"What have we here?"
Mia and Anubis parted and turned towards the lake. They couldn't see anything but knew the voice anywhere. It was the voice of Kale.
"Really Anubis, I thought you would have picked a more worthy mate." Another voice spoke to their right and knew it belonged to Dais.
"That girl is hardly your type." Sekhmet's voice was heard to their left.
"Kale? Dais? Sekhmet? What are the three of you doing here?" Anubis stood before Mia and shielded her. From the corner of his eye, he saw the five girls stand ready next to him.
"We always knew that you would change sides again," Dais said.
"Apparently you always pick the loosing side," Sekhmet inserted.
"And it looks like the Ronins have changed more than we thought," Kale pointed to the girls that flanked Anubis.
"Speak for yourself Warlord," said Kala, one of the more impetuous of the group. "We're no Ronin."
"She is right," Dais said mockingly. "She looks more like Kayura to me."
"Are we going to talk all night or are you going to leave without a fight?" Reva's accented voice spoke up.
"Well, these girls do have a lot more fight than the Ronins will ever have," Kale sarcastically said. "Let's see if they can back up that mouth of theirs."
Before Anubis or Mia could stop the girls, all five of them broke up and took a Warlord: Royda and Reva confronted Sekhmet, Kala and Kishin went up against Kale, and Mira faced off with Dais. Anubis was about to join in on the fight when he realized that Mia could be a target for kidnapping. He stayed back and, sure enough, Dynasty-looking soldiers popped up and started attacking them on the ground.
Mia noticed that the girls fought very well without any enhancements against the Warlords. The Warlords were also surprised that these girls were matching them stride for stride. They couldn't get a hit on them even with their armors on.
"Enough of this childish games," Dais said to Mira, knowing that she was the youngest. "Why don't we play for higher stakes? WEB OF DECEPTION!!"
Mira was trapped within a strangle of webs and seemed more annoyed than alarmed. She looked around her and examined the strands of fine thread. Her surroundings started to change and Dais disappeared from her sight.
"Now we see just how good you are under my spells." Dais let loose another attack.
"You know it's pretty annoying with you growling all over the place and everything," Kala exerted in between Kale's slashes. "You should really look at your situation at a more relaxed angle."
"You two seem to work real good in the light." Kale backed up and surveyed the two combatants in front of him. "Why don't we even things up and play in my field? BLACK LIGHTNING SLASH!!"
The two girls looked up and found themselves surrounded in black. They couldn't see each other as well as the Warlord of Darkness. To Kale's surprise, he didn't hear them scream each others names.
Reva did most of the talking and attacking while Royda stayed on the ground. This pretty much annoyed Sekhmet and ignored Reva. He started attacking the other girl and found that she was a match for him.
"Holding back won't do any good against me," Sekhmet said to Royda. "As for you, I think I'll give you my specialty. SNAKE BITE STRIKE!!"
The energized swords came at Royda at an alarming speed, but she didn't even flinch. Reva came out of nowhere to stand before her and take the attack head on. As she sank to her knees, Royda didn't make any effort to help her up.
"I see that you girls are more ruthless than the Ronins. They would have immediately come to the others rescue if I had done that to them." He laughed and let loose another attack.
Anubis was finishing off the last of the Soldiers with a bit of Mia's help. She had taken possession of a naginata from a fallen Soldier and wielded it with extraordinary abilities. The red tiger also helped, showing skills that was well suited in combat. When they saw the last of the Soldiers go up in smoke, they turned only to find that the girls were not doing any better than the last time: Mira was trapped in Dais' illusions, Kala and Kishin were trapped in Kale's darkness, and Reva kept getting in the way of Sekhmet's poison that was intended for Royda, who did nothing but stand there.
He knew that he had to stop them but had no way of doing it. There were three Warlords in full armor and he was just back from the dead in a monk's clothing. He didn't even have the shakujo to defend himself with. But deep inside, something told him to leave the girls alone, that they would pull out of this on their own.
Mira was getting tired of her surroundings and decided to do something about it. She wiggled her small body our of the stands but the illusions were still in place. She sort of liked the landscapes of the illusion but knew that it was just that. There was no place like that, only in her dreams.
"Have you had enough?" Dais said from within the Dream.
"Was that suppose to hurt?" Mira asked, surprised. She hadn't felt anything the whole time.
"Impudent child! How dare you talk down to the power of a Warlord of the Dynasty?"
"Because I can. And because I can do this."
Dais didn't see what she did but his illusion and webs were blasted clean away. Mira wasn't in the middle of the wreckage where Dais expected her to be. Instead, she was floating in front of him, several yards above the lake. The appearance of his prisoner surprised Dais and he backed away.
Mira was now clad in a brown subarmor that was similar to the Ronins. It had taken a turn for the feminine and showed more skin, but the basic concept was there. Her hair was in a ponytail and made her look even more like Kayura. She knew he was surprised to see her especially clad in such a way, but she was counting on that. Her face, which showed annoyance before, was now showing a sweet smile.
"Want to see what I can
do?" she asked sweetly. She closed her eyes and clenched
her fists. The air became thick and her eyes quickly snapped
open. Before Dais knew what she was doing, he was trapped
inside a ball of solid rock. He fell in the lake and sank
to the bottom. He tired to pull at his weapon or anything
for that matter, but the rock was
pressed too close to him.
Kala was getting angrier by the minute. Kishin was nowhere to be seen and couldn't stop her friend from exploding. The best way for Kishin to help Kala was to stay out of her way. Unfortunately, Kale didn't know that fact.
The air got hot and Kale could see a glow in the middle of the darkness. Kishin knew that glow and got as far away from it as she can. Kale watched it grow, wondering how it was possible that light was in his darkness. He was so intent on watching it that he didn't see it coming closer until it hit him.
The blast carried Kale clear across the lake and broke his spell. As the darkness dissipated, the two girls emerged in their subarmors: dark blue for Kishin, red-orange for Kala. Their hairs were also in a ponytail (Kishin's right eye was still covered) that was tossed around in the air. Kishin was shaking her head and smiling at Kala.
"Somehow I knew that was coming," she said to her hot-tempered companion.
"Hey! He asked for it," Kala answered in a playful tone.
"Why do you keep on taking the hit when you know full well that I am not aiming at you?" Sekhmet asked Reva for the third time. He was wasting energy on the wrong girl, not that killing her wasn't on his agenda.
"Well, maybe I'm just crazier than you think," Reva answered weakly. She was badly injured and slashes were all over her body. The poison was already seeping into her body but she didn't seem to slow down.
"Why don't you help her? Or do you really want me to take her life?" Royda's eyes settled on Sekhmet for once. She blinked once and was engulfed by fire. At her feet, Reva was surrounded by a wall of water. Sekhmet watched in amazement as he neither heard nor saw either of the girls within their elements.
Suddenly, the wall of water shot up in the air and disappeared, leaving Reva floating in the air in front of Sekhmet. She was wearing a sea-green subarmor and her body was completely healed of any injuries. The fire surrounding Royda also dispersed and revealed her wearing a red subarmor. Both their hairs were also in ponytails making all look the same except for their subarmors.
"A change in costume won't stop me from killing you." Sekhmet let loose another attack, perfectly expecting Reva to take the blow. She didn't and the energy hit its mark before: Royda. Sekhmet and Reva waited and both saw that she was fine. She had taken the full force of the blow to her chest and she didn't move an inch. She seemed to have just gotten madder although who could tell.
"I think you'll find that this 'costume' is worth the change." Reva acted as if she was going to throw something at Sekhmet and he ducked. He didn't know that the attack was coming from the bottom, coming from the lake itself. The blast took him high in the sky and landed him in the middle of the lake.
The other girls joined Reva and Royda and looked out to the lake. Anubis and Mia came up behind them with very surprised faces. All seven of them saw the Warlords get up from their respective prisons and come right for them. The girls, except for Royda, and Anubis took their fighting stances, ready for the attack. The Warlords were halted on their advances by a lightning bolt hitting a few feet away from them.
"Stop!" a voice said from the clouds. All the girls knew that voice, Royda more than others. It was the voice of Tyra.
"But Empress, we were about to destroy these girls," Sekhmet whined up to the heavens.
"There will be time for that later." Her voice was slightly on edge. She had seen the look on Royda's eyes when Reva attacked Sekhmet. If she didn't pull them out now, her plan would never work with just two Warlords. "For not, you come back here."
Three more bolts of lightning shot down and hit each Warlord. A shield formed around them and dissolved, teleporting all three to wherever she wanted. The sky darkened and Tyra's helmeted head formed on the clouds.
"I hope you liked my little demonstration. I know it didn't go exactly my way but that was good enough for beginners. What did you expect from a group of new converts to the 'Good' Dynasty?"
"Who are you and what have you done to my friends?" Anubis stepped forward and spoke to the cloud. He didn't like the way she was talking about the "Good" Dynasty.
"Why don't you ask your saviors there? They seem to have an armor. Don't you think you should find out who is the good and the bad in this picture first." With that, she vanished. The clouds came back to their normal forms and the sky lightened to the color of dusk. Peace was settling on that part of the mountain, but the seven knew that there was something sinister in the air.
Anubis turned around and looked at his "saviors." He had seen them transform to their subarmors and still couldn't believe it. His mind went back to what Dais said about how much they had looked like Kayura. With their hair now in ponytails, their likeness to the Ancient's descendant was unmistakable, especially Royda and Mira.
"All five of you have some explaining to do," he told the girls. They looked at each other with Royda still looking up at the clouds. She looked back down to the others and nodded.
The girls dispersed into smaller groups so they can spend the night there. Kishin took Red back to the van and took their sleeping bags and clothes. Reva and Mira volunteered to gather their food, while Royda and Kala went looking for firewood. For those few minutes alone, Mia looked at Anubis with a great longing. He returned the look and knew that the strain of him being back was more on her than on him. He secretly promised himself that he would never leave her side again.
As the girls started coming back, Anubis had already been caught up on the events that happened after he died. He was quite surprised that the Ronins thought so highly of him. They had wanted to build a small shrine to him, but there was nothing of him that remained to be put up. Even just two months had gone by since the last time they saw each other face to face, Mia really felt like she had aged ten years.
Kishin fortunately brought along men's clothing, knowing that they were going to bring him back. The clothes were a great fit and Anubis almost felt alive again. Alive, except for the fact that his friends had now turned back to the Dynasty.
The wood came next and was lit by Kala's own hands. She touched the wood and the whole pile burst into flames. Reva and Mira were quickly there to cook some meat and vegetables they had found in the forest. (Even though there was a lake, Reva would never allow anybody to cook any sea-life.)
The group settled into a circle around the fire and huddled close together for heat. Royda and Kala were separate from the group. Mira, Reva, and Kishin huddled under a blanket. Anubis held Mia close.
"We are a race not unlike you humans," Royda started her long speech. "Perhaps you have met one of us in the form of Lady Kayura the Warlord Dais mentioned. It is good to know us from not just the outside, but from also the inside. There is no better way for me to explain us than just start from the beginning."
She paused and looked around on the faces surrounding the fire. The fire flickered and made shadows dance across everyone's faces. The darkness that fell on them was modestly pushed back by the flames.
There was not a sound in the woods. Even the inquiring mind of Mia was silenced by the weight of what she knew would be her greatest find. The pause was the thing they needed to cool down any burning questions they had before she even started. When she was sure that they had no further anxiety, Royda proceeded with her story.
"Like you Anubis, all five
of us are over 400 years old though we don't look like it.
Mira and I are the only descendants, along with Kayura, of the
Clan that the Ancient founded. As you might have assumed, Kayura
is my older sister. There is no memory of us in her mind
yet, but the moment she gets all her memory back from the brainwashing,
she will know our existence.
"When the Dynasty invaded the village, Mira and I were hidden from the Soldiers by our parents. The day they attacked was a ceremonial day, therefore we weren't allowed since we were too young. Had our parents known of the attack, Kayura would not have been captured by the Dynasty. She would have lived with us.
"After the attack, the
Ancient returned only to find that the village was destroyed and
only thing alive in the wreckage was a two year old girl and her little sister. He took us
with him, up, and deeper into the mountains where he had another dojo. There, we
learned about our natural powers and came to call him Grandfather.
"When I was five, Grandfather
went out and looked for other kids to wear his armors. He
found Kishin, Reva, and Kala. All of us trained to perfect our abilities as well as our
fighting skills. It didn't take long to figure out what everybody's specialty was." Royda
stood up and held our her hand. From her palm came a red glow and elevated to about
her eye level. A round center engulfed in flames hovered in front of her face. "My
specialty was to create fireballs. I used to throw hot charcoal at any target because I
wanted revenge for all the deaths I had seen. Surprisingly enough, I didn't burn myself."
"My specialty was to control
the weather," Kishin continued the story. "Grandfather
found me when he created a violent storm over a village. I stopped it without even
thinking. At five I was able to control the very air around me."
"My powers involved the
control of the waters," Reva chimed in. "A tsunami
to level the village I lived in and I was able to control it. I was very hesitant to go with
the Ancient because I didn't trust anybody then. I eventually went with him."
"As you saw, I control
the element of fire," said Kala, gesturing towards the flames.
was found at the foot of Mt. Fuji when I was a child and have lived with the burden of
fire following me everywhere."
"I control the element
of earth," Mira said meekly. "I was able to discover
when I was younger but was not able to control them."
"All of you were alone
at the age of five?" Mia asked. She was really surprised
young they were and how they turned out to be.
"We were all alone from
the start," Royda started again. "With the exception
of Mira and
me, we were all pretty much orphaned before our third birthdays. We had lived with
Grandfather for all our lives and are glad for it."
She moved nearer to the fire
and poked the burnt logs. She stared into them like they
told her something that she was only able to see. Mia and Anubis sat there trying to
digest the information while the girls remembered their own hidden history.
"When we reached the age
of thirteen, Mira twelve, Grandfather had a tournament to find
who would be able to wear his armor. He didn't count on having five girls to don one
armor but took us to the island anyway. The white armor that Mia saw at the store was
the Ancient's armor. We found out that the armor was able to split into five different
armors much like the Ronins'. He explained that the armor was supposed to protect the
Ancient's Clan, but he didn't see that the Clan would be destroyed before the chosen was
able to show up. He had to change the purpose of the Armors. They now protect the
nine Ronin and Warlord armors as well as their bearers.
"When we were fifteen,
the five of us fought Talpa for the control of the Warlords'
armors as with their bearers. We don't know if you remember, but you were the last one
to be taken Anubis. All of us were there to make sure that you didn't go, but we were too
late to stop you. We only had time to save the five Ronin armors from Talpa's control
before he went into hiding again, waiting for the perfect time of most evil.
"That last attack was the
last time we ever saw our white armor until yesterday. That
also the last time we saw Red, since she was the appointed guardian of the Ancient's
armor. When they came back, we knew that there was something going on in the
Netherworld or some other world that was going to threaten the Earth again. We didn't
know that is was going to be Tyra."
"Who is Tyra?" Anubis asked.
The girls looked at each other
with a confused face. They were sure that he would know.
Maybe Talpa didn't tell him everything like they thought he did.
"Tyra is Talpa's daughter," Reva said matter-of-factly.
It was Mia and Anubis' turn
to look confused. How could somebody like Talpa have a
descendant? Anubis was definitely the most surprised since he thought the only woman
he didn't know about in the Netherworld was Kayura. He asked as much to the girls.
"Tyra was banished to another
realm when she failed to follow orders and couldn't take
us down," Kishin answered. "She was forbidden to leave that realm unless her father told
her so. Since the Ronins defeated her father, we can assume that she had now taken over
They all sat there with grave
looks on their faces. Mia held Anubis' arm tightly and laid
her head on his shoulder. He stroked her hair and reassured her that everything was
going to turn out all right.
The girls suggested that they
get some sleep since they were going to go back to the
resort in the morning. They also wanted Anubis to get some rest so he can regain his
strength. He didn't put up a fight when he saw that he was now able to sleep with the
woman he loved.
In the other realm that the
girls mentioned, the surroundings were as beautiful as the
Netherworld's. It also had its own secrets and ugly history. At some point, its history had
a more gruesome beginning than the original.
"Empress," Dais said,
kneeling in front of the throne. "Why didn't you let
"Be patient Dais, you'll
get your turn," Tyra answered. She couldn't tell them
didn't have a chance against the Ancient's armor or its warriors. "In the time being, all of
you have to charge up to get ready for the assault on these warriors. Then and only then
can you three get back Anubis on your side and defeat these warriors." They bowed in
front of her and she thought how easy it was to control their minds.
The night was met with no more
interruptions and they slept peacefully. Mia had waited
for that moment for awhile now and was very happy to have Anubis all to herself. They
didn't actually sleep until after midnight and even then they just stopped talking. They
were both afraid that they were both dreaming and that when they wake up the other
won't be there next to them. Their fears were put to rest when they woke up in each
They were able to get to the
resort before lunch. The girls were able to give them a
personal tour of the resort and eat at Mia's favorite restaurant. It was dark when they
finally headed for the girls' store.
"So you started from scratch," Anubis said matter-of-factly.
"Not really from scratch,"
answered Kishin. "We had armor to display. The
was to be accepted."
"You have no idea how hard
it is to start a business when you are a teenage girl."
got up from her seat. "They think you can't do anything but cook and stay home."
"But we showed them, didn't
we?" Reva put up her hand and Kala gave her a high
Mira stifled a yawn.
"Sorry," she apologized. "I think I'll go to sleep now."
She ascended the third floor
quickly followed by Reva and Kala. Kishin gathered up the
dishes and helped wash them with Royda.
"You could use that empty
room again if you want." Royda stood at the foot of
"Anubis can stay on the couch. It's more comfortable than you think."
She left the two downstairs
and checked on everybody. They were in their rooms so she
went to hers. She changed and wondered what kind of danger Mia was in if Anubis had
to be reborn.
Anubis looked at Mia from across
the counter. He still couldn't believe that those girls
were able to bring him back and see Mia again. She avoided his eyes because she
somehow felt uneasy. Him being back meant big trouble.
As she got up to put her cup
up, he got up, too. When she turned, she saw that in order
get to the room, she had to pass him, something she wasn't ready for. She tired to pass
him without being rude but he caught her elbow.
"Mia," Anubis said, "why are you avoiding me?"
"I'm not trying to avoid you." Her gaze was stuck to the ground.
"Then look at me."
She knew if she did, she wouldn't
know what she would do. Her eyes were stuck to the
ground, but she could feel him looking at her. His hand went to her chin and tilted it up.
She closed her eyes, determined not to look at him.
"Why won't you look at me?"
"I want to, but..."
"Mia, I came back for you. Won't you look at me before I disappear for good?"
This remark made Mia open her
eyes. He didn't disappear but he had that devilish smile
on his face. Her gaze was now locked and lost in his blue-green eyes.
He kissed her on the nose then
on the forehead. Both cheeks were then kissed. Before
could kiss her lips, her fingers stopped him.
"We can't do this."
"Because we're in a different house?"
pulled away from his hold and went to the living room. She
bathroom with a robe tied around herself and Anubis lying on the couch. He had a
blanket over him and his shirt hanging over a chair.
She had to pass the back of
the sofa to get to her room and figured that Anubis was
asleep. She quietly walked pass him but made the mistake of pausing. Before she knew
it, she was over the sofa and sitting on top of a very awake Anubis.
Her legs were over the sofa's
back and the robe was slipping every second, but Anubis
didn't notice. He could see the shock and the panic in her eyes as he turned his body. He
sat upright and laid her head on the pillow. Now her legs were over his and her robe still
kept on slipping.
He put one hand next to her
hip and the other on her neck. He leaned to her and she
couldn't stop him this time. They kissed and everything was right in the world.
His hand pulled the robe's tie
and it unraveled quickly. He shifted his body so his legs
were free and proceeded to take her slowly. She thought he would be hungry for this but
his control was better than she thought.
Anubis lifted his head and looked
at Mia's face. Her blue eyes were half closed and
looked at him. He lifted his whole body and stroked her hair. She slid up and sat against
the arm of the sofa while he settled back down and laid his head on her chest. It was now
her turn to stroke his hair.
"This could lead to complications," she said. He closed his eyes.
"Do you think that I care much for what happens around me after I've been with you?"
"I don't care if you did, but I'm glad you're back."