Phoenix Feathers: Curator of the Dragon Gate

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Uncertain Futures

Are our fates truly set in stone?

“So you need me to help you two to find a piece of jewelry or else Kubbi won't make it look like you died differently?”

“(Is it really so hard to believe that I’m not that ’Selfish Stupid Insensitive Bastard’ that you branded me as…),” I sighed, Sigma snickered as if I had made some horrible pun.

“You heard that?”

“(Heard it, saw it, and felt it. I was still alive… sort of.)”

“I’m sorry. If I had known, I would have… I could have saved you.”

“(It’s okay, I kind of deserved a few good kicks.),” I smiled, for real this time.

That and I already got you back for it… I thought to myself.

“But me kicking you like that…”

“(There’s nothing that you could have done. He was ready to die.),” Sigma shook his cute little head, “(Without the will to live, most mortals will not be able to survive long.)”

“Why did you do it?”

“(Look, it’s not important why I did what I did. Will you help me or not?)”

“I could try,” Brandy rubbed the back of his head, “But I don’t know how much help I’d be.”

“(Just by figuring out who John is on your own, you are already becoming a huge help.)”

“What do you mean by th-,” Brandy was interrupted by an earth shattering BANGs shaking the dream world apart. The ‘ground’ below us was the first to go with a BANG and we started to fall at another BANG. Well, Brandy and me did at least. That prankster, Sigma, stayed afloat on its own despite the BANGs. Sigma waved good-bye as we fell. BANG As Sigma got smaller and smaller, the abyss below us became bigger and more welcoming. We were going to fall forever if we didn’t…

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

*Crash* …fall out off the bed.

Brandy landed on top of my small body barely missing any vital organs and yet somehow hitting all of the non-vital ones.

“Oh snap,” Brandy quickly got up and off of me, “Tyler, are you okay? I’m so sorry!”

I was about to answer when some more of that banging pulsated throughout the house. Wide awake now, Brandy scooped me up from the ground and headed for the door.

“Who could be coming here at this hour,” Miss Kay rushed past our room just as Brandy opened it.

Ms. Kay! Please open up,” the girl behind the door cried, Miss Kay opened the door to reveal that it was Karen. She wasn’t completely together, “I’m sorry about this. You have to help me.”

“Calm yourself child.”

“Ms. Kay,” Karen cried on Miss Kay’s shoulder, “Please, you have to help him. Please.”

“Karen, what’s going on?”

“Guardians,” Seventh asked the rest of the group, “There are guardians?”

“They call themselves ‘Curators’, But yes, there are guardians for each of the Kimon,” Third nodded, “Each Kimon can only be obtained in one of two ways. By being given willingly, or won in a contest of some kind.”

“And how do you expect us to find the Curators,” Blue of the Pair, shrugged, “I mean, it’s not like they’re going to just come out and announce it to everyone.”

“Never you mind about such details,” Sixth strummed her sitar, “measures have already been put into place.”

“Must you play that out of tune piece of junk,” Seventh snapped.

“Yes actually. Just like how you have to use your fishing rod.”

“At least I know how to use my relic.”

“Cease your bickering, both of you,” Third threatened with his spear, “How is it you’re the former Seventh’s son? He was much more dignified.”

“Now now, Third,” Second pat Third on the back, “You must remember that he hasn’t been with us for very long. It’s all still new to him.”

“Then what’s her excuse,” Third snapped.

“I always act dignified,” Sixth shrugged.

“Then you wouldn’t mind being the first to put their birthright into practice,” Tenma Smith mumbled loudly scratching his nose, “I just so happen to know who holds one of the Kimon.”

“It will be my pleasure,” Sixth grinned a smile that would make a viper envious.

“If you know where the Kimon is then why don’t you get it for us,” Seventh asked, “You should be more than strong enough.”

“Why send a lion to get rid of a few mice,” Tenma shrugged, “Such a victory by me would be meaningless.”

“Besides that, it is our birthright to harmonize the Kimon together,” Sixth strummed her sitar again. It hit a bad note.

“Would you please stop playing that thing?”

“Now if our dear little scroll holder would read what future problems we may have to face,” Second motioned with his hammer for Pink to step forward.

“I-i’ll try,” Pink stuttered. She took out her relic, an ancient scroll, from its hiding place up her sleeve. Pink took timid steps forward so that she could stand in the middle of the round room. She unravels the scroll to surround her. A mysterious force kept the faded documents afloat around her. An antlered spirit rose from the floor below her. It grew like a tree made of silver. The shining Peryton spread his wings and then stood as if it were a gargoyle. It gave off a strange cold aura throughout the room. The aura gave even Tenma chills.

“Dārgais,” Pink’s eyes illuminated as a paintbrush materialized in her left hand, “Please, tell us the story of our struggles to come.”

The horned spirit’s eyes illuminated with a deeper light. The orbs that were attached to its horns did the same. The room watched as Pink’s hand moved to write on the parts of the scroll that were before her. She unconsciously painted the story that was unfolding within her mind.

“We see, an Inukami, a Kappa and a Kitsune, who are not what they seem. They’re somehow hiding themselves amongst humans. The female has a Kimon you seek. We see a strong and fearless spirit in the form of wingless flames falling from the sky. She is sent here to protect someone… however her own protector is also gone,” Pink started to breathe uneasily, this form of magic was more advanced than her body could handle, “Those beings don’t intend to stop us, yet they will get in the way. And there’s one other… We cannot see his face. He made a deal of some kind with a Kesha-Neko and… and… Milkshake!?!

Pink refused to see anymore (not that she could if she wanted to), as she collapsed to the floor. Her drawings disbursed like confetti made from a paperback novel. Her sister and Seventh quickly fell to Pink’s side. Blue took out her relic, a gourd-shaped flask, to help her sister to recover. Pink has to risk her life force in order to see into the future. So long as Blue was there, Pink had nothing to fear about death quite yet.

Milkshake? What is that supposed to mean,” Sixth looked toward Second and Third.

“It seems as though… a big threat will come in a small package,” Second turned to Third, “Lucky us.”

“We will just need to keep a closer eye on him now won't we,” Third nodded.

“No,” Pink pushed Blue’s relic away from her lips. Blue could tell that her sister wasn’t done telling what she had seen, “Our previous vision hasn’t changed. Jonathan Lawrence is still alive.”

“What? But that’s impossible,” Third shouted at Pink.

“Don’t all the bad guys say that,” Seventh muttered to himself. Pink weakly shook her head.

“Then you must be lying!”

“It’s s-st-still as we s-s-saw it b-before. John-nathan L-Lawrence w-will,” Pink paused, taking a breath so that she could say the next part without restraint, “He’s still going to kill you.”

Pink finally accepted to drink from her sister’s flask. After which, she fell into a deep rejuvenating sleep. Seventh took her into his arms to carry her away. Blue follows shortly behind them. Third glared at Tenma.

“You saw his corpse just as well as I did, Third,” Tenma put his cigar to rest. He’d have to finish it later. For now, whether Pink was lying about what she’s seen or not… Tenma was to be punished for this.

Mom brought Karen some hot tea to settle her nerves. The rest of us stayed quiet for the longest time before Karen was ready to speak again.

“Now can you tell us calmly what’s wrong,” Ms. Kay asked sitting down.

“… Dad… found out that Andrew got hurt,” Karen said as she placed the bell Andrew was sealed in on the coffee table, “I need you to take care of him for me, Ms. Kay.”

“I can’t do that for you.”

“Please. You have to…,” Karen was about to cry again, “I don’t want to lose him, but this is the only way he can survive.”

“But the doctors said that so long as Andrew keeps off his feet,” Brandy thought out loud, “Then he would be fine after a couple of days.”

“A couple of days is not good enough for my father,” Karen looked down for a few seconds. Not to sound romantic or anything but I’d think that she was looking into the past while she was staring into her cup of tea. It might have been some kind of traumatic experience, I don’t know. She never got around to talk about it and it wasn’t any of my business. She sighed before speaking again.

“You know how my family, takes so much pride in raising the strongest and fastest horses and Unicorns and strongest Mizu there are, ” Karen said quietly at first, “It’s all a lie. We import all of the strongest and fastest Yokai that Dad’s scouts can find. And when Dad sees one of our equine Yokai is sick or injured, he kills them. No questions. No exceptions.”

“That’s horrible,” Mom gasped.

“(It’s just sick and wrong.),” I said. After all, no creature should be killed just because of something like a broken leg. Even for their master’s reputation.

“Just what I’d say…,” Brandy nodded then shut up mid-sentence to look down at me.

“Please Miss Kay, I know that you convinced him to change his mind before. I’m begging you to do it again. I don’t want to lose Andrew.”

“Well, there’s not much that I can do,” Miss Kay sighed deeply, something else was troubling her, “Cathy, do you suppose you could do something for Andrew?”

“I could try,” Mom smiled, picking up his bell, “Let’s take him to the stable.”

It pained me to see my mother leave again, but she wasn’t going to go anywhere anytime soon. I had plenty of time to maybe convince her that I was her son. Besides, I had more important things to worry about right now. Sigma said that if I found the Phoenix Gate in time, then she’ll no longer remember me for doing what I had done. My blood would be on my hands alone, then I could live and die without any regrets.

“It hurts, doesn’t it,” Brandy said quietly. I looked up, he was still looking at me. I turned my head away. It wasn’t like he was talking to me.

“More than you know,” Karen resisted to cry, “I’ve known Andrew since he was born.”

“Well, actually I was… I mean,” Brandy was acting nervous, “I know what it’s like to raise them since they were young, but then have to give them away.”

“That’s right… you work at a Daycare,” Karen gripped her cup of tea, “You must be used to giving the Yokai you raised away, right?”

“Yeah, but lately we’ve haven’t been able to give away any Yokai,” Brandy sighed sitting down next to her, “We’re becoming overcrowded because so many people just abandon their Yokai or their Spirit Eggs there. In fact, one of them was Tyler’s.”

“Really? He was abandoned as an egg?”

“Yeah, in fact, if it wasn’t for John being so sad,” Brandy pet me on the head a little, “Then I wouldn’t have brought that Phoenix egg to school. And then we wouldn’t have this little bundle of trouble.”

What,” both Karen and I were surprised at the same time.

“I felt bad about him losing his Kodama… and the egg needed a home, so I decided to give it to him. I thought that it’d be a great surprise for when he opened up his locker to see it. I can still imagine the look on his face.”

“(I didn’t know that…),” I thought out loud, “(So that’s why you were so mad at me. I really am an insensitive bastard.)”

“I really shouldn’t have said those things…”

“Said what things?”

“Those things about John…,” Brandy sighed, “Man, I’m such an idiot sometimes.”

“Me too. I mean first John, but then Tyrone,” Karen was crying again, “Tyrone didn’t really do anything wrong, but I was so angry… And now he’s gone too…”

Those two just sat there for the longest time. You could cut the depression with a knife, it was so thick. God, it was making me depressed just being in the same room as those two. No, actually it was making me angry. Very angry. Seriously, listening to these two mopping about their problems, well…

“(Oh, for crying out loud! Lighten up, you two!),” I shouted my frustration, “(You shouldn’t be feeling sorry for yourselves! You did what you thought was right at the time. Sure they were bad decisions, but that’s why you both need to learn from them and then move on.)”

"See? Even Tyler thinks that we’re pathetic.”

“That’s not what he’s saying Karen,” Brandy smiled at me, “He’s telling us to stop feeling sorry for ourselves, right?”

“(That’s right!),” I shouted, then paused, “(actually, that was exactly right…)”

“We all did what we thought was right at the time. Sure they were bad decisions, but we need to learn from our mistakes and move on.”

“(Word for word…),” it was slowly dawning on me.

“That’s what John would have said too,” Brandy smiled widely.

“(Oh God. Sigma, please no…)”

“Sorry, son,” Brandy winked at me, “did I take the words right out of your mouth?”

“There’s one more thing,” Karen said as she reached into her bag again, “But you’re going to think that I’m completely crazy here.”

“It can’t be that weird,” Brandy shrugged.

"Oh no? Remember that lump in Kiki’s X-rays,” Karen asked as she took out another bell.

“Karen don’t take out Kiki…”

“This isn’t Kiki’s. This was the lump and…,” Karen tossed the bell into the air to release the Yokai inside, “I think that this is the real Leo.”

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