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Phoenix Feathers: Curator of the Dragon Gate

By Rusty Mudstix All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Adventure

Here We Go Again

Life’s like a Rubix Cube… eh, you figure it out.

“(What are you doing, Sis?)”

“(Spying…),” I shushed. My lightly colored brother slipped down and crawled next to me.

“(Spying on what?)”

“(See that creature over there?)”

“(Oh, its a… What is it?)”

“(I don’t know, I’ve never seen a Yokai like them before.)”

“(What is he doing?)”

The human William was obviously making a fence, but my mind was in a fog. To a young Kitsune, it looked like he was trying to smash dead trees into the ground. I had theories that he was training to get stronger for a battle, or even trying to break the earth in half. I was finding Humans fascinating, even though I didn’t know what they were called.

“(I’m not sure, but I want to find out.),” I stood to get a closer look, but brother pulled me back down.

“(Don’t go out there. He might try to kill you.)”

“(But that one’s really nice.)”

“(You don’t know anything about him.)”

“(Yes, I do.),” I argued, “(His name is William Caleb Lawrence. He is ten years old and lives alone with his grandfather, Pappie. His favorite food is something called 'jam', but they don’t have it very often. He spends his entire day feeding those chickens over there or pulling milk out of those cows or splitting small trees down. Oh, and he has exactly three cavities and a round birthmark on his…*whispers*)”

“(My Inari! How long have you been spying on him?)”

“(A few days… after that game of tag…),” I said as I watched brother’s mouth open so wide that a caterpillar would have mistaken it for a wet cave. Mind you, I’ve been coming here almost every day and some nights for the past moon or two.

“(All this time, you were here?),” his mouth shut when I nodded, “(No, I forbid it.)”

“(You can’t do that to me.),” I whined.

“(Sis, I don’t know how you haven’t been caught yet, but what are you going to tell the rest of the pack when they find out?)”

“(They won't find out, so long as you don’t tell them.)”

“(Then…),” he thought for a second before running off, “(I’m telling Mom.)”

“(No! You can’t!),” I leaped up after him, but then hit my head on a low hanging branch-

and woke up. Took me a minute to remember who I really was. My name was Jonathan Lawrence. I am… was sixteen years old. And most importantly, I was a human who was Reborn into a two day old Phoenix. Now my name was Milkshake- no… Tyler! I’m called Tyler now.

How did I wind up here, in the local Yokai Clinic again? Well, that’s a long complicated story…

“Sir, you can’t go in there,” a woman’s voice said as I awoke me from my dream.

“Step aside,” the man argued. I could see the two of them through the window of the healing room door. I couldn't see his face, but that voice sounded oddly like my (now former) Principal Bisha.

“I can’t do that,” the nurse said, “the Yokai in here need their rest.”

“But I need to know if Tyler would approve,” the man said, trying to get past her.

“I already told you,” Brandy now took a stand next to the nurse, “the answer is no.”

“You said yourself that Tyler has not been Sealed yet,” the man explained, “since he hasn’t been, then he’s free to make his own choices.”

“I realize that Mr. Bisha, but I am his caretaker and therefore parent,” Brandy defended himself, “and as such, I’m responsible for his well-being.”

“Then how can you refuse an offer like this?”

“I’m thrilled about the offer. It's just I… We need time to think about it. Alright,” Brandy turned the man back to the door, “and right now Tyler needs his rest. So I’ll talk to him about it later, okay?”

“When should I expect an answer?”

“I don’t know…,” Brandy sighed still exhausted from yesterday’s adventure, “a week maybe.”

“You have until tomorrow,” I heard Principal Bisha say as the door was shut again.

“(What was that about?),” Leo coughed, his voice seemed deeper, “(Damn, I’m sore.)”

“(You okay, Inukami?),” Andrew, the Unicorn, asked him.

Leo didn’t even bother to turn around to look at him, “(that stupid oversized toad poisoned me. I can’t believe it.)”

“(Find yourself lucky. I was almost barbecued cajun-style.),” I rolled my eyes.

“(So what! I was almost filleted),” Andrew retorted, “(by a Sun Sprite no less.)"

“(I wonder where Aneki is...),” Leo groaned.

“(What’s a Neki?)”

“(Hm?),” Leo looked at me, confused, “(Tyler? What is it?)”

“(What’s a Neki?),” I asked again.

“(I don’t understand…)”

“(It’s not that complicated of a question, Leo.),” I could almost growl myself.

“(What is it?)”

“(Aneki.),” Andrew moaned, “(He means Aneki. He wants to know what an Aneki is, you dumb mutt.)”

“(Are you two asking me something?)”

“(No, Sherlock. We were giving the weekly forecast.),” Andrew snapped, “(Now stop being a pain in the butt and answer the damn Phoenix’s question.)”

“(Andrew, watch your tongue!),” Karen's Kitsune, Kiki snapped as she snuck her way back into the room, “(That’s my baby brother you’re talking about.)”

“(Like I give a Raven’s Curse about what I say. He was the one talking about birthmarks on someone’s…)”

“(HEY!),” I, luckily, interrupted in time, “(where have I ever said anything remotely like that!)”

“(You're the one that kept me up all night, just going on and on about Terry. And then you talk in your sleep, going on and on about some William guy and You-)”

“(Quit your whining.),” Kiki said proudly, “(I was kidnapped by a half-blind Stikini, fought two of those psychotic Plant Yokai, and have a foreign object stuck in my… um, tails! I’m going to need surgery for all my trouble.)”

“(Were you attacked by a bladed leaf storm!),” Andrew yelled at Kiki, “(No? I didn’t think so. And now look at me! While you’re walking around, I can’t walk two steps without falling over.)”

“(What’s your point! Degree of wounds don’t matter. I faced two of them and you only faced one.)”

“(Doesn’t matter!?! Excuse me! At least with your Sun’s Blessing you can recover faster.),” Andrew yelled, “(I don’t have that convenience! And then look at me! Unlike Kitsune, my legs are My Life! I can’t live without them. If you broke your legs, then Mommy dearest would cradle you like the baby you are!)”

“(I also lasted more than one attack.),” Kiki sneered at him. Andrew wanted to stomp on her, but quickly reversed on making that particular mistake.

“(Okay, you win!),” I was directing it to Andrew, but Kiki accepted it, so then I masterfully changed the subject, ”(Hey Kiki. Did you happen to hear what the humans were arguing about out there?)”

“(Something about school and a home for you.)”

“(Man…),” Leo seemed to be ignoring what everyone was talking about despite the fact he was sitting right there and watching us, “(if Aneki doesn’t come back soon I’m going to go nuts.)”

“(Hey, Grandpa! I was talking here!)”

“(Um… uh, errr…),” Leo couldn’t form a sentence.

“(What? Are you out of insults, Farmer’s Mutt!),” Kiki sparked a small flame into his face.

“(Gah!),” Leo jumped onto his hind legs and fell onto his rear, “(Watch where you shoot those things!)”

“(How can you bend like that without falling over?),” Kiki shrieked. I looked up and noticed that Leo had one of his front paws behind his back, helping to him keep up. That was diffidently not natural for Inukami to be able to do.

“(I’m out of here.),” Leo flipped over and headed for the door as it opened.

“Hey, Leo,” another boy I'd never seen before entered the room, “I know that your master’s gone missing. So as his master, it’s my job to make sure that all of my servant’s subordinates are well taken care of while he’s gone.”

Leo just started growling at him.

“What’s wrong boy?”

“(We are not your servants, Eddie!),” Leo barked, “(Now if you don’t mind I’m going to get out of this place before that fat fox tries to roast me again.)”

“Oh, so that’s where you went,” Eddie’s smile slowly faded, “This is unfortunate.”

“(Fat fox!),” Kiki shrieked, “(That’s the last straw! I am not fat!)”

“(For a hippo maybe…),” I thought out loud.

“(Oooh, bad move there Chicky.),” Andrew sighed.

“(What do you mean?)”

“(You just insulted a female of your natural predator about her weight. It doesn’t take a genius to know what’s going to happen in five, four, three…)”

“(I am not fat!),” Kiki leaped at me.

I screamed and started to run for my life. For real this time. Kiki was not holding back. First, she flashed a weird dark aura around the room. Japanese figures and “X”’s floated about the open air. This had to be Kiki’s Distortion Illusion in effect. Then she started shooting her will-o-wisp fireballs at me. I couldn’t run as fast as I could before.

“Hey! What’s going on in here,” Brandy shouted at us.

“Kiki! Stop that right now,” Karen yelled at her, “Or no brushings for a month!

Kiki stopped running and slid in her tracks.

“(You wouldn’t do that would you, Mommy?),” she got all wide-eyed and cute.

“(Oh… So now she’s mommy, huh?)”

“(Don’t press your luck, Tyler…),” she said as sweetly as cream, but as horrifying as one of mom’s ‘the look’ moments. You know what look I’m talking about.

“Yes, I would,” Karen scolded Kiki, “You shouldn’t treat your little brother like that, especially when you’ve got an injury.”

"(Sorry Mama…)"

“And you used your Distortion Illusion! You know how much I hate seeing this creepy stuff.”

“So this is what a Distortion Illusion looks like,” Brandy touched one of the X’s, causing it to spin momentarily, “Cool.”

“It may be cool for you, but it creeps me out,” Karen shuttered.

“It should vanish when you put Kiki away.”

“I can’t seal Kiki away. The doctor said that the thing in her tail could move to a more dangerous location if I did that.”

“I see…,” Brandy looked around the room some more, “Wait. Where’s Leo?”

“I saw Eddie take him that way,” one of the twins, (Christen, I think) randomly pointed, “Of course, Leo was making a huge fuss, since Eddie wasn’t his master. So I think that he might have taken him against his will to the old bell tower across town.”

“………,” we all blinked, but her twin, Kayla, was the first to speak, “I don’t think I’ve ever heard you say so much on your own before.”

“Where did you two come from,” Brandy asked.

“Eddie… Leo…Not master…,” Karen was putting two and three together about what they said.

“Now I remember who Eddie is! I was going to kill him! Why didn’t you two stop him,” Karen yelled at them, “Andrew, we have to go. Now.

“(Oh… Damn… am I tired and these drugs aren’t working fast enou-zzzzzZZZZzzzz.),” Andrew fell asleep, as Karen returned him to his bell's Seal.

“Wait! Andrew’s still recovering,” Brandy told Karen, but she didn’t listen. She ran off after Eddie, followed by Kiki, “Karen wait!”

“(Oh no. Don’t leave me here alone with…),” I screamed running after Brandy, but Kayla caught me, “(Nooooooooooo!)”

“Come on, Milkshake. Let’s play,” Christen smiled with her doppelgänger.

“We’ve got a few ribbons for you to try on…”

Dare I repeat myself?


“(Nnnnnooooooooooooooooooohhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Curse You Sigma!!!!!!!)”

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