All right, time to end Book 1. I'll be taking a break for about 2-3 weeks in order to finish plotting out Book 2, so stick around. I'm not done yet.

-Kouji Tamino

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Legend of the Guardian Children

Book 1: The Light of Destiny

Chapter 13: Kyoji Kicks it Up a Notch! The End of the Beginning!

The rain continued to pour down on the two opponents and the single spectator. Kyoji was thankful for the weather, as it meant that there would be as few spectators as possible. How he and the others hadn't been rounded up and questioned by the police due to all the disturbances recently puzzled him. Why wasn't this all being played on the news? Something this big should be a worldwide crisis! Oh well, that didn't matter right now. What did matter was beating this monster and protecting his sister.

Sprinting forward, he jumped over a tentacle and swung around in a full rotation, slicing it off before being smacked by another one and flying backwards. He managed to keep his balance and land on his feet. However, he forgot to account for the now shin deep puddles and fell to the ground into the water anyway. Keeping count in his head, he noted that there were now 5 tentacles left. It just might start getting a little easier at this point. Picking his sword up from the water, he ran towards the creature, feet splashing loudly as he approached. Eyes widening as a tentacle shot forward, he snapped his head to the side, the tentacle whizzing past. He attempted to jump up, but a sudden pull from below brought him back down to the ground. Grunting in pain, he yelled as he was picked up by his ankles, finding himself face to face with the octopus woman. "Let me go, you ugly piece of-- Ugh!" Swinging his sword, he gasped as the octopus woman yanked it away and tossed it to the side. He watched helplessly as his sword changed back into a branch, floating on the water uselessly. "Damn it!"

"Ni-chan, no!" Kiriko screamed, running towards her brother. She was not about to let him die after just being reunited with him! She had to help somehow!

"Stay away!" Kyoji shouted back, wincing as the creature breathed out her rancid breath in his face. He showed up to save his sister, not let her get killed over his sorry self. He was the one that made a major screw up with the family, not her. If anyone was going to die, it was going to be him. "Don't throw you life away! Everyone has risked so much to keep you safe, don't make it all be in vain!"

"Then don't you throw your life away!" she shot back, tears flying. "I know what you're thinking! You think that just because you made a mistake, you life is less precious than mine, right! Well it's garbage! No one's life is worth more than anyone else's no matter who it is! And whether you're my real brother or not, I want you to live, damn it!" Panting heavily, she fell to her knees. "So please, don't give up…" she added softly, staring at her reflection in the water. Almost as if her heart filled little speech had broken a spell, the rain instantly stopped. The dark clouds still loomed, nonetheless.

"Oh isn't that sweet…" the octopus woman teased, startling both siblings. Her voice was sultry, yet harsh. Chuckling deeply in her throat, she licked her lips as she stared into her new prey's eyes with her own blood red orbs. "I think I like you, boy. I might have a little fun with you before I eat you… Perhaps make your little sister watch." Grunting loudly, her tentacles began to re-grow from their stumps, erupting from them with a loud and disgusting slick noise. "Ahh, that's better…"

A million thoughts ran through Kyoji's head at her words, clenching his teeth and shuddering in disgust. What in the world was wrong with her? "You're sick!" He screamed as a limb wrapped around his torso, the she-beast beginning to pull at his body from both ends, as if she intended to tear him in two. "Graah!"

"Oh, that's not very nice…" she said cruelly, grinning sadistically. She was enjoying this all too well. She hadn't had this much fun with her food in a long time. "Besides, I was just kidding. As if I would ever think of defiling my flesh with that of yours. For even suggesting such a disgusting thing, I shall make your death a nice, slow one…" The sadist was in such a pleasurable high at this point, that she didn't notice the arrow flying right towards her head at a dangerously high velocity. Before she could react in time, the projectile had cleanly pierced her skull and entered her brain, causing her to let out another ear piercing scream that echoed throughout the city. With her final moments of life she managed to spot her attacker and curse her. "You bitch! I swear you'll pay for that!" After getting that all out, the sea creature gurgled repulsively as blood bubbled up from her mouth and flowed down her chin, falling to the ground in a heap. Her body soon began to pixelize like the others, the fragments flowing away into the sky to parts unknown.

"I most definitely do not think that I will be paying for anything, sea witch." Tsukino stood on top of a street lamp, astoundingly able to keep her balance on the wet surface. Her outfit was an interesting one. It consisted of a dark trench coat over a red sleeveless shirt and blue thigh high cut-off shorts. Her feet were protected from the rain with long, knee high black boots, and she wore a very, very long yellow scarf around her neck. On her hands were a pair of dark red fingerless gloves. Shielding her eyes from the sun as it began to peek from behind the clouds, she jumped down with a loud splash, running over to a downed Kyoji who was busying staring up at the sky, a contemplative expression on his face. Holding out a hand to help him up, she sighed. "You okay there, Shimohara-sempai?"

"Even though I had the ability to protect her this time, I still failed…" Taking her hand, they both grunted as she helped him lift himself off of the ground. His mood went from the high it was at a few minutes ago back down to an all time low. Was he really so useless?

"Hey, Shimohara-sempai…" Tsukino said. As the boy looked to her, she gave him a good right hook to the jaw, knocking him flat on his ass and back into the water. Smiling, she shook her head. She was not about to let him go into depression like she had several days earlier. "Are you feeling better now? You're not useless, so stop beating yourself up. You're just not as athletic as Tonomaru-san and I are. Some training should fix that. What do you say?"

Kiriko couldn't help but gasp when she saw Tsukino deck her older brother. 'Why in the world do boys and tomboys think that they need to hit each other to solve problems', she thought to herself. It was just all stupid, at least that's what she thought. She didn't like to hurt anyone or see people she cared about hurt each other. Assured that her brother was okay, she turned to her just now returning friend. "Iincho-sa-- er, Tsukino-san! You're back!" Leaping forward, she hugged the girl tightly. "I missed you a lot!"

Blushing slightly at the unexpected hug, she awkwardly hugged back. After almost 2 weeks of no human contact, she hadn't been anticipating that at all. Smiling, she sighed happily. It was good to be back. "I missed you too, Shimohara-sama…"

Raising an eyebrow, Kyoji looked his sister's friend up and down. The outfit she was wearing was… unique, to say the very least. "Hmm, no offense Tsukino, but what in the hell are you wearing? That has to be the gaudiest looking get-up I've ever seen." Whimpering as Tsukino shot him a death stare while still hugging his sister, he quickly regained his resolve. "Well sorry, but that's what I think!"

"Hmph…" Tsukino broke the hug and turned to him with her arms crossed. "I'll not have you ridiculing my style of dress. Besides, it's just something I picked up early on my soul searching trip." Smirking, she walked over and poked him in the forehead. "Besides, you should know me by now… I don't give a crap what anyone thinks of me." Putting her hands at her sides, she huffed. "So, where are you two off to?"

After hearing the whole story of what went down for the past few weeks while she was gone, she licked her dry lips. "Hmm, that seems like it was pretty bad… I'm glad that things worked out, though. May I accompany you both to Namimura-san's place?"

"That'd be great!" Kiriko exclaimed, hoping that perhaps her two friends could finally properly make up and even become friends themselves. Giggling brightly, she took the arm of both Tsukino and Kyoji and began to skip merrily to their destination, practically dragging the two along with her.

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After the visit, in which both Kiriko and Atsuko made their peace in person, Tsukino returned home and the two siblings went to their house. A sick feeling began to rise in the pit of Kyoji's stomach. How would his parents react? He had said terrible things to his mother. Even if they were blood relatives, she was the woman who had raised and cared for him for most of his life. He had no right to have ever said the things he said to her before he left. His dad was probably going to kick his ass like there was no tomorrow if he saw him. He almost didn't want to go home, but he wanted to at least apologize for the way he acted, even if his parents didn't forgive him. He had his sister's forgiveness at least, and that would be enough for now.

As he entered the home, he began to breath heavily, taking slow step after step. A chill ran through his body, almost as if it was telling him to not move forward. He wanted to see his parents again, but at the same time he did not want to even begin to imagine how they might react to him showing up after all that happened. Taking his first step into the living room, he flinched, seeing that his parents were not only already home, but were here in the living room as well. Waving meekly, he looked away. "Hey there, mom… dad." Screaming as his father rushed towards him, he closed his eyes and prepared to get beaten. He deserved it, at least that's what he thought, so he was quite surprised when instead of striking him, his father hugged him tightly. It was a little too tightly for his tastes, but who was he to complain? Awkwardly hugging back, he sighed. "I'm sorry, dad… I was way out of line, and I apologize." After they broke the hug, he was treated to a fist in the face. Stumbling backwards, he smiled. "Thanks. I was asking for it."

"No problem." Nabuta replied, grinning. It was good to have Kyoji back. "Welcome home, son. But I'm not the on you should be apologizing to." Moving out of the way, he revealed a weakly smiling Chika, whose expression brightened even more when she saw that her son had finally returned home.

"My boy…" she said softly, standing up and walking towards him. Resting her head in her taller son's chest, she cried happily. "I'm so happy that you came back to us… Please, forgive me… Forgive both of us for lying to you for so long!" Gasping as her oldest child planted a sweet, gentle kiss on her cheek, she beamed warmly.

"No, it's not your fault. You didn't keep it a secret on purpose, you just didn't want to burden Kiriko and I with the truth." Hugging her close, he sighed. "I should be the one apologizing. I was a real asshole the other day, and I'm really sorry, mom…" Quirking an eyebrow as she pulled away and glared at him, he growled. "What is it this time?" He did not have a very good feeling about the look she was giving him.

"How many times do I have to tell you?!" Chika shouted, grabbing Kyoji harshly by the ear and dragging him towards the bathroom. "No swearing in this house!" Yanking him along the floor, she had a determined look upon her face. She had missed two weeks of raising and discipline. Time to make up for lost time. "I am going to have to wash your mouth out with soap, Mister!"

Both father and daughter looked on at the scene, both curious as to what Chika had in mind this time and horrified for poor Kyoji. After a moment of silence, they both looked at each other and laughed, hugging each other in joy that their family was reunited, happy, and… relatively back to normal.

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A little while later, after Kiriko had finally returned to school, Tsukino rallied everyone up for a meeting on the roof of the school after classes had ended. The people in attendance included herself, Akito, Kyoji, and Kiriko. Basically, everyone who had obtained powers of some sort and the one person that these strange events had been focusing on. Looking at each person, she smiled. "Thank you all for joining me here today. I have some important things I need to discuss with you." Pausing for a moment as a plane noisily flew overhead, she waited until the loud humming had died down significantly before continuing. "As you're all aware, very strange things have been going on ever since Shimohara-sama supposedly saw a strange light one night."

"You mean you all still don't believe me?" Kiriko asked incredulously, waving her arms in frenzy. "I mean sure, we've almost gotten killed several times by creatures that shouldn't exist, but when I say that I saw a bright light, no one listens me at all and stares at me like I'm crazy!"

Chuckling, Tsukino shook her head. "I didn't mean it like that, Shimohara-sama. It's just--"

"We already know that crazy stuff has been happening, Hoshino!" Akito said, irritated that he had to waste his time a boring 'meeting'. He'd rather be cleaning the chalk erasers than listen to the damn class rep chatter on and on, no matter how much he respected her. He got enough of that during class, thank you very much.

Shooting the boy a nasty glare for interrupting her, she went on. "I was just about to get to the point, you impatient simpleton." Feeling a bit better after her shot at him, she elaborated. "Obviously, if what Shimohara said was true, then it was most likely the light that gave us these powers and starting attracting monsters. However, I get the feeling that this wasn't a coincidence. Someone or something is after Kiriko, and we have been entrusted with enhanced skills in order to protect her." This was where she finally got to the point of this meeting. Their decisions here could quite possibly affect the fate of Kiriko. Glancing to Kyoji and Akito, she made her proposal. "I suggest that we form an official pact to become the guardians of Shimohara-sama. Shimohara-sempai, I'm confident that you'll say yes, but I'm not too sure about you, Tonomaru-san. Shimohara-sempai, I invited you to see what you think of the plan."

"Well hell yeah, of course I'm in", Kyoji replied, grinning with his arms crossed. The whole thing seemed like it would be pretty fun. Tsukino had already planning to start training during summer break so he could get better at fighting, and the idea of his little sister having constant protection from the freaks showing up appealed to him greatly. He couldn't protect her all the time, after all.

Thinking for a moment, Akito considered the pros and cons. On one hand, he really didn't like the idea of becoming Kiriko's babysitter. It would really put a cramp on his free-time. Besides, she already had a friend and a brother willing to protect her. It seemed a bit overkill. On the other hand, he kind of owed his life to the girl. When one owes their life, their life often belongs to the savior. So in a way, becoming her guardian seemed appropriate. Straining with the idea a little longer, audibly groaning as he did so, he huffed, putting his hands at his sides. "Eh, why the hell not?"

Poor Kiriko was overwhelmed, to say the least. She hated being the center of attention, so the idea of having two of her friends and her big brother constantly breathing down her neck made her just a tad uneasy. Plus, she didn't like the idea of people she cared for risking their lives just for her sake on a daily basis. But still, how could she say no? Everyone seemed so enthusiastic about it! Well, Akito much less so, but if even he was up to it, who was she to argue? And even if they didn't form an official group, chances are they'd protect her regardless. Sighing in resignation, she gave them her best fake smile. They looked like they were buying it, so she went on. "Okay, I think it's… a good idea!" Chuckling awkwardly, she watched as her new 'guardians' all got in a circle and placed their hands on top of one another in the center of it all. Things had just gotten even more complicated.

Little did she know, but things were not only going to get more complicated, but also several times more deadly. Secretly watching from the rooftop of the Northern Wing of the school, Ukichi Tenya and Saori Kumishima were finding this new development very amusing. "So, they're going with the safety in numbers strategy, are they?" Adjusting his glasses, Ukichi laughed quietly. "No matter, the operation will go on as planned."

"That's right, we strike on the final day of the school festival next semester." Saori shot a cold glance at Kiriko, sneering. She bit the inside of her cheek in anger, drawing blood. "That damn girl will pay for what happened all those years ago. I swear it." Staring intently at the object of her deep hatred, she soon followed her partner to the door that led to the steps. Opening the door, they both made their way downstairs.

End of Book 1: Light of Destiny

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And there you have it, the end of the first book in my saga. I'll be taking a break for about… 1-2 weeks while I put the finishing touches on my outline for Book 2. Until then, take care and thank you for reading part one.