Phoenix Feathers: Cult of the Pseudo Phoenix

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The Simple Plan

Chapter 19: A Simple Plan

Don’t you love it when a plan comes together? What if it wasn’t your plan… huh?

“So, do we understand the plan?”

“(Yeah, yeah… I’ve got it.),” Tyrone grumbled.

“And you're sure that you have the scents?”

“(Yes. I don’t know how, but yes, I have the scents.)”

“Now I should be able to fit you through that window up there, but…”

“(But what?)”

“I may have to make you younger.”

“(No!),” he barked, “(Not again! I’m small enough as it is!)”

“I’m just kidding,” I laughed, “I’ll make you full grown once you’re through, okay?”

“(I wouldn’t mind that so much.),” he grumbled as I lifted him to the tiny basement window, “(But why don’t you change me back to normal instead?)”

“Three reasons;” she stated, “One is for insurance. Two is your innate loyalty. And three… you’d be in your birthday suit.”

“(Damn it… not again),” he whined as he slipped through.

“What do you mean by… never mind. I don’t want to know. Now go get going,” I whisper yelled.

“(Wait! What about my size?)”

“Oh right,” I pointed the medallion out the window, “Phoenix Gate…”

“Well, your burns don't appear to be serious, Kenda,” Tarsa rubbed the medication onto her hands.

“(I’m really sorry Kenda. I didn’t mean to. I didn’t even know how I did it.),” I apologized as I sat behind Tarsa.

“Lord Pseudo says that he doesn’t know how to control his powers yet.”

“But earlier, he said that he didn’t belong here,” Kenda cried.

“He said to you?”

“(Well, for a little while, I could speak human again.)”

“Is that so,” Tarsa pondered, before he turned to Kenda’s burns again, “Well, you don’t have to worry. At his body’s age, his fire powers are sufficiently too weak to cause serious concerns.”

“That’s good,” Kenda sighed in relief.

“Now what exactly did he tell you?”

“He said that he was having nightmares.”

“Ah, yes of course,” Tarsa stared at me, “The nightmares that you’ve been having since before you died.”

“No, this was different,” I admitted, before I realized, “Hey, I’m (talking agai- Damn it!…)”

“Different how!?,” Tarsa lost his composure, “…’scuse me. Please do tell, my Lord.”

I spent the next few minutes explaining the contents of my dream. Tarsa didn’t seem to be surprised, Actually, he seemed to understand what my dream was about. But when I got to the part about the fire, he started repeating what I said more loosely. I should have known… but then…

“You know, I think that I can hit that Kitsune right out of the tree,” the blond interrupted me without knowing it.

“(Leave her alone!)”

The blond stopped when Tarsa translated for me.

“Why my Lord,” Tarsa asked, “Fire Yokai are our greatest enemy.”

“(Then why do you follow me?),” I asked in detest, “(If all Fire Yokai are your enemy, then why follow one? I don’t get it!)”

“Yes, they are the greatest scourge of the world.”

“(Answer my question Tarsa!)”

“We should eliminate them all now, shouldn’t we?”

“(Stop ignoring me and answer my question!)”

“Yes, my Lord,” Tarsa smiled, as he picked me up, “We shall do the Sango Otanes Ritual tonight! Post haste!”

“(What!?! No stop! Put me down! I want answers!)”

“Yes, let our anger consume and destroy all Fire Yokai, so that all of nature may prosper!”

The two girls (of whom’s names still escape me) cheered and chanted alongside Tarsa’s rant.

Damn it, Tarsa set me up!… I looked to Kenda. …By the look in her eyes, she has to know that I’m not saying these things… shouldn’t she?…

“Yes,” Kenda joined them, “Kill them all!”

… I’m screwed……I am so totally screwed…

“(Oh, my Inari!),” I screamed quietly to myself, “(they are going to destroy all Fire Yokai? In the name of saving nature? We’re a part of nature too, you crazy humans! Tyler, you are so grounded when we get you home!)”

I knew that Tyler couldn’t hear me, but it was worth saying it. The big human had tied up Tyler and started to take him away. Everyone seemed to forget about me completely. Well, almost everyone…

“Don’t worry Kiki,” Ma called quietly from down the tree, “Mama’s coming!”

Ma jumped up onto the base of the tree with my bell in her mouth. She climbed to the same branch that I was on in a snap. She was about to take my bell and seal me inside.

“(No, Ma! Not yet…),” I pounced my way into the house, “(Give me back Tyler.)”

“Look out my Lord,” the dark headed human yelled as she stood in front of the big smelly human.

“No, it's my turn to defend our Lord,” the blond human pushed the dark head out of the way.

“Both of you get rid of that pest and meet me at the ritual site,” the big human gave Tyler to the red head and then pulled them out of the room.

“(No, Tyler!),” I tried to go after them, but those girls got in my way.

“Let’s go Sunsprite,” the Blond threw her bell into battle.

“And Tengu,” followed the Dark head.

The respective Yokai burst forth in a flash of light. The Tengu looked maliciously mean, while the Sprite (like most fairies) appeared so helplessly happy. I have to admit, she was not scary in the least.

“(Out of my way!)”

“(We won’t let you take our Sacrifice, Pest!),” the Tengu roared.

“(Yippie, we’re gonna destroy you and all of your kind! He he he!),” the Sunsprite giggled. I let down my guard for just a second, because of how stupid she sounded. I mean seriously, I figured one well-placed spark could send these Yokai running.

“Destroy her!”

Those Yokai didn’t hesitate so much as a millisecond. The Sprite made her move before I had a chance to breathe. I was being bombarded with an entire storm of blade sharp leaves. And they hurt! I’ve never felt water attacks that were as powerful as those leaves. I tried to counter with fire, but there were too many fragments. Some shot at me while they were still on fire, but that only helped me so much. And now the room was catching fire.

“No, Lord Pseudo’s room,” the Blond cried as the flames got higher.

“Tengu, put out the fire! Hurry!”

Tengu fanned out a dust storm that not only put out the flames but made me skid a few feet. His human decided to encourage the assault, “Keep it up, Tengu! Blow her away!”

Tengu continued to gust at me. The dust was getting in my eyes. Blinded, I tried to grab on to something, anything to keep myself from flying away. Sunsprite shot off another razor sharp leaf. Luckily, something whacked me in between the eyes before it could cut me in two. I could feel myself be flipped up into the air and out the window. Then as I was falling nose first to the ground.

“Kiki! Return!”

I heard Mama scream before she threw my bell at me with everything she had. Everything went red and dark after that.

Must find Louie……Must find Louie…

That was the only thought that I had as I sniffed the area around the house.

…Must find Louie……got to find Louie……gotta find Louie……Then Jade will praise me…

At that last thought, my tail wagged like crazy. I even cracked a stupid smile.

…and maybe I can get a cookie too…

God, I couldn’t help myself! Is this how Leo felt about me? Undying Loyalty? Unconditional Love? I thought those things about Dog Yokai were only myths. But no, it’s true! It was all freaking true. I sniffed everywhere looking for the little brat. I wasn’t even close to finding him! I was going crazy at how little I could catch his scent. So because I wasn’t even close to finding Louie, I had to move on to the second part of our plan.

Fifteen minutes ago…

“So… Are you done?”

“(Yeah, sorry about that.),” I whined as I padded back to Jade, really wishing that it wasn't covered in water too.

“Don’t be sorry,” she laughed, “Those were your clothes.”

“(Great…),” I sighed, but then stood ready, “(So what’s the game plan?)”

“Here’s what I’ve got so far, Tyrone,” Jade explained, “Coiner gathered those girls you saw to serve as priestesses. They think that this white Phoenix is really some Lord Pseudo reborn to save the world from the Gates of Hell and the wrath of the Fire Yokai or something like that.”

“(How could Tyler save us from something like that?)”

“He can’t really, but Coiner told them that Lord Pseudo was to be the ultimate sacrifice in their ritual to summon the Thunder Gods to destroy all the Fire Yokai on earth.”

“(But he can’t do that!)”

“Of course, he can’t, Duffus! That’s not Coiner’s true intentions.”

“(So he’s not going to sacrifice Tyler?)”

“No, he’ll be used as a sacrifice alright, but he won’t be alone.” Jade explained, “The Priestesses are part of the sacrifice too.”

“(But that doesn’t make sense!)” I whined in frustration, “(Why would Coiner go through all that trouble just to kill everyone in the end?)”

“That’s what I still need to find out,” Jade admitted, “So it’s very important, that if you can’t find where Louis is hidden that you go find help instead.”

“(So, basically you want me to do the “Timmy fell down the well” bit, right?)”

“Basically…,” Jade sighed as she reached into her jeans and pulled out a collar with her family crest on it.

“(Oh, no!),” I backed away from her, “(I’m not going to degrade myself into wearing that.)”

“It’s not for you to wear. It belongs to Louis,” Jade explained, “Inukami’s noses are one of the most resourceful of any other creature there is.”

“(You want me to smell it?),” I asked stupidly, she gave me a look, “(Alright, alright. Geeze.)”

I took a whiff and something in my brain just clicked. I could remember it. It was like the scent was filed away in the back part of my brain somewhere. For a second or two, it was the only thing that I could remember. I lost myself to detailing the scent. It smelled of sweet buttercream, cool refreshing clean salt water, and juicy ripe green apples. There was a hint of mint and rubber, but I figured that neither one belonged to the owner of the collar. Jade tied the collar around my neck while I was in that state. I took another second to shake off that sensation of forgetting everything else.

“Now, all you have to do is run up to anyone and they’ll think that you belong to my family. They should follow you. Especially if you make a big enough fuss.”

“(I feel so used…)”

“Don’t be,” Jade smiled, “It looks good on you.”

My Inukami brain took over, shortly after I made it outside. Growing older only made things worse. There were so many scents in the air, that my brain wanted to categorize everything! My neck should have snapped from the overload of scent processing. I didn’t know what even a fifth of what the scents were. I still don’t know what half of them are, but I remember every single one to this day.

Go for help……Find help……Brandy, he’d know what to do!…

My mind screamed to the heavens as I caught wind of the human scent.

…Brandy is friend……Brandy helps everybody!…

God, my thoughts were so stupid!

Get Brandy! ….…Brandy help……Karen hurt……but Brandy can help…

Well, that’s one thing that I can agree with my dog brain about.

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