Live for Me
Chapter 2

So far, Nasuti Yagyu is having a bad day.

Only after she handed in that blasted research paper of hers,
which she spent five consecutive nights to work on, did Nasuti
realize how exhausted she truly was. She nearly dropped her
head in her tray while eating lunch in the dining hall, all
the while her friends were excitingly chatting about the newest
fashion. Then in the rest of her classes, she deliberately sat
in the first roll, right under the professor's nose if possible,
to prevent herself from doubling over.

When her last class of the day finally ended at 5:45, Nasuti
breathed a sigh of relief. She winced a little at the thought
of having to walk home.

Touma asked her earlier if he could borrow her jeep for the day,
since he had to go quiet some distance to a University to attend
a seminar, and she said yes.

But then again, it is only a fifteen minutes walk home. Shouldn't
be a problem.

Nasuti sighed as she stalked toward the main gates of the
university. On to more pleasant thoughts, Shin promised to cook
dinner tonight. All she has to do was eat, convince the guys to
do the dishes, then talk a long, hot bath and hit the mattress.
At least today is not Monday, thank god.

She was walking along the road; eyes half closed, when suddenly,
an iron grip out of nowhere tightened around her arm and snatched
her. Before she could comprehend what's going on, she was dragged
into the woods.

Nasuti let out a scream as she struggled. Having been taking
self-defense classes since Arago's defeat, she reflexively
crouched, elbowed her captor right below his chest, hard, and
turned around to face him.

The man was obviously surprised, but not as surprised as Nasuti.
What she saw made her blood turn into ice.

The man was tall, taller than even Seiji and Touma. He wore black
ninja attire and his face was covered under a silver mask. Secured
to his waist by a belt was a wicked looking dagger. But what really
made her blood run clod was the bloody symbol on his mask. It was
a kanji character, Mei, or "spirit of the shadow."

What she learned from her grandfather's research jumped into her
mind, she whispered fearfully: "You… you belong to the clan that
Arago banished from the Nether realm…"

"Aye, Ms. Yagyu, your extensive knowledge in the field was not a
false rumor." The ninja bowed slightly.

Nasuti kept her eyes on him, thinking of what to do. She seriously
doubts that she could out run him, but…stay here and fight? Three
years of self-defense training is hardly sufficient against such a

As if sensing her hesitation, the ninja spoke icily: "Surrender
and I promise your death will be quick, Nasuti Yagyu. You don't
stand a chance against me."

Nasuti made up her mind. She threw her bag at him and ran.

But before long, she was tripped to the ground. She screamed again
and a hand chopped her neck harshly. Stars exploded before her eyes
and she fainted.

The ninja smirked under his mask. "The resolute one." He muttered,
pulling out his dagger, "Imagine the trouble you will be causing
if you are awakened. Your life must end here."

He lifted the dagger high and aimed at her heart.

It never lowered.

Suddenly a blinding golden light flashed behind his back. Then in
the split of a second, a cold object pierced through his midsection.
The ninja's eyes widened in surprise. He let out an agonized cry
and fell to the ground, died, and decomposed rapidly until nothing
but dust was left.

A tall man stood proud in the Armor of Cruelty; the gentle
expression on his handsome face doesn't quiet match the
menacing-looking weapon he held in his hands.

Shuten changed into his sub-armor and knelt down beside Nasuti.
He turned her over carefully, checking her injuries anxiously. He
then looked at her unconscious face and sighed in relief: "Thank
Heavens I'm in time. I can not bear it if anything happened to you."

He carefully gathered her in his arms and stroked her hair
longingly, with a shaky hand. He whispered softly into her ear:
"Wake up Nasuti, you are safe now. I will not let any harm be done
to you."

As if hearing his plea, Nasuti stirred slightly and opened her eyes.
She looked confused for a moment but when her vision finally
cleared, she gasped at what she saw.

"Shu… Shuten?" She almost choked on her words.


Tears blurred her vision again. How could this be? He… he 's dead!
This must be her imagination! Yet he feels so incredibly real… The
feeling of his strong arms holding her, so warm and safe. Could it
be? Could it be that the Heavens finally heard her prayer, and
returned him to her? All those sleepless nights when she gazed at
the stars, picturing his face in the sky… That face is now only
inches away from her own, his breath felt warm on her face...

Her hands burned with a longing to touch him, but she did not dare
to, for afraid he was only an illusion that will vanish at her
slightest contact. She stuttered: "Are… are you… real?"

Shuten felt a lump in his throat. He wanted to speak to her, to
comfort her, tell her that he is alive and with her. But thousands
of words jammed in his throat, not a single one came out. The
raging emotions swept him off his feet like a tidal wave. In the
end, he did the only thing that he was capable of doing at the
moment. His heart and mind all screamed for him to take that action.

He did, He leaned forward and kissed her full on the lips.

Nasuti's eyes widened when their lips touched. She shuttered as if
an electrical current passed through her. But then she closed her
eyes and wrapped her arms around his neck. Tears streamed down her
face as she kissed him back with a revived desire that was buried
the day he died, and with such passion that she never thought
possible for her to muster.

It took every ounce of Shuten's control and discipline not to take
her body right there. He clenched his teeth as he pull himself up,
air itself seem to rip with tension as he painfully forced himself
to withdraw his hands from underneath her sweater, which were
caressing her smooth back.

Nasuti let out a weak noise of complains, but it was quickly hushed
when he gathered her in his arms again, hugging her tightly.

They sat on the ground in that embrace for a very long time, both
breathed heavily and waited for their racing hearts to calm down.

Finally Shuten cleared his throat. He looked down at her tenderly
and smiled: "Now do you believe that I am real?"

Nasuti touched her swollen lips in wonder. She closed her eyes
again, and laid her head on his chest to hear his heartbeat. A
small smile crept onto the corner of her mouth. She whispered:
"If I am dreaming, then I really do have a dirty mind."

Shuten blinked several times and then, couldn't help himself but
laughed softly. Nasuti, this fragile woman with the heart of a
warrior, his love… He never know exactly what to expect from her.

Suddenly Nasuti went rigid in his arms; her eyes snapped open as
she recalled the nightmare that was momentarily forgotten because
of his appearance. She clenched to his arms and whispered nervously:
"Shuten, did you see… that is, a…"

"A spirit of the shadow?" He stroked her back reassuringly: "Don't
worry, I took care of that creature."

It only took Nasuti a few seconds to fully comprehend the
situation: "We have trouble again? Is that why… you are back?"

He nodded, admiring her intelligence: "Yes. I am send back by the
Ancient One to wear the Armor of Cruelty and aid Ryo the Wildfire
in the upcoing battle. However…" He looked straight into her eyes,
his smile was almost mischievously, "I also deserved a little
reward for everything I've done to help the Ancient one, don't you

Nasuti smiled back, her beautiful eyes sparkling with a mixture of
emotions. She whispered softly: "I've missed you."

"I missed you too." He replied also in a whisper and stood up,
cradling her in his arms.

"The troopers are still living in your house I presume?"


"Good then, let's get you home and have a talk with them."
Shuten said and started to walk toward her house, still cradling
her as if she is the most precious thing in the world.