Life is Hard, but it is Worth suffering through.
“Hey, Lou,” I smiled when Louis came in, “How’d you sleep.”
“Good,” he yawned, “But my friends didn’t. Tar kept picking on Shelly and Sue wouldn’t stop crying…”
“Um, what about Crack?”
“He slept like a rock…”
Jade took a second look at Louis, “Where did you get those pajamas?”
The small child was covered with silky blue clothes that matched perfectly with his unnatural blue hair. He had been crying, but Jade didn’t notice.
“Margret said that your clothes wouldn’t do. So she got them for me,” Louis hopped onto a chair next to her, “Jade… Have I always lived here?”
“Yes, why do you ask?”
“I don’t know…,” Louis whined, “Because Mommy and Daddy don’t like me anymore…”
“They love ‘Louis’ just fine,” Jade said, “But they aren’t used to ‘Lou’ quite yet.”
“Aren’t I Louie?”
“Well, yeah but…”
“Jade, I’m scared,” without warning, he clasped onto Jade, “I can’t remember living here. I can’t remember Mommy or Daddy or my J Jinmenju. When did I get an Yokai? Last night or was it a gift from my parents? Jade, I can’t remember!”
“You can’t remember?”
“No… Uncle Smith said that he’d help me remember, but…,” he sniffed, “I remember living Somewhere else. I remember that my parents died. I remember that they gave me my Yokai friends. I remember a car crash taking Scrambles, Runny, Stone and my parents away from me! I remember so many things that just aren’t right. Jade, what’s wrong with me?”
“I-I don’t know,” Jade tried her best to comfort Louis, but she didn’t know how to do that. All she could do was let him cling onto her until he stopped crying again. Jade had so many thoughts. What could have caused this? Jade only came up with one conclusion. The Phoenix Gate must not only alter the physical body, but memories too.
Uncle Smith… Why didn’t you warn me about this?
“Damn it,” Tenma Smith cussed as he kicked as many trees as he passed by, “Damn it! DAMN It! DAMN IT!!!”
“That wasn’t the tree I heard… Double Damn It,” Uncle Smith calmed himself, sitting down to inspect the broken toes, off with his boot and sock at the same time, “Great. Just Great. J’ai cassé mes Fichus Orteils!.”
Letting his toes slowly bleed, Tenma Smith sat where he was. One of his broken toes was missing a nail, possibly caught in the sock. Still Tenma just sat there, breathing hard trying to relieve himself of his anger and frustration. Slowly, he was making some progress, but he would not be freed from his anger so easily.
“How can she still be alive,” he angrily thought out loud, “I killed that woman myself years ago. Could it have been one of her decedents?”
Tenma snapped his big toe back into place. Such an action would cause intense pain, but Tenma’s face didn’t show such, only sneering anger.
“No, Priestesses aren’t allowed to marry. Perhaps a sister of hers, maybe even a cousin of some kind, had kids. But the resemblance is so uncanny.”
He rested his head on his knees, “Or maybe I’m losing my sight. She had so much Jundo (purity) within her, that I couldn’t see her clear enough.”
“(John was right…),” Terry whispered from his hiding place, “(That’s what I get for not trusting that gut of his.)”
Tenma took a moment to take out one of his precious cigars. He lit it without a lighter. He could taste the blood mixed in with the smoke. He liked it. Not only did it not make him gag like it usually did, the blood gave the smoke a much richer flavor. Like a type of fine wine. Despite the blood has already aged more than past that of the finest vintages.
“Just what I needed,” Tenma puffed as he stood again, “Someone to help relieve me of my stress.”
Terry gasped and went wide eyed at the next sight that he saw…
It was like an explosion of violet flames in slow motion…
Yet, he couldn’t run away in time…
“Welcome home Tyler,” the twins cheered together.
“(I hate you all…),” I groaned as Kayla put me down.
…They brought me back to Ms. Kay’s farmhouse.……God, I never thought that I’d see this place again.…
…Seriously, this sucks…
“(Tyler!),” Fia (I kid you not) ran on air just to hold me and see that I was real, “(Thank the Grand Fenghuang, God, and Aunt Kiki, You’re alive!)”
“(Not for much longer he’s not…),” Adian growled, prying her off of me, “(Get your filthy grips off of Fia, Milkshake!)”
“(Thank God!),” I gasped for air, “(She was choking me!)”
“(You had her worried),” the elder Phoenix Jyrotika came up to embrace me, “(You had us all worried.)”
“(Not me),” Adian spat.
“(I wasn’t worried.),” Enya shrugged.
“(Did you bring any food?),” that was Kegan. I couldn’t believe I remembered their names and faces…
“(Hey, who’s the white freak?),” a new Phoenix asked.
“(That’s the special Phoenix I told you about, Sig.),” Banhi said patting her on the head,
“(Oh, so you’re the famous Milkshake!),” she (I’m pretty sure Siggy was a she) shouted out of excitement.
“(It’s great to have you back kid.),” Banhi snickered behind her.
“(I don’t remember you the last time I was here.)”
“(This is Siggy. She’s a wild Phoenix and an old friend of mine.),” Banhi nudged her a bit,”(can’t believe she’s still not in her teen stage yet.)”
“(It’s so great to finally meet the famous Phoenix, Milkshake!),” she ‘smiled.’
“(My name’s Tyler now. Not Milkshake.)”
“(You sure about that.),” she stood creepily close to me, “(Cause you could be vanilla and I’d be strawberry.)”
“(Hey, back off!),” Fia flapped her wings to get Siggy away from me, “(He doesn’t need you all up in his face.)”
“(Whoa lighten up Fia.),” Siggy rubbed up next to Banhi, “(this is the only Yokai that I love.)”
“(Love?),” Adian, Fia, and I shouted in unison, but in vastly different emotions.
“(I knew it!),” Adian screamed to attack me again, I kicked him where I thought it would hurt the most.
Needing to be said, birds (even Yokai birds like a Phoenix) don’t have “weak points”, so it didn’t work…
With a single peck to the head, he knocked me out…
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“(No… no… Brother don’t tell mom…),” I whined while waking up.
“Hey, are you alright girl,” someone was stroking me, “you banged your head pretty hard.”
“(What? Where am I?),” I perked my head up. William was here. The human, William Lawrence, was right here stroking my fur down. I was so scared. What did he want with me?
“Don’t be scared… I wont hurt you. See?”
William continued to pet my fur. It felt so… nice. I’ve never had kindness like this from anyone except for my brother before. Being the Yin, even my own mother didn’t bother to groom me. She kept saying that no one would notice a little dirt in such dark fur.
“I wont hurt you. I promise.”
I mewed in happiness.
“William, where are you, boy!”
“I’m in the shed, Pappie,” William shouted back.
“Well, get over here right now!”
“In a second,” William shouted, then turned to me, “Now you stay right here until I get back okay?”
He got up and moved these large wooden boulders to block my escape, “I don’t want anybody finding you.”
“I made some food for you if you want it,” William placed a pair of ‘out of the ground’ holes near the corner. Not two steps away from me. It smelled like it tasted bad, yet strangely appealing. I turned to look back at him, but he was gone.
William left me alone…
I spent the next few hours just lying still. I had already finished the food and the water that William had left for me, not because it tasted good, but rather out of boredom. The clothe that William had tied to my head had his scent all over it. I know because it was the only scent that I forced myself to remember. I didn’t understand what I was feeling. I have only felt this way once before.
Scratch, scratch, scratch. The wall beside me made a noise. Scratch, scratch, scratch. Something was on the other side of the wall. I placed my head closer to it and listened. The noise seemed to stop. Then… Pow! Out of the floor below me, something popped out and landed on top of me.
“(Sister, you’re alright!)”
“(Brother!),” I was so happy to see him, or anyone really, “(get off of me!)”
“(Whoops! Sorry Sis.),” he rolled off of me.
“(You look different…),” he grabbed my head with his front paws, “(Oh my Inari, you’re white here. Did he hurt you?)”
“(No, he didn’t hurt me.),” I rubbed the white clothe that William tied on my head, “(It smells like him. I think that it might be his own fur.)”
“(He ripped off his own fur!),” brother shrieked, “(that’s nutz!)”
“(I think that it’s sweet…),” I laughed.
“(Sis, you’re smiling! Oh thank Inari, you’re happy again!),” he smiled, but then slowly frowned, “(You’re happy that he gave you some of his fur… That’s sick, Sis!)”
“(No one’s ever given me anything before, Brother.),” I swear I was blushing under my dark fur, “(Well, besides you, at least…)”
“(Let’s go, Sis! Before that… whatever it is comes back.),” my white brother hopped down the hole. I took another second to look at the area that William prepared for me.
I liked it…
but it didn’t stop me from leaving.
That’s where my dream had ended…
The flames of the forest made the area look like Hell had broken through the barrier between the worlds. The Birds and Yokai had already flown away long ago. The only living things within yelling distance were the pair of fighters within the ring. Terry was blasted through another tree. The Black Kyuubi marched itself over the plant lizzard and was satisfied with the job. The Kodama was still breathing, but his body was tremendously torn.
“Thank you so much for allowing me to release my inner rage, young one.”
Terry grabbed onto the front paw of the Black Kyuubi, His own paw flickered little sparks while stealing energy. His wounds were slowly healing, thanks to his energy absorbing ability, but not nearly enough. The Kodama’s ability was the only reason that he was still alive right now. The Kyuubi’s piercing cold blue eyes sneered at the Kodama, as if to activate the bomb that were hidden inside Terry’s burns. Black flames bursted from his body for a couple of seconds. Terry’s head hit the ground. Breathing uneasily, he refused to faint, despite he was going to die.
“Truly pathetic,” Tenma laughed, “You barely have enough strength to keep yourself alive.”
“(There’s nothing… gah… pathetic about…),” he coughed, “(…how John taught me to fight.)”
“Your master should have taught you how to run first. Your species’ specialty is its speed, after all,” Tenma smiled as the Kyuubi did the same, “Not that it would have changes the outcome of this fight.”
The Black Kyuubi opened its mouth for one final attack. An ancient technique that no Yokai today should be able to learn without many years of dedicated practice. Similar in structure to a Hi Burst, much more concentrated than any laser beam, and more deathly terrifying than a Dragon’s rage, this attack could devastate and consume even a great Leviathan if shot in the right place. Tenma had never bothered to give the technique a decent name. I’ll just call it an Apollo Collapse. The white fire sun that formed in the Kyuubi’s mouth was ready to fire within thirty seconds.
“(Dude, I can’t watch this anymore!),” the Umibozu slid his way between Terry and the deathly blast, “(Devastate!)”
Not wanting to leave even the slightest trace of evidence, the Kyuubi didn’t hold back. The Apollo Collapse spun with a flaming 火-like aura on target.
A dark portal opened itself in front of Dylan. The Apollo Collapse disappeared without a trace inside.
Dylan stepped onto a surfboard shaped shadow. It flipped in the air for him to catch it. Dylan turned around and put Terry on his hip. The surfboard shaped shadow was held up by his other tentacle arm.
“(I’ve got ya dude…),” Dylan assured Terry as he finally fainted, “(You can rest easy now.)”
“What the Hell did you do,” Tenma shouted when he recovered from his shock.
“(I ate it.),” octopus smirked in his own way.
“Who are you,” Tenma and the Kyuubi stared at the being who had interrupted his fun.
“(The name’s Dylan, the oldest surfer who eva lived…),” Dylan said outside of his own laid back way, “(I’m also known as the Radical Reaper. Perhaps you’ve heard of me…)”
“How could I not have,” Tenma didn’t show it, but he was frightened of this particular being, “I’ve been wanting to find you for Decades.”
“(Then I suggest that you go back in the hole you crept out of, Dude.),” Dylan cracked his neck, “(Before I lose my cool.)”
Without warning, the Black Kyuubi shot another (less powerful) attack at Dylan. He not only dodged it, but started what could best be described as Shadow Surfing. Dylan did a 360* up one of the non-flaming trees and headed straight for Tenma himself. The Black Kyuubi pushed Tenma out of the way as Dylan surfed himself up another tree. Dylan held onto the front of his board and forced it to spin him upwards into the sky. Basically, launching himself 30 feet into the air, then disappeared.
Disappointed that his prey had gotten away, yet still relieved of his frustration, Tenma put the Kyuubi away. When he did, the flames all around went out like a light. It was as if the fire had not been burning just a few seconds ago, yet the forest was still blackened. Tenma scooped up his boot and began to limp to his car, then to a local clinic. He will need a brace or even a cast for the broken toes. He simply wasn’t done with this body just yet.