Chapter 16: Hiashi's Residence

Shayla was on her stomach snoring. An arm groped about for another pillow or her husband, anything to provide comfort on this stiff bed roll that was little better than the hard floor. Even carpet would be better than this. She was too tired to think straight. Where she was and the events of the past day were slowly coming back to her. Someone sat next to her and began massaging her shoulders and neck. It was Hiashi, she knew his touch instantly. The massage had a way of waking her up while relaxing her. "Wha time is it?" she mumbled into the pillow.


"Ohhhh it's too early for that." Shayla complained.

"Wish it was that. But it isn't."

"Then what the hell are you doing waking me up at this hour?" she grumbled. The back rub starting to wake her up.


Instantly she was awake. School?! Then she remembered Makoto's plan. Somehow the idea of going to school wasn't as appealing now as it was the previous night. Even then she wasn't thrilled about it. "Can I call in sick today?"

"No, Red, we have to get going. The bath water is the way you like it, nice and hot. I have your uniform ready. Now I found some of Father's money so I will get us something to eat. Now hurry up. We don't want to be late."

Hiashi sounded almost excited about the idea of going back to school. Shayla didn't want to get out of bed, even a poor excuse for a bed like this one. Unfortunately that decision was taken out of her hands when the blanket was playfully snatched away. Shayla tried to get it back and chased Hiashi out of the room. But he was clothed, Shayla was not and the morning brought with it an even cooler chill than last night. She could almost see the heat from the bath tub as it beaconed to her. She looked at the semi-warm blankets which offered the possibility of more sleep then to the hot water bringing with it a day at <ugh> school which was inevitable anyway. Though she usually preferred to fight such inevitability, she was presently cold and awake. She went to the bath without another word. Her spouse smiled slightly then folded the blanket and put it on a pile of boxes that had somehow been stacked by the door during the night. Then he left, leaving her alone in a house, a world, she barely knew.

Bahhh Shayla wasn't going to let that worry her. He would return soon enough. Hopefully it would be long enough for her to look over the house by herself. Shayla would admit her husband was smarter than her. Also that this was his world and not hers. But all his explaining to her what things do and how things are on Earth made her feel stupid. He didn't mean it, of course. She knew she needed stuff explained to her, just as he needed her to explain things about El Hazard. But her rash behavior, her acting without thinking, and her impatience sometimes gave the incorrect impression that she wasn't intelligent. She was sensitive about that. Hiashi helped her realize that if she actually took a moment to think and consider her actions, she was far from stupid. That only increased her sensitivity to such insults.

After bathing just long enough to get clean, she got dressed and decided to go down into the cellar with Riho right behind her. The one hanging lightbulb was dim and took a second to warm up. Nervous, she activated her Lamp. It wasn't needed, but it made her feel better. The smell was almost as bad as a Bugrom lair. The walls were decaying. Poorly built wooden shelves held open boxes of stuff. A few shelves had been broken by the weight they could no longer carry. Riho thought he heard a mouse or rat and charged behind a set of free sanding shelves.

At random Shayla looked inside one of the boxes. Old pay stubs, receipts, and tax forms; nothing of value. Under everything was a school book at least thirty years old. It was yellow with age and the elements. She opened it out of curiousity and it fell apart in her hands. The page she was looking at was barely readable, but it was filled with math problems. About half were marked with red ink. Other pages were the remains of math lessons and problems. She couldn't read who it belonged to, but suspected it was Hiashi's fathers. He kept the old book to help him with taxes. "Pathetic." she thought and moved on.

She was hoping she might find something interesting. Something of sentimental value she could present to her husband. But instead found smelly old clothes, tools, and the remains of an experiment in do-it-yourself pickling. She was just about to give up when something caught her eye. A cardboard box at the bottom of a stack had been crushed partially open in one corner. Inside Shayla could see part of a fancy box. Newspapers and magazines from the past decade where set aside as Shayla pulled out the single item of value in this mess. Riho stopped his rodent hunt for a closer look at the box. He sniffed it saying, "Not old. Just put here. Hidden."

The box was a deep shade of blue with brass borders and legs. It was decorated with mountains and forests surrounding a tiger. Unfortunately it was locked. Shayla was about to force it open when she noticed a letter in the bottom of the cardboard box. It was new, untouched by the time and exposure everything else in this dreary basement. Shayla suspected it was slipped in the opening where she first saw the fancy box. Hiashi's name was written on the envelope. The discovery thrilled her so much she opened the envelope and pulled out the letter and key and started reading.

The letter was from Hiashi's mother. She intended to tell him about the letter and box after she moved into their new home. She told him how sorry she was that things turned out the way they did and how she wanted to try and make everything right. She came to Shininobe against her family's wishes to pursue a history teaching position. But that didn't work out and was on the verge of losing everything when she met his father. She knew it was wrong, but she was desperate. The last part of the letter was about the box. It was a relic of family history she took with her. It was intended to be a wedding present for her own marriage, but knew it would be lost on her husband. So she kept it hidden for her own child. The legend attached to the relic was a promise of a guardian who would appear and save the worthiest member of the family in his darkest days. The letter ended with her asking Hiashi for forgiveness, a promise that things will get better, and a wish that Hiashi would find a way to put what happened behind him and learn how to enjoy life.

More intrigued than ever, Shayla hurried upstairs to open the box. Inside was a statue of a woman surrounded by an aura of fire with a sword of flame. There was something familiar about the statue. The style of the woman's armor and clothes almost looked like a combination of medieval Japanese and modern El-Hazardian. Shayla's eyes went wide in gleeful surprise and a howl of laughter echoed in every corner of the house. She had seen her face in the statue's.

"What's so funny?" Hiashi said behind her.

"Great. Now he's going to get all serious." she thought. Shayla put the statue back in the box. "I found something your mother wanted you to have."

Hiashi took the note and considered reading it. He looked at Shayla and asked what it said. "You know most of it. She said she was sorry and wants you to move on. She also gave you this."

She recited what the letter said about the legend then opened the box. Hiashi was more shocked than anything when he saw the statue with his wife's face. In a second he understood her amusement and joined in. Shayla hugged him. "Like the legend said, I'm your guardian and I'm not going away."

She held his hand as he read the letter. His eyes were shiny with forming tears. "Remember what she said. Put it behind you." Shayla told him.

Hiashi said nothing but kneeled down in prayer to thank his mother and whatever forces of fate which gave him his wife. The letter and box were carefully placed in the stack of boxes. A stone shell covered the pile and sank into the cobblestone floor. "All that is going back with us. I'd like to send it through the portal as soon as we get to school."

"Too bad that's the only way home." Shayla muttered.

"Now now, this isn't like your elemental church school. Shininobe is different."

"You and Makoto and Nanami told me a lot about school in this dimension. It sounds worse."

"It's just for a while. Until we take care of the Bugrom. Let's go. I have to register you and the others as transfer students. How does Shayla Nose sound?"

"Why does my name have to change?" she asked as they walked out the door

"No one here has a double name like yours. I'm reverting to my old family name too. At least by taking my Uncle's last name we can claim to be cousins if anyone asks. Or do you want to think up a reason why we're so close."

Shayla humphed and looked away. She couldn't. She knew publically acknowledging their marriage would bring up all sorts of questions they'd rather not deal with. At least Miz could stay out of sight and had the advantage of age. But that didn't mean she liked it. Having to keep their union secret also brought up the worry in Shayla's mind that maybe her husband wanted to restart his life here fresh. Shayla made the decision that if Hiashi wanted to stay, she'd stay too. As much as she wanted to go back to El-Hazard, her home, he was more important. It was a tough decision, one she hoped she could keep and prayed she wouldn't have to.

Chapter 17: Shininobe

Fujisawa Sensei met everyone at the front of the school as they trickled in. Hiashi left for the central office to do the paperwork for the new "transfer students" leaving his wife outside. Nanami and the others arrived shortly after them. Nanami was off to talk with her friends leaving the Priestesses alone together. Afura noticed Shayla looked worried. Shayla hung her head low and confessed her concerns. She started with the store where they got the uniform and ended with finding the letter and statue from his mother. She told them how she was worried about the possibility Hiashi might want to stay how she promised herself to stay with him. But she didn't want to. Earth was not her home, she didn't think it could ever be. She was almost in tears by the time she was done.

Afura was angry at first, how dare Hiashi put his wife through this. As she listened, her opinion changed. Hiashi actions may look like he might want to stay, but there could be another explanation. Afura had the advantage of an outside perspective. She could understand how he might be reluctant to spend hard earned money the way Shayla was used to. It became clear to her. Hiashi did not want to stay. He wanted closure. He believed it would be the last time on Earth and wanted to tie up loose ends. Afura smiled to herself and thought, "He's exchanging this world for El-Hazard out of love."

"Why don't you just ask him?" Taulus asked.

"I can't do that. It will upset him. I can't bear to hear the answer." Shayla said admitting her denial.

"I'll talk to him. I'll find out. If he wants to stay, I'll make him tell you right to your face." Afura promised and marched off into the school.

Shayla wasn't sure whether to thank her or hold her back.

Afura met Hiashi in the hall by chance. He motioned her aside. "OK here's your ID. You'll keep your name, but now you're a German student. No one here knows about the education system there so just make it up. Keep it consistent. Now say, Ich heisse Afura Mann."

Afura took the card and looked him in the eye. "Are you staying at home here?"


"Are you going to stay on Earth? Your wife, MY SISTER, is worried sick about it. She thinks you're going to leave her." she said it an angry tone of voice to convey the seriousness of the situation, not because she thought there was any basis in Shayla's anxiety.

Hiashi was in shock, his jaw dropped so far it must have detached. His facial expression was a mix of loss, hurt, even betrayal. That alone would have been enough to convince Afura, or anyone else for that matter, that the accusation was totally unfounded.

"How ... how can she even think that I'd want to remain here and forget about her? I thought I was clear that I'm staying with her and we're going back home to El-Hazard. Earth is not my home. It hasn't been since I met Shayla and it will never again be my home. My place is with her - in El-Hazard. Afura please," he pleaded, "what do I have to do to prove to her that I am serious?"

She saw his eyes, they held the same kind of worry Shayla's did a few minutes ago. Deep eyes of sincerity and emotion told Afura the truth as much as his words. She smiled and kissed him on the cheek. Now he was confused and asked what that was for.

"I should have done that a long time ago. Welcome to the family. I'll tell Shayla my Brother is returning home with us. You get busy and wrap things up here. We still have Bugrom to fight."

"I don't care about the Bugrom! I'm going out there right now and tell everyone that I love her. Then I'm going to pick her up and carry her through the portal. I'm not going to put her down until we're back at the Temple." he declared getting ready to carry it out.

Afura had to physically restrain him. "Husband or not, you still have your duties. The Bugrom need to be taken care of in this world." she continued gently, "I know where your priorities lie. Trust me, I'll make sure she understands. I'm sorry I haven't been very friendly or open to you before. I was jealous. I didn't realize until today that I wasn't losing my friend and Sister, but gaining a new friend and Brother. Now I'm not going to lose either of you."

Hiashi understood, though his eyes told her that he was still willing to carry out his promise and return to El-Hazard immediately. He whispered his thanks and handed her the remaining ID cards and class schedules. He tried to arrange it so the each Priestesses were in the same class with at least one Earther. Unfortunately, it wouldn't be until fourth period that Hiashi would be in the same class as any Priestess. "That's what happens when you take the advanced classes." he said as an excuse, "You, Shayla, and Kaluul have homeroom is in fifteen minutes with Nanami and Makoto."

Afura nodded and left. It was as if a weight had been lifted from her shoulders. Her only regret was that she didn't to this sooner. She smiled at passing students, especially any cute boys. It was good to finally have some fun on a mission. Shayla was watching the door like a hawk looking like an abandoned puppy. Afura felt sorry for her, but knew her concern was unneeded. The new Water Priestess was also concerned. Being the bearer of good news made her smirk. "He is going home. He has always intended to go home." she said simply and paused to watch Shayla's reaction.

The Fire Priestess didn't disappoint her. Shayla's eyes went wide with horror and sadness. Afura continued, "He never even thought about staying here. His heart is with you. His real home is with you, with us, in El-Hazard."

Shayla was happy again, realizing her Sister was just teasing at first. "Well damn him for making me worry like that."

"Damn him, Sister?" Afura said in a slightly more serious tone than before, "How about damn you for worrying like that in the first place? When I told him you thought he wanted to stay, well you hurt him Shayla. It was no less than a slap to his face. He would have done anything to prove himself to you. I think you owe him an apology."

Kaluul was stunned, the Wind Priestess taking sides with the Rock Priest. She never saw it before. Shayla noticed the change too, "Well at least this got you back to your old self. What did Hiashi say about our classes."

Afura was explaining the schedule when they met up with Makoto, Nanami, and Ifurita. The Demon Goddess was different from the last time they saw her. Her hair was let down, accented with two red bows. She now wore the light tan school uniform. Her face revealed none of the power she once tightly controlled. Now Ifurita was like an ordinary student and not the chaos bringer of legend. The transformation set the Priestesses off for a second. Makoto told them he had arranged for Ifurita to share his class schedule with him since she knows what he knows.

Makoto decided not to tell them he used his power to access the school's computers and arrange it himself. As far as everyone else is concerned Ifurita Metsuki is just one of several visiting students and he was lucky enough to be her guide. What the others didn't know won't hurt them.

Nanami didn't hang around long once they got to homeroom. This was where all her friends were. She joined a cluster of five or six other teenage girls and started gossiping. Being away from things for almost a year, she listened mostly but didn't hesitate to reveal a few juicy bits of information about the new girls. Of course she left the fact they were from another world out. Instead she gave them her first impressions which were in fact based of her year-long friendships.

She felt so at ease here, with her friends, at her school. It was so natural, as if she never left at all and the year she spent carving out an existence for herself never happened. Her restaurant was still in her mind trying to get out but now it just seemed almost distant. Her business success mattered a lot to her. She was proud of what she has done and wanted to share it. But it would be too complicated to explain. She had proved herself in a new world starting with nothing. If she could do that there, who knows what she could do here.

Lately she was starting to think she's gone as far as she could go as a restaurant owner. Chain restaurants weren't possible in El-Hazard. The lack of freely available long distance communication and speedy travel would mean she would have to spend the majority of her time moving between individual restaurants and no time for her real duties as management. Without that degree of control, the success or failure of that other restaurant would not be hers. Which meant her income, money, and responsibility were pretty much stuck at the level they were now.

She wanted more and here was the place to do it. She passed one test and was ready for the next with greater risks and rewards waiting at the end. But there was still El-Hazard where she enjoyed her life and the status as the best place to eat on the planet. Which would it be? Nanami didn't think about that, expecting the answer to come on its own. Instead she got reacquainted with her old friends and reclaim the carefree attitude and unlimited possibility of teenagers.

"Have you seen the new list?" Ryoko asked pulling a sheet of paper from her notebook. "It was made right after your brother got impeached."

"Yeah, where have you and Makoto been anyway?" another friend asked.

"Well Makoto and I led that jerk of a brother on a wild goose chase. I bet he's still in Yokahama looking for us. Then we had to make that stop in Tokyo to pick up the exchange students."

"Sounds like quite an adventure!"

"You don't know the half of it. Now let's see this list." Nanami said grabbing it from Ryoko's ready hand. She started at the bottom and read her way to the top. There were a few surprises which definitely made it off limits to the Priestess and Ifurita. Unless, of course, it would be worth a good laugh. Or winning a bet.

Shayla, curious about what all the giggling was about, came over and looked behind Nanami's shoulder. Nanami tried to keep it from her for a second as Shayla asked what the big deal was. Finally Nanami let Shayla snatch it.

"It's a list of the top ten most eligible bachelors at the school." Nanami explained.

"About once a month a bunch of us girls rate the unattached boys and rate them by who'd be the best to date. Go from the bottom." Ryoko continued.

Shayla did so. Most of the names were unknown to her. Number nine was Mecha from the sci-fi club. Ryoko said it was because he was going to get to go to the university of his choice after graduation and he was already popular in his niche. Besides, his parents were rich. Nanami was surprised the ex-president of the baseball club was still there. But according to the others, he was trying to redeem himself. Didn't keep him from dropping more than half way down on the list though.

Number five was a surprise. It was Hiashi. Her husband. He was NOT unattached. Ryoko noticed her confused look. "Well normally the student president gets the first or second position. After all, it has a lot of pull. But he's new and kinda private. Then there's his parents' death. But from I'm sure he'll go up now. It's like he's a whole new person."

"Yeah, Shayla. Better stake your claim now or else you're going to have some competition." Nanami teased.

"I'm not worried. Once he sees this pretty face and gorgeous body, all you other girls won't stand a chance." Shayla said full of self confidence.

"Damn!" Nanami thought, "That joke should have made her go nuclear. What is she planning?"

Shayla left the group smirking, a plan already forming in her head. "He'll be mine before the end of the day." she told them. Her desk was next to Ifurita's. "You have Hiashi next period right?" she whispered to the Demon Goddess.

"Yes but--"

"Tell him the cousin thing is off. I'm going to court him again."

"Is that such a good idea?" Ifurita was not too happy about Shayla's boast. It could interfere with the mission. But the part of her that was a woman couldn't blame her either. After all, her and Makoto were not planning to be cousins either. But their relationship was more introspective. As the bell for class rang, Ifurita wondered what would happen if Hiashi decided to play hard to get this time.

Meanwhile in the Advanced English class, Hiashi was lost in thought. The sensei was going over tidbits of American history to explain colloquialisms. It was more interesting if you thought of it as trivia than as an insight into the culture of the United States. Despite his usual interest in the subject, Hiashi found it hard to pay attention. This wasn't exactly knowledge that would be useful back home through the portal. The most relevant thing in the chapter was how the frontier style of the American West was similar to the unsettled areas of Roshtaria.

His mind started to wander back to his home in El Hazard, to practical matters. He wondered if it would ever be possible for men to be accepted in the Elemental Church. Despite the order from the Grand Priestess, there has been resistance in all levels of the Church and even society. Those few boys who did try to enroll did not last two months. El Hazard culture had accepted the female-only Church and would not change easily or quickly, if at all. He knew others saw him as the exception that proved the rule. It was like he was the apology on behalf of his gender for the crimes of the previous Priest of Rock, how things SHOULD have happened.

There were also resistance to adding a fourth element period. Gender aside, much of modern Church practices, rituals, and the like depended on only three elements. His was out of place, further advancing the view he was anointed to make up for the crimes of the past and his status as an outsider. Even the Grand Priestess has spoken to him about these concerns. While the Church was pushing him to test the limits of the Lamp of Rock, he was not the only one worried about its raw power. Hiashi and the Grand Priestess have even hinted to each other the possibility of retiring the Lamp of Rock when he himself retired. It would be saved for when circumstances require it. Fate and the Eye of God would pick the next holder of the Lamp. Just as he was. Hiashi could live with that. It would justify all his documentation about the Lamp itself if it would help the next one who welds the powerful device on his arm. Plus it was nice to be at the start of a new tradition.

A flying piece of chalk hitting his head brought him back to class. "Would you mind telling the class what you were daydreaming about, Mr.Student Council President?" the teacher asked.

"Well sir ... I was ... er thinking about how to ... implement new policies."

"Concentrate on the subject while you are in my class. Eh?"

"Yes sir." Hiashi decided that even if he wasn't married, he would still return to El Hazard. Even if it was just to get away from this jerk. This sensei nearly made Hiashi reconsider taking the class. He spent a few years in Canada, and while he could speak the language fluently, he kept the local accent and called everyone "hoser". Second year students spoke better.

At that instant, Hiashi suddenly felt like an outsider. As if he was looking at the class with new eyes. It should be familiar. It should be home. But it wasn't. It was as if he was in a dream, that at any second he would wake up in bed with his bride at his side. Hiashi shook his head to clear it, but being on Earth still felt alien.

Interlude: Stairway to the Sky

Persad lay on the floor in a crumpled heap. He expected any intruders to come through the door, not through the floor. Jinnai and Deva were at the circle of mirror portals. He was fiddling with the one leading to Earth as Deva kept a nervous watch. "Are you sure this is such a good idea, Master Jinnai? To send our digger Bugrom back after finishing the tunnel and knocking out the guard. We are totally unprotected." Deva said.

"And where will we put our bodyguards hummm? They don't exactly fit in these tight spaces." Jinnai said as he tried to figure out how to work the controls. His red Bugrom armor proved too cumbersome and silly looking to wear for long. Now he fashioned a new suit of armor the color of a school uniform. Created by (and from) the finest Bugrom, he now looked like the black knight from the Round Table with an insect style. The suit had retractable spikes from the wrists, but they never got used for anything more than tools. Frustrated he pried the panel off with one of his spikes and poked at the wires with a tool the way he saw it done in movies. Somehow he got it to open and he saw the rune he discovered appear on the other side of the mirror.

"And away we go!" Jinnai said laughing as he and Deva went from world to world.

At least Jinnai did. Deva had some problems. It was as if the portal reverted back into a plane of glass to her. Jinnai didn't hear her pounding at the glass or shouting. Confused and angry she messed some more at the portal the way she saw him do it. When Jinnai was half way out of the room, he noticed he was alone. He started working the control panel at his end. There was a lot of swearing, frustration and a few blown circuits but they got it working again. Maybe. It flickered for a few seconds before coming on. Satisfied, Deva walked through tossing her long hair back trying to be nonchalance. Suddenly the portal winked off, turning black the instant Deva walked through. The only part of her still in El-Hazard was a few strands of hair. Just as suddenly the glass became smokey before returning slowly to black. Deva turned and watched those last bits of hair float down, cut off by something sharper than the sharpest blade in all the universes.

It's a good thing I went through when I did, she thought. For a second she wondered what would have happened if she was a second slower. "We'll fix it when we get back." Jinnai said unworriedly ending Deva's train of thought. The portal must have known she was through and shut off. That's all. Right?

End Interlude

Chapter 18 Shininobe

Jinnai met the empty hallway with a triumphant laugh. The clocks told him it was well into the second period and no one will see him. It felt glorious to be back after being away so long. He and Deva could feel the Bugrom calling to them almost as soon as they returned. Soon he would summon them. Just as soon as he figured out how. But that could wait. Right now he was going to get his revenge. Second period, Advanced Chemistry. "God must be smiling down on me. Putting both my enemies in the same class together when I return." he muttered before laughing again. Confident he marched down the hallway.

"You aren't going back?" Hiashi asked as he stared at the Bunson burner.

"I've thought about constantly." Makoto answered. "Ifurita is becoming human. I'm becoming Demon. And my powers have developed further here. And there's another reason."

The two were lab partners for the class. The assignment was to make aspirin. Other students were having a tough time even getting started, but for Makoto and Hiashi it was trivial. "Yeah, but that almost sounds like reasons to go back, not to stay. I'd think you'd fit in better there. That other reason must be a bombshell."

"Ifurita wants to be human and here she can forget her past. Apart from her and being groomed for Royal Librarian, I really didn't have much reason to stay there. And if she wants to live here, that's good enough for me."

Hiashi smiled in understanding. "You're dodging. What's the other reason?" he reminded Makoto.

"...I'm Rune's and Fatora's half brother."

Makoto's lab partner and old friend nearly dropped to the floor. "And the royalty isn't exactly friendly to illegitimate siblings." Makoto finished.

"I guess I can see that."

"But staying means I'll never find out who my biological mother is. The portal here only goes to El-Hazard."

"Makoto, we both know genes don't always determine who our parents are. I mean look at my father. I may have half his genes, but he was no father by any means. Your father, the one who raised you, was better to me than him."

"That's what I was thinking about. Even if I went back, how will I find her? Can I find her. Or maybe hope she can find me. She knows I went to another world as a baby, maybe even this world. That's another reason why I should stay here."

"It won't be the same without ya. You're the best guy friend I have there. Sometimes I feel you're the only one."

"And Mr.Fugisawa?"

Hiashi rolled his eyes, "We both know he's off in his own world with Miz. They got their own group of friends. Let's face it, we'll always be kids to him."

"I guess it is a little tough being the only guy at a shrine full of beautiful girls." Makoto said with a smirk.

"I just keep remembering the best one is mine and that's all it takes." there was a slight pause, "How will the doc take losing his prize pupil?"

"He's got you. I mean you have to do something after you retire. Watch the heat, the mixture is boiling too much."

Hiashi and Makoto returned to the experiment for a few minutes. "Why me?" Hiashi asked after a few steps have been completed.

"The Royal Librarian is to be an impartial advisor in all matters. We don't have any loyalty to any one faction or province. Besides, we're both academics. The research shouldn't be a problem at all. The doc won't be happy about training someone from scratch again, but at least you won't be spending half your time researching Demons."

Hiashi said nothing, considering what Makoto said. Makoto knew enough about the Royal Court and how it worked to give real credibility to what he said. Hiashi never thought that far ahead. He usually lived for the day. His wife taught him that. Maybe now it was time to at least consider the future. It wasn't as if he was going to retire any time soon. There was still much to do as Priest of Rock. But after that...

"I'll have to ask Shayla what she thinks of being the wife of a librarian." Hiashi said.

"I'll ask her what she thinks of being a widow, Usurper." Jinnai said busting through the door in an uncharacteristic show of bravado. The spikes on his armor reduced the door to scrap wood so quickly, opening the door and walking through would have been slower.

Everyone else in the class started panicking. They were pushing each other to get out of the room, away from the frightening evil knight that was the ex-student president. The teacher tried to calm things down and verbally chastised Jinnai, but couldn't get two words out before getting swept away in the sea of students along with Ifurita.

"Jinnai, I was wondering when you were going to get here." Makoto said as he gathered his awakening powers.

Jinnai was about to swat Makoto aside with his spiked arm, but his blow was blocked by a huge stone boken. It must have weighted several hundred pounds, but Hiashi wielded it as if it was a normal wooden sword. It bought Makoto enough time to pull a ball of electricity from the wall outlets and throw it at Jinnai.

As Jinnai staggered back a few steps with a look of confusion Makoto asked, "Not quite as helpless as you thought?"

Jinnai's confusion turned to anger and he called out for his legions out of reflex. He was just as surprised as everyone else when he got an answer. The whole wing of the school rumbled as if it was another quake. Students started evacuating, after the first quake and a few aftershocks, they were pretty calm. A few where even apathetic about it and complaining. That is until a squad Bugrom appeared. Where they came from, no one noticed. All the cared about was going to their leader. Deva heard Jinni's call in her mind then she heard the answer. "He was right! My children did come!"

Her own laughter, now like Jinnai's, called out and she was answered. Her most powerful troops, lost in the Eye of God bowed down as students realized this was no earthquake. Deva turned in a circle, savoring the moment. Victory was nigh. Suddenly something moved from the shadows. It was by Cyber's inexperience and Deva's luck that saved the Bugrom Queen from having her throat cut. Cyber tripped on a shadow and landed hard, knocking the wind out of him. Deva drove her foot into his back, "Now what were you trying to do little man? Playing Phantom?" she taunted.

Deva's shadow wasn't big enough for him to move through, but enough for someone with more experience to lend a helping hand. To Deva's eyes, her attacker vanished into the ground. She stepped back in surprise. Another person, this time a real Phantom emerged from the shadow of a fallen Bugrom and dispelled the illusion. Cyber slowly got up, ready to continue, but Gyronai restrained him with one hand on his arm.

When the light hit them, Deva noticed something. The young human's skin color wasn't any of the normal shades she has seen. He had a blueish tinge. He was human enough. Jinnai described him perfectly from his temper tantrums, except now he was turning blue. Gyronai noted it too. It had started earlier and so far only happened in the sunlight. The shadows conceal much. It was a proverb among her people, but it was appropriate here and now. If Cyber noticed, he didn't show it. Gyronai threw a look at Deva, a look that said, "Try to stop me and I will kill you in a second." Queen Deva does not like to be threatened, but she knew this assassin not only meant it, but could do it easily. Her warriors parted and the pair returned to the shadows. Cyber's skin returned to normal when the sun no longer shined on it. Together they walked into the deep shadows of the school wall. Gyronai was berating Cyber for his brash attack. Deva was not like the other Bugrom. He did nothing but listen to her lecture and try to brush it off.