Phoenix Feathers: Cult of the Pseudo Phoenix

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Na! Na! Na Na Na!

Chapter 20: Na! Na! Na Na Na!

Never lose sight of who you want to be... or someone else will decide it for you.

Kiki was shot out of the window, along with a huge puff of dusty smoke.

“Kiki Return,” Karen yelled as she fell from the tree herself. Kiki returned to her bell in time. Karen even managed to catch it, but now she was the one falling!

“I’ve got you! I’ve got you,” I positioned myself, ready to catch Karen, but something else tackled me to the ground. Luckily, Karen caught hold of a branch at the last second.

“I thought you said you were going to catch me,” Karen yelled.

“Not like you were going to let me,” I yelled back as I pushed at the creature that was trying to lick my face off, “Leo, what are you doing?”

“(I’ve found help! Brandy will h…),” Leo stopped mid-lick and stepped back, “(Oh God, what am I doing…?)”

“Leo, where’s Tyrone? Is he okay?”

“(I’m right here.),” Leo wagged his tail. I then noticed that he was wearing some kind of fancy blue ribbon.

“What’s this,” I bent over and grabbed the tag that was attached.

“(I don’t know, I got it from Jade.)”

“Look out below,” Karen shouted as she dropped to the ground, “Now let me see.”

Karen ripped the ribbon off the dog’s neck and studied it. She was having trouble looking at it at first, but she quickly tossed it back to me. I took a closer look at the symbol. It was of a Chibi Kappa surrounded by a ring of bubbles.

“It’s the Dolly family crest,” Karen explained, “I’ve seen this on Jade’s things.”

“(Um, I just said that!)”

“Where did you get this?”

“(I told you, ′From Jade.′ What’s up with you two?),” Leo barked angrily, “(Can’t you speak English?)”

“What’s wrong, Leo,” I asked him.

“(I’m not Leo! It’s me, Tyrone. Get that through your thick skulls already!)”

“Leo, we can’t understand what you’re saying,” I said half thinking, “You’re a Yokai.”

“(WHAT?),” Leo started crying, “(Why can’t you understand me? Jade could. I’m not a Yokai! I’m not…)”

“Now where did you get this?”

“(Alright fine…),” Leo sighed, “(Oh, bark, bark… Timmy, fell down the well again… bark.)”

“Did Leo just…,” Karen frowned, “Well, I guess sense Tyrone is a farm boy…”

“So, I take it you’ve seen Lassie reruns too huh?”

“Big time,” Karen pet Leo, “Alright gir- er boy, Where’s the well that Tyrone fall down?”

“(God, I give up!),” Leo ran off to the other side of the house.

“Where are you taking us,” I shouted, his grip was too tight on my wrist as we ran.

“The cellar,” he grunted, “There’s someone there that we need to pick up.”

I’ve never seen Tarsa frightened before. Lord Pseudo wasn’t much calmer himself. He kept squirming in my arms trying to break free. There had to be something that they were hiding from the rest of us.

“Lord Pseudo, please tell me what’s going on,” I whispered to the tiny load that I carried.

“(Yughr gonna gill mi, whuf du yough fink gon’n un!),” I had forgotten that Lord Pseudo couldn’t talk properly with the sacred mask on. On the other hand, I couldn’t understand him when he’s talking in Phoenix either, so it really didn’t matter.

Tarsa stopped at an iron door. His Akaname stood guard. The tiny Kodama that we liberated sat atop of him.

“Stand aside,” Tarsa ordered as he stomped to the cellar door.

“(Alright.),” Filthlicker stomped to the side, but it wasn’t fast enough for Tarsa.

“There’s something else we need,” I was so confused. I know that the Kodama was part of the ritual. So what is it that Tarsa needed from that room.

“Of course, there is,” Tarsa was acting strange, even for him.

Past this door was what had to be an old root cellar. You know, the place where they used to hang the large pieces of meat on chains. Of course, they are more famous for keeping fruits and vegetables fresh, but this one was built especially for hanging meats. Such places are rare to find as the idea of eating animals became less appealing over the centuries. There were quite a variety of stenches that radiated from the room.

“Get out of there,” offended by the stench, Tarsa growled, “what is that awful smell?”

“What did you expect after you took you so long,” that girl we captured stepped out from the stink hole.

“What are you doing with her?”

“As it turns out Kenda,” Tarsa explained as he shut the door again, “that Jade has strong magical abilities and has agreed to assist us in performing the ritual.”

“Yes,” Jade nodded sadly, “I’m here to help.”

“The ritual requires maintaining a large amount energy,” Tarsa explained, “With her help, the ritual will not be as difficult.”

“Of course, there’s going to complications, if you do not inform me of what the ritual will require of m-,” she spaced out entirely when she saw Master Pseudo, her eyes dilated, “What the hell?”

In that moment that I looked Jade in the eyes, something new happened. It was like a movie projection covered her face…

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I was running… No, I saw something running. Kiki maybe… Running… She was so scared. Why? She was looking for someone. She had to find her mother. She had to warn her!


I heard the unforgettable sound of a gunshot echoing. Someone screams. A pain slashed into her back and through her heart. The wind was knocked out of her. She lost her step, tumbled to the ground. Her eyes glazed over and remained unblinking.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“What the hell,” Jade’s voice brought me out of my sudden daydream, “I thought I was over that.”

“Do you need to rest for a little bit,” Tarsa asked sweetly before turning sour, “Because I have no time for you to rest.”

“I’m fine,” Jade shook it off, “Just remembered something that happened recently. Let’s get this over with.”

“Good, then get moving.”

“Not until I get some information,” Jade warned him, “If I don’t know what kind of spell to do, then I won’t be of any help.”

“Fine,” Tarsa was losing his composer, he took out that book from the mysterious place that he kept it, “This book contains what you wish to know. Read it on the way.”

“I don’t think I will…,” Jade said as she opened the book, “I think that I’ll read it right here for everyone to hear.”

“Don’t test me, Girl,” Tarsa motioned for his Yokai to take a step forward. The lug growled and hissed menacingly.

“Don’t test me, Coiner,” Jade mimicked as she patted her chest. She opened the book and turned to the appropriate page, “This is…”

“All that you need to do,” Tarsa finished her sentence for her. Tarsa motioned us to follow. Jade slammed the book in disgust but did as she was told.

“So did he tell you what you will have to do for this ritual,” Jade stated with a stern look at Kenda.

“Yes, I’ve practiced many times,” Kenda’s hold on me got tighter.

“You practiced being killed by your own Yokai?”

Kenda stopped walking. I could feel her gaze looking down on me. My guess was for some kind of reassurance from me. I, however, kept trying to get out of my bindings.

“I-I will have to be killed,” she quietly asked Jade.

“Yes, by your own Yokai.”

“But Canotila wouldn’t…,” Kenda continued to walk, Jade followed.

“Not according to this,” Jade quoted straight from the book, “The blood of the Fire Yokai is on the hands of the familiars. The Sango will demand retribution. They have killed so many in their cause. They have surpassed their weakness, but they have lost themselves. They too hold the Fire Yokai life force within. They must release it, the fires that burn within them for revenge. The Sango demands the blood of the ones that they follow as well. Take their life, burn what’s left and scatter the ashes into the winds, so that the forest life shall be spared. Eternity shall be granted and the Fire Yokai snuffed out.

“It’s talking about Lord Pseudo…”

“Then what do you suppose it means by 'take their life,” Jade asked, “It’s talking about the Yokai and the priestesses. Namely you.”

“Stop it,” Kenda’s heartbeat rose, her grip got tighter.

“What’s wrong, don’t like what you’re hearing,” Jade pestered Kenda quietly.

“You’re wrong,” Kenda yelled softly as Tarsa pushed open the overhead door at the end of the hallway.

“Read it for yourself,” Jade opened the book again, “the ‘they’ is referring to you, the Priestesses. Your Yokai will have to kill all three of you along with Milkshake.”

“Lord Pseudo,” Kenda sounded like she was correcting Jade, but I knew that she was trying to say something to me.

“No, that’s just Milkshake,” Jade continued, “he’s just a poor defenseless baby bird, who has even less of an idea of what’s going to happen than you do.”

Kenda stayed quiet after that. She picked up her pace and stood closer to Tarsa. Jade stayed further behind us. Kenda’s heart rate didn’t slow in the least. Kenda didn’t want to hear the truth.

God, please let some of that get through to her…

“If Lord Pseudo is willing to sacrifice himself,” Kenda whispered to herself, as she stepped out of the basement and into the cool night air of the outside, “Then I should be too.”

God, I hate you right now…

“If Lord Pseudo is really willing, then why do you need to tie him up?”

“Shut up,” Kenda screamed at Jade, “You’re the one that doesn’t know anything!”

I could hear Tarsa chuckle just slightly. I did not understand why then… Today, I can understand what his thoughts were at that moment:

His powers of brainwashing were truly adamant. He manipulated everyone perfectly. His plan was flawless. Soon he will have exactly what he wanted and all it would take was the destruction hundreds and soon to be thousands of innocent lives. But he will have what he wants. No blood on his hands, though. He will achieve the goal that he had been waiting years for. Just as it was supposed to be done the first time…

“I was just trying to help…,” I heard Jade say sadly to herself, ripping a page from the book…

“(Damn, she’s not here anymore.),” I cussed loudly when I made it to the cellar window. There were two distinct scents coming from that room. One of which was my own, the other was Jade’s. Her scent wasn’t too weak, so that would mean that she was removed recently. I scratched at the window, almost wishing that I was small again so that I could follow her scent.

“Leo, what are you doing here,” Brandy finally caught up to me, “Ugh, what’s that smell.”

Covering his nose, he looked inside the cellar window.

“There’s nothing down there, boy,” Brandy told me, “Wait, are those Tyrone’s clothes? Was he in here, boy?”

“(Yeah. Jade was in there too. There goes my cookie…),” I whined, then shook my head to get those thoughts of her out, “(Stupid dog brain…)”

“What in the world is going on around here,” Brandy asked himself.

“Shut up! You’re the one that doesn’t know anything!”

“Brandy look,” Karen pointed to the forest on yet another side of the building. Tarsa was leading a giant red frog and two girls into the woods. I noticed that the one in the back was Jade. It took all the mental strength I had to not go running after her. I watched her as she slowly ripped a page out of a large book she was carrying. She crumbled it into a ball and dropped it to the wind over her shoulder. I don’t think that the humans noticed that part.

“What’s Jade doing here? Is she a part of this,” Brandy rubbed his temples, he was so confused, “But it was her crest tied to Leo? What is going on?”

“Let’s go find out,” Karen pulled Brandy to his feet and practically dragged into the chase.

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