Whee~! I'm back and I have to thank Redkun for that! *glomps* Thankyuu~! XD Here's the next chapter! Enjoy!

Btw, this one's going to focus a LOT on the new chara. ^_^ Try not to get TOO annoyed, kay?

~*~*~*~

Silence reigned around the small cabin. They were on their way to Mikurain, an island in the middle of an extremely wide lake that would take months to walk around.

Mokuren was lying in one of the faintly damp beds, his breathing even. Since water magic had only a slight amount of healing powers, he was still confined to a bed since Terra's attack. Juna had already administered to him, forcing him into bed and even threatening to strap him down if she had to, to keep him from getting up.

Hikaru was dozing on a stool next to him, waking up occasionally to check up on the slumbering boy.

Seirou was huddled miserably in a corner of the cabin. Seeing as how he was the fire master, he didn't like large bodies of water. A small, normal lake was fine, but one that resembled an ocean? That was too much. His red eyes were tired, and dull.

Kora was trying to stop Kira from stealing food from the kitchens in vain. They ran around on deck, Kira laughing and Kora yelling at her, a few string of swear words making the working sailors blink and laugh.

One of them called, "Where'd you learn THAT one boy? It's one o' our best!"

Kora grinned and answered, "I lived in a village where a lot of you people came by, and learned a bit!"

Senko chuckled from where he stood, next to the lookout's post. He knew that Juna and Issa wouldn't be around to chide Kora for a while, since they were staying below deck, afraid of the humongous lake.

Suddenly, the wind picked up a bit around them, causing Senko to dart his pale eyes up to find Leya standing in the crow's nest.

He grimaced and climbed up, being careful not to look down. Once he reached the pale girl, he jumped into the crow's nest and asked, "Do you think you could stop doing that?"

Leya let out a small squeak of surprise, and turned to face Senko, red eyes wide behind her yellow tinted sunglasses.

"Gomen," she mumbled, blushing and allowing the winds to recede to a normal breeze.

Senko turned to climb down when Leya suddenly spoke. "Do you sometimes wish, that you could just fly away, and leave all your problems behind?"

Senko glanced back at her, icy blue eyes curious. "Once before, yes. Why do you ask?"

The pale girl shrugged, glasses flashing in the sunlight. "I dunno. I just wish that I had never woken up... That I had never come to know so many people. It make's dying easier for me."

Senko quirked an eyebrow up. If Kora had been there, he would have started telling Leya about how she shouldn't think those thoughts, and Seirou would've grabbed her shoulders and told her to forget about what she was saying. Most of the other girls would've had similar reactions, but Senko just stood there, contemplating the Yengin's answer.

"Think what you want, but I reckon that you could spend more time thinking about the good things that have happened since your awakening." He turned to gaze at the deck where Kira and Kora were still joking around. "I know that I would've rather never had to go through these sort of things, but what the hell. I got to meet Kira, and to me, that's worth more than any 'peaceful' life that I had before."

Leya blinked, then wrinkled her nose comically. "You humans ARE odd creatures."

Senko winked before his silver head disappeared from the crow's nest. "Don't talk too soon, because to me, you're probably more human than the rest of us."

The Yengin stared after him, silver hair blowing in the light breeze. /Why is it that every time I talk to one of them, I always end up confused?/

She then allowed her lips to curl. "I guess it's alright though."

~*~*~*~

Kira stared at the island looming up ahead, one hand keeping her bandana from flying off of her head.

Issa walked up from below deck, her face slightly green. She ran over to Kira, trying to smile despite her obvious displeasure.

Kira grinned when she saw the autumn haired girl. "Feeling any better?"

Issa shook her head feverishly, mismatched eyes wide. "It's even worse down there!"

Senko snorted as he walked up and placed an arm around Kira's slim waist. "You should have tried to stick to the middle of the ship. It doesn't shake as much as the other parts."

Issa glared at him, "Well SORRY if I haven't EVER been on a ship before!!" With that, she turned her nose up and stomped away from the couple, most likely trying to find a certain violet eyed boy...

Kira laughed and tapped Senko's nose. "I think you made her angry."

Senko chuckled. "I was trying hard enough."

Kira shook her head, giggles escaping her lips. "Let's go and check up on Sei and Kuren." She grabbed his hand and towed him to their cabin.

Suddenly, the wind picked up again, but Leya wasn't the cause of this one. Kira yelped when her bandana was snatched from her head by the breeze.

The black material almost reached the water when a hand darted out and grabbed it.

The boy who had caught the bandana handed it to Kira, who had just run up to him to thank him, before stopping to stare.

He was dressed in rather expensive looking clothes, the sort that may be found on a lesser noble, the outer clothing styled like a black trench coat, except with a dragon embroidered on the back with glittering gold thread. Upon closer inspection though, Kira stopped a whistle from escaping her teeth. The thread was in reality, actual gold, made so thin that it could be used as a normal thread. The coat hid the rest of the boy's clothes, except for the high collar of his dark umber blouse. The sight of his clothes made her jaw ache, knowing that such garments could feed a poor family for two months for the least.

Kira mumbled as she took her bandana back, "Thank you sir," afraid that he may indeed be a lesser noble, making him powerful enough to sentence her to death just for looking at him.

The boy answered in a smooth and well educated voice, "You're welcome. Now please, don't act as if I may kill you if you even raise your head. It make's one extremely uncomfortable having everyone around him bowing their heads."

Kira smiled, and raised her head to look full into his face.

He had the palest shade of green for his eyes, the same color that would be found in the purest jade. His windswept hair was a sandy shade on the top, the light colored bangs sweeping into his eyes, yet it was also a dark brown color on the underside of his head. (better description, think of Haru from Furuba, cept with blond on top and dark brown where the black should be.) His skin was lightly tanned to a golden shade, matching Kira's almost exactly, except being paler than the ex-thief. Judging by his height and looks, Kira had to say that this noble was about 17 or 18 years old.

The boy froze suddenly, his jade colored eyes widening slightly before returning to normal, so quickly that Kira wasn't too sure if she had really seen anything.

She blinked and tucked her hair back behind her ear, her one green lock in its braid, whipping around and standing out from the dark brown surrounding it. She suddenly frowned slightly, trying to remember where she had seen someone like this noble before.

The boy's voice became frosty, losing the kind tone from before. "Try to be more careful with your possessions. For all you know, next time, a thief may even take your most prized treasure."

He nodded at her, then to Senko who had just walked up, and swiftly walked away, his black coat snapping slightly in the wind.

Senko growled under his breath. "Stupid lesser noble. Always acting like they're related to the king when they're just a step away from being a normal townsman."

Kira smiled at him, green eyes slightly troubled. "Yeah, I guess..." /Where have I seen him before?/

She shook herself, trying to forget whatever she was trying to remember, sure that it would only cause her trouble. She took her black bandana and wrapped it around her head again, successfully hiding most of the one green lock of hair.

"Kira! Senko!! Look look look!!!"

They both turned to see Juna and Issa bouncing around on deck, pointing at the island of Mikurain.

"This is the only place that I've never been to!" squealed Juna excitedly, hazel hair trying to escape the constricting red ribbons on either side of her head.

Senko frowned slightly. "That may not be a good thing..."

Kira scoffed, flicking his silver bangs. "Oh stop worrying. Just because she's never been here before doesn't mean that we're going to get killed. Besides, we're only stopping here for one day."

Leya heard the girl's words from the crow's nest, carried up to her by the ocean breeze. "I hope you're right Kira, because I have a bad feeling about this place."

~*~*~*~

Yukio Hashimoto briskly marched into his bedroom, home at last in his manor.

He glared at his reflection in the mirror. "You should have killed her when you had the chance! You coward!!"

He punched the mirror, making it shatter and shower him with millions of sparkling shards of glass.

He shook himself quickly, brushing the small pieces from his blonde and brown hair.

He glared at the now empty frame of where the mirror had been, jade eyes glittering with rage.

Tearing his coat off, he tossed it on a chair and lay back on his luxurious bed.

/Look at you... A prince, heir to the thrown, now a miserable lesser noble... At least it's better than being a thief./

It had been nine long years since the massacre of his family, the most royal of all families in Guardia, the name of their world. Yukio still remembered that one night as if it had been yesterday...

// "Yukio! Get over here!! Now!" his brother yelled, beckoning for the ten year old.

Yukio blinked his wide, lime green eyes and did as he was told. "What's wrong Hoshii? Where are mother and father? Why is everyone screaming?"

Hoshii's handsome face was pale as he whispered, "Shh! We need to get to the city. You could be killed here!"

Yukio's eyes widened, a bit of fear hidden in their green depths. "Wh-Why!? Who would want to kill us!?"

Hoshii tried to smile, and hugged his brother comfortingly. "It's okay. We'll get you out first, and then the rest of us will come and find you later, okay? So let's go."

Yukio turned to follow his brother, when he remembered something important. "Wait!"

He ran to his bedside table, and opened the small box there, grabbing the small pendant with their family crest on it. It had been a birthday present from his father, showing that he was his heir.

When he turned to go back to his brother, he saw his reflection in the large mirror on the side of his bed, above his writing desk.

Pale, frightened, with wide jade green eyes and a single green streak through his blonde and brown hair, he was amazed that this scared little boy was actually him.

Yukio slipped the pendant on, ignoring his reflection, and ran back to Hoshii, and asked quickly, "Where's Annya-neechan? And Kayla? Kayla's only six!! She'll get hurt!!!"

Hoshii's face darkened. "Th-They got Annya. And as for Kayla, I-I'm not sure WHERE she is. You know her. She liked to wonder around without mother and father's consent."

Yukio bit his lower lip. "Do you think she got out?"

Hoshii answered, raking his fingers through his hazel hair, the trade mark green streak of their family standing out amongst the pale locks, "I don't know. But I have to get you out! Oshika managed to get me out of our room through the hidden door, but I don't know what happened to him either. He told me that I had to get you out for the least." He wiped the one tear from his face. Oshika had been his twin brother.

Yukio let one tear fall from his eye, and brushed it away before grimly setting his shoulders. "Let's go then."

Hoshii quickly grabbed the boy, and set him over one shoulder, and ran to Yukio's large wardrobe.

He yanked open the large door, then slipped in, closing it behind them. He felt around the back wall, and found the small scratch against the wood. He hit it twice with his fist, and it slid open to reveal a long series of stone steps leading away from the room.

Hoshii ran down them, making sure not to drop Yukio in the process, taking many twists and turns, finally arriving at a wooden door that had light blue paint on it.

He rammed through, and found himself in the cold dark streets of the city.

Yukio crawled off of his brother's broad shoulders and glanced around, trying not to let his fear get the better of him.

Hoshii grabbed his hand and dragged him down to the deep alleyways of the silent city, and pushed him into a small niche in the gutter, carefully arranging the garbage around the smaller boy's shivering form.

"Wait here okay? I'll be back later on, maybe with some of our brothers and sisters. Don't come out, okay?" He smiled sadly at his younger brother, and hugged him tight.

"If I don't come back, leave this place, and never come back, okay?" he whispered, choking on his words slightly.

Yukio allowed his tears to pour forth, and nodded. "D-Don't say that! You are going to return, with mother, and father, and Kayla, and everyone else! And we'll leave this wretched city forever!"

Hoshii smiled, tears streaking his cheeks. "Good bye, Yukio."

With that, he stood, turned, and ran back to the castle, leaving his little brother behind amongst the wastes of the city.//

Yukio felt one tear slide down his face, and closed his eyes, trying to forget what he had found that night, right before sunrise.

//Three hours later, Yukio crept out of the garbage heap, and ran down the alley to where he had seen his brother leave.

He kept running, until a nearby street lamp illuminated the cobbles stone streets before him.

Hoshii lay there, once glittering turquoise eyes now dim and wide open, his lips slightly parted, a thin trail of blood leaking from the corner. His white shirt was stained with blood, as was his hazel hair, the single green lock now covered with dry blood.

Yukio couldn't move. He couldn't breathe, his heart seeming to have clenched around his entire body. He wanted to cry, but for some reason, he just couldn't.

He only whispered, "Why?"

"'Ey kid! You alroight?"

He snapped his head up to where a fifteen year old boy was perching on the roof of the house next to him.

The older boy's eyes widened when he saw Yukio's hair. "Holy- You're one of the royals!"

Yukio only began creeping back, hands clutching his pendant.

The thief jumped down from his perch and knelt before Yukio, brown eyes worried. "C'mon then. If you stay out 'ere, with those clothes, they might come after you too!"

He quickly grabbed Yukio's trembling body, and began running away from Hoshii's dead body.

Yukio screamed, "No!! I can't leave Hoshii-niichan there!! I can't!!!"

The thief answered grimly, "I'm sorry, but it's either you or 'im.

Yukio began sobbing, and beat his small fists against the thief's back. "No!!!! Hoshii!!!!!!"

The thief shook his head, then mumbled, "Sorry," and hit the squirming boy over the head, knocking him unconscious.//

Yukio stood up and walked to his bathroom, and checked his hair. "Damn. It's coming out again."

He grabbed a small bottle of Haikshi, a type of bleach that left the hair still as healthy and soft as before, and carefully bleached the green roots appearing amongst his mass of blonde hair.

// "You're family's dead. Face it kid. Them who got them are prob'ly lookin' around for you too."

Yukio sat in a small huddle, jade green eyes sad.

The thief shook his head sadly, and continued, "The on'y way tha' they can tell who you are, is by that pendant, your clothes, and that green hair of your's. Clothes an' pendant we can fix, but the hair..."

Yukio mumbled something, and the fifteen year old bent down to hear what he had said. "Eh? Wot's tha' you said?"

Yukio answered, "I said, I can bleach it."

The thief grinned. "I knew you was a smart one! 'Kay, first thing t'morrow, I'll ge' you some new clothes, and a bottle of whatcha callit?"

"Haikshi."

The tall boy grinned. "Hehe, I'll get you some o' that too!"

Yukio frowned, "How can you afford it? Haikshi cost about 1000 Kin, and that's for the small bottles."

The thief winked. "Who said I was gonna buy it?"

Yukio sat up straight, eyes blazing, "You can't STEAL it! That's against the law!"

The fifteen year old chuckled. "Against the law? Why don't you tell tha' to the city guards! Them lot steal as much as us thieves do!"

Yukio frowned. "How so?"

"They force the shop keepers to pay 'em so tha' they keep us thieves away. Kinda like taxes, you know?"

Yukio frowned some more. "Hmm..."

The taller boy yawned, then blinked. "Oh yeah, I jes' remembered. I di'n't tell you my name yet, did I? Well, it's Jouren." He held out his grubby hand to Yukio.

The young prince stared at the offered hand, then cautiously grasped it with his own less grubby one.//

Yukio nodded his head with satisfaction when he saw that all traces of green where gone from his hair, and briskly walked out of the bathroom.

He sighed and placed a hand to his chest, the same spot where his pendant used to hang.

// "Hey!! Yuki!"

Yukio blinked and yawned as he sat up in bed. Jouren had helped him steal back part of his treasury gold so he now had the status of a lesser noble.

It had taken four years of hard work, but in the end, he had managed to buy his own title and manor in Mikurain.

"What is it Jouren?" he asked, blinking sleepily.

Jouren, now about nineteen, answered, "I jes' finished talkin' with one of my friends from Gerrou, and 'e said that one o' your sisters was seen there."

Yukio sat up straight, all traces of weariness gone. "What!? Which one!?"

Jouren answered, "I think it was your younger one. Anyways, when're we goin' t' Gerrou?"

Yukio raised an eyebrow in question. " 'We'?"

The thief grinned savagely. "You didn' think tha' I'd let you go off alone did ya?"

Yukio shook his head, chuckling ruefully. "No, I guess not."

A few weeks later, the two had arrived in Gerrou, city of thieves.

Jouren marched through the city gates and turned to his friend. "I'm gonna snoop aroun' for a bit. Find out if wha' ma friend told me was true or not. You can go and rent a room fer us at the inn, 'kay?"

Yukio had pouted for a bit, but Jouren just grinned, ruffled his hair, and disappeared into the crowds.

The boy glared after the thief, sighed, then walked to the inn, booking one double room, and sat contemplating how much luck his long-time friend would have in his search.

When it was night fall, Jouren jumped in through the window, and landed on Yukio who was lying on his bed.

"Heya kid!"

Yukio growled and wrestled with the older boy, managing to get him off of his bed for the least.

Jouren laughed, "What? No 'how'd it go' or 'welcome back'?"

Yukio rolled his eyes. "Welcome back. How did it go?"

Jouren chuckled. "Typical. Anyways, I'm not really sure how it went. There IS a kid 'ere runnin' amok who looks a lot like the Hashimoto. Y'kno, one streak o' green hair, green eyes, bad temper-" he ducked Yukio's punch for the last comment, grinning all the way.

"On'y prob is, I can't track 'er down! She's supposed ta be the 'Queen o' Thieves' or some-at like tha'."

Yukio sighed. "There's no way that Kayla could have become a thief, let alone a famous one. I guess we'll be going home tomorrow."

Jouren leaned forward and gently lifted the younger boy's face. "Aw c'mon, don't give me tha' long face. Le's see a nice big smile!"

Yukio gave him something that was between a sneer and a grin. Jouren shrugged. "Good enough, I guess."

He flipped onto his own bed and snuggled under the covers. "G'night kid."

Yukio lay there, lime green eyes shining in the moon light. /I can't sleep./

He swiftly got up, and climbed out the window, a trick he had learned from Jouren from the past four years, and landed softly on the dark streets.

The blonde and brown haired boy began walking down the now silent city, never straying too far from the inn.

/Coming all this way for nothing./

He pulled out his pendant and saw it gleam in the moonlight, the green falcon swooping around a long sword. His family crest.

/I wish all of this had never happened./

He was so lost in his thoughts, that he never saw the gleam of green eyes in the shadows.

The girl sprung out, and grabbed the pendant from the boy's hands, somehow managing to yank it over his head and off, then running off into the dark alleyways of Gerrou.

Yukio sprung after her, his heart panicking. /I can't lose that!! It's my only prized possession!!!!/

The girl flitted in and out of the shadows, making it hard for Yukio to follow her. Luckily though, Jouren had taught him a few skills of a thief, and had also helped him exercise so that his body was used to moving quickly for a long time.

He almost got the girl, but only managed to snatch the grey cloth wrapped around her head.

She yelped when finally realizing that she was cornered, having reached a dead end.

She whirled around to find Yukio standing there, like a panther, eyes cold and hard.

"Give it back," he snarled, hands curling into fists.

The girl tried to move back some more, the moon light catching her full on.

Yukio's eyes widened when he saw her clearly.

She was about ten years old, with one streak of green hair amongst a mass of dark brown, and bright green eyes. Her dirty and smudged face was heart shaped, but she obviously hadn't had a decent meal in a long time.

"K-Kayla?" Yukio whispered, lowering his guard for just a moment.

The girl finally saw her chance, and darted past him, yelling in a mocking voice, "Ma name ain't Kayla! It's Panther Luck, remember it well, noble's brat!!"

Yukio tried to follow her, but when she disappeared up a wall, he dropped to his knees in defeat.//

Yukio scrunched his eyes closed, remembering the many weeks he had spent searching that city for just one little girl who had managed to steal his most prized item.

He then lifted his head, eyes holding a steely glint in them.

/I WILL get it back./

~*~*~*~

Kira skipped around, doing her best to avoid Juna's hair brush.

The ex-thief had just realized how much Juna HATED anything that was not neat, namely Kira's now knotted hair.

Leya was basking in the sun, dressed in a simple white bikini. She was half asleep, so she didn't notice the fact that Seirou was loosing blood VERY quickly.

Juna was chasing Kira around in a white one-piece that had two circles cut from it. One at the back, and one at the front, revealing her pale stomach. Kora, for some reason, reckoned that she would've looked better in a two- piece...

Kira on the other hand, was wearing a dark green one piece that was held up by two green strings at the back of her neck, kind of like Leya's white shirt.

Hikaru giggled as she swam around close by them, dressed in her light blue one piece, the typical bathing suit.

Issa was trying to catch Kora's eye with her skimpy black bikini. She was failing rather miserably, as the boy was too busy trying to save his brother from dying of blood loss.

Senko was sitting in one of the beach chairs, wearing, for once, a pair of black knee length board shorts and a light blue silken top that he had open most of the way. He was also wearing a pair of dark sunglasses, allowing him to stare at Kira as much as he wanted without being teased by Kora and Seirou.

Mokuren had been helped out by Kora, and was lying on a towel on the soft sand, blushing whenever Hikaru waved at him.

Kora and Seirou were wrestling, occasionally tumbling into the water, trying NOT to stare at the two objects of their desire, i.e. two VERY attractive girls, failing to notice the fact that Leya and Juna kept stealing glances at the boys' tanned, rippling muscles.

Juna finally caught up to Kira, and tackled her to the sand. "Now sit still and let me fix up your hair you little brat!!"

Kira squirmed around. "I am NOT a little brat! I'm turning sixteen in three weeks!!"

Hikaru giggled. "I don't think Juna cares much."

Juna nodded viciously, and proceeded to get the knots out of Kira's glossy brown hair.

She stopped when she reached the green hair in the braid. "Hey, is this natural? Or did you dye it?"

Kira shook her head. "It's natural. I don't know how, but it is, so I usually hide it in my bandanna.

Juna thought as she brushed the dark brown hair. "You know, there was once a royal family called the Hashimoto. Every descendant of that line had one green streak through their hair."

Kira turned and stared at Juna. "Really?"

Juna nodded. "But I don't think you're a relative. All the Hashimoto were murdered about nine or ten years ago."

Kira winced. "That's harsh."

Juna wrinkled her nose. "I know. Some angry higher nobles I heard. Apparently they were the next family after the Hashimoto who could rule Guardia. Only problem though, the Hashimoto already had five children, the two eldest being twins, so they couldn't rule, and the two youngest being female. The youngest son was ten at the time. He was the heir to the thrown."

Hikaru whispered from the waters edge, "And he was killed with the rest of the family..."

Juna shrugged. "I'm not too sure about that. Apparently they couldn't find the bodies of one of the twins, the youngest daughter, and the heir."

Kira blinked. "So that means that they could still be alive, right?"

Juna nodded. "I guess. But, I don't think you're royalty, Kira Newluck." She flicked the girl's nose, and grinned, standing and brushing the sand from her ass.

Kira stuck her tongue out at Juna, before jumping into the water with Hikaru.

~*~*~*~

Jouren gnawed on his lower lip as he watched Yukio sharpen his thin dueling saber, ripples of light reflecting from the blue steel.

"Are you sure that it's 'er Yuki?" he asked nervously. "I mean, fer all you know, she coulda jus' dyed 'er 'air!"

Yukio shook his head stubbornly, eyes fixed on his weapon. "I know it's her. And I swear that I'm going to win back my one and only treasure. For the pride of wielding the name Hashimoto, and to preserve the memory of my family."

Jouren sighed, sitting on the ground, brown eyes gazing intently into his friend's face.

Yukio didn't look up from his polishing as he quietly asked, "Please don't worry about me."

The thief growled, slamming his fist into the marble floor, not even wincing from the pain that lance dup his arm. "How the 'ell can you expect me NOT to worry, eh!? You always ge' into some type of trouble withou' me around!!"

Yukio quietly slid his saber back into its sheath, and lifted his eyes to Jouren's gold flecked ones.

"Which is why I should thank you for helping me along this far."

Jouren froze, chills creeping down his spine. He then lowered his face, chocolate brown hair covering his eyes.

"Helping? Did you think that I was just 'helping' you all this time for no reason at all?" he asked voice flat.

Yukio's eyes widened slightly before returning to their usual state. "Oh, that's right. You took me in for pity."

/I don't want to do this to him.../

Jouren lifted his head, and glared at the noble with angered and pained eyes. "Is tha' all!? I risked my neck for some little brat for PITY!?"

/But I have to.../

Jouren stood, and grabbed Yukio by his shoulders. His eyes were dark with some foreign emotion to Yukio, who blinked and just stared coolly into the deep gold flaked brown depths.

/I don't want him to get pulled into this mess... I don't want him to get hurt.../

"Don't you get it!?" Jouren yelled in the boy's face.

Yukio froze. "Get what?" he asked, face impassive.

Jouren sighed, and grabbed the boy, hugging him tightly. "You're like a li'l bro' t' me. The one bi' o' family I ne'er had."

He released the younger man, and glared at him. "If you get killed, I swear I'll chase you down to the deepes' burnin' pits o' hell just to pummel you t' death!"

With that, he left the room at a brisk trot, slamming the door behind him.

Yukio stood staring after him, pale eyes wide.

He raised a hand to his face, and brushed away the single tear that streaked it.

~*~*~*~

Issa and Leya went to the hot baths that night, wishing for some 'relaxation', translation: We want to get away from you other people.

Kira had just laughed. "I know I can get irritating, and you both irritate me, so off you go!"

Hikaru had run off to care for Mokuren, though Juna had her suspicions about 'take care of.'

"If you ask me, I think those two'll be too busy kissing to notice how his wounds are doing," she commented wryly to Kira, who was dozing on her bed.

"Yeah, I guess. Hey, when the hell are you gonna kiss Kora?"

Juna's face turned beet red. "Wh-What!?"

Kira opened one eye to stare cockily at the blushing girl. "I asked, when are you going to kiss Kora? Do I need to write it down for you?"

Juna glared, "I heard what you said! I just wanted to know what imposed this question!!"

Kira grinned, then ran into the bathroom. "I still need to have my shower!!"

Juna pouted, then sat back in her arm chair, her brow creased with a frown. She began breathing slowly, allowing herself to relax as she heard Kira turn on her shower.

/I wonder what it would feel like... To have Kora kiss me.../

She settled back and sighed, remembering Kora's gently mussed black hair, falling into his amethyst eyes, and his smooth naked torso...

She was torn from her sweet daydreams by a soft nock on the door.

Grumbling quietly to herself, she stood and wrenched the door open. One of the hotel maids stood there, a small white envelope in her hand.

"Beg pardon miss, but a young gentleman asked for me to deliver this to your room."

Juna blinked, and took the envelope. "Thank you."

She returned to her seat, and turned the white envelope over.

'To Panther Luck.'

Chills traveled down her spine when she read the name. /Did Kira ever have an enemy in Mikurain from her thieving days?/

"What's wrong Juna?"

The hazel haired girl jumped, and sighed with relief when she saw it was Kira, wearing only a towel.

Kira blinked her wide green eyes, absently combing back a wet strand of hair from her face. "Juna?"

The older girl handed her the white envelope. "One of the staff sent it up. Apparently someone downstairs knew which room we were in."

Kira blinked again, and slowly tore one end of the white paper, pulling out the message inside.

'Meet me at the docks. You better have my treasure with you.

Yukio Hashimoto'

Kira stared at the note. /Treasure? What treasure??/

/Why is that name so familiar?/

Juna anxiously asked, "Well?"

Kira looked up into the light elemental master's eyes. She smiled cheerfully, pushing her doubt aside. "I just gotta meet this guy at the docks. I'll be alright."

She briskly got dressed, ignoring Juna's worried stare. She straightened, and winked. "I'll be back before you know it. Just..." She bit her lower lip. "Don't tell Senko."

Juna stared, then finally nodded. "Okay. Just promise that you'll be back."

Kira grinned, and stuffed her claws into one of the enormous inside pockets of her vest.

Before she closed the door behind her, she heard Juna whisper, "Or I'll kill you myself."

~*~*~*~

Terra winced when he felt the flat of the sword slap him across his back again. Anji's eyes were gleaming with a sick pleasure as he continued to hit the boy.

"You were too careless boy," he purred, dull lilac eyes bright. "You let yourself get caught, and so quickly too."

Terra bit back a scream when the blade slapped him over an already bleeding part of his bare back.

Suddenly, the whipping stopped. Terra opened one eye to see Niira holding Anji's sword arm.

"Enough."

Anji glared at her. "This is the king's orders brat!" he snarled, trying to free his arm.

Niira gazed up at him with dead eyes. "New orders." She pulled out a piece of paper and handed it to the silver haired man.

Anji read the contents, then raised one eyebrow. "You sure this will work?"

Hanami stepped out of the shadows of the dark room. Her scarlet lips were pulled up in a wicked smile. "If it doesn't, we can always just kill one of them."

Yurrei quietly handed Niira the keys to Terra's chains.

Niira bent down and unlocked the heavy shackles, and placed them on the floor.

Terra tried to stand, but failed miserably, falling almost as soon as he'd gotten to his knees.

Niira quickly grabbed him, stopping his descent to the hard stone floor.

Terra looked up into her eyes, searching for some sign of life. Niira merely stared back at him, her dark blue eyes emotionless.

Terra sighed, allowing his golden bangs to cover his equally amber colored eyes. /I knew it./

Hanami shot a glare at Anji. "You didn't have to half kill him."

Anji shrugged. "The king wanted him punished, so that's what I did."

Hanami rolled her orange eyes, tapping her scarlet nails against her crossed arms.

"Terra rest. Now."

Anji snapped his eyes back to Niira who had now helped Terra up, one of his arms draped over her shoulders.

"He doesn't have time to rest!" Anji growled.

Niira glared right back at him, causing the tall man to take a step back. She rarely gave any facial expressions.

"He rest. Or else. You. Pay."

Hanami chuckled. "Looks like your little charge is grasping her mind again."

Anji silenced the mauve haired woman with a stony gaze, then quickly told Niira, "Fine. Take him to his rooms. We'll have to see what we can do later."

Niira promptly whisked away, still managing to keep a firm hold on Terra's battered body.

Terra smiled at the girl. /Even if you haven't regained your memory, you still care for me.../

~*~*~*~

Kira whistled as she walked around the docks. /This had better be quick. I still haven't had dinner!/

She stopped for a while, rubbing the bridge of her nose. /This place is exactly like that city.../

//She ran around, scared that a monster might grab her if she stayed still. Her green eyes were wide with fear, her small heart shaped face tear stained.

Her bangs were matted to her head in dried blood, making a sharp contrast to her pale face.

She couldn't remember who, or where she was.

She squinted her eyes, trying to remember. She remembered that something hard had hit her head, and that she had blacked out, but that was all.

She slowly fell to her knees. "Who am I?" she choked out.

"Hoi! Little girl, you alright?"

She looked up to find a group of tall, burly men with torches.

One of them knelt and asked gently, "Where're ye from lass?"

She trembled, and looked down at her clothes. They were filthy, torn beyond any recognizable state.

"I-I don't know..." she mumbled.

A rough hand gently touched her head where the blood had crusted. "Tch, poor thing. Ye got conked 'ard over the 'ead."

She looked up at him, tears filling her eyes. "Could you take me somewhere other than here? I know that I have no family left, so please?"

A woman's voice called over the group, "I'll take care o' 'er."

The sailors looked up, and grinned. A thin woman walked up to them, her jet black hair tied up, dressed in extremely grubby, and rather skimpy clothes.

"Are ye sure we ought ta let a thief, such as yerself marm, take care o' this wee lass?"

The woman snorted. "Hah! Are ye boys sure tha' ye ought ta let a thief on board yer ship?"

One of them gave a hearty laugh. "Ye can't beat logic cap'n."

The largest, most well-dressed sailor, which wasn't very well-dressed, grinned. "Alright Tania. Ye can take 'er."

The woman, Tania, turned and picked the little girl up. "You'll be stickin' close to me, alright?"

The girl gave a small nod, then threw her arms around Tania, allowing a few tears to leak from her eyes.//

Kira smiled, remembering how Tania had taught her all about the thieving business, and how her eyes had filled with pride when Kira had earned the title, 'Queen of Thieves.'

Her back suddenly stiffened, feeling unfriendly eyes on her.

She half closed her eyes, looking from under her lashes around her surroundings.

"Good to see that you didn't run away, Panther Luck."

Kira's eyes widened when she saw the speaker.

Yukio calmly stepped into the torch lit area, jade eyes cold.

Kira crossed her arms, making sure that she could feel her claws at her back, under her shirt.

"Where is it," Yukio snapped, breaking the silence.

Kira blinked. "Where's what?"

Yukio sneered. "My treasure, thief. The one you stole about 6 years ago."

Kira squinted her eyes, trying to remember. /Aw geeze. I don't remember!/

"Er, could you define 'treasure'?" she asked politely, keeping her voice humble.

Yukio glared at her. "A pendant, with a green falcon and a long sword."

Kira's eyes widened, and her hand went to her chest, where the mentioned item rested. /THIS???/

She didn't know why, but she didn't want to give up the pendant.

"I don't have it," she answered flatly, keeping her face bored.

Yukio snarled, "You do have it wretch! Now return it to me!"

Kira took a step back, feigning fear. "I swear I don't have it!" she cried, making her eyes go wide with false fear.

Yukio drew his saber in a flash, the sharp point just centimeters away from Kira's face. "Give it back," he muttered tersely. His pale green eyes snapped with rage as Kira continued to stare back at him with fear.

Finally, he swung the sword, cutting Kira's bandana in half, barely missing her head. He also managed to cut the leather thong that held Kira's green braid together.

Kira somersaulted over him, drawing her claws from her shirt. "I'm not gonna give it back to you, noble's brat."

Yukio turned to face her, taking up the 'guard' stance. Kira moved into a half crouch, resembling the panther she had been named for in Gerrou.

She leapt at him, claws begging to taste his blood. She gritted her teeth, silently commanding her elemental to stop thirsting after blood.

Yukio smoothly parried her, raising his blade to stop both her claws, not even wincing when one of the sharp points sliced his hand.

Kira jumped back, bringing her weapons up to protect her face from Yukio's saber that seemed to long for her life.

Yukio suddenly spun around, blade arm outstretched, following a crescent pattern and neatly cutting deeply into one of Kira's arms.

She winced as she felt the arm go numb, blood dripping sluggishly from the wound.

Regardless of her pain, she continued to cut at Yukio, forcing him back. She managed to cut him across his right arm, causing it to go numb as he had done to her's.

He merely switched his saber to his left hand, slicing at her again and again.

Finally, he managed to cut one of her legs, making her stumble to the ground.

Kira bit back a cry, and tried to stop thoughts of death from intruding into her mind.

Yukio stopped, stepping back, and held his hand out to her. "Give me back the pendant, and I will let you live," he crooned, almost the way he would talk to a child.

Kira almost obliged, pain dulling her sharp senses. But then she suddenly stopped, hand frozen from loosing the catch of the chain.

Green fire rose up in her vision, long vines reaching out to her.

A glowing girl-child reached to her, shocking green eyes begging for release, two jagged red lines running over the eyelids down to her cheeks. Her short pale green hair danced around her, framing her face.

Kira swallowed, and slowly grabbed the elemental's hand.

She seemed to shriek with joy as she leaped from the claw's emeralds, rising up to defend Kira.

Yukio backed up, eyes wide with shock. /What manner of sorcery is this!?/

The Earth elemental leered ominously as she turned to cast her glowing eyes upon him. She grinned, fangs showing, as she leapt onto Yukio, her hair suddenly growing longer and wrapping around his limbs like vines, nails leaving bloody cuts as if he had walked through an extremely thorny rosebush.

Kira leaned against the street lamp behind her, panting lightly as she watched the elemental beat up the lesser noble.

For some strange reason, she was worried about him. Scared even.

She shakily stood up, and yelled at her elemental, "Stop it!!"

The ethereal being turned to her, eyes wide innocently. She pointed at herself, mouthing the word "Me?"

Kira glared. "Yes you! Enough!!"

The glowing girl glared back, stuck her tongue out childishly, and sank back into the two emeralds on Kira's claws.

Kira raced to Yukio, and asked, "Are you alright?"

He looked up at her, one eyelid cut and bleeding into his eye. He didn't speak, he just stared.

Kira regretfully undid the catch on the chain for the pendant, and pulled it out of her shirt. She gently placed it in one of his less bloody hands, and clasped his fingers around it.

"Take it and go away."

Yukio stared at his family crest, tracing the eagle. "This isn't over," he muttered, glaring up at her.

Kira stared at him, and stood up. "You'll never catch me."

She turned and walked away, disappearing into the night.

Yukio allowed his eyes to close, holding the pendant to his chest. /I got it back./

"YUKI!!!!!"

His eyes flew open as he was roughly seized by Jouren. "You're alive! Damn, I knew some-at bad was gonna 'appen to you!!"

Yukio grinned weakly. "No, I'm alive." His eyes then hardened. "But it's not over yet."

Jouren glared at him. "Y'got yer li'l trinket back. What more d'ye want wi' her!?"

Yukio shook his head. "I don't know. But there's something about her... Something strange..."

Jouren rolled his eyes. "Now ye'r jes' talkin' nonsense. I'm gettin' you home as soon as possible, afore ye go about blabbering nonsense."

He began to lift the younger male up, when suddenly, his eyes went wide. He whirled around to find Kira standing there, a sick gleam in her eyes.

She threw a dagger at Yukio, but Jouren quickly grabbed it. He never saw the second dagger fly towards his unprotected back.

He gasped, blood leaking from his mouth, as he fell forward on top of Yuki.

"JOUREN!!!" Yuki yelled, grasping the man. He turned him over gently, laying him on the ground.

Jouren chuckled weakly. "Well whaddya know kid? Looks like this is the end o' the line for me eh?"

He coughed, allowing more bloody to run from his wound.

Yuki felt tears in his eyes as he yelled, "Stop saying stuff like that! I'll get you to a healer, someone can help you!"

Jouren grinned. "Stop talkin' nonsense kid. I'm finished. Don't go about chasing that li'l bitch for the rest o' yer life, seeking revenge and all tha' crap now, y'hear?"

Yukio shook his head stubbornly. "You'll be alright!"

"I luv ya kid.. Always 'ave, always will."

Jouren eyes fluttered closed, life gently leaving his body.

Yukio felt sobs wrack his body as he clutched the thief's lifeless body, refusing to believe that the last of his family had just left him alone in this world.

"Aw, isn't that sweet?"

Yukio looked up to see Kira standing there, tapping a dagger blade against her teeth, jeering at him.

Yukio's eyes hardened as he glared at her, but when he tried to stand, he stumbled and fell, still injured from his previous fight with her.

/How is it that she is perfectly fine!?/ he wondered as he stared at her.

It was true, there was nary a trace of blood or cuts on her tanned skin.

/She must be a witch. How else could anyone explain that monster that she set on me?/

Kira slowly began to advance on him, grinning slyly. "Look what you've done. You traded a trinket for your best friend. Is it that important? Your hands are stained with so much blood now. Stupid noble's brat."

Yukio tried to block out her voice, reaching his hands to his ears, when he saw, with horror, that she was right. Jouren's blood gleamed on his hands, gently running down his arms.

"You got him killed, just like the rest of your family. Oshika, Hoshii, Annya, your little sister Kayla, your mother and father..."

Yukio blocked his ears with his hands, yelling "THAT'S NOT TRUE!!!!"

Kira stopped, and stood there, sneering at him. "You're pathetic. You're a plague. You bring misery to those around you. You should die."

Suddenly, a sword swung, almost beheading her.

Kira's eyes widened and she turned to her attacker.

Anji stood there, dull violet eyes reflecting the lamp lights. "Away with you, wretch."

Kira glared, and did a flip, landing next to Yukio, grabbing his pendant, and fleeing into the night.

Anji knelt in front of the noble, and asked in an oddly gentle voice, "Are you alright?"

Yukio shook his head. "I'll never be alright..."

Anji sighed, and lifted the boy up. "Niira!" he barked.

The girl appeared, face as passive as usual. "You call?"

"Pick up the body. Let's go."

Niira did as she was bid, slinging Jouren's body over one shoulder and standing up.

"What happened to him!?"

Yukio opened one eye tiredly to see a tall, beautiful woman race to them, her mauve hair flying behind her. "Oh you poor thing!" she cooed, cupping his cheek with one hand.

Anji sighed. "It was that girl Hanami. That 'Kira Newluck'."

Hanami frowned her head. "That assassin?"

Anji nodded. "I didn't see the others with her though."

Hanami nodded her head understandingly. "We better get this poor boy to the castle. Lord Jourru will want to meet him."

Yukio looked up at them and asked, "Are you against this Kira Newluck? The one who killed my friend?"

Hanami nodded. "Her and her friends are merciless killers, trying to create chaos in all of Guardia. We and King Jourru are all that stand between them and world destruction."

Yukio clenched his jaw, and answered, "I will join with you. To avenge my friend."

Hanami clicked one of her long nails against her teeth. "There may be a way to bring your friend back. He won't be alive, but he'll be there."

Yukio straightened up, eyes shining with hope. "Really!? Could you bring him back!??"

Hanami smiled. "I suppose so. It's the same way that Anji brought Niira back. She was his little sister, but she was killed by Kora Nall, another one of those evil doers. As you can see, she isn't truly alive, but he is able to cope with life as long as she's here."

Yukio nodded. "I understand." He turned to Jouren's still form and bit his lower lip. "I just want him back."

Anji nodded. "Very well. We'll have to take you both to the castle. Lord Jourru has all the spell books and ingredients needed." He smiled down at Yukio. "Until then, sleep. It will take a while to return."

Yukio nodded, and instantly fell into the deepest of slumbers.

Hanami snapped at Anji. "Are you insane!? Trying to kill me like that!?!??"

Anji growled, all traces of his kindness gone. "You're the one who almost killed the boy!! Idiot wench!!"

"He wake. If you yell."

That quiet comment shut the two up, and they resided to a glaring contest.

Niira turned to Anji. "You brother?"

Anji sneered elegantly. "Me!? Hell no! Miss genius over here decided that it would work best on the kid."

Niira seemed slightly dampened by this. "Oh. A lie."

Hanami rolled her eyes. "Yes you moron, a lie."

Anji snorted. "We need to get the kid to the castle. Laki can fix his mind so that he'll forget a few details."

Hanami smirked. "At least we now know that the Earth elemental has awoken. It won't be long until Lord Jourru can carry out his plans."

Anji grinned savagely. "You read my mind."

Hanami pulled out the Hashimoto pendant from her obi. "Such a small thing can be worth so much." She tucked it back in, not pausing to wonder about what trouble it may cause.

~*~*~*~

Kira stumbled into her room, dried blood covering quite a bit of her skin.

Juna's eyes widened, and she quickly seated the girl in the bathroom, keeping the blood from the rooms. "I don't want to explain to the manager," she answered.

"Leya! Get my medical kit!"

The white haired Yengin thrust the satchel into Juna's hands. "What happened to her!?" she asked, red eyes wide.

Kira grinned. "I got into a disagreement with a sailor."

Leya examined her cuts. "And why would a sailor, even a well paid one, have a almost brand new saber?"

Kira stared. "How did you know that!?"

Leya shrugged. "I'm a Yengin. We're supposed to know what weapon inflicts what types of cuts."

Juna smiled grimly. "That just made my life a whole lot easier. Sabers are thinner than normal swords, so their cuts are less wider. If I healed this as if it had come from a normal sword, her skin would have been a bit chunky around here."

She gently placed her hands on the largest wound, on Kira's arm, and closed her eyes. A silver light gleamed from her hands, and the cut healed up, leaving a pale scar behind.

After she had done this with all of the cuts, she glared at Kira. "Don't do anything stupid, otherwise the wounds will open up again. Normal people I can fix easily, but your elemental's keeping a firm grip on your blood. She won't accept any other element's magic. Not even to heal you."

Hikaru, who had been listening from outside, felt her face pale. /Not another.../

She curled into a ball and clenched her eyes closed. /At this rate, Jourru will be able to proceed.../

She clasped her hands together. /Please Kaila... Don't let it happen!/

~*~*~*~

Laki wiped his hands of all blood, leaving Yukio's now clean body on the cold metal table.

"He should be awake by tomorrow."

Anji smirked. "Did you do a thorough job?"

Laki sneered. "You know me. I never leave a mess."

Laki was of medium height, age 16, and had thin, wild black hair that he kept tied back with a loose leather thong. His body was covered in thin dark red tattoos, all of them curling, only two being always visible, being under his eyes on his cheeks. He was handsome and had bright hazel colored eyes, but upon closer inspection, his eyes were actually the color of bronze that had been mixed in blood.

"So did you see dear sweet little 'Juna'?" he asked mildly, placing a thin sheet over Yukio's body.

Anji grinned. "Nah. Only my brother's wench. Why? Do you miss her?"

Laki smiled thinly. "But of course. I wish to see her scream..."

~*~*~*~

Weird chapter, I know. Oh well. You've met the host of bad guys! Oh joy~ :p Oh ya, pics!

I've finished ONE pic, I know that's pathetic, but ya, of Kira. Mind you, it's a pic of her head ONLY. If you want to see it, email me, and I'll send it to you. If you're gonna diss it, don't bother. I know it's bad. XP Ah well. Reviews please?