Phoenix Feathers: Curator of the Dragon Gate

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I Came, I Saw and Ran Away

I’m a “The Glass is Half Full” kind of person, I really am… I just also acknowledge when my glass has dirt in it.

“(So, I’ll say it again!),” Dylan shouted, “(That was a seriously whacked out death of yours!)”

“(I understood that part!),” I shouted back, “(But what do you mean by ‘whacked out death’!)”

“(I can’t explain it any other way, little dude.),” Dylan huffed. We’ve both been at this for almost an hour.

“(Then let me ask you… what is so weird about committing suicide?)”

“(Because your Mojo was messed with.)”

“(What is Mojo?)”

“(You know… Mojo is, like, stuff…)”

“(Gah!),” I screamed, banging my head against the wall.

“(Were you taking drugs or something?)”

“(For the last time, NO!),” I stopped banging my head, “(I didn’t do drugs, I didn’t smoke, and the only alcohol I ever had was in Mouthwash! You Nut Job!)”

“(You seriously can’t tell me what was so whacked up with your death, dude?)”

“(I committed suicide. Okay!)”

“(But why, dude?)”

“(I- I don’t know… Life was hard and stuff…)”

“(Seriously, dude?),” unamused, Dylan put his claw to my shoulder, “(Seriously? You committed to the Dudes of Death, because life was hard… and like… stuff? And yet you came back for a second round of the hard life and stuff? Bogus, dude…)”

I stayed quiet. Even coming from a complete stranger, I didn’t sound like a person committed to suicide. I came back. I never had any thoughts that I would. Short of the day I died, I don’t remember my last week of being alive. The entire week was a blur. All I could remember was being extremely depressed about, well everything. Terry’s kidnapping, everyone’s laughing, Dad’s de…and even the fact that I was born. I had no purpose...

“(You came back for a reason, right?)”

“(Sigma, said that I hurt people. I just wanted to make things right before I moved on.)”

“(Bro, I know what Sigma said to you.),” he sighed, “(But how long before my death did you see?)”

“(A few seconds… maybe a minute… why?)”

“(Out of all the reborn dudes that I’ve ever had a vision with, your death was the first one that I saw hours for.),” Dylan shuddered, “(I almost thought I’d never get out of it.)”

“(Hours? I died for hours? How the hell is that possible?)”

“(Creeped me out, Bro.).” he shuttered again, “(You wouldn’t believe the vision I had. After you shot yourself, this guy came over and went all like, wailing boohoo and then wailing on you with a Kick after Kick after Kick after Kick!)”

“(Yeah, that was Brandy.)”

“(Did you also notice that your boomstick went all Houdini on ya, Bro?)”

“(My what did a what?)”

“(The gun just went, like, poof… up in smoke.),” Dylan shrugged, “(Where did you get a gun that can do that?)”

I looked down to the ground, “(There’s really no answer for that… I don’t remember where I got it from…)”

“(Like I said… Seriously whacked up mojo.),” he stretched a bit, cracking what I can only assume was his back, “(Anyways I’ve gotta, like, split. I’m supposed to find… uh, something for a friend.)”

“Milkshake,” Kayla sang, “Where are you?”

“(Wait, don’t leave me here!),” I said far too late after Dylan passed through the wall as the door opened.

“Hey Christen, I found him,” Kayla cheered, “So that means you’ll be wearing the blue ribbons.”

As I’m sure you all know by now, the Dolly’s are not my real parents. I am also not human. Well, I am, but I’m not. It’s hard to explain unless you’ve experienced it yourself.

I was originally born a Kitsune. Almost a decade ago, I was murdered and came back as a human child. All the while, the Dolly’s real child died. How you ask?

Apparently, she came down with the common cold. Those two nitwits didn’t have the common sense to tell the difference between a cough and a laugh before it was too late. Their little Babie died in the middle of the night without them realizing it and I took her place.

And No, I didn’t misspell “baby”.

Yes, that was my new name… The night I died, I was reborn and became little Miss Babie Dolly.

Oh Inari, the humiliation! I had to wear diapers and clothes, eat human baby food, and watch those nitwits love each other almost every week, til I was old enough to have my own room. (Which wasn’t until I was old enough to talk, by the way.)

And you know what else? Not only did I die in vain, but I was reborn in vain too. I waited for years to escape from that hell I had to call home. To go back to my real mother. That was my only reason for coming back.

I waited for four years, only to find out that she was slaughtered soon after I was. Our secret den was trashed and emptied. Her dried blood was still on the hard ground. Her body was obviously dragged out years before.

I wanted to kill myself then and there, but I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t bring myself to die again. Even now, I still remember curling up on the spot my mother had died. I was wailing for her to come back and/or begging the reaper to take me to her.

Now Inari either couldn’t hear me, or refused to grant me my wish. I stayed in the den until Uncle Smith found me. He encouraged me to grin and bare it. To enjoy my new life, despite that she was gone. From then on I had a new purpose. Someday l will find my mother’s killers and make them pay for what they did.

“Miss Jade,” Margret knocked on the door, “Breakfast is ready.”

“Ten more minutes,” I groaned, “I had a rough night and I was having those nightmares again.”

“I made Apple Beignets,” was all she needed to say.

As a Kitsune apples were good, nutrition for the Mind, Body, and Soul. As a human baby, apple flavor was decent (cold and usually mixed with other nasty flavors, but decent). Now as a young human girl, I could have cooked apples. It was the only plus side to being human. I ran for it.

“That’s what I thought,” Margret laughed, knowing full well that I can’t resist cooked apple anything.

I made it to the dining room in a manor of seconds. (Remember that the Dolly’s lived in a Mansion. I mean their home is huge!)

“No running dear,” I didn’t expect the Dollys to be there. They never were there for breakfast. Needless to say, my prediction came true. Mrs. Dolly was over what I had said earlier.

“Yes, there’s plenty of Beignets for everyone,” Uncle Smith wiped his lips with that napkin of his. He looked so sophisticated. It was a strange sight to see, after what he did last night. I could still hear Tarsa’s screams… and that gripping tear, that jagged cracking…

“I think I just lost my appetite…”

“Miss Jade,” Margret quietly yelled as she passed me, “I’ve been working over a hot frier so that I could make you these perfectly good beignets. Oh, but woe is me that they should go to waste now.”

“Don’t worry Mademoiselle, I’ve had a big enough appetite for the both of us.”

“You mean that measly portion that you consumed?”


“That’s only an appetizer in comparison to what the Little Miss normally has,” I could hear Margret tell him confidentially.

“You made more than this,” Uncle Smith gulped down the beignet that he already stuffed in his mouth.

“Don’t be silly,” Margret served up another plate of Apple Beignets, “I just made the beignets.”

“The rest of the staff makes the rest of the meal,” I laughed at the look on his face, “Uncle Smith?”

“Jade, my dear, you truly live like a queen,” Uncle Smith praised, lifting a glass of a red substance. (Mind you, the Dolly’s don’t have real wine.)

“Yes I do,” I cheered a little, forgetting about all my problems for a few sweet seconds.

“Could you not call each other by those dreadful nicknames,” Mrs. Dolly squirmed. I forgot that she was still here.

“Honey, I think that it’s cute that they have nicknames for each other,” Mr. Dolly laughed, puffing away at his pipe. (Would you believe me if I said that it only blew bubbles? Why? Because it was apparently Cute.)

“I gave her a beautiful name when she was born. I only wish that she’d use it once in a while.”

Truthfully, I think that she was on too many painkillers to think straight.

Mr. Dolly too.

While we’re at it, let’s go with the entire hospital staff!

And by painkillers, I mean booze.

Tons of it!

That’s why they don’t have alcohol now.

They just say that they named me, her ‘Babie’ on purpose.

Why didn’t anybody stop them!?!

“So,” I spoke after one of those awkward moments, “don’t you two have some sort of business meeting or something?”

“No, we canceled our entire schedules for the day.”

“We just want to make sure that you’re comfortable, Sweetie.”

Uh-oh, this can’t be good… They want something…

“By the way…”

…Here it comes…

“…where’s Louis?”

…Figures, they don’t really care about me… I continued eating. …At least it’s not another one of those lame parties…

“Margret said that you took him with you when you left yesterday.”

“He’s at a friend’s house,” I didn’t lie, I am his friend, “He liked it there so much, I that I let him stay overnight. I’ll bring him back later today, alright?”

“Thank goodness,” Mrs. Dolly sighed, “I thought that you lost him when that big meanie came after you.”

“I can really feel the love here,” Uncle Smith whispered, took another sip, then announced, “Well, I best be going.”

“Are you sure that you don’t wish to say longer, Tenma?”

“Yes, I have business elsewhere,” Uncle Smith rubbed my head as he left, “try not to get into trouble without me, Babie.”

“I’ll try not to, Killer,” I mumbled just loud enough, before conspicuously sipping some milk.

Not surprisingly enough, the Dolly’s led him to the door and didn’t come back to the table. I ate the rest of my breakfast in peace.

Meanwhile outside of Golnar, a pair of travelers were standing in front of a small plane.

“Are you sure that this is the right plane?”

“Totally dude,” the pilot shouted from the cockpit, “This is good old reliable flight 180.”

“I could have sworn that we had a different flight number,” the taller of the two companions whined, “This plane’s a piece of junk.”

Truly, the plane was (as he put it) a piece of junk. One of the wheels was flat. One of the bars holding the wing up was actually a golf club. Two of the windows were knocked out and the “door” was actually a blue tarp held on by bungie cords. The propellers (a set on each side) only had five blades out of it’s original eight. The wings were strapped together with duct-tape. Well, a more accurate description would be that the duct-tape was held together by the wings. And if one were to go inside they’d find another long iron had replaced the joystick controller.

“(It’s perfect!),” the smaller of the two companions shouted, her tail flared as it swished back and forth, “(Even better than I thought it’d be!)”

“Wasn’t that the same saying that got you killed in the first place?”

“(Well, shoot!),” the Salamander kicked. Time had stopped, so she didn’t damage anything, “(If it ain’t Mr. Tight Britches.)”

“I would prefer you not call me that,” the not Genbu pouted as he floated by.

“Well, if ya’d just tell me yar name, den I might consider calling ya it ’nstead.”

“Not going to happen,” Judiel patted his charge on the back, “Listen, I need you to...”

“(I thought that you ain’t s’post to interfere with us.)”

“Well, I’m not.”

“(Then let’s get on da plane already! I’m ready ta feel da rush!)”

“Okay,” Judiel agreed quickly.

“(Okay…? Ya mean, ya actually want me t’get on da plane?)”

“Well, no… but there’s something that a friend of mine can’t do and he wants you to do it in his place.”

“(What are ya trying to say?)”

“Basically, I came to warn you,” Judiel sighed deeply, “You’re going to a city called Golnar.”

“(I ain’t never heard of Golnar before…),” the Salamander put her parachute on the ground, “(Should I avoid it? Is it dangerous?)”

“Well, no… but I wont be able to protect you. As soon as, you cross its mountain borders, I wont be able to do anything for you.”

“(Is that so?)”

“That means no tips, no forewarning, and no favors,” Judiel shrugged, “Heck, I can’t even pop in to say Hi.”

“(Kind of like them Black Strings, huh?)”

“Wait! What? How do you know about the…”

“(Partner’s been reading this book, ya see, and…)”

“Ugh, in almost every single universe! Somebody somehow spills the beans everywhere!”

“(Now what are ya talk’n ’bout?)”

“Doesn’t mater now,” Judiel said, “We need you to look over my friend’s charge while you’re in Golnar.”

“(Well, who is he?)”

“I can’t tell you who he is,” Judiel explained, “I especially can’t say that on this past Thursday, he lost the will to live and supposedly committed suicide.”

“(So ya want me to look over a dead guy?)”

“Of course not… I didn’t say that.”

“(Oh, ya want me ta look over a fellow Reborn, huh?)”

“Yes…, er, I mean, I didn’t say that either,” Judiel checked the sky for any cosmic ’lightning bolts’ or ’balls of fire’, “I can’t tell you anymore than that. In fact, I didn’t tell you a thing. I was never here, got It?”

“(Well, how do ya expect me to find ’m?)”

“Trust me… more than likely, he’ll find you.”

“(Why’s that?)”

“He seems to be quite danger prone.”

“(Is that s’sposed ta mean someth’n!)”

“Blare? Is there something wrong?”

The Salamander looked around frantically. Time had already restarted and Judiel had already disappeared.

“Well, if my Lucky Charm doesn’t think it’s safe, then we should find another plane.”

“(Damn bastard’s gone dun it again!),” Blare growled.

“Guess, we should get going.” Blare’s partner tried to run, but she caught him by the pants leg, causing him to fall flat on his face.

“(Get, On, da Damn, Plane!),” Blare pointed fiercely with her other claw.

“But Blair, it’s a death trap with wings,” he shrieked as she scraped him across the ground towards the plane.

“(And ya’re a scaredy cat with a one way ticket on dat dere death trap with wings!)”

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