punkish furball—It has been a while! (sigh) I know, I know, I got 'splaining to do.

Words to Ponder:

Thank you, Shiroi Abari-Sohma, DeathNoteMaker, KunoichiMiko-KitsuyaKage, YukimuraShuusuke Girl, ShojoNoHiSora, Chibes, Mayalah, Dark Inu Fan, Green.On.Black, and PrincessVictoriaAnnMacbeth, kit-san fan, Azera-v, Kagekitsonegal, and marquisha for reviewing.

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You guys just want get to the good part. I made sure it's length was decent. About 7 ½ pages in Microsoft Word ™ without the beginning and ending notes and scene transitions with all the default settings.

Chapter 6

Ryuho groaned and punched the wall in his frustration. His whole body was covered in sweat and a towel was around his neck. After the plane had taken off and Kazuma escaped with Kagome in his possession, he and Jigmar returned to HOLY HQ. Jigmar made the report on his own while he went directly to the gym to work out his aggression.

'Why?' Ryuho thought in anger, 'Why did she leave? I told her to stay there!' Ryuho leaned against the wall with his head against it supporting himself with his forearms. Ryuho replayed the whole incident in his head. Kagome was racing towards the airstrip trying to reach…

'Kazuma,' Ryuho thought bitterly. When Zetsuei caught Kagome, Ryuho looked up and saw so much fear and anxiety in her eyes. When she called out his name, she was afraid for Kazuma. She was worried for Kazuma.

'What is Kazuma to her?' Ryuho thought. He just couldn't comprehend it. He knew from their first meeting after Kagome joined HOLY that Kagome and Kazuma had met each other before, but it seemed that they were only acquaintances and hadn't known each other long. But for her to do something like that…to defy him…to put her own life at risk for someone she possibly knew for only a few scant moments…

'I just don't get it!' he thought and sank to his knees with his head still on the floor, 'Why him? Why did she come calling for him? Why not…me?'

Ryuho stood up abruptly and groaned loudly.

'I shouldn't even be thinking about her,' Ryuho thought angrily, 'I have more important things to think about.' Ryuho's expression grew slightly sinister in nature.

'That man…he is mine. My enemy! Mine and mine alone!'

-O0o0O-

Kagome sighed once she regained consciousness. She sat up without opening her eyes. She clutched the back of her head; there was a dull pain where she remembered being struck by Kazuma.

'I'm going to kill that obnoxious idiot!' Kagome thought; her mind wasn't completely clear yet. When her mind did begin to clear up, she noticed that she was sitting in some sort of chair, like one you would find in a dentist's office. Kagome opened her eyes and looked around. The room was very run down and almost falling apart.

'Kazuma must have brought me here,' Kagome thought, 'I must be outside of the city walls.' Kagome stretched her arms and cracked her knuckles before swinging her legs over the side of the chair and standing up.

"Okay," she said to herself, "First things first, I need to figure out where I am. I must be in that place I was before Ryuho found me. I don't know if I should either find Kazuma so he can explain himself or find my way back to the city with Ryuho and HOLY."

Kagome looked around the room again before noticing a white piece of paper taped to the door that she over looked. She walked up to it and read the note after removing it.

"'Dear Kago-kun,'" Kagome read aloud, "'I went to work and will be back later. Kazu-kun brought you back here yesterday. Please make yourself at home. Kanami.'"

'Kazuma and Kanami must live here,' Kagome thought. She pocketed the note before opening the door.

'What a relief,' she thought, 'normal opening doors.' Kagome found her way downstairs and out of the building. The scenery was a lot like it was when she first arrived here. Big open expanses of grassy land with some dirt roads here and there and sparse amounts of trees. It was obvious that whatever choice she decided to make the journey would possibly go on for miles and she would no doubt get lost.

"Everything is so empty I don't know where to start," Kagome whined in frustration, "What I wouldn't give for a clue. Or a hint." Kagome stomped the ground childishly and crossed her arms, "Anything!" When Kagome stomped her foot on the ground, she felt indentations in the earth on the sole of her foot. She looked down and less than two meters away; there was an identical set of indentations.

"Those must be tire tracks," Kagome reasoned, "Kanami or Kazuma don't seem like the type to have their own vehicle or anyone else here for that matter. These tires tracks could mean someone must have been here to pick up either Kanami or Kazuma. I might as well follow them. I have nothing to lose."

Kagome began her trek following the tracks anxious to meet whatever was on the end of them.

-O0o0O-

Ryuho cleaned himself once he had calmed down. Jigmar had ordered that he, Scheris, and other HOLY members go to the southwest area beyond the city walls tomorrow. Besides the usual catching native alters and stopping criminal activities, their orders were somewhat unclear, but Ryuho wasn't paying too much attention anyway. At the chance of going outside the city, Ryuho only had two things on his mind: (1) locate Kazuma and (2) obtain Kagome and bring her back to the city and HOLY HQ where she belonged. He didn't know if Jigmar mentioned it or not.

Ryuho walked into one of the rooms in the HOLY headquarters. It really didn't serve a purpose, but it was a suitable environment to have some quiet down time. Miss Kiryu was doing something on her computer, possibly research and Scheris was playing with her cards.

Ryuho walked up to Scheris just as she had asked Miss Kiryu a question which she had answered.

"Scheris," Ryuho said, "Commander Jigmar has informed me that we are to go to the southeast area at 08:00 tomorrow. We are to capture native alters and stop any criminal activity." Before Ryuho could stop himself, he added, "We are also to look for Kagome and obtain any information regarding her whereabouts."

Scheris sighed and put her cards away, "Just as well. I have nothing better to do anyway."

"We will be accompanied by Urizane, the Dartz group, and—" Ryuho began but her didn't get to finish. Another alter user in at the HOLY uniform with brown hair and a red scarf around his neck walked up to the two and gave a deep bow.

"And me of course!" he said excitedly.

"Emergy!" Scheris exclaimed.

"I am also known as 'Maxfell of the Cliff' the man whose extremely good in adverse circumstances," the alter user, Emergy, said and looked at Ryuho, admiration in his eyes as he looked at the young man, "This is the is the first time we will be working on the same team, Ryuho. I'm excited."

"Yeah, I guess," Ryuho said but speaking very hesitantly and held out his hand for Emergy to shake it, "nice to meet you."

"Relax," Emergy said and bypassed Ryuho's hand to put his arm around the boy's shoulders, "I'm here to protect you. In fact, you should think of me as your armor."

"If you insist," Ryuho said not exactly comfortable with the current position they were in.

"Yes, I do," Emergy responded. He released his hold on Ryuho (the latter being very grateful) and placed his hand on his chin in some sort of pose.

"I'm also curious about that other HOLY member as well," Emergy said, "Now what was her name…Ah! Lady Kagome, that's it!"

"Lady…Kagome?" Scheris asked, "Why 'Lady' Kagome?"

"Well, what else would you call such a person?" Emergy said dramatically, "She is talked about quite a lot you know. A native alter user who was able to overcome Unkei's power in a matter of minutes. The girl who was kidnapped by the native alter user, Kazuma, and last but not least who captured the attention of our boy, Ryuho, here. The latter alone is enough to acquire the title."

Ryuho left the room not wanting to hear anything else Emergy had to say. Scheris just looked on at the childish HOLY member with a blank expression.

-O0o0O-

'He can't be much farther now,' Kagome said after about half an hour of following the tire tracks embedded in the earth. As Kagome followed the tracks, she noticed that most of the area surrounding it was barren and there seemed to be little human inhabitance. The places where there were buildings and such, they were all torn down and abandoned.

'I wonder what happened to all the people,' Kagome thought, 'HOLY must have something to do with this.'

The more Kagome thought about HOLY, the more her thoughts would travel to Ryuho.

'I wonder what he's going to do,' Kagome thought, 'Kazuma is his enemy or some kind of rival; he's going to come after him. But what about me? He did look pretty mad when I ran outside to help Kazuma. I didn't mean to do to make him angry. Kazuma just looked like he needed me.' Kagome snorted, 'Yeah, he needed me alright. I wonder what he plans to do with me. He could be planning to use me as some kinda bait to lure HOLY or maybe even Ryuho out here to get me.' Kagome sighed and stopped walking, 'Like that's going to work. Ryuho probably doesn't even care that I'm gone beyond the fact that Jigmar told him to look after me. Kazuma's just wasting his time with me.'

Kagome stopped and looked around to see where she was headed. It was a rocky, rough terrain going upward probably leading to some sort of cliff or ledge. Up ahead, she heard someone talking. It wasn't Kazuma but maybe the owner of the vehicle whose tracks Kagome followed. Kagome crept closer, kneeling low to the ground so she would go unnoticed.

"…everyone is gone just like the last time," Kagome heard the person say. Kagome looked up and immediately saw Kazuma standing ahead with her back facing her and another man with a cast on his leg and bandages else where working on some kind of vehicle that looked like an overgrown go-cart. Kagome had an idea where Kazuma was looking. He was turned in the direction of the ruined buildings she had passed when she walked up here. He wasn't saying anything just listening to the other man talk.

"Don't get me wrong," the man continued, "I know I'm just a useless parasite, but I can't help but feel as helpless as I do now. It seems like no matter how hard we resist, everything goes according to how those city bastards plan it and there's nothing we can do about it."

'Resist, huh?' Kagome thought, 'Kazuma must be in some kind of resistance movement.' Then she shook her head, 'No, Kazuma doesn't seem like to go along with something like that no matter how much he seems to hate HOLY. Maybe he's on his own or some kind of fighter for hire.'

"We're such idiots!" the man shouted obviously growing frustrated and threw his wrench, "It was stupid of us to ever go up against HOLY." At this sudden outburst, Kazuma did not keep quiet. He went over to his companion and punched him in the jaw so that he fell on the ground.

"You don't know what the hell you're talking about!" Kazuma shouted and grabbed the man by the collar of his shirt, "You're whining isn't going to accomplish anything!"

"What do you expect us to do?" the man shouted back, "It's just the two of us."

"We can't stop trying! We have to fight to end!" Kazuma retaliated.

The man pushed Kazuma off and pointed an accusing finger at him, "You're just saying that because you have your alter power. At least you can defend yourself! I can't do anything!" The man and Kazuma sat there on the ground for a while before the man began to speak.

"Look, man, I'm sorry," he said, "I shouldn't be talking to you like this after you went in there all alone. I just don't know what we can do anymore."

Kazuma frowned and looked off beyond the man's form where Kagome was crouching behind a small rock formation.

"Hey," he said to himself before scrambling to his feet and walking over to Kagome's position. Kagome jumped up as soon as he was standing over her.

"You HOLY bitch!" he shouted, "What the hell are you doing here?!"

"Stop calling me that!" Kagome shouted and clenched her fist, "You're the one who kidnapped me in the first place!"

"You kidnapped a HOLY member?" the man said wearing a confused expression.

"Yeah," Kazuma said, "She's that girl I told you about that I found with Kanami and she's with HOLY. She's pretty much useless anyway! She just joined or at least that's what everyone said."

"Shut up!" Kagome shouted, "I'm telling the truth! I did just join HOLY! I don't even know what the hell is going?!"

"Wait a minute," the man said, stepping in front of Kazuma to talk to Kagome, "Do you think you can explain a few things to me? I promise we're not to hurt you."

"What the hell are you doing?" Kazuma asked the man.

"Let's give her shot, man," he said, "You told me you found her out here. Maybe they forced her to join HOLY. Not everyone is like you, Kazuma. Maybe it was her only shot at surviving them." Kazuma just frowned and didn't say anything. Kagome smiled slightly; she likes this guy.

"I'll answer any question you have if I'm able to," Kagome said, "but you'll have to answer so questions for me."

"Alright," the man said before Kazuma could say anything.

"For starters, my name is Kagome," Kagome said and the man replied by saying Kagome could call him Kimishima.

"Do you know what's been happening to the other native alter users that have been captured by HOLY?" Kimishima asked.

Kagome sighed and lowered her head, "I don't know. I tried asking Ryuho a few times, but he never told me anything. I don't think that he or any other HOLY member other than the commander knows anything about it. But Ryuho told me that HOLY was the only place that alter users would not be look on as a threat. I figure that the alter users being taken to the mainland will either be killed or most likely experimented on."

"What makes you say that?" Kimishima asked.

"I don't really have anything too solid to go on," Kagome said, "but I have a very strong feeling about it. I was only at HOLY HQ for a short amount of time and the only person I was closest to was Ryuho. But there is just something about that city and whatever is going on that I just…hate."

"What about it?" Kimishima asked, eager to hear what Kagome was about to say.

'If she says what I think she is going to say,' Kimishima thought, 'I know that she is someone Kazuma and I can trust.'

'What does Kimishima think he's doing?' Kazuma thought. The two of them talking and completely ignoring him irked him for some reason, but he decided that he was stay out of this and let Kimishima talk to Kagome. Also Kagome kept saying Ryuho's name which bothered him too, but there was no reason that should bother him, right?

'Kimishima is the better on of us when it comes to planning and thinking ahead,' Kazuma thought, 'He must have something he wants to figure out."

"It's just that," Kagome paused to figure out how she could put her thoughts into words, "I only went out in the city once and I couldn't help but notice how weird it is. Like something was just too fake. The people there couldn't be that happy. Everyone had the same smile on their face and I bet they were even walking in the same direction they did the day before at the same time. It's the same with all the HOLY members too. They blindly follow orders without even knowing what the outcome is going to be or who they're even following orders from." Kagome sighed, "I know I just seem like I'm rambling and I'm not making much since, but I felt that way ever since I was taken to the city."

"It's okay," Kimishima said with a smile, "I know that Kazuma and I are going to be able to count on you."

"What do you mean?" Kagome asked.

"You said you don't know what's going on, right?" Kimishima asked and Kagome nodded, "Well long story short, HOLY and everyone in the city is trying to reform everything on the Lost Ground, but we don't like it and we want to stop them. You can help us. You're an alter user and you are part of HOLY. Even if you don't know what's going on, they must trust you and you'll be able to get in and out no problem."

Kagome frowned, "I hate to poke a hole in your logic, but I'm not that good when it comes to controlling my power. I didn't even know I had it until recently. Kazuma's right; I am useless. You're just wasting your time if you think that I could do anything to help you," Kagome didn't want to butt into things anymore than she already has. More than anything, she just wants to go home.

'I'm tired of trying to fit into places where I don't have a purpose,' Kagome thought, 'I end up being completely useless. I hate lying too. What are they going to do once they find out I'm not a real alter user.'

Kazuma saw Kagome frown and her eyes dull to a dark blue. He didn't know why, but he didn't like it. This wasn't the girl he had teased in his short time as a HOLY operative nor was it the girl he first met. This was someone completely different and he didn't like her. He moved in front of Kagome and lifted up her head.

"Listen," he said, "I'm sorry for what I said earlier. I can tell that you are serious about hating what's been going on. You can help us make life better for a whole lot of people out here. Don't worry about you're power yet. Just say that you're with us."

Kagome closed her eyes and took in a deep breath.

'I hate lying and I want to go home and forget this place,' Kagome thought, 'but I have no where to go and no idea how to get home. And I don't like whatever HOLY has planned for these people. I'll do this as long as it takes and maybe I'll be able to find a way home.'

"Okay," Kagome said, "I'll do as much as I can."

"Great," Kimishima said, "but you might want to change. You're going to attract a lot of attention in that HOLY uniform."

"Oh right," Kagome said, looking down at her clothes.

"Some of the gals Kanami works with should have something that could fit you," Kazuma said and started down the way Kagome followed them, "I need to go check on her anyway."

"Right," Kagome said and ran to follow Kazuma but not before waving good bye to her new friend, Kimishima.

-O0o0O-

punkish furball—Kind of slow on the buildup, but important stuff happened and you sorta kinda see where things are headed but not really.

And I can't stress this enough but DO THE POLL! IT HELPS ME DO STUFF! L83RN3SS!!!!

(edited 1.21.08)