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...


BID EVERYTHING A FOND FAREWELL...

FOR NOW, YOU ENTER ANOTHER WORLD...


THE BEGINNING

"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 - ever. Teeth chattering, she scowled as she thought back to when it had all begun.

It had all started a three days ago when her parents had suddenly returned from their trip abroad, told her to pack, and, just as hurriedly left again as usual - but not before dropping the major bomb - her new boarding school. Seriously.

It was some place called St Warriors High - and that was that. No explanation, nothing. Just packing, and a set of weird instructions to follow they departed for her another of her mom's lectures abroad. Which was pretty much the usual...as her aunt (who stayed nearby) would come over to stay when they were not in town, and who was normally always there up to see them off.

Not this time though, since her aunt had gone on a trip - and wouldn't make it back in time. I wish Aunt Priya was still here. At least I wouldn't be alone right now...

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.

So basically, 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 tantrum...

A snide little voice seemed to giggle in her mind. Or lost the letter they had given you...

Ah, yes. There had been some sort of official looking letter - which she had lost while having the said tantrum.

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 'free huggies!' 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:

"Not be to be too surprised", "avoid duelling?"...or something.

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 - since her aunt was out of station and couldn't reach in time.

"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 were 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 just hugged her and literally ran 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!

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 answers 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 weird.

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? 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. But 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 of projectile wax. But, even then, some flying 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 moving it on purpose?

Hahhahaha...

No.

"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!" her father had told her repeatedly even as he had gotten in the taxi. "We'll explain as soon as possible!"

"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 the book, she just didn't know what to think - it was so obviously a school prank or something. Magic? Made up wars? Angels? It was so lame! Probably meant to freak out the 'gullible' or something.

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.

"Farewell..."

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...


Ria could feel someone touching her cheek. No, not touching...

Poking?

Poke.

Someone laughed softly. "Ms Hiwatari? Ria Hiwatari?" The voice was cheery...and amused.

What the heck?

She blinked, head woozy as the voice continued. "We are already late, and we really should get going. The Academy - "

Academy?!

Ria jolted awake, eyes snapping open - only to come face to face with someone leaning over her.

A person with blood red eyes!

"Ms Hiwatari?"

She was so shocked, she forgot to scream. Almost instinctively, she shoved the person, hard, as hard as she could.

The person fell back with a surprised gasp, hitting the ground hard.

Oh no...

Ria stared down in horror at the person trying to make out who it was. It was too dark, too foggy and, for some reason, her face felt strangely numb.

The person on the ground gave a little groan. Remembering the Candle, she looked around. Had it gone out?

Next to her on the seat, Ria noticed a smear of black gloop...but no candle. Where did it go?

That was forgotten the next second when the person on the ground suddenly sprang up, apparently alright. Even in the darkness, she could make out that they were crazy tall...and had long hair.

"Well, that hurt!" Whoever they were, they sure didn't sound too upset. If anything their tone was still laced with amused. "Dear girl, do you always do that when you wake?"

Just as she started to speak - a torch flickered in front of her, and she saw the speaker for the first time.

Bright, bright green eyes met her golden brown ones.

What the -?!

Before her stood a lady with long blond hair, red lips and an almost ridiculously huge chest, and who seemed to be wearing what looked like a little black dress. In the middle of her...chest, was a sticker which read: HOMEROOM 1O1. Ria blinked hard - not sure if she was real for a moment.

And then the woman stepped closer, tottering oddly. "Well I have to say, finding you was what I call a challenge! We just made it in time!" She beamed at Ria.

So, she is from the Academy...

Before Ria could answer, she stepped closer, walking oddly...and wobbling.

Looking down, Ria immediately saw why. The lady had to be wearing the biggest platform heels she had ever seen - something right out of Lady Gaga's wardrobe.

Her head snapped up the next second as she heard tutting.

"The instructions did state that you were to allow the wax to drip on the skin continuously for exactly five minutes! Did you not read the Letter of Instructions?"

"Ummm..."

She did not know what to say. Was this strange woman really from the Academy? This was weird...

"The Letter of Instructions? It was sent to your parents." The cool green eyes were fixed on hers. Ria wracked her head. Letter...letter? Parents...tantrum...letter...lost.

Crap.

Before she could speak, the woman suddenly smiled. "I guess we can let this pass - since we did manage to find you. Now, before we board, do you have any questions?"

Oh you bet I do.

Ria nodded. She opened her mouth. And froze.

Huh?

Her mouth wouldn't open!

Her face...felt...was frozen?! What the...?

Before her, the lady was now grinning as she took in her panic. "Well, even if late, the locationary wax did do its job. A little too well it seems."

Not that Ria was listening. As she was too busy freaking out.

Gingerly, hands shaking, she touched her face. And almost wished she hadn't. To her horror, she felt an uneven, thick layer over her face. Her numb face.

Now she knew why the woman had been poking her face. Her face hadn't been numb due to the cold. It felt suspiciously like...

"Holy shit!" she screeched...or tried to. The wax had sealed her mouth shut. No wonder the candle wasn't where she'd left it!

The goddamned thing was on her face!

The next few moments were a little insane as she whirled around, jumping and yelling in pain while trying to get the mask of wax off.

She was sweating and out of breath by the time the last hard piece was peeled off - all in one piece. So angry was she that she threw it to the ground, stomping and jumping on it for good measure.

"Take that, freaky, creepy wax!"

This went on for quite a while, till she noticed the woman clearing her throat, amusement clear in her eyes.

"Ms Hiwatari, if you are done." The woman pointed up the road, wobbling as she walked over to her luggage. "Your classmates have been waiting."

Ria jerked upright in shock. And then she groaned.

She had been so distracted, that she hadn't noticed the bus on the main...right below the stop. It was big, and, pretty much full. She could make out kids peering out. Her eyes widened.

One entire side had just gotten a first row seat to everything.

Heads were poking out of almost every window. All were was staring, some were openly pointing. And she could hear the laughter.

Great first impression Ria. Just freaking awesome.

When she turned, the woman had already hoisted up her luggage(on one hand!) and was heading towards the bus. Ria kept a safe distance, given the way she and the luggage were wobbling.

Those heels looked dangerous...

Once she stacked the luggage, the woman smiled as she opened the door to the seats. "In you go!"

Ria walked up the steps, emerging into a a tiny portioned space which was just weird. The walls were covered in Justin Beiber posters and the two seats were stuffed with pink and blue heart plushies. Spotting a handbag, she sighed. So, this is where the lady sits...

There was a door on either side - one which she knew led to the driver's section, and another - from where she could already hear the chatter of many voices.

She paused, suddenly feeling rather self conscious.

"Well, what are you waiting for?"

The lady had joined her. "Time to meet the Class!"


As the two stepped in and the bus door shut, the strange fog seemed to start to lighten...


She slowly walked in. And stared.

A lot of faces stared back, curiosity being the main expression. All looked around her age - around eleven or twelve. From the grins the first few rows were giving her, they had definitely seen her at the stop.

Please let this go well! Nodding to herself, she stepped forward. Someone coughed loudly - their cough sounding a lot like -

"Waxy! waxy!"

Huh?

I must be hearing things...Ria decided...

Only to freeze the next second as from the back - someone coughed again.

"Wax Face!"

Laughter broke out. She felt her face burn as she looked straight, thankful when she heard the lady behind her.

"Quiet everyone!" The Lady called out.

"Yes, Ms E!" a few kids chorused in unison. "Alright, everyone! This is the last classmate from the lands! Her name is Ria Hiwatari."

At her name, the laughing died down, and whispers broke out. Ria caught a few wide-eyed stares.

"Hiwatari?"

"You mean that clan?"

"Don't laugh dumbass!'

"Does she know?..."

The teacher stepped in front of her, hand on her shoulder. "As you can see, she is from the lands." Ms E stressed the last word. "So be nice." Turning to Ria she smiled. "I will be the homeroom teacher for this year's batch. Call me -"

Another cough sounded, this time, it sounded like "Mr".

The the teacher froze, her eyes narrowing.

Smile suddenly gone, she whipped around, like a shark scenting blood.

Ria jumped aside, barely dodging Ms E's lethal-looking footwear as the teacher stepped back, eyes narrowed at the kids.

"What was that?"

A few kids were looking towards the back, but no one spoke up.

After a pause, the teacher turned back to Ria, smile back on."Your seat is next to Henry Long, at the back. Go on then!"

As the bus started, the teacher bumped against Ria, who, unfortunately, didn't dodge, and almost fell - face first.

This just keeps getting better and better...

Fresh laughter broke out, noticeably from the first few seats, stopping when she glared.

Hoping her face wasn't too red, she looked ahead. The bus was huge - and there were a lot more kids than she had originally thought - with the front seeming to be more fuller than the back seats.

All she wanted was to find her seat and disappear in it for a while. And then, perhaps ask someone what was happening. Now, who was Henry? She turned, but the teacher had already disappeared into the first compartment.

Okay. Finding my seat. She told herself. This should be a piece of cake.

She started down the aisle, trying not to bump into anyone - she had enough weird accidents for the day!

As she passed, she noticed something weird.

It sure wasn't an ordinary bus. For one thing, there was too much place between seats and rows. And, it seemed to be divided into three parts. The first, where all the seats were black, was the largest group. They seemed the most normal, chatting, reading comics or eating food and...throwing food at each other. The next section was smaller, with about four rows, and the seats were a light grey. The kids here were dressed strange, in formal attire. She saw a Korean hanbok, a sari, a toga and also for some reason, a loincloth.

What was the dress code? What was it?

Nothing seemed to be the same - kids in casuals, kids in strange dresses? She looked down at her jeans and parka as she passed the grey seat section. These kids were mostly quiet, and apart from glancing at her, did not even speak.

And then she reached the last section - also the smallest one. The seats were all white, and only six rows were there.

For some reason, the kids were...different.

Of power...the thought suddenly came to her. She shook her head at the thought. They too were dressed formally but in the more understated way. The strangest she saw was a guy who looked like he had jumped out of the Arabian nights. But that wasn't the weirdest thing. It was how they were acting.

Every single one, save one were watching her unblinkingly as she approached. No one smiled, or said anything...just stared.

Okay...weird. She kinda wished her seat was in the front rows.

The first three rows were full, with the last two only having one occupant each. "Umm... who is Henry Long?"

No one spoke. Ria almost felt that she hadn't spoken aloud till the kid in the middle eastern clothes in the third row pointed his thumb back. Besides him, a girl in white watched her with unabashed curiosity.

She nodded, feeling too shy to speak. Instead, she walked towards the last two rows - which were almost empty save for two kids. Ok, gotta be one of them...

On the second last row, on the outer seat, was a kid with a huge book spread on his face. He was dressed in a Chinese style shirt with black pants. And, he seemed to be sleeping.

Should I wake him up? Just as Ria was deciding, a laugh sounded.

"Hey, you! Wax face!" A husky voice called out.

Wait a sec...

She recognized that voice. It was the coughing dude from earlier!

Her head shot up, trying to detect the person.

"Yeah, I am talking to you, birdbrain!"

She looked up - right behind her.

Electric blue eyes met hers.

At the other side of the last row, sitting alone, was a boy in black.

His pitch black hair was messy and longish, and his clothes, probably expensive at some point, looked like a manic with shears had gotten to them. Was he a fan of the The Walking Dead or something?

And the look on his face was predatory. If that wasn't all, he was smiling as if he'd just found a cute puppy...to torture. Said puppy being her. And the smirk on his face only confirmed it. This kid was trouble...or meant to cause it.

She pretended not to hear and looked around disinterestedly while hoping he wasn't Henry.

"Hey, wax wonder! You deaf?"

She heard conversations stop as kids started looking over. For some reason, a few were looking...scared?

Ria gritted her teeth. Just ignore him!

"Oi!" the boy jeered, even louder. "Are you actually ignoring me? Are you stupid?"

That does it.

"Hey, do I know you?' she faced him, temper sparking. His eyes widened, then narrowed.

"Naah. But you are a clan enemy. So, my enemy." He smirked nastily. "Get it?"

"What?!"

"I am from the Clan of Kuran." he smiled as if he expected a reaction. When she didn't show any, he scowled. "Are you really as dumb as you look?"

Ria gaped.

This better not be Henry.

"I asked. Do. I. Know. You? Make sense or shut it."

For a second, the boy looked taken aback, but his sneer quickly reappeared. "You just wait - "

She was not going to take this shit.

"Oh shut up."

The boy's eyes narrowed. "I'm gonna make you eat those words...you - low human!"

Gasps sounded from behind her.

Not that she had time to think as he was still talking. "And even your clothes have humans on them. Weirdo."

She looked down on her limited edition BTS parka.

Oh hell no.

His smile faded when she smiled back.

"Yeah, well at least I don't mug the homeless for clothes." she pointed at him, shaking her head. "Violence is not the answer to everything, you know."

A few kids gasped, and gasped again as the boy got up, electric blue eyes narrowed at her.

The look on his face made her think of the word 'diabolical' for some reason. She didn't know what it meant, but it seemed to suit.

What did he want now?

"What?" She snapped. "Off to rob the homeless? Or do you like dressing like a zombie?"

She heard kids gasp again.

The boy smiled. It wasn't a very nice smile.

"My, my Looks like you aren't a crybaby. Well, let's see, if this changes that!."

He lifted his hand as if to catch something.

And the air suddenly crackled. And Ria swore, that for an instant she saw something blue flash in the boy's palm.

No, that couldn't be right... When she blinked, it wasn't there.

Maybe she shouldn't have made fun of his clothes. Ria started backing away. Something was wrong.

In her defense, he did start it.

The next second the bus shook rather violently, too violently.

She glanced behind to see all the kids gawking at them. In the seat beside her, she saw the sleeping kid move, his hand twitching. As the bus shook again, his book slid down to reveal a head of golden hair. Everyone else was watching the psycho in black.

And no one looked happy. And what they were saying didn't make much sense either.

"Oh, shit..."

"Is that allowed?"

"I thought the academy allows it once that takes place...I think"

"Why is it always us?" Someone was wailing

"We better find cover..."

"Someone go get Ms E!"

She was sure she heard sighs of relief. The bus shook hard again, and there was a thump as a book fell on the floor. In the seat ahead, the blond kid yawned, hands moving as if searching for something besides him. The black haired kid looked at him, then at Ria, and then smiled. "No one's gonna save you, birdbrain. Now then..." He started advancing...only to freeze.

For, the blond-haired kid was awake - and was looking straight at him.

"If you start a fight you will regret it Kian of the Kuran." the blond kid was sitting up, his glasses gleaming. "So, I'd advise you - don't."

The whispers started again, far louder...and way more panicked.

"Now he's awake too"

"You heard the rumors too?'

Ria gaped. What was going on?

The black haired boy - Kian - growled at his direction, clearly not happy at the interference.

"I'm greeting her, bookworm. So stuff it. Actually, go stuff yourself in that nice big book why don't you? Pretty sure we all would like that." He laughed like he'd cracked a funny joke or something.

The blond kid sighed softly. When he spoke, his voice was cold.

"Kian of Kuran. That's a technical impossibility and I have warned you once. Do you choose to ignore it?"

The hobo mugger wavered, looking uncertain at the sleepy kid's threat. But the moment he saw her grin, that look vanished. Raising his arm, he took a step towards her, voice jeering, blue eyes cold.

"Let's see what you are made of, the enemy of Kuran!"

Before she could even ask what enemy, something else happened.

The blond kid's glasses flashed malevolently as he sat up straighter.

Kian stopped as the kid started to speak. Ria though he was reading aloud - it sounded like he was reciting something. That was till she got the hang of what he was saying.

"Among your dearest treasures from the human lands is a thing called 'Mr T' which infant children use for comfort." He spoke in a bored tone. "Mr T is what is known as a teddy, which - "

What the?

Kian of Kuran blanched and almost tripped over his own feet in a hurry to reach the blond kid.

"Alright! All fighting is saved for the academy! Just you wait when I get my hands on you, Long- " he made a threatening gesture at the blond kid.

Long?

Ria stared. The golden haired boy was Henry Long?

Before her, the boy called Kian broke off as the blond kid - Henry started talking again.

"As I was saying, Mr T is actually right -" he stopped as Kian of Kuran let out a strangled noise.

"Alright! Fine!" he howled, furious. His face reddened when he saw her expression. This was priceless. Before she could stop herself, a giggle escaped her.

Ah shit.

Glowering, the black haired boy raised his fist threateningly and instinctively, she raised her hands too, flicking her wrist automatically.

When she did this... something strange happened.

She felt something leave her body in a wave. And, a split second later, the black haired boy spun around in the air as if sucker punched, stumbled and hit the floor. Gasps filled the air and a fresh wave of mutters broke out as he got up, eyes flashing, red splotches on his pale face. And frantic whispers started from behind.

"It was only a matter of time..."

"Well, she's dead..."

"Clan enmity is serious bro"

"Kian is pissed now - look at his face!"

"Fire!"

What the hell?

This time, she saw it. It looked like blue fire, which was crackling, right in the center of his palm.

And her senses were screaming. She knew somehow, that if it touched her, she would be in pain.

A lot of it.

She almost screamed as she felt someone grab her ankle, and next thing she knew she was falling down, even as she saw a flash of blue. Above her, there was a loud bang! and...

...Ms E was smoking...?

Ria's mouth fell open.

It looked like one side of the teacher's chest was on fire.

TF WAS GOING ON?!

Kids were yelling and general panic was filling the bus as Ms E faced the fire-wielding psycho.

Ria was in shock. Where on earth had the fire come from? It had been in his hand?

In front of her, the teacher faced off against Kian.

"Calm down Mr Kuran! You are not authorized to use any ability till you have been sanctioned! Stand down now and no measures will be taken." Ms E definitely sounded ticked off.

How on earth can she be so calm? Her chest was on fire!

And it looked like she wasn't the only one. Most of the kids were crouching behind their seats. All except the ones in the white seats, which included the golden haired kid who'd helped her.

And of course the black haired troublemaker...

...Who was looking...excited? Crouching beside a seat, she watched the crazy scene unfold. The boy called Kian really did not look scared at all, she noted, even as the teacher approached him.

" - you have already broken the first rules - "

Ria saw Kian snort, lip curling. "I've had enough of you, Ms! And I don't take orders-"

At the side, she saw the blond kid shake his head, and go back to his book. Then something else happened.

There was a strange popping sound and Ms E yelped in dismay as she stared at her chest.

Ria gasped, she couldn't help it.

Some sort of liquid was dribbling out of - The - the thing seemed to be leaking?

WHAT WAS GOING ON?!

"You damaged one. You damaged one."

Me E wailed angrily as she grabbed it, and started squeezing her chest rather violently.

Kids gaped, a few moaning when she pulled something 'round'...out with a loud snap and a pop. Like - completely out. Ria screamed in shock. And she wasn't the only one.

The fire-launching psycho was gaping as well.

"You damaged it!" The teacher wailed again, this time angrily. "This is unforgivable!"

"Hey! what the hell?" Kian's expression, one of comical disbelief, was suddenly replaced by his old smirk.

"Aha! I knew it!" He suddenly crowed in a triumphant tone as he pointed at the wailing teacher.

"Tranny Granny Enma!" He yelled. "The academy's famous cross-dresser! That's you, isn't it?!" He jeered.

"I knew it!"

Ria was so far confused she wasn't sure if this was real anymore. It all seemed like some crazy dream - one which was making lesser and lesser sense as it went on.

She suddenly jerked - as she felt something. Some sort of...energy?

And it was coming from...

...The teacher.

Who was now standing eerily still. Too still.

As the black haired kid start to laugh, she felt something strange start to happen.

Something was...wrong.

When Ms E spoke, her voice was almost a whisper. It was so scary, that even Kian of Kuran stopped laughing, all laughter draining away.

"That was the BetaBreastMaximus-200 with durability, and supple softness with a stellar guarantee period which just expired."

What the - ?!

Ria pinched herself just to make sure it all wasn't just in her head.

And sadly, it wasn't.

The creature before them barely resembled the nice, cheerful woman from earlier as she stepped towards Kian - who seemed to be frozen.

"And just who are you calling a tranny granny? It's rude to spread rumors!"

"Hey - it's not a rumor and you are - " Kian was steamrolled as the Ms E continued, almost increasing in size as she loomed over him.

He started backing up, eyes wide. Ria almost felt sorry for him.

Almost.

"Not to mention my BetaBreastMaximus!" Ms E was now hopping up and down in anger.

A weird punching sound followed - like that of the punch machine.

Ria scrambled back, her eyes widening in horror as she realized what was happening.

The pointy heels were piercing the floor of the bus. Holes dotted the floor.

The bus was shaking - almost violently now. By now all kids were holding on to their seats or were crouching with their heads down. A brown haired boy was pointing to the floor, expression grim. His message was clear enough. Stay on the floor.

Ms E was on officially on a 'warpath'.

"Do you even know just how long I had to save on a teacher's salary?"

She caught a glimpse of Kian's wide-eyed face as the teacher suddenly started laughing like a crazy person.

"And I've had enough!"

I have a bad feeling about this...

"However, it still has its most important property." The teacher cackled as she held it up, still hopping, heels barely missing Ria.

The bus shook again, and this time kids screamed out as they bounced hard. Ria almost rolled closer to the 'danger', barely holding on to a seat rest.

Too close!

Her arms were really beginning to hurt now.

Someone save me!

She almost cried when a hand stuck out from ahead - and her gaze met Henry Long's cool silver one.

Grabbing his hand, she somehow managed to get up into the seat next to him, her mouth dropping as he returned to his book.

Behind them, the teacher and the black haired kid were right at the back, but everyone could hear. And what Ria heard was not good.

"I'm done playing nice with rotten brats like you. Oh, now it's time to do it my way."

The teacher pulled a cork? off the top of the ...bomb?

"BetaBreastMaximus 200 knockout smoke deploying! Sleep well, brats. Its gonna be super entertaining when you wake up!"

And the last thing Ria remembered was the teacher tossing the Maximus 200 like a grenade and smoke filling the air...


A/N: Confused? Yeah, you're meant to be! Read on and find out what is going on in the next chapter: THROUGH THE GATES!


A/N: Hey there :)

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

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