It is easier to resist
at the beginning than at the end.
---Leonardo da Vinci
Anubis swept through the dark,
chilled halls of the castle, angry
and anxious to follow through with his plans. The long, cloak-like
part of his armor billowed around him like a menacing
storm-cloud, making servant and soldier alike dart out of his path.
The blue torches lining the stone walls gave the Warlord of
Cruelty a feral look, which suited his mood. Dammit, Talpa, he
snarled in his mind, have you always been so sniveling a master?
It seemed as if all Talpa did
these days was lament the loss of five
of his armors and curse the warlords for their incompetence.
Anubis knew he deserved all the criticism, but more and more
lately, he did not feel as if he were the right hand of the Evil
Dynasty leader. These feelings forebode ill for the future,
especially if Anubis plan failed.
Rounding the corner abruptly,
he stopped before entering Talpas
chamber, banishing his full armor down to sub-armor, and gritting
his teeth for the battle he knew was to come.
voiced dripped with evil, chilling his warlord
to the bone. Usually Anubis let the feeling roll off him, but now it
grated. Whats wrong with me? he asked.
You summoned me, master?
he asked, kneeling before the
huge floating head with a hand clenched in a fist over his heart.
You missed the evenings meeting. I would know why. NOW!
Anubis just let the anger course
through him, not trying to fight it.
Instead, he concentrated on his goals and attempting to persuade
his master to let him kidnap the girl.
Master Talpa, he
began. There is a way to bring down the
Ronins that I do not think has been attempted before.
Anger at Anubis momentarily on hold, Talpa asked, What?
Tonight, I tracked the
pesky brats to their sanctuary: the home of
the young girl they call Mia.
She serves as a care-taker
to them. She provides them with
food, shelter, and information, the latter of which is most often
used to the Dynastys detriment. If we could take this girl, the
Ronins would be lost, not only of vital information, but also of a
friend. This could prove to be a fatal blow against their morale.
Talpa could hear the desperation
in Anubis voice. What greater
purpose does he serve?, the ancient tyrant wondered. Whatever
else had piqued Anubis interest must be squashed quickly, and he
accurately suspected it was this girl.
All right, he agreed
quickly, much to Anubis concern. Talpa
did not usually approve a plan not his own without much
Go get the girl, and bring her back here.
Talpa began drifting away when
Anubis stood unexpectedly,
shouting, What shall you do with her?!?!
That will be decided when she arrives. NOW GO!!!
Anubis cringed. His plan had
not gone as expected. He had no
assurance that Mia would not be harmed, let alone that she would
go to him. However, he refused to be brought down.
Summoning his full armor, he teleported back to the Mortal
Realm to claim his prize.
Mia was just coming in from
her solitary meditation to be greeted
by the usual melee that seemed to surround all meals in the Koji
household. Ryo had attempted to set the table, but he never could
seem to remember the proper place for forks and knives. Hastily
correcting his mistakes before he noticed, Mia half-tuned into the
loud raucous that was coming from the kitchen.
But, Sai, man! Kento whined. Im hungry!
Sai merely snorted. Whatever,
Kento, youre always hungry!
That excuse wont work anymore! I told you to touch the rolls at
your own peril!
But you hurt me!
the Ronin of Hardrock complained. That
stupid spoon gave me a splinter!
THWACK! The sound of wood meeting
flesh could be clearly
heard in the dining room. Finishing the re-setting of the table, Mia
merely rolled her eyes, knowing the ensuing argument that would
She walked through the door
connecting the dining room to the
kitchen, not surprised to see Kento and Sai sprawled on the floor,
both covered in flour, the Chinese boy deftly holding off the
British Ronin wielding a wicked-looking wooden spoon while
simultaneously chomping on a leg of chicken.
Ahem! Mia said softly,
but with enough force to gain the young
Staring sheepishly at her, they
both picked themselves off the
floor, mumbling apologies and glaring at one another. Kento
dashed into the dining room, plopping into one of the ladderback
chairs, still griping loudly about being hungry. Sai dusted himself
off and went about finishing dinner.
Satisfied that the scuffle was
ended, Mia picked up the bowl of
rolls and a plate of vegetables, carrying them back into the dining
room. There, she was greeted by a relieved Kento, who dove into
the rolls once again. Also, Rowen had come down, his nose still
stuck in an astrophysics book. Ryo walked in, trailed by Yulie
and White Blaze. Just as Mia completed handing out napkins, Sai
brought in the main entree: his famous fried chicken.
Mia was about to take her place
when she noticed that the space
next to her was empty. Nudging Rowen, she asked, Where is
Hmm...? Rowen asked
dreamily, still seemingly engrossed by
Mia sighed, then nudged him a bit harder. Where is Sage?
Rowen waved a hand at her absently,
attention still focused on the
book, mumbling, No, thanks. I dont want any corn...
Mia heaved a sigh of frustration.
At her wits end, she nudged
Rowen one last time. The only problem was, she pushed a little
too hard, and the blue-haired boy and his book went flying onto
Immediately contrite, Mia dashed
to help him up. As she pulled
him up, muttering apology after apology, she noticed that
something had fallen out of his textbook. Bending down, she
picked up a magazine wedged between the book. On the cover
was a beautiful girl in a skimpy bikini.
Turning to Rowen, she simply
held it up, a scowl marring her
pretty face. The Ronin of Life blushed redder than Ryos armor,
desperately trying to grab the magazine from her hand. However,
Kento beat him to it, perusing the pages with undisguised interest.
Woo-hoo! he said. So the brainiacs also a hentai! Tee-hee!
The Ronin of Justice waved the
incriminating evidence in
Rowens face, laughing and guffawing in Kento-like fashion.
Rowen tried to control his temper, but finally gave into temptation
and tackled his friend. The two duked it out, nearly upsetting the
table. Sai, angered that his meal was at risk of being destroyed,
jumped Kento, wanting to stop the two, but upon remembering
the earlier episode in the kitchen, gave into his desire for revenge.
Soon, all three boys were an unrecognizable mass rolling and
punching on the floor, knocking over chairs and almost upending
the table again.
Mia looked askance at Ryo, who
observed the entire exchange
with a sparkle in his eye. He returned Mias gaze, pausing in
joining the fight only by the angry spark he saw slowly igniting in
her midnight-blue eyes Yulie just cheered them on from his seat
across the table. Her fuse almost burned out, Mia inhaled a huge
gulp of air.
ENOUGH! she yelled.
Unaccustomed to any reprimands
from Mia, the guys all turned to
her, shock written clearly on their faces. As the dust settled, the
boys began to extricate their arms and legs from surrounding
furniture and themselves.
Kento, get your fat leg off my head!
Who you callin fat, fish boy!
Please, Sai, if you would remove your hand--
No prob! Kento, move! Youre sittin on me!
No, Im not!
Yes, you are, lughead!
Thwack! Dont call him names, space freak!
The verbal insults once again
began the onslaught of flying limbs
and peals of laughter from Ryo. Mia just sighed. And theyre
what separates the earth from the ravages of the Dynasty.
Leaving the dining in amused disgust, she walked to the large
stairway in the main room. The sound of a hair dryer could be
heard just barely over the din in the other room.
Even more annoyed, Mia bellowed up the stairs, SAGE!
Miraculously, her voice managed
to be heard above all else, and a
half wet head of hair peeked its way around the corner at the top
of the stairs. Sage grinned at Mias look of annoyance.
Yes, Mia? he asked
impishly, grinning his lady-killer smile. His
eyes twinkled in a mischievous way, letting Mia know he was fully
aware of the chaos downstairs. Though he was usually
uncomfortable talking to women despite his incredible good
looks, the landlady was a special case. With her, he was always
charming, and she usually fell for it.
But not right now.
Seeing his attitude, Mia could
no longer contain her anger. Eyes
flashing blue fire, she stomped up the stairs, glared fiercely at him
once more, and then stalked to her room. The crash of her door
slamming reverberated throughout the house.
Shaking his head, Sage quickly
finished drying his hair and dashed
downstairs to the dining room. There, he saw Rowen and Kento
still fighting on the floor, with Yulie still egging them on. Sai had
dropped out in a stupor after seeing his beautifully created meal
lying in heaps upon the hardwood floor. White Blaze gobbled the
remnants of chicken while Ryo laughed hysterically at the whole
situation. Feeling truly sorry for Mia because she had to endure
their antics, Sage rapped loudly on the wall.
Hey, guys! he shouted,
gaining everyones attention. Stop it!
Mias really upset right--! Kento, I said stop!
Shh! the Ronin of
Wisdom hissed. Shut. Up. Now. He eyed
each person in the room coldly. All right, if we can act like
civilized beings, as I was saying, Mia is really upset, and I can see
The others looked guiltily at
their friends, knowing the stress Mia
was under. She spent all her days hunched over a keyboard,
cooking for them, or cleaning for them. All she asked in return
was one peaceful meal a day. And they had once again ruined it.
Okay, guys, Ryo
said, his tears of laughter dried. Lets get
this place cleaned and cook another meal.
I already prepared a perfectly
fine meal, Sai reminded him,
glaring across the room at Rowen and Kento, until two
inconsiderate imbeciles destroyed it.
Hey! Hentai boy over there started--
Whatever! The bottomless pit attacked--
I dont care!
Sage interrupted. Just help us clean. It doesnt
matter! None of us have done anything lately to help Mia!
Ryo nodded in agreement. Lets
to try to get through the rest of
the evening without angering Mia, okay?
Everyone muttered an affirmative,
and collectively, they began to
set the dining room to rights. Kento and Rowen picked up the
table and chairs while Ryo attempted once again to set the
silverware incorrectly. Yulie coaxed White Blaze away from the
chicken, and Sage attempted to sweep away the remaining pieces.
Sai, after only a few grumblings, agreed to cook another batch of
chicken, only on the promise that Kento would remain out of the
When all was said and done,
the room was returned to rights, and
the meal finished in about an hour. Ryo had even managed to
remember how to set the table correctly. Sage had searched
through the cabinet holding all the good china and discovered
several antique-looking candleholders. Inspired, he lit a few and
dimmed the lights. The overall effect was quite pleasant.
Surely Mia will appreciate
this, he remarked to Rowen, who
had discreetly put away his swimsuit magazine so no one else
could tease him. Ill go get her.
Walking to the bottom of the stairs, Sage called up, Mia!
His only answer was the loud
thump of something falling to the
floor, followed by the crash of breaking glass. Alarmed, Sage
dashed up towards Mias room. Her door was closed, and he
didnt feel her presence. Hurriedly, he burst through.
The room was ashambles, as if
a huge gust of wind had blown
through. The bedclothes were strewn about the floor, and papers
lay scattered everywhere. Mias dresser lay on its side, its mirror
shattered. The door to the balcony banged noisily, knocking Sage
out of his stupor.
Not even bothering to look outside,
Sage ran back down the
stairs, yelling for the guys to transform. Just as he reached the
dining room and the confused look of his friends, they all heard
Mias ear-piercing scream.