"Most of the time I keep to myself.
She ran like mad away from the battlefield. This was just not her day. First, she failed her English exam (a class she hates anyway), then she was sent to the principal's office because of a small 'explosion' she had nothing to do with and now, this! What did I do to deserve this?! Was I bad in my past-life or something?? She ran around a corner and stops about three blocks from the orphanage. Breathing hard, she wonders why she had to go to a school clear across town. She looks back to see what was going on, when a column of flames erupted into the sky, which was followed closely by a crash of lighting.
Most of the time I sit in my room.
Most of the time I think about not
being there. I think what it be like
to be someone else."
-Hank from Marvin's Room
Chapter 4: Plans
By Satori Shiro and Darster
"Gods, what is going on?! And where the HELL is Keiko?!" she said, begging the sky for an answer, but of course it did not reply. She leaned against the stone fence, trying to catch her breath when Keiko walked up, followed by a young man.
"Where the HELL were you?" she exclaimed. "I thought something bad has happened to you when I didn't see you at our usual meeting place!!"
"Oh for crying out loud, I was working on our escape, remember!!!" she yelled back totally ignoring the man next to her. "Damnit Rei," she exclaimed, "would you just shut up a minute so I can tell ya?!" Rei stared at her friend in disbelief. Keiko yelled at her! She never yelled at me before! I guess that's one way to shut me up, she thought glumly to herself as she pushes a couple of long, black locks of her hair out of her eyes.
"Alright, I'm listening," she said after calming down a bit.
"Good. I would like to present to you…our way out," she spoke with triumph in her voice as she introduced the stranger next to her. Seeing Rei's confused face she continued on. "I would like you to meet…your long lost brother!" Dead silence hung in the air for quite some time. Rei was too shocked to say anything. Noticing this, the young man quickly introduced himself.
"Hi, my name is Anubis," he said as his intense green eyes look her over with interest. Rei could swear that she saw something ancient in his eyes. Not only that, but his looks mirrored that of the girl she'd just been talking to, almost as though they were twins. Strange.
She had a lot of things on her mind and she wanted to say them all but she didn't know where to begin. Her mouth was open, but she didn't hear any of her many thoughts come out of it.
"Uh, Rei, your mouth is open…"
"Huh? Wha…?!" she said as she recovered from her initial shock and quickly closed her mouth. Finally coming up with a "Um…okay…uh…Keiko, let me get this straight, you want…?" she said waving her arms around in the air as she try to search her friend's face for an explanation. "What ARE you proposing here?!" She sighed, defeated.
Keiko takes a deep breath before she started to explain herself. "Well, where should I start? Oh yeah, I met Anubis a couple of times before and we got to know each other quite a bit. And well…I just happen to run into him on my way to meet you. I got to talk with him and he agreed to help us. Anubis here is going to help us escape from the 'prison' by posing as your long lost brother. After all, you did say you had a brother but you didn't know where he was, so..." her voice trailed off, hoping that Rei got her idea. Seeing that she didn't catch on yet, she continued. "By doing this, he can get you out of there with no major problems. All he has to do is talk to the head mistress, fill out some paper work and then you are free as a bird." She took a deep breath and started up again. "Got that so far? Well, when I, excuse me…when We reached our destination, you were nowhere in sight. I know you are always on time so I decided we should go and look for you. That's when we came upon a small battle. We veered away, of course, and returned to the orphanage in hopes that you made it here safe and sound."
Rei stood there taking everything in. Her plan was a well-sounded idea but could they truly pull this off? "Uh…Keiko…one small problem."
"What color is my hair?"
"Okay, now what color is his?"
"Uh…hello?! We don't even look alike!!" Rei snapped, thoroughly upset. This was getting them nowhere and she was getting one of her infamous headaches. Taking a deep breath she continued threw the pounding in her head. ….."Look can we talk about this elsewhere? I don't like being out in the open like this."
"Hey why don't we all go inside and talk, this way we can convince the head mistress that I am your brother and maybe she'll to let ya out," Anubis suggested. "This way we kill two birds with one stone."
"Cool idea, let's go." And with those words Keiko led Rei and Anubis up to the building and inside.
Y r S w T
"Okay, would some one explain to me what is goin' on here? We bust our butts to save this girl and what do we get in return, she vanishes into thin air!!" he said as he hit a tree.
"Maybe she ran because she saw your face!" Cye spoke from the branches of the tree that Kento had just hit.
"Yeah…HEY!!!" exclaimed Kento as he started to climb the tree after Cye. But Cye was long gone from that tree and was waiting for him in another. As the two jumped from tree to tree after one another, the others where talking about their dreams and visions.
This is crazy, Auburn thought. Crazier than psychic abilities and empathic lifebonds…Even crazier than an anti-terrorist strike force that drives transforming vehicles and uses crystal powered masks. At least that was technologically possible. This was just plain out of this world. Literally.
She looked up, shaking leaves and twigs out of her hair as Kento and Cye frolicked around the trees. "Are they always like this?"
"Yeah just about," spoke Rowen who was up in a tree above her. He made sure that Cye didn't head their way by pushing Cye and Kento away with a nice gust of wind. They had all learned that they can control a limited amount of their elements with a little practice. So you can say this was his. "Hey, can we get down to business already? We need a plan."
"Why don't we get started with some introductions. We can go on from there," Ryo said as he looks at the only female in their little group.
"I guess I should start, right?" Auburn asked, returning Ryo's glance.
"That might help. This is a little unusual."
More debris fell from the trees above, and Auburn sighed in frustration. "Would you please get them down?" she asked Rowen. "The whole forest is protesting."
"Trust me, when they get like this, you can't do a thing with them."
"Hey Tarzan," Sage yelled at Kento from where he was standing beside Auburn. "How about you and Jane joining the conversation?"
Kento, totally ignoring him, jumped into the next tree over as Cye deftly avoided his friend. Sage shrugged as Auburn rolled her eyes, then grinned mischievously for an instant. The tree branches suddenly snapped, dumping Kento and Cye unceremoniously to the ground. Hardrock stood, glaring at her as he dust himself off.
"Hey! Was that really necessary!?!" he exclaimed.
"Look, this explanation is going to be hard enough without you two disturbing the peace. Could you please just sit down and listen to me?!"
Her voice cracked angrily, and her eyes flashed green fire. How was she supposed to give them any kind of understanding at all if all they did was horse around? This was the future of the world? Teenagers?
Cye, knowing that messing with a tense female was not a good idea, he quickly sat up from where he fell and yanking Kento down beside him. "We're listening."
Rowen reluctantly climbed down the tree he'd been siting in. He couldn't help noticing that she looked really familiar at that moment as he sat down beside Ryo on a fallen log. Who was this girl?
Sage sat down beside her, happy for the feminine company. Somehow though, he decided that now would not be a good time to tell her that.
Ryo echoed Rowen's thoughts as he eyed their newest arrival. Hopefully her explanation would help everything make some sort of sense.
"Go ahead," he prompted her when everyone was comfortable. "We're listening."
Auburn sighed again, leaning with her back against the tree. Redwood, she noted instantly. Good, I could use some strength. Feeling all eyes on her, she starts to explain what she knows to them.
"You'll have to bear with me here…this is as confusing for you as it is for me," she said, half in apology. "Just try to understand okay?"
All five nodded collectively, and Auburn took a deep breath. Her empathy told her that the psychic glamour Kayura had helped her to cast over them still held. If she let it down gradually as she talked, the shock might not be so overwhelming. At least I hope so, she thought.
"Okay," she began. "You may not remember, but after you fought Talpa the first time and vanquished him from Earth, there was another battle."
"Another battle?" Kento asked in disbelief.
Auburn nodded. "Kayura took the armors back to the Nether Realm, and trapped the rest of the Dynasty evil in the Staff of the Ancients. You five took a vacation to the States to recover."
"Yeah. We stayed at my Aunt's apartment, and went to Disneyland," Sage interjected, starting to vaguely remember.
"Right. Unfortunately, Kayura accidentally let the Dynasty evil escape. Talpa's spirit was able to take over the body of a young man, and he kidnapped Cye, hoping to make him heir to his Dynasty."
Cye's head jerked up. "Me? What for?"
"I don't really know," she lied smoothly. She hated to lie, but Cye wasn't ready for that piece of information to be revealed yet. "But his spirit took over your body, and he took the armors from Kayura and hid them throughout Disneyland for you to retrieve."
"That's a nice story, really…but what does that have to do with you? We don't even know who you are," Ryo pointed out.
"You can call me Auburn," she said by way of a belated introduction. "And what it has to do with me is that I unlocked the Armor of Nature that night."
"Who are you trying to kid? There is no 'Armor of Nature'!" Kento yelled. He was getting sick of being jerked around by this strangely familiar looking girl.
"There is now," she replied calmly, ignoring his outburst.
Stunned silence filled the forest as the glamour drops. The five young boys were each pulled into their own set of thoughts.
Sage saw a beautiful young woman, but he also saw strong power in her, mirroring the strength and goodness of his own Armor of Halo. For some reason, he remembered a healing, her stronger abilities working with his minor ones. Did she not introduce herself at that time as Annie? He thought. He pushed that bit of info to the back of his mind in hope of asking her about it later.
Ryo visioned fire standing before him, a fiery passion matching his Armor of Wildfire. He felt it blaze behind her eyes, and remembered that same fire used on a common enemy not too long ago.
Rowen fell into the memory of a late night conversation, a memory of a fallen comrade, and how much the two fit together. She reminded him of the wind created by his Armor of Strata, blowing in every now and then, and gusting in a fury.
Kento seemed the most distrustful of the five. Just who the hell was this chick? He felt a sudden protective instinct toward Cye in her presence, yet he read determination in her features. Rock hard determination, as solid as he and his armor were. Whoever she was, she wasn't leaving till she did what she had to do and he knew that as a fact.
Cye was the most taken aback of the group. His mind fluttered with jumbled images that he couldn't put to rights. Yet as he looked at this girl, he felt a sudden warmth, a safety, the calm of a smooth summer sea. Most of all, he felt trust…and his kanji almost never steered him wrong.
They jolted back to reality as the glamour dissipated completely, Kento speaking up again. "How do we know you ain't messin' with our minds? Making this whole thing up?"
Auburn sighed. "This was as hard for me to believe at first as it is for you now. But I assure you that I am not messing with your minds."
"Prove it," Kento insisted with his head cocked to the side and his muscular arms crossed in front of his chest.
She looked at the other four boys, who merely stared to see how she would react. With a forced calm, she cupped the Stone of Protection in one hand and concentrated on it. Within a few moments, the small crystal emerged from it, glowing with the five-pointed star that was the Kanji of Protection. She held the crystal in the other hand, and called on the now familiar armor. In a green flash of light, the armor's energy flow threw her body and surrounding her as it molds itself to her figure.
The five boys jumped to their feet as the battle armor appeared on her in a green flash. They stared even harder when they realized that the armor was not exactly metal, nor cloth, but a mixture of the two. It fit her features like a second skin, as natural as bark on a tree. Her hair flowed in the slight breeze, the armor helmet-less except for a forest green headband that kept her hair out of her eyes. But the real surprise came as they realized that the armor contained no visible weapon.
"Weaponless?" Ryo asked in disbelief.
"That's incredible!" Sage added.
Auburn shook her head. "It's not weaponless. I just prefer not to use it. The Armor amplifies my psychic channeling…that's all the weapon I need usually."
"You don't use a weapon?" Kento scoffed at her. "You're crazy."
"Can we see your weapon?" Rowen had a hard time believing this himself.
Auburn shrugged, and reached over her shoulder for a scabbard that mysteriously appeared. She drew the blade, and the brilliant yellow gold rays of sunlight emitting from it illuminated even the darkest reaches of the forest. The blade didn't reflect the sunlight…it WAS the sunlight.
"The Sunlight Sword," she introduced, "among others." In the next instant, the blade ignited in orange/red flames, froze into blue ice, solidified into black coal, and then switched back to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. "The Armor combines the powers of all five of the elements."
"What's it's sure-kill?" Rowen inquired, totally at an awe as he looked the armor over.
Auburn shrugged. "Pick one. There are so many facets to the armor that I'm still learning them all."
"Awful lot of power for just one person to handle," Cye stated softly.
"From what little bits Lady Kayura was able to tell me about it, it was hid away specifically for that reason. Whoever unlocked the power within the Stone of Protection unlocked the key to the armor." She looked up at the summer sky, still wondering who 'blessed' her with that responsibility. "Lucky me."
Ryo ran his fingers through his dark hair in frustration. "So Phoenix appeared to you too, and you're on our side. That's great, but that still doesn't help the situation."
"Yeah," Sage agreed. "What are we going to do now? Whoever that girl was, she sure disappeared in a hurry."
"Whaddya mean? We're gonna go into that town over there, and see if we can find her, " Kento stormed, pointing at the distant horizon for emphasis.
"That's not such a good idea Kento," Rowen objected.
"And why not? We came this far to find her…?"
"He's right mate," Cye agreed. "Didn't you see how scared she was?"
"If we go storming into town now, provided she's even there, we're only going to scare her even more," Auburn pointed out gently, remembering the fear she'd seen and felt. "At the worst, we'll never find her."
"So, like I said, what are we going to do now?" Sage reiterated.
Ryo looked at the darkening sky. "It's getting dark. Why don't we find a place to camp out close to town…and maybe something will come to us."
"Yeah right," Kento scoffed. He still was not satisfied with her explanation. At that point though, his stomach decided to protest. Seeing everyone glancing at him, he smiles sheepishly and said, "I am hungry."
Y r S w T
"Haru, you bitch! You failed me! I thought you could handle should a simple job, but you FAILED!! When the master get wind of this incident, there will be HELL to pay. And it will be paid in full!" She screamed at the miserable heap at her feet. "I sent you there in hope that you can get rid of her for our master so he can finish Talpa's flaw-filled work, but you screwed it up by leaving the job UNDONE!!!"
"I beg you…m...m..milady, p..please forgive me!!" she whimpered from the ground. "Please, Kimiko-sama, give me another chance!"
"You don't deserve to live!" she said as she raised her hand, ready to strike the cowering girl in front of her, when a voice called out stopping her.
"Enough! Bring her to me." The voice boomed threw the entire room, sounding very angry.
"Yes, my Lord." She said, calming herself down for her lord before they both disappeared from that small chamber and into their master's throne room. The two women appeared at his feet, one on her hands and knees crying in fear, while the other looked at him, not saying a word. He could feel the anger radiating from his second-in-command.
"She has failed a mission you gave her, am I correct?" his voice commanded.
"Yes, my lord," she said, unmoved by the girl's constant whimpering.
"Then I shall make it her last." Before the startled girl could scream, the full force of his dark lighting blast struck her. Lady Kimiko flinched at the sight of the girl's charred remains. A couple of servants entered the room quietly and cleared body out. They left without a sound. "As for you my dear, I am very disappointed in you," his voice was barely a whisper. Unconsciously, Lady Kimiko took a step back.
"But master, I thought if we got her now, we would be forever rid of her and her kind!"
"You were wrong!" he thundered, as his dark energy started to grow, swirling in dark masses, around him. His eyes shining a deep, blood red color as he looked at his second-in-command. As she watched, he lifted his scepter and pointed it at her. A powerful bolt of energy shot at her chest throwing her to the ground in pain. I won't scream, she thought as the dark energy course threw her body. I won't let him hear me scream. In a moment of panic and fear for her own life, a terror-filled scream tore itself out of her throat. Satisfied with his work, he pulled back.
"Now I hope you have learned your lesson, my dear."
"Yes my lord," she said hoarsely for where she laid at his feet.
"Hmm, perhaps you have done me a greater service than I expected," her lord said thoughtfully, conjuring an image of the previous battle.
"My lord?" she asked in confusion, still crouched on the floor.
The vision focused on a young girl with long red hair. She wore no armor of any kind, nor brandished any weapon, but the powerful aura surrounding her was unmistakable. A definite force to be reckoned with.
"This one bears watching. See to it. Now, leave me." Lady Kimiko slowly got to her feet, wincing as she got up, and gave a slight bow before disappearing from the room. When he was satisfy that she has left, he disappeared from the room and reappeared in the dungeon. He walked to one cell in particular. At first glance one would not see anything in it, but one would be a fool not to see a beautiful young woman sitting in the shadow.
"So, my dear Kayura, have you decided yet?"
"I'll NEVER join you!" she spatted the angry words at him from the shadows.
"What choice do you have? I have taken away your Armor of Cruelty and that blasted staff disappeared when I grabbed it from you and the others has already joined my side."
"That's because it was against their will!" She said, trying very hard to control her anger but soon realized that it was an impossible task at the moment.
"Ah, but that is where you are wrong. Sekhmet joined me on his own free will, and as for the other two, I had a little trouble bending their minds. It's a pity you relinquished your armor before I could 'change your mind'," he said with a sigh. "I assume that you still defy me, yes?"
"For as long as I live, I will never return to your side!!" she said angry as she struggled against the chains that bound her to the wall. Damn this chains, she thought, if only I can get out I would kill him with my own bare hands.
"So be it," he whispered to her. "So be it!" He chuckled to himself. After one last look at his very unhappy prisoner of war, he quietly left the woman to her own pleasures. Seeing that he has left, she stopped her struggling and sighed deeply. Things are not going well, she thought. Just when things where working out for the better, what happens, evil comes rolling in, again. This brought a huge sigh tumbling off her lips.
"That is no way of thinking my child." Jumping slightly, she turns to the voice.
"Ancient!" she exclaimed when she saw the staff with him. Quickly realizing that she could be overheard, she lowers her voice before she continued. "So you did hear my call after all."
"Of course I got your message, my dear," he said with a small chuckle. "I may be dead but I still can hear this thing when it starts to ring like crazy," said with a gesture to his staff. She looks a t him sadly.
"I did not wish to disturb you, but a great evil has descended on the mortal world again and I can't do anything about it."
"Let's just pray that Phoenix knows what she is doing."
Kayura stared deeply into the staff. Maybe she couldn't help, but she could still keep watch over the mortal realm. Perhaps opportunity would present itself…
Y r S w T
"Cye, do you really believe her?" Kento said, trying to search his friend's face for an answer.
"Well, some of the things she said did make sense. For instance, I remember sending Lady Kayura our armor but I didn't remember how we got them back until now. I guess we assumed that we always had it. Plus the incident at the park, about how it was totally trashed. The only thing I can think of that can do that much damage is our armor."
He was still having a little problem gathering his thoughts. All those forgotten memory, he thought to himself, this is all too weird.
"So, in other words, you believe her."
"Yeah, I guess you can say that."
"I knew you would say that," Kento sighed in defeat. Cye just laughed as they gathered some firewood for their small camp.
The others had gone into town to get some camping gear and food. Kento would have gone along but they were afraid that he would eat it all before the others could get any. At that very instant Kento's stomach starts to grumble for the hundredth time. Cye glances at Kento to see that he was blushing.
"So sue me, I'm hungry!"
Y r S w T
Auburn stared deeply into the fire, giving up all hopes of sleep before they started. They'd found a small clearing in the forest to camp out in, and her telekinesis had 'borrowed' them some supplies. Of course, it had also left the shopkeeper with more than enough yen to cover the missing items.
She was tired, but the feel of evil still hung heavily in the air, particularly in the nighttime darkness. She took it upon herself to keep watch, knowing she'd never get any rest anyway.
The flames flickered and danced in front of her eyes, reminding her of the majestic bird of flames that brought them together.
I hope you know what you're doing, Phoenix, Auburn thought somewhat glumly. In that same instant, her psyche heard the same thought echoed across the dimensions. Within the next moment, she tranced out, looking for the source of that thought. Her search ended as she picked up an aura she'd only seen once before.
:Lady Kayura?: her mind reached out, questioning.
:Lady Nature.: Kayura's mind smoothly echoed to her. :Well met. I'd stand, but I'm a bit tied up at the moment.:
Kayura's uncharacteristic joke barely covered the hopelessness and anger she felt. As her thoughts opened wider, Auburn saw the dank, desolate cell Kayura was now housed in.
:What happened? Where are you? What's going on?:
:All I can say is your enemy is Lord ShadowRaven, an enemy much more powerful than Talpa, intent on finishing his work.: Kayura's thoughts were silenced a moment, then returned. :Go, now, before he discovers you.:
Kayura gently shielded her out, and Auburn blinked, staring back into the fire. She tried to reconcile this new information when the fire suddenly flared out and the darkness closed in snugly, like a blanket. The cry of a raven split the air, and Auburn jumped to her feet, calling her sub-armor.
"Too late Kayura," she quipped, her enhanced night vision noticing a shadowy figure watching her from the trees.
Y r S w T
Rei climbed into her bed, half-heartedly glaring at Keiko who vaulted into the bed beside her. Her only hope of escape died with a few words from the headmistress.
"I TOLD you it wouldn't work," she griped glumly at her friend.
"Relax, would ya. Anubis was pretty convincing, and besides, all the headmistress said was that she'd have to investigate."
"Tie everything up with red tape, you mean," Rei grumped further. "That could take months! I'll never get out of here!"
"You worry too much," Keiko replied confidently. "I said I'd get you out of here, and I will."
With that, she rolled over and immediately drifted off to sleep. Rei wanted to scream at the fates that were torturing her like this. The stress, anger, and fear all helped to launch her next decision. There would be hell to pay if she got caught running away from the orphanage, but she didn't have any other options.
"I don't have that long to wait," she said to her friend's sleeping form. Hastily she threw a few things into a pack, she took some particular care with one book before looking back once more at her sleeping friend. Better she did it this way, that way Keiko would not get in trouble because of her. She looked out the window, judging that she could withstand the one story drop, and slowly lowered herself out of it.
Someone caught her at the waist, helping her down the rest of the way to the ground. Feared that she may have been caught, she slowly turns around to see who has caught her as she worked on an excuse. What she found was Anubis' strange green eyes looking down at her. Something was brewing behind them, but she couldn't figure out what.
"Going somewhere?" he asked nonchalantly.
Rei started to answer, then realized that it wasn't necessary as Anubis started to walk away from the building. He turned back when he realized she wasn't following.
"Coming?" he asked.
"Where are we going?"
"Anywhere but here," he replied, gesturing with his hand toward the old building, while taking her hand in his free hand.
She felt an odd sort of trust toward him, and allowed him to lead her away from the orphanage that held her prisoner for so long.
How long has it been since I was first sent here? Too long, she thought. I just hope things will be better once I am gone. Sighing to herself, she continued to follow Anubis threw the dark night.
to be continued…
Konnichiwa all, I am happy that the fourth chapter is now here. Ain't it long??? It took us quite a while to get here. I know you people are out there and I would not mind to hear from all of you that are reading this so please write to us!!!