Not Even Goodbye
Part Four

Mia slowly opened her eyes, he head pounding with a colossal headache. Mia looked to her bedside table and saw a glass of water and a bottle of Motrin. Quickly taking two Motrin, Mia forced herself to remember her battle. She had vanquished everyone, then a soldiers had come out of the forest, ready to kill her once she had fallen.
Who saved me? I cant be dead, my head hurts too much.
Mia sat up, an slipped her feet inside of the slippers which sat on the floor next to her bed, Her clothes where filthy from her collapse. After closing her window and pulling the shade close, Mia changes into a huge oversized shirt, which came below her knees.
Leaning heavily upon the staff Mia sighed. I realize that the staff wasn't meant to be used like this, but I need the help, my legs feel so weak. All traces of the silver staff where gone as Mia slowly went downstairs.

Mia entered her living room to see Rowan and Cye sting on the couch, the other three Ronin's behind them, and the Warlords and Kayura leaning against the wall on the other side of the room.
"Its nice to wake up to such a joy filled household." Mia's words broke the hostile spell which ha settled over the room.
"MIA!" Sage's face was filled with joy an relief. He was the first to reach her and picked her up and swinging her around in a circle.
This celebration of sorts went continued until Mia had been spun and hugged by everyone n the room.
"Your really alright." Sage couldn't tear his eyes away from Mia.
"You doubted?" Kayura's voce was amused. "The Ancient One would not send back an incompetent protector to guard Mia."
So that's what happened.
He didn't do a very good job of protecting her."
"Sage…this protector is the only reason that I am alive at the moment…" Mia took a deep breath and looker around the room at the terse faces. "I tale it that is what the tension is about."
Mia received a chorus if nods ad yes's.
"Well if you will fill me in on what I missed, I shall tell you what happened while you where off fighting the dynasty. Dais, would you please tell me?
The Ronin's where a bit suprise at her choice of storytellers, but as the Warlord of Illusions he had a very good memory.

"You arrived just in time Anubis." The Ancient's voice filled Mia's now unoccupied room.
"I know. If I had been a moment later, she would have perished."
"You know that would not have happened. Talpa needs her too much….she seems to have excellent control over my staff though."
"Why is that, Ancient?"
"You know I cannot tell you that Anubis. All I can tell you is that it has something to do with why Talpa wants Mia."
"His armor? I shall think on this."
"How are they handling your return?"
"Ancient, you mean you do not know?" Anubis' voce was full of shock, and the Ancient laughed.
"Alright, I know. You must keep your identity a secret for as long as possible. Talpa must not know you are there."
"Ah yes…you secret weapon…Ancient, she must be taught to wield the staff, for if I fail, the Ronin's shall have already fallen and I canto let Mia be harmed. She must have a way to fight back.

"The last thing that I remember is the dynast soldier runnign at me, ready to kill, an then I woke up here. This emissary, as you call him, saved my life.
"You mean you didn't see him either?" Kento's voice was puzzled "So only Kayura and Cye know who he is."
Cye nodded, but unlike the Ronin's she didn't press the matter.
"I trust you Cye…when his identity must be known, I trust that he will reveal himself."
Cye's smile portrayed his thanks.
"So Talpa is back…with new armor…an he wants all of us this time." Mia stood. "I'm going to go see if I can find anything about this armor of his on the computer." Mia stood and leaned upon the staff more now than she had when she first had awaken.
"Maybe you should get some sleep." Ryo suggested.
"No, I'm fine." Mia said as she fell foreword, having lapsed into unconsciousness. Ryo caught her and the staff before they both crashed to the ground.
"When she is better, Ryo I will teach her to correctly wield the staff, so she will not be as drained."
"Thank you Kayura…but why must she learn to wield the staff?

As Ryo placed Mia on her bed, he looked out the window, the evil black fog that announced the dynasty's presence was everywhere.
"The dynasty…take care of her…" Ryo murmured as he dashed from the room.
"Worry not Wildfire, that I shall." Anubis smiled down at Mia and pulled the covers up over her shivering body, tucking them under her chin. HE picked up the staff which Ryo had dropped and set it next to the bad, within Mia's reach. Then pulling his hat own over his eyes, he settled into a chair by Mia's be, resuming his vigil. The enter time he had been back, which was approaching two days, e had not slept, but he was not tired.

Ryo raced downstairs. "The dynasty, its here."
"WHAT?" All stood, shocked. "Where?"
"Outside, I saw them through Mia's window."

"It took you long enough Ronins, my turn coat warlords, and Lady Kayura… Are you now prepared for death?" Talpa's words rolled like thunder through the sky, although there was no sign of his physical presence.
"Like we will loose to the likes of you." Sage called out.
"We defeated you once Talpa, we will do it again." Ryo's words echoed through the forest.
"Dais…Cale …Sekhmaet… I will give you one chance to come back to me… one chance to rejoin the winning side. Together we will crush these children."
"No…" Sekhmaet's voice carried through the clearing. "We will never return to your evil ways Talpa…you have nothing to offer us."
"Ultimate power is nothing without love, joy and friendship." Cale's words caused the air around them to boil with rage.
"Friendship? Love? Joy? If you value these things you deserve to die with the Ronins. You know what happened to Lord Saberstrike when he defied me. You shall meet the same fate."
"I would like to see you try to kill us Talpa."
"You didn't kill him Talpa. I did. Ryo smiled at the gasp that carried over the clearing. Apparently you weren't strong enough to defeat him."
"Meet me in one hour Wildfire, in the park. You friends may come to if they wish to meet the same fate as you…"
"You can try to defeat em Talpa, but you will fail."

The Ronin's, Warlords, and Kayura, each in their respective armors raced through the city streets. All was dark and foreboding as the gates where once again present and Talpa's castle loomed once again in the sky's above them. Luckily after Talpa's second attack most of the people had fled. And where still to afraid to return.

The park was as lifeless as the rest of the city, and the only sounds audible was the breathing of the warriors, and the clanking of their armors as they shifted nervously in their places.
"So you decided to meet your demise honorably…I was afraid might have to come seeks you out." Talpa emerged from nothingness, his armor seemed to shift around him as he stood towering above the Ronin's. HE was nto giant as he had been, but about eight feet tall.
His armor resembled that which he had before, but across the front there was a metal orb, and he had no swords strapped to the back. In fact he had no visible weapon at all.
"Seek us out?" Ryo laughed at that prospect.
"You still don't believe that this battle shall be your last Wildfire? You seem overconfident."
"I have always had reason to be."
"We shall see, Ryo of the Wildfire, we shall see."


Anubis paced Mia's room, nervously. HE knew that Talpa had been near the house, he could sense his presence.
"White blaze…" Anubis softly called the tiger who obediently padded into the silent room.
"When Talpa arrives, take Yuli to safety. I cannot protect both of them, one will get hurt.
White blaze said nothing, only stared at Anubis.
"You miss him too, don't you? You just as he did until his death fight until the dynasty is no more."
White blaze growled and whined, as much as a tiger can whine, then walked back to the sleeping boy, who was exhausted from that days games.

Talpa laughed as these attacks slid off his new armor. "You think you will defeat me with attacks like that? You are sadly mistaken." Talpa's maniacal laughter once again filled the air. It was a sound which chilled everyone to the bone. "Watch and learn what I REAL attack is."
The air shimmered sound him, and from the emptiness which surrounded him, Talpa drew forth a long sword, emanating black energy.
Talpa's voice boomed around them, and the air beneath our hero's shimmered once then erupted with energy, engulfing all of them in its darkness. Strands of energy flared up, and individually bound them, pinning their arms to their sides, useless.
"Pitiful, you are truly pitiful, an you presented far less of a threat than I thought you would." Talpa again laughed. "My nether demons, which compose not only my armor, but my attacks as well, shall slowly squeeze the life from you, leaving only the shells of your armor. Since I really do not require my old armors, I shall bestow it upon my new warlords, which I shall take great care in picking."
"Now where did the Ancient hide it?" Talpa's eyes momentarily lost their red glow for a moment, and then they flared a brighter red, his mask seemed to twist into an even more twisted smile. "The Ancient bestowed it upon her?!?! Mia? This shall be easier than I thought. One girl stands between me and the domination of both realms…" Talpa paused then victoriously looked to the defeated warriors. "When you meet the Ancient in death, thank him for me."
"Talpa's laughter filled the air as he disappeared, and Sage then voiced the word than no one else seemed able to speak.
"MIA!!!!" his scream echoed through the entire park, and one word expressed fury such as the world had never seen, and fear, such bone chilling fear.
In Ryo's eyes blazed the rage of Inferno, but ha to was powerless to do anything to save Mia, as he slowly faced a painful death.
"Talpa…I will escape this, and when I do, you will pay, I swear it."

True to his unspoken promise, White Blaze took Yuli to safety when he first sensed Talpa's presence, but not to safety of the forest, or the mountains. White Blaze fled with Yuli to the park, where the lives of the Ronins Warlords, and Kayura where in imminent danger.

"Where is the girl? I cannot sense her…" Talpa stood outside the mansion Mia had inherited from her grandfather, growling in frustration.
"Come now Talpa, you really thought it would be that easy to take her?"
"Anubis…" Talpa hissed the name of his former Warlord, "I should have known you would have found some way to slither back into this world."
"One could say the same about you, Talpa" Anubis stood beneath a tree in the forest, his hat pulled low over his eyes, concealing the hatred which burned brightly there. The silver staff was in the crook of his elbow, a he was the picture of confidence.
"I will not offer you the forgiveness I offered to the others."
I would not ask it of you Talpa. I have turned from your evil ways of darkness. Nothing would entice me top join you again."
Not even the lives of the Ronins an those traitors which where one my allies?"
"Not even that, only one life interests me now."
"Your own…Anubis you never change."
And you shall never know the truth Talpa. My life is not the one that matters not…
"Prepare to die Talpa."
"Prepare to loose Anubis. I am not easy to defeat, and you are not strong enough to defeat me."
Anubis using only his staff, blocked a series of sword strikes by Talpa. No physical damage was wrought, only the destruction of several trees surrounding the house.
"Is that all you have Talpa? This isn't a battle this isn't even a challenge."
"You want more, you shall have it then Anubis…I Would not deny you the glorious death you seem to seek, and you will die, you can be certain of that."

Mia awoke to a series of explosions, and the pitch blackness which ha resulted from one of Talpa's spells. "What, a battle?" Mia leaned far out her window but could only see Talpa, not her protector. She could not even hear the taunts they threw at each other, a result of the blackness
"I know not who you are, mysterious warrior, but be safe."

Anubis smiled at Talpa, a few minor cuts and abrasions on his skin b u nothing major. Talpa on the other hand had sustained no physical damage.
Ancient, please aid me, I am not strong enough to do this alone…I fear for Mia's safety…

Kayura screamed as the armor of cruelty flickered rapidly on her body, then disappeared.
"WHAT HAPPENED? YOUR ARMOR!" Cale shouted as Kayura collapsed to the ground her body racked with pain, but Talpa's spell no longer present
"The Ancient warned me that this might happen…Talpa was to strong the emissary needs more power…he has now been given the armor of cruelty, may it serve him well."

With a smile Anubis donned his armor, with out the helmet, his own weapon back on his hands. "Now we shall get own to business…"
Red lights exploded everywhere, and at long last Talpa was trapped by chains.
"Now you shall die."
In the darkness all Anubis could see was the red glowing of Talpa's eyes, blazing with fury, but it was enough.
"Foolish boy, you are as foolish as they are…"
With unearthly strength, Talpa pulled the chains which bound him from the ground, causing the earth itself to tremble with the force.
The entire house shook, and Anubis froze as he heard a scream.

Mia screamed as the house shook and she fell foreword out of her window, unable to grab onto anything to stop herself.
She could not see the ground which she fell towards, only darkness. Mia moaned in pain as she slammed into something, but it was not the ground, it was a warm body, that of her protector.
"Wrap your arms around my neck, an don't let go, no matter what. It is to dangerous to leave you inside the house…"
Mia nodded and frowned as she tried to place the voice of her guardian, he senses still dulled
His voice it sounds so familiar…
Anubis frowned trying to decide what his next move should be. With lightning quick reflexes he dodges every sword strike Talpa made, and with each leap into the air Mia's arms tighten around his neck, and her head burrowed farther and farther into his shoulder as Mia clung to him holding on for dear life.
The staffs Anubis…use them…
The Ancient vice was barely a whisper in Anubis' min, but he smiled with the sudden knowledge.
"Of course, the staffs."

Kayura, hurry up an get us out of here, we have to go help Mia!!" Sage's voice was worry filled but also held a threatening note.
"I'm trying have a little patience."
Suddenly a tiger growl greeted all of them, and with a quick slash of his claws, White Blaze ad freed all of them.
"Watch out Talpa, here we come…"

"Mia, call your staff, we need it to banish Talpa." Anubis spoke quietly, as his armor switched to his monks garb, and Mia's frown deepened as she tried to place his voice.
"Call it to you, wish for his presence…"
Mia concentrated, an after a moment her staff appeared.
"This time, don't use your own strength, draw on the strength around you, that of nature."
Mia close her eyes, and Anubis spoke a few unintelligible words then in a flash of blinding white light, Talpa was gone, an all was back to normal.
Mia fell foreword stumbling, the support of her guardian gone as well.
Gomenasia, Mia, but you cannot know me yet…

Mia awoke the next morning, a tray of food beside her bed, an a single rose in a vase next to it.
Smiling Mia picked it up and smelled it sighing with delight at its scent.
"You like it?" Cye leaned on her doorframe.
"I love it. Is t from you?"
"The guys?"
"No, your guardian."