Tasn Zheng

As a demon hunter, Tasn was not blind to the signs of the supernatural. Rather, he was usually the first to detect them. Yet, for these strings of murders, he was hesitant to believe magic or anything that related to his grisly occupation. Besides, it was coming close to Halloween and many events that seemed supernatural were often just illusions created by seasonal enthusiasts.

The lights, cats, and locks he could explain away with logic, but that logic started to grow weaker and weaker as more reports of victims flowed into his hearing. It was rather difficult to explain why a nice young woman would have her body found charred in her office, but even then, he managed to explain away the possibility of alien technology (after all, she was linked to one of his suspects in a very intimate fashion). And then the alien himself was found dead making conventional logic was quiver pitifully upon its last foundation.

He didn't want to believe it. After all, cases were oft more interesting when they didn't have the supernatural element. But that wasn't the only reason: the other reason was that it would make his job that much more difficult. Before, he only had to use his intelligence; now...

Tasn kissed his crucifix and crossed himself when he heard booted feet land on the carpeted floor as his lights flickered. He didn't look up, gaze remaining fixed upon the silver cross in his hands.

"I was wondering when you'd show up, partner. How long did you truly think you'd be able to fool me?" The marionette hunter's expression contorted into one of weary amusement that reached his dull-coloured eyes. While it seemed to be a lack of enthusiasm, that was far from the truth. If he had a heart, it would be racing, pumping rushes of adrenaline through his body, but he was a marionette. Blood was there for show, just as the rest of his body was. The fact that he even managed an expression all on his own was testament of how positively giddy he was over the prospect of justifiably eliminating his foe and doing it in a fashion that would have him proclaimed a hero amongst the masses.


Warrax1
A smirk arose on the face of Warrax as he contemplated the recent series of events...all perfectly orchestrated by himself. Watching the terror and confusion gave him no small satisfaction, but it was not to last...and to ensure the chaos continued for a time longer he had anticipated that his rival would discover him first. Indeed, he had left many clues, though subtle, those who knew of his methods would be able to trace his actions to the source.

A small chuckle escaped his throat as he thought about his rival. Now was the time he would be certain of his discovery. The often monotonous confrontation between the real suspect and the hero would normally ensue around now. Humans were so predictable...and to Warrax, this was a game to be relished...and he was nothing like those humans who thought too highly of themselves and failed to come out victorious. No...this was just a bit of sport until the time when he would dispatch his last and greatest enemy...and it was time to enact the next stage in this chaos.

Shrouded in darkness Warrax stepped or rather floated lightly from the shadows. The dark places of the room seeming to gather around him, he smirked again as he approached his rival who had already noticed his presence. The puppet was difficult to read as his rigid features revealed little expression...but it was not impossible. Standing in the same room with this holy man aggravated Warrax and the bloodlust he felt then was almost palpable. However, he could not help but grin somewhat, as he would now crush the hope of this creature before him. His one glowing eye flashed a look towards his nemesis...and he scoffed lightly.

"Hmph, did you really think I would be so careless? No, my puppet friend, I will enlighten you during the course of this discussion. Indeed, we will not fight today. Now tell me priest, what have you found out? I will hear the words from you before I crush your hopes in my claws." Saying so, he began to whip his tail at an increasing speed. Drawing himself up taller he made a gesture of crushing something in his fist.

"Do not presume I am so easily beaten...all of this is within my plans." Lowering his fist and stilling the movement of his tail, he awaited an answer.


Tasn Zheng

Pale eyes slid from the crucifix in his gloved hands over to the demon that was now looming over him. He didn't betray an ounce of emotion when the creature boasted an unpleasant demise of his hopes.

The corners of his thin, bloodless lips lifted in brief amusement as his mind was cast back to the latest murder. The reports, like all the others that came his way, was through an anonymous bearer of gifts. With the Chattercop Detective out of the picture, it was slowly growing more an more difficult to extract information, not that what he has was sparse--far from it, he had just enough to make the right conclusions.

One that was barely human would hardly commit suicide in such a fashion. Let alone so cleanly. The mention of boiling body temperature also tipped him off. What he suspected from Mizu's death was now confirmed with the repeat performance with the latest death of the red-clad moderator.

He hesitated to speak, not quite sure how much he ought to say or how excited he should appear. Being on his own was most troublesome. Whatever did his master tell him for advice? Oh yes...

"I know you're the culprit. That much is apparent. Yet, I cannot congratulate you for your little spree. They are messy and inelegant. I expected better from a so-called formidable opponent."

He took a moment to give the demon a glance from top to bottom, noting how strong the stench of blood and hell seemed to be even from their respectable distance. There was also a gleam in his eyes that told of strengthening power. He didn't like this one bit, but it was a minor setback. If he played his cards right, there would be more than just one person aiming to capture and eradicate the world of the demon.

"Yet, I don't quite understand why you are so determined to eradicate all these individuals for a sham of a wedding." Tasn's brows clouded at the mention of the upcoming nuptials. It would be in a few days and it was growing increasingly hard to not think about the event.


Warrax1

Noticing that his nemesis had not yet discovered his real intentions, Warrax grinned a fanged smile.

"Why indeed, you should have figured it out by now my nemesis." A momentary growl coming from him Warrax tapped his cane on the ground with a heavy thud, annoyed that the priest did not give him the satisfaction he wanted from hearing what he had found out.

"Even though you cannot state my methods, you still had the cunning to know it was me. Very droll of you. While I was hoping for better, I will cut to the heart of this matter. I slew them yes, it brought me great pleasure. Watching the face of the first girl as I strangled her, smashing the head of the second into a pulp...and tearing apart the third...I poisoned the forth with my own formula, and I crushed the mind of the machine man. Their deaths and the methods were not without cause. Such a game is no fun if I am not discovered after all."

Taking off his hat and smoothing his hair back, Warrax then looked directly in the dull and lifeless eyes of the hunter before him.

"However, I have known it would be you to discover me first." He said pointing at Tasn. "So I have come to ye this day knowing that you will try to defy me and now I will do something which I just know you'll enjoy." A wicked grin on his face, he put his hat back on.

"You will NOT act against me and you will NOT speak of my involvement in this mystery or you will suffer the consequences." Taking something from within the darkness of his cloak, he held something in his hand before Tasn.

"If you so much as breathe a word about me in a suspicious way then..." Dropping what he had in his hand on the ground...it rolled and finally stopped at the feet of the ex-priest. "...that bloodied pair of eyes will not be the least bit of evidence I will pin on you. Do not test me on this. I can ruin you in hundreds of ways and then you will never return to your old status...and the people who once respected you will turn on you, and then only the Hells will have a place for you. Your miserable half-soul will wander in eternal damnation. "

Feeling himself becoming angry, Warrax inhaled deeply and then calmly continued.

"I make deals though and I am not unreasonable, so in exchange for your silence, I will release you from this pact on the day of our contract. None will hear of your involvement and you will escape without damage to your reputation." He knew that this priest was absolved of his position because of the contract and that further involvement with demon kind would only serve to worsen his status. Indeed, this was the crux of the proposal...and it was the nature of devils to exploit weakness. Even this husk before him had pride and that brought about this opening. He had calculated all of this into his plans. Masters of sin...demons like himself could always find a way to weaken their opponents. This puppet was incredibly difficult to manipulate but his undoing in this matter was his own zeal. In order to trap his foe, the puppet had agreed to an absurd proposal...and that was what had led to this moment.



Tasn Zheng
He was not revealing his own motive, a pity. Perhaps Tasn had grossly underestimated the demon...but then again, he was quick to believe the marionette had very little idea of the driving reason behind these strings of murders. Good enough. Let the demon revel in his false sense of security. Sometimes the hunter wondered why he was even supposed to bother toying with the arrogant ones so much.

Rising from his seat, he felt his strings slither back in place beneath his cassock as he turned fully to face his adversary. His porcelain hand grasped at the silver crucifix tighter as whispers of clues and thoughts crossed his mind. The two eyeballs at his feet were a trifle compared to what the demon could do with words and thoughts.

Tasn was no wordsmith. He was a hunter and a former priest. His creativity was housed within a vessel outside his own form and it was growing increasingly harder for him to access the vessel as time went on. He knew he had to end this charade soon, but he couldn't tip his cards yet. No, he would have to play along; that much he knew. He would need allies, after all.

Kicking aside the eyeballs in a show of nonchalance, he found himself smiling slightly, despite the pall cast over his own triumph. It was a funny thing. He was supposed to be perfect, and yet, this demon, this contrasting monster, could easily find fault and flaws in him. Frustrating and funny in a very inappropriate, human way.

"Eheh. For a demon so proud of his messy work, you sure are determined to hide your own guilt." He turned away, eyes taking a red gleam as they landed upon the wooden replica of the cross on the mantelpiece. It could not be seen with human eyes amid all the darkness, but Tasn never was human himself.

"But no matter. You put far too little faith in human intellect. I'm aware of what they are whispering amongst themselves. It's been clear they will always suspect you more than me, especially when I am a demon slayer." The glow of his eyes faded as he turned around once more to face his nemesis. It wasn't the threat of being pinned as the murderer that worried him, that much was apparent. The two didn't have to even lock eyes to realise that the true reason was that the demon knew a secret about the marionette. A secret that Tasn would rather the world not be aware of.

"That is not to say, though, I won't accept your terms. It would only make your own discovery and subsequent damning all the more entertaining."


Warrax1
Gazing upon the abomination before him, Warrax knew that it would not disobey in this regard...but it would scheme yes...such was the nature of it. It would seek out aid to defeat him.

While Warrax could continue the charade a little longer, it was inevitable that he would be discovered by others soon enough. This was the plan...and the aid the puppet would receive would be severly limited before that time.

Staring at the creature before him he could not hear the heartbeat of a mortal...nor could he see the life that pumped through a mortals veins. The marionette was still and lifeless on the surface. Its features did not betray nervousness or anxiety...or even a hint of defiance...but that was only the surface. With his devils sight, Warrax could see through it and he knew what lay beneath the calm exterior of the man. He knew the only fear of his enemy...and that he need'nt proclaim just what he could do with that knowledge. The priest knew well enough what he was capable of.

Waving his gloved hand in an off-handed gesture with a smirk on his face Warrax spoke again to the ex-priest.

"Of course, there will be some resistance from the mortals, they are ever so resourceful after all...but I am prepared for that. Mere numbers will not stop me anyway."

Raising his index finger Warrax paused and then continued.

"Also, I would brand you as a mark of this pact...but that won't be necessary with one such as you. Nor would it be effective. A pity I can't enforce a geas on you, that would simplify things a great deal. Since I know you will betray me, you'd best scheme well...as I will be watching you very closely. If you give me any cause to believe you've not kept your silence...then you know what will happen."

While he spoke he formed a flame within his raised hand and out of it something seemed to burn in reverse, coming into being from the flame rather than burning away. After a moment the flames dissipated and a small and translucent black rock was revealed. With a chuckle he spoke again.

"As a bonus, if you can manage all of that while not alerting me, I'll give you this precious stone. One such as yourself could find a great many uses for it. This is no mere pebble, it is a shard of something greater forged in the lowest pit of Dinebokshir. It allows a demon to suppress its nature or one to supress the nature of a demon...something you could use...perhaps on your foes. Of course, as I hold the other shards, this will have no effect upon me."

He then closed the hand which held it and opened it again, revealing that the stone was gone.

"Do we have an accord then?"


Tasn Zheng
The both of them knew one another too well. It was disconcerting even to a puppet. Standing still as a stone before the demon, he listened, but didn't react to any of the conditions placed upon him. He didn't even so much as smile when Warrax mentioned his knowledge that Tasn would betray him. After all, it was no mystery that was exactly what the marionette would do the moment he saw an opening. It was in his nature to exploit. He had very little scruples about breaking promises made to the demon kind. He'd done it several times before in the past, which led to his current state of immortality.

His impassivity did not last, though. The moment the flame was conjured, his strings flinched as a hidden portion of him struggled to the surface. Pale eyes gleamed coppery red while canines lengthened, threatening to pierce the bottom lip that he was worrying as the stone came into view.

Oh yes, yes, that. He needed that, searched for that. How did...?

His strings grew metallic as they slithered out from beneath his cassock. He resisted with every fiber of his fragile being against the urge to grapple blindly with the contract demon for the small stone. It was desperate and it would be an act completely independent of--

He flinched outwardly when the stone was withdrawn, feeling the desires of the past slowly fade and taut control slipping back into place just as his strings slid back into place.

The marionette didn't speak until the glow had faded from his eyes. And when he did, it was dead and automaton:

"We have an accord."


Warrax1

Warrax was pleased with this turn of events. However slow it may be occurring, he was one step closer to his ultimate goal. Soon the long string of killings would be over and he was somewhat excited about his next task. It would prove to be quite entertaining. Afterward he would have to remain cautious, if he made any mistakes during the interval before the contract signing he could find himself with an unnecessarily challenging problem. Yes, everything up to this point had been in his calculations but the next stage of his plan would be comparatively difficult.

The more his plans progressed, the more risk it posed to himself...and he could never let it be known what he was really planning. The marionette was a pawn as well, a difficult pawn but a pawn all the same. While it was encased in that shell it could be nothing else, though he had to admit it was exceptionally strong willed and dangerous. Its reactions however, while hard to observe, were just as he had wanted and anticipated, it also seemed that its hidden desires were stronger than he had imagined...especially towards the stone fragment. That would bode well for the future...

"Excellent!" Grinning with malevolence, he felt his blood rising again. "You are wise to have agreed puppet, be grateful for this clemency I have shown and do not hinder me. We will not speak of this again so you'd best not forget it."

While he spoke, the room began to darken further and the shadows around him grew thick and shrouded him from sight. Stepping backwards into the darkness he became more and more obscured and his voice began to fade, seemingly coming from far away, and only the red glow of his eye was visible.

"I know what you desire...and in time...I may grant your wish...even without the stones....a method is........to me...you'd best............for death."

With a final malevolent chuckle he hurled a ball of infernal flame from within the darkness at the priest and then disappeared, vanishing completely and taking the shadows with him.