Finally, after almost three years, I got around to start actually writing this. I originally didn't want to write a Tai Chi Chasers fanfiction. I don't remember the reason why now. Ideas started during episode three and finally after episode twenty-five aired I started writing random scenes. This was going to be in third-person, but the main character was dull and then I put her in first-person and she got a personality…. Which has made her hard to control.
Also, originally I was going to have an older character that would be paired with Luka. I didn't like the idea too much. This was before episode fourteen aired.
This first chapter takes place between episodes six and seven.
Special thanks to Kimiko Heroux, FranzyPearlfan and SW11615 for Beta reading this first chapter.
I had to keep running with the hopefully five-second head-start. It was amazing how all the hallways tend to look the same when terrified and running for your life. I looked back and— Ow! Stupid wall! Why put yourself here?! … It was the same corner too… And once again I was cornered by the questionably intelligent, creepy Dragonoid. Huh, twice in three days, that's a new record. Hopefully it could get to once in three days. That would be very nice. Better if it never happened again.
I turned, death-glaring at Ave. If he took only ten steps closer, just like he could any time before… "Go ahead. I dare you to come closer." Unlike the last time I said that, he didn't move, having that same wary expression he always had when this close to anyone, especially because we were on flat ground. The strange thing was Ave had mostly ignored me alone for the first few weeks I knew him, and for a week or so he completely avoided me after finding out my age. After that he tried talking to me. I couldn't remember exactly what it was because I had ran away from him, but half of the stuff he says is creepy, so it likely would have been something like that. For a while I'd been able to scare him with sudden movements, but that stopped working so well three months ago. And he claimed to be a "ruthless warrior". Right… No! One step closer is enough! No, stay away. Stay. Away.
He jumped back and a glowing blue arrowhead stuck deep into the stone wall behind me, clipping a few strands of my black hair in the process. I'm saved! If that had been any closer….
"Leave her alone, Ave." The all too familiar long-haired albino stood just down the hall, leaning against the wall, giving The Glare to Ave. If he ever gave The Glare to anyone that meant he was about to hurt them.
Ave narrowed his eyes at him. "Just because she's your apprentice doesn't make her special." If only you knew. If only you knew. Then it would be hilarious. Ave took a step back; The Glare must have gotten to him. He glanced at me, as if asking to help him. A very visible thin line of red went across his cheek. He really needed a tan…. I narrowed my eyes at him. Really? After all of this for the past year I'm supposed to help you?
Now that he was gone…. I smiled sheepishly. "Hey, Luka…."
"You need to learn how to defend yourself." As usual he was expressionless.
I folded my arms. "He's faster than everyone here combined and has a freaky, long, snake tongue. What do you expect me to do?!" Sure he was the weakest one here. Just yesterday he lost an arm-wrestling match to Duran. How a dragon with arms barely the length of my hand could do that… "Is there a way I can make him stop scaring me? I'm never going to let him hug me." Where did that come from?
He gave me a look that seemed to ask why I would even have said that. "I taught you how to use Water in a hook-shot, didn't I? Just hit him from behind and he will back off." He sounded really annoyed. Normally he wasn't like this. For the past two months or so he'd occasionally be this distant and irritated at the same time. What was his name… oh yeah.
"Did you or anyone else fight Rai again?" His eyes narrowed at the mention of the Tigeroid's name. "Normally you're not like this with anyone, especially a Tigeroid." Over the past two months he'd taken a strange interest in Rai, like he had to defeat him. It was true Luka hated all Tigeroids, but Rai was different. Wait… Rai wasn't the one Tigeroid Luka hated the most, was he? …No, that was over twelve years ago when Luka's hatred started. And from what I heard, Rai was only about twelve or so, so he wasn't even born when that happened….
Whatever expression he had was gone now. "He's like you. He can use Tai Chi without an Activator." A brief expression flashed over his face. "Unlike you he's barely a threat."
That wasn't a compliment. I glared and stomped up to him. "What does that mean?"
"You can't fight."
"I can too!"
"If you fought you would be the first to die." I threw a punch at him. I didn't see his hand move as he caught my fist. He yanked me forward, crushing me against his chest, securing me in place with his arms as he lifted me up and rested his chin on my head. He knew I didn't like this. "You would be dead by now."
"Let go! Can't breathe!" He set me down and loosened his grip enough for me to turn around.
Now for revenge. I jabbed him with my elbow, forgetting one important detail: armor. Painful tingles ran up and down my arm. Funny bone… I could feel his stare.
"Jahara taught you better than that." He let go and walked down the hall with me.
I glared at his back. "Just wait until the day you're not wearing any. Jahara never said anything about armor."
Just then shouts echoed down the hall, followed by a bang from a Break card.
I shook my head. "If Jahara can beat Ave to a pulp any time she wants to and he knows it, why does he still provoke her?"
"He doesn't know Jahara can invite her brothers to visit any time she wants."
Even though she really didn't need to….
Jahara did have a younger brother and five older ones. Apparently they were all very protective of her, especially after one of the biggest battles that happened back on Suhn eight to ten years ago that resulted in a lot of deaths on both sides. Most of the living Tigeroids were captured and the remaining Tigeroids fled to here. Their current hiding place was unknown, and every time it seemed like it was found it was just an old, abandoned one.
Luka stopped and I bumped into him. "I have to talk to General Vicious. Stay here." He went on ahead, entering the room were meetings took place down the hall.
I paced around for a while, but close enough to where Luka had left me so it wouldn't be considered as not staying there. The last time I left he didn't let me eat dessert for three days.
I turned, watching Jahara approach. "What did Ave do this time?"
"The usual," she said. "You won't have to worry about him for a while." She looked around. "Do you know where Luka is? He said we could train today."
"Talking to the General about something," I frowned. "I have to stay here. What if Ave came back? He's good at recovering really fast. I don't think he'd let me punch him in the nose like last time."
She stared at me for a moment. "Ave was that close to you?"
Why put heavy meaning in his name? "Yeah. I dared him to get closer, he did, and I punched him." She still stared at me like I was either lying again or saying something she didn't understand. "Why, is that weird even for Ave?" That was three days ago, and with how talkative Ave was Jahara should have heard about it by now….
She laughed lightly, although it sounded forced. "No. Well… you see…" She glanced around, looked behind me, and for a second her voice rose in pitch. "Hi, Luka!" She cleared her throat, fake coughing and lowered her voice. "Hi."
He looked at her and then at me, possibly wondering the same question: What was going on? He turned to me. "You have an assignment. You're going to spy on the Tigeroids."
Jahara frowned. "What if she's found out?"
"She'll be fine," he said, "We're going to make it look like we're capturing her and let them take her. Duran said there's a Tai Chi signal. We can use that to our advantage."
Jahara nodded. "… I'm coming with you…?" She smiled when Luka nodded. "What if they find it before we get there?"
That's different. Team missions were usually between Luka and Garnia and Jahara and Ave.
"We're leaving in ten minutes."
I gaped at him. "Don't I get a say in this?"
He turned to me. "We need you to do this."
"I'm staying here, and you can't make me go." I folded my arms, giving him The Glare, hoping I'd pull it off as well as he did because my eyes weren't quite as piercing as his were. The colored lenses I used to make my eyes look blue probably weren't helping very much, either.
Jahara glanced at me. "It would keep Ave away from you."
Jahara offered me a card. "If you go I'll give this to you."
I narrowed my eyes. "Are you bribing me?"
"Fine, but I'm not going to be happy about this." I took the card. It was one of Jahara's extra Break cards. I looked up at Luka. "What would happen if the plan goes wrong, and they don't find us?"
"We can use this." He held out a card. I reached for it, but he held it well above my height. "You'll get to see it later." For a second I thought I saw him smile, and it wasn't friendly.
We went to the middle of a forest where apparently the card was. Jahara used her Thread Tai Chi to tie my wrists together and to loosely tie around my neck. I had had to put on old, beat up clothes to make it look like I put up a fight. The bruises I had gotten from constantly tripping on tree roots made it look more convincing.
Luka handed me a thin chain with a pendant on it that had the picture of the back of a Tai Chi card. "Hide it under your shirt."
"Why?" I put it on at one of his stares.
Jahara walked on ahead. "I'm going to keep watch."
Earlier Luka had carved a nearly perfect circle bulls-eye onto a large curved piece of wood. He leaned it against a tree, backed away, and started to use his Pierce card to create mini versions of the arrowheads and flicked them at the target, getting each one in the center.
I took the necklace out, examining it. It was a locket… Luka knew I wanted one… Wait, was it actually a Tai Chi card?
I jumped. Luka's voice sounded like it was in my head.
He turned to me, flicking another mini version of Pierce, hitting the target in the center. Without looking. His lips didn't move. 'It's the Link Tai Chi. It only requires to be worn by the user.' He looked at me as if I were an idiot. 'Yes, I have one, too.' He started to speak normally. "It won't work all the time. You need to be in a calm state of mind in order to use it."
"But I never have a calm mind."
Jahara ran over. "They're coming." She picked up the extra thread that connected to what was around my neck and gently led me.
Luka was so going to pay for this.
Five minutes later….
"Did they leave?" I asked.
Luka stopped, tensing. Not too far away were voices. He stared in the direction where the voices were coming from, frowning. "Two of them must be guarding their airship." Jahara nodded, looking in the same direction.
"Which two?" I asked, trying to stand as tall as I could to see, too. That meant there were at least four…
Jahara replied. "The short one and," she paused, "Rai." She turned to me. "Usually the short one and the one that uses the Wall Tai Chi team up."
"You mean the two that tricked Garnia with Illusion two months ago?" Apparently he'd tried flattening them with his oversized mallet and got it stuck in the human-made ground that was called "cement". That would have been kind of funny to watch.
Luka took a few more cautious steps, still watching where the voices were coming from. After a minute or so he motioned for Jahara to follow. Off a ways flashes of pink were moving between the trees, along with a much harder to see blue.
"Well, they're going the other way, so…" I began walking the other way. I stopped very short and turned. What was— Luka held a good length of the thread. There was something in his expression I really didn't like. He got out a card and Activated it, the character for Destruction appearing. Big, hairy spider with glowing eyes! I screamed, jumping away from it. I glared at Luka as it disappeared. "You're mean." I turned to glare at Jahara. "It's not funny!" Destruction was one of the really annoying characters that could be in multiple classes of Tai Chi, it being a Technique-type Tai Chi that could also be used as an Attack-type and Defensive-type.
The voices became louder and more urgent. Jahara led me again, faking the annoyed expression she was very good at making.
Luka glanced back as the Tigeroids got closer. "We don't need her to escape." His voice was loud enough for the Tigeroids to hear. Yes, don't let her escape… Wait. That's me.
One of the Tigeroids, a girl wearing a pink shirt that was a little too long, activated a Stream Tai Chi. That must be Sena. Luka activated Water, the attack overpowering Stream, though it was blocked by the other Tigeroid's Wall Tai Chi. He glanced back. "Take the girl back to the Luftdrake!"
'I have a name you know!' I shouted at him through the Link Tai Chi.
Jahara nodded and tugged me away when shards of ice cut through the thread, freeing me. Who did that?!
'Sora, run!' He shouted at me the same time the Tigeroids told me to run, too.
I turned and ran, the last sight of the battle being Jahara getting involved in a fight with Sena. Where am I supposed to go?!
The sounds of the battle quickly faded.
I slowed to a walk. Earth forests weren't this quiet, were they? Somewhere from behind I heard a Tai Chi card activate. What…? I turned just as green glowing whips knocked me back and bound me to tree. Why?! I hate you, Luka; I hate you. You brought me into this. When I get out of this I'm going to— I stared at Ave as he walked out of the cover of the trees. He never left the Luftdrake without his floating platform and his own personal robot army. And because he fought didn't fight as well on flat ground as he did in the air…. He kept stopping and looking back to where I had come from, even as he spoke to me.
"I saw what Luka did. He doesn't respect you much after all." That was the first time he said more than three words to me.
"At least he respects me more than he respects you." I can't reach my Water card….
"I'm not the one he's endangering with this mission." His attention became more focused. "If the Tigeroids find out about you, you will die."
Are you trying to get me to turn against my—
A huge block of ice rammed into Ave, knocking him away. A boy that looked about a year or two younger than me with long, black hair practically came out of nowhere and used a dagger made of ice to cut the whips that bound me to the tree.
I stared at him. I forgive Luka now.
"Are you all right?" he asked.
I nodded and hid behind him when Ave stood back up. Well that only made me look pathetic… I stepped to the side.
Ave stared at me, looking like he didn't understand what I was doing. "He's only trying to gain your trust. After we defeat him, we're going back to the Luftdrake."
Stop talking! Do you want me to get caught?! And why do you keep saying "we"?!
The boy glanced at me.
"Half the stuff he says doesn't make sense and the other half shows how creepy he is," I said, getting an annoyed look from Ave. I glared at him. "You know it's true."
That only agitated him, and his Activator and likely his Whip card slipped into his hands. Someday I'm going to dissect those sleeves to see how he keeps his stuff up them. He activated Whip and the attack was frozen by the boy's Ice card. Ave activated Whip again, this time there were a lot more whips than there usually was. The boy froze most of them, not reacting in time to several whips coming at him from the side. He was knocked away and dropped his card.
Ave must have learned that from when he really annoyed Jahara a while back and she used his Whip card against him to stun him like that. The boy looked as if he'd been hit hard enough to stun him for a while.
"Attack him," Ave said, "I'll tell General Vicious you defeated the Tigeroid on your own."
What? The boy managed to glance at me. It was almost like he was judging me.
Ave took a step closer. I picked up the card the boy dropped and pointed it at Ave. "Back off!" My voice shook as badly as my hand. I expected him to laugh at me, like he would in any fight against a Tigeroid. Instead he stepped back.
"You can't even use that." Was that a hint of doubt? "If you won't attack him…." Another card slipped into his hand. Seriously, how does he even pick the card he wants?!
"Back off!" I shouted the first thing that came to mind. "Ice!" Well, that was—
The character on the card began to glow and a matching one appeared in the air. A blizzard swept out of it, gaining intensity and making Ave go flying back.
I stared at the card, for few seconds feeling a bit lightheaded. I can do that with Tigeroid cards?!
Luka's voice startled me. 'The Tigeroids should be there by now.' He "left" before I could ask what just happened.
"Finn!" Sena ran up to the boy, helping him up. "Are you all right?" Her current gentleness didn't match how Jahara had described her. So that's what the Tigeroid accent sounded like.
The other Tigeroid ran over. "What happened?"
"Ave," I said.
They turned to me. Sena glanced at the card in my hand, which I quickly gave back to Finn. "You fought a Dragonoid? On your own?" She looked and sounded surprised.
"I've done it before." When Luka helped me in a friendly environment, anyway….
"For now come back to the Airship with us," Sena said, "The Dragonoids might come after you again."
I followed them, but only because Ave tended to recover annoyingly fast.
The forest started to become more alive again with chirping birds.
Sena turned to me, "I'm Sena, this is Donha," she gestured to the one that used the Wall Tai Chi, "and this is Finn." I already knew who he was.
"Sora," I said. While Sena and Donha talked about something I caught up to Finn. "How much did you hear before?"
That's… not good… I continually straightened out the curls in my dark hair. "You won't say anything, will you?"
"Ave was making it look like you're on his side." His voice implied that he was answering "no". So he didn't know. That's a relief. I'm not going to die after all.
The Tigeroid's Airship looked… well… like a tiger's head. It was so small compared to the Dragonoid's Airships, and a lot plainer, as those airships were more of a strange cross between a dragon and a bat and were built for combat. One hit, and this airship would be destroyed. Okay, that thought is not comforting. The airship's yellow color completely stuck out in the clearing. A wide staircase led to an open door in its side. I cautiously climbed it, ready to run if it started to close. The others were already in the airship, watching me.
"Are you okay?" Sena asked.
"No. I'm not used to airships like this." They stared at me. "Airships, like you know… the ones that the humans here have. Airplanes. Yeah." The stairs led to a short hallway with doors on both ends. At least the airship felt safer than it looked….
One of the doors opened and a young blond boy wearing glasses ran up to us. "We were worried about you!" He skidded to a halt and looked up at me. "Oh… hi." He glanced at Sena.
"I'll explain in a bit," she said. "Where's everyone else?"
There were more?
"Rai is in the kitchen. He's really upset you didn't bring him along," he said, making it sound like it was completely normal, "Hak is with him."
We followed him down the hall, down another short hall, and into what looked like a very plain kitchen. Another Tigeroid, this one had long red hair that somehow bunched together into a low ponytail without anything to hold it that way. He glared at Sena. "Why didn't you tell me there was a Tai Chi character?!" His accent was strange. It sounded like a weird mix between light Tigeroid, something else that I wasn't familiar with, and strangely even some Dragonoid.
Sena ignored him and quickly introduced me to the others, the short one being named Tori, and the redhead being Rai. That's who Luka wanted to fight? Why?
Rai kept looking back at me, frowning. He glanced at Finn, then at me, and laughed. "You look like Finn!"
Sena glared at him. "I don't see what's so funny about that, Rai."
My hair is shorter and curlier….
A small, white cat with gray stripes jumped up onto the table. Cat. That's so much cuter than Duran.
"I thought I sensed another Tigeroid," he said. Wait, what? Duran always sensed me as a Dragonoid….
Luka's voice startled me. 'I was right.'
'Don't do that.'
'When Duran couldn't sense what you were, I thought that the cat couldn't either.'
'So you risked my safety? Like Ave said?'
'That idiot doesn't know what he's talking about. You'll be safe as long as you keep It a secret.'
'Keep what a secret? Are you coming back for me?'
'The Tigeroid Airships have back decks. Find it and go out after dark.' He left before I could ask him what he knew about why I could use Tigeroid cards.
The cat –Hak?- had been talking to the Tigeroids, something he said made them look worried.
Sena frowned. "The Dragonoids should still be nearby… If they find us or Komorka before she gets back…."
"They would have left by now," I said, "Dragonoids don't usually say in an area when they've been found." They all stared at me. Uh… "After a year, you learn their strategies." Rai, Tori, and Hak looked confused.
"The Dragonoids were trying to capture her," Sena said.
"What?!" Rai quickly stood up, knocking his chair over. "You should have told me!"
Sena glared at him. "It's not like we were expecting them to show up."
"I'm wanted because I can use Tai Chi cards without an Activator," I said.
Tori looked really interested. "Show us!"
Sena frowned. "She's already been through a lot today," she said firmly. She looked at me. "Are you tired?"
Well… Rai started to argue with the others, something about how he could defeat any Dragonoid he fought. "A little bit."
"Come on." She led me down another hallway and opened a door at the end. "You can have this room. We have a few extra guest rooms."
I stared around at the rather plain room. There was a small table next to the bed and there was a circle window on the wall. I turned to her. "I don't have to share?"
She looked confused. "No?"
Yes! I get my own room!
"Do you want me to show you around now or maybe a bit later after you rest for a while?"
"Now is good." Find my way out and Luka could come and get me sometime…. "I kind of wanted to get away from all the noise..."
Sena nodded. "Rai can be really obnoxious." From what I heard about him, that was an understatement.
The rest of the airship didn't have much else and was built more for living in, the opposite of the Dragonoid Airships and even the Luftdrake. A set of stairs led up to another hallway with small, round windows and a door that led to a wide open deck. The walls surrounding it were high enough to keep anyone that leaned over the side from falling. I looked over the side. The fall looked like it would hurt….
"We should go back inside," Sena said, glancing around, "Just in case they're still looking for you."
They would be halfway back to the Luftdrake by now… I followed her back inside.
"Do you live somewhere nearby? We could take you there if you need to get a few things."
Considering where my house was back on Suhn… "I live too far away and don't know how to get there from here."
"Do you have any family nearby? They must be worried about you."
I shook my head. "One half is back home and the other half…" I paused. "Is here and he doesn't care about me that much."
She frowned. "Only two?"
I nodded. "The only two I ever knew." It was easier talking to her than anyone back on the Luftdrake, including Jahara.
"Can I ask how many siblings you have? I have five. All of them are sisters."
I hoped the shock on my face wasn't as bad as I thought it was. Five? "That's three more than I have."
Rai started yelling something about "how he could beat him and he only lost on purpose". Even a lot of rooms away he was still loud….
Sena let out a long sigh. "If you want, you can get something to eat and go back to your room. You can sleep in tomorrow. We won't leave until late morning."
After it got dark and hopefully the Tigeroids were asleep, I walked up to the deck. It was nice and breezy, and there were so many stars… So pretty…
"You look like an idiot."
Still smiling, I turned and saw Luka. My smile vanished. Oh, it's you. He stood on a floating platform and jumped onto the deck. He tensed and glanced around. He gave me my beat-up backpack that I found lying on the ground several weeks ago. It had all of my stuff in it, including my black hair dye that Jahara must have packed for me. "In a few days Garnia is going to bring you back for an hour. Every a week one of us will bring you back. If the Tigeroids ever ask where you were, lie
Thank you. Wait… "Ave saw me use Ice earlier. He didn't tell General Vicious I'm a hybrid, did he?"
He stared at me, his face serious. "You did what?" Even he didn't know… That was weird. Ave always told on me with something as small as taking the last muffin. So why not this time with apparently one of the secrets Luka told me to never tell anyone? He hissed something underneath his breath that sounded like a curse word. "Who else saw you?"
"Finn. You know, the one with long, black hair." I stopped smiling.
"Be careful around him." Why? He let out a sigh. "You used the card without an Activator, didn't you? Do you feel all right?"
"I got a little lightheaded. It was stronger than I expected…."
He gave me a cardholder and something that kind of looked like an Activator, the difference being it was only one piece, thicker, and wider than the ones I was used to. Luka was quiet for a while, avoiding eye contact. "They were your mother's. She asked me to give them to you when you were ready."
Oh… I didn't talk for a while. "What was she like?"
For the first time, he didn't avoid the question. "From the short time I knew her, a lot like you," he hesitated again. "She was a Tigeroid." He never said she was a Dragonoid, so I couldn't be angry with him for that. But for not telling me sooner I could.
He started to leave, maybe because he was sensitive about the subject, especially when it was about his mother.
I blocked him, glaring at him. "How long have you known about this?"
He looked away. "…For a while."
I stepped into his line of vision. "And you never told me?! Why?!"
"I didn't think you would ever even use a Tigeroid card," He didn't look directly at me.
"When were you going to tell me?"
He still didn't look at me. "Not until I thought you would be ready. I was planning to after you got used to them…."
"Because then I would accept it more."
I narrowed my eyes. "You better not have any more secrets about me. I will force them of you."
There was just a hint of expression over his face. "Try."
It was a dare. And I never win dares with him…. I folded my arms. "You could have told me earlier."
His face became serious. "The others would have found out and hybrids are against our laws. Do you want to die?"
He walked around me, leaving. "Use the Activator whenever you can. Using Tai Chi cards is exhausting enough and you'll be able to use more than just a few before experiencing the after affects," he paused. "Be careful."
"You're really going to leave me here?"
He turned back to me, his expression back to emotionless. "What does it look like?"
I glared at him. "Just because you're the older and pure Dragonoid doesn't mean I have to listen to you."
He let out an irritated sigh and for a second there was glimpse of a smile. "I'm your legal guardian."
That's not fair! I gave him The Glare. "I hate you."
His expression and voice were so emotionless I couldn't tell if he was serious or sarcastic. "I love you, too."
I turned away from him. With what I heard about the Tigeroids from everyone, would I be that safe? They seemed really nice, at least….
But with what happened earlier and knowing how Ave is, sooner or later he'd use that secret against me….
If you have any ideas for what could happen in future chapters, I won't mind hearing them.