This is a little side story off of my Troopers storyline, as written by one of the main characters. A new disclaimer. I am introducing new characters that do not belong to me. For future reference, my Dragon Gods are modeled after the four Dragon Kings from the anime Sohryuden, released by Manga Corp. No harm intended.
On with the story.
TROOPERS ½ INTERLUDE
Konnichi wa! My name is Kairyu Arial, and I just had to write this down. I have been thinking for a while now that it would be a good idea to start a journal, I just never got around to it. So . . . first off, on this first entry, I'll tell a bit about myself and attempt to get everything sort of up to date.
Well . . . lets see. I appear to be a normal teenage girl. I'm rather on the short side with a nice figure and I have long, and I do mean long, blond hair and deep purple eyes. I am fifteen years old, going onto sixteen. Normal enough, right?
WRONG! There are things about me that are not normal in the slightest bit. In reality, I am an Avatar of the Dragon Gods and a protector of the Earth. This is not a cushy job. Back when I was twelve, I was given a magic staff, the Staff of Four Colors and a cool set of armor, the Golden Dragon Armor by the four Dragon Gods.
With these, I protect this plain of reality from anything that threatens it, may it be a mortal threat, or demonic in nature. I also directly serve my Gods, in any capacity they wish. Fun job for a teenager.
The next important occurrence in my life, after becoming an Avatar, was meeting my future husband. Yes, not even sixteen, and I am engaged. This is what happened.
Around ten months ago, my parents arranged for me to meet my betrothed. Here in Japan, it is not unusual for parents to pick out who their children are going to marry at birth. My father and his (oh, his name is Shin by the way) were great friends as they grew up. When they both got married, they thought it would be great if their children got married in the future, so they swore that if they had children of the right sex who were compatible in age, they would get married. And then they settled a ton of money on the future wedding. Talk about pressure.
I was so nervous, I do admit. They sprang this on me with no prior warning. I had never even heard of this arrangement before, for cryin' out loud!
You see, Shin's father had died when he was very young. The Mouri family lives in a different prefecture than my family, and after his father's death our two families didn't see as much of each other as they use to, so I never had the opportunity to meet him before. So here I was, about to meet the man I would one day marry and spend the rest of my life with. What was he going to be like? Was he cute? Would I like him? Would he like me? What if we hated each others guts? All I knew was his name and that he was a year older than me. And that he was born in March. Not much to go on.
I spent the entire week before the planned meeting date looking up books on astrology. It was the only thing I could think of. Shin is a Pisces, a water sign. If he followed his zological sign that meant he would be a sensitive, peaceful, caring person who was rather emotional and would have a tendency to be moody. Okay.
On the other hand, I am a Gemini, an air sign. According to the books I read, Geminis are flighty, fun loving and, contrary to how they act, logical and able to judge things fairly. The books also said that Geminis and Pisces are not a good match. Wonderful. I prepared myself for the worst.
Sunday came. I was sitting on the stone fence that surrounds the shrine (Yes, I live in a shrine. My younger brother is going to inherit it when he grows up.) when I saw this exceedingly cute guy walking down the street toward me. He had longish fluffy auburn hair, and as he got closer, I could see his eyes were a beautiful sea-green. *sigh*
His taste in cloths was something else, let me tell you. Imagine if you will, red plaid (No, I kid you not.) slacks, a cream-colored shirt, and a yellow blazer. Geek clothing, but surprisingly enough, on him it looked good. Maybe it had something to do with how his eyes smiled.
Well, back to the story. Here I was, admiring this really cute guy, while waiting for my future fiancé to show. Imagine *my* surprise when he stopped at the gate and looked up at me.
"Is this the Tenryu Shrine?" he asked me. I nodded, it was all I could do. I was totally speechless. And a bit nervous. What if he had seen me staring at him? He smiled at me, ah, what a sweet smile, it made my heart melt.
"Do you know the Kairyus?" he asked in his sweet tenor voice. I just stared at him. I was surprised he knew my family name. It must have shown. "I was just wondering," he continued a moment later, after waiting for me to say something, "because you are sitting on their fence."
I nodded again, like an idiot. I just could not get my tongue to work, a first for me.
He sighed, probably he figured he was dealing with some sort of mute imbecile, and introduced himself. "I am Mouri Shin . . . " That was as far as he got, because at the mention of his name, I jerked back in surprise, and naturally fell backwards off the fence. This was not my day.
A moment later I was laying on my back in one of my mother's flowerbeds. Staring at the fluffy white clouds high in the sky above me, thanking the Gods above I hadn't been sitting over one of the rose beds, when Shin ran around the fence, all concerned, to see if I was okay.
"Are you alright?" he asked, falling to his knees next to me. I turned my head slightly so I could see his face.
"Yes," I whispered. Well, it was sort of true. Physically I was just fine. I just felt the complete fool, and who could blame me. I bit my bottom lip. "Y-you are Mouri Shin?" I questioned hesitantly in a small 'Oh-please-let-me-have-heard-wrong' voice.
He gave me a puzzled look and nodded. I shut my eyes and moaned. No matter how many times I imagined how we would meet, this scenario never ever entered my mind. How humiliating. I just wanted to crawl off and die. What a first meeting.
He still hadn't figured out who I was. "Miss?" I opened my eyes. He had stood up, and was holding out a hand, a slightly amused smile playing across his lips. "If you are fine, lets get you out of the flowers, hmmm?"
Now that was a great idea. No matter how embarrassed I was, getting caught laying in the flowers by either of my parents would not be good. Mother loves her flowers.
I reached out and he grabbed my hand in his. He helped me into a sitting position, and then used both hands to get me to my feet. His hands were strong and gentle. Once on my feet, I looked up into his humor filled eyes, and I knew I was lost.
I guess he felt the same or something, for his eyes grew wide and serious, and his grip on my hands tightened suddenly.
"May I ask you your name?" he asked in a low, urgent voice, like this was the most important question in the world. Maybe it was.
Kismet. We were fated to be together.
I was happy. My life was perfect.
A couple weeks later I found out something that kinda surprised me. It turned out that Shin and my cousin knew each other. This was something I never would have guessed.
Actually, I have three cousins, Akika, Seiji, and Mirin. The one I am talking about is Seiji. He is one year older than me, almost to the exact date in fact, and one of the few boys in the family. When we were kids, we would hang around together, due to the fact we were so close in age. Well, to be honest Mirin is a year younger than I, but we are too dissimilar to be good friends.
I would never have guessed that Shin and Seiji even knew each other, let alone them being close friends. They don't live in the same district, and until recently, they didn't go to the same school. Shin moved to Tokyo two years ago to go to school. They are even in different grades.
But they are friends, good friends, and they have known each other for several years now. I still can't figure out, as I write this, how I had never ever met Shin or their other friends before. Bad timing, I guess.
Shin had told me he wanted me to meet some of his friends, five very important, close friends of his. No problem, I figured. It would be nice to meet some of Shin's friends.
We went to a small park. Shin had told me that they usually met here and would meet us there. I have been to this park before, it was near Seiji's home. Near enough, in fact that we had played there occasionally as children. On a bench near the fountain were two Chinese teenagers, a guy and a girl. The guy was rather cubby but cute. The girl had shoulder length dark brown hair. Upon seeing them, Shin waved.
"Shu, Shan Lai, how long have you been waiting?"
Apparently, they were two of Shin's friends.
"Not long," the guy, I guess he was Shu, responded as we walked toward them. "We just got here a couple of minutes ago." He gave me a searching look, and then smirked at Shin.
"Sooo, this is your girl Arial, hmmmm? Cute . . . ow, hey!" The girl, Shan Lai had reached out and hit him on the shoulder.
"I swear, you have no manners." She turned to me and smiled. "Konnichi wa, I am Kuin Shan Lai, this mannerless slob is Fuan Shu Rei. Nice to meet you."
I bowed down to them. "Greetings. I am Kairyu Arial. It is a pleasure to meet any friends of Shin's."
"She bowed," Shu murmured in amazement. "I don't believe it, she bowed just like . . . "
"Hey, Shin, Shu, Shan Lai!" We turned. Coming down the path toward us was two young men, around Shin and Shu's age. The first one, the one that called out to us, had longish shaggy black hair. His companion was a bit taller, they both seemed to be taller than Shin, and he had blue hair, cut short in the back with bangs that fell across his nose. "Sorry we are late." Shin smiled and shook his head.
"Actually, you are on time for a change. Ryo, Touma," he glanced over to Shu and Shan Lai. "This is Arial."
They both smiled and nodded at me. "Nice to meet you," Ryo said.
"Hello," Touma said softly, he seemed to me to be a bit on the shy side.
I bowed down to them. "It is my pleasure to meet you." I responded. Well, that was four out of five.
"Doesn't she kind of remind you of someone?" Shu asked. "You know, how incredibly polite she is."
"Shu!" Shin looked mildly offended at what his friend said. I don't blame him, but it was becoming apparent that was how he normally acted, so I took no offence.
"Don't mind him," Ryo told me. "He doesn't mean to offend you."
"Oh, I'm not."
That was when I got a major type surprise. At least I wasn't the only one.
"Forgive me for being late," a familiar voice came from behind me, I stiffened. Nah, couldn't be. I had to be hearing things. "Classes ran longer than usual."
"You are not that late," Shin told the young man. This had to be Shin's other friend he had told me about, but it sounded like . . .
I turned around, I had to be wrong. "Seiji?"
I wasn't, it was Seiji. He froze as he saw it was me standing next to Shin, a shocked expression flashing across his face. "Arial?" He asked in a choked voice. His eyes grew wide as he continued to stare at me. I didn't really care much, I am sure my expression was the same, and I know I was staring at him.
"Wooo!" Shu leaned back on his hands and looked from Seiji to me. "They know each other."
"Shin . . . " Seiji stuttered, "Shin . . . she isn't . . . you aren't . . . she can't . . . " It was the first time I had seen Seiji unable to say something. I wish I was in shape to appreciate it, but I couldn't even think properly. Seeing Seiji here was the last thing I had expected.
"Seiji," Shin frowned at his friend, then looked down at me. "Arial, you know each other? Why didn't you say before?"
"Probably they dated each other," Shu whispered to Shan Lai. Her eyes grew wide as her face went pale. Seiji's eyes went flat, along with Shin's. Shu doesn't whisper very well.
"I would never date Arial!" Seiji growled, highly offended. "The idea is unthinkable!"
"Arial?" I turned to Shin. He very clearly wanted to know what was going on.
"Yes, we know each other," I said in a low, numb voice. "It is only natural, after all," I turned and gave Shu a cold look, I hadn't appreciated that last remark of his at all. "Since our mothers are sisters."
"Cousins?!" Everyone looked at me to Seiji and back.
"They do look a bit alike," Touma offered. "They have the same coloring."
"Cousins?" Shin repeated softly to himself. Then he smiled. "Imagine that."
And that was that. Seiji gave Shin his condolences for being stuck with me, I ignored it and decided to get even later, and we all went to the amusement park.
None of them were able to figure out how come I had never ran across them before either. Like I said before, bad timing all around.
Not to long after, duty called. Some snippy, stupid punks broke open a spirit shield of some sort while preforming some petty vandalism, thus freeing three demons unto the world and riding Tokyo of several worthless punks. It wasn't a very good trade. This was when I first encountered the Samurai Troopers. Nasty surprise that turned out to be.
It didn't have a good start. I had to break off a date with Shin to go demon hunting, something I was loathed to do. It turned out, when I called Shin, that something had came up with him, and that he was getting ready to call me to cancel. Lucky! We made our apologies to each other, agreed to go out the next night, and hung up. I told my parents I was going to bed early, I had a headache to sleep off, and not to disturb me. Then I slipped out the window.
I changed into the White Armor of Wind. Oh, wait a moment. Did I forget to mention that the Golden Dragon Armor can be broken down into four different armors, each powered by one of the Gods? Oops, gomen.
Well, it took me less than an hour to find the first demon. Being an Avatar also meant I was a priestess, so it wasn't hard for me to track it down. It was the most minor of the three, and was unable to hide its aura as well as the other two. It was also pretty easy to destroy. I had been taught special chants and prayers to use in such occasions. And if all else failed I could use the Red Flame Armor for purification by fire. Of course, I would only use that as a desperate measure. My control over fire isn't all that good.
I was hunting down the second demon when there was an explosion down by the bay. I gave it a curious glance, it didn't concern me any, and I was busy. Then lightning struck out of the clear night's sky, and I felt the fading aura of a demon. Naturally I changed course.
When I got to the bay area, I went straight to where I had felt the demon's aura. It had almost completely faded away. Someone had managed to destroy it. Who, and how?
Now I was really curious, and Geminis are very, very curious by nature. What had happened here? I was walking around a darkened bit of pavement, where the lightning had struck, when I felt something. A faint scent of darkness overshadowed by the purity of a human soul. Before I could trace the source, my instincts screamed at me to jump. Someone was attacking me! A staff whistled underneath my feet, and I summoned a wind to carry me up to a nearby building.
I twisted around right as I landed, and looked down at my attacker. A man in orange armor was staring up at me. In his hand was the staff. He did not look happy.
I frowned and gave him a closer look. His armor. His armor was what I felt. Someone else besides me had mystical armor. Incredible. He said nothing as we stared at each other, and I couldn't make out his face. Like me, he was wearing a helmet, and the night's shadows prevented me from seeing through the face guards.
I had just decided he wasn't the one who destroyed the demon. The energy reading from his armor was all wrong. At this point I was considering the idea of leaving the area, as I had no reason to fight him after all, when a flash of gold sped past my head from behind.
I spun around. Above me on a taller building was *another* armored man. His armor, from what I could make out in the moonlight, was a dark blue. In his hands he held a golden bow. He released another arrow at me, and I jumped aside. Bad mistake. That arrow, like the first, was not aimed directly at me. I guess he took me moving as a hostile move, or maybe it was my bringing up my staff, for that was when the shower of arrows began. Things took a decidedly downward turn at this point.
I barely escaped from them. I had no experience with fighting men in mystic armor, or of people who worked together. They apparently had. I finally had to resort to using my staff on them to get away from them. During our battle, I had made a nasty discovery. Their weapons were magical. The one in the orange armor collapsed a building on top of me! I flung him through a brick wall with a wind gust after I crawled out, and beat it while his friend checked to see if he was okay.
All I wanted to do at this point was crawl off home and take a nice hot bath, and a half a bottle of pain killers. Even with my armor, I ached all over. Having a building fall on you is not fun. I wasn't so lucky. Guess who had friends? Yep, that's right. I was standing on a building in downtown Shinjuku, nice view from up here, catching my breath when another armored man appeared. He was wearing green armor and was welding a no-dachi.
This, I was not up for. Even if it wasn't magical, like the orange one's staff, facing a no-dachi with a staff in my shape wasn't my idea of a good time, or anyone's I would assume. Even if I armed my staff, it has retractable two foot blades in each end, and was in peak shape it would still be touchy. Time to bail.
Maybe he was in a bad mood, or he had been chatting with his two friends, maybe both. I have no idea, I just did not like what happened next.
I had begun to back up when he held up his sword (about this time I realized it was he who had destroyed the demon, as the energy signatures were the same) and he yelled to the sky. "RAI-KO-ZAN!" and lightning came down from the sky.
I was lucky. I dodged at the last moment. Still . . . ouch! Being hit by lightning is about as fun as having a building fall on you. I would have been more than happy to have missed both. If it had hit me straight on, I am pretty sure it would have killed me.
After being on the receiving side of such an attack, I just had to return the favor. Besides, I was getting pretty ticked off. I hadn't done anything to them, why the ~hell~ were they attacking me? "SHIROI-SEM-PU!" He wasn't prepared for it, and my attack hit him full force. He came to rest in the second building he flew through.
Now, so far that night, I had fought one demon and three men in mystic armor. I have had arrows shot at me, been hit by lightning, and had a building fall on me. A pretty busy night by anyone's standard. Was that going to be it? Noooo, of course not! The night had been going really rotten so far, why should it improve any?
I turned around, time to get going, fast, and there, standing at the edge of the building was a fourth armored man. I all but hung my head in chagrin, I couldn't believe it! How many were there?
His armor was a light blue, and I got an impression of peace from him. Strange. He was holding a yari in one hand, and when I looked closer, I could see some nasty looking claws on his forearm. Brrr.
He must have seen what I did to his friend because he attacked immediately.
He took his yari into both of his hands and leveled it at me. That meant only one thing. <Oh no,> I moaned to myself. <Not ~again~.> The spear point was glowing a soft light blue.
A massive wave of water rushed from the yari toward me. Or, at least where I should have been. I was not about to get hit by one of those attacks full force, no way.
As I flew over him, I watched as he lowered his weapon and started to look around. He must have realized he missed hitting me.
I landed six or so feet behind him. It was my idea to rush him from behind, knock him for a loop, and then beat it home. Despite the fact they had attacked me, for no reason whatsoever I must point out, I still did not want to hurt them.
Unfortunately, this idea did not work out. I must have made some sort of noise as I landed, for he rapidly spun around before I could act. The moon shown onto his face, banishing the shadows that had hidden it from me, and I looked into a pair of beautiful sea-green eyes.
I froze. Shin. It was Shin. My Shin. My face was still in the shadows, and my helmet still on, but somehow, as I stared at him in disbelief, he recognized me.
"Arial?" he whispered in shock.
Naturally enough that was when the rest of the gang showed up, all out for blood. I guess they didn't take getting whomped on to well.
On one of the surrounding buildings was the man in the green armor, supported by he-who-shot-arrows. The one in the orange armor was on our building, and he was not happy at me.
"YOU!" he yelled and rushed toward me, probably intending on ripping me apart with his bare hands.
"SHU, NO!" Before I realized he had moved, Shin had lunged forward and had tackled hi . . . waitaminute, did he say . . . Shu? Had you ever experienced one of those sinking feelings down at the bottom of your stomach? Like a heavy weight? The kind that signaled that something was going on you really didn't want to know about? Enter sinking feeling.
"SO . . . " A new voice. Enter bad feeling. I spun around.
"EN . . . "
"RYO! NO . . . " Shin's voice sounded desperate. I stared at a man in red armor, surrounded by flames.
Everything happened so slowly at this point. I couldn't move. A wave of fire came toward me. I heard Shin scream my name. The last thing I remembered was being engulfed in flames. Then everything went dark.
I don't know how long I was unconscious. I awoke some time later to the sound of male voices raised in anger. The first thing I realized was that I wasn't in my armor anymore. The second was that I was still alive. My head was killing me, my whole body throbbed with pain, and listening to whomever it was yelling wasn't helping matters any. Being dead couldn't be near this painful.
<Whoever, please, stop yelling. Please . . . > I thought. I know I didn't speak. I was having a hard enough time forming coherent thoughts, let alone words.
"Arial?" A voice above me. Shin, it was Shin's voice. His was one of those I had heard earlier. "Arial?" I felt something smooth, cool, and hard on my cheek. I struggled to open my eyes.
Shin's face was above me, looking down at me in concern. He was wearing some sort of white and blue body armor. That was the second thing I noticed, right after discovering that my head was laying in his lap. The moon was high in the sky, and it seemed very bright to me.
I blinked. <What happened?> I thought fuzzily to myself. I had been on a roof, and then this guy in red blasted me with a fire attack . . .
Shin answered my unspoken question. "You were hit by Ryo's attack."
Ryo's attack? What was he talking about? I glanced around without moving. There were four forms standing near us, all in shadows. I tried to speak, I wanted to know what was going on, and I attempted to move my head, to get a better view of the other four men, but a sharp pain shot through my head. I moaned and squeezed my eyes shut.
"Here Shin, let me see her."
Seiji's voice. I tried to open my eyes, I had to see him, but the pain was too great.
"Shhh . . . " I felt a feather soft touch at my temples. My body was enveloped in a cocoon of soothing warmth, like the sun on your face on a spring day. The pain faded away as though it never was.
I opened my eyes. Shin was still gazing down at me. I turned my head. My cousin was kneeling on the ground next to us. He was wearing a green and white armor like Shin's.
My eyes narrowed in speculation as I started to figure things out. I looked at the other three shadowy forms. Now that my head didn't ache as it had before, I was able to see them better. Touma, Ryo, and Shu. Each of them was wearing the base armor. They had attacked me?!?
I turned back to Seiji, looking him in the face. He refused to meet my eyes. Instead, he turned away from me.
"Seiji . . . " I whispered, and weakly reached out to him. He stood up, avoiding my outstretched hand, and walked away. He hadn't said a word. "Seiji?"
<Why?> I thought. <Seiji, why?> Why had he walked away?
"He tried to kill you." Shin whispered softly. I looked away from Seiji's receding back and up at Shin. Tears were in his eyes. <So did I.> He closed his eyes and a tear gently rolled down his cheek, following, I suddenly realized, well-worn tracks.
I reached up and touched his face. There was a rustling noise around us, but I didn't know until later it was the others leaving.
<Don't cry, please.> It hurt me to see him like this, and I felt tears welling up in my own eyes. In the mist of all of this, I came to a startling realization.
<Shin?> I thought at him. My feelings were all in a jumble, I had no idea how I felt as I willed him to hear me. So much had happened.
He opened his eyes. "What?" he asked softly. My eyes opened wide. He had heard me! And I had heard him earlier, I was sure of it!
I struggled to sit up, I had to face him, and not at this level, no matter how nice it was. After a moment of struggling, I was so weak, Shin helped me up so we were sitting facing one another. He had a puzzled look on his face.
I bit my lip, and reached out to place a finger over his lips. Now he was looking really confused. Acid test time.
<Shin, you can hear me, can't you.>
The confused look dropped right off of his face, to be replaced by a look of total astonishment as he realized just what had happened.
We could hear each others thoughts.
And that was how I first met the Samurai Troopers.
Shin brought me home that night, and a couple of days later they found and destroyed the last demon. While I recovered, more at their insistence than the fact that I needed it, I have a remarkable recovery rate, they explained about their armor, how they got it and why. Interesting story. It explained a few things I had been curious about for a while. Wish I had been there to see it all, but my Gods hauled me out of Tokyo prior to Arago's attack. Then I told them about my armor, who I had received it from, and why. I don't think they quite believed the avatar bit, or about the Dragon Gods, but they haven't gone right out and said that I imagined things (despite what I am sure they were thinking). I believe they have decided to humor me about my Gods to avoid problems. *Giggle* Are they in for a surprise one of these days.
Things have been going normally since then, all things considered.
Well, now that I have covered the three most important events in my life, I'll be ending this entry. Besides, it is getting rather late . . . Gee wiz! It is after two in the morning! I am never going to get up. I have to pack still, and do a ton of chores . . .
Oh, what am I babbling about? Touma's uncle invited us to spend the week at his place in Nermia. We can afford to miss school, since *someone* accidentally blew up the chem lab, and caught the school on fire . . . Well, the school is going to be closed for the next week for repairs, and we are going to Nermia. It should be interesting. I get to meet Touma's cousins, and I have heard some very interesting things about Nermia . . .
(Note: Shiroi Sempu= white whirl wind)