Rahne awakens from her nightmare with a small shriek. Instantly she feels a warm, wet tongue drag itself across her face and the teeth-chattering vibration that could only be a tiger purr. She sits up and buries her face in White Blaze’s fur. Choking back a sob, she wraps her arms around the tiger’s neck. She’d just experienced the same nightmare she had had on the plane-ride here back in June. He nuzzles her cheek, proving to her that he was fine. She hears a car door slam and looks at the time. 1:49am. Too early to be anyone but the guys. She sits up and looks out the window. Yep, that’s Kento’s van and Sage’s jeep. Rahne throws on her robe and runs downstairs; turning on lights as she goes. She opens the door for her brother and her friends. Sage presses past her, half supporting Rowen. "Ro’?" Rahne gasps, moving to help them up the stairs. Her boyfriend gives her a tired smile. "I need a hug, Rahne. Just watch the ribs." She hugs him carefully; feeling the thick tape around his torso through his shirt. She bites her lip, and forces another argument starter out of her mind. Now wasn’t the time. Besides, the last time they disappeared like this, she hadn’t just lost the argument, but she’d gotten locked in a closet while they left. "We’re in one piece, Rainbow." Ryo calls her by her old nickname, moving in to get his customary hug. She tries to believe that, but she can see that the others are sporting small bandages too. Kento wanders into the kitchen for a late night snack, complaining all the way to her that he "was starving and please-oh please say Mia made cookies." Rahne hugs her brother, hoping that they would trust her enough to tell her someday.

>rumble< I’m hungry >Rumble< It’s lunch time! >Rumble< C’mon ring! "...Your homework for tomorrow will be page 124, problems -" > RIIINNNGGGGG < Kento Rei-Faun leaps out of his seat and bolts out the door. He whips the combination on his locker, and yanks it open. He throws his books in and grabs the bulging paper sack that holds his lunch. YUM! Lunch!! Oooh, what did Mia pack me today?! Kento races for the door that went out into the courtyard where he normally ate lunch with Cye and Rowen. > "Kento Rei-Faun to the office please. Kento Rei-Faun to the office." < Kento screeches to a stop, his hand frozen on the handle. "Damn IT!" He curses under his breath. He storms his way to the office, everyone knew that they shouldn’t interrupt Kento’s lunch. It had become a fact just about written in stone. He finds the principal in the office, waiting for him. "Kento, thank you for coming. I’m sorry if I’m messing up your lunch." "Look, I’m sooooooo hungry!! Can’t I just schedule this later?!" The Principal shakes his head, "Kento, we’ve been through this how many times?" A few minutes later, Kento storms out with yet another detention slip. Rowen glances up at him from his book and catches the look on Kento’s face. "Which one this time?" "They say I didn’t hand in my paper for Lit. Again. So I’ve gotta stay and write it in detention or fail." Rowen sighs and puts down his book. The teachers seem to be losing more papers of theirs than they grade lately. Every one of them had gotten the same bull over the past few days. Lost paper, detention or fail. It had gotten old VERY fast. "You did it!" Rowen says incredulously. "I helped you write it on Mia’s computer." Kento stuffs half his sandwich in his mouth, swallows the huge mouthful. "Yeah, but if I don’t get it by the end the day, I’m still dead." Rowen nods and smiles as a plan comes to mind. A plan that would be very hard to mess up by anyone.

The Koji Estate. Sept 22., 3:00pm. Ryo guns his dirtbike’s motor and flies down alongside the long driveway. Behind him, Rahne follows him on her dirtbike. He can hear her laughing through his radio, totally ecstatic. Cool wind races past their visored helmets and slide over the slick material of their coveralls. They turn away from the driveway and onto their path. Mia had allowed them to establish one path around the estate. So long as it wasn’t an eyesore, she didn’t mind. Ryo races up a hill, getting some good air time as he flies over the crest. Rahne, not to be out-done, follows him through the jump. Ryo glances back towards the house to see Mia standing on the balcony, trying to flag them down. Ryo slows down so that he’s side by side with his sister, and gives the sign they made for: "back to the house." They put the bikes away and slip their boots off at the porch. Rahne had borrowed one of Ryo’s suits, so it was a little baggy on her. She unzips the top potion and ties it around her waist; as Ryo does the same. They had felt like dressing like twins today: white T-shirts over darker thermal long-sleeves. It psyched people out but good! Rahne tugs her braid loose from the scrunchie that was holding it in a loose bun, and then pulls the tie of the bottom. She shakes the braid out into a long ponytail, wincing at the snarls. Ryo gives her a funny side-ways look. "Okay, I’m ready!" Rahne says, taking a mock-exasperated tone. Ryo gives her a high-five, and races her inside and to Mia’s study. Mia turns around from the computer and stands; her face is serious, maybe a little sad. "Ryo. Rahne. Both of you might want to sit down." The twins sit down on a large, wooden packing crate that had been in her study for the good part of a year. They look at each other, starring deep into each other’s eyes; both of them knew something was terribly wrong. White Blaze slinks in and lays down beside the crate, almost on top of their stocking feet. "Did both of you live in a foster home when you were younger; like for a long time?" Ryo nods, sliding closer to Rahne. They’d been through a speech that sounded exactly like this when their father was killed. "Dr. Salius?" Rahne covers her mouth with her hand, feeling the world about to play yet another cruel joke on them. Her lower lip starts to tremble. Oh, God. Please, no! "I don’t know how to tell both of you this. There was an accident..." Ryo finishes, his voice barely a whisper. "He’s gone." Mia turns her head away, hating having to do this to them. They’d lost so much already. Rahne starts to cry; Ryo turns and holds her, tears starting to spring to his own eyes. It just wasn’t fair!! He tips his head back, taking a deep breath; wanting it to stop. Kento, Cye, and Rowen come running in, looking excited and victorious. "Hey, Mia! Problem solv -" Kento bellows, but stops short when he sees his two friend in tears. "Guys, right now isn’t a good time." Mia says softly.

The clock reads 2:00am, and it feels like he’s been laying here for an eternity. Ryo runs his hand over his face and sighs. The end of his bed sinks a little, as someone sits down. Ryo rolls over to see his sister sitting cross legged at the foot of his bed. Her hair was loose, hanging around her face like a black curtain. "It wasn’t an accident, wasn’t it?" The pitch of her voice fluctuates wildly, as she tries to speak louder than she normally does. "Those guys did it, didn’t they? The ones you’re fighting." Ryo nods and sits up. There’s a full moon tonight so he doesn’t turn on the light. "I wouldn’t put it past ‘em." His voice shakes a little as he admits it. "Yuli told me that those guys you were talking to were on your side now..." Rahne says, turning her head to look out the window. "He told me only that much. He said it was because he didn’t like seeing me scared all the time." "I didn’t either. I’m glad he told you." Ryo forces himself to admit to her. Rahne gets off the bed and kneels by White Blaze. She strokes the fur on top of the tiger’s head. "I know all of you are trying to protect me. And I guess it’s the thought that counts."

"I don’t believe this!" Cale mutters to Sage as they walk through the corridors of one of the hospitals in Toyama. "He attacked all these people, and for what? We weren’t anywhere near there! We don’t even know half these people." Sage nods and goes to the nearest elevator to go up to the Children’s floor. Cale follows him in, and flips back through the small reporters’ notebook, trying to make sense of what they were seeing. Sage sets the heavy video-camera on the floor. Enough kids from school had been involved that his school’s Newscast class had sent him to cover it. "There’s gotta be a connection, Cale," Sage says, glancing over at the notebook. The elevator doors open; Sage and Cale leave the elevator, and go into the section they didn’t want to go into. The little kids had suffered the most. It seemed Zanaton wanted to make them hurt the worst. Maybe he did it just to piss them off. Sage walks into a room whose number a lady downstairs gave him. He smiles at the little girl in the bed and bows to her father. He’s surprised to see Cale do the same. "Hi, I’m Sage Date and this is Kujuurou Sasaki." He uses Cale’s real name, hoping that would be more believable. "We’re here from Toyama High’s Newscast program." "Hi, boys. That’s Channel 18 on cable access, right?" Cale speaks right up. "Yes, sir. We aren’t going to take any video, but we were wondering if we could talk to you about what happened." The man and his daughter relate what happened, and add a curious fact. Some of the people actually tried to defend themselves. They’d either died on the spot or strangely had a nervous breakdown of some sort. Sage and Cale thank them. Sage takes the little girl’s hand and wishes her a "get well soon." Once their out, Sage needs to lean against the wall to rest for a moment. Cale scowls at him. The fool had been using his healing abilities on everyone they talked to. "I told you to take it easy, idiot!" Cale hisses, cuffing Sage one on the back of his head. Outside, Cale and Sage sit on a park bench to go over the information they’d gotten. "Okay, we have blunt force injuries." Cale reads of his notepad. Sage nods, writing down his brainstorming in another notebook. They were sure they had everything, but it just wouldn’t solidify. "Sage?" Cale asks as he rises. Sage hated it when he smoked, so he always went downwind so his friend wouldn’t have to smell it. "Yeah?" Sage answers without looking up from his notebook. One of these days I’m gonna get him to stop smoking! That’s so gross! "What would you call Rowen’s broken ribs? I mean, the way they were broken." Sage frowns. "Kayura determined that Zanaton broke them using his T.K." Cale waves him on, Sage shrugs. "Blunt force. He did it..." Then Sage remembers, "Because he can..." Cale suddenly drops his cigarette. He stomps it out quickly before it can light the grass on fire. He rushes forward. "Naotoki. Oh my, God! Sage, do you think...?" Sage looks up to find Cale right in his face. "Kujou, back up! Jeez!" "Sorry." Cale backs up, noticing that Sage called him by his real name instead, but then continues. "Do you think Zanaton drove Sekhmet crazy?!" Sage leans forward, considering the possibility. When he dosen’t answer Cale immediately, Cale launches into more proof. "Think about it, Sage! He made Sekhmet furious, then when Sekhmet got mad enough he disappeared! Lowered his guard, then attacked!" "Yeah... I see what you mean." Sage says thoughtfully. "But why?" Cale starts pacing. "Dais and Sekhmet are our two resident psi-powers. We had more; but one by one they were killed." Sage lurches to his feet, "How long has this been happening?" Cale shrugs, then stuffs his hands into the pockets of his dark jacket. "Only about eight years. But no one seemed to notice." Sage scribbles this down in his notebook. "Do you have a list? It might give us the pattern!" Cale thinks for a moment, then shakes his head. "I really don’t know. We’d probably have to ask Kayura."

The Netherworld. The small, ancient, tower-like castle has stood on this ground since before Talpa even attempted to dream about conquering the Mortal World. The deep bamboo forest surrounding it is quiet and serene. Soft hooting cries echo through the woods as rare halcyon owls take flight from the top of the forest canopy. Sage can’t help but notice how peaceful this part of the Netherworld seems. "Mia and Yuli would like this..." Ryo states as he pulls back on his horse’s reins. "Did the War ever reach here?" In front of him, Dais shakes his head. "No. Anubis tried to keep this palace’s location as secret as possible. Only those of us who reported directly to Talpa knew its location." "Why?" Kento asks, trying to see one of the owls flying through the tree-tops. Dais sighs, and turns down a diverging path that went towards a waterfall by the sound. As they round a bend, they see a beautiful flower filled garden. They dismount and enter the garden by foot. "Beautiful," Rowen breathes, but then notices the marble structure in approximately the center of the garden. "This - this is...!?" "A cemetery," Cale answers, taking a stick of incense out of one of his saddlebags. The Ronins read the inscription on the monument. Kento suddenly clenches his fist in anger, while Cye bows his head and shuts his eyes. Rowen runs his hand over the cool surface of the monument, his mouth a thin straight line. Sage removes his helmet and kneels in a show of respect and shocked grief. Ryo just stands there, shaking all over, trying to make sense of what he just discovered: Anubis had been a father. Cale places the incense stick in front of the monument, and lights it. "They were very young; the eldest was only Yuli’s age." Sage looks over at Cale, remembering when he had said the deaths had started. "These kids..." Dais stands before the monument, his own head bowed, "They were half-breed children. Half human and half dessan." He removes his own helmet, his face still an angry red from the healing injury. "Dessanins come from another dimension. They’re born with a special set of powers, depending how their energy field sets itself up. The oldest was coming into his abilities just before he was killed." Kento looks up, realizing from the date, that the oldest was only slightly younger the Cye. "Poor kids!" With an effort the Ronins continue on their way to the palace to find the records. The palace doesn’t seem to fit with what they know about Anubis, it’s brightly lit and covered with beautiful tapestries. Tasteful paintings and wall-hangings decorate the halls. Cye hears water flowing, splashing, and trickling; and wanders off. He discovers a fountain made of white and tan stone: a dolphin swimming over a coral reef with a young woman holding onto its fin; her long hair and short dress flowing as if underwater. Water flows from higher tiers to lower one, circling the sculpture. From behind him Dais sighs. "Lady Carisstia." Cye nods, realizing that the woman in the sculpture must actually be Anubis’s wife. Her powers had been water based, he just knows it... "She’s lovely." Dais holds his hand in the flowing water, "Anubis loved her deeply. He had this fountain made so she would have a little piece of her world here." The palace has been left just as Anubis’s family had left it. A child’s toy here, a baby rattle laying under the table over there. A small lap harp rests on top of a woman’s cape in a chair. A loud crash echoes through the halls, followed by the sound of breaking glass; breaking the silence. Kayura turns and runs down the hall, towards their destination: The records room. Soldiers burst out of the room, weapons already drawn. Kayura vanishes out of their way, then back again, her running one of them through with her Ancients Staff. The others dive in the melee. "They’re after the List!!" Dais yells, trying drive his way into the room. Kento picks one of the soldiers up bodily and throws him at another. They both meet their end as Sage slices them through. Ryo leaps into the air, bringing his katanas down and around mowing down soldiers all around him. Arrows rain down from Rowen who’s balanced on a chandelier. He can’t believe this. Cye presses his way into the room to see one of the soldiers about to set fire to the room. NO! He thinks in horror. He leaps forward, destroying soldiers as he goes, trying to reach the soldier before he destroys all the work that poor woman did. He had to! Flames rise up, beginning their work of destroying all the evidence, all the clues that would help them. Cye thinks reaching towards the water he knows is all around him. He had never been able to fully control water before, a little bit when there was a lot of excess, but not on land. He relaxes into his armor power, concentrating, reaching for to what he knows is true. The soldiers are still there, though. "Whoa..." he dimly hears Kento breathe. The fire starts to flicker out as a gentle mist falls over the burning area. Cye slowly lets go as the fire goes out and awakens to find the soldiers mysteriously gone and everything in the room slightly damp. "Cye, what’d you do buddy!?" Kento asks his best friend, who looks just as mystified as he does. "I think I had a little help here..." Cye says, looking out the window to discover the soldiers lying in pieces at the foot of the palace. Kayura shrugs at him, not admitting either way. "Does anyone, other than me, realize that was too easy?" Rowen asks from his chandelier. "Distraction you think?" Ryo puts away his swords. "I wanna get back to the house, guys!"

Homecoming. Lights swirl and shimmer in gentle spirals as the low bass beats out the rhythm to Loving You by Collage. People are dancing, but it’s the slow dancing that formal dances in high school always have. Rahne lays her head on Rowen’s shoulder and shuts her eyes, reveling in the romantic atmosphere. She would have to concede to Cye, though that it was true: Even tomboys liked romance once in a while. Rowen kisses her again, their second ever. Dreaming again... her mind whispers. She had come home from the funeral to find that Rowen had left her a rose on her pillow. At least it gave me good dreams. The slow dance ends and Rowen turns to laugh at Kento who flashes a score sheet. Rowen takes her hand; leading her in the direction of the punch bowl for a drink. Then they’d go over to see how many girls Sage is up to on the flirting scale. A boy with longish red hair and brilliant green eyes stops them halfway there. His face seems completely out of place in her dream; like he wasn’t there. "Miss Sanada, you must wake up! You’re all in terrible danger, especially the Yamano boy! You have to get out!" Yuli? Yuli... Yuli... Yuli... "YULI!" Rahne cries out as she wakes up. She leaps out of bed and gets dressed hurriedly. She grabs her katana on the fly, as she races out the door. Rahne runs into Mia’s room and wakes her up. She puts her finger to her lips to tell Mia to be absolutely quiet and tosses Mia her clothes and her naginata. Rahne slips back out into the hall. White Blaze appears out of nowhere and proceeds to nearly take a hunk out of her arm trying to get her to come with him. To Yuli’s room. Why is the door shut? He always leaves it open so White Blaze can leave if he needs to.

Rahne tries the door: locked. Once again she curses being deaf. White Blaze suddenly lets loose an explosive roar that breaks through to what little hearing she has left. He must be able to hear what’s going on. She takes two quick steps back, then shoots her leg out in a side kick. The door doesn’t even budge. That scares her. Sage had told her after she had performed the same kick on him, that it felt he got kicked by a mule. Mia must have just come up behind her; she steps forward with the skeleton key. As soon as she starts to insert the key; however, Rahne feels an impulse that she’s only felt once before. Instinctively she knows it means "danger." "BACK!" Rahne yells, sweeping Mia’s feet out from under her as she yanks backward on her shoulders. Electricity arcs out of the keyhole, melting the key and half the lock; fusing them together. Mia, who’s sitting almost right on Rahne’s feet gasps. Rahne kneel by White Blaze and whispers something in the tiger’s ear. White Blaze turns and runs downstairs. Rahne runs to the bathroom and fills one of Yuli’s little buckets with water. As she passes Mia on her way to one of the guys’ rooms; she hands the bucket to her, and indicates for her to be silent. She returns with a plastic storage crate. Mia stands on the crate, while Rahne puts on the rubber boots White Blaze brought her. The big cat himself retreats to the stairway. Rahne grabs the door handle and throws her shoulder against the door, "YULI! Get away from the door! I’M COMING THROUGH!!" Electricity flashes through the doorknob an instant after Rahne lets go. "NOW!" Rahne cries as she gets far enough back for a running start. Mia throws the water. The electricity arcs wildly, then fizzles. Rahne takes a running leap, driving her foot through the thin wood of the door, the force of the kick driving the rest of her through. As she rolls with the fall, she feels fur brush her leg as White Blaze follows her in. The girl and tiger’s explosive arrival takes the intruders by surprise. White Blaze and Rahne take advantage of their shock and dispatch three of them. Yuli’s backed into a corner on top of his bed; surrounded by those things. Rahne dives in to grab Yuli and get him out of here. She stops just short of the bed as a katana slashes past her. She dodges one, blocks another, but the next grazes her shoulder. She remembers belatedly that she has no cover in here and that jeans and T-shirts aren’t effective armor against sharp stuff. "It’s official: This BITES!" End Chapter Five