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      Bautan scowled. "Soldiers, attack!" Dynasty Droids emerged from the forest and lunged at Mia. A spiked ball came out from the shadows and plunged through the chest of one. Three thick white talons raked through the chest of another.
      "Rgn, cover us!" Ita shouted. Rgn threw his head back then forward. He snorted two thick streams of freonine from his nostrils and froze a group of pursuing soldiers in their tracks. He took a second to rub frost off his nose then slashed at another droid with his claws. Mia was running as fast as she could with Ryu in her arms. Ita ran behind her. Mia cried out when she heard gunfire but was not hit. She looked over her shoulder and saw Ita with her head ducked down.
      "Ita! Are you-"
      "We female Nobles have hard shells for a reason," the Thunthen replied. Mia nodded and continued running. Then she heard a loud thumping.
      "What is that?"
      "Koi is behind us," Ita replied. Mia could see the broad outline of the large Noble as he tromped after them. Rgn caught up to them.
      "They are following us!" he reported. Ita stopped and ran to a tree. She kicked aside a clump of bushes, revealing the opening of a tunnel.
      "Iíll carry you from here." Ita scooped up Mia in her arms and moved closer to the tunnel. "Cover our escape!" she cried and jumped into the hole. Rgn snorted freonine and Koi used his great breadth to hide the tunnel. Ita slid down the tunnel on her smooth shell and coiled her tail around Mia to shield her. They came out at the end inside the Roost. Ita landed on her feet and set Mia on the floor. Sage and Dais ran up to them.
      "Mia, whatís going on up there? Why are you down here?"
      "The Dynasty attacked us. They sent a creature to try and kill Ryu."
      "Well be up there in a sec," Dais said.
      "No! Ryo said for you to stay down here. The fight is too close to the House. Plus, WildCAT, Blackblaze and Whiteblaze are fighting the creature."
      "You mean the big cats are dukin it out up there?" Kento asked.
      "Hold up, did you say Blackblaze and Whiteblaze? Theyíre fighting separately?"
      "And whatís WildCAT doing up there. No one called her," Rowen said.
      "She bears the soul of Kiasha," everyone looked at Anubis. "She pledged her life to protect us. She will answer any need for aid."
      Ryu in the meantime was giggling and waved at Ita. The female Thunthen smiled with amusement as the infant grabbed at the thin orange whisker that was on the side of her nose. She looked at the Ronin. "Rgn and Koi are up at the surface. All bay doors are sealed off but they should be able to hold their own in the meantime," she said.       At the surface Mother, Ryo, Tanya, and Kayli watched as the three cats kept the fearix penned up. Kylyra glared at them then the dueling cats. "This is getting too out of hand."       "There are other times," Bautan said. Kylyra nodded and looked at Ryo.       "We will come for your son again Wildfire. Know this, unlike your sister the Dynasty will not allow this one to grow up and defy us," Kylyra warned before she and Bautan vanished. Mother narrowed her eyes in anger but winced from a pain in her shoulder.       "Mom, youíre hurt!" Tanya placed a hand on her arm.
      "Itís just a nasty bruise, Iíll live. Ryo, what are you going to do?"
      "I canít do anything, itís their fight," he shook his head and watched the three cats.
The fearix flapped itís wings and jumped but WildCAT shot it down with three energy disks from the launcher in her back. All three struck it in the chest and threw it back to the ground. Blackblaze grunted and Whiteblaze moved closer to him. He reached over and drew out one of the Soul Swords out of itís scabbard. Blackblaze reached behind him and drew out the other sword. Both tigers were ready as the fearix stood up. It glanced around for itís prey but didnít see it. Blackblaze growled and shook his head. WildCAT let out a grating metallic growl. The fearix couldnít see itís target.
      Then Blackblaze attacked. He swiped at the fearixís face and scored four deep grooves on itís head. The fearix screamed and lashed up with itís tail. It swatted Blackblaze away but Whiteblaze lunged and darted off to the side. The fearix screamed in pain as the Soul Sword bit deep into itís shoulder. It flapped itís wings and leapt into the air. As it flew over Whiteblaze, Blackblaze jumped and slashed vertically.
      The fearix collapsed to the ground as itís right wing bent to the side. The razor sharp edge of the Soul Sword cut through the bone holding the wing straight. The fearix
staggered to itís feet and growled in rage. It turned to face the two tigers. Itís wing hung limp at itís side. While itís back was turned WildCAT pounced and shot her tail gun. The fearix screamed again and whirled to face the cyborg. While it was distracted Whiteblaze and Blackblaze jumped onto itís back and shredded itís thick hide with furious swipes. A sweep of itís thick muscular tail sent Blackblaze skidding on the ground. The fearix
flapped at Whiteblaze with itís one good wing and startled him. Then it pitched forward and sent the tiger crashing into WildCAT.
      In the Roost Mia sat on a rocky outcropping with Ryu asleep on her lap. "Rowen, take me back to the surface."
     "Mia, I canít do that. As far as we know those cats are still fighting it out up there. We canít risk you and Ryu getting hurt," Rowen argued.
     "I have to know whatís happening. If you wonít take me Iíll go up myself on the runner cables," Mia insisted. Rowen sighed and hummed in displeasure.
     "Weíll go with you just in case," Anubis offered. He and Dais stepped forward.
      On the surface the fearix was snarling in rage. It kicked furiously and ran about in a tight circle lashing itís tail in an effort to frighten off itís assailants. As it turned away from Whiteblaze the tiger jumped towards itís back. The fearix spotted him from the corner of itís eye and whirled to face Whiteblaze. As Whiteblaze passed over the fearix jumped up and sank itís tusks into Whiteblazeís arm. Whiteblaze howled in agony. Suddenly
Blackblaze faltered to one side. Blood dribbled out under the armor plate on his left arm. The fearix pulled itís teeth out and leapt back. Whiteblaze fell to his right side and held his arm in a limp. Ryo gasped at seeing both tigers injured. "So thatís the risk they take when fighting separate. Whatever happens to one affects the other!"
      WildCAT sought vengeance by pouncing at the fearix from behind. She slashed along the spine with her dererium claws. The fearix smacked her with itís spiked tail but WildCATís metal hide was unscathed. She somersaulted over the demon cat and turned to face it. The slots in her shoulder slid open and all ten laser gun barrels poked out. A hail of round laser bolts pelted the fearixís leathery hide but it only suffered a few burns.
      "Ryo!" Ryo looked over his shoulder and saw Mia standing with Rowen, Anubis, and Dais. The fearix saw her and screamed. Itís target was in sight. It kicked Whiteblaze across the chest and smacked Blackblaze in the belly with itís tail. Both tigers suffered the same wounds. It pounced but WildCAT tackled it from behind.
      "Mia! Itís after you again, get out of here!" Ryo cried as the fearix shoved forth. Not even a quarter ton of dererium weighing down itís haunches stopped it. Suddenly both blazes leapt infront of the demon cat. Each locked their jaws onto either side of the beastís throat. WildCAT bit the fearixís neck and dug her claws into itís ribs.
      Even with three tigers weighing it down the fearix dragged forward determined. The Ronin watched as it inched towards Mia. The two tigers tightened their grip on itís neck. Then the fearix stopped. Itís eyes opened and closed slowly. Loud rattling gasps came from itís throat. Then it sank to one side and let out a heavy shuddering sigh. Itís eyes closed and it fell limp. "Whiteblaze, Blackblaze, let go of it. Itís dead now," Ryo said. The fearix had died merely a few feet from Mia.
      "She distracted it enough for them to kill it," Dais remarked.
      "But what on earth was that thing?" Mother asked.
      "It is called a fearix," Anubis spoke. "Also known as the Assassin Cat. They are cross bred from a manticore and a demon. They can be trained to specifically kill one target and one target only. Thatís why it didnít rip you to shreds when you so foolishly knocked it in the head with a rolling pin."
      "Watch your mouth sonny. Youíre liable to get it yourself," Mother threatened.
      The other Ronin arrived. "What happened? Is it dead?" Sage asked. They saw the limp form of the fearix. Kayli looked up when WildCAT walked near her. She reached out and hugged the cyborg around itís neck.
     "Thank ya beeg metal kitty," she said. Blackblaze walked up to Mia. Miaís eyes widened in surprise at the tigerís actions. Even more surprised when Ryu leaned over and hugged the Nether Tigerís nose and nuzzled him fondly. Ryo walked up to Mia and looked at the demon cat. Everyone remained silent for a few moments in reflection.
     "The Dynasty sent that thing to kill Mia and Ryu. But why?" Tanya wondered aloud.
      Ryo looked down at Ryu. *What is it about you that the Dynasty is so afraid of?* As if hearing his thoughts Ryu looked up at his father. *Is it because youíre my son? Or is there something else about you that even I donít know about?*
      "Well, thatís all over with Heavens itís late! We can clean that up in the morning. Cye, get your British bottom in the kitchen, youíre helping me with dinner," Mother ordered.
      "Yes Maíam," Cye answered meekly. The others walked to the House.
      Ryo knelt down beside the two tigers. "Come inside, letís get you two patched up."       *****
The Ronin, Mia, Mother, and Kayura were all seated around the dining room table eating. "Ryo, the Dynasty may try to kill Ryu again. Youíll need to keep an eye on him...."Anubis began. Mother promptly took out the wooden spoon she kept handy and whacked him on top of the head.
      "No talking business at the table!" Anubis glared at her annoyedly and rubbed his head.
      Rowen swallowed then spoke up. "Oh Ryo, Naz wanted to talk to you. He said that thereís some problem with bay door four. Keeps on getting stuck every so often. He-"
      "I said no business at the table!" Mother reached over with her long arm and docked Rowen on the side of his head.
      Cye glanced worriedly out the corner of his eye in Motherís direction. He leaned over to Sehkmet. Something something then a whispered "pass it on". Sehkmet nodded and leaned over to Rowen, pass it on, to Kento, then almost to Sage. "No pass down messages!" Sageís hair only slightly cushioned the blow to the top of his head.
      Mother scowled and glared angrily at Kento. "For the love of Pete mind your manners and chew your food!" She smacked Kento as hard as she could without breaking her spoon on his thick skull. He looked at her with mournful eyes like a beaten puppy.
      Cale frowned and looked at the elderly woman sitting on his right out the corner of his eye. He began to take small bites by spearing a kernel of corn at a time. Mother scowled. "Donít you dare mock me!" She slapped him on the face. Cale put both hands over his nose and glared at her icily. "And donít give me that look!" She pounded him on the top of his head. Cale clamped both hands over his head.
      "Ryo, can you politely ask your dame to stop bludgeoning us as the sound of a word with a wooden instrument?" Dais requested.
      "Oh for heavenís sake talk like you live in this century!" Mother took a swing at him but he leaned back and avoided it. She swung again but he dodged to the left. Then to the right. Suddenly Mother stood up, took her rolling pin off her robeís belt, shoved her chair back, stood up on her chair, and cleared the entire table with a single pounce! Dais
scrambled out of his seat and desperately fled for his life. "Iíll teach you not to dodge me! Come back here young man!" The chase was on.
      "I see a certain irony in her saying that since technically he is several times her own age," Sehkmet commented.
      Pursuer and Pursued ran past the table. "Youíre only making it worse!" Mother yelled. Another pass by. "I promise I wonít hit as hard if you stop!" Again. "Youíre really asking for it sonny!"
     "Ryo, why is your mother chasing Dais around the house with a rolling pin?" Mia asked as she watched them run past.
      "Because he disrespected her authority," Ryo answered.
      "You canít keep running forever!" Kayura looked up and turned to watch Dais as he ran frantically past the table. Then she returned to eating. "You know Iíll catch up sooner or later!" Tanya stopped eating and tapped her fork against her plate.
      "One, two, three......."
      *WHACK!!* Everyone at the table gave a collective sympathetic wince.      "AAUGH!! Mother f***ing son of a bitching shit ass-"
      "No cussing!"
*WHACK!!* Another collective wince.
     "Thablisk nichratha! Lakin furo! Tntnsoca!"
      "No swearing in foreign languages either!!"
      *WHACK!!*
      Muffled snarls and growls. "Donít you dare look at me like that!"
      *WHACK!!*
      "Man, is Dais gonna have one honkin mother of a lump," Kento mumbled.
      Tanya hummed. "Now itís starting to feel like a frat house."
      *WHACK!!* Another collective wince as Dais cried out.
     "And thatís in advance!"

----------------------------------------------------- Character Profile: Renee Sanada (Can be spelled Renei but still pronounced the same) Renee, like her children, was forced to live on the run for four years of her life. She attributes her rapid graying to the separation of her family, but she is forty eight. Tanya undoubtedly inherits her attitude. As Dais himself quotes later on, "the girls are always the better fighers". Reneeís voice is sort of a blend between Sailor Moonís Luna and Angela Lansbury, except with an attitude. Itís Reneeís job to keep discipline around the House. She speaks softly at times, but carries a big ass stick and uses it to keep everything in check. She even keep the troublesome warlords in line. (The infamous spanking scene occurs later on when Ryo decides to loosen up a little too much.) Poor Sage learns the consequences of callin her ĎNunzilla". She provides advice for her children and the other Ronin when there is trouble and takes care of things when Mia is at work. Her eyes are brown and her hair is a silvery shade of gray, almost with a bit of purple. (Ryo certainly wouldnít have acted that bad, now would he?)

Character Profile: Kayli Sanada (Kay-lee)
Kayli is the very last child born to Ryuchen and Renee. Before Ryuchen was killed he and Renee spent one last night together. (Talk about cuttin it close!) After her birth she was kept underground in hiding. The person Renee refers to is none other than The Ancient, who told her that Kayli was destined to take Tanyaís place. While Ryo is much like
Ryuchen, and Tanya like Renee, Kayli sort of is a mix. She can get moody at times, and has a mouth, although it never gets as vulgar to the point of f***. She uses her blanket as a weapon by wrapping it up tight like a whip and smacking with it. She becomes good friends with Yulie and is the second member of the Fearless Five. She also accompanies him on a mysterious voyage around the world aboard an abandoned ship. Her eyes are blue like Ryoís and she has long hair down to her back tied up in a pony tail with a blue scrunchie. Grown, she is a better fighter than Tanya, although she gets a lot of flak for not being as verbally fierce as her older sister. In Generation Nexxus she inherits the
Spectronin Typhoon Armor.