Joy. I get my first repeat reviewer and she's a Bushite. *sighs* Well, beggars can't be choosers...I'll quit making fun of you now. Anyway, here's the next chapter, for all of you nice people out there, and also Anna-Elaine Castleman. No really, now I'm stopping. EDIT Sorry this took so long. I wrote one and a half paragraphs and then was unexpectedly unable to write anything at all for months on end. I hope there's somebody around who even cares anymore.

It was now eight PM on Saturday night and Justin was in his bedroom. After leaving the alley he had found his skateboard sitting undisturbed where he had left it--not surprising, as it was worth about ten dollars, tops. He had run over to the place where he had left his bike, found it lying under a hedge, and dragged it back to his house. He had eaten dinner on autopilot, not making conversation and barely tasting the food. He was burningly conscious of the statuette in his pocket the entire time, and if it hadn't been for that he might well have convinced himself the whole thing was a hallucination. Now all he wanted to do was fall into his bed...having run all around town and been given a weird vision by a dragon/human hybrid-looking thing really tires you out. He was asleep before he hit the covers.

Justin awoke to find he was sitting in a grassy field, with a forest on the horizon. It was a sunny day, and he was dressed in a brown tunic and leggings with boots. The only thing this clothing had in common with the way he'd gone to sleep was that he still had the pendant on. "What the *hell?*" said Justin, getting up.
"We've figured out a more convenient way to get in touch with you," said a familiar voice from behind him. "I can't be popping out on you from dark alleys *all* the time, you know."
He spun around. "Oh, great. You know, I had nearly convinced myself you were just some lunatic that I could ignore? Why'd you have to go and ruin it like that?"
The "Sword's" smile dissolved. "Listen, boy, if I had my druthers, I'd ruther be off in my own and rather more comfortable plane of existence. I'm here because I *have* to be, in order to save my world and incidentally yours too. So just quit mouthing off, okay? You're here for training. Take this."

He waved his hand in a strange way--Justin couldn't see it very well, but it seemed like some of his fingers had gone through each other--and a sword with a wooden blade dropped out of the air next to him. He tossed it to Justin, who caught it by the pommel. He looked at it. It was not just your normal wooden sword-everything below the hilt was exactly like a katana (that's a samurai sword for the non-enlightened of you) right down to slightly worn strips of cloth wound around the grip. The blade was long, slightly curved and sharpened on one side, (though not very much. It was a *wooden* sword, after all) again just like that type of blade.
"Great, whacking things with sticks. Always one of my favorite activities." said Justin. "Training against what? Straw sacks or something?"
The being smiled again. "Not exactly. Duck!"

Now, Justin had read enough fiction to know that if someone is saying "duck!" going "what?" is not the best option. He flattened himself to the ground. Simultaneously a voice with a fake British accent said "You rang?" After a moment Justin raised his head and looked around. A human-sized, feathered being in a suit with shoes to fit webbed feet was standing nearby. He scowled at the Sword. "You did that on purpose!"
He smiled. "Yes, I did. But it was worth it. Okay, look normal again..." The "duck" went to looking like a dragon/human like the first one with a small pop. Some description may be in order here, though he looked very similar to the first Sword except in the color of his garments and hair. (See? I listen to reviewers!) He was about two meters, while the first one was nearer two and a quarter, with flat bluish hair only on the top and back of his head instead of green through which poked a pair of scaly pointed ears, which were the same color as the other's--green again. He had a bright red robe instead of black extending to about six inches...excuse me...a decimeter from the ground*. Blue feathered wings extended through holes in the back of the robe and were folded against his back. His face was easygoing and open, contrasting quite a bit with the first Sword's sterner visage. Only people who are trying to impress people actually use the word "visage." His hands were near normal for humans but there was a suspicion of scales near the edge of the sleeve and the tips of what were probably long claws protruded instead of simple fingernails.

Justin pulled himself up off of the ground. "Great. First a half-dragon guy named Sword, now another. What do I call him, then?"
The first Sword sighed. "I didn't say I was called Sword, I said you could call our *race* 'Swords'. If you need me Sabreur.** And he can be Pike."
"What's with you people and weapons?" Justin said, mostly to himself. "Anyway, so what's the training?"
"That's why I called Pike. Will you go get the training mimic?" Pike nodded and vanished with a small pop of imploding air. A few seconds later he returned, and with him he carried a box.
"Right, kid. This thing here we call a training mimic. It-- "
Justin had been rather confused by Pike's accent however. "Wait a minute, you're a dragon-human hybrid Sword named Pike with wings and pointy lizard ears from *New York*?"
"Where else? No, really, the guy I picked to learn your language from just happened to have this accent. *Any*way, this thing here we call a training mimic. We feed it some data on something, it mimics that something exactly, 'cept when someone fights it, it won't hurt 'em. Very useful. And don't worry about hurting it either-you by yourself couldn't anyway, and even with the pendant you can't do anything to it with a wooden sword. They can only be hurt by iron or something made from it, same as us. Don't ask why, at this point it'd only confuse you. Now, here's what you're gonna fight first..." He tapped a button on the box as the top pooped open. Some thing like a bear, only blackish-purple and more leathery than furry, didn't jump or falls out--it was too big to have actually fit in the box anyway. It more sort of flowed, as if it was being constructed millimeter by millimeter as it left the box. "Good luck," said Pike, and left with a pop like the one before. Sabreur stayed on the give a bit of advice. "You don't have enough skill at using the pendant to access its powers at will. They'll show up on their own if they're needed defensively, though." Justin gulped and hefted the wooden katana, standing ready for the mimic's attack.

*I try to use the metric system, it obviously makes more sense, but the stupid American education system has stuck me with memorizing the Standard (which is a pretty stupid name anyway, since we're the only ones who use it now) and using the Metric is an effort...

**Sabreur means "one who uses a saber." A margarine telephone to the first reader who guesses where I read that (it's on the net in something similar to FP, that's part of a larger site doing something not directly related to writing.)

So there's the latest...very sorry it took me so long. Hopefully number five should be easier. Now review....please, I know it takes a bit of your time but it's the only thing that keeps us writers writing.