Once Kate fell to the floor, all eyes went to Sekhmet. What? he asked as he held his hands up in defense. Hey don't look at me! I wasn't even in my armor! If you want to blame someone, blame Dais! He's the one who decided to go head smashing happy!
Hey! snapped Dais.
Stop it both of you! Kayra commanded. She sighed in frustration. How can they be so immature?
Ryo walked over to Kate's still form and checked her pulse. It was still running strong. He stood up and took a deep breath. She's fine. I think she was just shocked at the knowledge of a dead guy talking to her.
So what do we do with her? asked Rowen from the couch. He tried to turn a little, but stopped as more pain shot through his arm.
We should at least give her a room. Mia commented, being the nice hostess that she was.
Sage stood up. I don't think that's the wises thing to do Mia. We don't know why she's here, let alone who she is. he stated skeptically. She might be a Dynasty spy for all we know.
You are wrong about one thing, Sage. Cale stated calmly. Sage turned to him, inquiring about his error. We know who she is. She already told us. Her name is Kate. He smiled slightly at Sage's reaction.
Oh please, Cale! That's not what I meant! Sage said as he flopped down next to Rowen.
Sekhmet looked at Kate, then back at the others. I don't think she's from the Dynasty. he reported.
And why is that, Sekhmet? asked Kento.
Well for one, she said Tulpa was after her, but she didn't know why. He paused for a moment, then continued. Plus she didn't fight like a Dynasty warrior.
Well that was hard to determine, considering we ambushed her. Kayra said, shooting an Oh very good glance at Sekhmet. But he did not notice her sarcastic meaning, and if he did, he chose not to dignify it with a response.
Ryo looked back at the mysterious girl, wondering why she was there. She said Anubis sent her to find me.....but why? Aden squawked quietly as she sat protectively next to her master. Ryo eyed Kates features curiously; his eyes landed on a large bruise right above her right eye. Is that bruise a result of Dais going, how did you put it? Head mashing happy? Ryo asked, pointing to the bruise.
Why did you go head mashing happy? Cye asked, his curiosity getting the better of him.
Everyone turned to the ex-Warlord of Illusion, waiting for the answer. Well....I...uh...weum...ask Kayra. he said quickly. Dais was ready to answer, but all their stares were making him nervous.
Thanks Dais. Kayra stated flatly. She proceeded to tell them of the events that ensued while they were gone. After she finished, Ryo nodded.
Ok. We know how she got here and why. But the question I have is why Anubis sent her.
It seems we won't get that answer until she wakes up. Mia said calmly. Until then, I suggest we all get some rest. She stood and walked to the stairs, but stopped before going up. There's an open room next to mine. She can stay there until she wakes up.
I'll take her. Cale said. He stood and walked over to Kate. He slowly bent down to pick her up, hoping Aden wouldn't try to kill him. But Aden simply nodded and flew to the stairs to wait for him. Cale picked Kate up and headed for the stairs, but stopped. He turned to survey the floor. He spotted Kate's bag by the couch. Could one of you please hand me that?
Cye picked up the bag and handed it to him. Cale took it, nodded his thanks, and headed upstairs. Mia followed him, so did Aden, as they went in search of the room. Mia opened the door to let Cale in, then turned to leave. Cale laid Kate on the bed. Aden flew in and took her usual guard position at the top of the bedpost. The hawk eyed Cale warily as he looked at Kate. Who are you? he whispered. I know those eyes.
He pushed a couple of strands of hair away from her face and smiled. Aden squawked a question, but Cale didn't understand. He just turned to leave, closing the door behind him.
* * * *
Corin walked down the dark corridor to his room. He had just come from his meeting with Tulpa, but he didn't remember much of what his master had said for fatigue had overtaken him. All he remembered was something about not underestimating the White Armor.
He walked into his room and flopped onto his bed. His mind began to replay the days events. He had been sent to take Kate Jones to Master Tulpa, but that didn't go well. Next was his fight with the Ronins. Well, atleast that went better than my encounter with Miss Jones. I can't believe I began to gloat. I never gloat! Its such a waste of time and effort. I had her. I HAD HER! If it wasn't for that stupid pigeon of hers... He fell asleep thinking how nice it would be to kill that bird.
* "Corin! came a cheerful greeting. Corin opened his eyes to find himself in a large valley surrounded by tall mountains. A small breeze blew across the field, bringing with it the lovely smell of wildflowers. He inhaled deeply the lovely aroma as he turned around.
A young girl was coming towards him. She had black/blue hair and dark blue/purple eyes that shined with laughter. She was wearing a dark blue tunic with black trim, a black sash tied at the waist, and dark blue slacks. She ran up to him and jumped into his arms, almost knocking him down.
"Corin! I'm so glad to see you! she said cheerfully, hugging him tightly.
Corin held onto her with a smile. "How are you, little one? he asked.
Kate let go of him. Her smile widened as she said, "I'm great! I found the ones you said would help me! The Ronins and Ex-Warlords! she lead him over to a big rock next to the stream, sat down, and began to tell him of her day. When she finished she said, "I know they will help me, I just know they will. They stopped Tulpa once, and they can do it again. Hope radiated off of her, making her smile grow even more, if that were possible.
Corin looked at the ground and let out a sad sigh. He looked up at her hopeful face, wanting oh so badly to be as happy, but sadly, his heart wouldn't allow it. "I hope you are right, Katana.
Kate looked at him, worry replacing her hopeful look. "What's wrong, Corin? she asked, moving next to him.
He turned away from her as he said. "I don't know how much longer I can resist Tulpa's total control. Since we were kids, Tulpa has been controlling us. He hasn't found out about the dreamlink yet, but I don't know how much longer we can keep it secret. He looked at her, a grave _expression in his eyes. "I'm tired. The others are tired. You are our last hope. Please be careful. His body suddenly became transparent.
"No! Don't go! Not yet, please! Kate cried. She hugged him tightly, her body also becoming transparent. "Its not fair! I don't want to fight you or the others! Its not fair that I can only see you in sleep! She began to cry.
"Ssshhh. He soothed, stroking her hair. "It will be alright.
"Please try to hold on, Corin. I will free you. She tightened her hold on him as they both continued to vanish.
"I know, little one. I'll try. With that, they both disappeared. *
* * * *
Kate opened her eyes slowly. The sunlight poured in through the cracks in the blinds, lighting up the room slightly. She rolled to her side and looked around. She was in a medium sized room which contained a desk and a dresser. Her bag lay next to the door. Kate laid back on her back and stretched.
"Good morning, master! I'm so glad youre alright!" Aden said from atop the bed post. The hawk took off from there, circled the room once, then landed on the window sill.
Kate sat up tiredly and said. "Of course I'm alright. Did something happen that would suggest other wise?"
"Yes." Aden said with a slight nod. "You fainted." Kate gave her a questioning look. "The one called Ryo told you that Mr. Anubis was dead and you fainted."
Kate stared at her pet wide eyed for a moment, then flopped back down with a groan. She began to remember the last few events of yesterday. She sat back up after a moment and said, "This is a mixed up country! I knew coming here was a bad idea."
Aden shook her head. She looked at the window and decided to change the subject. "Did you sleep well?"
"Ya, I guess." Kate got up to get her bag. "I had another one of those dreams again."
This got Aden's attention. "Oh? What was this one about?"
Kate put her bag on the desk and began to rummage through it. "Same as always." She pulled out a hair brush and began to brush out her long hair. "I was in the same valley as the others. Only one person was there this time." She pulled at a tangle in frustration. "Stupid knot!" she muttered.
"Do you remember who it was you were with?" Aden asked from the window sill.
Kate finally managed to undo the tangle. "No. It was a guy....that's all I remember." She put the brush down and put her hair back into a pony tail. Her shoulders and wrists began to hurt. Boy, those two have quite a good grip. Kate began to rub her right wrist as she continued. "I told him about the Ronins and then promised him something....."
Aden raised her wing and began to preen. "Do you remember what that was?"
Kate pulled a white tank-top and a pair of gray sweat pants from her bag. "Do I ever?" she answered as she began to change. "Anyway, I'm beginning to think its more than just a dream." Kate put her dirty clothes back into her bag and threw it on the floor. She walked to the door and turned back. "Stay here. I'll be back in a while."
Before Aden could protest, Kate left.
Kate walked down the hall to the stairs. A wave of sweet smells met her as she descended the stair case. As she neared the kitchen, Kate could hear voices.
"Kento! Leave some for everybody else!" screamed a boy why a British accent.
"Oh please. Cry me a river, fish-boy!" snapped another voice. Kate assumed it was Kento.
"Will you to stop it! I'm trying to read!" Kate recognized Dais' voice.
She walked in to see the Ronins, Warlords, and Mia sitting at the table. They turned to her when she walked in. "Um..hi." she greeted shyly.
"Good morning Kate." Mia said cheerfully. "Please sit down." She motioned to a seat next to Dais, who was busy reading the paper. Kate sat down without a word. Mia saw her nervous demeanor and decided to help out. "Did you sleep well, Kate?"
Kate nodded. "Yes, thank you." Mia handed her a plate of scrambled eggs and some toast. Kate took it with a nod and started to pick at it.
"Man. Youre so polite." commented Kento. "Where are you from? Boston?" he asked with a snickered.
Kate looked at him in irritation. "No." she said sharply, causing Kento to lean back alittle in fear. "I'm from downtown New York." she said with more calmness. Kate held back a smile, trying not to laugh at Kentos reaction.
"Really?" asked a young man with blue hair. He had a slight Brooklyn accent in his voice. "Cool. I'm Rowen Hashiba. The one ragging you is Kento Rei Faun." Kento shot him a playful hurt look.
"And I'm Cye Mouri." said the boy with the British accent. He had long auburn hair and a kind smile. He motioned to a tall blond sitting next to him. "This is Sage Date." Sage nodded his greeting.
Kate's eyes widened in surprise. His hair is so poofy! Is it humanly possibly to have hair that big? Sage met her stare with a cold glare, causing Kate to divert her eyes. Why do I get the feeling he doesn't trust me? Her thoughts were interrupted by Ryo's greeting.
"And I, as you know, am Ryo Sanada." He smiled at her. Kate noticed the color of his eyes with great interest. They were tiger blue. She hadn't seen any eye color like it.
"Well, its nice to meet you." Kate started to eat her food after that.
The rest of the meal was done in silence. After everyone was done, Mia moved them into the living room. Kate sat in the arm chair, while everyone else either stood or sat on the couches. Kate looked around nervously. She knew what was about to happen. They where about to start the questioning.
To confirm her suspicions, Kayra walked over to her. "You said you were from New York right?" Kate nodded. "Then what brings you to Japan?"
I doubt she'd believe I'm searching for a path. Kate thought for a second, then answered. "I think I'm suppose to help you stop Tulpa from invading."
Dais eyed her suspiciously. "How do you know about Tulpa?"
Kate met his gaze straight on. She knew he was trying to trap her, but she wouldn't let him. "It really wasn't that hard. Tulpa attacked the city, marking him as the bag guy; the Ronins went to fight him, marking them the good guys; you all don't like the Warlords, also marking them as bad guys. Its not that hard to piece the puzzle together."
Sage nodded thoughtfully. "Very good observation. But how did you know it was an invasion? We didn't mention that."
Kate shot him an 'I hate you' glare and didn't answer. Ryo decided to intervene before a fight broke out. He could tell, of course a blind man could tell, that Sage and Dais didn't trust her, but he was determined to keep the peace. He looked at Kate. "Its a fair question."
Kate let out a sharp sigh. "If you must know, a group of warriors told me in a vision."
"Ok." Ryo said, not wanting to push the subject. He could tell by the way she answered that it was a touchy subject. He decided to change the subject. "How do you intend to help us in our fight with Tulpa?"
"With this." Kate pulled her medallion out from under her shirt. "This medallion contains a very powerful armor."
"Why am I not surprised?" Ryo muttered as he obsevred the medallion. It was about the size of his palm, made out of a dark blue stone, with a good sized black pearl in the middle. Kate put the medallion back under her shirt, a satisfied smile spread across her face.
Mia walked up to her, an excited look on her face. "Kate, do you mind if I ask you a few questions about your armor?"
Kate leaned back a little. Mia's excited look was making her nervous. She glanced at Ryo for help. He simply nodded, his look saying it would be ok. Kate looked back at Mia. "Ok."
"Yes!" Mia jumped up and down like a child getting a new toy. Mia lead a fearful Kate upstairs.
Ryo watched them go, then turned to the others. "Well?"
"Her story seems plausible." Kayra said. Most of the others agreed.
"I don't see anything wrong with her story or her manner. I say shes trustworthy." stated Cale.
"I still don't think its a good idea to have her here." Sage commented. "There's something about her that I don't like."
"That's a first." joked Kento. "The Flirt King of the World finds a pretty young girl disturbing." He began to laugh hysterically. Sage just glared at him.
"Quit it Kento." Ryo commanded. "Sage, I'll take your warning about her into thought. If she is from the Dynasty, then we will deal with her. But until then, I want you all to be nice and let her have a good time while in our country. Agreed?"
They all agreed, though Dais and Sage hesitated at first.
* * * *
Corin appeared before Tulpa. Bowing in respect he said, "Lord Tulpa, I have a request to make."
Tulpa looked at his Warlord from his throne. "Yes Corin, what is it?"
"Master, I request your permission to allow me to finish what I started yesterday."
Tulpa thought for a moment then stated, "Your request is granted. Do not fail me."
"Yes Master." Corin stood and vanished.
Stefin left her hiding spot behind the door and teleported to her room. Corin, how can you go alone. You don't know how strong she is. She might defeat you. No! Don't say that. He'll get her. Good luck Corin.
* * * *
The sun began to set as the Ronins and Warlords began to spare. They paired off: Kayra and Ryo, Rowen and Sage, Dais and Kento, and Cye and Sekhmet. Cale wasn't in the mood, so he sat on the porch and watched. But his mind wasn't on the fight. Those eyes. Where have I seen them before? He shook his head in an attempt to clear it. A soft thud followed by a sharp cry caught Cale's attention. He walked to the far side of the porch and looked out just in time to see Kate run into the forest, followed closely by her hawk. Now where is she going?
* * * *
Kate ran as fast as she could, looking back once or twice to make sure no one was following her. About half a mile latter, she stopped in a clearing and sat down against a tree. Aden landed on a low branch. Kate began to rub her knee. She had fallen on it when she jumped out her window.
"Master, why didn't you use the front door? It would have saved you a hurt knee."
"Because, Aden. I didn't want anyone following me." Kate leaned against the tree, sighing in frustration. She had just gotten away from Mia, and all those question had nearly driven her mad. "Aden, I swear that girl asks too many questions. She asked five on just the color of my armor!"
"Its ok, Kate. She was just curious." Aden said in an attempt to calm her Master down. It didn't work.
"One more question and I would have blasted her with my crossbow." Kate grumbled.
Aden shrugged, or attempted to, and took flight. "Hey! Where are you going?" Kate asked.
Aden flew higher and began to circle. "I'm going to get a feel for this area. I'll be back soon." She flew off in a flash.
Kate watched her go and chuckled. "Ok, bye." She slumped down against the tree trunk and closed her eyes, enjoying the evening stillness. Suddenly an alarm sounded in her head. Somebody was coming......