At long last, the final chapter! Sorry for the editing mistakes in the last chapter. I read through it and corrected whatever I could find after I got that review. Hopefully this one isn't as messy.

To all those who have reached this point from book one, holy crap you're amazing. I hope you liked the story, as long blown over ten books as it was. Thank you so much for reading and reviewing!


A part of Kai knew he had abandoned rational thought when he half crawled, half tripped between them and the stranger and raised his wings protectively. He kept Ayah at his side, and his hand on Kenny's wrist. But he couldn't feel the boy's heartbeat above the pounding of his own.

But all he needed now was for these…whatever they were, earth creating aliens to reject them or find them a threat for whatever reason. He didn't care to think why. Only that he'd be damned to let down his guard right as they fell into an alien world.

Besides, the hot sun shining down leaked strength into him, easing if only a bit of the pain away, it gave him the tendril of strength he needed to keep himself upright.

He bared his teeth.

The black eared…fox man could have only been a few years older than them, but how would Kai know? They might've aged differently, being different species for most of their lives. He took a step back at Kai's threatening stance and did a fair bit of staring at his wings. But, rather than looking afraid, he looked stunned, and continued to do so after he gave three, cattle-rancher worthy whistles that hurt Kai's ears.

He felt a tug on his shirt. From the corner of his vision he could saw Ayah looking up at him.

"Kenny's still alive," she said, softly. "Max is too. And I don't think he's going to hurt us, so just sit down and focus on keeping Max and Kenny warm, yeah?"

"Dang, this sun feels good," said Tyson.

"Aye," said Ray breathlessly.

Lee and Mariah said nothing, too stunned for words.

Despite that, he kept his eyes to the spearsmen, even as he folded in his wings and focused on digging up as much heat as he could from within him and from the sun above. In no time he had a bundle of bodies cuddled up to his wings and cold fingers sticking into his warm feathers.

"You doing okay, Ray?" Kai asked.

"Yeah. I…I think it took all the excess energy, that ball thing. Now I just feel like my body's been filled with sand."

Kai, locating where Ray's voice came from on his wings, tried to push a bit more heat in that direction. Tyson had squared off somewhere by his hip, shivering and sighing. Ayah and Lee helped to bring Max to lean against Kai's back, and Kenny across his lapped. Once there, he leaned his arms over Kenny and onto his lap, hoping his torso gave enough heat to keep him warm.

Ayah slipped into the embrace of his folded wings, nuzzling her face against his shoulder with a tired sigh. Kai thought about touching her back, but didn't want to show any sort of weakness before this new stranger.

After a bit, the young man seemed to get accustomed to them, or at least less shocked that there were there, and started looking between them and off over a grassy noll, as though waiting. He gave three more piping whistles at some point, then nodded with his ears faced forward as though he heard what he needed.

The time went by quick. A weariness stole over Kai the more he tried to keep up his fires that couldn't be ignored. The sun warmed the cold parts of him, but rather than return more energy, it made him drowsy. He found his eyes closing several times as he watched the spearsmen.

The thud of new arrivals shook him awake, and he followed the spearsman's gaze to the top of the noll.

In the next moment, an array of…mythical creatures broke over the noll. There were two centaurs of a blondish color (horse people?!), one person who had the half of what looked like to be a garden snake of sorts, two winged folk with tropical bird colorings, another fox or dog, and what could only be an old woman peppered with scales that gathered around the wrinkles of her face.

She approached the spearsmen in slow, heavy steps. Her feet were wide and shoeless, revealing short nailed, thick reptilian toes, which left the grass flat wherever she stepped.

She inquired of the foxy spearsman, who answered back in the same, strange language. Lot's of 'v's and 's's.

"What are they saying?" Kai asked.

"I don't know," said Ayah, frowning.

That made him stiffen.

"Can you hear their intent in the words?" he asked.

"Just basic questions…and tenseness. I don't know whether their excited or angry though."

Eiden spoke up, murmuring something to Ayah, whose eyebrows shot up.

"What?" Kai asked.

"They're referring to you as a golden majesty," she said. "And they seem very wary of the fact that you look ready to attack them should they approach too quickly."

Kai couldn't help but smirk inside. Smart people.

Wait. "Eiden can understand them?"

"Only generally," said Ayah. "And that's only because he knows how to write and read their language. Everything he's heard he's basing off how he sounds out the language, and there's still a big difference between the sounds of words in your head and real life. They aren't exactly following rules of dictation…not that Eiden was ever good with that." She shrugged.

Eiden seemed to sense the diss without having to understand all the words and glared at her from the other side of Kai. Since when did he get comfortable being this close to Kai?

The old woman considered them one by one, meeting Kai's gaze several times, before seeming to come to a decision and carefully plodding her way forward. Those who had accompanied her staid still, examining the group as closely as she did.

She did get to close, which was good, though Kai didn't necessarily feel threatened by a little scaly gray lady half his size.

She spoke to him, slowly, almost as someone would talk to the questionably deaf.

After a minute, Eiden whispered hesitantly to Ayah.

"He thinks she says she means you no harm. And something about space? Maybe she means Kenny."

Kai glanced down to the rumpled boy in his lap, wings poking every which way. He felt out Kenny's pulse in his neck, and gave a puff of relief at the weak throbbing he caught. Then he looked back up at the old woman, warily. Kenny did need help. So did Max. And Tyson's hand wasn't anything to sneeze at either, and…well, he had to start somewhere.

The old lady also seemed to realize that Eiden was the only source of communication between them, and tried talking to him, though she kept her eyes on Kai.

Eiden, however, was no linguist, and it took several repetitions and much frowning on his part before he had a safe enough translation.

"She wants to help," said Ayah. "She's asking your permission, Kai, and there was another mention of the golden majesty."

They could call him a piece of mud, for all he cared. But sitting in the sun for so long had given him the time to calm down, and his more rational thought poked above his overprotectiveness. Sighing, he sat up and carefully nudged Kenny off of his lap.

The old woman didn't touch the boy until Kai had clearly finished moving him. Then, she lifted him with a strength that betrayed her bent body, much like a child. She handed him over to the black fox spearsman, who handled Kenny as though he were an injured child. She gestured towards the others, and they approached. One by one, each meeting Kai's gaze beforehand with the same muttered words, they picked up the teens, one at a time, like someone carefully moves the newborn kittens of a wildcat. A centaur took up the limp form of Max upon his back, and the other took up Tyson and Ray, who already looked half asleep. Lee and Mariah were taken by some of the foxes, though they didn't seem all too keen on being carried piggyback style. Lee outright refused, locking his arm around his chest, and the fox woman seemed to get the idea and respected that.

Soon, it was only Kai left kneeling in the depression of grass. He didn't feel completely okay with everyone carted off from him in the arms of essentially mythical monsters, but the respectful and careful way in which they had taken each one from him did work in reassuring him somewhat.

Now…now he was just tired.

It was the winged birds of paradise couple that approached Kai next. They met his gaze, repeated the words, and offered their hands to him.

Kai was about to do a Lee and shove them off, insisting he could stand himself, but the moment he tried his legs refused, having fallen numb. He eyed the hands wearily, then took them up.

Their hands were warm as the sun and clasped his readily.

Next thing he knew, he had an arm over each of them as they helped him along, their bright feathers almost an eyesore in the sunlight.

A field of grass, rimmed with trees, spread out on the other side of the hill, ending at the beginning of what could have only been farmlands. White, pink-tiled buildings started up beside these farms, then came up in earnest at what appeared to be a small city. The valley and city were all framed in by craggy, snow-tipped mountains.

Caught off guard by the sudden beauty, Kai stumbled. But the winged pair didn't let him fall, murmuring to him in what sounded like concern, then continuing to practically carry him along with his teammates.

He must have dozed off at some point, because when he opened his eyes again they had already passed the farmland and were in the midst of the city, watched on by more unbelievable beings of legend. Animal traits blended into humans smoother than he could have ever imagined, but, then, he had never had that great of an imagination. The homes varied between a whitewashed stucco and a pale brick, though there were color variations here and there where people had felt the need to customize their homes or shops. There were no cars, no phone booths, no streetlights, though there were bulbless streetlamps every few feet or so. The road had been carefully paved in bricks of gray granite, and human-appearing children peeked out from between the morphed legs of the varying adults.

Kai just blinked at them, wanting to return to the half asleep state. Everything hurt. Would there ever be a day when something didn't hurt?

They took a right down another paved street, which stopped short of a wide canal. As Kai peered into its waters, he could make out the colors of what could have been homes, descending into the deep till he couldn't make out the bottom. It was like a coral reef suburbia.

One of the blond centaurs brought Max over. It was only than that Kai took note of the tunic-like clothes they wore over their torsos, and the blanket like skirts over their rear ends, despite both being males. The others wore similar simple, tunic-like clothing with baggy pants and boots that ranged from ankle to knee height.

Surprisingly not as weird as he expected. Though he hadn't been expecting much. No imagination, remember?

The old lady moved forward to talk to a set of heads the broke through the surface of the water. Merpeople? In varying shades of the tropical reef? The other centaur helped Max get off the back of the other and carefully, with a good deal of strength, carried Max to the water and handed him into it, where the merfolk crowded round to lift a part of him. The old merman which the lizard old woman spoke too took everything she said with a serious frown and nods.

The merfolk who held Max, however, were agape with open wonder.

"They're calling him some sort of majesty too," said Ayah from where she sat on a centaur.

"Must be lost in translation," said Kai, not really all that trusting of Eiden's interpretation.

"Must be," said Ayah. "There's nothing royal about us, though," she smiled at Kai. "You're the only one who I'd say looked the part."

He would have blushed. Instead, he smiled at her, which made her blush and look away instead.

Hey, if she was gonna dig his plumage, he might as well too.

After watching Max carefully carted down into the water, he his heavy eyes closed once more and he let himself be carried away. Each time he raised his eyes, it was to see another member of his team handed off to someone who looked to be of a similar element, if not in the same animal kingdom. Except for Ray, who was taken in by a whole passel of noisy cat people.

He made himself more aware when Ayah and Eiden were separated and given to a set of albino animals. Technically, they had only reached for Ayah, but Eiden refused to leave her side.

That should be me, Kai thought, but as soon as he found his feet beneath him, he passed out once more.

When he woke up next, he was lying on a pallet of ash, surrounded by a room of stone and fire.

Baffled by what was essentially a giant oven, he sat up, brushing his hands along his arms and looking for any sign of company.

What looked like to be another cat, an older, middle-aged man with gray tuffs coming out of his grey-streaked black ears, looked up as Kai's eyes fell upon him. He didn't smile, but his mouth softened and he did bow his head. He said something, but of course, Kai couldn't understand. He didn't move as the man unwrapped his thin tail about him and walked to Kai with a smooth, hunter's grace. He was as naked as Kai, so Kai assumed they hadn't quite figured out fireproof clothing yet.

He felt Kai's head, then took a quick look over of Kai's bare and feathered body. His fingertips were somehow hotter than the fire about them, and Kai felt a shiver. When was the last time he had felt something this warm? The heat was delicious.

And he didn't hurt.

That, in and of itself, put him at ease. Even if he was hungry and thirsty.

The fire cat finished and stood, tugging on Kai's arm gently. Kai complied and followed the man out a heavy, stone and metal door and into the suddenly harsh cool of morning.

Outside, another fire burned, accompanied by a sizzling, whole roast pig over a spit, a crate of pink-green apples, and a basket filled with loaves of bread.

Mouth watering, Kai only paused to make sure it was okay before diving into the apples. He had downed two before he was even aware that the panther or black cat was still watching next to the little old scaled lady. At least he had thrown something over himself, leaving Kai to flush at being the lone naked one. But almost instantly, the woman came forward holding an armful of cotton and silk, which she handed to Kai.

Kai accepted them, all while making positively sure that his feathers covered all the important bits and his tail was flat. He munched on third apple as he pulled out the clothing and tried to make heads or tail of it, though he wasn't on his own for long before the panther came forward to help. The familiar shiver of close contact came with this, but Kai ignored it, wanting to be dressed more than anything else. Though it also did occur to him that he was very clean for having come out of a bedroom sized oven.

Once he was dressed, he just focused on eating. Eventually, he moved over to the bread and pig, which were heavenly in their simplicity.

He'd only gotten partway through a loaf when, through the sparse, groomed grove about the oven, came Tyson and Ray.

"Apples!" cried Tyson, doing his best to dive headfirst into the crate. He also wore some sort of refined, navy blue tunic that had long, silver dragons embroidered into it. His pants were wide in the cuffs, like a samuri's, and did a good job covering the strangeness of his legs, though the clawed toes poking out weren't exactly easy to miss.

Ray wore similar clothing in black, with green tigers stitched into the shoulders and collar.

It stank so much of a uniform that Kai had to stare. What he wore wasn't much different in style, though his shirt had been designed to tie in the back rather than be pulled over the head and was a deep maroon, with gold birds with long tail feathers stitched into it. He was digging the wide legged pants, though, especially how they gave his tail plenty of room. No aviary wedgie this time.

Still, they had the same layout. Different colors, same shapes.

Soon, more of his group wandered through the trees, escorted by various people in much different standards of clothing. The velvet-like cotton gave way to simple linens, though when Lee and Mariah came through, they wore something different than Kai, Tyson, and Ray. Much more simple and like that of those accompanying them.

Next came Ayah and Eiden, also clothed in plain tunics, pants and boots. Kai had been given some sort of slippers, no unlike the flat shoes Ray use to wear.

Ayah threw her arms around his neck and kissed him before succumbing to the allure of apples.

Loud conversation about what they had been through and the strangeness of the new culture bubbled hot and fast between them. Kai found himself smiling at the shock on Lee and Mariah's faces as they looked behind Kai to the square, metal oven sitting in a clearing of rocks, with smoke puffing out the chimney. Ayah snuggled up into his wings once she had loaded up with apples. Ray and Tyson, his hand still bandaged, talked fast and quick about some of the cute girls they had spotted.

"Propagating the species," said Tyson with a wide, fanged smirk.

Ray flashed a mirroring fanged smirk, though a bit more sheepish than Tyson's.

Eiden just rolled his eyes, as though he could understand what they were saying and disapproved, and focused on the bread. He hadn't been in the field as long as them, supposedly, but he wouldn't call hiding out in the frozen arctic much of a place for fresh fruits and veggies jungle.

Kai had finished eating when a six-winged, done up Kenny stepped into the clearing, which had become flanked by those who had accompanied them there, like manservants of sorts. Unlike Kai, Tyson, and Ray, he didn't wear the uniformed luxury, but he did wear an interesting robe of sorts made of layers and layers of gauzy, grey and white silk.

"Dang, man, what kind of dress is that?" Tyson asked.

"It's a robe, Tyson. Not a dress. Please be at least somewhat conscious of my sensitivity to retaining my manhood."

Since Tyson had his mouth full of roast pig at that point, he just nodded and turned back to the conversation on girls.

Dreamlike, Kai fell to his usual wallflower habits of just sitting and listening to the others talk. Ayah did much the same, and something warmer than fire grew in his chest. She really was so beautiful.

Then he watched those talking around them, who had escorted the others to this forest clearing to Kai's side.

"Oh, Eiden heard more mentions of the majesties," said Ayah, like a side note. "Apparently, they think of you and some of the others as people worthy of the title 'majesty' for whatever reason. He also said that they had someone posted there in that field for centuries, waiting for the stragglers from Earth. Both of us also got the impression that they thought of Lee and Mariah as little kids." She smiled. "They haven't seemed to mention anything human, so it must be they just think they haven't hit the transformation yet."

Made sense. Though it did make him take another look at the soft uniform he wore.

And then, accompanied by a scaled envoy, came Max.

As he had already half-expected, Max also wore the cotton-velvet like tunic with wide-legged samuri pants, though his top was embroideries with swirling designs of purple sea turtles, as though they drifted along a current that ran about his neck and shoulders. It had been made wide enough to cover Max's armored back and width.

Then it seemed to all click for Kai.

"The four sacred bitbeast," he said.

Ayah looked back at him, question in her eyes.

Though it had been loud enough to catch Ray's attention as the rest loudly welcomed a slow and pale Max into the ring about the campfire and food. Ray's eyes flashed between their clothes and then to Max.

"You think that's it?" Ray asked.

"I never did get a concrete answer as to why our bit beasts were considered sacred," said Kai.

"Aren't all bit beasts?" asked Ayah, clearly confused.

"Yes, but there have been quite a few after our bit beasts in particular, referring to them as the four sacred bitbeasts," said Ray. "The only answer we ever got for why they were different from other bitbeasts was the legend that our four bitbeasts, when together, were never defeated or confined to a tablet or some other prison."

Ayah just pursed her lips, eyebrows drawn. If anything, it made her hand around Kai's calf tighten. Kai had to smile at that. She had nothing to worry about. Whatever happened, she would always be his queen. Not that he was about to say that out loud—oh god, he had actually thought it.

So he turned away from her to watch on as Tyson and Ray poured armfuls of apples and bread into Max's arms.