I had no idea when I was going to get my needed sleep. My eyes were starting to burn and if I looked at something for so long it would start to blur then become a haze of gray as my eyes started to fail me. Well super. Spyro wasn't pleased with my health and he almost sent me to bed when Ash interrupted to insist that they at least told me what was going on in a nutshell. I slapped my cheeks with my palms and nodded my head while Hikuro rubbed circles on my back. I shook my head at him, saying that just made me want to pass out right then and there because of how comfortable that felt and I saw him smile and trailed his hand down my hair before leaving me alone. It wasn't just us there either. Including myself, Hikuro, Spyro, and Ash, there were also Skylar (who was dragged out of his mission), Zack, Lan, Chiro, Sora, Balto, Itazura, Kasaigaru, and another male named Misayo. Other people that were asked to come were unable to and would be updated later.
Spyro, in his dragon form, stood in the center of Tail's lab in the basement with all of us either standing or sitting on stools in front of him, listening. Ash was standing on one side of him and Balto on the other side in his wolf form so it was Ash who held the envelopes in his hand at his side. "In our usual mass of mail, we received letters from the worlds we investigated that had fire appear on their land. All of you have seen at least one of these fires. The letters are thanking us for putting the fires out." Spyro's purple dragon eyes scanned all of us individually in detail, watching for our reactions. None of our reactions were surprising though, we were all shocked at the news.
Misayo spoke up first. "Putting them out? Who was able to do that?" His thin black hair swayed in front of his eyes and tattoos on his cheeks that looked like they were thick whiskers and his purple eyes shone. He was Hikuro, Itazura, and Kinaga's sensei, or master, but preferred to be called their teacher. He was in his twenties, but acted like he was in his tweens.
Spyro's expression didn't change. "That's what we would all like to know."
"The plus side is that they're actually put out." Sora said.
Everyone nodded in agreement, even Zach.
Spyro nodded too and Ash spoke next, "We'd like to find out whom though. Someone who's able to travel between different worlds and know about the fires. Which doesn't make any sense." His gaze traveled over us and landed on me. "Someone on the team who knows about the fires and can put them out."
Shit. He's seriously having doubts about Reuben if he's looking straight at me in front of everyone. Skylar, who was standing next to me with my lazy ass sitting on a stool, snaked his arm around my waist and leaned me in close to his body, allowing me to lean my head against the side of his chest, right under his arm. What I wouldn't give to have him lay down next to me on a bed right now just like this.
Itazura, surprisingly, spoke up, "So what you're doing now is asking us if we suspect anyone of putting out the fires."
"Well?" Balto said.
Itazura continued. "I think we can all agree with who our first guess is."
Ash sighed and shook his head, taking off his hat to brush his hand through his hair. Everyone here was just tired of all this. "Ryume." He said. "We really need to talk to Reuben."
Everyone turned to look at me but I kept my gaze on Ash. I stared at him for a moment longer before nodding my head. "I understand."
"Thank you, Ryume." Balto said, and Ash thanked me as well. I nodded my head again and told them it had to be done sooner rather than later and I wanted this solved just as much as everyone else did. This goose chase on who was lying and who was telling the truth was getting on my nerves.
"Ryume needs rest and I'm sure everyone here has their other duties to attend to as well." Spyro said. "You may all go back to your normal schedule and I will update all of you on any information I receive." He nodded his head then disappeared in a puff of smoke, leaving everyone to either vanish their own way or fashionably walk back up the stairs. It took me a minute for my head to stop swimming when I got off the stool and stood up, but I eventually stopped seeing unicorns and rainbows and made my way up the stairs with Hikuro and Skylar on either side of me, sending the usual silent glares in each other's direction.
I reached the top of the underground stairs and stood at the bottom of the next flight of stairs to hike up in order to get to my own room. I let out a groan and hung my head. A big mistake when my head started to swim again and my eyeballs rolled and bounced everywhere in my brain, giving me another headache. I let out another groan and suddenly felt myself being lifted off of my feet and up into the air, into strong arms. I turned my head and couldn't help but let out a big smile at Kasaigaru, my guardian and true best friend who has known me my whole life. Well, almost whole. Close enough.
"Are your men not taking care of you?" He asked, smiling at me, as he kissed my forehead. "Do I need to hire real men?"
"Real men?" Hikuro yelled and steamed in anger. Skylar just crossed his arms and looked away.
Kasaigaru chuckled and I felt it vibrate through his chest and hit my body as he carried me up the stairs. "Remember to keep an eye on her, boys." He said in front of my door, waiting for Skylar to open it for him.
"I'll try to be with her more often." Skylar said, letting us go through first.
Hikuro muttered a "yeah" and kissed me on the head before leaving to go to his room after waving a good night over his shoulder. Someone was a little grumpy tonight. A yawn escaped from me and I covered my mouth with my hand while Kasaigaru laid me gently on the bed and kissed my forehead again. "Get some sleep. We'll go out for lunch tomorrow."
The last of my energy spurted and I jumped to attention. "Really? You're free tomorrow?"
He straightened himself and smiled down at me, nodding. "I have work later in the afternoon but I have time to go out for lunch with you." He patted my head with his hand and I grabbed it, bringing it to my cheek, immediately happy.
My Kasaigaru was never home. Even before we joined the team he was always busy and I never saw him because of how much work he had to do and how many meetings he had to attend. It left barely any time for us to spend time together so anytime he did manage to squeeze in I treasured and made sure to drop everything else so I could be with him. For him to say he was able to spend time with me even for just a little bit made me so happy.
Kasaigaru chuckled again and cupped my face in his large hand, before leaving the room, admitting a good night to me and Skylar. Skylar leaned down and sat on the bed next to me. He pointed at my forehead with his finger until he poked it and kept pushing so my head was moving backwards. I let out a 'what are you-' before he pushed me down flat on the bed with his hands on either side of my head, his face right above mine.
"Are you sleeping alone tonight?" He asked, his black eyes heating my face.
He smiled down at me and leaned down to kiss me, but before, saying, "Tomorrow, then," and then letting his lips set on mine to kiss me gently. His soft lips moved with mine in slow movements and I felt my eyes get heavier as my concentration was set on just my lips and hands moving up to run through his hair. My fingers tangled in his hair made him press his lips down harder on me and the front of his body that was still above me to move down on top of me so his chest molded with mine and his legs still hanging off the bed. A good thing too, because I actually needed sleep tonight.
I took advantage of a separation of our lips to say his name and snap both of us out of each other's trance. His lips, just barely hovering above mine, stopped melding with mine and he let out a long sigh. He hung his head against my neck and just laid there on top of me, taking in the smell of me, or my neck, take your pick. I untangled my fingers from his hair and let on arm fall back on the bed while the other started to pet his black hair gently. "You're tired too, aren't you, Skylar?"
He let out a hum against my neck that made me shiver and I just took that as a yes. "Go to sleep, sweetheart." I said.
His hot breath continued to blow against my neck and I knew I'd be feeling that all night, no matter how tired I was. I got another short hum out of him and felt him lift himself up off of me so he can stare down at me. "I want to kiss you good night but I doubt I'd leave if I did that."
I laughed and cupped my hand to his cheek, letting him lean his face against my palm. "Go to sleep, I'll see you tomorrow."
His eyes started to shut and he nodded his head. He held my hand in his and kissed my palm before getting off the bed and walking out of the door. I don't remember if he whispered a farewell or not or if he even closed the door before or after I passed out. All I know is that my eyes were glad to finally be closed and my brain to rest from any kind of activity. I didn't even care if I had any dreams that night.
The dream I had was not a dream I wanted to have that night, or any other night. It made my bones jump and my skin run in a cool damp sweat. But the one thing I couldn't decide between was to either stay in the nightmare or wake up and see what horrors of the dark awaited me. I tried to control my breathing and knew something was wrong once I started to think logically. My eyes parted slightly and I looked into my dark room while I lay on my side, one arm under my pillow and the other curled in front of my chest. My skin was still chilled and I had no idea why. I had a nightmare but I couldn't think of what it was about. What the Hell?
And when did my room get so dark? It was so black I couldn't even see the door or my desk in the center of the room. It was as if I could reach out and cup the darkness in my hand and feel it ooze around my skin. Then I suddenly felt a presence near me and I instantly sat up, drawing my knife under my pillow and holding it out in front of me, but then stopped and gasped once I looked down my bed and found a man halfway inside my room from my window next to my bed. He had one long leg on my bed with the other on the windowsill, as he leaned against the window frame, staring at me. With red eyes.
The next seconds happened too quickly. Any human would've gotten only glimpses of it but I managed to get all of it as my brain started to function correctly and my haze from sleep cleared. In order to explain it would be in steps. First, the man in dark, dramatic clothing snarled down at me, baring his sharp white teeth, or fangs, and held his hand out in front of me, showing me his claws with his devil tail floating behind him gently. Second, as he neared closer to me, my door suddenly burst open and the room lifted a bit from the darkness, but was still that abnormal darkness, and Reuben stood at the door, furious, and fire coming out of him in flickers as he rushed towards us in amazing speed yelling a 'No' in a long ragged breath. I didn't have time to react when Reuben tackled the man out of the window, shattering the glass of the window that was still closed and making the curtains fly down with them. My breath caught and I rushed to the window, leaning down, ignoring the glass that cut my hands, and saw a blur of dark colors at the bottom of my window, three stories up.
I yelled out Reuben's name but he continued to wrestle with the peeking Tom, at first with him winning but then losing as the opponent kicked him off and stood over him, kicking the crap out of him. I muttered a 'dammit' and heard Skylar and Hikuro run to my room, with Hikuro being there in the room first as I ran past him to grab some weapons and my shoes.
"Ryume! Are you okay?" He grabbed me by the arms and I shook him off.
"I'm fine, but Reuben's in trouble." I said as I slipped on my shoes hastily.
"We've never seen him lose." Skylar said from the doorway.
Hikuro added, "He'll be fine."
I shook my head angrily and was stopped again by Hikuro when I tried to go back to the window. It'd take me too long to go down the stairs. "Let me go, Hikuro. This guy isn't normal. He looked like Reuben." I shook him off again and he let me from his shock as he stared at me and gave me a 'What?' face with Skylar actually asking me, "What?"
"I woke up and he was over my bed in the window. He had sharp teeth, claws, and a tail and red eyes like Reuben. I don't think Reuben can do this one alone." I rushed to the window again but this time with Skylar alongside me. I went through the window first and tried not to gasp as I soared down to land on my feet on the cement floor in the backyard. Well, maybe not backyard. This stretch of land was too big to be called a backyard, maybe a backyard with a field. But in this said backyard, was a rush of fire flashing everywhere from two figures who were going at each other like animals as their shadows played along the ground as their fire lit up the night and somehow not catch the grass on fire.
Reuben was one of them and he had the most fire being brought out, and he was the loudest. His roars and yells were all I heard and with my awesome eyesight, I could see his opponent smirking and grinning at him as Reuben struggled to keep up with him. Shit, Reuben was having trouble.
"Looks like we found our demon." Ash's voice sounded from behind me. He had his arm crossed and was staring at the fight, observing the two men fight.
"He's a demon too?" I asked. "He sure looked like one up close. He had the same features as Reuben."
Ash nodded and tapped the side of his face with his finger. "This might be a problem. I'm the only leader here right now and I don't know a damn thing about this guy. Spyro didn't even expect this to happen tonight."
An explosion erupted from the center of the field and a small smoke cloud replaced the fire in the center as a figure shot out of the gust of smoke and soared over our heads. If I actually prayed, I'd pray that figure wasn't Reuben. The man hit the mansion near over our heads and fell on the cement floor with his body covered in smoke. Coughing sounded from him and we readied ourselves to see who it was. The figure got up on one knee and glared straight ahead and at the figure walking out of the smoke calmly, his long jacket flailing around him wildly. He kept walking towards us and lifted a hand in the man near us direction. He motioned for him to come, a taunt. The man near us got up and I bit my lip, it was Reuben. He coughed again and this time he spit out a bit of blood, and he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.
We heard him mutter a "Son of a bitch," before running back towards his opponent. I yelled for him to stop but he didn't listen and just kept running with his fist raised. He reached his opponent but didn't slow down as he neared for the punch. Except he was stopped when the man in front of him lifted his hand and froze him in mid-motion for a split second before sending a bone-cracking punch to Reuben's gut, making him grunt and fall to his knees, coughing again. The man looked down at him and smirked again, saying something to him I couldn't hear before looking back at our direction. I could've sworn he was looking at me but I really didn't want to believe that. Didn't want to flatter myself too much. Either way, when he turned his head to me, apparently what he said pissed Reuben off because he was back up, sending fire from his hand to his opponent's direction again, who just dodged them or split them in half with his hand so they were soaring around him as if there was a shield in front of him.
The stranger lifted his arm again and shot fire of his own at Reuben, who blasted it away with his own fire, I assumed he was too hurt to dodge it. Except when the smoke cleared, the stranger was gone. I saw Reuben flinch and search around him desperately, his arms out in front of him, ready for a surprise attack.
We looked for him too and I couldn't stand it. "We have to help him, Ash. I'm going out there."
"No, you're not." Skylar said.
Ash nodded the farthest away from me. "He's right. These guys are very different from us. I don't think you'd stand a chance."
"We have to try." I pleaded as I watched Reuben continue to search then suddenly stop and stare ahead into the trees in front of him.
He suddenly quickly turned towards us and yelled with his arm outstretched. "Ryume!"
I frowned in his direction but then jumped when I felt a very hot breath at my ear and an even deeper voice sounded behind me, "Are you sure you want to try?"
I went for my weapons at my belt but was grabbed from behind before I could get to them, taking note that this guy was obviously faster than any of us. His grip on both of my wrists hurt and he moved both of my hands to his one large hand while his other grabbed my chin from behind and lifted it up painfully.
"Ryume." Hikuro and Skylar lifted their guns at the man behind me and I tried to calm my nerves before I hurt myself as the man behind me put his mouth at my neck and continued to restrain my neck and arms.
"Move and death will welcome her." He rumbled against me. His height was a challenge to stay in the position he was in so he straightened himself and put his hand that was on my neck, around my waist so he was pinning himself to me.
"Damn you." Hikuro growled, his eyes growing a darker shade of brown.
Skylar gritted his teeth, his eyes showing hatred in the same black color they're always in, in the sun or in the moonlight. "Let her go."
"We're not a part of your fight." Ash said. "This is between you and Reuben."
"Ahh," The man behind me breathed on my head, "that is where you're wrong, humans." He looked back at Reuben who was staring at us, not sure what to do. While the stranger looked at Reuben, Hikuro and Skylar thought it would be a good time to surprise attack him. Too bad it wasn't a very grand idea. The stranger jumped over them, carrying me with him in his death grip around my wrists, and landed between my men and Reuben, with Reuben closest as he edged towards us yelling a "Don't!"
I was confused as to why he said that, but then felt the sharp nick of my skin breaking on my arm and the hot blood ooze down my elbow and fingertips. It caught me by surprise and my adrenaline from before was still partially there so I was a bit extra-shocked when I was flung to the ground on my back. I stared up at the man above me, for some reason unable to run, and saw him lick his claws clean from where he clawed my shoulder.
"You bastard!" Reuben yelled from behind him and tried to come at him again, except was pushed aside again with ease by the man who stared down at me with his blood red eyes. Reuben, a few feet away on the ground, lifted himself up again, coughing, and gave the man the most deadly look. "I told you not to get her involved."
The man moved his gaze away from me and towards Reuben, giving him a glare, "You should have thought of that before you followed her out of your cage, dog."
Reuben growled at him, showing his long, sharp canines and the man in front of me did the same. I couldn't move my head to look at Reuben better so I fixed my eyes on the man standing over me with my blood still on his hand and sharp claws. His hair was black and slightly shorter than Reuben's, but right before I'd blink, his hair would turn a dark fiery red. His tail looked like Reuben's except the tip had a different shape, it had the look of a spear. The same long, pointed ears, sharp teeth and canines, claws, and of course, their eyes. This was definitely the guy we've been looking for. But why wouldn't Reuben tell us if he knew him?
"Reuben." It was Hikuro's voice. "What the fuck is going on? Who is this guy and what does he want with Ryume?"
I didn't hear a reply from Reuben and turned slightly to look at him before realizing I could actually move. It made me freeze and test some of my muscles. I was better, now to just look for an opening.
The man looked down at me and smirked before looking back at Reuben. Did he notice my movement? "Yes, Reuben, tell your new human friends why I am here."
"They're not my friends." Reuben growled.
"Oh?" He grinned evilly at him then knelt down next to me. My pulse started to race and I refrained from letting out a loud gulp when his face neared mine as he bent his knees to look down at me. Sitting on the balls of his feet, he continued to stare at me while talking to Reuben, "Then it shouldn't matter to you what happens to this one."
Reuben didn't answer and I felt my heart break. After all the shit we went through together this is what I get from him. It kind of pissed me off.
I took in a deep breathe and summoned the power inside of me that I was born with, my chakra was what it was called in the family in my world. My chakra allowed me to control water, and since there's water in the ground and in the sweat on my skin and clothes, I summoned them in front of me as I rolled away and blocked a grab from the stranger as his hand hit the water in mid-air. He smirked at me and stopped. I stopped too and took a step back, gathering what I just did with the water I drew laying in a pool at my feet. Hikuro called out my name and I glanced towards him and Skylar who had either their gun or sword out. I noted that Ash was nowhere to be seen and the mansion lights were all on.
"Ryume." Reuben called. I looked over at him but kept the stranger's angry face in sight as well. "I need you to do something."
Hah. Really? "What?" I asked sharply.
He crouched down and kept his eyes on the dark man in the middle of all of us. He said one word before becoming a blur or speed towards our opponent. "Run."
Another explosion erupted except this time I was too close and I got flung backwards and landed right on my butt so I got a nice view of the half-moon in the dark sky. The stars blurred a bit and I could've sworn I saw smiley faces forming before I shook my head and held my neck from where mister creeper grabbed me. It felt good to massage where he had roughly grabbed me but I just knew the bruises were going to be pretty the next morning. That is, if I saw the next morning.
I lifted myself up on my feet and sensed Hikuro and Skylar doing the same on the other side of the shroud of smoke that filled the air. I covered my mouth with my arm and coughed once, trying to see through the smoke and see who was still standing. As much as Reuben's lack of comment infuriated me, I wished him no harm.
"And now, you are mine."
I froze and felt a blade come to my neck as the man behind me held an oddly decorated knife at my throat. His hands that burned so hot they felt like ice grabbed my arm that still had an ugly gash I still refused to look at because of how much blood was still dripping and I couldn't help but yell in pain when he showed no mercy on his grip. His grip stayed but he pointed his knife towards the smoke, sending an unknown force of wind towards it, clearing our vision so he could give us a clear sight of Reuben curled up around knees with his head on the ground, holding his stomach.
I called out his name and lifted my free arm towards him as if that would give him strength to lift his head. Trying to step towards him, I was pulled back roughly as the death grip on my arm tightened and I felt the cut stretch and pool out more blood. I may have powers, but even I can have loss of blood, although more than a regular human. I heard another yell and realized it came out of my own mouth and I bit my lip to stop from screaming again. My adrenaline was fading and the fiery sensation of pain from my arm was shooting up and down repeatedly up to my shoulder all the way down to my fingertips. The main behind me jerked my arm again and tears built up in the back of my eyelids as I shut my eyes when I saw Reuben cough up more blood and tighten his grip on his stomach. I wanted to know if he was okay. That's all I wanted to know right then and there.
But I never found out. I was soon surrounded by a flame that didn't burn me and was somewhere completely different in an instant. I yelled Reuben's name one last time before disappearing somewhere else, feeling the anger that was welling up inside of me about to explode. Behind my rage and pain I could tell we were inside. But I ignored everything around me and went forward with blind rage as my next step, attacking the man behind me with my fists. It was stupid, I knew I would regret it later, but at that moment, it didn't matter. In just a matter of minutes, he'd hurt someone I cared about and kidnapped me like it was a hobby of his. His power angered me and how he had so much and how easy he made it look to use. It just all pissed me off.
He grabbed my wrists again and I gave him my full weight. It didn't make him flinch and he stood there, holding my body weight by my wrists as I tried to kick him with my feet and knees.
"Enough of this." Was all he said before dropping me and backhanding me in the face. I saw his gloved hand coming, his red eyes irritated with me, and his black hair turning that extreme red before my eyes closed on reflex as the back of his hand came nearer to my face and smashed my cheek and eye, sending me flying. The last thing I remember was being flung across the room. Literally across the large room. Abnormal strength. Too strong. Pounding headache. Knowing I was going to be covered in bruises and dried blood tomorrow. Then I remembered not caring because I was suddenly so, so very tired.