Demon of Wind

Chapter 22 - Survival

"And then Genghis Kahn rides up, waving the most humungous sword and boasting how he took it from his latest conquest."

In a surprising turn of events the dragon that the three Wudai warriors had found sleeping beside a tree was in fact a supposed "world traveller" named Chucky Choo. The Wudai Warriors believed his story and were currently listening to one of his 'exploits'

"He's surprised to find everyone snickering. Then he looks down and sees the price tag still dangling from the handle." The Wudai Warriors burst out laughing. "Ah you should have seen the look on that palooka's red face. He may have be a tyrant but he was still good people."

"You know so many famous people," Omi said in awe

Chucky downed another large spoonful of ice cream. "Oh, yeah. Attila the Hun, Alexander the Great, Ivan the Terrible. Now, there was a sweetie. Never understood how he got that name."

It was as Chucky was burying his face in his bowl that Dojo decided to make his entrance. "Hey guys, I just checked the fridge, we're all out of ice cream."

"Dojo," Omi said enthusiastically, "there is someone I would like you to meet."

Omi stepped to the side, revealing Chucky. Dojo first went rigid and then started quivering in anger. "You! No-Good! Yo-yo Thief!"

"You guys know each other?" Kimiko asked. Instead of replying Dojo leapt at Chucky and started attacking him.

"My guess would be yes," Omi answered.

Chucky escaped and started running round the room trying to escape. Dojo gave chase while explaining, "this is the no good con-dragon I told you about. The one who stole the family yo-yo."

"You got it all wrong Dojo," Chucky said while cowering behind Omi. Dojo tried to leap at him again but was this time caught by Clay and Kimiko.

"Alright I'll give you he's handsome but Chucky Choo is more slippery than a..."

"A baby oinker in a pig catching contest?" Clay offered.

"Yeah, when you shake his hand you better count your fingers I'm pretty sure that's how I lost my feet."

"There must be some mistake."

"No, no, there's no mistake," Chucky said ashamedly. "Dojo's right on all accounts."

"LIAR! DON'T LISTEN TO HIM BECAUSE HE...Huh?" Dojo stopped when he realised what Chucky had said. "Go on."

"It's true, I was once a bad dragon who did bad things. But the worse thing I ever did was to lose the friendship of my closest friend." Chucky peeked out from behind his hand to see if Dojo was watching. "But I've changed since then and I hope one day I'll be lucky enough to earn back that friendship." He sniffed for effect and then held out his hand for Dojo to shake. "What do you say dojo?"

Things when well for a moment...until Dojo bit Chucky's hand.

"Well I see I'm getting some mixed signals on how you feel about me." Chucky drooped his head and started to slither off.

"Chucky?" Omi tried to stop him from leaving.

"No I'll be in my room. Out by the end of the day...or the week...end of the month at the very latest and if you run out for more ice cream, you know where to find me."

The Wudai warriors glared at Dojo who simply huffed.

"Come on Dojo," Clay said, "da fella said he was sorry. What more do ya want?"

"The family yo-yo back but right now I'd settle for him running into our resident dragon munching demon."

"EIYEE!" The shriek echoed through the halls.

The Wudai Warrior ran off while Dojo looked up at the ceiling. "While we're in the business of granting wishes, could Master Fung magically appear with a tub of ice cream?" He paused expectantly. "Dang."

"Oh come on, Rai why must there be bad blood between us?" Chucky asked while trying get out of the grip that Rai had around his throat. "We had a good thing going, you didn't bother me, I didn't bother you. What went wrong?"

"Selling me out to Dashi bothered me."

"Well I can see how you may be a little upset about that."

"Oh I don't get upset," Rai said, "I get even."

"Still a positive thinker," Chucky said nervously, "I always loved that about you." Rai's grip tightened. "Look I feel bad about that whole Dashi mess so how about I make it up to you."

"Oh Chucky you silly dragon, you don't have to do anything to make it up to me."

Chucky stopped struggling and stared at Rai. "I don't?"

"No," Rai replied, "just accept the agonising pain and probable death that's about to happen like the spineless worm that you are and I'll be happy."

Chucky started to struggle again which only made Rai tighten his grip further. "Look Rai, can't we make a deal? I can get you some primo Shen Gong Wu." Chucky started to gasp and go blue as Rai closed.

"You're already standing in your grave and still you're trying to con me?" Rai asked in amazement.

"It's not a con I swear, me and the Xiaolin Warriors are like this." Chucky showed his crossed fingers. "Give me a chance to work my magic on them then we'll split the take 50-50. What do ya say."

"What do I say?" Rai suddenly adopted an unnervingly cheerful voice. "I say 'die vile scum'."

"I'm alright with 60-40." At that moment the Wudai Warriors burst in. Out shock Rai loosened his grip slightly, just enough that Chucky Choo changed back to his normal colour. "Thank Dashi your here!" Chucky said to the warriors. "This demon jumped me and threatened to kill me if I didn't help him get all your Wu. But I wouldn't do it and now that you're here we can slay this hell spawn...well I'll supervise the slaying."

Rai just stared at Chucky for a moment. "Wow, just wow. There really aren't any expectations low enough for you to meet are there, Chucky?"

"Uh Rai?" Omi asked, "What is Chucky talking about?"

"Well it seems that Chucky here is a little behind in the times. He still thinks I'm Heylin and he was trying to con you guys into killing me to save his own skin." Rai pinched Chucky's cheek very hard. "Isn't he just precious?"

"I'm not conning you guys I swear," Chucky exclaimed. "I don't know what lies this scumbag has told you but back in the day he was Wuya's right hand man."

"Oh come on Chucky, don't downplay my greatness. For the two years I served her I was also her left hand, her two feet and any part of her that actually did anything aside from read scrolls, try out spells and pose in front of mirrors."

"That there is an open confession," Chucky exclaimed, "do something!"

"Well buddy, that's not exactly a confession," Clay admitted, "We already know that about him."

"You do?"

"Yeah they do," Rai agreed, "in fact it was the pretty one that released me."

Omi looked perplexed. "I'm not the one who released Rai, Kimiko did."

There was a moment of awkwardness until Kimiko spoke. "Well...moving do you know Chucky?"

"Well I think I told you guys that I had been sold out to Dashi by a too bit dragon." Rai held up Chucky. "Well here he is."

"Rai I told you, Dashi had me cornered, it was self preservation. You would have done the same thing."

"Yeah but I wouldn't have tried to con you out of your possessions before hand."

"Yeah...I'll admit that might not have been the smartest thing to do."

"Yeah but the dumbest thing you did was bank on Dashi sending me somewhere where I wouldn't come back from." Rai tightened his grip again. "I spared your life and instead doing the smart thing and keeping quiet you decided to blab so now it's time to pay the piper."

"Why does Chucky have to pay a musician?" Omi asked, "Does Chucky owe him money?"

Rai pinched the bridge of his nose with his spare hand. "Omi, I respect you as a warrior and like you as a friend but for love of all things sweet and chocolate flavoured LEARN THE MODERN LANGUAGE! If a demon locked away for 1500 years can do it, it can't be that hard."

"At least I do not chuckle every time I hear the word 'disembowel'." Omi retorted.

Rai tried to hold a straight face but a chuckle still escaped. "You've got to admit, 'disembowel' is a funny sounding word." Rai drew his attention back to Chucky. "And in a few moments it may become the word of the day."

"Please Rai, you don't want to eat me," Chucky whimpered. "I'd taste terrible and would you look at all the fat on me. Can't be too careful with your cholesterol."

"Didn't you hear? Dragons are good cholesterol. Don't you want me to grow into a big strong demon?"

"Of course, I mean no, I mean sure I'd want you to be healthy I mean..." Chucky stopped himself. "There isn't a right way to answer this question is there?"

"Chucky, relax," Kimiko ordered. "There isn't anyone in this room that wants to see you get eaten by Rai."

At that moment Dojo slithered with a big tray of seasonings. "OK Rai I wasn't sure how you like your Dragon prepared so I brought a bit of everything."

Clay rubbed the back of my neck. " there is."

"Now he is over 1500 years old so the meat might be a tough," Dojo continued, "but that's nothing a dash of meat tenderiser can't fix."

"Come on Dojo," Chucky said nervously, "you can't be serious."

"You're right," Dojo agreed before pulling out a big mallet. "Give him a few good whacks with this and he'll soften right up."

"Come on Dojo," Chucky said. "I know we have some issues to work out but do you really want me being eaten on your conscious?"

"Sorry Chucky but Yo-yos are thicker than water."

Everyone the room stared blankly for a moment. "Dojo, what you just said made no sense," Rai replied. "But it reminded me of something very important." Rai pulled out a red yo-yo from his pocket. "Remember this?"

Chucky looked at it nervously. "Vaguely."

"Oh? Maybe you'll remember it when I shove it down your throat."

Dojo took one glance at the yo-yo and then went rigid. "The family yo-yo! What are you doing with my family's yo-yo?"

"This worm gave it to me as collateral for sparing his life. Told me it was a family heirloom." Rai explained. "Turns out he was a Young vague on which family it belonged to."

"Well it belongs to my family so give it back right now!" Dojo demanded.

Rai shrugged. "Meh." He then lobbed it Dojo.

"It's good to have you back," Dojo said lovingly to the Yo-yo.

"I am glad for you." Omi said. "And now that you have gotten your cherished family yo-yo back, isn't there something you wanted to say to Chucky?"

"Yes Omi there is something I wanted to him." Dojo answered before turning back Chucky. "YOU GAVE THE FAMILY YO-YO TO RAI!"

"How was I supposed to know Dash would turn Rai to stone? I just figured I get the yo-yo back from his dead bodyeeeeeeeeeeee!" Chucky started to squeal as Rai applied more pressure. "Could we discuss this when I'm not about to be eaten?"

"For the last time you're not getting eaten." Kimiko said. "Rai the sick joke is over. We all know you don't eat dragons so stop tormenting him."

"Yeah Rai, Kimiko's got a point," Clay agreed, "and isn't it a good thing Chucky sold you out to Dashi?" A moment of awkward silence followed coupled with staring. "Would y'all stop looking at me like I'm some crazy person?"

"No promises."

"Look if Rai hadn't been turned to stone and locked away he wouldn't have met any of us and probably have died still a Heylin and still under Wuya's control."

"Yeah that's right." Chucky seemed to cotton on. "You owe me. Now I'm not going ask a much deserved reward for my services. How about we just shake hands and go our separate ways."

Chucky held out his hand.

Rai smiled...then held out his knife.

"Jack Spicer attacked the temple this morning with some dud wu he had been conned into buying." Rai brought the knife closer to Chucky's throat. "You wouldn't know anything about that now would you?"

"No of course not! I'm good honest dragon who has repented from..." Rai added a bit of pressure with the knife. "Alright! I might have been selling some souvenirs that some people may have mistaken for the real thing."

"Define some people," Rai ordered.

"Just some ground level Heylin nobodies," Chucky assured. "Nothing to worry about."

"You call Wuya nothing to worry about?!"

"Oh hehehe..." Chucky chuckled nervously while it was obvious his life was starting to flash in front of his eyes. "I mean aside from Wuya of course and besides how much trouble could one 1500 year old Heylin witch be?"

There was a moment of awkward silence until Rai spoke again. "I swear I'm going to enjoy this on a deeply disturbing level."

"Rai what are you going to do?" Omi asked.

"I'm going to kill this worm, still working on the details, send his mutilated corpse to Wuya as a peace offering." Rai replied. "If we don't do something now we'll regret it. Wuya gets cranky when people make her look like an idiot."

Dojo remaked, "And the prize for understatement of the century goes to..."

"Rai! You cannot kill him!" Omi said. "That is not the way of a Xiaolin warrior."

"And what if I don't care about the way of a Xiaolin warrior?"

"Then ya have no place on the Xiaolin side." Clay answered.

Rai stared at the three Wudai Warriors saw that they all had the same determined expression. "Are you serious?" Rai couldn't hide the shock in his voice, "you actually value this worm's life more than my place here?"

"No Rai, we value our teaching and upbringing which means we cannot stand by and let someone be murdered like this. No matter who or what they are." Omi answered.

"The real question is what do you value more?" Kimiko asked, "Our friendship or petty revenge."

There was a moment of awkward silence as it dawned on Rai they were actually going to force Rai to make a choice. When realisation struck, Rai threw Chucky . "I'm not going to kill you." Rai told him, "but if you're not out of this temple in five you're gonna start losing body parts."

Chucky, however seeing that the Wudai warriors were still on his side, forgot the lesson of quitting while you're ahead and just dusted himself off casually. "Well sure I could leave but it's getting kinda late so how bout I stay for dinner and leave first thing in the..." Rai's dagger came flying in and landed a millimetre away from Chucky's ear.

"Not. Kidding."

At that Chucky ran like there was no tomorrow. When he was gone, Rai pulled out his dagger from the wall. "There, the backstabbing slimeball is alive to betray us to the Heylin side in order save that mouldy eel-hide he calls a skin, happy?"

Instead of waiting for a reply Rai just walked out. He was down the hall by the time Kimiko came running and blocked off his escape. "Rai what was that?" Kimiko demanded.

Rai paused for a moment, "I believe the technical term is attempted homicide."

"And you're ok with that?!"

"Look, Chucky Choo is a scum spewing parasite that would sell out his own mother to save his skin." Rai answered. "The world would be better off without him and we would be a lot safer. The fact that I really hate him is a side note."

"And that makes it ok? Rai that's not the way it works."

Rai rolled his eyes. "Yes I've already gotten my lecture in Xiaolin morality."

"Damn it Rai! This isn't about being Xiaolin warrior. This is about being a decent human being."

"And that's what everything comes back to doesn't it, about being human." Rai said bitterly, "Well in case you've forgotten, I'm not human; I haven't been one for a very long time and I'm not ever going to be one. That's the fact of life and you'd be an idiot to think otherwise."

Kimiko felt her blood turn cold. "An idiot? You think that I'm an idiot for thinking that you could be human again?" Rai opened his mouth but she didn't give him a chance. "well you know what? This idiot has spent the last three and half months trying find a cure for you."

Kimiko stormed out leaving a stunned Rai behind.

He stood there in shock. His mind buzzing as pieces of the mental puzzle started to fall into place. All this time Kimiko had been looking for a way to cure him.

A way to end the curse.

A way to make him human again.

And what will happen when she realises it's hopeless? A voice behind Rai spoke. We've been down this path before and we know where it leads.

Rai spun round faced the wall. There was a moment silence as Rai stared his shadow. That was until it opened its eye. An all too familiar chill ran down Rai's spine as the silver orbs stared back at him. "You again? We've been through this; I'm done listening to you."

Oh, you're not done. If you were done I'd be gone. The shadow took a step foward and went from being a two dimensional image against the wall to being a fully 3D entity. You can't let go of me just like you can't let go of the memories of the last time you trusted someone.

"This time is different." Rai insisted.

The silver eyed shadow shrugged. Maybe, maybe not but regardless the doubt is there. It started to close the gap between them. And that gives me strength. Your fear gives me form and you uncertainty gives me power.

"And this gives you pain!" A voice shouted.

Before anyone could react, the shadow got whacked by a fold up stepping stool. Holding the stepping stool was Young Rai. "You have no idea how long I've waited to be able to do that."

You?! What do you want? You sad waste of space.

Young Rai brought the stepping stool down on the fallen shadow's legs. "Having a form isn't all it's cracked up to be, is it?" Young Rai then dropped the steeping stool and walked up to the shadow and grabbed a hold of its head. "Alright creepy eyes I'm going to explain this in a way you'll appreciate." He then proceeded to smash the shadows head into the ground for each word of his next sentence. "You! Are! Out! Of! Business!" He added in a couple more smashes for luck. "Understand?"

The Shadow didn't even have the will left to lift up his head. Yes...

"Good now get out my sight."

As the battered and beaten shadow dissolved out of sight Rai stared in awe at what had happened. "Kid, I can honestly say I did not see that coming. I mean I know you were changing but that was intense. Still props goes to the new you."

Rai held out his hand for a low five. Instead of giving it Young Rai set up the step ladder and climbed it so that he was the right height to be able to slap Rai across the face, which he did.

"Hey! I'm on your side. Why are you hurting me?" Rai paused. "Hey! You're a hallucination. How are you hurting me?"

Instead of answering Young Rai grabbed Rai's shirt and pulled their faces together.

"Alright jerk-wad, listen and listen good." For a hallucination the grip Young Rai had on Rai's shirt was surprisingly strong. "Because of you I have had to put up with a lot during my existence; being hunted, fighting back, serving Wuya, being the villain, seeing faces of the people you were forced to hurt and don't get me started on when you realised girls were nice to look at, but this is where I draw the line. Kimiko is the one good thing that has come out of all this and I'm not going to let you ruin it just because you're scared. You are gonna go and make things right with her or so help me I'll redefine masochism. Got it?!"

"Yes, sir." Rai said meekly. When Young Rai let go, Rai ran for it and never looked back."

Clay entered the sleeping chambers and saw Kimiko shaped lumped lying in Kimiko's bed so no prizes for guessing who it was.

"Kimi, why are ya moping in bed? If Rai said something stupid just break some of his bones and be done with it."

"I'm not moping!" Kimiko protested, "And this has nothing to do with that Jerk. I'm trying to get to sleep!"

"At three in the afternoon?"

"It's been a long day," Kimiko replied stubbornly, "And I'm stuck on Japanese time."

"So ya trying get to sleep at four in the afternoon?"

Kimiko didn't reply but Clay knew full well she was still awake. He then noticed Rai walking into the room. "Alright fine, I'll leave ya to it. But just remember that winning an argument isn't worth losing a friend."

Clay left but not before give Rai a meaningful glance. What it meant could probably have summed up in two words; fix this.

Rai sat down at the foot of Kimiko's bed. "Look I don't really know how this is supposed to work so would admitting I'm the idiot and letting you hurt me a bit help?" Rai got nothing but silence."Yeah I didn't think so either so how about I tell you a bed time story to help you nod off?" Rai didn't wait for a reply which was good because Kimiko wasn't going to give it. "Once upon a time there was a boy. Now this boy didn't want trouble with anyone but was demon so everybody had trouble with him. In fact he had spent what must have been a year running, hiding and living like some animal, always in fear and never sure where was safe. That changed one night when the boy had gotten his leg caught in a trap. He managed to get free but his ankle was mangled up pretty badly. Finally he was able to crawl into a cave. Alone in the dark he accepted that this would probably be his final resting place. It was then that a storm hit causing a woman to seek shelter in the same cave."

Kimiko stuck her head out from under the blanket as Rai continued to tell his story.

"She was a priestess born with ability to wield magic. she belonged to an order which had recently arrived to China from across the sea. She had been sent out to gather herbs before she had gotten caught in the rain. The boy tried to hide but the cave was too small for that. Soon woman found the boy and after realising that the he was harmless and genuinely she took pity on him. Using her powers and her skills with herbs she was heal his ankle. If it hadn't been for her it probably wouldn't have healed properly and instead of losing the ability to walk all that was left was some minor scarring."

Rai exposed his ankle to reveal the scar that was there. "When the storm ended. She had to head home but she promised she would return the next day. Despite knowing it could be a trap the boy believed her and waited. That was kid's first mistake."

"Why?" Kimiko asked, having forgotten about pretending to be asleep. "Didn't she come back?"

"No she came back the next day, and the day after that and the day after get the idea. She brought him food, cared for him, helped remember him what it was like to be human. Soon the young idiot started opening up to her until finally he told her about his past."

Kimiko's eyes widened as it clicked in her mind what past Rai was referring to.

"Well the woman promise she would do everything in her power to try find a cure. She looked, she tried a few things. Nothing worked but she remained hopeful. Finally she had tried everything she could think off and still had made no progress. One morning she came to the cave and told the boy that she had found someone that would be able to help. The boy believed her and held her hand as she led him to her home. He continued to hold her hand right until the arrow grazed his shoulder. It had been a trap. He ran, they chased, right until he ran right off a cliff."

Rai swallowed as he remembered the experience.

"The boy survived somehow, try and rap your head around that one, but that was the point where he accepted his fate and stopped running, if he was going to die a demon he would at least die a fighting one." Rai slumped. "You know what the funny part of all this is? The boy has never stopped believing the priestess had wanted to cure him. She must have found out that it was a lost cause and the only humane thing to do would be to end my misery."

"So that's it?" Kimiko asked, "after all this time to you I'm just like the priestess; Nice for now but intending to kill you when it suits me? Haven't we moved past that stage yet?"

"We have and we haven't," Rai said cryptically. "Why is it so important for you to make me human? Is the hope that someday I'll no longer be demonic the only reason you can bear having me around."

Kimiko felt her anger flare up. "Rai! After everything you still doubt me? I'm trying to help you because that's what friends do! What do I have to do get you realise that I'm your friend."

"Nothing." That single word was enough to silence her. "You're my friend and I'm yours. So as a friend I'm asking; please stop looking for a cure." Kimiko opened her mouth to protest but was silenced by Rai raising his hand. "Before you start a righteous rant, let me finish." Kimiko closed her mouth. "Now let's play out this scenario. You dedicate yourself to finding a cure for me, spending all your time on research and experiments. Slowly months become years and years becomes decades of your precious life whittled away on this crusade. Soon you'll find yourself in cycle that you can't escape, no longer believing the cure exists but unable to give up because it would mean that everything you put into it so far would have been for nothing. Now I could I consider myself a friend if I let you do that?"

"But Rai, after all you've been through," Kimiko protested, "Wouldn't you want a chance to free of it?"

"Free is a relative term." Rai replied, "Besides look at me, for the first time in 1500 years I've got a home, friends, three square meals and places to sleep where I don't have to fear dismemberment. Life is good."

"But if we found a way to remove the demon and make you human, life could be better." Kimiko protested.

"Yeah, about that, with all due respect, have you seen an average human lately? They're not the most impressive thing on the block."

"What do you mean?" Kimiko asked.

"I mean the average human can't run at great speeds, can't sense and can't manipulate the wind." Rai explained. "Becoming human again would be a one way trip to the sidelines."

"Doesn't have to be. You can still fight and we have Wu by the boat load." Kimiko argued. "And even if you stopped active fighting we could still use your experience."

"You're really not going to let this go are you?" The hard look Kimiko gave him was answer enough. "At least think about it."

Kimiko didn't reply but it was a comfortable silence

"Rai," Kimiko said tentatively. "What happened today with Chucky can't happen again. Just because you're a demon doesn't give you the right to be a monster."

"You're right, I'm sorry. Chucky just brought the worst out in me." Rai and Kimiko then hugged. "but speaking of which I should probably go and make sure he's gone."

"Rai... "Kimiko adopted a warning tone.

"I'm not going to hurt him but I won't let him stay here," Rai assured, "it's just that Chucky can't be trusted and we don't need anymore people we've got to worry about."

A priestess sat in front of shrine dedicated to her ancestor. Around her neck was the last relic that ancestor, passed down from generation to generation, passed on to her fifteen years ago. The necklace not only came with a history but also with a duty. Every day she would return to the shrine to reaffirm her promise. If fate deemed that she was to be the one to complete the mission, she would act without hesitation and when she was finished there would be one less demon in the world.

"Chiyoko?" A voice behind her said.

"Oh please, Takeo, feel free to barge in." Chiyoko said dryly, never taking her eyes off the shrine. "It's not like I'm busy honouring my ancestors or something."

"My apologies," Takeo bowed his head slightly, he hated interrupting Chiyoko's ritual but his news couldn't wait. "The elders have been reading the signs."

"As they have been for almost four months since the first sign appeared." Chiyoko closed her eye as she tried to regain her focus. "What has changed?"

"They have received a vision of the involvement and possible location of a wind demon in human form."

Chiyoko eyes snapped back open. "A wind demon in human form?"

"That's what I said, a strike team leaves at dawn check it out." Takeo replied, "think it's him?"

"I think I'd be a fool not to investigate," Chiyoko replied. "Get me on that strike team."

Rai leaned against wall starring out at the main training yard. He had finished a sweep of the temple and had not found a trace of Chucky. It seemed the dragon had taken the hint.

"And so the demon selflessly tried sacrificed a potential chance at humanity to save the fair maiden from a lifetime of fruitless searching." Clone-Rai paused for effect. "You have got to admit this would make a great opera."

"You do realise that most operas end in death, don't you?"

"OK, scratch the opera." Clone-Rai leaned against the wall. "Though you've got to admit, that girl knows how to surprise you. I mean who'd have thought Kimiko would be actively looking for a cure. Who knows maybe she would be the one to find." Clone-Rai quickly raised his hands in surrender when he saw the glare Rai was giving him. "I'm not saying it was wrong to stop try to her from throwing her life but you can't deny you're a little impressed. Chiyo had called it quits after day 57. Kimiko has almost doubled that time and is still going strong."

"Yeah," Rai agreed, "Then again, that girl's so stubborn she could be on her death bed and still going at it."

"Probably," Clone-Rai said with a nodded, "but don't you just love her for it?"

"That I do," Rai said wistfully before pausing. "Wait, you said 'Chiyo'. What happened to just calling her 'the priestess'?"

"Talking to Kimiko about what happened has brought you some peace on the matter." Clone-Rai, "Now you feel emotionally secure enough to remember her as person instead of just as an evil entity. It's a sign of growth and maturity."

"It's also a sign that I shouldn't have read that self help book," Rai said, "honestly is there any book I read that won't come back to bite me?"

"That depends," Clone-Rai said, "Are you ever going to stop reading books you know will come back to bite you?"


The two Rais leaned against the wall for moment of comfortable silence.

"Alright I've got to ask. Who are you supposed to be?" Rai asked. "Freaky eyes is definitely my demonic nature and short stuff represents my humanity. But what does that make you?"

"What do you think that makes me?"

"Oy! No doing that Zen throw the question back at the asker nonsense. Only people that actually exist are allowed."

"Ok fair call I guess." Rai-clone gave a small stretch. "Well no-one really knows why they exist but I think I'm here to play devil's advocate. Out of all of your hallucinations I'm built closest to you. That way when I'm giving a counter argument I do so on equal footing. I provide you with someone to bounce ideas off of."

"Well start bouncing." Rai started to pace. "Because right now I'm more confused than ever. I still don't know what the bad guys are planning. I've let that con dragon live despite it's going to come back to bite me. Freaky eyes is becoming a wuss, short stuff is becoming a badass, you're becoming philosophical and I'm becoming able to talk about my feelings." Rai grabbed Clone-Rai's shirt. "This world is scaring me and I don't know had to make it stop!" Clone-Rai slapped Rai across the face. "How are you hallucinations able to hurt me!"

"That doesn't matter. What matters is that you have forgotten something very important."

"Really and what is that?" Rai asked.

"That you're a survivor. Look I'd be the last guy to say that you've lived a charmed life but despite everything that's happened and everything people have done to prevent it you are still breathing."

"I guess..." Rai replied.

"Like I said, you're a survivor. Always have been and so long as you want it; always will be. You put your mind to it you'll survive this." Clone-Rai started to walk off. "What you just have to decide is how you want to survive this...and who you want to survive with."

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.