Chapter Eight

After walking for more then half the day, the four young warriors finally came the edge of the evil forest that surrounded the castle. The empty armors of hundreds of Dynasty soldiers littered the ground, giving the area an eerie, dark aura that made the hair on the back of the warrior's necks stand on end.

"Holy shit," Kento muttered under his breath as he kicked a rusted helmet out of his path. "What the hell happened here?"

The sudden sound of metal against metal made the Ronins instinctively draw their weapons and take a defensive stance. 'Where's it coming from?' Sage quietly mouthed to the others. The group listened silently for a few moments before Rowen suddenly motioned toward the clearing just ahead of them. The warrior of light nodded to his friends and they quickly ran to the edge of the trees and peered into the valley. There, standing at its center, surrounded by more then four-dozen Dynasty soldiers, was Kayra with her Starlight Swords poised in front of her in preparation to attack.

The bearer of Torrent turned to the others with a look of concern etched on his face. "Guys we have to help her, now!"

Rowen shook his head in disagreement. "Cye, we can't just barge in there like this. For all we know it could be a trap!"

"Then why would Talpa use Kayra for the illusion?" Cye shot back.

"Because he knows...."

"ENOUGH!" Sage stepped in between his friends, giving them both a stern look. "I know that it's not the most reasonable course of action, but I agree with Cye. We need to help her, trap or not, so let's move out."

Kento inwardly smiled at Halo's decision. 'It's exactly what Ryo would do.'

The four warriors nodded to one another in agreement before letting out a loud, collective battle cry as they hurled themselves into the sea of olive green armor. Strata and Halo immediately paired up, standing back to back as Torrent and Hardrock did the same near by. Arrows from Rowen's hankyuu[1] soon filled the air, all eventually finding their mark in more then a dozen of the enemy soldiers. Sage valiantly fought his way through the mob, viciously taking down his attackers one by one. Suddenly one of the undead minions caught the warrior of light in a strangle hold from behind. The bearer of Halo forcefully kicked his feet against the ground, sending himself backward over his enemy's head, and landed gracefully behind it. Before the Dynasty soldier could react, Sage shoved his no- datchi[2] through his enemy's back and out through its chest, releasing the evil spirit in a cloud of thick, gray smoke. Cye and Kento were also fighting fiercely against their own group of olive green demons. The bearer of Hardrock twirled his naginata[3] high above his head in a graceful, circular motion before bringing it down with a sickening crunch on the head of the soldier in front of him. He then abruptly spun around, bringing his weapon with him, taking out five more soldiers as he went. With all of his attention focused on the battle in front of him, Kento failed to notice the single undead warrior stealthily sneaking up from behind him, carefully drawing its weapon as it drew closer. It slowly raised the sword above its head and was about to bring it down upon the orange cladded warriors unprotected back when Cye suddenly launched himself at his friend's attacker, forcefully slamming his yari[4] into its chest. He then quickly changed his grip on his weapon before flipping the evil spirit into the air, sending it crashing into a large group of its fellow soldiers. After several more moments of tense fighting, the four Ronins stood triumphantly amongst the multiple empty armors the now covered the ground, breathing heavily, weapons lowered slightly in realization that they had won.

Kayra had remained rooted in the same position throughout the entire battle with a shocked expression plastered on her face, but as soon as the four warriors began to near her, that same look of surprise quickly change to anger as she suddenly drew her Starlight Swords and took a defensive stance, making the young men stop mid-stride.

"Not one step closer demons!" The warrior woman growled as she unconsciously gripped her weapons tighter. Kento gave the others a confused look then shrugged his shoulders as he sheathed his naginata and stepped forward with his hands raised in front of him as a show of peace.

"Hey now, come Kayra is that anyway to greet your friends?"

The last surviving member of the Ancient's clan dropped her guard slightly but regained it a few seconds later with an even more determined look on her face. "Do you think me a fool Badamon? I am not one to be deceived once more by your despicable trickery!" She let out a defining battle cry as she launched her self at the warrior of Hardrock, who quickly drew his weapon just in time to defend himself from her fierce onslaught, but not fast enough to keep from being thrown to the dirt.

"KAYRA!" Kento whined in an exasperated tone as he picked himself up from off the ground and dusted himself off. "A simple kiss hello would have made me happy." He laughed slightly but stopped and winced as he grabbed his side in pain. The young woman's face softened as she, with out hesitation, sheathed her swords and ran to his side. She smiled slightly at the confused and questioning look he gave her.

"I know now that you truly are who you claim to be. No Nether Spirit is completely capable of your sarcastic tongue."

The warrior of justice cast his friends a nervous glance, but after watching White Blaze calmly walk over to the warrior woman and gently place his furry chin on her shoulder, her knew that she was the real thing. The small group jumped slightly at the sound of a large, resonating gong being rung from within the depths of the castle, making a look of fear appear on Kayra's face. She quickly motioned for the Ronins to follow her and after several tense moment of traveling over the rough terrain, the young warriors soon found themselves facing an enormous wall of rock. Kayra stepped forward with her eyes closed in deep concentration, as she hummed lightly and waved her arms about in a graceful, circular pattern. In a blast of brilliant, golden light, the Ancient's Staff suddenly appeared in front of the young woman, who grasped its wooden shaft in her right hand, and carefully removed it from its stationary position in the air in front of her. She then gently tapped on the rock three times before lightly pressing her hand against the wall of stone. The four Ronins looked on in amazement as Kayra's form suddenly slipped into the rock face, making her disappear completely from view in a matter of moments, leaving several ripples that spread out along the wall in her wake. The young men stood rooted to the spot, staring incredulously at the area where their friend had been only moments before, when she suddenly stuck her head back out through the rock.

"Are you coming?" she asked in a casual tone, as if nothing out of the ordinary were taking place.

Sage shook his head and quickly regained his composure as he tried to bring the others out of their stupors. "Yeah.." he said as he placed his arm through the wall. "Come on guys." The others nodded and quietly stepped up beside him to, as a group, walk through the cliff face. The first thing that the Ronins took in as their eyes adjusted to the unaccustomed darkness was that they were now standing in a small cave of some kind. Water dripped from the stalactites that hung from the ceiling, creating small pools on the floor that reflected the flames of the candles that lit the small hide away, making an eerie, flickering glow along the walls. A sudden movement from within the shadows made the Ronins tense and reached for their weapons.

"NO!" Kayra yelled as she placed her self between the warriors and the hidden figure. "Do not attack him. He is genuine, I assure you."

The young woman was met with questioning looks as she motioned to the person in the shadows to come forward. A collective gasp greeted the former warlord as he stepped into the light and straightened his robes.

"Greetings Ronins, I'm glad to see you all well."

Kento's shock abruptly wore off as he quickly shut his mouth, shaking his head as he did so. "An.Anubis?! But.I were.that you were.."

"Dead?" He smiled slightly as he cased a sideways glance at the young warrior standing beside him, who suddenly shifted her gaze to stare at something interesting on the ground. "Lady Kayra used the magic residing in the Ancient's Staff to resurrect me from the grave in order to lend my assistance in these austere and dismal times."

Rowen looked over at Kento and let out a strangled laugh at the blank look that dominated his friends face. The azure haired warrior leaned over to the confused orange claded Ronin with a semi serious look on his face.

"Grim" he said in an amused voice.[5]

Kento's eyes widened in realization as he smiled and gave his friends a thumbs up sign. "Oh...ok got it. I'm with ya now."

Kayra clamped her hand tightly over her mouth to hide her amusement as Anubis let a small smile grace his lips. "I see you have not change much in my absence Hardrock."

Kento crossed his arms over his chest and pouted slightly in the corner. Everyone was laughing at their embarrassed comrade when Anubis suddenly took in the Ronin's reduced numbers.

"Where is Wildfire?" he said with a hopeful expression as he gazed behind the young men, expecting Ryo to be hidden somewhere amongst them. The monk's innocent question change the mood of the small group in a matter of seconds. A pained expression appeared on all four Ronin's faces as they averted their gazes to the floor and at that moment Anubis understood. He hung his head, his eyes filled with remorse, not wanting to face the people he unknowingly upset.

"I apologize my friends, I did not realize that he had passed on."

Cye flinched at this and squeezed his eyes shut to keep the tears from falling. "No. He's not dead yet. He's gonna pull through, I know he will.he has to." The last part came out as barely a whisper but the sorrow filled sentence still managed to reach the entire group. The former warlord stepped forward and placed a hand on his distressed comrade's shoulder giving him a sad yet reassuring smile.

"Do not worry my friend. Wildfire's battle with Fate will be a tremendous one, but he is strong and will not surrender easily." He suddenly motioned to several sleeping pallets that were rolled up in the corner. "Now come. You have had a long journey and deserve some much needed rest."

Sage looked from Kento, to Cye, and finally to Rowen and at seeing each of their determined faces he smiled and shook his head.

"No. We came here to defeat Talpa and that's exactly what we're going to do." Anubis sighed but nodded back at the blonde swordsman for he knew that there would be no persuading them other wise. "Then let us prepare for battle." He suddenly turned to Kayra and gave her a look that only she knew. The young woman nodded slightly and muttered a few words to the ancient item in her hands, making it begin to glow a bright blue color. Beams of light shot forth from the staff and enveloped the young monk beside it, suddenly forming each piece of the Armor of Cruelty. He twisted around a bit in his new apparel, testing to make sure that everything was in check before turning to his friends with the flame of battle once again burning in his eyes.

"Shall we?" he asked innocently motioning towards the cave's hidden entrance. Kayra suddenly stepped in front of the young warriors with a mischievous look on her face.

"Now what kind of gentlemen are you?" she chided as she drew her Starlight Swords from their scabbards located on her hips.

Anubis bowed to the young woman standing in front of him. "My apologies, me lady." He chuckled lightly as he moved one arm across his chest and the other towards the door. He suddenly noticed the Ronin's confused looks. "It is always custom for ladies to go first." The others let out a small laugh as they too bowed and motioned towards the door. She nodded cheerfully back at them as she quickly strode to the entrance and placed her arm through the stone.

"Well, it may be tradition for me to go first, but it is not a custom for me to go into battle by myself. Are you coming with me or are you going to let a woman do all the fighting for you?" The five men glared at the young woman as she laughed at them hysterically before passing completely through the wall. Kento turned to his friends and gave them a sarcastic smile.

"Well, come on now. We can't let her go on and taunt us like that now can.." A blood-curdling scream suddenly reached the fighter's ears, causing him to stop mid-sentence. They all glanced nervously at one another before sprinting as fast as they could out the hideaway's small entrance and into the clearing in front of the cave. There, standing triumphantly with Kayra clutched tightly in his left hand, was the Demon king himself, Talpa.

"Welcome Ronins. I see you numbers are some what diminished . Where is Wildfire?" he laughed maniacally at seeing the strained looks that appeared on the young warriors faces. "Oh, do not be upset, for you shall be joining him soon."

To Be Continued........


[1] compound bow

[2] singular sword

[3] three part staff

[4] trident

[5] austere really does mean grim. Hey I finally got to use a vocab. word! Yeah!

Hey all. Sry again that it took so long 2 get this up but hopefully the longer then norm. chappie makes up for that. This was the first time I have written a fight scene so if it sounded a bit um *cough* SHITTY *cough* *cough* then I apologize. If u have any questions about my fic or just feel like sending me a message (please no flames but I will take constructive criticism) email me at either or Well I guess that pretty much wraps things up 4 now. Until next time, JA NE!


# Look a tree! Aint it cute !Merry X-Mas :P

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