Chapter 5

/_Takao_\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

He reached out to touch the deep red marks on the wall. /Blood. Fresh blood./ His eyes opened wide. /What a fool I was last night!/ There were no other bloodstains to make a path. Takao leaned against the wall and his body slumped in despair. /Maybe Mayu knows where. he takes them. I know that is what's happened to her./ He took off at a sprint towards Mayu's house.

The door banged open and the old woman was jolted from her sleep. "Oh, it's yeh, laddie. Don't give m-"

"Mayu - do you know where the shadow stalker takes his captives?"

She winced. "Don't say 'is nem aloud, tis mighty bad luck! Well. as a matter o' fact yes ah do. But ya know tis much dang'rous round dere. Like as not ye'd be killed!"

"I don't care." His eyes were steely. "Tell me!"

"Righ', righ'. Hold yer hosses, young'un. I'll show ya the way, though don' blame dissa ol' lady if ya gets caught."

"Show me the way. Now!"

"Ah'm a-goin'!"

Takao followed Mayu through the winding, narrow streets as she navigated the course to the shadow stalker's supposed hideout. Finally they halted in front of a very normal, albeit huge house.

"Dis's it. No doubt." She nodded grimly. "Ah'll show ya inside, but no further, don' wanna get meself killed or the like."

"Fine." His mouth was set in a rigid line, though his eyes betrayed the worry he felt for his companion.

Mayu led Takao inside the building. He was warily admiring the antique, though dust-free surroundings when -

"Don't speak, fool of a boy."

A smooth hand was held firmly over Takao's mouth, and he looked up into the eyes of his captor. /Mayu!/ The eyes were the same, but a mask had been removed. This was no decrepit old lady! This. sinisterly beautiful young woman was. an agent of the shadow stalker!? Silvery-white hair framed a perfect, pointed, malicious face. Grey-blue eyes were narrowed and - fangs?! She's a vampyre!? /Crap./

He twisted suddenly, loosening her grip and kneeing her savagely in the belly.

"Ah. interesting. So we have a warrior here, do we?"

This was scary. Takao was strong. He knew that quite well. But. this. creature must feel nothing, for she showed no signs of pain. Takao abandoned this line of thought as she disappeared.

/_Mayaku_\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

Mayaku studied him through half-closed eyes. Something, apart from his size and wi- oh. His wings weren't fully formed. The curious being she was, Mayaku looked quizzically at him and asked, "Your wings. why are they-"

"Ah. You finally noticed, eh? Hairome Barred me when I was halfway to my hawk form. It's annoying, these useless appendages just dangling."

She nodded mutely, and they lapsed back into their silence.

It was almost sunset. The light was tinged red through the clouds, and the shadows of the bars were long. The door clanged, echoing wildly throughout the stone room. A tall man dressed in blue robes stood at the doorway, holding a lantern and a set of keys.

/My time has come./

He neared the cell and jangled the keys. "The Master would like to see you, kingfisher-girl," he smirked. His voice was nasally and high pitched, the sort that you would cringe at and walk away quickly from. "Come!"

/_Takao_\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

And reappeared to his left. They stood, eyeing each other, completely still. She moved. She was there, then she was not. A sick, cruel smile at his side. Then a cold-burning pain in his arm. Red and gold lights burst in his vision, and he lashed out. Nothing. How could he have missed? Drawing a knife from his jacket hie slashed and stabbed at the vampyre. Nothing. Again. To the left. To the right. In front. Behind. Above him.

She was everywhere.

Ah. Leering in his face, her features twisted in a smile.

Slash.

Finally! His blade dripped. with blue. Another burning pain lanced across his shoulder. Then his face. Then his leg. He was dripping in the blood from small wounds across his body. His punishment for drawing her blood. Suddenly she was behind him.

"See ya."

Pain registered in his brain, then the darkness took it away.

Author's note: aaaaaaaah I suck at battle scenes, ne. Please tell me how I can improve, I'll need it later. Oh btw sorry this is so late, I've been putting it off sry guys