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This article, Chapter 4 - The Taken, was added by Takeshi57 who determines its usage on this wiki.

I'm not one for drinking alcohol, but I'm guessing at least a few of you guys do, so by that logic you know what a hangover is. Specifically the headache bit. The way my head was pounding when I came to is how I imagine that kind of thing to feel like. It didn't help that I came to from a scream...

...that most certainly came from Alma.

It took me a second, but I found myself lying face down on the cold, hard floor of what seemed to be an open room of sorts. I turned my face in the direction of the scream... to find a guy holding Alma in a chokehold, and a trio of other guys surrounding me, waiting for me to get up.


I've already stated that I know how to fight, remember? But it was three on one, those weren't the kind of odds I could handle, especially when they all looked like they could fight too.

I was quiet for a moment while I let everything register, wondering how the hell I would get out of this one. Damnit, think man, think! It was frustrating, let me tell you, but after a few more seconds it dawned on me.

None of the three had attacked me yet.

It was just a theory, but I knew they knew I was conscious, so why hadn't they knocked me out already? They seemed to be waiting for me to stand, to give me something of a fair fight.

Maybe the ettiquete of this place involved a bit of honor? But they didn't seem to be exactly Shinigami, considering their attire, which had pant legs instead of the hakama. They probably more likely than not expected me to get up and fight them, and they wanted to punch me back down just for the pleasure of making me fall into despair.

When I fight, I fight to survive, so honor has never been a big thing for me in a fight. Anything goes, and this situation called for a timeless strategy almost everyone at least is aware of.

Don't play by the rules.

Here's a little soccer reference for you. A slide tackle is where you go down to slide in fast to take out either the ball or the guy who has the ball. You could perform variations with a little spin to it for more control, and that was what I channeled now. I took in a breath, and the moment of exhalation was my moment to strike; spinning myself around to take them out at the ankles. Two went down before my momentum was broken.

I rolled onto my feet and hopped out of the last of the three's range. The other two had fallen hard; one hit their head and was out, the other was moaning. A swift kick to that one's side was all it took. I held my arms up; not for blocking, but for grabbing.

Another soccer thing; you can launch yourself around someone by grabbing their arm and propelling yourself away. I loved doing that because then there is no speed contest.

The third guy whipped out a punch; I sidestepped and grabbed that arm with my left and pushed myself in; propelling myself and my right hand into his gut. There was a moan; I had hit him while he was inhaling. He was gasping for breath because I had collapsed his diaphragm.

Good, the body still reacted in a similar manner to Earth.

His arms shielded his gut, but that wasn't my target now. I swiftly grabbed his head with my hands and brought it crashing down into my knee.

3 and 0, not bad.

Now all that was left was to deal with the guy holding Alma in a chokehold. He was looking at me in a way that I think almost everyone would hate; disdain and smug superiority. He was wearing the same attire as the three other guys, and his hair was short in the front; though he had a ponytail in back in the style of the Samurai on Earth.

He stated swiftly, "I'd ask your name, as is the custom of the Shinigami to want to know the name of their kill... but you don't seem worth remembering to me."

I did what I always did when a person did this kind of thing with me; remain utterly expression list while my blood boiled on the inside. I needed to focus, and my anger was helping me do just that. Anger can get you killed if you don't control it, but if you manage to control it, it becomes something useful.

There definitely was an honor system for Shinigami though. Good, it would give me some advantage. But it probably wouldn't help because of the katana he had sheathed at his side.

I was going to try though. I needed to get Alma away from him first and foremost. He was slowly constricting his arm against her throat, seeming to enjoy the pain he caused her as she struggled futilely.

Hell no.

She finally lost consciousness and he dropped her to the ground. He was in front of me in a flash. Oh shit... was my only thought before he had slammed me against the wall. I thought that was my end, before I realized the pain didn't hurt as much as I had thought it would. I mean, I just got slammed into a wall and I only felt a little pain. What was going on here?

I still collapsed to the floor though.

I struggled up, panting slightly, as the man said, "Before you die, you may know my name." Another flash and he wasin front again; with his sword in my chest. As he pulled it out he murmured, "Masaru Iroke."

Pain, that was all I felt. Can I really describe what it felt like? You can't really understand that kind of pain unless you feel it yourself. My blood was pouring out, and my body was starting to go numb. I felt myself fall, and then there was nothing.