Chapter Forty-Four: Trust and Mother:

The cold caressed her cheeks. Anna fluttered her eyes open to see pitch black. What happened? However, something else caught her attention. A tight grasp squeezed around her throat. She darted her eyes in front of her to find blank violet eyes staring back at her.

"A-Asato-kun?" Anna choked out. His grip tightened around her neck. She gagged, but didn't fight back. This was a trap, no doubt about that, but yet…

"You don't want to do this," her glassy gaze reasoned with him. Tsuzuki stood as an empty shell choking her as his grip tightened.

No! This not him! Asato-kun would never try to kill me. But what do I do?

Kohaku watched from the outside. Hisoka went bust with the last mission. The kitsune planned to kill Anna this way. If people died in the illusion that he created, they would die in real life. Anna should be seriously injured now due to the beating from the last illusion. She had no chance of fighting back. Plus with the executioner being her lover, this would soothe things over.

"Come on," Kohaku murmured. "Live out her nightmare! Kill her!"

"Tsuzuki's" hands grew tighter. Anna panicked as her eyes became blurry. She couldn't think straight anymore. Am I going to die?

Her mind snapped back into reality. She read about something like this once. Maybe, she could control this illusion herself. Sure, a kitsune was pulling the strings, but she knew Tsuzuki better. Anna drew her eyes closed.

"Kill me if you desire," she whispered. "This isn't you. You're too kind to kill anybody." "Tsuzuki's" grip grew even tighter. Anna softly gagged for air. Kohaku licked its lips.

"Yes!" the kitsune cheered. "More! More! Kill her!"

Suddenly, "Tsuzuki" just let go of his victim. Anna's semi-conscious body sank down to his feet. Kohaku's pleasure turned into rage.

"What are you doing?" it hissed. "I didn't tell you to let go! Strangle her until she's dead!" The puppet turned to attack with fuda in hand. Kohaku shook its head.

"Such a pity," it said. "You were the perfect tool!" Kohaku waved its hand in the air. The puppet started to choke on its own blood that the puppet master filled in his throat and broke down into bloody dust.

"Pathetic," Kohaku mumbled with a smirk. Anna lied on the ground, still recovering. That Tsuzuki may have been an illusion, but that just wasn't right. Kohaku turned to its victim.

"Oh well," the kitsune said. "Looks like I'll have to kill you myself. Such a pain, but it is what it is." Anna glared at him.


"Spare your crap," Kohaku said. "You'll be dead again, anyway!" Kohaku sailed over with a knife that he forged from his mind in his hand. Anna waited with mocking intent. The kitsune huddled over her body, ready to strike.

"Pray," it hissed. The kitsune raised the knife above his head. Anna did not react; she wasn't giving the creature the satisfaction.

However, Kohaku paused. The knife dropped out of its hand as realization washed over its face.

"Mother?" the kitsune asked. Anna herself looked puzzled. Mother? What does that mean?

Kohaku gasped aloud as a bullet hit its spine. Both it and Anna glanced up at the intruder. Hisoka walked forward with a gun in his hand. Kohaku's face changed to disappointment.

"My love, you won our game, congratulations," it said with a pain twisted on its face. The puppet master faded back to reality. Hisoka sneered as he lowered his gun.

"I never wanted to play anyway," he mumbled in disgust. The shinigami turned to Anna.

"You okay?" he asked as he walked over to her. Anna gave him an awkward smile.

"Yeah," she said.

"Can you get up?" Hisoka asked. Anna made a strange face at him.

"I don't get it," she said.

"Get what?" the shinigami asked with an eyebrow raised. Anna forced herself to sit up.

"Why are you doing this for me?" she asked. “I got the impression that you hated me.”

"Never mind that now!” Hisoka hissed. Get up and let's get out of here!"

"Right!" Anna said without missing a beat. Hisoka held out his hand and helped her to her feet.

"Which way out?" Anna asked, looking around.

"I don't know," the boy said. "My guess is that we just need to wake up." No sooner had he said that, the endless dark maze vanished. Tsuzuki, Anna, and Hisoka woke up back in the hotel room.


On Sunday, Shichiro packed him and his wife's bag. The trip turned out to be a tense one. Kohaku had failed and the gift went bust. Amaya got pissed off and didn't want to talk for the rest of the day. Her husband trembled as he imagined the earful he would get back at home. Suddenly, Club Orange and room 130 became a colder place.

Oh shit, he thought. I've got to make it up to her somehow. The man's thoughts were interrupted when he heard the bathroom door opening. He looked up and saw Amaya walking into their room. She cut him a cold glare as she walked over to their bed. Shichiro gave her a nervous titter.

"Happy anniversary, dear…" he mumbled. Amaya snorted at him.

"You're pathetic!" she snapped. She grabbed her luggage and stormed out of the room. Shichiro sighed. Oh boy…