Twilight The Traveler Chapter 13 – Professor Stein

Twilight the Traveler

// Professor Stein// Story: Twilight the Traveler// by ilbgar//——————————//

The day started off as usual. She woke up, got dressed, had milk, cereal, and an apple for breakfast, took a quick shower, and made it to her first class about ten minutes early. As usual, she got out a book while she waited for everyone else to show up. According to what information she sifted out of the usual class dramas and kishin egg kill counts from the classroom gossip, some weirdo was coming after DWMA students recently. He was apparently a zombie with a hole in his forehead.

The thing was, their previous teacher, Sid, had been killed by getting a Statue of Liberty through the head. (She didn’t know either.) The connection was clearly implied. She didn’t doubt the existence of zombies after all the weird stuff she’d seen, but the question was, who had made him into a zombie? It was unlikely that anyone with less than expert level knowledge of the body and soul would be able to do such a thing. She briefly considered the possibility that it was just a rumor, but dismissed the thought. Life was never that simple. Certainly, her life wasn’t, besides, it came from several sources. Even school rumors didn’t spread that fast unless it was on purpose.

“Hey! Quiet down, class is starting!” a man with medium-length red hair, a tuxedo with a cross-shaped tie, and black shoes entered. This was Maka’s father, Spirit, better known as Death Scythe. He was the only Death Scythe in the world who was actually a Death Scythe, as the others were other types of weapons. He was also the only one currently stationed in Death City. The others were scattered all over the world, usually in the vicinity of where they were born, in order to help keep the peace.

He was divorced with Maka’s mother as of a month ago, and Maka was strangely proud of the memory. He was a womanizer, and had lost Maka’s mother because of it. Maka was now distrustful of all men due to that. Her mother traveled the world now, sending Maka postcards with a fair amount of regularity. Spirit tried to win back favor with Maka whenever he could, but his attempts were generally unsuccessful to the point of a sort of pitiful hilarity.

“Attendance is a pain, so I’m not going to take it.” he stated, putting down a clipboard presumably for attendance on the teacher’s desk. “I’d like to say something right upfront as well. The bell doesn’t decide when class is over.” he jerked a thumb at himself. “I do.” Most of the class was impressed. The exceptions were Maka, Soul, herself, and some girl who was barely awake enough to be considered so. Tara was fairly sure that he was just doing this to impress Maka, Maka had a generally low opinion of Spirit and was unimpressed by his efforts most of the time, and Soul’s opinion of Spirit was colored heavily by Maka’s

After a few seconds, Soul asked, “Hey, Death Scythe, are you going to be teaching us from now on?”

“I’m only the substitute. I’m here until we find a replacement for Sid, who died a couple days ago. Also, I may be a substitute, but for the time being, I’m in charge of this class. So, as long as I’m here, you’ll refer to me as Professor Death Scythe.” Spirit growled in annoyance. “Now let’s take attendance.” his mood suddenly shifted to cheery. Most likely he just buried the annoyance.

“I thought you said you weren’t going to take attendance!” Soul called out in annoyance.

“I’m only taking attendance for the girls, not the guys.” he said, a slightly perverted look on his face.

Soul stamped his hand on his desk. “Dammit! Quit acting like a creep!” he yelled. Tara privately agreed with the sentiment.

“Oh please.” Maka said, being fairly sure that there was zero chance of that working on Spirit.

“He doesn’t know when to quit, this one.” Spirit growled in annoyance, before licking his pen, searching for and finding the name Soul Eater on the sheet of paper on the clipboard, and writing the worst possible grade for Soul down for that day. E, for some reason.

“Okay, let’s get this class started now.” Spirit said, clapping his hands twice.

“Hey old man, what’d you write down just now?!” Soul yelled, half getting out of his seat.

“Ah, that reminds me.” Spirit said, turning his back to the students.

“What now?” Soul asked suspiciously.

“Maka, Soul, Tara. Lord Death wants to see you in the Death Room. You’re excused from classes for the day, so get going!” he made shooing motions with his clipboard.

“He wants to see us?” the three of them asked. Maka, Soul, and herself glanced at each other curiously, before filing out to get to the Death Room.

Once they navigated the veritable maze that was the DWMA building, Maka knocked on the metal door with a cartoonish skull at the top that honestly resembled a ghost more. “Hello?” the door opened, seemingly on it’s own.

“Well, I guess that’s an invitation.” Soul noted, scratching his head.

“Somehow, I have a bad feeling about this.” Tara thought aloud as they started down the path of guillotines towards their headmaster. …Dear heavens she’d just realized how wrong that sounded.

“I wonder what Lord Death wants to see us about.” Maka thought aloud.

“Who knows?” Soul responded disinterestedly.

Tara was aware of Blackstar above them with Tsubaki in her weapon form, but did nothing as he didn’t really mean any harm. “Look at them down there. Think they can show their backs to me, do they? Tsubaki…let’s go.” Blackstar said.

“Right.” Tsubaki agreed, before Blackstar struck a pose with her weapon form.

“Assassin’s rule number 1! Dissolve in the darkness and erase your breath, wait for an opening to attack your target!” he called, getting Maka and Soul’s attention.

“Oh look, it’s Blackstar.” Maka said as if talking about the weather.

“Why are you standing up there yelling like an idiot?” Soul asked.

“He’s right you know, brag about assassin rules after you kill the guy.” Tara advised. She’d tried telling him that before, but his head was thicker than the academy’s walls. She was hoping that if she repeated herself enough, it would eventually get through to him. He would be a great assassin if he could just be quiet until the job was done. He had the talent and the skillset, but he just wasn’t able to contain himself.

Tsubaki partially reverted to human form, one of the scythes at each end of the chains became her head in a glowing yellow light. “They found us pretty easily.” she sighed.

Blackstar smiled good-naturedly. “It can be real difficult to hide when you’re as big a star as I am. Oh well, that’s a disadvantage I think I can handle. After all, I wouldn’t want surpassing God to be easy, that would take all the fun out of it! Pretty big of me, huh Tsubaki?” Blackstar asked his partner. Odd, that third sentence was surprisingly deep for one of Blackstar’s rants.

Tsubaki giggled. “Oh yes.”

“Seriously?” Maka asked.

“It is Blackstar, you should be used to it by now.” Tara reminded her friend. Blackstar’s God Complex was annoying, but he was a friend, so Tara put up with it since it didn’t seem to be overly harmful. Besides, she didn’t want him to doubt himself, self-doubt paralyzed the soul. She had a ‘tolerance’ for lack of a better word, since she had to live with fear, paranoia, and self-doubt for pretty much her whole life thanks to her psychological makeup. It didn’t prevent her from casting, but she was told that her power was more than cut in half. If that was the case, then she was actually kind of glad. She had to restrain herself to avoid blowing up buildings as it was, she’d rather not have to restrain herself from blowing up city blocks.

Blackstar and Tsubaki joined the three of them heading towards Lord Death. “Hey Blackstar, what are you doing here? Were you guys called in to see Lord Death too?” Soul asked.

“What if we were?” Blackstar asked. They stopped at a mirror with the ghost-like skull and three candles on three little candlestick-holders on a small platform in the rough center of the Death Room. The Death Room looked like it was outside in the middle of the day at all times, complete with clouds. The number of iron crosses waxed and waned, but never became overwhelming enough to make it difficult to fight in here. That was probably on purpose.

“Here, I’ll call him.” Maka said before fogging up the glass and writing the numbers, muttering the little rhyme under her breath. “42- 42- 564, whenever you want to knock on Death’s door.” A tone sounded several times as the numbers disappeared and ripples washed out across the glass surface. She’d asked him once how this worked, and, long story short, it was an ability specific to full-fledged Shinigami, the ability to travel by and communicate through mirrors. Studying it had improved her ability to create pocket dimensions like the one in her backpack, and she had worked a couple kinks out of her spell to get home. She would not be able to replicate it, however. “Lord Death, are you there?” Maka asked as the mirror turned white.

“Ya, Ya!” Death answered as the mirror turned black with him in a blue area in the middle that was triangle-shaped, although the corners were outside of the field of view provided by the mirror. “Hi! Hello! What’s up…? Thanks for coming.” he said.

“Scythe Meister Maka reporting in.” Maka said cheerfully.

“Yeah and Dark Arm Meister Blackstar, too.” Blackstar added.

“And Tsubaki, I’m his partner.” Tsubaki said.

“Unassigned Meister Tara reporting.” Tara said. She didn’t have a partner, so she couldn’t be assigned a type. The others had given her strange looks when they found out that she didn’t have a partner, especially since that meant she fought with a ‘normal’ sword and pistol. Of course, they didn’t realize that these were not ordinary weapons anymore. Seriously, her pistol had the kind of power you’d expect from a low-end sniper rifle and her sword was unnaturally sharp and almost seemed to cut the air if she swung it as hard and fast as she could.

“Well, what did you want with us?” Soul asked.

“Right… I have a little assignment for the five of you to take on.” Death said.

“Assignment?” everyone in the room besides Death asked.

“Some extra lessons.” Death said.

“Huh?! Those extra lessons that stupid people get?” Maka asked, horrified. “Those lessons?”

“Well to hell with that…” Soul said, turning to walk away. “I’m gonna be a Death Scythe! I’m way too cool for extra lessons.” Soul said.

“Do you remember your duty as meisters and weapons?” Death asked.

“Yes, our duty as meisters is to feed our weapons 99 Kishin souls and one witch soul. We collect evil souls in order to keep the world at peace. We work to create a Death Scythe, a weapon of the Grim Reaper, Death.” Maka said, practically copying the textbook.

“You are absolutely right! But do you know how many souls all of you have managed to collect?” Death asked. He raised his hands and formed a zero with the thumb and pointer finger of each. “Exactly zero!” he said, leaving everyone but Blackstar and Tara with their jaws dropped and noticeably paler, as if they were on the verge of fainting.

Tara was too busy frantically apologizing to be left shell-shocked, while Blackstar just laughed for some reason. This earned him a Reaper Chop, which could very well be what Maka’s Maka Chop was based on, except she used a book to make up for the fact that she lacked the overly large hands that Death possessed. Though it was odd to see someone in a mirror do that… Wait how in the actual hell did that work? Could he pass part of the way through the mirror if he wanted?

“It isn’t something to laugh about, Chuckles. Anyway, are you ready to learn what your extra lessons will entail?” Death asked, getting their attention squarely back on him rather than their downed and only semi-conscious friend. “Maybe you’ve already heard the rumors. About Sid, who taught here at the Academy until recently.” Death said.

“See…? I was right. It wasn’t just a story.” Soul said, he and Maka still kind of out of it, along with Tsubaki. Blackstar was now surrounded by a small pool of his own blood. Tara’s instincts seemed to have been spot on.

“Yeah, but a zombie? I always thought he was a really good teacher.” Maka said.

“I remember learning a lot in those lessons he gave us.” Tara said, starting to calm down a bit.

“You’re right, when he was alive, Sid was regarded as an excellent teacher. However, when he became a zombie he changed. He has been released from the fear of death. Now he wants others to have the same freedom he does. He is attempting to train students to free themselves as well, but when a student won’t listen, which is the case for every one he’s contacted so far, Sid attacks. Another difficulty is the one who made Sid a zombie in the first place. We still don’t know who it was, or their motive. It could be a witch, or a more lucid Kishin Egg, or perhaps even a member of the DWMA.” Death explained.

Blackstar suddenly stood up like nothing happened, despite the obvious mark on his head. “Alright, leave it all to me sir! For our extra lesson we just have to eliminate these guys?” Blackstar asked.

“Yep, that’s pretty much it. Now I don’t want to put too much pressure on you, but if you fail to complete this mission you all be expelled.” he said seriously.

“What!? You’re gonna kick us out?!” everyone but Blackstar yelled.

“There’s nothing to worry about, I can take care of guys like this in my sleep!” Blackstar said, trying to be reassuring in his own way.

“We’re all doomed!” Tara said miserably.

“Come on! Let’s go!” Blackstar said, dragging the rest of them along.

*** 2 Hours Later ***

They were at the Hook Cemetery, where Sid had been buried. It was seemingly purposefully creepy. There were hooks everywhere, on the fence enclosing the cemetery, on the trees, there were even some on the gravestones. It took them a few minutes to find Sid’s oddly shaped gravestone, which had a circular hole in the center by design, and minuses turned on their sides on either side. The top was pointed like a sword as well. It was almost like someone had designed this gravestone as weapon.

“Come out zombie! Nap time’s over!” Soul yelled.

“Hey Tsubaki, this is Sid’s grave, right? Are you sure this is where we want to start looking?” Blackstar asked. “I thought zombies got up and moved around a lot.” he said. He had a point. If she were a zombie, she certainly wouldn’t stay near her grave if she didn’t have to.

“We might as well check this place first, if only to make sure he’s not here.” Tsubaki answered.

“I’m not gonna let myself be expelled over some zombie! Come out already!” Soul ranted.

“Looks like an ordinary grave to me.” Blackstar said.

“I never even listened to your lessons, so there!” Soul continued to rant. He began to laugh dementedly.

“Soul seems… a bit disturbed.” Tsubaki commented.

Maka was drooping onto the ground next to a tree. “I can’t believe I’m going to be expelled just like that. I always thought I was a great scythe meister like my mother was.” she drooped lower, until only her head and arms were actually on the tree. She made a pitiful little noise.

“What’s wrong with Maka?” Blackstar asked.

“Where are you, huh?! It’s like you’re afraid!” Soul continued to rant in the background.

“Blackstar, aren’t you the least bit worried about all this?” Tsubaki asked him. Blackstar just looked confused.

“Hee hee, we’ll pass even if it’s over all our dead bodies.” Tara said, giggling madly with more than a few hairs out of place. The functioning members of the group backed a few steps off from her.

“Where the hell are you hiding?!” Soul yelled.

“Hey Soul, let’s deface Sid’s grave. If that doesn’t get him out here, nothing will!” Blackstar suggested.

“Yeah, and while we’re at it let’s insult his teaching methods too!” Soul agreed instantly.

They started yelling insults and demanding he come out. “Okay, you guys can stop now.” Tsubaki said.

Maka and Tara snapped out of it, sensing hostile intent an instant before their zombified quarry burst out of the ground and grabbed Maka in the same movement. “Maka!” Soul called.

“Are you scared girl?” Sid asked, holding a knife-like branch from a tree with a metal blade attached. “I think you are.” He let go as he nearly took an Enfired bullet in the arm courtesy of Tara and jumped away as a scythe was launched at him. Soul had thrown himself at Sid while transforming. Soul stuck in the ground point-down.

“That’s what Sid’s become?” Maka asked.

“Guess so.” Soul said.

“On the bright side, he doesn’t seem to have begun eating souls, so he’s not that far gone at least.” Tara noted, drawing her sword as well.

“Maka, Soul, Blackstar, Tsubaki, Tara, good morning, good afternoon, good night.” He grabbed his gravestone, grunted from the effort, then pulled it out of the ground. “How have you been, and all that.” He brandished his improvised weapon, before putting it under one arm. “I always tried to remember my manners, that’s the kind of man I was.” Sid said.

“Tsubaki, let’s get ready to end this guy.” Blackstar said.

“Right.” Tsubaki responded before turning into her chain-scythe form. Her weapon form was special in that it had several different forms besides the base one.

Meanwhile, Death was using his mirror to observe them, along with his son Death the Kid, who was sitting in a yellow chair with just a touch of ornamentation that just so happened to be symmetrical. Death the Kid, usually called Kid, had black hair with three white stripes on one side. He wore a suit with a pin like the mask his father wore. He wore black shoes and utilized two Demon Pistols of identical make and model because of his OCD which he was in denial about, despite the fact that it was obvious and caused him to obsess over symmetry to the point of barely being able to function.

“So Sid…” Tara began, Enthundering her sword and causing it to crackle with electricity.

“Tell us why you’re doing this.” Maka said, putting one hand on Soul’s weapon form and spinning him around to get him in a proper position for her stance.

“Ding-dong! Dong-Ding! Being a zombie’s amazing! There’s so many things I can get away with now that I could never have when I was alive. Class is in session, I always was a man who started class right with the bell, punctuality is important after all.” Sid said.

“We agree on that much at least.” Tara said. Sorting through what spells she could disguise as abilities of her weapons. She would only be able to use the spells that matched what she’d cloaked her weapons in. Of course, if the others were in danger, she would throw hiding her magic out of a window on the fiftieth floor onto an angry mob.

“This’ll be fun, I get to teach you a lesson now teacher.” Blackstar said smirking. “Since it’s coming from me, you know it’ll be a big one.” Blackstar said moving into a ready stance.

“We don’t want to be expelled, so we’ll take your extra lesson!” Soul said, his voice modulated by his weapon form. “But I gotta say that I don’t know what we could learn from a decaying piece of flesh.” Soul said.

“If you become a zombie, death no longer looms over you. You can escape from fear and be free!” Sid said.

“You sound like a Kishin.” Tara said sadly.

“That’s wrong and you know it! You were never the type of man who would say that.” Maka said in an attempt to get through to him.

“You’ll understand once you die!” Sid said, twirling his weapon as he jumped. He landed and was about to attack her when Tsubaki’s chain wrapped around the gravestone through the hole in it’s center.

“Blackstar!” Maka said in realization.

“There’ll be no need to thank me for the lesson, it’s on the house!” Blakcstar said as he struggled to pull the gravestone back.

“I never was the kind of man” he pulled on his gravestone and smashed it into Maka while pulling Blackstar along and into Maka. Tara kept him from following through on that with three gunshots and some swordplay. She really needed a non-lethal fighting style. Her current one was pretty much ‘kill it until it dies’ and they needed to disable him, not kill him. They needed him to tell them who made him a zombie.

She fell back as the others would make disabling him much easier. “I’d recommend you give up. Even three-to-one, one star meisters like you don’t stand a chance of beating me.” Sid said.

“I’m hungry! Can we kill this guy so I can eat his zombie soul already?!” Soul yelled.

“We have to capture him if we want to find the one who made a zombie.” Tara told him.

“Sid’s right, he is very strong. One star meisters like us can’t compete with him. When he was alive he was designated a three star meister.” Maka said.

“Yeah, yeah. Hey Sid, if you keep swinging your tombstone around like that, you might break it, then what’ll you fight with, your hands?” Soul asked. “If you’re not careful you’ll up and die again.” he continued.

“It’s my tombstone I can use it however I want, can’t I? Anyway it’s time for second period.” Sid said.

“Doesn’t a tombstone require an actual tomb, making that just a gravestone?” Tara asked in deadpan.

Sid ignored her question. “Ding-dong! Dong-ding! Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, when this lesson is over, you’re all gonna die.” Sid said, adjusting his hold on his gravestone.

“Then I guess I’m cutting class today. I think I’ll go home and take a nice hot bath.” Maka sent back, before launching herself at Sid, only for him to deflect her attack, and send her skidding back.

“What’s wrong? Why aren’t you working together?” Sid asked. “You have to establish a connection between the souls of weapon and meister!” he reprimanded.

“You’re giving advice to the enemy?” Blackstar asked incredulously as he began to swing Tsubaki mid-flight.

“I’ve always been an enthusiastic educator!” he yelled, swinging his own weapon around, which was met by Blackstar’s foot. “That’s the kind of guy I was!” he said as flung Blackstar away. “And now I’ll teach you how to die!” he followed Blackstar up with enough speed to render him a blur. Twilight teleported up and raised a shield and her own weapons to block as Sid performed a special move. “The Living End!” he yelled, a pink, cross-shaped explosion smashing right through her hastily-constructed shield and into her guard, most of the force was absorbed by her shield and guard, but there was enough left over for the two of them to make an imprint in the ground when they smashed into it.

“Are you guys alright?” Maka called as a dust cloud from the impact obscured them. Sid turned on her, running out of the smoke. He stopped and crouched as the dust cleared. He was originally partnered with a knife Demon Weapon, but he only needed his gravestone to fight at this level… he certainly deserved the ranking of three star meister.

“Maka! Keep him occupied for a minute! I have an idea!” Tara called.

“Ding-dong! Dong-ding! Looks like class is over, are you ready to die yet?” Sid asked. “Well, whaddya say? Aren’t you afraid of dying?” Sid asked. “If you become a zombie, then you’ll be free of that fear of death forever!” he said.

Blackstar groaned as he rubbed the spot he landed on. “So what’s the plan?” he asked.

“I attack Sid in tandem with Maka, and you take the opening we provide to use Trapstar to, well, trap him.” Tara said, before racing out to engage Sid. She shot him in the foot, then smashed the blunt side of her sword into Sid’s solar plexus. The solar plexus was one of the body’s weakest points. The sheer force she used made the attack strong enough to cause internal bleeding, despite only using the blunt side of her sword. She may be one of the slower members of the EAT class, but she was one of the strongest in terms of physical strength.

“Hm, that was an impressive attack, just what you’d expect from someone with as much combat experience as Tara. Of all the students at my Academy she has the most by far, due to an unusual series of events. As such she’s gained a certain knack for hitting the weak points of her enemies.” Death commented.

“Well, I’m not going to sit back and let you two hog all the fighting! Besides, I’m getting tired of this guy’s lectures, who’d listen to a lump of rotting flesh anyway?” Blackstar yelled as he sent Tsubaki’s chain around one of Sid’s arms, drew him in and struck him in the solar plexus again, compounding the damage she’d already done. “Especially when there’s a big star like me around!” She supposed that the plan wasn’t completely thrown out the window, but it was certainly going to be harder to give him the necessary opening with Blackstar in the midst of the fighting.

“Hm, with that kind of damage, Sid won’t be able to keep fighting at full strength much longer.” Death noted.

“Tsubaki, Shuriken mode!” Blackstar ordered. Tsubaki shifted from her chain-scythe form to a giant shuriken with five points, forming a star.

Tara shot Enfired bullets at Sid to keep him in the shuriken’s path, but he merely blocked with his gravestone and jumped up, although it appeared that Tsubaki could influence her flight path, since the shuriken moved to intercept him. “You can’t run away!” Blackstar yelled.

“Like I’d even try!” Sid said, jumping on top of the shuriken, before using it as a springboard to turn to Maka.

“Maka, he’s coming!” Soul said.

“I can see him!” Maka responded, moving into a defensive stance.

“The Living End!” Sid said, the barrier Tara raised falling to the attack, which was stronger this time, as if Sid had been holding back before and increased his power, accounting for the shield this time. Sid chuckled, before noticing that Maka was unharmed because she had just barely avoided the attack, leaving Sid open to her counter-attack. ‘She avoided it with such a minor margin for error?’ he thought, perplexed.

“People need fear to survive, we experience it so we can grow stronger!” Maka said, before smashing her foot into his face, her foot which was in a steel-toed combat boot.

“If she wasn’t afraid in this situation, I’d call that reckless. However, Maka has the courage to fight in spite of her fear.” Death said.

Maka continued the attack, smashing Sid into the ground with enough force to leave an imprint. She then used his face as a springboard to jump past him.

“Maka… let’s do what he said, see if you can match my soul’s wavelength.” Soul said.

“But that hasn’t worked for us a single time before.” Maka objected.

“So what? This is us, we can do it.” Soul reassured.

Maka nodded slightly. She twirled Soul above her head, then they both cried out. “Let’s go, Soul Resonance!” They screamed involuntarily as Soul’s blade began to glow blue. The others paused, feeling the rising power the two were emanating. “The legendary superskill of the scythemester, Witch Hunter!” Maka said, as Soul’s blade became a crescent moon-shaped blade with a toothy mouth three times it’s original size. Maka started to run towards Sid, but began to lose her balance as she found herself unable to properly control the power she was currently wielding and accidentally fired it off as a blast of energy that almost hit Blackstar. Luckily he dodged in time to avoid it. It did create a small trench in the direction it went, and caused the fence where it passed through to be outright obliterated.

“Are you trying to kill us?! What the hell Maka?!” Blackstar yelled.

“Oh that’s nice, this is all your fault, do it right idiot!” Maka yelled at Soul.

“What!? You’ve got it backwards! How is this my fault? You’re the idiot!” Soul yelled back. “Getting mad at me for nothing… Die!” he jerked his blade at his Meister.

“Die!? How can you say that?!” Maka yelled at him, warding off the blade.

“Such incredible power!” Sid said awed, and slightly nervous when he realized that could easily have hit him instead.

“I wanted to do this without the superskill.” the ground under Sid’s feet was crushed. “I wanted to do things the simple way.” Maka said as she swung her scythe at Sid while Tara fired (or at least appeared to) a trio of Fire spells from her still Enfired gun. Sid disappeared.

“Huh? He’s gone.” Maka said, confused.

“No, he’s just hiding underground.” Soul responded. Blackstar’s eyes narrowed. Tara paused momentarily to reload her gun. She still preferred to do it the normal way if she wasn’t in the middle of a fight, as teleportation was costly enough that a hundred or so bullets would noticeably drain her reserves. Not a lot, but conserving as much energy for later as she could would be best since they still had another fight on their hands.

“He’s down there?” Maka asked.

The ground behind Maka cracked, unfortunately, Maka’s body blocked it from her companions’ view. Sid burst out of the ground and tried to hit Maka, only to be stopped by the combined efforts of Tara and Blackstar. Tara was blocking his gravestone with her sword, and Blackstar was holding Sid’s arm back with Tsubaki’s chains again. Unfortunately, Tsubaki’s chains were not as secure this time, and Sid was able to slip out of them in time to dodge their counter-attacks, slipping underground.

“Damn, he dodged our attack again.” Soul said.

“Now Blackstar.” Tsubaki said.

“Yeah, I got it.” Blackstar responded. “What Sid’s doing now is using the first of the assassin’s rules.” he said.

“Dissolve in the darkness and erase your breath. Wait for an opening to attack your target.” Tsubaki continued his speech. The three the still-human members of the group formed a triangle, leaving only a tiny blind spot directly above them and between them.

Tsubaki, let’s get a headstart on this guy.” Blackstar said as Tsubaki’s chains encircled the them.

“Right.” Tsubaki said as her chains halted.

The chains slowly crossed the ground around them like metal detectors of some kind. ‘That zombie bastard’s not upstaging me in this performance.’ Blackstar thought.

‘Blackstar’s movements are different from how they normally are.’ Maka noticed.

‘He’s finally taking this fight seriously.’ Tara thought.

‘Only one man’s gonna die in this graveyard.’ Blackstar thought, he grinned as the chains finished forming a five-point star. ‘And it’s not gonna be me.’ he thought. “Trapstar.” he said aloud. “Assassin’s rule number two: Concentrate on the target… If I listen carefully I can hear his soul’s Wavelength.” he muttered as he used the Wavelength from the chains as a sort of soul echolocation. ‘I can pick it up through Tsubaki.’ he continued in his mind.

‘His breathing stopped.’ Maka noticed, slightly concerned as he’d never done this in front of her.

‘He’s just about there.’ Tara thought confidently.

“And now…” Death said, leaning in.

Sid came halfway out of the ground, wielding his knife-like branch with the small piece of metal on the end. Blackstar was on him in an instant. “Trap Star activate!” he said as Tsubaki’s chains encircled Sid. “I think that it’s about time I sent you back to the grave… You really stink.” the chains looped around Sid tightly… accidentally dragging Maka, Soul, and Tara in too. Blackstar laughed.

“What are you doing tying us up along with this guy?!” Maka, and Tara asked in unison.

“Well I wouldn’t have to if you hadn’t gotten in my way.” Blackstar answered nonchalantly.

“Hey let us outta here!” Soul yelled at him. Blackstar just continued to laugh.

“When I’m done with you you’re gonna be so dead!” Maka yelled.

“Seriously! Let us out of here!” Tara yelled at him.

“So far so good. Maybe it’s time to take a break from this.” Death said, turning the mirror off like a TV.

“So now they just have to find the person who made Sid into a zombie, right?” Kid asked.

“That’s right.” Death answered.

Liz and Patty stood next to Kid, on his right. They were his Demon Pistols in human form. Liz was the more serious of the two, and the taller and elder sibling of the pair. Her brown hair was chest length, and like Patty, she wore a sort of cowgirl outfit. However, Liz’s hat, while white like her sister’s, was bent upwards in a slightly different place. Both wore red vests with white ties. Liz wore jeans, while Patty wore baggy shorts.

Patty had chin-length blonde hair, and a bubbly personality, especially compared to her more grounded sister.

“Do you know who’s responsible?” Kid asked.

“…” Death said nothing, essentially confirming Kid’s suspicions.

“He’s no ordinary enemy is he?” Kid asked.

“You’re familiar with my current weapon, Death Scythe, correct? If so, then you should also know of the meister who trained him.” Death explained.

“Yeah, it was Maka’s mother, wasn’t it? What about her?” Kid asked.

“Actually that’s not exactly right. Maka’s mother was the one who made Spirit into a Death Scythe, but he had another partner before her.” Death continued to explain.

“So that means… the one responsible was his first?” Kid asked.

“Yes, Dr. Franken Stein is the man behind all this. Not only was he Death Scythe’s first partner, but he was also the single greatest meister to ever graduate from the academy. He’s a tough one.” Death answered.

Meanwhile, in a house not far from the Hook Cemetary, a man with stitches all over his body and a giant screw through his head typed at a computer while smoking a cigarette. He had grey hair, though it was natural, rather from old age, and wore a lab coat over a literal patchwork shirt and black pants. He sighed, “Can’t seem to get my head on straight.” He paused in his work to tighten the screw by a few turns. He pushed back on his rolling chair a bit, laying his arms behind his head. “I give up. Too tired.” he said wearily.

“So this meister was your weapon Death Scythe’s first partner…” Kid mused.

“And you sent a group of students to collect his soul?” Liz asked.

“He should send you big sis, you could do it!” Patty said enthusiastically.

“Only if I really felt like dying that day.” Liz deadpanned. “You’re overestimating me a little bit, Patty. I wouldn’t last two seconds.” Liz responded.

“Why are you sending students on a suicide mission for remedial lessons?” Kid asked. Death hummed. “You know what’s going to happen, don’t you? They’ll die.” Kid said with the tone of one discussing the weather.

The group found themselves outside a building with stitches and arrows all over the place. Sid had directed them here after they’d captured him… after Blackstar had let the rest of them out of Tsubaki’s chains.

“So this is where we’ll find Stein.” Soul said, looking at the building. “Let’s hurry and finish this guy off, I’m ready for these lessons to be over.” Soul said. “I’ve gotta say, this is one of the weirder buildings I’ve seen. He even put zigzag stitches on his laboratory.” he said, before looking down at his feet to see some kind of clockwork mouse with patches acting much like a real one would. He narrowed his eyes as it slowly moved away.

“Interesting architecture, I wonder what kind of guy this Stein is.” Maka said.

“Well, he’ll likely be a scientist of some kind. An analytical fighter seems likely.” Tara said, pretending not to notice the nervous sweat on Maka’s face. This guy was strong, they could sense his presence all the way out here without any special abilities.

Stein had been typing at his computer, while screwing in the screw, until he suddenly kicked off from his desk, causing his chair to roll back at a decent speed. They all readied themselves as they heard the sound of said chair rolling towards them after the door opened with a creak. “Something’s coming out of there.” Soul stated. Tara Enfired her pistol, and Enthundered her sword in preparation.

Stein, or a scientist who happened to be in the building with him, yelped as the rolling computer chair tilted over as it hit the doorstop, sending him to the ground with it. They all stared. Stein, she assumed it was him for the moment, dusted himself off, then reseated himself. “Damn it… Still doesn’t feel quite right.” he said, adjusting the giant screw in his head.

‘How is that even possible? That clearly goes through his brain since the other end is sticking out.’ Tara wondered.

“Hmm… Maybe that’ll take care of it.” Stein said as he stopped turning the screw. “Okay.” he said, getting up from the chair and pulling it along, giving them a view that showed even it was stitched. “I’m going to try that again. I think I know what I did wrong.” he said, going back inside.

“Um… Shouldn’t one of us stop him?” Soul asked.

“But we just met him. Isn’t that rude?” Maka countered.

“I would, but I kind of want to know what he’s gonna do next.” Blackstar said.

“Me too.” Tsubaki agreed.

“Ah, why not?” Tara said finally.

The exact same thing happened. Stein rolled towards them facing backwards, and fell over as his chair hit the doorstop, yelping as he did so. The group of DWMA students all had the same thought. ‘Is this guy for real?’

“Was there something you kids needed me for?” Stein asked from the ground.

That comment snapped them out of it, causing them to remember why they were here in the first place. “Yeah, if you’re really Dr. Stein.” Soul answered.

“You did this.” Maka pointed at Sid. “You’re the one who turned Sid into a zombie.” she said accusingly.

“Oh… so that’s it… I’m guessing you guys are all students from the academy then?” Stein asked.

“Of course, you didn’t think you could just undo death without Lord Death noticing eventually, did you?” Tara asked.

“Why did you do this? Do you have some sort of grudge?” Maka asked.

Stein put himself back on the chair and crossed his arms over the headrest. “No, nothing of that kind. My motive is simpler.” Stein moved one arm into a ten’o clock position. “Experimentation and observation. Basically, I just wanted to see what would happen. Really that’s all a true scientist cares about. And, I am a scientist.” he put the arm back on the headrest. “Everything in the world is a test subject. That includes myself of course.” Stein said, suddenly, his expression changed, and Tara got the strangest feeling he was looking at her soul.

“Hey, do you feel that Soul? I think that something strange is happening.” Maka whispered to her partner.

“Huh? Like what?” Soul asked.

“Your souls’ Wavelengths aren’t very stable.” Stein stated, garnering their attention. “What’s more, they’re quite different from each other. I see one that is careless and arrogant, and another that is earnest and strong-willed. They appear to be in resonance, but they aren’t.” Stein said.

“What the hell? You mean you can see our souls, even though we’re still alive?” Soul asked. “In that case, you must be a Meister.” Soul deduced.

“He was able to read the character of the souls too… Only the best Meisters can do that.” Maka added.

“So what? Maka, you can see souls clearly like that too, right?” Soul asked.

“Oh… y-yes, of course I can!” Maka said a little too quickly.

“Your soul seems confused by that last statement. How cute.” Stein stated.

“Shut up! Quit it! Stop looking at my soul you creep!” Maka said covering her chest with her arms.

“Yeah, shut up little doctor man… No one wants to hear you talk anymore. Hya-hoo…! How about we change the subject to a more interesting conversation topic?” Blackstar asked from the roof of Stein’s lab.

“You mean like how the hell you got up there without anyone noticing?” Soul asked.

“Close, I meant me.” Blackstar replied without missing a beat.

“When did he…?” Tsubaki asked, especially confused since she’d been standing right next to him and, as his partner and the one who spent the most time around him, she should’ve noticed.

“Who cares if you can see souls? What does that matter, huh? Not like you’re gonna see anything interesting. Far as I’m concerned, the only soul worth looking at is mine!” Blackstar said, jumping down from the roof and landing in a crouch.

Stein chuckled. “Yours is an interesting one. Your soul is extremely self-centered and more than a little wild. It must be rather difficult to find a partner with a soul compatible with yours, isn’t it?” Stein asked.

“No more talking.” Blackstar said, before launching himself into the air, and aiming a kick at Stein, who blocked, allowing the chair to twirl, absorbing the momentum. He blocked the follow-up from Blackstar’s other leg, then punched Blackstar hard enough to draw blood, sending him flying.

“Blackstar!” Tsubaki called worriedly.

“Hm? Ah yes I see it now. You must be the wild one’s partner. You’re always willing to compromise, and possess a very accepting nature. It makes sense that you’re the one who’s able to cooperate with his soul’s wavelength.” Stein said.

He turned to Tara. “You do not seem to have a partner, as those are not Demon Weapons. Your soul combines the earnest, hard-working aspect of the blond girl with a tendency to place the needs of others before your own like the raven-haired one, and a certain protectiveness. You’re willing to get your hands dirty to protect your friends. However, there’s a trace of something darker in the depths. It seems to have been restrained, much like how your soul is only functioning at roughly 40% capacity due to a cloud of self-doubt and paranoia that appears as black chains around your soul. I must say your soul’s a puzzle wrapped in a riddle.” Stein said, looking at her in much the same as one does a frog they’re about to dissect.

“Who do you think you are old man?” Soul asked, using aggression to mask his unease. CQC was Blackstar’s specialty, but this guy had all but swatted him aside.

“Now that I’ve collected the necessary initial data from all of you. I think we’re ready to begin our experiment.” Stein said, with a smile that reminded Tara of Arcana.

Soul transformed into his scythe form, and Maka grabbed him before rushing at Stein. Stein dodged her attacks with ease, even with Tara firing Enfired bullets and the occasional Fire spell at him. “You must be Scythe Meister Maka.” Stein said, smashing his legs into her, while sending his chair into Blackstar’s face, causing him to fall back down to the ground.

“Ow, my face!” Blackstar said, grabbing at it.

‘He hasn’t even gotten up from his chair until now, how much combat experience does this guy have?’ Tara thought as she rushed at the rogue doctor. She was getting a weird impression, as if she was on the verge of grasping something, but not quite getting it. She didn’t have Soul Perception, it was genetic as much as a technique, though her DNA was already quite different after the l’cie incident, and her soul had effectively been mutated, so something similar wasn’t out of the question.

“Hm, let’s see, Scythe Meister Maka…” Stein said, adjusting his screw, while catching Tara’s arm with one of his own and throwing her at the building behind him, using his own momentum against her. “Something’s familiar about that name. If I could just put my finger on it…” he hit his palm with his other hand closed into a fist. “Ah! Your mother was a meister as well, and your Spirit’s little daughter aren’t you?” Stein asked.

“Who’s Spirit?” Soul asked.

“That’s what my father was called before he became a Death Scythe.” Maka answered him, before raising her voice. “But I want to know how you knew about that!” she said to Stein.

“I can still remember even now. He looked so peaceful in his sleep. He must be the deepest sleeper I’ve ever met too, to not wake up when I injected him with anesthetic even momentarily. So you are indeed Spirit’s darling little daughter. And the daughter of the woman who ended my greatest experiment.” Stein said.

“Wait, are you saying you experimented on your weapon? That’s horrible!” Tara said.

“I have to wonder what kind of test subject you’d make.” Stein said, ignoring her as she struggled to pull her gun out of the house and her sword out of the concrete. It would be another twenty seconds before she had them out. Her sword could slice through concrete, but she needed to build some momentum first.

Stein pushed himself towards Maka and Soul, a hand outstretched. “It’s just a tap, we can block it.” Soul said.

“Okay.” Maka agreed, tightening her grip.

Stein smashed into Soul hard enough to create a small shockwave, but Maka held firm, the tell-tale sparks from a Soul Force attack appeared, however, and she was knocked her back.

“What… What did he…?” Maka asked.

“What the hell did he do to me?” Soul asked.

“He seems to be able to attack with his wavelength directly, without a weapon to enhance it, of course, he won’t be able to reach his full power without a weapon of some kind. Still, don’t let him hit you with that too many times. Soul Force can deal internal damage to a human, but it’s real purpose it to disrupt a person’s wavelength and weaken soul-based abilities.” Tara explained, walking over to the pair with a wary eye on Stein.

“I don’t believe this…” Kid began, apparently Death had decided to watch the fight. “Sure, Demon Weapons have valuable physical attack properties, but their primary purpose is to magnify their meister’s soul wavelength since they normally can’t channel it on their own. But that man, he can attack with his soul directly, without the need of a weapon to access his power.” Kid said, a note of wonder in his voice. Soul Force was a rare ability, usually five or fewer in a generation could use it’s completed form.

“Yup. The relationship between a meister and their weapon partner is comparable to the one between a guitar and an amplifier. On it’s own, an electric guitar is only capable of emitting so much noise. However, if you hook it up to an amplifier, you enhance the sound waves, and the result is much more powerful than before.” Death explained.

“Witch Hunter. The technique Maka used in the battle with Sid is a perfect example of this. Even if she did fail with it in the end. But in
Stein’s case, he can use the guitar to make a huge noise without an amplifier, to continue the metaphor.” Death explained.

“That’s incredible. I can only imagine how strong he must be when he does use a weapon.” Kid said as they watched Stein stand and push the chair away.

“Let’s see here, now how shall I begin my experiment?” Stein said, moving his pointer and index finger like scissors.

Maka suddenly stiffened. “What’s wrong Maka? Chill out. Your soul waves are completely chaotic!” Soul said. Tara stiffened as well when she turned to Stein, she’d just unlocked Soul Perception it seemed, and what she was facing said they were quite doomed if she didn’t start using third-tier spells on this guy. His soul was easily three times as powerful as Maka and Soul’s put together.

Maka yelled as she rushed at Stein, only to get a Soul Force attack that knocked Soul out of her grasp as he said, “That was a dumb move!” Stein grabbed Maka by one of her pigtails and lifted her up so that her feet barely touched the ground. Soul turned back to human and groaned out “Maka.” from the ground, apparently still recovering from the injury.

Stein lifted Maka’s shirt up to reveal her stomach. “Ah, you have lovely skin. Simply lovely.” he took a marker out of his pocket. “Where do you think I should insert the knife first?” he asked before he started to draw on her stomach. “Let’s see if I can turn your smooth skin into sandpaper.”

Tara couldn’t shoot her gun or a spell for risk of hitting Maka, nor could she use her sword as it would take too long to get it out of the cement if he redirected her again. She put her weapons down as quietly as she she could, then rushed at him to use Soul Force.

“You’re about to need a new pair of glasses, bastard!” Blackstar said running at him from behind while Tara rushed at Stein from the front. “How could you already have forgotten that I’m here?” Blackstar asked.

“Easily.” Stein said disinterestedly.

“You’re not the only one who can attack with soul waves without a weapon!” Blackstar said as his hand sparked blue.

“Your talent isn’t even that rare.” Tara said, her own hand sparking purple.

“What?” Stein asked, momentarily surprised. That moment was all they needed. The two students stopped on one foot, pivoting to throw their entire body’s momentum behind the strike, and smashed their hands into Stein. The chest for Twilight, and the back for Blackstar. This caused three things to occur simultaneously. A blue wave of soul energy, intermingling with a purple one, swept out from Stein. Stein was forced to let go of Maka, who was flung away.

“Amazing!” Soul said, still struggling to stand.

“They can both do that too?” Kid asked.

“He may appear to be a child, but Blackstar’s soul wavelength is incredibly large, and for his age, he’s a genius at using the direct soul attack against an opponent. Tara is similarly gifted.” Death explained. “Still, it won’t do them much good against Stein.” Death said ominously.

Sure enough, Stein remained standing, almost unharmed. Blackstar backed off a few steps, as did Tara. “Those attacks should have done a lot more damage.” Tara said worriedly.

“A surprise indeed. The wild one and the one without a partner can use Soul Force. I suppose that it makes sense for the latter, but both at once is unexpected.” Stein noted.

“What the hell is going on?” Soul asked. “This is useless.”

“You deflected my soul attack.” Blackstar said.

“Yes, you may remember how I checked your soul data just before the fight began? When I did that, I familiarized myself with your soul’s wavelength. Now I can adjust mine so they match. When the wavelengths are the same they cancel each other out, so your attack is powerless. You see, in the exact moment you attacked, we temporarily bonded. Much like the connection between a meister and their weapon. It’s impossible to match two different wavelengths at once, so I merely matched yours, and let your attack take the brunt of your friend’s.” Stein said.

Tara gaped. That was terrifying! He could completely get around Soul Force!

“A human can actually accomplish all that?” Kid asked.

“It’s only possible if the person in question has an extremely flexible wavelength. Stein does. That’s one of the reasons that he is so difficult to defeat in a fight.” Death explained.

“That experiment was fun, but now it’s my turn.” Stein said, before almost casually smashing a Soul Force attack in Tara’s face and sending her flying, then rushing at Blackstar. He grinned an instant before he used both hands to channel his wavelength at Blackstar, causing Blackstar to scream.

“Blackstar!” Tsubaki screamed. Stein kept on smiling as he continued to hit Blackstar with his wavelength.

“Leave him alone!” Soul yelled. Stein ignored him.

Tara fired a shot at Stein, but missed since she was still dizzy from hitting the nearby wall. Stein finally stopped, and Blackstar fell to the ground, blood trailing from his mouth and eyes, and a fair amount from his head when he hit the ground.

Maka, Soul, Tsubaki, and Tara called out, “Blackstar!”

“This is too much for them to handle. They need help. Let’s go.” Kid said.

“Okay, sure.” Liz agreed.

“Let’s go!” Patty said childishly.

“Kid, you can’t gt involved. This is a test for them to complete on their own. Besides, you’re a Grim Reaper, you aren’t a student here.” Death said.

“Alright. Then in that case, consider me enrolled as of this moment. Dad, I would appreciate it if you would register me for classes.” Kid responded. “Liz, Patty.” Kid addressed them.

“Yes, Kid.” they said at the same time.

“Hey! All of you! Come back here!” Death called.

Soul had moved over and examined Blackstar. “What did he do?” Soul asked.

“Tsubaki, you know that I was never a man to run away, but you shouldn’t fight an unwinnable battle. You should go.” Sid said.

“Damn you Stein! You won’t get away with this. I’ll kill you!” Soul moved over to Maka. “Right, let’s go and get him, Maka.” Soul said.

Maka was staring at Stein with wide eyes. “No way.” she said, slumping to the ground.

“What’s wrong?” Soul asked.

“This is impossible.” Maka said.

“Hm, the little girl can see my soul, huh?” Stein muttered.

“We can’t, the difference in power is too great.” Maka said.

“Hey, come on, what’s wrong with you Maka?” Soul asked.

“I can’t… he’ll defeat me.” Maka said.

“What’s the matter with you Maka? Why are you just sitting there?! Get up!” Soul told her, putting an arm on her shoulder.

“She must be able to see his soul.” Tara said, walking over. The dizziness had faded, and cold rage was putting her mind to order.

“You wouldn’t be acting so tough if you could see the shape of his soul like I can!” Maka said, proving Tara right. She readied her
weapons, which she’d had to retrieve after she recovered, in case Stein made a move, but for the moment, he simply stood there, his grin still present from blasting Blackstar.

“You’re wrong! I wouldn’t care, Maka! All you saw was a single soul, right? You didn’t see your future. You can’t give up before you even
fight!” Soul shook Maka a bit. “You’re supposed to turn me into the greatest Death Scythe ever! You don’t want that idiot father of yours to outshine us, do you? Look up and listen to me! Do you hear me Maka? I’m talking to you!” Soul yelled. Maka raised her head.

Soul smirked. “Okay. Now look over there and tell me what you see. He’s been standing there waiting patiently for you to finish your temper tantrum. Isn’t that nice of the good Doctor Stein?” Soul asked.

“Come on, if we die, we die cool.” Soul said.

“Sorry about that, I’m better now.” Maka apologized, smiling as she stood.

“No problem.” Soul said.

“I’ve taken down opponents stronger than me before. If you don’t mind some help, I’m happy to offer.” Tara said, grinning.

“Keep him in one spot so we can hit him with Witch Hunter.” Maka said. Tara nodded. She moved into the path Stein and Maka would
have to take to reach each other.

“Now let’s try this again.” Maka said.

“Let’s go, Soul Resonance!” Maka and Soul said in unison. Stein simply stood in one spot, under Tara’s watchful eye.

‘The resonance of the souls. Meister and Weapon harmonize, the meister passes the soul waves to the Weapon, the Weapon then
magnifies the waves and passes them back. They repeat this process until they create a soul wave greater than the sum of it’s parts.’ Stein thought, watching them.

Maka and Soul screamed involuntarily as they began to glow blue. “Let’s keep this up until we reach our limit!” Soul said.

“Yeah, let’s do it!” Maka agreed.

‘I’m impressed, she can use Witch Hunter at such a young age.’ Stein thought. “You’re putting everything into one hit?” he asked
aloud. “Come on! Let’s see how much your souls can handle!” Stein challenged.

“The legendary superskill of the Scythemeister,” Tara got out of the way, as it was clear that Stein was not going to doge. “Witch Hunter!” Maka yelled, before swinging Soul at Stein from the ground up at him. Stein caught it with his bare hands.

Maka screamed involuntarily as she put her all into the attack. “You can control the Witch Hunter too.” Stein noted as his glasses
cracked, repelling the force with his own wavelength. “But I’m afraid your skills are too rough!” Witch Hunter shattered. Maka was left sparking with Stein’s yellow wavelength as Maka and Soul were sent flying away from each other.

Stein started forward, until Tara got in his way. “You’ll have to go through me first.” she said, then ducked under a Soul Force attack, but was hit by the other, only for nothing to happen. “Funny thing, the idea to cancel attacks like this has occurred to me, but this is the first time I knew my opponents wavelength well enough to do it.

‘Her soul is flexible enough to do this?’ Stein wondered.

“I’ve unlocked Soul Perception as well, while it’s not as advanced as yours getting hit by your wavelength directly supplied what else I needed to know, I know it well enough to match it now.” Tara explained, trying to buy time for Maka and Soul to recover.

“I see, she’s just delaying Stein, rather than seeking to defeat him. While it’s impressive that she managed that trick, she really should have gone on the offensive, Stein’s nothing if not adaptable.” Death said.

“I see,” she dodged one Soul Force, only for another to smash into her stomach, affecting her this time, and then a dual Soul Force to smash into her chest. “then I’ll just have to adjust my wavelength so it’s different from what you know.” Stein said as that second attack sent her flying. Her soul wavelength was too disrupted for her to cast magic right now, and she could barely move, let alone stand and fight. Stein continued to Maka unopposed. Tsubaki was holding Blackstar, and couldn’t fight effectively without a meister and keeping Sid chained up anyway.

“You managed to remain conscious.” Stein noted, dully impressed. A blue light streaked over Maka, and resolved into Soul, who resorted to using his body to shield his meister.

“Back off. I won’t let you touch my meister.” Soul said.

Stein raised a hand. “In that case, I’ll start with you.” Soul growled as Stein moved his hand to Soul’s head. “You earned a passing grade, good job.” Stein said.

“Huh?” Tara, Maka, and Soul asked at the same time, completely confused.

“Your extra lessons have been completed.” Stein said, removing his hand from Soul’s head. “You gave up your own body to protect your meister, that’s all you need to earn a pass from me.” Stein said, smiling.

“Sorry, maybe I wasn’t clear the first time, I’ll say it again. Huh?” Soul asked.

“Oh. This was all planned out by Lord Death. He asked me to do him a favor. He wanted me to help you wanted me with these extra lessons.” Stein explained.

“But if you were in on it, why did you kill Blackstar?!” Soul asked pointing, only to see Blackstar being supported by Tsubaki, but sitting up.

“I bet you think you’re a funny guy, huh? As if I’d die from an attack like that!” Blackstar said weakly.

“He’s still alive?” Soul asked.

“Are you even human? That would have killed a normal person!” Tara asked, dumbfounded. Did he have Demon Weapon ancestry? Come to think of it, she didn’t know much about Blackstar or Tsubaki’s families. She knew what they’d done in Blackstar’s case, but she didn’t even know his mother’s name.

“Yeah! And what about Sid the zombie?” Soul asked.

“Oh, right, sorry about all this. I was never the kind of man to tell a lie back when I was alive, but a lot of things have changed since then.” Sid said sheepishly.

“Oh, you don’t say. Then what the hell was the point of all this, to see if you could scare us to death?!” Soul asked angrily.

“Seriously?” Maka asked, she’d thought she and Soul were going to die!

“Look on the bright side, Maka can see souls now, and you two can actually use Witch Hunter too.” Tara said. “You also didn’t get hit with his wavelength three times in quick succession.” she added, struggling to rise from the ground even after a couple Cure spells. “I swear I’m not making Lord Death tea tomorrow.” she added bitterly.

Death chuckled. “You’re better now than before aren’t you? Too bad about the tea though, she’s quite good at making it.” Death said.

“It was just a test, but I confess it was fun scaring you kids like that! You should have seen your faces!” Stein laughed heartily.

Maka, Soul, and Tara all had the same thought in reaction to that. ‘This man is seriously sadistic.’

Stein got back on his chair, spun around on it at speeds that would make you dizzy just watching, then abruptly came to a halt. “Hey everyone, I’m sure you’re all tired. Why don’t you spend the night in my laboratory.

Everyone under 18 except Tsubaki said, “That’s a big fat no!” in unison.

*** The Next Day: First Period At School. ***

“I’m still worn out from last night.” Soul said.

“I dreamt Stein was using me in his experiments.” Maka moaned.

“I don’t even want to talk about my dreams.” Tara said, sitting next to Maka. She usually didn’t want to talk about her dreams, but tonight’s had been worse than usual. She hadn’t even been able to get her usual 6 hours of sleep. She was really glad her body had adjusted thanks to her lingering changes from her l’cie powers. She wouldn’t be able to function if it hadn’t.

“Tsubaki, was Stein a bigger star than me yesterday?!” Blackstar asked, horrified by the thought.

“Seriously?” Tsubaki asked. Even she had a limit to how much of that she’d put up with.

“I wonder if they’ve hired a new teacher to replace Sid yet. Hey maybe your father will be our new teacher.” Soul said.

“No, anyone but him!” Maka groaned. Huh, that was weird, that rolling sound seemed famil- Oh Death, no.

Stein’s chair fell over the doorstop, skidded into the room with him on it, and stopped roughly five feet from where the teacher’s desk was. “Alright class, are we ready to get started?” he asked opening his book and speaking as nonchalantly as if he were at the desk, despite the fact that almost every student in the class was staring at him open-mouthed.

“This isn’t even funny.” Soul spoke as if he had a stomachache.

“This might be the first time… I’ve actually wanted to see my father.” Maka said, horrified. Considering how low Maka’s opinion was of her father, that spoke volumes of how she felt about this situation.

“What possessed Lord Death to make him our teacher?!” Tara asked.

“Damn, that guy sure knows how to get attention.” Blackstar said bitterly.

“We’re gonna start by dissecting some frogs. It should be pretty exciting.” Stein said as he adjusted his screw.

Twilight The Traveler

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