Phoenix Feathers: Curator of the Dragon Gate

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Tyrone Returns

We don’t always want what we need.

Yet we don’t always need what we got.

“(Finally…),” I groaned as the day was long finished. Grandad and I now sat on the front porch. Grandad, Leo, and I made doing so a type of tradition between us. After a long day’s work, we’d sit out here and review our day. Grandad wasn’t very talkative today, despite I’d make an excellent listener at the moment. Grandad finished drinking his hot chocolate, then let Grandma take the mug.

“How’s that bandage holding up,” she asked me.

“(It’s holding up fine!),” I smiled and wagged it. Those herbs she put on it really took the pain away.

“I’m glad,” Grandma chuckled before she returned inside.

I did look a little silly with the cloth tied to my tail. I didn’t like how heavy it was or how it made me a little off balance. I had adjusted quickly. Of course, it helped that I didn’t give up doing the choirs like Grandad wanted me to. Being an Inukami wasn’t so bad, I was growing accustomed to being one. I wouldn’t mind living my whole life like this. I could stay here to protect my Grandparents from the practical jokes of the Upper Classes. And then die as an Inukami, but still… I had my family to worry about.

“You did some mighty fine work today boy,” Grandad praised me, “Not as great as our Leo would, but still-”

“(What? How did you…)”

“You did a great job of mimicking Leo’s abilities and attack patterns,” Grandad pet me, “But he calls me (rōjin) 老人), not, as you pronounce it, ((Ojichan)おじいちゃん).”

“(A what?),” I was a little confused. Grandad’s pronunciations of Inukami monster speech were terrible, to say the least.

“I may not know who you really are,” Grandad pet me behind the ears, “but thank you for your help today.”

“Um, Mr. Bondell?”

“(Jade?),” I opened my eyes to see that Jade was standing right there on the porch. I was shocked that I hadn’t noticed her until she spoke up.

“Ah, Miss Jade,” Grandad turned his wheelchair towards the unexpected guest, “what brings you to our nick of the woods?”

“You know who I am?”

“How can I not,” Grandad laughed, “My grandson’s spoken about you so often that I’d I know you by your scent.

“(Grandad!),” I snapped at him, “(Don’t joke around.)”

“Calm yourself, Leo,” Grandad pet me again, “she’s a guest.”

“Actually, his name’s not Leo.”

“I know,” Grandad kept his gentle hand on me, “But “Leo” is what everyone’s been calling him all day. I’d feel silly if I called him anything else now.”

“Um… Mr. Bondell,” Jade paused as she looked away. She was trying to avoid looking at his missing appendage. I could tell. It’s something that you’d notice by instinct.

“Please, call me Bonny,” Grandad smiled.

“Bonny,” Jade laughed, she thought he was kidding, if only a few seconds, “Oh, you’re serious…”

“Or you could also call me "Grandad" if you wish.”

“Grandad, this Inukami also my responsibility, so I’ll need to…”

“Take him with you,” Grandad nodded, “I understand.”

“(You’re going to hand me over to a complete stranger.),” I growled, “(Grandad, you are nuts.)”

“Don’t worry,” Jade said, as she tapped on that medallion, “I’ll have you back home in no time.”

“Well, isn’t that a pretty little trinket,” Grandad stopped smiling and took a look at me, “So that’s it then… We’ll be fine here, so go on with her, boy.”

Grandad pushed for me to go. I was a little reluctant at first, but this was my Aneki who wanted me to come with her. I didn’t have much of a choice this time. What Aneki wants, Aneki gets. I’d even give my life for my Aneki. That’s just how my brain worked now.

“(Coming Aneki!),” the young Inukami jumped to his feet and simply skipped beside Jade.

“Why do you keep calling me that,” she asked him when she thought she was out of Mr. Bondell’s hearing range.

“(Calling you what, Aneki?)”

Jade looked back at Mr. Bondell. He didn’t look like he heard that they were talking to each other.

“Nevermind,” Jade sighed, “Do you realize how many farms I went to before I found the right one?”

“Aneki,” Mr. Bondell said to himself, “You should be proud that he sees you as such.”

The two of them didn’t hear what Tyrone’s grandfather had said. In turn, Bonny only watched as she led Tyrone to the car that brought her here.

“And so history repeats itself,” Mr. Bondell turned his wheelchair around and rolled inside, “Please bring our Tyrone back safe, Miss Jade.”

My ‘crying episode’ wasn’t one of my prouder moments…

My dad is dead. Nothing’s ever going to change that. My mother’s still alive, but I don’t know for how much longer. Terry hates me and is who knows where. What can I do? Why am I still here? Come to think of it, why did I want to die so badly before? This was all so much worse.

These were the thoughts that haunted me well into the night. There was no way in Hell that I was going to go back to sleep again. I didn’t want to dream of the past anymore. I didn’t want to remember, yet every time I went to sleep I’d forget who I was. Who I am…

*Ring ring Ring*

“Man, just when I was getting to sleep too,” Brandy groaned as he reached for his cellphone, “Hello? What? Mr. Bisha?”

“(How did Principal Bisha get your number?)”

“Yes, I realize that it’s Sunday,” Brandy sat up, “But do you know what time it is? Huh? His answer? I haven’t had the chance to talk to…”

Brandy winced at the yelling on the phone. I couldn’t make out what they were talking about.

“Look there’s no need to… There was some things that happened… Look, I’ll give you my answer today, but not at 12:05 in the morning. Yes, I’m looking at him right now. Yes sir. I’ll tell you by this afternoon. Yes sir. Good- good… Bye,” Brandy hung up, “Crazy old man!

“(More like an Obsessive Psycho.),” I hopped on the bed.

“Hey Tyler. Did I wake you?”

I shook my head.

“Well, since you’re up, there’s something that I need to talk to you about…”

“(Anything to keep me from falling asleep.)”

“That was Mr. Bisha. He’s the principal of our school. He’s not exactly a nice man, but he’s… Okay, he’s just a jerk.”

“(Tell me about it.),” I groaned. Last time I was sent to his office, he made me clean his bird cages. Cages that are all together half the size of a football field. I’m just lucky he didn’t leave any of the big bird Yokai in there. Mind you, he did leave a few of his smaller meaner ones.

“Sorry that I’m not able to understand what you’re saying,” Brandy pet me, it was strangely relaxing, “Anyway he wants to… you know how we’re looking for a home for you? Well, he’s proposing for you to live at the Academy.”

Meanwhile… Jade had taken me back to her place. Her maid helped to sneak me in through the kitchen. I’ve never been to a modern day mansion before. It was huge! I mean, you wont believe how many rooms there were.

“The Mrs. is not going to like that you snuck in another Yokai in here.”

“Which is why you’re not going to tell her that I’m even home,” Jade grinned, “Do you have the clothes?”

“Here you are,” Margret handed Jade the basics of clothing, “is this all that you require Miss Jade?”

“Yes, that will be all,” Jade shooed her out of the bedroom, “Okay Tyrone, you ready?”

“(It’s not going to hurt like last time, will it?)”

“No, it shouldn’t hurt,” Jade said, “but you may feel a light burning sensation.”

“(Then I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.),” he barked.

“Alright then, it will be over in a second,” Jade took aim at Tyrone, “Pheonix Gate, open!”

“Well, he’s proposing for you to live at the Academy.”

“No! I’m never going back to that hell hole.

“What the,” Brandy fell back, “Did you just talk?”

“(Did I? Am I?… nope.)”

“Guess it was just my imagination,” Brandy scratched his chin and smiled again, “Guess I’m more tired than I thought.”

“(Yeah, you couldn’t be going crazy or something like that.),” I rolled my eyes.

“So what’s your answer?”

“(No),” I motioned appropriately.

“Are you sure? I mean, you should at least hear what they want to build for you,” Brandy was about to tell me all about it when he saw me yawn, “Okay, ‘no’ it is. Time for bed okay?”

“(No… I need to… stay awak…),” I drifted to sleep.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“(About time you fell asleep.),” stated the twin tailed cat of my nightmares.

“Sigma? What are you doing here?”

“(Hello Jonathan…),” tapping its lower paw, the fur ball sneered at me, “(We need to talk.)”

“I’ve got thumbs again! I can talk,” I cheered, “Oh, thank God! And I can stand on two legs!”

“Ah, my eyes,” Jade shrieked, shielding her eyes.

“What’s wrong with you,” I asked/shouted for joy, hugging her, “Thanks to you, I’m human again! I’m actually human again!

“Tyrone, you’re a naked human,” Jade shrieked, “Let go of me before someone sees you!”

“Naked? Oh… that’s right, I need clothes now,” I said grabbing something to cover myself with, “There I’m dressed.”

“Good because… AHHHhhhh, I’ve gone blind!,” Jade screamed again, “Pants! Tyrone, human boys need more than a shirt!”

“I know that,” I laughed, “Just messing with you…”

“Just put on the pants!”

“Okay, okay fine,” I sighed, “Now how do I put these on?”

“Jade, why are you screaming so much? I just got my Yokai back to sleep,” Louis walked in on us, “why does that naked boy have a tail?”

“Oh Inari… Lou, please tell me that you’re mistaking a tail for something else,” Jade groaned, “because I am not looking again.”

“He’s not mistaken, Aneki,” I decided to slip on the pair of blue jeans backwards, “I still have my tail.”

“Please tell me you’re lying…”

“I’m lying,” I blinked. I didn’t mean to say that, yet it made me happy that I did.

“Good because we can’t have…,” she uncovered her eyes long enough to see my tail wagging, “You still have a tail! Why did you lie to me?”

“Because you told me to, Aneki,” I whined.

“Doesn’t matter if I told you to you have your own free-,” she paused, then asked Lou, “wait, did he call me Aneki again?”

Lou nodded, rubbing his eyes.

“Well, I’m getting rid of it right now,” Jade pointed that medallion at me again, “Phoenix Gate, Open!”

The red wires wrapped themselves around my lower half. I could feel that burning sensation again. But when the glow went away my tail was still there.

“Oh, this is bad… this is very bad,” Jade rubbed her temples.

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