Chapter 11: second part

        “What wrong with him?” Sally asked, glancing at Chaonen. “Hey!” she shouted when Chaonen suddenly forced himself to stand up and holding his arms up as if he was about to fight, but then started coughing up blood.
        “Shut up!” Chaonen screamed at her, commanding complete silence, but his voice faltered as he broke out in a cold sweat. “Not again....not again....not again...”
        Elhyam surveryed the cavern. He could hear a low growling, then it was gone.
        “Shards,” Ark murmered, pulling out a rifle from underneath his cape, and cocking it. “Damn it.”
        “What’s going on?” Asia whispered.
        “Stand near Chaonen,” Ark instructed in a low voice. “Then get ready to run...” He glanced at Chaonen. Damn, he’s losing it.
        “Chaonen-daimyou, stay calm,” the Shadow whispered to Chaonen over and over. But Chaonen kept shifting and was very edgy and tense. Ark abruptly whirled towards Chaonen and fired. A screech came from behind him before he could even react. The dead ochrae hit the ground and slid a few feet.
        “Run!!”Ark shouted, shooting another ochrae that had came up from behind the dead one, “get somewhere high! A ledge or something they can’t climb or jump to!” Asia grabbed Chaonen and forced him to follow. She turned to run but Sally shoved to her the side, just out of reach of the ochrae that had come up behind her.
        “I’ll watch your back!” she shouted, drawing her gun.
        “Shut up and run!” Ark shouted again, grabbed Sally as he ran by. “There’s a pack of them here. Pray the leader isn’t here yet.”
        “Yeah, the bitch...”
        Sally turned and shot a strong wave of water at the three ochrae coming up, but to her surprise the water glowed then dissipated as it reached the creatures. “What!?” she shouted in dismay.
        “No magic!” Ark commanded. “That’s what they want more then eating us!”
        Elhyam came up behind Sally and watching her back. “If only I didn’t lock myself in this form,” he said through gritted teeth. “If only I still had my jets!”
        “Not now Elhyam!” Sally said, running as fast as she could.
        “ARGH!” Ark screamed, dropping his gun and falling to the ground with an ochrae that had tackled him. He tried desperately to reach his gun while protecting himself with his other arm. Having noticed a fallen victim, some of the other ochrae turned their attention towards Ark.
        “Ark!!” someone shouted from farther back. “Why doesn’t someone help him!?”
        “Kyyyyyyyyyyaaaaa!” Oni shouted excitedly, jump kicking two ochrae away and slicing one in half with her sword. Socara ran up and helped Ark up.
        “The gun, get the gun,” Ark said quickly. Socara grabbed it just as Elhyam reached Chaonen and Asia as they ran for the exit of the cave.
        “Come on ya wimpz!” Oni taunted, making faces at the ochrae. “Can’t catch me can yaz?! Too slow! WAHAHAHAHAHAHAA!” She leaped onto a tall stalagmite, away from the others. The ochrae snarled following her.
        “Now’s our chance to get out,” Elhyam suggested. “While she distracts them, I’m sure we can make it to the exit. We should be alright from there.”
        “What about Oni?” Socara asked in dismay. “We’re not leaving her are we?!”
        “She’ll be fine,” Ark said. “Come on. This could be our only chance.”
        “I can fly, don’t worry about Chaonen and I,” Asia said immediately. “I’ll meet you all north of here by a large lake.” With that she took a running start, leaped into the air and flew straight for the exit. All of the ochrae were to far to notice.
        “I’ll get Ark and cover you two,” said Elhyam.
        Oni held her injured arm, though still holding the sword up. All the ochrae had formed a half circle around her. They growled and snapped at her, but didn’t close in any farther. Behind them, she could why they didn’t come any closer. Their leader had come.
        It was at least twice as large as they were and a lot uglier. The ochrae made room for it as it advance on her. Oni back up slightly, not taking her eyes off of them, as she folded her wings as closely as she could to her back. Glancing at the entrance, she could see that everyone had gotten out. Looking back at the ochrae, a dark grin spread over her face.
        “That was close,” breathed Sally. “What horrible creatures.”
        Everyone slowly caught their breath as the rested by the lake. Chaonen hadn’t been able to take the strain and had fallen back into unconsciousness. Socara sat farther from everyone, watching Chaonen closely. She hadn’t spoken a word yet.
        Asia was carefully examining Ark’s injuries. She held her hand over the deep wounds on his arm, her hand started to glow slightly.
        “Didn’t know you knew White,” commented Ark, looking at her through an eye.
        “White?” Elhyam asked.
        “White magik,” Asia explained. “I don’t know much, but I know some healing spells. My speciality is Earth magik due to my species and type. I thought I had mentioned it before.”
        Suddenly a huge explosion could be heard from the direction of the cave. Socara whirled towards the sound. “Oni...” she said quietly. Turning towards the other she shouted,” How could we just leave here there?! She could be dead or dying right now and we LEFT her all by herself with those...those things?!! And she was injured badly too!!”
        There was a short silence that was broken by Ark. “Don’t worry, Soca-chan,” he smiled. He stood up and walk to her side. Placing his hands on her shoulders, he sighed, and turned her around. Socara was almost close to tears, not understanding what Ark was doing. All there was in that direction was trees.
        A moment later, a figure could be seen. A figure dressed all in black and messed up white wings. “Oni!” Socara shouted in joy, running up and hugging her so hard that Oni started to turn even bluer.
        “Soca...*gag*...can’t...breathe...”Oni gasped.
        “Sorry! But I’m just so glad that you’re okay! I’m sorry we left you behind,” Socara sniffled, loosing her grip. “What happened?” She suddenly asked, noticing that Oni smelled kind of burned, and that she had soot all over herself.
  Oni looked kind of embarrassed, rubbing the back of her head. “Mes made a boo-boo...heh.”         “What did you do?” Asia giggled, “blow up the cave with some extremely powerful spell?” She chuckled again and looked at Oni, but then she looked surprised.
        Oni was looking up at the sky. “Umm...wellllll...”
        “Someone has a secret, eh?” Ark smirked, poking Oni. “Are you not telling us something?”
        “Go away!” she shouted back, shoving him away. “Leave mes alone, jerk! If NEone gottz a secret it bes u!” Ark made a face at her, and laughed.
  “I think Oni hasn’t been telling us something important,” he laughed. “Maybe...she’s a bla-” He didn’t have a chance to finish before Oni tackled him. Unfortunately, she hadn’t noticed the hill right behind them, and sent them both tumbling down. Both landed at the bottom with a thud. “Argh...” groaned Ark, slowly sitting up. He touched the back of his head. When he looked at his hand, there was some blood on it. Oni was scratched up as well, having hit a large rock on the way down. She shoved herself up into a sitting position and glared at him. Her hand twitched slightly, but she didn’t do anything. Her other arm wasn’t moving at all and hung limply at her side.“Are you two okay?” Elhyam asked, running down the hill with the others close behind. Ark nodded and stood up. Oni remained sitting and glaring at him with hate. She was helped up by Socara who expressed her concern.         “If you two fight one more time, I’m going to kill you both personally,” Sally scolded. “We are not enemies! That is Chaonen, do you hear me?” They nodded. Exchanging one last glare, they headed up the hill to discuss on what to do now.

        “Mazoku, creatures of evil and that of darkness. Not to be trusted. Not to be associated with. They are that of Darkness, Nightmare, Beast, Demon, and Hell. Death and Time. Throughout history, their presence has caused nothing but suffering and death. They feed on hate, suffering and fear. I remember so many legends that speak of the destruction they have caused. Within a world that no longer exists, a mazoku single handedly corrupted the people and caused them to exterminated each other. While it sat back and laughed at the blood shed.
        A lone creature, carrying a cane where ever he was seen. I remember an old legend of the Lord of Nightmares. He conquered worlds and destroyed them to satisfy his thirst for fear. Only when the Silence intervened was he stopped...”
        Asia opened the door to the house. “That’s the basics of what I know of Mazoku. Of course these basics are all that’s really known. Though legends indicate that each master tends to have a priest and general of whom they give their power to.”
        “Freaky,” said Socara. “Mazoku...horrible. Ancients, they sound scary.” She shuddered.
        “I agree, Socara,” said Asia. “I wish they weren’t real. But grandpa says they are, and I believe him. He always had a reason behind his statements.” Socara shivered again. “Well, we’re here. Alright everyone. We agreed that that there will be a truce while you are all at this resort. I’m sure we can convince Chaonen to agree since he is still in bad condition.”
        “<Asia, dear. I did not expect you home so early!>” said an elderly raichu in Chinese dialect, as he walked up. He looked surprised when he saw everyone else.
        “<We have some customers, Grandpa,>” Asia smiled. “<I’ll explain later.>”
        Grandpa walked up to them. “Welcome to our little hotspring resort in Utai. Enjoy your stay. I hope don’t mind, but the baths are not seperated.”
        “Izn’t it kewlie dat Asia has a hotspring resort?!”Oni shouted excitedly. “Mes always wanted ta go ta one! WEII!!!”
        “Hello, I’m Sally,” Sally said, greeting Grandpa. “I suppose we’ll be staying here until we can contact our respected parties.”
        “I’ll show you to your rooms,” Asia said. “Then I can get Chaonen some potions and healing herbs.”
        “I’ll help, dear,” replied Grandpa, walking back into the house with the others.

        “Aahhhh! Hot hot hot!”
        “Oni calm down! Of course it’s hot,” laughed Socara, tightening her towel as she slowly got into the outdoor bath. It was now evening and the air had cool to a comfortable temp. Everything had been settled. Chaonen had agreed to have a cease-fire while they were at the resort, since he was still injured very badly, as well as the others. It took a little adjusting for Sally, but she was finally able to relax, though Chaonen’s presence still irrated her. She had contacted Sonic to tell him that she was alright and so were the others. Sally had chosen not to mention Chaonen and she was happy to talk to Sonic and Tails.
        “Mmmmm...this feels good,” said Sally, leaning back and closing her eyes. Socara playfully splashed Oni as Ark ordered some sort of drink.
        “What’s that?” Socara asked, sitting by Ark. Ark almost jumped back, but quickly gathered himself together. “What?”
        “Ehheheh, not used to being in a bath with other people, especially females...”he smiled, clearly embarrassed. Socara just blinked at him. “But this is the best part of hotsprings! The booze! Bwaahahaha!” He offered Socara some. “Drink it slowly. Don’t want to over do it the first time.”
        “Um..alright...” She took a sip. “It’s kind of sweet.”
        “It’s sake.”
        Ark and Socara turned to the person who had just said that. It was Chaonen, who was sitting on the far end with his Shadow who was swimming circles by Chaonen. He had five sake bottle by him.
        Ark cocked an eyebrow. “Do you know when was the last time I could drink?” Chaonen said at him. “Unfortunately Darkintis doesn’t have good sake, or clothing for that matter.” He glupped down a glass and sighed happily.
        Oni scooted up to Socara and looked at Chaonen blankly.
        “Hmph. I bet that’s the weak stuff,” Ark smirked.
        “Is that a challenge?” Chaonen asked, raising an eyebrow.
        “Want it to be?”

        “Dere both drunk...” Oni muttered quite a while later.
        “Ark’s out cold...” Socara sighed.
        “Na much diff fromz Chaonen...”
        Socara sighed again and leaned back, looking up at the stars. To Oni’s surprise she started to cry.
        “Wha’ wron’ Soca?” Oni asked, peering at her with concern.
        “What’s wrong with me...?” Socara whimpered, leaning against Oni. “Oni...when we were coming here, Chaonen and I, he...”
        Oni looked perplexed, but kept quiet, waiting for Socara to continue. She got increasingly worried when Socara started sobbing.
        “Ancients Oni!” she sobbed, holding onto Oni. “He kissed me and liked it...I even kissed him back...” She went kind of limp and Oni hugged her.
        “U know it waz him...?” she asked softly.
        “Den iz his fault. Na ur’s. U na should feel so bad, ne?” Socara thought about what she said. Oni helped her out of the bath when Socara cried herself to sleep.

        The next morning, Oni walked into the dining room with her arm in a sling and plenty of bandages. Grandpa had set it the night before, her feathers would take a while to grow back though.
        “Mornin’ peoplez!” Oni greeted cheerfully. “How iz everybody?”
        “Good morning Oni,” smiled Asia, who was serving the others. “Slept well?”
        “Hai!” she said as she hopped into an empty chair. “Wha’ fer breakfast?”
        “You still have to take it easy, Oni,” Asia scolded. “Or your arm may not heal right.” Oni hung her head. Asia giggled.
        Ark walked in a while later, he too had several bandages. “Damn this is annoying,” he muttered, adjusting the bandage on his head.
        “Don’t move it too much, or you’ll probably start bleeding again,” said Sally who came up behind him. “Feeling better Oni?”
        Oni nodded. “Well mes done!” Putting her bowl in the kitchen sink, despite Asia’s protests, she ran off back to her room to see if Socara was awake yet.
        “Too damn cheerful,” muttered Ark.

        As Oni walked through the halls, she passed Chaonen’s room. Suddenly the Shadow appeared in front of her, yelling frantically. “AH! Wha’ U wanna?!”
        “Please! Chaonen-daimyou,” shouted the Shadow, “he’s stopped breathing! I don’t know why! You must help Chaonen-daimyou!”
        “Wha’!? When?!”
        “Chaonen-daimyou stopped breathing a moment ago! Please help Chaonen-daimyou!” Oni shoved the door opened and ran in. Indeed, Chaonen had stopped breathing and was started to turn a hue of blue.
        “Waahhhh!! Wha’ mes do?!” She dug around in her sleeve, frantically looking for something. “AHHH!! Where iz its!?” Finding what she wanted, she dumped all of the bottle’s contents on Chaonen’s chest. After a few moments, he took a few laborous breathes, and his breathing returned to normal after a few minutes. Oni breathed a sigh of relief.
        “Heesh...mes take lives, na give dem.~_~”
        “Oni? Is that you?” Came Socara’s voice from the hallway. She looked into the room. “Why were you yelling?”
        “It got me alla worked upz!” Oni pointed at the Shadow. “Wit it screamin’ how Chaonen stopped breathing.”
        “Chaonen-daimyou was dying!” replied the Shadow. Oni placed another bottle of the healing potion she had used by Chaonen’s bed. The Shadow looked at it, then curled itself beside Chaonen’s head.
        “Dat’s reallies wierd,” sighed Oni, as she walked with Socara out into the garden. “Thought he wassa gonna bes fine.” Socara kept silent. Oni looked concerned. “U still upset ‘bout datz?”
        Socara nodded.

        That night there was a festival in Utai. Asia had insisted that everyone went. She said that it was one of the best festivals of the year and that it was celebrating the Chinese New Year. She even lended kimonos for everyone to wear.
        “The is wonderful!” said Sally, walking among all the vendors and lamps. “Its been ages since I’ve been to a festival.”
        “I’ve never been to one. So this is wait it’s like to be a Mobian,” commented Elhyam. “And I must say it’s great!”
        Chaonen walked slowly amongst the other celebrators, using a cane for support. He had to stop every now and then to rest. Asia had done what she could do, with the help of her grandfather. Most of his broken bones were mended enough and he wasn’t bleeding internally anymore. His faithful Shadow was sitting on his shoulder, enjoying the sights. Every so often it would point something of interest out or chitter excitedly at him. Chaonen smiled at it and got back up. A particular stand caught his eye. Making his way towards it, he could see the vendor was selling an assorted amount of jewelry.
        He picked up a necklace that was made of two beds of onyx with one of emerald in the center. To him it said ‘perfect.’ “Do you take checks?” he asked the vendor.

        The full moon was shining brightly in the night sky. Casting a beautiful reflection on the crystal clear pond. Cherry blossoms in bloom surrounded the pond. Socara and Oni sat on a large rock with their feet in the dangling in the pond and chatting while eating the treats they had bought.
        “Da green stuff is wasabi. Spicy stuffz,” explained Oni.
        “Tastes pretty good,” commented Socara while Oni gagged at the thought of eating it at all. “It’s beautiful here,” Socara said after a moment of silence. Oni agreed. “Wouldn’t it be great if we could stay here longer instead of having to go back?”
        “What are you doing?”
        The person sitting in the shadows of the cherry blossoms turned towards Ark.
        “Resting, what else?”
        “Exactly what else. You were watching her.”
        Chaonen looked at towards the pond, then stood up and walked away.

        “Are you sure you’ll be leaving tomorrow morning?” Asia asked Sally, a day later.
        “Yes. We need to get back to the base. It is not right for us to be here and relax while there is a war going on,” replied Sally, packing her things. “Thank you for everything though.”
        “What of Chaonen?”
        “We will see, I suppose.”

        “Rest well everyone,”said Sally. “We’ll be leaving at dawn tomorrow.” Elhyam, Oni, Ark, and Socara nodded.
        “What shame,” sighed Socara. “I was really starting to like it here.” Opening to the door the room she was sharing with Oni.
        “Yea,” Oni agreed. “Hey! How ‘boutz one last bath? Huh? It’ll be greatz! Just u anna mes!”
        “Great idea!” smiled Socara. She then leaned close and whispered. “I also want to show you something.”

        Oni stared at the object Socara held up as they sat in the bath. “It’s what I found in the temple and I think it’s what he was after.”
        “Wha’ iz itz though?”
        “I don’t know. I was hoping you would know. It must be important though if he wanted it that badly.”
        “Yeah, wes betta keep itz. U probably shouldz. Mes ‘ill loss itz,” suggest Oni.
        “You’re right,” replied Socara. “So this is a secret just between you and me.”
        “Did u hear somethin’?” Oni asked suddenly.
        “No, it’s probably just the wind.” Suddenly she grabbed Oni and dunked her under the water.
        “Wah! U inz fer itz now!”
        Asia chuckled to herself as she walked by the door of the bath and could hear splashing and laughing. I’m going to miss them, she thought.

        Ark stood silently in the hall, late that night. His ears twitched slightly every so often. Setting his staff down, he leaned against the wall and waited for dawn.

        The door slowly slid open to Oni and Socara’s room. Chaonen made sure they were both sleeping soundly, then stepped in, leaving the door open by just a crack. He tried not to laugh at how ‘messily’ Oni slept, blankets everywhere and her legz flopped across Socara’s who was sleeping peacefully despite the added weight.
        Carefully walking to the bed side, he placed a small box beside Socara. Then quietly searched the pockets of her clothing that were flung over a chair. He smiled when he found what he was looking for, slipping it into his pocket and leaving quickly.
        Stepping into the hallway, he glanced to his right. “You’re becoming very annoying,” he said.
        “It’s a gift,” smirked Ark, standing in a fighting position and weilding his staff. “Now we can do this the easy way, or the fun way. Your choice.”
        Chaonen shifted his position, then suddenly leaped backwards and ran. He swung around the corner, heading for the nearest exit. “Shit,” muttered Ark, running after him and slamming a fist on Oni’s door as he passed.
        “Huh?” Oni murmered sleepily.

        “What’s all this clamor?” Grandpa demanded, stepping out of his room as Asia did.
        “I don’t know, but something’s going on,” said Sally.
        “Sally! Chaonen is gone!” shouted Elhyam.
        “What’s that sound?” asked Asia.
        “Sounds like...swords?”

        “Bastard,” Chaonen snarled, holding his position with the two swords he had found on the walls as decoration.
        “Bitch,” Ark grinned, staff locked with Chaonen’s two swords. With a yell, he threw Chaonen back and lunged at him. But Chaonen dodged to the side and leaped passed with surprising speed and agility.
        He ran into a room, smashed the window and leaped out outside. Glancing back, he didn’t see Ark but that was no comfort. Running as fast as he could, he ran for the transportship that was owned by Asia’s grandfather. The Shadow clung closely to him and kept watch for anyone following them. It yelped in surprise when Chaonen stopped abruptly.
        “Damn, how did he...?”
        “I want that thing you stole from Soca-chan,” demanded Ark. He stood a ways infront of Chaonen, holding his staff still. “I see...well I’ll be taking it out of your hands anyways.” He lunged forward, but suddenly disappeared. Then reappeared closer, but to the side. Chaonen tried to get a fix on him, but Ark kept teleporting back and forth, closer each time, until he was suddenly next to Chaonen and had snatched the object. The next second, he had leaped to the top of the roof.
        “Shimatta!” growled Chaonen, whirling to face Ark. “You damn bastard!”
        Ark just grinned back to him.
        “Freeze Chaonen!” shouted Sally, as she, Asia and Elhyam ran out from the house. She had he gun leveled at him.
        “I thought we had a cease fire,” snarled Chaonen. He turned his attention back to Ark. “That is rightfully mine and I want it back!”
        “Na ah,” grinned Ark, wagging a finger at him. “This belongs to Soca-chan since she found it.”
        Chaonen lowered his hands. “Fury...”
        Ark opened both his eyes and looked at Chaonen.
        “...Plight!” Suddenly an array of high energy blasts shot at Ark. Chaonen looked shocked, as did the others, when a magic shield blocked the spell.
        “A Dark mage using Black magic...?” asked Ark, quite confused. He tried to dodge to the side but it was too late. “Argh!” he screamed, falling off the roof and hitting the ground.
        “Ark!” gasped Asia. She moved to help him, but her grandfather held her back.
        “Stay out of this Asia, it is too dangerous. You as well,” he said to Sally. “It is no longer your fight.”
        “What?!” Sally demanded to know.
        “I will explain later if need be.”
        The Shadow took the object from Ark’s limp body, and flew back to Chaonen. “Good job,” Chaonen said, putting the object into his pocket.
        “Where are you going, Chaonen? We’re not done yet...”
        “How can you still-”
        Ark lurched to his feet. Blood was streaming down his arm from the the sword that the Shadow had stabbed him with, that had gone all the way through his shoulder.
        “You’re a mazoku...aren’t you?” Chaonen snarled, as he slowly backed away, sword up and ready. “No mobian could possibly...”
        “6 o’ clock, Chaonen-daimyou!” his Shadow shouted. Immediately, Chaonen threw himself to the side and whirled halfway so he could see both his new attacker and Ark. He narrowed his eyes.
        Oni leaped back and held her sword back up. “Give it back ta Soca.” Ark reached back and pulled the sword out from his shoulder, then advanced on Chaonen.
        Both Oni and Ark ran at Chaonen at the same time. Chaonen fell backwards, rolling to the side to avoid their attack. Jumping to his feet, he slammed his elbow on the back of Ark’s neck as his Shadow cast a wind spell that threw Oni back several meters.
        Ark was on his feet immediately again, but his injury was slowing him down. Chaonen slashed him with his sword but was only able to slash him across the cheek. Ark swung his his leg tripping Chaonen, and went for his neck, but was kicked hard in the stomach, then slammed against the ground. Ark flipped Chaonen over with his feet, but couldn’t keep his grip on him.
        Chaonen lurched to his feet and ran for the ship again, the object gripped tightly in his hand. The Shadow flew after him.
        Wincing in pain, Ark tried to follow, but his knees buckled and he fell to the ground, coughing up blood. The engines of the ship started and there was a blast of air as it took off into the sky.
        “Dan’ itz!” Oni shouted, spreading her wings.
        “Oni, what are you doing?! You can’t fly with your wings damaged like that!” Socara shouted to her. “What?” Oni’s injured wing started to glow a faint blue, abruptly the glow shot out, outlining her missing feathers. It solidified and then dissipated, reavealing her wing back intact. Crouching down, she leaped into the air, heading after Chaonen at an astonishing speed.
        Everything fell back into the quietness of the night. Sally, Asia, Grandpa. Elhyam, and Socara stood silent by the house. Ark was kneeling on the ground, clutching his shoulder.
        “Ark...”started Asia. “Is what Chaonen said true?”
        “I can’t believe I made that mistake,” he muttered to himself, clutching his shoulder. Then addressing Asia, but not turning towards her, “About what?”
        “That you are a mazoku...?”
        “What does it matter...He’s never lied yet, why would he start now?”
        Socara gave a small gasp, then turned and walked back into the house, hand covering her mouth.
        “Wait! Soca-chan...” Ark called after her. “Wait...”

        Ark couldn’t hear what the others said to Oni exactly, when she returned a little after dawn. But he could hear Socara’s voice, and he could see Oni run by, then the door slamming shut.