Shuten awoke in the middle of
the night with a start. He sat up in the bed,
breathing heavily as cold sweat appeared on his forehead. Something felt very
wrong, for some reason he just couldn't stop shivering.
Nasuti propped herself up on
her elbows and muttered sleepily: "Shuten, what's
He gathered her in his arms
and whispered back: "I had a bad dream, it's
probably nothing." Feeling her warmth on his skin, he stopped shivering, but
for some reason he still feels weird.
Shuten released Nasuti, climbed
out of the bed and got dressed. He met Nasuti's
questioning gaze with a smile and kissed her softly on the lips: "I'm going to
get a glass of water. Be right back."
She smiled and went back to
sleep. Shuten tiptoed out of their bedroom,
noiselessly closing the door behind him.
He walked down the stairs and
to his surprise, found light in the kitchen.
Seiji and Naza were there, leaning against the counter, each seem to be deep
Naza lifted his head at the
sound of Shuten's footsteps, and greeted him with
a weary smile: "Restless night, huh?"
Shuten frowned: "You two felt it too?"
Seiji nodded: "Thought
it was just my imagination, but now looks like I have
two people to back me up."
"Make it three." Kayura
walked down the stairs with her sakujou in hand. She
looked grim: "Something is up, I sense dark energy all around."
"Alright, four of us felt
it, it can't be a false alarm." Shuten straightened,
"I'm going to wake up Nasuti and the others, just to be on the safe side."
Suddenly a deafening crash rocked
the house, followed by a piercing scream.
Shuten visibly paled as he recognized the voice: "NASUTI!" He dashed upstairs,
followed closely by the other three.
Nasuti had no idea what made
her snap out of her dream. She turned her head
sharply, instinctively, to see a wicked looking sword above her head. She had
no time to think, no time to even blink. She simply acted.
She rolled out of harm's way
as the sword missed her head by a mere inch and
cut through the pillow, sending feathers flying everywhere.
Nasuti screamed and rolled again
as a spear came straight at her. This time,
she finally remembered what she's supposed to do.
In a flash she transformed into
her full armor, and just in time too. A spear
struck her back plate, causing her to stumble forward. She quickly regained
balance with her staff and swung it with everything she got. She broke a
ninja's neck with one swing and smacked the head of another in the following
motion. Both shadow spirits turned dust instantly.
"Ah, you fight better than
I thought, Tenshi no Nasuti." A figure suddenly
materialized in the room. He grinned down at her evilly: "Looks like I have to
break your wings myself little tenshi, before your friends gets here."
Shuten reached the middle of
the stairs when his path was suddenly blocked by
what looks like a squad of Shadow Spirits. "Dammit!" Shuten cursed and shout
to the others: "Take care of these trashes please! I'm gonna try the other way."
"Go!" Seiji covered
him as he dodged an attack and turned back, running toward
the front door. Naza followed him while Kayura stayed to help Seiji.
"Please be okay, Nasuti.
I'm coming." Shuten prayed silently and ran faster.
There were shadow spirits in the yard as well but he sliced through them with
his scythe menacingly, hardly pausing.
Staff clashed with katana as
Nasuti fought against her opponent. Sweat
triggered down her forehead as she felt her arms and legs heaving. He was
incredibly strong, and fast, it became harder and harder for her to block his
attacks. "Shuten, where are you? Please come I can't hold on anymore!" She
cried desperately in her heart.
"Now you are mine!"
Her opponent cried excitedly, bringing his katana down at
her. She gritted her teeth and blocked it with her staff, but the attack was
so powerful that she was driven to her knees. He laughed and kicked her right
in the stomach. It was so powerful that it sent her flying to the glass doors,
Nasuti screamed in pain as she crashed through the glass doors and landed on
the balcony. She moaned as she lay limply in shattered glass, unable to move.
Her opponent walked toward her, grinning evilly. She tried to stand up but
found no escape.
"Shuten " She lipped his name and closed her eyes, waiting for her death.
Suddenly a shriek made her eyes
snap open. She saw a hawk speeding down like
an arrow, smashing straight into the evil man's face.
~Run Nasuti! I can't hold him for much longer. ~
Nasuti struggled to her feet,
looking wildly for an escape. She has to get out
of here, or Calais and her will both die.
"Nasuti! Jump!" A
familiar voice thundered from down below. Without even
looking down, she obeyed. She climbed over the rails and let herself fall
freely, trusting her life into the person's hands.
Shuten leapt and caught her
in midair. He landed gracefully, cradling her in
"Shuten " She whispered weakly.
He nodded and gently set her
on her feet: "It's going to be okay Nasuti, you
are safe now." He wrapped one arm around her waist, steadying her and pulling
her close to him, while the other hand wielded the scythe, slicing through any
shadow spirits who dared to come close.
On the balcony, the man quickly
recovered from his initial shock. "You blasted
bird!" He shouted angrily at the escaping Calais. A ball of energy formed in
his hand and he shoot it toward the hawk in the air. She quickly dodged, but
not fast enough. It caught her right wing.
Calais shrieked in horror as
her right wing burned with hot pain. She lost
balance and crashed down to the ground.
~Somebody catch me!~ She screamed
in her mind, trying her hardest to maintain
her animal form.
"I got you!" Naza
shouted as he sliced an enemy open and forced his way
through, caught Calais in his arms with ease.
~Thank you.~ Calais sighed in
relief and her concentration broke. She abruptly
reverted back to her human form. Naza gasped when he saw her whole right arm
was damaged badly, covered by blood, cuts and blisters.
Cradling her in his arms, Naza shouted to Nasuti: "Nasuti, your special attack!"
"Right." Nasuti closed
her eyes and concentrated. A mysterious wind began to
pick up around her, her hair danced wildly in it. Suddenly her kanji flared up
brightly on her forehead. She opened her eyes, brought her staff straight down
to the ground and shouted: "Sen Fuu Zan!"
The shadow spirits around them
groaned in pain as the harsh wind cut through
their skin, but when the wind enveloped Nasuti and Calais, the wounds on the
two women were instantly healed. Shuten and Naza stared in wonder as the cuts
on Nasuti's skin disappeared, and Calais' burnt arm was restored to normal.
When the wind died down the two women are both on their feet, completely healed
of any previous damages.
Shuten grinned in relief, and
seeing the shadow spirits hurt from Nasuti's
special attack, he decided to finish them off: "Ko Rai Sei!"
The ground shook as red, vengeful
energy engulfed the enemies. They cried in
pain and turned to dust.
Shuten and Naza turned to face
the figure still standing on the balcony, with
Nasuti on their side and Calais slightly behind. "Now, tell us who you are."
The evil man laughed sarcastically:
"You are in no position to demand anything
from me, you pathetic humans."
again, bastard?" Ryo asked at the door. He and the others
had finished all the Shadow Spirits who intruded into the house, and now
entered Nasuti's room, blocking the only other exit.
Seeing that he is greatly out
numbered, the man smirked: "Very well, I am
Hyaku, one of the three generals of the Shadow Land." He snuffed, "Looks like
you won't let me go without a fight. However, I have engagements elsewhere
that demands my presence. Therefore, we'll meet another time, pests of justice."
With that, he jumped down from
the balcony and landed on the ground without
much noise. Before anyone could stop him, he escaped to the woods with an
incredible speed. Shuten, Seiji, Ryo and Whiteblaze all ran after him, but
none of them were able to catch up with Hyaku. They returned to the mansion
with a heavy heart. Now they know Muma has three generals. That's not a good
The next morning, everyone gathered around the dining table, discussing what
to do while eating breakfast.
"It's time we take the
offensive." Seiji stated grimly, "Muma has three
generals and he has countless minions, and he knows where we live. We will
risk our life if we don't start to take the offensive position soon."
"We are risking our lives."
Rajura sighed, "but you are right. We can't wait
for them to come to us and hope to wipe them out here. We have to attack their
Touma took a sip of his coffee
and spoke: "The one million dollar question
then being, where is Muma's stronghold? Any ideas?"
Kayura played with her hair
absently, something she does when she is deep in
thoughts: "I bet it is closer than we might think. However, without at least
a general direction of the place, it's still too hard for me to perform a scan
to find out."
I can help."
Calais said hesitantly, "That Hyaku will come back sooner
or later. When he does, I can shape shift into an animal and follow him. Even
if I can't catch up with his speed, I'll at least be able to tell you guys
where he's heading."
Naza immediately objected: "That
is too risky Calais. He already knew you are
a shape shifter and he knows you are one of us. You won't be able to protect
yourself against him if he finds out you are on his tail. Somebody else's got
to do the job."
"None of you can shape
shift into something that doesn't stand out, which
makes following him almost impossible." She calmly pointed out.
Nasuti sighed: "You have a point Calais, but we can't put you into danger."
The girl shook her head: "Nasuti,
you are not putting me in danger, I'm
volunteering. Besides, I hate to sound like some protagonist from a cheesy
anime show, but the world is not safe until this Muma is defeated. At this
point, my personal safety should not become an issue."
Touma wanted to argue, however, he found no words came to his
lips. She is right, he realized. Having her following Hyaku is really the
greatest chance they have of discovering Muma's stronghold.
"Please let me do this."
Calais looked at everyone in turn, pleading with her
Kayura, Shuten and Ryo looked
at one another, and silently reached an agreement.
Ryo spoke: "Alright Calais. Next time Hyaku comes, we'll let him escape, and
you follow him." He paused, and sighed, "But do be careful, we will never
forgive ourselves if anything happen to you."
Calais nodded and smiled: "I
am determined to live a long life, Rekka no Ryo."
In the next few days, everyone trained hard, knowing that a great battle is
ahead. Shuten devoted all his time training with Nasuti, helping her while
exercise himself. Lucky for them the other people were all preoccupied with
thoughts about the future that they left the couple alone.
Since she is not really a warrior,
Calais volunteered to take over Nasuti and
Shin's job of cooking. When she is not preparing food, she shape-shifted
and sparred with Byakuen. However, more of the time she would just sit around,
watch the warriors train. Her eyes fell on Naza most frequently. Some time
the two can be found on the couch or the porch, talking quietly. However no
one seems to notice much of it. The guys, namely the three Mashos and the five
Troopers, were all tense and sometimes even snappy, but luckily Nasuti was
there to make things under control. Nasuti has this aura around her. All the
guys, especially the Troopers, respect her too much to display any hostility
in her presence.
Then, two weeks after the first
assault, Hyaku strikes again.