Hey guys :)

This is my childhood work which I hope you will enjoy.

I welcome you, stranger, to a path most dark and strange. Read on, and learn the story of a hidden academy, and its equally mysterious students...




"It was said that in the beginning, the world was dark for the race of the Noble Yokai.

In the First Age, the heavenly deities descended and began to rule, followed by their warring offspring in the Second Age.

The Heavenly Clan started the Great War against the Yokai, which would be the start of an endless conflict.

The Yokai were powerful, but alas, far too few by the end of the war.

By the Third Age, the humans reigned supreme, in which the numbers of

the proud Yokai clan dwindled, hunted almost into extinction...till they arrived.

Heralded as the source of supreme power, the ancient records speak of Five almighty beings, who appeared when the Yokai were at their weakest.

They came from another world, another place and time. And they were the root of a new power which transformed the world.

They were the first Sacred Kings who claimed dominion, waged war and blessed the proud race with incredible power.

They were -"

"My parents are insane."

Ria Hiwatari kicked the twentieth pebble on the curb, shivering in the cold. Yeah right, she thought as she closed the little brown book. What on Earth am I doing?

As an icy wind blew, she huddled to the corner of the bus stand, mind fixed on reality.

The sad, sad reality.

It was three am, a Sunday, and she was going to school.

Yes, school.

A new school to be exact. A place she had never heard about - till a few days about, that is. Teeth chattering, she scowled as she thought back to when it had all begun.

It had all started three days ago when her parents had suddenly returned unexpectedly early from one of their their trips abroad. Which wasn't exactly unusual, given their busy jobs. Nothing had seemed overly strange...

...till they'd suddenly dropped a major bomb. Her new boarding school. Seriously.

It was some place called St Warriors High - and that was that. They had given no explanation, nothing. Just helped her pack, and after giving her a set of weird instructions to follow, they had hurriedly departed for another of her mom's lectures abroad.

And just like that, her winter vacation was at an end.

Then again, she had bigger problems at hand. She wasn't even told where the academy was located, only that she would be picked up by the 'Academy's representative' at the closest bus stop.

Flicking her hair back, she shivered again. She'd never even applied as it never had been necessary. Apparently, her name had been down since birth - which she found way, way too disturbing.

As she literally knew next to nothing about the place, only what her parents had told her. Which, in retrospect, was not a lot.

Groaning, she sat back down on the seat. It was way too dark, way too cold, and she was way too confused.

Well, maybe you shouldn't have thrown such a gigantic tantrum...

A snide little voice seemed to giggle in her mind. Maybe they might have told you more...

Ria sighed, wishing she knew more. Apart from this sudden decision, she had been far more angry at her parents' strange, secretive behavior, and their flat out refusal to answer her questions. They been acting, almost...distant. Even her usually cheerful dad had been abnormally serious and tight-lipped. What all he'd told her about the school (which had not been a lot) had been rather weird. Stuff like:

'Take all surprises in stride', and to 'avoid the Councils...?'

Again, just weird.

Ria tried harder to remember exactly what had happened on day they had left. Most of it had literally been on the doorstep, just as they had been allowed to depart for an international flight. Not to mention she'd been freaking out about the fact that she would be home alone when she had to leave. Even her aunt, who lived nearby and was almost always around, just had to be out vacationing this very week.

"You just need to get on the bus." Her dad had said, his expression strangely somber. "Make sure you don't miss the timing, try to make friends..."

"Do not be scared." Her mom had waved tearfully. "Do well! Be as safe as possible! And beware the Student Cou-" her words had almost been drowned out by her sobs. "We'll see you soon..."

After making her swear not to miss the Academy's bus, her usually cool, collected mom had literally run out with her baby sister Aya. They had left soon after that, but not before Ria had seen her mom break down and start weeping in the car.

Which, now she thought about it was odd. Her parents traveled often, leaving her and Aya behind, so this was nothing new. If anything, it was just another trip for them. And if her admission was already sorted, then what was this about?

So, why the worry? Why the tears? Perhaps they felt bad about doing this again? After all, they had moved here only months ago...

God knows what they were thinking. Or why they never told me about this school...

So here she was, a few days later at her village bus stop, trying not to freeze to death in early February. And trying not to think about her best friend Leigh, who was on vacation. And, who was so not going to be very happy about this.

But maybe, just maybe, it wouldn't come to that.

Hours had passed and there was still no movement on the deserted road. If she wasn't didn't know her parents well, Ria would seriously think this all some super uncool prank. Well, her birthday was next month...

She looked down at the road again as she checked her watch. The Academy's 'pickup time frame' for the bus that her parents had mentioned was almost up.

It was almost pitch dark by the roadside, and she was half tempted to forget it all and run right back home, empty as it was. She even got up, ready to march right down the road to her house, only to sit back down. Too had she had promised to wait...

Dammit, I miss you already, mom, dad! What was the need for all this? Everything was fine! What was wrong with my school here?

After ranting internally for a while, she gave up trying to make sense of it.

A few minutes passed by as she sat there with her hood pulled up in the cold, silently waiting for the bus to appear. As she gazed up towards the direction of the mountains, she noticed something strange.

Against the darkness, a fog seemed to be creeping down the hills. Thick and fast, it was already close to the town.

How strange. It wasn't there just minutes ago...

She watched it carefully. Even for the mountains, this was abnormally fast...

Without thinking, she scooted back down the seat, shivering. It had suddenly gotten even colder.

Just as she was thinking about seriously heading home and forgetting this nonsense, something scalding hot suddenly hit her wrist, causing her to yelp in pain.

"Oh crap! Not again!"

Swiveling around, she glared at IT. On the seat next to her, was an abnormally large candle. Nothing too weird about it...but for the fact that it was pitch black, and at least a foot long. And it burnt with a strange blue flame. And, a strange hissing sound accompanied the melting wax - which for some reason, instead of dripping down, seemed to be flying out.

And landing, more often than not, right on her.

So why did she have it? Again, the reasons were weird.

Before leaving - her parents had handed her a bunch of 'items' provided by the new school. Items which were...'essential'. And not to mention oh, so strange.

Like, what seemed to be a little brown manual on the supernatural of all things. Why it was titled 'Pre ~ Orientation' she had no idea. All it spoke of was fantasy stuff like magic, fairy-tale creatures, something called 'Clans', and wars which she'd never heard about and was pretty certain had never taken place.

Talk about a bad joke.

The next thing was far weirder - and also, the 'object' of her pain. Ria had already named it as the 'Candle of Evil'. For, aside being uber creepy looking, it also had what looked like tiny pentagrams etched on it. Pentagrams. Like the ones in those horror movies in which teens got murdered and stuff.

The hell was up with that?

The weirdest part was that she'd been told to light the thing at the bus stop for some reason. And yeah, 'not let it go out either.' Again...which made no sense.

Must be this school.

She figured it was another weird joke or something - like that booklet. Maybe new students showed up lighting candles or something? Maybe some sort of tradition?

And it wasn't like lighting a candle could hurt...

Ria had no idea how wrong she was...So, she'd lit the weird candle - and the moment she did, things began to get weird real fast. The first sign was the flame - which wasn't yellow, but a bright blue. And that wasn't all.

After a few minutes, she was sure she was in trouble. The thing was, she had no idea what type.

It melted weirdly - if melting was even the right word. At first she'd thought it was just in her head, or she had accidentally flicked it. However, when a particularly large splotch of hot wax landed on her forehead, Ria knew she wasn't the problem.

It was...the defective piece of crap.

So she had set it as far away as possible on the seat, close enough to keep a watch, and far enough to not get caught in it's radius - not that it worked; as some wax had still managed to hit her.

Too bad she hadn't set it on the ground...but it was pretty much cemented to the metal seat now. And trying to move it?



"Ouch!" she winced yet again as the wax landed on her nose, of all places. Scooting back up the seat, she was seriously tempted to chuck it. And just like the last few times, she stopped at the last second, remembering the conversation with her father about it.

Which, incidentally, had also been her last one.

"Do not put out the candle or lose it! Remember the timing! Promise us, Ria!" he had told her repeatedly even as he had gotten in the taxi. "We love you, Ria. And we wanted -" He's called out as the taxi had begun to leave, "- the candle and the book, keep them safe...Promise us, Ria!"

So, so much confusion.

So she glared at the candle, reluctantly abandoning her fantasy of burying it in deep, deep hole. So far it had received more attention than her. And what the deal was with the weird pre orientation book, she had no idea. Nothing in it made a lick of sense.

Magic? Made up wars? If this was some sort of prank, the school was lame.

Feeling more annoyed by the minutes, she kicked more pebbles. It was now seriously foggy, and even if her house was pretty close by - this was getting way too weird. Not to mention the most important problem.

The 'bus' - which was 'supposed' to pick her up from the closest bus stop, anytime between midnight and four am. And thank god her house was right around the corner in case she decided to act on her fantasy and forgot all about this. However every time she though that, something else also surfaced.

"Promise us, Ria!"

However, there was still some time left, and only the fact that her parents had made her promise to wait till four was stopping her from leaving. "Almost free..."

Seeing nothing on the road yet again, she got up and started pacing in frustration, only to swear when the Candle of Evil's projectile wax got her again - this time on her cheek.

"That does it! I'll leave the moment the time's up!" She swore. "This is ridiculous!"

She checked her watch just to make sure. And yep - it was almost past the 'pickup time' window. Soon, I'll be having a good laugh about this.

"Oh, the things I do for my parents."

Sitting as far away from the Candle Of Evil as she could, she leaned back on the seat, pulling her jacket's hood up again.

Within minutes she felt more sleepy...

Somewhere high, high, up above...

Two cloaked figures watched the girl sleeping below. Around them, a strange fog roiled, seeming almost alive.

"Oh dear! Look at the poor thing's face!" One of them gasped out, the voice feminine and...alarmed. "The wax is...someone should have warned her!"

Laughter sounded, rich and masculine. She turned to see the figure beside her shaking in mirth as he peered down. "Stop it!"

Regardless, he continued for a while.

"So she was finally found." When he spoke, his tone was cool, and still amused. "Despite their best efforts, it seems."

The woman sighed, the sound soft and wistful.

"It was going to happen. You knew it, we knew it. They knew it." Her head lifted as she turned, drawing back. "Come now. The mist deepens. We should leave before we have company..."

So saying, the woman stepped further back, vanishing into the darkness. However, her companion continued to peer down.

"I wish..." He started to say, only to break off with a deep sigh.

Slowly, he extended his hand, golden bangles gleaming in the dark. "I bless you, child. I bless your hearts. I await the day...we all cross paths..."

The bangles seemed to gleam brighter, casting a faint golden glow in the swirling fog round him.


And suddenly the glow was gone,

As so was the figure...

Below, deep in sleep, the girl smiled as if she felt something warm, something old. Little did she know, everything was about to change...

At the same time.

In a bus not too far away...

"About time!"

The lady smiled in satisfaction, her jade green eyes widening as she heard the bus rumble to life. Lights suddenly flickered on, bathing the dark bus cabin in bright yellow light.

At the same time, surprised chatter seemed to break out. Eyes narrowing, she turned to face the door beside her seat. A door, which had iron bolts across it - and from behind which the voices were coming.

"Oh these kids..."

The chatter seemed to increase in volume; till she rapped on the door...once. It wasn't a particularly hard knock - but almost immediately, all sound seemed to die down. Soon, the bus as as deathly quiet as it had been.

Nodding to herself, she settled back down.

As the bus started to move, her grin seemed to get wider.

"About time, Hiwatari Ria..." She whispered. "It's about time..."

A/N: Hey there :)

I hope you read on to the next chapter! Reviews are seriously appreciated and returned!

Genres: Fantasy, adventure, mystery, friendship, humor, horror, shoujo, shounen, slice-of-life, coming of age, mythology.

~ This story is original AND copyrighted (chu*) ~