Phoenix Feathers: Curator of the Dragon Gate

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Ashes to Ashes

Sometimes, the worst moments in our lives, help shape us to be the beautiful people we are today.

Before we begin with this chapter. I suppose that it would be best if I explained a thing or two about the Wildfires that occur in Golnar. Most other towns have earthquakes. Some have floods, and even more have Hurricanes. But our very unique area of Golnar only has a problem with a little wonder of nature called natural spontaneous combustion. And for those of you that don’t know what that is, it means that we have Wildfires.

They occur almost as frequently as other regions have hurricanes. So to make a long story short, the members of the Fire Department actually give our Wildfires nicknames. They are quite natural, but not as easy to predict as say an earthquake or a volcanic eruption, but we’re typically used to them. Now please continue…

“(What’s the Chicago Incident?)”

“I guess that you were too young to remember it.”

“(You’re the same age as me! I mean, as I was, but… Gah! You get the point!)”

“Well, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone outside the Fire Department would know it by that name.”

“(That doesn’t answer my question…)”

“Seven years ago was the Wildfire Chicago Incident,” Brandy waved his hands to illiterate, “It was one of the weirdest fires of all Golnar’s history. No one knows the source of the fire, but from what I was told, it was as if the fire was alive. I mean really alive. Chicago moved from area to area for hours but stayed almost the exact same size. It even moved to areas that were already burnt to the ground.”

“(Sounds like a fantasy to me.)”

“You’re a kid who committed suicide, that came back as a Leucitic Phoenix, then sent on a mission by Sigma and a dead Kyuubi to help save the world from a piece of jewelry,” Brandy crossed his arms, “and you’re saying my story is a fantasy?”

“(Except mine is fact, proven with us talking to…),” I stopped because even to me that sounds nuts, “(Point taken.)”

“My Uncle Phineas said that Water Yokai couldn’t stop it. Even a Backfire was worthless. Then almost as instantly as Chicago came, it also just died out.”

“(What does it have to do with my dad?)”

“Well,” Brandy shrugged, “lots of people were involved with that fire and…”

“(And you think that my dad died in that fire?)”

“No, I think that your dad disappeared with that fire.”

“(Are you suggesting that my dad started Chicago?)”

“No, I just…,” Brandy sighed, “I’ll just have to show you.”

“John,” a nurse knocked on the door, “…Can I come in?”

“(I don’t like the tone of her voice… Brandy, do you think that…?)”

“Tyler Return…” in a flash of light, everything disappeared.

“Yes,” I said tucking away John’s newly formed seal bell, “come in.”

“John…,” the nurse held her clipboard close to her chest.

She didn’t have good news.

“There you are,” Jade finally made it to the clinic, “Why aren’t you wearing your hood?”

“Happy go lucky there blew my cover,” I pointed at Lou, “a few other people know that I’m not missing anymore, but they’re not going to tell anyone.”

“That’s not the point Tyrone,” Jade rubbed her temples, “It’s the One thing! The One thing I asked you to do and you couldn’t even…”

“(Jade, don’t be mad at the puppy.),” Sue said sweetly, “(It’s not the puppy’s fault, is it?)”

"I’m not a puppy,” I snapped.

“Then why can’t you take care of yourself,” Jade yelled at me some more, “The one thing I asked you to do and you couldn’t even do it.”

“Is something bugging yo-”

“I mean, How hard can it be to stay out of sight in the middle of the woods!"

"I’m sorry, Aneki."

“I’m sorry? I’m sorry is not going to fix this,” Jadi- Ja- ah- An- Aneki kept yelling, “Do you have any idea the mess you’ve made? Don’t answer that, Of course, you don’t!”

"I said I’m sorry Aneki…,” I slipped to the floor and whined, ”Please stop yelling at me…"

“Stop doing that!”

"Do what, Aniki? Why are you yelling at me…,” I was scared.

My dog brain was scared. God, my dog brain was growing. It was taking over again. I couldn’t even think to stop it.

“Tyrone, stand up,” Aneki kept yelling at me, “Don’t do that.”

"Do what Aneki,” my paw was bleeding again. I had to clean it.

“I said stop,” Aneki grabbed onto my paw and yanked it away from me, “Stand up on your two feet.”

"Aneki… Please…,” I stood on my hind paws as best as I could, but it hurt.

“Fine, if you want to act like a dog,” Aneki grabbed the metal from under her shirt, “then you can stay as a dog.”

“Jade, stop it,” the blue boy stood in between me and Aneki.

“Lou, get out of my way.”

“You’re scaring him.”

“Lou, he made a promise that he couldn’t keep. I have to…”

“No, you don’t Jade,” the blue boy frowned at her, “You’re just being a meanie."

Aneki stopped.

She looked at me.

I can’t remember much more about what happened next. Most of what I already told you is a blur to my human brain. I can still remember, just not clearly anymore. It’s been a while since that day in the clinic, so you can’t really blame me for my memory being in a haze. Jade didn’t turn me back into an Inukami, but I can only remember those short minutes as if I already was one.

All that I can remember distinctly is that Jade was holding me. She was comforting me. I really needed to be held then. I think that she needed someone too. She kept on saying, “I’m sorry” as I fell asleep on her lap.

Being inside a Yokai Seal is weird. To be frank, I’m not sure how to describe it. I didn’t come out for a long time. Yet, it felt like a few seconds as well as a few days. Time had nearly no meaning when I was in there. I was untouched by time and yet I could also feel it passing. My emotions were, I guess you could say, “suppressed” while I was inside. It wasn’t a bad thing, but there was certainly nothing good about it either. This was a very neutral space. One’s preferences about it could only be judged from outside of it. Which I did when I was released again as follows…

After I re-materialized, I shivered. I had to get the feeling back in my toes and even the tips of my feathers before I could say anything. I wasn’t cold, but it was strangely warmer inside the Seal than it was outside of it. I also shook my head just so that I could get my thoughts back in order. When that was achieved, I glared at Brandy.

“Now Tyler, I know what you’re thinking…”

“(What the Hell did you do to me!),” I shouted at him, even though I already knew. The tiny bell was dangling off my neck.

“I made a Seal you while you were sleeping.”

“(How could you do that! Why would you do this to me!)”

“Well, it wasn’t easy since I didn’t know which name to use-”

“(I don’t care! I didn’t want to be caught! I wanted to be free and You bound me to a stupid Bell!)”

“Registered under your name…”

“(Say what…)”

“That Bell is registered under your Real Name,” Brandy explained showing me the registration papers, “You are bound to it, but it’s under your ID. See?”

“(But I’m dead!)”

“They haven’t documented that you are yet.”

“(Oh…),” I stopped screaming, “(is that legal?)”

“Heck, if I should know,” Brandy shrugged, “But technically you still belong to yourself.”

“(I still belong to me? That’s good… I guess…)”

…Brandy Sealed me…
…but I still belong to me…
…I guess that it’s only fair…
…the original Phoenix was supposed to be mine to start with…
…And now other people can’t Seal me away…
…and I won't have to be owned by anyone…

“So…,” Brandy broke the long awkward silence, “what was it like in there?”

“(Like hell I’m going to tell you.),” I shouted, then stopped, “(Wait… what did the nurse want? What did she say?)”

“She said… that it didn’t work.”

“(…Where is he?)”

“I don’t know…”

“(Where is he?)”

“John, she wouldn’t tell me.”

“(Liar!),” I screamed at him even though I knew he wasn’t, “(…Stop, Lying to me…*sniff*… tell me where he is…)”

“I don’t know.”

Tyrone’s head laid on my lap as he slept. I stroked my fingers through his messy hair. He told me everything in his emotional state. And I mean everything. Want to know when he quit sucking his thumb? He was that thorough. Seriously, though, Louis only had to remind him of a few other things that had happened. He told me about finally being found out that he was lower class. He constantly repeated about how he betrayed John. He told me about Eddie, Karen, and the feud between the three of them.

(Now, know that Tyrone didn’t tell me anything specific about the Dragon Gate, just yet. Especially since his Inukami brain didn’t know what it was. He only described it as “some strange power that made him hurt”. Louis didn’t know anything about it either, so I couldn’t have possibly figured it out at this point.)

At least his loyalty made him honest, but that’s the only real improvement. He used to be so independent, but now he’s… just what I made him into. I did this to him. I made him what he is. It’s my fault that the universe seems to have been destroyed. The only human friend that I had outside of my mansion hell, was fading away. And it was my fault. I wanted Tyrone back, the real one without the Inukami brain and tail. Although, the tail was kind of cute on him. Why did he have to be so adorable as an Inukami?

"Well ain’t that cute,” Uncle Smith showed up out of nowhere. That or I was too depressed to notice that he came through the front door.

"Isn’t that…," Uncle Smith pointed, I just nodded as a response. I just didn’t care anymore, ”People have been looking everywhere for him."

“Well, they can stop looking now, because I found him.”

"You sound depressed,” Uncle Smith grinned, ”So this is the human boy that you fell in love with."

“I’m not in love,” I snapped, but it was weak, “I just felt sorry for him… Humans are weak miserable creatures. It’s a wonder how they’re the dominant species.”

"Awe, you’re just saying that,” Uncle Smith pretended to blush, ”But you can’t hide it. You’re so much like your mother. She cared about the humans too. Even the moment that they killed her. That was her weakness."

“What are you doing here anyways,” I asked, trying to change the subject, “are you stalking me?”

"Oh, you could say that, or I just needed to recharge my batteries and I just so happened to find you here,” he shrugged, ”But who’s to say which is true?"

“Could you take us home when you’re done? I’m tired and I don’t feel like carrying everyone,” I said motioning to Lou, Tyrone, and all four of the sleeping Jinmenju.

"Are you sure that I won't kill one of the little eggs?"

“You do and I’ll turn you into a newt.”

"A newt? What’s a newt?"

“I don’t know… Do you want to find out!?”

"No maim,” Uncle Smith backed off, ”Shall I call the Police?"

“About Tyrone? Yeah, go ahead and tell them that you found him, for all I care.”

"As you wish Jade,” Uncle Smith bowed mockingly. I didn’t mind really. We played around like that all the time.

“John…,” Tyrone stirred in his sleep, “forgive me.”

"Hello? Officer Mara? Yes, this is Tenma Smi-,” Uncle Smith was interrupted by a loud screech on the other end of the line, ”Yes, yes, calm yourself. I’d like to report…"

“Wait… Call my mother instead,” I stroked Tyrone’s hair again, “I’m going to be staying at a friend’s house tonight.”

"But I’m already on the phone with Mara."

“Besides, I did find him,” I smiled a little, “Let me be the hero for once. Please Uncle?"

"Sigh… Never mind Mara, false alarm," he sighed, ”although, if you’re free on Monday."

“Uncle Smith…”

"… I’m going to have to get back to you on that."

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