"Where's Mia?" Ryo asked. It was already Friday afternoon and everybody was getting ready to go to the Netherworld for the wedding on Saturday. Everybody was going, even Royda. They actually convinced her to go without much fight.
"Yeah," Sage added. "She left school early today."
The girls looked at each other. They knew where she was.
"And where's Anubis?" asked Kento. "Isn't he the one that's suppose to take us there?"
The girls knew where he was, too. He was with Mia. In fact, he was the one that picked up Mia from school. They were at a doctor's appointment for Mia. The appointment was supposed to be finished before everybody got home and they haven't called anybody.
"I think they know where they are," Rowen said, gesturing to the girls.
Royda just about got up and walked up to him. The others held her down. They worked hard to get her to actually come to this thing and they sure aren't going to make one Ronin ruin it.
"Don't worry about those two," Cale said, breaking the tension in the room. "Anubis is with her so she's got some protection. And it's not like they're kids or anything. They're both adults. They can look after each other. Besides, if it comes down to it, I'd take everybody there and just let them catch up."
"Yeah guys," Cye said. "They would have called if something was wrong." Reva had not told him the whole story but she did mention that Mia was at the doctor for something. She assured him that everything was okay though.
A few seconds after that, a jeep came up to the driveway. Everybody heard the two enter the house, rushing to get in.
"We're so sorry," Mia apologized. "We hit a traffic spot in town today."
"Where were you guys?" Ryo asked. Anubis came up behind with arm loads of boxes.
"We went shopping for a wedding gift," she answered. Mia searched in her pocketbook a second, then emerged with the Jewel of Life. "Everybody ready?"
"I am," answered Cale. "We need to get going anyway."
Everybody nodded. They all piled out to the terrace as the Ronins helped Anubis with some of the gifts. He was the one taking them to the Netherworld anyway. All of them gathered behind Anubis.
He concentrated and tried to visualize the place he once called home. An aura started to form around him that immediately found Mia. Suddenly, a bubble formed around everybody and they started to float heavily. Kishin walked up behind him and placed her hand on his shoulder. The bubble floated easier and smoother now.
For a time, the bubble didn't move. Anubis closed his eyes and an even stronger aura emanated from him. Everybody felt lightweight then a bright flash went off. As they all opened their eyes, the scenery from Mia's terrace was changed into that of the Netherworld.
It was the same as most of them remembered it. Colors were everywhere and the serene, peaceful feeling the atmosphere gave off was definitely what it was. There was no underlying evil there anymore. The Netherworld was definitely a beautiful place now.
The bubble disappeared and they all fell into ankle-deep water. Both Anubis and Kishin stumbled a little but the only one that drew their attention was Anubis. Mia was there to immediately support him and everybody was concerned there. The girls, however, surrounded Kishin so they wouldn't notice that she was a little pale.
"That took a lot more than I thought," Anubis said after regaining his balance.
"It's a good thing that Kishin was there," Mia whispered to him after everybody turned to follow Cale to the castle when they found that he was okay.
"Tell me about it," he whispered back.
The girls lagged behind everybody as they tried to make sure one of them was okay. They usually didn't bother with this but since the Ronins were there and didn't know anything about them, they had to make sure that Kishin looked normal. As of then, she still looked a little pale but a lot steadier.
"You don't have to say anything," Kishin said. They all knew who she was talking to. "I know I shouldn't have done that."
"Actually," Royda said, not denying her accusation, "you should have been more careful. He didn't need that much." She started to walked ahead.
The rest of them all but stopped. Did she just say that? What was wrong with that picture? They were all ready for a little sermon from her on keeping secrets, but she turns around and gave a suggestion? Was this another sign of her changing? These were dangerous times for the girls since they didn't know how to deal with her like this. They shrugged it off and only hoped that this was just a phase.
"Was that them?" Kayura asked, arranging flowers on a vase.
"It sure felt like it," answered Dais.
"Yeah, it's a lot better than any doorbell that's for sure," added Sekhmet.
"Why don't the two of you go and meet them?" suggested Kayura.
"He can find his way here," Dais said. "We don't have to do that."
"I said, go and meet them." Kayura looked from one to the other. She pointed to the door. Both men looked at each other and shrugged but got up to leave. She went back to arranging the flowers.
"Ancient's granddaughter are you?" a voice asked from behind her.
Kayura turned around and found a little girl standing behind her. The girl had green hair and green outfit with even greener eyes. Her hair floated around her as if an invisible wind swirled.
"Who are you and what are you doing here?" Kayura demanded.
"Am I need not know who. Take to Empress Ancient's granddaughter."
"I have no idea what you're talking about but I'm not going anywhere." She crouched down into a fighting stance.
"Fighting no need. Take you I must." The little girl raised her arms and the wind picked up around her.
"What the?" Kayura shielded her eyes from the gusts.
The wind started to surround Kayura and lifted her. She held her hands together and tried to concentrated enough energy to break free. The little girl smiled.
"Not get away you can. Sprite of Wind I am. Back to Empress you will go!" The sprite's eyes glowed and it uttered a growl from its throat. With that, a bright flash of light went off and both of them disappeared among echoes.
"You know?" Kento asked. "This place hasn't changed that much."
"Yeah," answered Cye. "Considering the only time that we actually got to see it was when we were on horseback. Ryo and Rowen go to see it more."
"Not that much," Ryo said. "We were too busy fighting to look around. Right Rowen?" He turned to his blue-haired companion and found him with slumped shoulders. "Rowen?"
"Wha...? Huh...?" Rowen lifted his head and looked at Ryo. "Did you say something, Ryo?"
"Nevermind that. What's wrong with you?"
"Nothing's wrong." They were still walking, following Cale towards that castle.
"Oh, really. Tell me another one." Ryo walked beside him for a few minutes before saying something. "There is something wrong, isn't there?"
"What is it with you guys?" Both of them were far enough ahead of the main group that they didn't hear them. "Do I have a sign that says 'I have a problem'?"
"Well, now that you mentioned it..." Rowen glared at him. "Of course there isn't a sign there Ro. What makes you think that? Who else has been asking you?"
Rowen only thumbed back to the group. Ryo turned and saw Kishin walking cautiously next to Kala. The rest of the group traveled mostly in pairs. All but Royda and Sage were walking with somebody.
"Kishin?" Ryo asked. Rowen only nodded. "That's why you guys weren't there. What did she ask you anyway?"
"Nothing really," Rowen lied. "She just asked why I didn't follow you guys back in the kitchen."
They both fell silent again. Their feet sloshed around in the water and it was getting very uncomfortable. Cale started to whistle up front, showing his happiness to anybody. Rowen's thoughts started to wander about.
Kayura, he thought. I don't know how to break this to you but you're marrying the wrong guy. I thought I would be the one to stand beside you when it came down to that. I have to make sure that your feelings are true, too.
Just then, his thoughts were broken by the remnants of an echo. Everybody stopped and looked around. On the horizon just before the castle, two figures stopped also and looked around. Both looked at the castle then at each other as if they were asking each other what was happening. They both then turned to the group and waved for them to follow. Both figures quickly headed back for the castle.
"Dais?! Sekhmet?!" Cale shouted after them. He then started running after them. He and Rowen knew that scream and Strata was not far behind him.
"What now?" Anubis said as everybody started to run after all of them.
"Royda?" Mira asked. She ran behind her sister. "That wasn't...?"
"Don't you say it!" Royda stopped. Everybody behind her stopped too and that was the girls and Mia and Anubis. "She's fine!"
She started running again and
everybody just stared at her. The Ronins were too far ahead to
hear anything. But with the looks on Cale's and Rowen's faces,
they didn't seem to hear anything but that echo.