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Night of the Devil Cat
By Mardrena

      Talpaís eyes glowed a deep red-gray as he pondered the situation. "Ah, sometimes I feel as if the fates are against me," he muttered.
     "Do not fret my lord," Kylyra said cheerfully as she appeared in the throne room. "We can still destroy the infant child before he is able to grow."
     "And just how do you expect to kill the son of the Ronin Leader? No doubt the other Ronin will protect him."
      Bautan had his hand to his chin in thought. "Did not Dygra have a fearix?"
      "She did, it is still in captivity. If you so desire to use the fearix it is yours. All you have to do is program it to kill the woman and child."
      "We will destroy both Lord Talpa. No more of the Line of Hariel will be born," Kylyra promised. Both she and Bautan bowed before vanishing.
*****
     "Last one to the kitchenís a rotten egg!" Rowen hollered.
     "No way Iím lettin you win this one Ro!" Cye yelled. Rowen, Cye, and Sage were sprinting down the stairs trying to outrun each other. All three arrived in the kitchen laughing wildly after squeezing through the doorway at the same time. Then they stopped in their tracks and stared with surprise at the person at the kitchen counter.
      All they could see was her back. Her hair was a striking shade of gray, almost with a hint of lilac. She wore a sort of light blue-gray robe and an apron over that. Her arms moved back and forth as she worked with something, bread dough probably. She looked up as she became aware of the three boys and looked over her shoulder at them. Her eyes were a familiar hue of brown and she glared at them annoyedly.
     "Well, what are you gawking at? Breakfast wonít be ready for another twenty minutes so you all might as well wait," she snapped then returned to working. Rowen, Sage, and Cye exchanged uncertain glances then backed cautiously out of the kitchen. When they returned to the dining room they saw Ryo leaning against the wall.
     "Hey Ryo, whoís the old lady?" Rowen asked.
      "Thatís my old lady," Ryo answered stiffly.
      Sageís eyes widened. "Thatís your mother!?"
      "Dude, I thought she died!" Rowen exclaimed.
      "Well she didnít. Sheís been living in the woods for a long time and now sheís going to be staying here to look after things when weíre not here. Listen and do what she says or else you seriously will get it," Ryo warned. The three looked at each other uncertainly again. Then Rowen and Sage reluctantly ventured back into the kitchen to greet the woman. Cye was about to follow them. "You sure werenít surprised to see her," Ryo said to him. Cye looked over his shoulder and saw that Ryo was glaring at him. He walked past Cye and up the stairs without saying anything else.
      "Well sheesh Ryo, what crawled up your butt and died? Itís not my fault that The Ancient told me to keep my yap shut! What, youíve got the whole funeral congregation stuffed up there too? Hrmph, sour ass," Cye muttered disgustedly and walked back to the kitchen. The other two were standing near the doorway watching the woman as she cut out circles of dough for biscuits.
      "Uh, hello Mrs. Sanada, my name is-" Rowen began.
      "Donít call me that," the woman snapped.
      "Huh?"
      "Thereís already a Mrs. in the house. I would prefer if you just called me Mother."       The three remained silent for a while. "But.....youíre not our mother," Sage said.      "Like I said, Iíd prefer if you called me that. Now, go clean your rooms in the meantime. Iíve seen them and they look hideous." Sage snickered and he and Rowen exchanged "yeah right" looks. Mother set down the round cutter on the carving board. Then her slender fingers closed around the wooden handle of a rolling pin. "When I say clean your room I mean CLEAN YOUR ROOM!!" she howled and whirled around.       *WHACK!*
      Sage dropped to the floor from a smashing blow to the top of the head with the rolling pin. Rowen and Cye stared at him horrified. Then they looked up at Mother, who was still brandishing the rolling pin and standing over Sage like a fearsome ogre over a kill. "Now, any more arguments?" she demanded.
     "No maíam!" Rowen and Cye hastily replied simultaneously and scampered out of the kitchen at top speed. Mother looked down at the fallen Warrior of Light. He stirred and opened his eyes slightly.
     "And what are you waiting for?" Mother glowered at him. Sage scrambled to his feet and ran out of the kitchen as fast as he could with a fretful whimper.
*****
      Later on Cye was resting on the sofa when he heard a door slam. He stood up when he saw Ryo enter the room. "Hey Ryo, I just wanted to apologize for holdin out on you like that. Really, I am sorry, but The Ancient said you would find out eventually."
      "Thatís okay Cye, I understand if he told you that," Ryo answered.
      Cye nodded but suddenly noticed a pair of sparkling blue eyes peeking at him from behind Ryoís leg. He leaned to the right and saw that it was a little black haired girl clutching onto Ryoís pant leg. "Uh, Ryo, whoís that?"
      "Oh her? Sheís my little sister." Ryo stepped to the side to introduce her. She had to be little more than four. She was hugging a light blue-green blanket to her chest tightly. "Her nameís Kayli." Cye stared at the girl wide-eyed for several seconds.
      "Uh, Ryo, how many sisters do you have?"
      "Two."
      There was a long pause. "Good, donít have any more. I mean, as it is the older oneís got a mouth thatís dirtier than the Mississippi and heaven knows what this oneíll-"       *WHAP!*
      Cye fell back and landed hard on the floor. He put both hands to his face where something had slapped him sharply. The business end of Kayliís blanket hovered in midair for a second before she jerked it back and hugged it to her chest again. Now she had that innocent look and stared at Cye meekly. "Watch out for her Cye, she always carries her battle blanky," Ryo laughed and patted Kayli on the head.
     "Yeah, thanks for the warning," Cye mumbled.
*****
      Mother was outside hanging up clothes when Anubis approached her. "So, youíre Ryoís mother." Mother paused and looked over her shoulder at him. "I wanted to verify the horror stories I heard of a woman hitting Sage on the head and a little girl smacking Cye in the face with a blanky." Mother shrugged and returned to her work.
      "They deserved it. Just keeping order here," she said bluntly.
      *Ah, now I see where Tanya gets her attitude from.* "Hmm, uh, I hope Iím not offending you by saying this, but how old are you?"
"      Forty-eight." Anubis raised an eyebrow in surprise, considering the color of her hair.      "Well Mrs. Sanada, I must say time hasnít treated you-"
      "I prefer to be called Mother."
      "Huh? I am not going to call you that!"
      "Oh, and why not?" Mother turned to face him and placed her knuckles on her hips.       "Because I feel quite awkward saying that to a woman who is technically a fraction of my age," Anubis answered.
      "Ryo told me about you four. You donít age, do you?"
      "Not much."
      "Hah, sucks to be you."
      Anubis seemed a bit taken aback. "Then can I at least call you Madam?"
      "Fine, you can call me ĎMadamí if it will make you feel comfortable," Mother said exasperated and shook her head to either side. She knelt down to pick up a dropped clothes pin. Anubis crouched to stay at eye level.
      "Why did you leave Ryo?"
      "Hmm, I beg your pardon?"
      "He lost his sister, then his father, and his mother left him alone. Why did you go away like that and never return?"
      Mother looked at Anubis then pointed a finger to a little girl playing with Whiteblaze. "Because someone told me I had to protect her." Anubis raised an eyebrow and looked at the young girl. *Kayli?*
*****
      Two armored forms stole through the night. They approached the House. The two Dynasty Droids looked to either side and continued running. Suddenly they stopped.       Kayli stood between them and the House. She brandished her blanket like a weapon. The two soldiers began to laugh. "Move out of the way little child." They walked towards her. Kayli held her ground and narrowed her eyes. The soldiers continued snickering as they approached. "Heeeyah!" Kayli jumped up and whipped a soldier in the face with the twisted tip of her blanket while she kicked the other in the head. Both went down. When they tried to get up Kayli stomped on the midsection of one then whipped the other in the face. Both soldiers were unconscious. Kayli looked up when she heard laughing.
      "Well well well, what do we have here?" Kylyra chuckled softly as she walked towards Kayli. Kayli held up her blanket again and glared at the Dynasty warrior. "Hah, cute. If you donít mind I have some business with the mistress of the house, so I would appreciate if you would move out of the way." Kayli didnít budge. Kylyra smiled then jumped over Kayli. Just as she passed over Kayli lashed up. Kylyra gasped in surprise when she felt something wrap around her ankle. She cried out when she was jerked back and sent crashing to the ground flat on her face. Kayli retracted her blanket and held it ready.       Then Bautan appeared beside Kylyra hovering in the air. "Kylyra, Iím surprised. I would never imagine that you of all people would be struck down by a child."
      "Watch the kid. Donít let the blanky fool you," Kylyra mumbled. Bautan sniffed.       "I cannot fathom how such a young snip of a child could be blocking our way."       Kayli scowled and pulled her blanket taut. "Ya betta leave ma brodder an his kid alone or else Iíma gwonna roll dis up an stickit up yer wazoo," she threatened.
      "Stick it up my what!? Well I must say, though your mouth isnít as foul as your sisterís it is just as impertinent. Wait, sister? Then that means-Kylyra," Bautan looked at her as she pushed herself off the ground. "Isnít there something familiar about this girl?"       Kylyra looked at Kayli for a moment. "Oh gods, donít tell me sheís the one in the prophecy!"
     "Iím afraid she is. ĎEyes of sapphire, Hair of night, Brother Wildfire, At four she will fight.í"
     "Hmm, she looks four. So youíre saying that this girl is the Third Lady Ronin?"      "She will be whenever the present Lady Ronin passes on."
     "Ah, then I suppose we must destroy this one than," Kylyra snickered and flexed her grip around her swords.
      "She can wait. We need to find where Wildfireís wife and the child are."
      "Theyíre out shoppin but win my brodder an sista get back theyíre gwonna whip yer bootay!" Kayli shouted.
      "Is that so?" Bautan raised an eyebrow. Suddenly his form blurred as he vanished. He reappeared behind Kayli and grabbed her by her arms.
      "Hey! Lemme go ya big rag face or else Iíll beat da smack outta ya!" Kayli struggled and kicked viciously.
      "My word! Apparently the females in the family inherit a mouth of sorts!" Bautan exclaimed.
      "Tell me about it," Kylyra said.
      On the other side of the House a red and white car parked. Ryo, Mia, and Tanya got out with little Ryu resting in the latterís arms. "Well, thatís everything we need," Mia said.       "You sure you didnít have any trouble with him?" Ryo asked Tanya.       "Nah, he was real quiet all the time. Iím surprised, he didnít cry one bit," Tanya said.       "Well, Ryo can help me unpack. Can you take Ryu to the nursery Tanya?"       "Hold up," Ryo said suddenly.       "Whatís wrong Ryo?"       "Somethingís not right, I can feel it. Tanya, youíd better change and come with me." Tanya nodded and handed the sleeping infant to Mia.
      "But Ryo, whoíll help me get all the stuff out of the car?"
      "Momíll help you. Just wait here," Ryo said before running after Tanya.
      "I said lemme go ya big ugly doodoo head!" A kick to Bautanís legs or whatever allowed Kayli to free herself from the Nether Beingís grasp. She fell to the ground on her side then stood back up and held her blanket ready. Kylyra stepped close.
     "I thought little girls were supposed to be scared of big people like us," she chuckled.      "My Mama taught me not ta be afreaid of big fat stinky bitches!" Kayli shouted.      "What!? Well, Iím not fat nor do I smell bad-" Kylyra began.
     "But you are a bitch!" Tanya slammed into her from above and tackled her to the ground. Bautan gasped when Ryo pounced at him from the roof. He moved out of the way and avoided a vicious slash from Ryo.
      "Oh great, the older kids showed up," Kylyra muttered. She and Tanya traded sword strikes while Ryo lunged at Bautan. Suddenly Bautan held up his hands. Ryo gasped when he felt his arms go numb.
*Oh no, I canít move!*
      "Iíve got you now Ronin Leader." Bautan prepared to weave another spell when Tanyaís chakaram sliced past his arm. "What!?" Tanya kicked at him and Ryo was freed from the spell trap.
      "Hey bro, trade off!" Ryo nodded in agreement and went to take on Kylyra. Tanya, after all, was the only one immune to Dynasty power. Kayli stood a distance away from the fight and watched silently. She didnít notice the Dynasty Droids she knocked down earlier stand up and run off into the forest. Ryo was able to block most of Kylyraís hits as well as score some decisive hits of his own.
      "Whatís wrong Ky, youíre not as good as your sister," Ryo taunted.
     "Hah, and here I thought I was being merciful be giving you a sporting chance. Yah!" Kylyra slashed and scored a cut in Ryoís chest armor. Ryo staggered back but held his swords ready. "Tell me Wildfire, what was it like when you entered her? Did you enjoy the pleasure, the pure unadulterated ecstasy? Was it as good for you as it was for her?"      "Huh? I donít know what youíre talking about."
     "Hmm?"
     "Thatís right, I donít even remember what happened. I was asleep the whole time."      "You were what!? Augh! Youíre despicable, get away from me!" Kylyra suddenly leapt into the air and hovered away from a shocked Ryo. "Bautan! Wildfire didnít play a part in the whole affair!"
      "What?"
      "He was not the one who instigated it. Rather she beckoned him to do so. The woman seduced him into entering her!"
      "She what?! AAAH!" Bautan flew up away from Tanya.
      "Hah, she called you the Ďdí word," Tanya snickered.
      "Well at least itís a lot nicer than what you called me in Scotland," Ryo retorted.
      "Augh, I feel dirty now," Kylyra complained and rubbed her arms.
      "The woman is alone. The fearix will take care of things from here."
     "Fearix?" Just then Ryo heard a piercing scream from the other side of the House. "Mia! Ryu! I never should have left them alone! Kayli, go down the hill to the Roost. When you see the big dinosaur people ask for Bak and tell him that we need help up here!" Kayli nodded and ran off into the forest. "Weíll take care of you later."
      "Ooh, Iím so scared Iím shivering in my boots," Kylyra mocked.
      A wide-eyed Mia backed away from an approaching shadow. Mother stood between them and the creature with her trusty rolling pin in hand. Ryu cuddled close to Miaís breast and stared at the monster.
      Two long tusks jutted straight forward from itís upper jaw. It had two smooth spikes for ears. A pair of dark fleshy-colored bat-like wings lay folded on itís back. The creature was a combination of a sabre-tooth tiger, dragon, and big cat. It stared at Mia and Ryu with glittering green eyes with yellow slitted pupils. A thick tongue ran along the edges of itís purple gums. A long, thick tail with a spike-ball tip lashed behind itís legs.
      Mother backed up slightly as it came closer. The creature stopped then moved itís head to the side. It looked around Mother at Mia. Mother moved to block itís view. "Now you listen here you naughty thing, go away and stop frightening my grandson like that."
      "Mother, are you insane? Get away from that thing before it kills you!" Mia shouted.       "Mia, I will not. The Dynasty took my husband, they separated my children," Mother looked over her shoulder at Mia then back at the beast. "I will not let them take my
grandson," she vowed. The demon cat stepped closer. "I already told you, go away!" Mia gasped when Mother bonked the thing in the head with the rolling pin. The creature winced but didnít move. "Go on, shoo!" Mother poked it in the nose and waved her hand at it. The creature looked at Mia again. Suddenly Mia tensed and made a run for it. The cat lunged to the side and flapped itís wings. It jumped up into the air but Mother grabbed itís tail. Mia cried out when the demon landed merely a couple of feet away. It snarled but Mother landed between them and brought her rolling pin down hard on itís head. The cat grunted and dropped to the ground on itís stomach.
      Kylyra and Bautan appeared in the air a distance away. "I donít get it, how come the fearix does not attack the old woman?" Kylyra mused.
      "It wasnít programmed to attack anything other than the woman and the baby. Hmm, she seems familiar......of course! The Mother of the Ronin Warriors! Sheís the dame of those accursed siblings!" Bautan exclaimed.
      "Oh great, the whole big happy family reunion," Kylyra grumbled.
      Mother eyed the unconscious beast warily. "Mia! Now, while itís still down!"
      "Fearix, attack!" Bautan shouted. Just as Mia dashed for the door the fearix shoved itself to itís feet and lunged. It smacked Mother in the shoulder with itís tail and knocked her away. Mia screamed when the beast appeared inches away. It stepped closer and opened itís jaws wide. Mia was frozen in place from sheer terror. Little Ryu glared angrily at the cat. He reached out with his tiny fist and socked the fearix in the nose. The cat growled in anger and flinched but looked back at them. Itís lips curled up and the two tusks came closer. Mia prepared for the worst.
      Then she glanced out the corner of her eye as she heard a loud metallic clanging. There was a screech of metal as a silvery form slammed into the fearix and shoved it away violently. The demon cat rolled and tumbled before coming to a stop on itís side. It stood up shakily and turned to face itís attacker. Bautan and Kylyra saw the metal clad form.       "Oh no, itís that thing again," Kylyra sneered in distaste. WildCAT stood between Mia and the fearix with her jaws open and claws splayed. Mia wasnít going to take any chances. WildCAT blocked the door, so she ran to the other end of the House. She screamed when two Dynasty Droids leapt in her way. They were about to stab her when a club-like object smote the head off one. A large, lean form landed on the ground beside Mia and kicked the other soldier in the chest, smashing a hole through it.      "Ita!" Mia exclaimed at the sight of the female Noble.
      "Mia, are you allright!" Ryo and Tanya ran up to them. Tanya went to help Mother up.       "Iím okay, but," Mia nodded towards the stand off between WildCAT and the fearix.       "WildCAT? Whatís she doing here, no one summoned her," Ryo thought aloud.       "This just keeps getting better and better," Kylyra muttered. "What?" she exclaimed when she heard a loud roar from the roof of the House. Glowing white eyes glowered down at the fearix. The shadow leapt and landed beside WildCAT. Blackblaze snarled angrily at the fearix. A second roar was heard. The fearix looked to the side and saw a large white tiger. Whiteblaze growled deep in his throat.
      "Whiteblaze and Blackblaze? But how can they be separate?" Tanya asked.
      Bautanís eyes widened. "The Myth, the Magic, and the Machine! It all fits into place."       Ryo scowled in worry as both blazes and WildCAT began circling the fearix. "Ita, take Mia down to the Roost. Mia, tell the others to stay down there, these cats are too close to the House to risk having an all out fight. Weíll keep tabs on everything up here," Ryo said.       "Done, come with me Madam." Ita grabbed Mia by the arm and led her away.
      "Stop them, destroy the woman!" Kylyra shouted. The fearix prepared to pounce but WildCAT shot her tail laser. The fearix tried to run bit the two blazes blocked itís escape. "What? Why wonít it fight itís way out?"
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