Hey everybody!

After a year and a half absence, I'm back, and hopefully getting better. After a nostalgic bout and re-reading my favorite Kai x Ray fan fiction of all time, I got inspired and am now back with a short update. (You know, gotta start with small steps, right?)

But hopefully you guys are as excited as I am to see this continue.

Dedication: This chapter is in honor of my friend (and reader) Ming Ming, whom I haven't seen personally in almost three years, but whom I still miss dearly. Love you, girl! Hopefully I'll see you next time I return home!!

Well, we move on to the chapter! Can't believe we're up to chapter 12!! You guys ready? On with it!

Disclaimer: See first chapter.

Dried Tears II: A Championship of Challenges

Chapter 12: Draconean's Return

Last time:

Kai glared at the white-haired blader that stood in his way.

"What the hell are you doing here?"

King flicked his hair and turned to scowl at the phoenix blader. "I'm here to find a beautiful dark-haired angel, so I suggest you just run along and go play with your little red canary."

Kai's blood boiled, not because of the petty insults, but because of this idiot that was wasting his time. Every moment he spent confronting this stupidity was a moment that could be spent finding Ray. And there was nothing that he wanted more at that moment than to shove King out of the way and find the Chinese blader.

"Move." Kai uttered calmly, aiming Dranzer straight at the parts hunter's face.

King smirked and brought his own blade to face Kai's in challenge. "I don't think so."

They were both about to launch when a painful scream pierced the air. Crimson and copper orbs widened instantly as they both recognized that voice…



Ray cried out in pain when Lance gripped the clasps around his injured wrists; the Draconean blader's rough hands were coming into contact with the bare flesh. The boy felt as if his skin were on fire and the feeling would not shake off. Lance uttered a curse in Russian before pulling at the clasps in a second attempt. But the shackles would not move, and he only succeeded in hurting Ray more.

Lance growled. His eyes obtained an eerie red glow as Draconean lent him strength. His muscles slowly bulked up and he cleanly ripped the clasps from the now-upright table. Ray collapsed in a writhing heap and clutched his bleeding wrists.

Lance threw the irons out of the way and knelt down next to the whimpering younger boy. He looked around. The Doctor had some leftover gauze on a nearby table, so he took some and carefully wrapped Ray's injured wrists. The neko-jin turned pained yet grateful golden eyes to the Russian.

"Thank you…"

The Russian nodded in acknowledgement and quickly rose to his feet, pulling Ray up with him.

"Hurry. We have to get out of here now."

"This way."

Ray chose not to utter a word as he let Lance drag him through the metallic maze of his mother's fortress. He was still feeling lightheaded and disoriented. His mind was already badly clouded with thoughts as it was, and he was scared of what Lance would have to go through for helping him.

The two then turned into a forked hallway… and straight into the line of fire for a small group of guards.


Lance grabbed Ray and ducked into an adjacent hallway, successfully avoiding the initial gunfire. But that shelter would not last long. The adrenaline rushed through Ray's body as he found himself pinned between Lance and the steel wall.

"Ray… Listen to me!"

The Chinese boy turned anxious golden eyes to his savior. Lance's heart wrenched at the sight. He had to get Ray out of here as soon as possible…

The Russian took hold of Ray's hand and placed something in his palm.

"Here," Lance said simply, removing his own hand to reveal Driger V2 sitting in Ray's hand. The Chinese boy looked from Lance to Driger and back to Lance again.

"Ray, I need you to… agh!!"

Ray's eyes widened when Lance hunched over, clutching his hands to his head. The older boy let out another tortured groan and collapsed to his knees. Alarmed, the neko-jin made a move to approach him, but Lance stopped him with a swipe of his arm.

"No! Stay back!"


Doctor K let out a cackle as the remote in her hand blinked in several blinding colors, indicating that its signal had taken effect. Somewhere in the fortress, Lance was probably writhing in pain.

"That'll show that ungrateful punk to betray me. Once Draconean takes charge, it's only a matter of time."

She turned to look at her assistant. "Are they in position?"

The man inquired into a two-way radio. After two seconds, the device beeped and a man on the other side conveyed a response. "They've finally reached corridor C-2, ma'am."

"Perfect." The woman grabbed a sleek semi-automatic from one of her escorts and stalked down the hallway, on her way to the corridor in question. Her assistant and the others were quick to follow. God knew they didn't want to be far from that remote when the red-headed Russian lost control.


"Aaagh!!" Lance winced, slamming his fist against the floor and leaving a considerable dent in the metal. Ray wanted to get close enough to help him, but he was afraid the Russian would lash out again. The dragon blader was having an internal conflict.

No… he couldn't let this happen. He needed to keep Draconean under control. Ray still wasn't safe.

Mustering the remainder of his self-control, Lance managed to pull himself to his feet. His breathing was labored as he leaned against the wall for support. Ray moved in closer. Clenching his teeth, the Russian turned to lock eyes with the boy.

"Listen. You have to keep going. Find Kai. I'll take care of them."

The barrage of bullets was getting closer, and the pain he felt inside was getting stronger. He wouldn't be able to hold out for much longer. But Ray was reluctant to leave his protector behind.

"But Lance…" the neko-jin started, "what about…"

"Forget about me!" The Russian burst out, startling Ray. "If you don't get out of here right now, then everything I've done would've been for nothing!"


"Just do it!"

Lance then leant in and kissed Ray harshly.

Kai was gonna kill him.

When Lance pulled away a second later, Ray simply stood there, stunned. The Russian then took this opportunity to rip off the air conduct vent. He then offered Ray a leg-up.

"Go! Now!"

"Right…" Ray whispered meekly as he climbed into the vent. His head was spinning and pounding as he began to crawl through the ventilation system. He had no idea where he was supposed to go. He just knew he had to get out of there right now. But, Lance…

"He kissed me…"


Now sure that Ray was out of danger, for the time being, Lance turned to glare wickedly at his attackers. Several of the infantrymen held their ground, but many more fell back. Most of them had been present during Draconean's early development stages. They knew what Lance was capable of, and only a few hardened guards were willing to confront him.

The signal strength from Doctor K's remote suddenly increased and Lance was down on his knees once more. He tossed and turned, struggling to stay in control and shake off the monumental pain. A few of the guards made a move toward him.

"Stay back!" Lance warned, his voice a mutation between his own and Draconean's roar.

A commotion could be heard coming from one of the adjacent hallways.

"Quick, this way!"

"Do we have them?"

"Ma'am, they have Lance cornered."

"And Ray?"

"They don't know. He just… disappeared."

Soon enough, Doctor K and her party appeared around the corner. Lance snarled at the blinking device in her hands. He would do anything to rip it to shreds, and maim the doctor while he was at it. Doctor K noticed the murderous glare her experiment sent her way, and simply smirked.

"Missed me, my dear?"

The Russian continued to glare. "Go rot in hell, bitch."

His verbal aggression towards the beautiful scientist caused multiple firearms to be pointed in his direction. The doctor shooed them off with a wave of her hand.

"But madam…" her assistant began.

"It's fine." She assured him, pulling out the semi-automatic, which she then pointed at Lance. "Where is Ray?"

"Bite me."

The Russian didn't as much as flinch as a bullet zoomed past his right ear and ricocheted off the wall behind him.

"A hint more of that attitude, and next time I won't miss."


Ray, just hold on for a little bit longer. I'm coming..

Kai dashed down a winding steel tunnel, with King hot on his heels. As of now, there was an unspoken temporary truce between the two enemy bladers. They both had the same objective: finding Ray before it was too late. Now wasn't the time for petty squabbles over past rivalries.

They made it to the end of the tunnel and came to a crossroad. The two rivals looked at each other. Which way to take?

The sudden sound of voices coming from behind alerted them that they had company.

"The intruders were seen coming this way!"

"This way, men!"

"There they are!"

"Look! It's Hiwatari!"

The two turned just in time to see a group of infantry men taking aim at them from the end of the hallway. Kai clenched his teeth. Shit.

"Fire!" One of the infantry captains ordered, and the guards opened fire.

The pair of young bladers split up, Kai to the left path and King to the right, as bullets dented the walls. Neither looked back, just kept running.

Kai looked at a small blueprint of the facilities, which he had found in the disk Lance gave him earlier. It was of no use to him now. All he had going for him was the direction from which he had heard Ray scream earlier. He picked up his pace. He would find him if it was the last thing he did.


Max and Tyson jumped over a still-smoking pile of destroyed blades and kept running down corridor E.

"How do you think Kai's doing?" The blond asked, and his counterpart frowned.

"I wish I knew."


The pair gasped as gun-like launchers deployed from the walls. The weapons they held resembled razor blades. Tyson clenched his teeth. This didn't look good.

"Dragoon, I need you!"

"Go Draciel!"

Dragoon let out a roar and summoned a strong gale in time to deflect a barrage of enemy blades aimed at his master. Draciel created a tidal wave that washed up a similar attack on Max. Both beasts let out a feral roar as they took protective stances before their bladers. Max collapsed to his knees and his heart was about ready to beat out of his chest; lodged on the wall behind him was a sharp razor blade, which had zoomed past just mere inches from his face before Draciel deflected it. Tyson ran to him.

"Maxie, you ok?" He leaned protectively over his boyfriend. The blond looked up at him with wide blue eyes and nodded.

"I'm fine…"

Tyson clenched his teeth. "This is getting too dangerous."

"Kai, Ray, where are you?"


Lance let out a pained groan as he collapsed on his knees once more. Unsatisfied with the lack of cooperation from her experiment, Dr. K had resorted to turning up the transmitter's frequency to maximum strength. Arguing with the hot-headed Russian would be a dead end. Draconean was a lot more manageable.

"Ray, I'm so sorry…"

Lance let out one last pained scream before his body was bathed in a red glow. Black wings began to sprout from his back. Black stripes ran down his forehead and arms. A black leather collar materialized around his neck.

Dr. K smirked. "Welcome back, my pet."

Lance got back on his feet, his mind no longer his own. Slit emerald eyes turned to look at their master.

"Find Ray. That is an order."

To Be Continued…

Yes… I stopped here… but only because I need to go study. Booo… I had two exams this week and I have exams every week from now until mid-November… hopefully I'll have some time to finish the next chapter (which I already started) soon.

Also, a small note, I'm revising the chapters of this story, making it easier to read. I think I've done up to chapter 5 already. You'll notice when you see (Revised) at the beginning of a chapter. Feel free to check those out too.

Also, a special treat for those of you interested. (http: / / groups . google . com / group / neko - phoenix - realm) remove the spaces

You will be able to find an illustrated version of Dried Tears remix there. Feel free to join the group, it's relatively new.

Well, hope you guys enjoy, and let me know what you think.

Until next time, and much love.

XOXO Neko Phoenix Girl