast load of toffee.

It wasn’t just them who couldn’t move. The others were now paralysed as well, the only thing that could still move being their eyes, which darted round to look at the others, presumably to see if it was just them who could now no longer move.

The demon coughed, the orange steaming blood now dripping out of its mouth like spit from a drunkard, and spewed out blood and shards of teeth. As they looked down at it, everyone could see its shadow, now clearly larger than it should be, like a sheet stretched out and under their feet to hold it in place.

“Isthz hea yadow!” the American tired to say, her tongue stuck to the bottom of her mouth, her teeth still firmly clamped together. Despite her incoherence, everybody seemed to understand, and tried to shake themselves free, to little effect.

The BlNiock demon had stopped paying attention to them, its twelve fingers now trying desperately to pick up the shards that were once its teeth in some vain hope that perhaps they could be reconnected. Giving up after a few frantic seconds, it tossed the ivory to the floor and cursed loudly, filling the silent room as it slammed its fists on the floor, its incredibly sharp talons piercing its own palms, to seemingly little effect.

Pausing for a moment, it seemed to start thinking, frantically looking left and right like it was trying to find something. Whatever it was searching for, it seemed to find it and, without warning or provocation, threw itself at the wall where its girl half had been lying. It, not too surprisingly, bounced right off, and Otsune almost expected the audience to laugh. This didn’t stop it from trying again though and, looking even more confident than the last time, headbutted the wall, letting out another high pitched squeal like before and disappearing.

Otsune immediately felt her arms fall from where they were lifted, but was too busy staring at the wall where the demon had gone to notice. Around her, everyone else fell loosely, Sagara’s hand dropping the air where it was raised and Nobori finally standing up from behind the bed.

“It’s gone,” the American stated, just in case anyone hadn’t noticed the creature running up to the wall, which, although still as cracked and ruined as before, didn’t appear to have had a demon just run into it twice.

“What the fuck was that thing?” the muscular man said, sweating profusely from his massive physique.

“I don’t actually know,” said Sagara, making the gauntlet disappear from his hand. “I’ve never heard of a demon like that. We may not even have it in the books back home. Not any I’ve read anyway. Melissa?”

“No, none. In the books we’ve been allowed to read anyway,” Melissa added, giving up on the wall she had been studying. “I’m not even sure what you’d class it as. At the very least it’s a real demon rather than a kotodama type.”

“What are you talking about?” Otsune shouted as loudly as she could, to hide any quake that might still be in her voice. “It was a demon. That’s obvious. I may have been trying to deny these things for a while, but even I can accept that for what it was!”

“Most of those demons don’t exist,” Melissa stated sternly, like she was trying to educate someone in a class below her. “Those forms you are used to seeing are just human interpretation, your brain telling you what you can comprehend without going insane. It goes without saying that people use them as inspiration.”

“Human interpretation?” Otsune repeated. “You mean like self hypnosis?”

“Erm…” Melissa paused, having no idea what the girl was talking about. “Maybe, whatever. Basically, the Futabatei don’t allow people to remember demons for very long, just warped after images based on their worst nightmares. If you guys hadn’t been around Sagara so long, the same would have probably happened to you.”

“But I thought demons needed to possess items. Then why is there that creature?” Natoko asked. “Or are we going through this… effect?”

“This is the InBetween Realm. We’re seeing with our souls, talking through our souls… all that. All demonic spirits can exist here without problems, though I still don’t get the whole three in one thing”

“I should have been able to see through it as well,” he finished. “So, no tricks… I think”

“Well this doesn’t really matter does it?” Natoko added thoughtfully. “You’ve located your demon, right? You can find it again after we’ve found Aki and the others.”

“I’m not so certain we should be wasting time,” Melissa said, pondering the situation. “The things it said. There is more than one demon involved in all of this. The longer we wait, the less chance we’ll find of getting all of them. We should go after it after the flux has opened up again.”

“Are you even listening to her?” Otsune shouted, stepping forward, before nearly leaping back as Melissa stared at her with cold eyes.

“You go look for your friends,” Melissa said, the first word coming out as if it were on fire. “We have things of higher importance to take care of. The reputation of our clan is at stake here.” Otsune thought this over for a second, decided she didn’t like the logic, and stepped forward again.

“Who cares about your clan’s damn reputation?” she argued, her hand swiping the air in front of her as she did so. “Our friends are in danger. That should be the heroes’ first priority.”Otsune reeled back as the girl released an anxious grin on her face and stepped forward, lightly headbutting Otsune, the taller girl only just getting out of the way of a full strike.

“Let’s make it clear and cliché now, before you delude yourself further than you already have with your messed up little lives. The last thing we are, are heroes,” she claimed. “We are not the forces of good, or evil. We are those who walk the middle, who enforce those on either side, who…”

“Erm, Melissa?” Sagara said lightly, interrupting Melissa’s mini speech. “I know you say it’s wrong to complain. I know you’d get angry at me if I said stuff like that, so i…”

“I know, I know,” Melissa said, turning away from Otsune. “It’s just hard to make people understand sometimes, especially morons.” Otsune was about to interject at this, but Melissa kept talking. “I’m… sorry… but there are more important things at stake here. Your friends will just have to wait. If we had a way, I would do my best to help you, but we don’t, so just sit here until we return.” Otsune went to say something after this, but felt no words were right. Anger had gone after the apology and now…

“Let’s go, Sagara,” Melissa stated turning to the door, where the guard remained lying on the floor, groaning to himself for a strangely large period of time.

“No,” he said quietly, stopping her. “I want to help my friends.” Melissa muttered something under her breath before turning round.

“And you heard none of what I just said how?” she said loudly, waving her hands in front of her. “We don’t have time, and we can’t waste time finding more leads afterward.”

“But don’t we need leads to find the BlNiock demon as well?” he asked with a child’s logic.

“Yes!” Melissa cried out with her answer. “Which is why we need to get going?” She turned to the door, with the vainest of hopes that Sagara would follow. He stayed on the bed, smiling to himself.

“In that case” Sagara said. “There is a way to do both.”