By: A.J. Matthews
“Give up! You will never defeat me, Chichiri! You will be mine!”
Chichiri looked battered and bruised. He lay on a blood splattered floor. All of the Seishi and the Mikos were both dead. “Minna!”
“Tasuki!” He looked at Tasuki as he lay dead on the floor in front of him.
His friends…His Miko…His lover…
He looked straight at Nakago. “I will never be yours. While hands can touch and hearts can reach, I will be beyond your touch. And so shall they.”
His blood lay all over the floor. With the last of his strength, he drew a bloody magic circle around himself, Tasuki, and the other Seishi.
This spell was their only chance. To be reborn and have this confrontation once more. To try to stop the pain this time. He alone had the power to do so. Suzaku, please hear my last prayer…
He coughed up blood as the dark lord looked at him impatiently.
“Hear me, Suzaku!” Chichiri shouted. A red light shone around him, brighter than the sun. Its power made his blue hair blow around furiously.
“By my true name and the power in my blood, I call upon the powers of time and space. Let this battle be fought in another time and place. If hearts don’t reach and hands don’t touch Let this dark one take what he would. Harm to none, my vow is free. As I will, so mote it be.”
“No!” cried the dark lord in anger as the power of the spell unleashed.
“I will have the advantage of knowing everything,” he reminded Chichiri as red light shone down on all of them, and their bodies faded away.
Chichiri lay entwined with Tasuki. Perhaps we’ll meet again, he prayed, as he died.
Sixteen-year-old Chichiri walked through the hallways of his new high school. It was a large and crowded place. He passed by several people along the way. Most of them stared at him- at his face, more precisely. And he thought he knew why.
It was because of the mask that he wore over the scar that ran directly through his left eye. He kept his scar hidden beneath it. Chichiri had had that scar for as long as he could remember.
He started walking faster, passing by a fifteen-year-old girl with auburn hair tied up in a pony-tail. She was talking to another fifteen-year-old girl with short blond hair.
Down the hall, a seventeen-year-old red-haired teenage boy was having a… conversation with a teacher over a burned door. An eighteen-year-old boy with long hair in a ponytail was laughing as he stood there, listening to the red-head as he tried to explain just how it had happened. They sure didn’t know.
A thirteen-year-old boy with his hair in a ponytail, too, walked down the hallway, talking to a older teenager, who was nineteen. His hair was very short.
That must be that really smart kid I heard about. At least no-one picks on him. Bet they’re scared of that other guy, Chichiri mused as he continued walking.
A nineteen-year-old boy passed him, with long brown hair. He was trying to duck behind people, as another boy, who was also nineteen, chased him through the halls, with his purple-colored hair standing out.
Just another typical day, thought Chichiri. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the twins he’d met earlier laughing and joking. Another teenager stood by them, with long dark hair.
Chichiri had to jump out of the way as a strange looking boy with fur on him ran down the hallway, and was chased by two figures, a boy and girl.
He shook his head. “This is an interesting place, no da.” He left the building, glad that school was finally over for the day. It was only his first week, and already he was feeling tense.
Most of the crowd followed him, including the red-head and the other boy.
Chichiri walked over to the gate.
When he got over there, he froze.
He was surrounded by some of the older kids, who followed him after school.
“Kid, we don’t like people who make us look bad.” A tough blond-haired guy punched his right fist into his left palm.
Chichiri nodded mutely. He knew that there were people who didn’t like others being smarter than them.
Mitsukake and Chiriko had just left the school, when Chiriko noticed the new guy had been cornered by the toughest group of bullies.
“Mitsukake, look. It’s only been a week.” Chiriko pointed to the blue-haired newcomer.
Mitsukake shook his head. “I think we’d better help him,” he said quietly.
They started heading in the direction of the stranger.
Chichiri kept his eyes on the bullies. Then he saw a gathering crowd. His heart sank. Not again!
Chichiri watched as the bullies drew closer to him. He backed up until he was pressed against the wall.
The leader smacked him hard. He fell to the ground. His hand came up to touch his cheek.
Chichiri stood and quickly flipped in front of the bully. Lashing out with his foot, he managed to kick him hard in the stomach. The bully swung at him again.
Genroe and Tamahome watched in surprise as he deflected the blow. He was kinda cute, Tasuki thought.
Chichiri defended himself against the bully fairly well. He only took two blows, as far as Genroe could see. He even managed to get in a few hits himself.
The leader growled, and motioned for his gang to fight Chichiri as well.
Genroe stepped out of the crowd. “I wouldn’t try that, Nakago.” He walked over to Chichiri and stood beside him. “You’ll have to face me, too.”
“And me,” said Mitsukake. He and Chiriko walked over.
Yui and Miaka ran over to see what was going on. Miaka shook her head when she saw it was the gang run by that weird Nakago.
“He was picking on that poor newcomer,” said Miaka in disbelief. “Honestly, doesn’t he have anything better to do?”
“I’m glad those guys are helping out. Nakago is a pretty tough bully.” Yui saw the new student standing there quietly.
Nakago’s gang hesitated to go up against Genroe. Mitsukake was also strong.
“Sorry I’m late, Genroe,” said Tamahome as he pushed his way through the crowd. “Do you really want to fight all of us, Nakago? Better leave while you can.” He narrowed his eyes at him.
Nakago scowled. He looked at Chichiri and lashed out hard with his leg. He managed to hit Chichiri’s ankle hard, and he fell to the ground. “This ain’t over yet, kid,” he growled. “Your friends won’t be around to protect you forever.” The twenty-year-old looked at his gang and snarled, “Let’s go.” He shot a parting glare. Our day of reckoning will come, Chichiri, he thought angrily. You will be mine. Then all of the gang turned and walked away.
Chichiri’s right arm was scraped and bleeding badly from where he’d hit the concrete. He managed to sit up, holding his right arm carefully.
“You ok?” asked Genroe.
Hotohori and Nuriko had walked over as well.
“Is he all right?” Nuriko asked.
Chichiri stood carefully. His ankle screamed in protest. “That Nakago has it in for me. This isn’t this first time he’s done this, no da.” He gritted his teeth as he saw the massive bruise forming where he’d been hit.
Mitsukake frowned. “What do you mean, this isn’t the first time he’s done this?” He looked closer and saw fading bruises on Chichiri’s face and arms that had to have occurred in the last week.
Chichiri looked at the strangers surrounding him. He bit his lip. “He’s cornered me before, but usually when no-one else is around, no da.”
Genroe growled softly. “I’m gonna have words with that jerk. Pickin’ on people is wrong.”
Hotohori looked at the young boy, who had turned his face towards them. The bruise showed on his naturally pale skin. He touched the bruise softly and looked at Chichiri.
“Is this the first time he’s hurt you?” Hotohori looked furious
“No, no da.” Chichiri looked down at the ground.
“Why don’t your parents write a letter of complaint?” asked Nuriko curiously.
Chichiri closed his eye beneath his mask. “Because they’re dead.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry…” Nuriko looked like he wanted to kick himself.
“It’s ok. It happened years ago, no da.”
Genroe felt his respect for this guy go up.
“You live alone?” asked Chiriko. “Cool.”
“My parents were my only relatives, no da.” Chichiri looked at the strangers. “No da, thank you for helping me.”
“You’re welcome,” Genroe said. “You’re new, aren’t you? What’s your name?” He grinned. “My name’s Genroe.”
“I’m Chiriko. It’s a pleasure to meet you,” said Chiriko, beaming.
“My name is Chichiri, no da.” He smiled as best he could through the mask and his bruise.
“My name is Tamahome,” said Tamahome.
Mitsukake cleared his throat. “I’m Mitsukake.”
“My name is Hotohori,” said Hotohori as he brushed a strand of his hair out of his eyes.
“I’m Nuriko,” announced Nuriko. “And I’m the strongest person inside the school.”
“Really, no da?” Chichiri asked, but his eyes kept flickering over to the red-headed Genroe. Chichiri thought Genroe was cute in a major way.
All of them, including Miaka and Yui, who had continued watching the guys after the crowd had left, experienced a sudden flash of déjŕ vu.
“What…what was that?” asked Tasuki, pointing a shaking finger at Chichiri, as Chichiri disappeared from his Emperor form and reappeared as himself to welcome his friends home..
“Welcome back, no da!” he shouted..
Miaka, Yui, Mitsukake, and Nuriko stood there as well, with Chiriko gazing up at them. They were smiling at Hotohori, as he walked out in his Emperor robes.
Tamahome ran out of the palace and grabbed Miaka.
Laughing together, he swung her into the air. Then he placed her on the ground and they kissed.
“Whoa…” said Chichiri. “What was in that lunch today, no da?” He felt strange.
“Well, whatever it was, it’s affecting me, too.” Genroe shook his head. “Weird.”
The others were shaken as well. They looked at each other and shrugged a little.
“We’d better get going,” Tamahome said. “The teachers will blame us for the fight.”
Chichiri nodded. “Thanks again for your help, no da.” He smiled at them, turned, and walked away, with a limp.
“Now that I know Nakago’s picking on him, I’ll keep an eye on him,” said Mitsukake. “They used to do the same thing to Chiriko, here, until I set ‘em straight.”
Yui and Miaka walked away slowly, feeling strange.
The group disbanded, with Chichiri’s new friends all promising to watch out for him. Of course, Chichiri didn’t know what they were planning.
Genroe stood there. He heard a muffled cry and peeked his head around the corner. Chichiri was trying to walk home.
Chichiri tried to take another step and faltered on his left leg. Nakago’s last kick had hurt him more than he thought.
He took another step and hissed softly in pain.
Genroe watched Chichiri take one more step and nearly fall, wincing. He caught the other man before he fell.
He said, “Let me see your leg.”
“I’m fine, no da.” Chichiri had fallen back into his habit of hiding things.
“Sure you are. That’s why you nearly fell.” Genroe kneeled down and pulled up the pants leg on Chichiri’s left foot. As he’d suspected, it was turning red and swollen. He felt a strange urge coming over him as he knelt there.
Chichiri had felt a strange feeling come over him, as Genroe had lifted his pants leg up. He shook his head.
He then looked at Chichiri. The boy was trying to walk, and it was not working. Genroe caught him for a second time, as the boy stumbled.
“Lean on me,” Genroe said. “It’ll be easier.”
Chichiri blushed and looked away. He bit his lower lip and nodded slowly. “Ok, Genroe.” That name didn’t feel right to him some how. But he was too busy thinking about something else.
With Chichiri leaning on him for support, Genroe set off to get him home. As they started off, Genroe felt those strange feelings coming back.
To be Continued