Page 16: Continue Holding Hands
You were still listening to L and Persy's conversation. "I need to think of something, a way for her to be out of danger," L voiced his thoughts.
You were an innocent civilian tangled up in a shinigami drama. Traizo loved you, Persy loved Traizo and Forel wanted to marry Persy, not out of love but for power. Persy wanted you and L to fall in love so that you would be out of her way with Traizo. Persy couldn't wait until your life was over, even if you would live a lot less then her, since you were a human and she still had plenty of room left to write in the Death Note. She couldn't bear to wait; she needed to win Traizo's heart while you still lived. She needed to know she won, not because you were no longer there, but because she had been chosen. She didn't want to feel like the second choice.
"Hey, are you listening? She's safe, Forel needs me alive. Daddy must have thought he would be able to convince me to go back peacefully so he sent him here. Of course that didn't work. I can protect you two," Persy emphasized.
"But what happens after the two weeks are over? Forel and the king would go against Traizo if they wanted to kill us." L didn't like that feeling of being exposed and defenseless. He always kept his name and face a secret until the Kira case, when for the first time he showed his face. His name was meant to stay unknown, but after being seen by a shinigami, that was impossible. There was no escaping the shinigami; there was no defense except a good strategy, to be in a position where the shinigami would need something. The fact that L had seen them, thus knew of their existence, could be reason enough to be eliminated, unless he was in a position where he was useful, and the same could apply to you.
"I told you, (Name) needs to stay alive for Traizo to be happy. As for you, well if you don't win her heart then I guess there's no reason for me to protect you, but I don't have a reason to kill you either. If you want my protection, make her like you," Persy held quite a few cards in this game.
"I'm not going to try to trick her just so I can survive," L remained firm in his decision. "I'm not going to use someone innocent that way, besides it won't work."
"So you do have a liking for her. You're only starting to like her but you do. Poor L, so confident in his skills as a detective, but with zero confidence in love. Tell you what; keep on analyzing your strategies and searching for mom. She might be able to talk some sense into daddy and make him break off my engagement with Forel. That is if she is still alive. I don't keep track of time, I know I have enough of a lifespan left to last for at least another five hundred years or more, but mom was a human, I've never really met her, not that I remember, and I don't know how long it has been since I was born. For a shinigami there's no practical use in keeping time backwards, I only keep track of the years I have left to live, and even then I'm not very detailed." Persy explained.
The legend f Persephone, the stories of the lady and death have been told for many years. This Persephone wasn't a mythological character but a human. Maybe her name wasn't even Persephone, but a name she was given because of her relationship with the shinigami king. "I'm 50% sure that she is no longer alive, but this situation and the existence of the shinigami defy human logic, so maybe her existence defies it too. That is why it's only 50%." Most likely the lady's life wouldn't be taken by a shinigami but no one could assure that it wouldn't end by a natural cause. Even so, L decided to try to find her, or at least to try to identify her if she could no longer be found. It was the only thing he could think of doing to earn more of Persy's cooperation. So the new mission had been established, to find Persephone the first.
"Fine, do whatever you want. As long as you spend time with (Name) I'm okay with it, but if she decides she doesn't like you, then I'm leaving and she's coming with me until we find her prince charming. What girl would say no to having their own shinigami matchmaker?" Focusing on her plan and looking to the future, Persy left without opening the door but rather went through it. She didn't expect for you to be at the other side, thus went through the door but bumped into you. "(Name)!" The princess suddenly realized that you had been listening to the entire conversation.
"Coming!" You replied as if Persy was calling you rather than saying your name in surprise. "What is it, Persy?" You asked after walking on the same spot to make foot step sounds.
Persy was about to ask what was going on, then realized what you were trying to do. "Girl talk, we need to have girl talk, let's go back up where there's fresh air!" She went straight up and made it to the deck and you followed taking the stairs. You had a feeling this would be a long trip.
Because of the possible danger, the vacation had been cancelled, though Persy insisted that it was only postponed and you should all go on vacation together when everything was solved. She was still hopeful that somehow Forel would leave her alone, her father would accept that, you would fall in love with L or some other guy, and Traizo would fall in love with her.
L, Watari, Persy and you returned to the secret headquarters for the investigation in Japan. Everything seemed to be proceeding quietly with L doing research and Persy pestering Watari. She had been following him around asking for advice on how to play matchmaker for you and L.
Things took a unexpected turn when Persy decided to take a break and snoop around. "I found them!" She kicked the doors to the main investigation room open and flew in. She was carrying two boys, one in each arm. Mello was struggling to get free while Near stayed perfectly still.
This was certainly not a part of L's plans. Mello and Near were supposed to help with the research from the safely of secrecy. "I thought you were with Watari." L referred to Persy.
"And Watari thought I was with you, isn't that funny?" Persy set the two boys down. The blonde stood while the white haired boy let himself slide to the floor in a sitting position.
"It's better this way, I was tired of hiding," the blond said, while the one with white hair simply shook his head.
It was easy to guess those two were the ones helping all along, probably the same who were on the boat before. "I present Mihael and Nate," Persy revealed their real names.
"It's Mello," Mihael corrected.
"And I'm Near," Nate added.
"Mello and Near, nice to meet you." You greeted them then looked towards L. He knew there was a possibility of this happening; still he remained with a calm expression.
"Isn't it great that we all get to work together now?" Persy smiled cheerfully.
"She wants us to help her play matchmaker," Mello admitted.
"Hush! Let's go get the ingredients. "See ya later everyone!" Before L had the change to say anything, Persy took Mello's hand and hurried out the door.
"L," Near started. His tone was like that of a child accusing another child of misbehaving. "When Persy asked us about how to make a human fall in love with another human, Mello told her that a lot of chocolate was needed. She got all excited because she had seen Valentine's Day, but didn't know that chocolate worked all year long."
"I see, then we can expect them to return with a large supply of chocolate," L concluded. "I hope they also bring cheese cake."
Both you and Near blinked in confusion. "You're not upset?" You asked.
"I knew Mello couldn't take hiding for too long. Either way, the shinigami in their world can see all of us; it just took a while for Persy to notice because she was here instead of watching from a different perspective as if this was all a movie. Finding someone when there are no clues as to what happened to them, not even a missing person report which should help to identify at least a possible date of disappearance, is not an easy task. Mello, Near and I will be working together. If the first Persephone can be found, she will play an important role, and if not, we would have at least identified who she was," L concluded.
"Have you decided?" Near asked.
"Yes, our next move will be in Transylvania," L announced. "(Name) I'll have to ask you to come. It's best if we all stick together. We need to leave tomorrow."
"You don't even need to ask, I'm in this all the way." You assured him. So you would be going to Transylvania. You haven't heard much about it, except when people mentioned Dracula, but that was just a story.
Later, you were helping L organize some data and find connections between several stories and rumors, when Persy and Mello returned with a large supply of chocolates. "You didn't let her steal those chocolates, did you?" Near asked.
"Of course not, I'm perfectly capable of watching the shinigami by myself." Mello replied as if Persy was a mischievous child who needed to be constantly watched.
"L, (Name), eat these chocolates together and fall in love. The rest of us are eating them too, but only as friends." Persy gave you and L some chocolates. She was far from giving up on her mission as a matchmaker.
You tried to explain things. "Persy, eating chocolates doesn't really make people fall in love. Sure it's a part of the Valentine's Day tradition, but that doesn't mean-"
"I'm in love!" You stopped and looked at L who was eating some of the chocolate Persy just gave him. The princess appeared to be very pleased. "With these cheese cake filling chocolates," L finished.
"Aw, not fair to trick me like that." It seemed that the pouty face was the look of the day for Persy. Her skull half didn't change much, but her human looking half was rather expressive.
Page 17: Don't Keep Secrets, Spill the Beans
Persy suddenly gasped and stared at something behind you. "What's wrong?" You turned slowly, wondering what could be standing behind you that surprised them so much. "Traizo!"
You could have hugged Traizo at that moment, but Persy beat you to it and pounced on him like a rabid fan girl. "Trai-kun!" The 'kun' was something she had heard humans say and she thought it was cute.
"Princess Persephone..." Traizo knew the last thing he wanted was an angry Persy. He had been one of the few shinigami in their world who had witnessed one of her temper tantrums and come out of it in one piece.
"I saved your human pal so you owe me big time!" Persy was too busy glomping Traizo to notice that he wasn't supposed to be there. Luckily, being a shinigami, Traizo didn't actually require oxygen.
"Traizo, how in the world did you get back without getting caught? Is it alright for you to be here? What happened? Spill the beans!" You were happy to see him, but you certainly hoped his escape, if he had escaped, didn't bring trouble. Somehow being forgiven without a catch didn't sound likely.
"Beans?" Traizo blinked in confusion.
Persy didn't quite understand the part about beans but the others questions were important. "Did you come for me? Did you? Did you? Did you?"
"Well yes but that's because-" Traizo was interrupted.
Persy squealed. "I knew it! You do love me, but of course how could you resist the perfect combination of power and beauty?"
Traizo shook his head quickly. "I didn't mean it like that. Your father gave me the mission of bringing you back. He thought I could talk you into it."
"I'll go back if you come with me," Persy winked with her human-looking eye.
"I'm not going to try to accomplish my mission. I had no choice but to accept it and besides, I wanted to come back to Earth. I'll just stay here and pretend to be trying to 'talk some sense' into you, as the king said," Traizo explained.
Persy sighed. "Fine, fine, you can stay with our happy little group, but only if you promise not to interfere with the power of love. (Name) and L and very much in love."
"I'll kill him!" It didn't take long for L to be picked up, chair and all. Even if the chair was now being held in the air by a shinigami who was visible to him, but still invisible to Mello and Near, he kept his balance and didn't fall off.
"Put him down," you rushed in L's defense. You were happy to see that Traizo was safe but you didn't want him to harm L, even if you knew he wouldn't dare to kill the detective against your wishes.
"Don't be such a meanie head and just be happy for them." Persy picked up L and set him down gently on the floor. "There you go." She patted his head and clung to Traizo's arm. "So, where's our happy little group heading out to next?"
"Transylvania," L replied.
"Okay, my conclusion is that there's another shinigami here. Do I get to see this one?" Mello didn't like having something invisible so close by.
"Oh right, Traizo spare them a page. Mello and Near are part of our team, and runner ups to win (Name)'s heart, should L fail to fulfill his duties." Persy explained things in her own way.
"Them too?" Traizo glared at the two boys.
"Calm down, Persy likes to exaggerate and make up stories." You tried to calm Traizo's rush of jealousy. "But she's right about one thing, it will be easier if Mello, Near and Watari can see you."
"Alright, if that's what you want," Traizo agreed. "Mello and Near? If you mean those two that's not their names."
"It's what they like to be called," Persy nodded in understanding, she used a nickname too.
There had been an unexpected twist with Traizo's return. He had a knack for coming back when you least expected it . Still, you wondered about the details of his mission. He said he was sent to take Persy back to the shinigami world. If he agreed to be with her, then she would return, but what about Forel? There were still things that remained unknown about Traizo's mission and what happened to Forel. The rest of the day was spent preparing for the trip and getting Traizo acquainted with the team. With Traizo feeling jealous and Persy in fan girl mode, the trip would be very interesting.
xoxox xox xoxox
The next day, you woke up with odd feeling. A bit sleepy, you got out of bed but realized your feet didn't touch the floor, you had stepped on beans. You stared at your room wide eyed. There were beans everywhere. "What's going on?"
"Good morning!" Traizo half came through the closed door, flying above the three feet of beans that flooded the room. He realized that an item he held was stuck in the other side of the door. He opened the door, got it inside then closed it again. "Look, I cooked some of the beans for you!" He was holding a plate full of little black pebbles, which you assumed where the burnt beans.
You stared at Traizo, at the charred beans, then at the state the room was in. "Why in the world did you bring so many beans?"
"Isn't this what you wanted?" Traizo asked.
Persy peeked into the room with her head inside and the rest of her at the other side of the door. "Traizo! I told you to wait for me!" She came in completely and flew above the beans next to him.
"You tricked me!" Traizo pointed an accusing finger at Persy.
The princess looked offended. "I did no such thing! How could you say that after I helped you?"
"She's upset, she didn't like the beans!" Traizo argued.
"That's not my fault! I told you I would help you as long as the gift didn't involve chocolates, flowers or jewelry. Either way, the idea to get her beans was yours." Persy argued.
"You had your own motives to help!" This time Traizo's accusation was received without surprise.
"So what if I did?" Persy asked. "I'll even tell you about it. Have you ever heard about bean babies? Beans are linked to babies, so when humans think 'bean' they also think 'baby'. I thought the beans would awaken some sort of instinctive reaction in (Name) and she would want to have a baby with another human. I do believe L could serve that purpose."
"That's not fair! You didn't tell me beans were part of a human baby making ritual!" Traizo complained and shook the plate of beans so much he spilled them everywhere.
You twitched. "Beans have nothing to do with babies!" You would never look at beans the same way.
"Then how come I've seen people make such a fuzz about bean babies? I once saw humans that wanted to get lots and lots of them!" Persy insisted.
"Bean babies are a type of doll, it has nothing to do with actual babies. I mean they're toys, so it is related to children, but not that way. What I mean is..." You paused and took a deep breath. Explaining things to shinigami was not an easy task. "Where's L?" Traizo looked horrified. "I'm only asking because I thought he could help me explain things to the two of you, there is no other reason." After those words Traizo looked a bit relived.
"He wanted to ruin the bean ritual so we tied him up, same for the others," Persy calmly explained.
Without a second to spare, you hurried out of the room swimming in beans, in search of L. When you arrived at the main investigation room, L was calmly reading some information from a laptop computer. That room was also full of beans, less than your room, but it still had plenty. "L?"
"How did he get away?" Persy had followed you along with Traizo.
"Watari," L answered.
Persy pouted. "I knew that putting a chair against the door wouldn't be enough to keep him locked up. I should have tied him up too."
"Where did all these beans come from?" You asked.
"From a ship that was transporting lots of them," Traizo replied. "Are those not the kind you like?"
"I didn't ask you to bring me all these beans!" At least that's what you thought.
"You said you wanted me to spill the beans so I did. How come you're not happy about it? It is because we didn't spill enough beans?" Traizo asked.
Face, meet hand. "I appreciate the thought, but I honestly didn't think that you would take that literally."
"Literally? Is that a type of bean?" For all the time Traizo spent stalking you, he was far from fully understanding humans. "Spill the beans means 'tell me' I wanted you to tell me about how you came back."
"That's what it means? But then why didn't you just say it that way?" Traizo asked.
"It's a figure of speech," you tried to explain.
That only confused him further. "A figure of speech? I thought figures were squares, triangles, circles, that find of stuff. Wait, I get it, figures of speech are letters. You wanted me to write something? Lawliet's name in my Death Note? Is that what you wanted me to write?"
A chorus of "No!" echoed in the room as Mello, Near, L himself and even Persy joined you.
"Obviously the beans were stolen. Maybe they can be returned, but they were all over the floor, that's not good. Anyway we can't just leave them here." You reasoned.
"We're already working on getting rid of them, or rather I'm working." Mello was clearly not pleased with his assigned task.
"I'll help clean the beans." You didn't like the idea of spending the next few hours cleaning out beans, but there was no choice.
Page 18: Sincerity is Great
While you were still cleaning the beans, Mello started arguing with Near. "Stop playing with the beans and help me clean them!"
"I'm not just playing, I'm thinking. Beans are fun, they help me concentrate." Near was making little bean mountains and knocking them down.
Mello was at the end of his patience. He tossed the sack of beans he was filling aside and threw a hand full of beans at Near. The white haired boy frowned when the bean projectiles hit him. "That was very immature. You let your emotions control you too easily." Regardless of what he said, Near still returned fire with more beans.
Mello ducked just in time and the beans Near threw collided with the back of L's head. L turned around and Mello pointed at Near. "He did it!"
"I was trying to get back at Mello, he was the one who started it," Near defended.
There was a moment of silence, until suddenly Persy yelled. "Bean fight!"
Traizo took the opportunity and threw some beans at L. The detective hid behind his chair using it as a shield and retuned fire. Mello and Near exchanged bean projectiles and you stood there wondering when the elite team of detectives had turned into hyper little kids. It was like a snow ball fight only with beans. You might as well join in.
xoxox xox xoxox
After the bean fight was over, with a victory on your part, Watari arrived, peeking into the room cautiously. "It is safe to step into the battle field now?" Obviously he knew about what had been going on, but for some reason decided not to interrupt the great war of beans.
"Watari... I..." L shrugged, the time that was used playing with the beans was gone. But that was alright, he had relaxed and his mind was working even faster than before. A bean fight was a good way to jump start a genius and it reminded him of the snowball fights back at the Wammy House when he was younger. "That was fun, but we should all get ready to leave soon." Everyone went off too make the final preparations. The team was feeling refreshed and ready to go.
xoxox xox xoxox
You were feeling uneasy about taking another trip on a jet. Not too long ago, the last one you were on crashed. "Are you worried?" L asked.
You nodded; there was no use in denying it. "What if Forel comes back and makes the jet crash?"
"Persy and Traizo are watching out for him, we won't be caught by surprise again," L assured.
After the jet took off, L and Watari were taking care of piloting this time. Near was playing with his toys and Mello was reading over some data about your destination in Transylvania. "L asked me earlier to tell you about where we're going." The blond sat down next to you and handed you a paper. You looked at the pictures. "A forest?"
"A forest rumored to be haunted. They say there's a castle in the middle, but most of it is underground. If it's true, the shinigami might be able to get in and let the rest of us in." Mello explained.
"Do you think queen Persephone the first is there?" You asked.
"Yes, I'm sure of it," Mello replied.
"I'm only 85% sure," Near added. "L wouldn't' say how sure he is."
"90%, that is either for Persephone being there, or her tomb." The three of you looked at L who had just joined in, while Watari stayed at the captain's cabin. "Everything is fine so far, nothing suspicious."
"What did I miss?" Persy came back inside the jet, she and Traizo occasionally flew around outside to make sure no one was following.
"Keep your distance," Traizo warned L.
"There's really no reason to make such assumptions." L tried to explain but Traizo's piercing glare didn't stop.
"Oh, let him make assumptions, they're true anyway." Persy pushed L and made him land on your lap. Well at least he wasn't too heavy, but it was a bit awkward.
L quickly got up. "Sorry about that, she caught me off guard." Not that it would matter, since shinigami were stronger than humans anyway.
You were about to say it was okay but Traizo spoke first. "That's just an excuse. If you try something like that again, you won't live long enough to be sorry."
"Will you both please stop picking on L?" You finally spoke.
"Do you prefer blonds? Is that it? Do you like this one better?" Persy picked up Mello and presented him to you as if asking about an object.
"Hey, put me down I'm not a thing. Besides, even if she's cute there seems to be too much competition already and I don't want to step into my dear brother's territory," Mello tried to get free.
L remained calm and Near stopped playing for a moment. "Don't tell me you're on Persy's side?" The white haired boy asked Mello.
"L needs to lighten up and having a girlfriend might do him some good," Mello explained. L simply stared at him without blinking, while Near blinked in surprised from Mello's direct answer. The look on Near's face made it appear as if he thought girls had cooties and Mello had to ask. "Don't tell me you still haven't gotten over the fact that girls don't have cooties?"
"I know that they don't. Such a thing as cooties does not exist, it's illogical," Near pouted cutely.
"Then why not consider the possibility of L being with a girl?" Mello asked.
"Mello," L started to say something, but wasn't quite sure how to word it.
"You're making them feel uncomfortable," Near knew that L wouldn't mind some company, but relationships were hard for him because of his job. He thought he would never find anyone who was able to understand him and like him for who he was, despite his unusual way of sitting, his eternal love for cheese cake, the fact that he avoided sleep like the plague and that he was always busy solving one mystery after another.
"I'm just being truthful, a little direct but truthful," Mello admitted.
"You tell him teammate!" Persy cheered.
"Are you on her team?" Near asked.
"I thought we were all on the same team, even if I can't say I like that." The rivalry between Mello and Near was starting to surface.
"You don't mean me, right? How could you not want to be on a team with me?" Persy half asked, half whined.
"I wasn't talking about you," Mello clarified.
Persy clapped her human and skeleton hands together. "I thought so. You and me will be elite matchmakers, friend!"
"Is that so?" Near raised an eyebrow in curiosity.
"That's not my style but if she tries to play matchmaker I won't stop her," Mello replied.
"Do you realize that L and I are right here and we can hear everything you're plotting?" You asked. Usually when someone tried to play matchmaker, they did it in secret, but Persy was loud and talkative and Mello wasn't one to keep things bottled up either. Near was rather quiet, like L.
"Yet I haven't heard you complain," Mello gave you a victorious grin.
"Nice one," Persy commended.
You blinked. "But I just told you that-"
"One moment," Traizo finally spoke.
"What is it?" You asked.
"I just wanted to clarify that my death threat is still in effect. Just a reminder," Traizo glared daggers at L.
"Trai-kun!" Persy spoke in the whiniest voice. "How could you go against true love? Our love and theirs too? That's two loves that you're going against. Don't you know you shouldn't do that?"
"Love only brings trouble. I still love (Name) but that brought trouble for her." Traizo sounded sad.
"Don't say that, Traizo. I appreciate you very much and I care about you as a dear friend. Even with all that happened, I'm glad I met you and I'm not going to change my mind about that," you tried to console him.
"Then I'll definitely stay. I'll stay with you for as long as I can," Traizo's mood improved, he would enjoy his time with you as much as he could.
"To say, 'I'll stay with you forever' would sound more romantic. Say it L!" Persy began to poke L, alternating between one hand and the other.
"Please stop poking me," L calmly requested.
"Wrong line! Say something sweet for (Name)! I'll stop poking you if you do," Persy insisted.
"Do you promise?" L asked.
Persy nodded eagerly. "Yup, I promise! Now say something sweet."
L looked at you and with a smile on his face he said, "cheese cake". There was a moment of silence then both you and Mello started laughing. Near seemed to be holding back his laugher at first, but couldn't hold it in for long.
Persy blinked. "What's so funny? I thought it was cute, short and to the point, but sweet and romantic."
"I think I'm going to kill him, I think so. What's cheese cake?" Traizo asked.
"Cheese cake is food," you said between laughs.
"Is Lawliet planning to eat you? I won't allow it!" Traizo seemed to be as protective as ever and he still didn't quite understand the human world.
"Cheese cake is sweet and I'm not going to eat her. Do shinigami eat each other?" L asked.
"Of course not, do humans?" Traizo asked.
"No," L replied.
"Well, you better not try it." Traizo warned.
"Do we have a TV in here?" Persy asked. "Humans love TV; I spent a lot of time watching human TVs from the shinigami world."
"I thought you were watching humans and searching for your mother." L inquired.
Persy shrugged. "I got distracted. So is there a TV here?"
"Yes, a satellite TV to keep up with the news," L replied.
Not a second passed and Persy was gone. She retuned a few seconds later. "Where is it? Where is it? You forgot to tell me where it is!" It seemed that the princess loved watching TV as much as most humans did, although her taste in shows was not all that great, she loved to watch cheesy soap operas.
Page 19: To Find a Hidden History
After the jet landed, the group headed to the hotel, and soon after to explore. Enough time had been used with the bean incident, even if it was fun, and that time had to be made up for. The drive to the forest consisted of L, Mello, Near, Watari and you discussing theories. Persy seemed to be in the blank about it all, even if she would be expected to have the most information. Traizo glared at L every now and then, when ever Persy gave him the chance to pay attention to something other than her. She turned out to be quite the chatterbox to Traizo, but it was amusing.
Then you were divided into two teams with you, L, Mello and the two shinigami heading deep into the forest. The trees were thick, which made the place dark even if there was still day. Walking around wasn't so bad, since the shinigami carried all the equipment.
"Are you sure carrying all this equipment is vital to the entire human world experience?" Persy had asked.
L smiled. "Of course!"
Traizo was carrying equipment too, because according to him, "L is too wimpy and will drop it."
Persy was carrying equipment because L told her it was an experience she couldn't miss out on while in the human world. Quite frankly she didn't get it but she gave it a try anyway.
"Something feels strange about this place," Traizo spoke.
"Isn't it romantic?" Even with the mountain of equipment Persy still had the energy to be a fan girl.
"You mean for me and (Name) or for you and L?" Traizo asked.
"I mean for me and you and for L and (Name)!" Persy yelled. The echo of your name returned in a ghostly way.
"What was that?" You asked.
"Logically it was an echo," Near's voice came from the communication device, similar to a cell phone in appearance, that you, L, Mello and the shinigami used to stay in touch with Watari and Near, who stayed at the bus analyzing all the data sent to them. It was more like a radio than a cell phone really, though it looked like a cell phone. Near was not very good at walking long distances, so he stayed behind to help Watari.
"Look, what a pretty flower," you heard Persy say. But the main concern wasn't the rare flora that surrounded you; it was the creepy ghostly echo and the bad feeling that the forest gave you, as if it was full of dark energy.
"Normal echoes don't come back in different voices," you pointed out. L, who was now wearing shoes, but not socks, simply placed his thumb on his mouth in thought, as he walked alongside you and Mello.
"This is supposed to be a haunted forest," Mello reminded you.
"That is highly illogical," Near replied via the radio. You noticed that the amount of static had increased.
You thought you heard Traizo making a comment about something Persy said but for some reason it was barely audible. There was the faint sound of Persy's voice replying, then Trazo's voice becoming even quieter then before.
"The existence of shinigami is also highly illogical," Mello retorted. The communication device only produced static in return. "Near? Watari?"
"I have a bad feeling about this, Traizo, Persy don't... stay behind? Where did they go?" You had looked back and they were gone.
Mello also stopped. "They couldn't have gone too far." He searched for the shinigami as well, but couldn't find them, plus the forest was thick and dark so that didn't help. "L, what do you think happened? "
"Yes, that's a good point." L nodded but you had a feeling he wasn't replying to what Mello said, the answer made no sense.
"L, snap out of it!" Mello shook him by the shoulders until L seemed to wake up from his trance.
"What's wrong?" L gave Mello a puzzled look.
"You looked like you were talking by yourself." At least Mello decided to carry his own supply of chocolates, which was good because if he had given it to the shinigami, he wouldn't have them right now, and he really needed to get some chocolate in his system.
"I was talking to the two of you. We were discussing theories about Persephone the first and the cause of the interference with the electronics in this forest." L then noticed that the shinigami were no longer following. "Where did Persy and Traizo go?"
"They have been gone for a few minutes, or at least a few minutes since we noticed, but you just kept walking and talking to yourself." You said.
"I was talking to myself?" L once again assumed his thinking position while, Mello finished his chocolate bar and made the wrapping into a ball. The blonde then let it fall on the ground. "Mello, you shouldn't throw the wrapper on the ground like that."
"If we walk by it again, we'll know we're going in circles," Mello explained.
It wouldn't sound logical if it were a normal situation, because you were walking in a straight line, but this wasn't a normal situation. "Isn't there a nicer way to mark our path?" L wondered, his thumb still on his lower lip.
"I'm all up for keep the forest clean, but honestly, I'm more concerned about you being in a hypnotic trance," you reminded L.
"I believe that whatever is here, is trying to separate us by tricking us into believing that we are still with our companions." After a pause L added his characteristic percentage calculation. "I'm 92% sure."
"Then how would we know if we get separated?" You brought up a valid point.
"Hold hands," L replied. He would have used handcuffs, but they were packed up with the equipment Persy was carrying. That is how you ended up walking through the creepy, and possibly haunted, forest holding hands with L and Mello. It would have been so much nicer if the setting was different and you didn't have two missing shinigami to worry about.
"I'm sure they'll be alright," L sounded disappointed to have fallen for whatever hypnotism was at work, but it was obvious that resisting it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible. In fact, the only reason why you and Mello weren't hypnotized, was only because you had not been targeted yet. After separating the humans from the shinigami, the most logical strategy would be to get rid of their leader next, so L was the target. You looked at him and he nodded as if he could guess what was on your mind. "I don't think this forest or rather the beings in it, are trying to hurt us as much as trying to make us lose our way."
"How will we find the underground castle without the shinigami?" You wondered.
"We'll have to rely on ourselves. If we-" L paused and stopped. He stared at the ground with a curious expression then jumped. "Sounds odd..."
"It's like a board covered with grass to hide it," Mello inspected the area.
"Could this be the entrance to the underground castle?" You inquired.
"We're about to find out," L lifted the board you realized that it was in fact covering a tunnel, but it was quite dark inside.
Mello retrieved a flashlight from his bag of chocolate bars. "Good thing I brought this." Mello turned on the flashlight. It looked like the tunnel wasn't too deep, so it wouldn't be hard to jump in. There were rocks sticking out of the sides that would make it easy to climb out was well.
L took the flashlight, he didn't want you or Mello to go first and be the first to face danger if it came to that. "If I say run, run back out the tunnel and climb out, don't stop to ask why, just do it." L sounded serious about that, which gave you an even more uneasy feeling. L jumped in and soon you and Mello followed him. "I'll go a few steps ahead just in case. Talk to me, I think that if we keep a real conversation, it might help us focus on reality even if we are technically announcing our presence, I don't think we can hide it anyway. I'm 17% sure of this."
"Only 17%?" You didn't like the sound of that.
"There is a chance the hypnotism could be too powerful to avoid," L sounded surprisingly calm.
"Shouldn't we come better prepared then, Mr. Distracted? Or maybe hurry?" Mello's suggestions were opposites but both to the extremes. Charge in or retreat. In the middle was the option to proceed carefully.
"We'll proceed carefully," L decided.
You and Mello continued walking down the dark tunnel behind L. "Why did you call L Mr. Distracted?" You asked as if to get a conversation going.
"He's been a bit distracted lately. I'm sure he's thinking about the case, but there's also something, or should I say someone, else on his mind," Mello grinned.
You looked towards L trying to read his movements in the dark. "Is that what you think?" True that Persy had been sneaking around at night to whisper in his ear 'fall in love with (Name)' when she thought he was sleeping while sitting with his feet on the chair. Then she would sink into the floor or go through the ceiling when he opened his eyes to reveal that he had been thinking, not sleeping. That was beyond the point, it had just been a while since he was around a girl, possibly the only women he had seen after leaving the Wammy house were clients or criminals, none of them were people whom he had the chance to talk to as a friend.
"Am I right?" Mello asked.
"I have been thinking about (Name)'s safety." It was true, yet L himself wondered if that was all there was to it.
"I appreciate it," you smiled though it was hard to see in the darkness. "Don't worry about me, I'll be okay."
Page 20: Trying to Start Anew
Everything was quiet for a while as the group proceeded through the dark tunnel. It seemed that L was in deep thought. "There are stairs up ahead."
After going up the stairs and out from under a rock, Mello stopped for a moment to stare at the ground. "Either there's someone else here who likes the same kind of chocolates I like, or we're back where we started. He picked up the wrapper and examined it closely. "I'm pretty sure it's mine."
"That made no sense; we were walking in a straight line but somehow ended up in the same place." L had his familiar thumb in mouth expression.
"Maybe the wrapper was moved?" You theorized.
"I don't know about the wrapper, but the passage was moved." Mello sounded alarmed as he pointed at the rock that had marked the exit of the underground tunnel.
"There was a tunnel there not too long ago. Maybe we are already trapped in an illusion," L had a strong feeling that was the case.
"If we are in an illusion how do we get out?" You asked.
The problem with being trapped in a fantasy world was not being able to tell for certain what was real and what wasn't. Even if it looked as if the illusion had been broken maybe it was simply changed. "We have to break it. If we focus and-"
The scenery suddenly began to change before your eyes. "That was fast..."
"It wasn't me," L said.
"Another illusion?" Mello asked.
"Finally!" Persy's voice echoed. Slowly the scenery began to settle from blurry gray to normal. You were inside a castle. "I thought you would never wake up," Persy complained.
"What happened? How did we get here?" You asked.
"I found the three of you unconscious at the tunnel that leads to the entrance of this castle. You were talking in your sleep too." Persy explained.
L, Mello and you looked at each other and at Persy. "Is she real?" Mello asked.
"Stay away from (name!)" Traizo rushed into the dark gray stone room and landed between you and L, he then proceeded to glomp you like a rabid fan boy.
"Hey! Put her down!" Persy complained. "You should be hugging me! She has L to hug her!"
As the shinigami argued, you suddenly screamed at the top of your lungs cutting off L who was about to say something. You squirmed until Traizo let you go. "You're not the real Traizo!"
"As I thought," L agreed. "I was about to say that this is the real illusion. They wanted to trick us into thinking we were waking up but it was the opposite."
"Then we're still in the forest?" You asked.
"Most likely," L replied.
"Who are they?" Mello asked.
"I don't know but that hug felt like fur and Traizo doesn't have fur," you said.
The fake Persy and Traizo laughed revealing themselves to be the shinigami twins. "It doesn't matter if you've discovered us."
"The mission was accomplished." They quickly retreated.
Things went back to normal and once again, you, L and Mello were in the forest. "Can you hear me?" Near's voice was heard from the radio once again. The static slowly lessened until he could be heard clearly.
"We hear you," Mello replied.
"Why didn't you answer? Watari and I were worried. Persy and Traizo returned by themselves. They were very confused because somehow no matter how hard they tried to go deeper into the forest they became disoriented and ended up where they started," Near explained.
"I see..." L quietly said.
"What are you planning?" Mello knew that when L got that look in his eyes, he was planning to make a move, most likely alone.
"Let's return. Going any further is impossible right now." You and Mello followed L back. It seemed that who ever was controlling the illusions in the forest had no problem with letting you leave.
That night at the hotel, Persy spent the entire time whining because the forest wouldn't let her see if her mother was there. Being so close to finding her, the princess became more interested in the search. Traizo sat by you, quietly pressing buttons on a little handheld videogame which Near rarely played with but still took along.
Mello tried to act as if he didn't suspect L was planning to run off on his own, which didn't quite work because L noticed anyway. Mello knew and so did Near and Watari, they knew L so well they could tell when he was planning something. When the entire group was gathered, L decided to share his theories. "I am 98% sure that queen Persephone the first is alive."
L already had everyone's attention, but that theory captured it even more, especially for Persy. "Really? Mom is alive? But I don't even know how old I am. I think I'm older than a human life time."
"You probably are. I suspect that she is trapped in that castle. She probably isn't conscious and is being kept alive in a way that isn't natural for a human. The king wants us to stay out of it. He must have a reason why he doesn't want us to find her. My conclusion is that she wishes to live and die as a human, but her husband cannot let her go. As a result she is forced to stay alive. He might be worried that you will find her and free her, that you may put your mother's wishes before your father's and let her live and die," L explained.
After a moment of staring at L's genius, Near and Mello quietly analyzed his words. "I agree," Near spoke.
"Me too," Mello added.
"I don't," Persy voiced. "I don't want mom to die. If I have a mother I want to meet her, not let her die."
"You hold no anger towards her, do you?" L asked.
"No," Persy replied. "If it is the way you say, then she didn't intend to leave. It's not like I grew up without her because she wanted it to be that way. She had no choice, I can't hold it against her."
"If that is so and she was in pain, would you let her meet her inevitable human fate then, if being kept alive artificially only brought her pain?" L asked.
"I don't want her to be in pain, but I don't want her to leave me. No one understands me in the shinigami world, not even daddy. Maybe she will..." Persy's human eye watered and somehow tears flowed from the empty skull as well. "I always wished I could meet her. I gave up; I told myself it was hopeless. I tried to move on, but I never stopped wishing..."
"Then you wouldn't want to see her in pain." L said.
Persy shook her head. "I guess I might, as you say, free her, if she asked for it, but why would she? Why would a human want to live and die? I always thought humans feared death more than anything."
"There are a number of reasons, but only she can say for sure," L replied.
After a moment of silence, Persy once again spoke. "What if it's not that? What if it's just daddy trying to take me back to the shinigami world?"
"No, the king was more flexible than I had initially thought. That is why he gave Traizo his mission." L explained. "After Forel failed to make Persy return to the shinigami world, the king decided to try a different strategy. He decided to grant his daughter's wish and allow her to be with Traizo. His mission was to take her back to the shinigami world. He expected it to work since he could threaten to kill (Name) if Traizo refused."
"Then my engagement with Forel is off, but then if that is so, why hasn't daddy done anything?" Persy wondered.
"That is because Traizo saw a flaw in the king's plans." L had it all figured out. "Obviously he doesn't want us to find queen Persephone. King..."
"Hades," Persy filled in.
"King Hades, thought he had the upper hand since he could control Traizo by threatening to kill (Name), but he was wrong. Although he could take (Name)'s life, she has to stay alive, otherwise Traizo would not listen if he has no hopes of saving her. Plus if Hades took (Name) prisoner, Persy would interfere if Traizo asked her to, correct?"
Persy nodded. "Yes, I don't think I could deny such a request."
"Taking Traizo prisoner is also out of the question for the same reason, Persy would also interfere. That means that hurting either (Name) or Traizo will not be of benefit to Hades' plans. He did try to get rid of Traizo before, but when Persy saved (Name), he realized just how far she was willing to go and knew that she would not give up no matter what. That is why the king won't try that again, he didn't want to agree to letting you go, but he realized he had no choice. How far would you go?" L paused and looked at the princess.
Persy had a determined look. "As far giving up my own life if it comes that."
"Waiting for (Name)'s life to end or for Persy to stop loving Traizo are no longer options for Hades, because we were too close to finding queen Persephone. She will be the key to all of this." L finished.
You looked at Traizo. "The truth?"
"Yes," he didn't sound happy about admitting it, but he couldn't deny it, not to you. "What he said about the mission was true. I accepted it because I knew that once I came here I wouldn't have to actually go through with my mission. If I came and either of us disappeared, Persy would suspect that there was something going on and probably investigate. That's why I knew that you would be safe. King Hades doesn't hold all the cards as he thought; Persy has the upper hand when it comes down to it."
"I guess you're still a genius even if you're experiencing a crush. That's quite the story." The first part of Mello's statement seemed to momentarily lighten the solemn mood, while at the same time embarrassing you and L, if only for a few seconds.
"I agree as well," Near voiced. "On both conclusions."
L decided not to comment on that. He didn't have a crush, he was incapable of having feelings other than friendship and appreciation for someone, because that's as far as things worked out. It was as far as it could ever possibly get. He would only be heartbroken other wise, he was sure of it.
End of Note IV
Disclaimer, I don't own Death Note. Hades is sort of an OC too. Credits to Nattie, who inspired the bean scene on Page 17.