Part 12

"I can't wait to show the others back home my trophy," Ryuki told Tazuka after returning to their hotel room. The gang had just finished celebrating his victory with a whole bunch of smoothies. He was wearing a large smile and once again bandages. Unfortunately, Ryuki remembered something very important. Their time here was short and eventually they would have to leave. Ryuki sighed sadly as he realized this. He put the trophy down. "I am going to miss them."

Tazuka said, "It's alright to miss them. They are your friends."

"I know, but I don't know how I'm going to break the news to them," Ryuki replied. "I mean, once we're done with our mission here, we'll be going back home."

Tazuka reminded, "It's not like you won't be able to keep in touch with them. You have their numbers and their e-mail addresses so you can still communicate."

"Hai, I know, it's just that…I'm going to miss Caitlin-chan the most."

"I know you will. It's normal. You do love her."

Ryuki smiled. At least Tazuka understood how deeply he felt for the blonde girl. His cell phone rang. "Must be a message from the others." He looked at the number. 'Strange…I don't recognize this number.' He pressed a button and read the message. His eyes widened slightly in alarm at the message before shutting off his phone.

"Who was it from?" Tazuka asked.

"Caitlin," Ryuki said, uncertainly, "She said that the others are throwing another party for me at her place." He pocketed his phone. "I should go." He walked out towards the door.

"Take care of yourself, otouto," Tazuka called out, receiving a weak wave. He then frowned. Closing his eyes, he summoned up his power to look into the future. When his eyes opened up he had a horrified look on his face. "No…" He ran towards the door. "Ryuki-kun, wait!" He swung the door open and looked down the hallway. However, Ryuki was nowhere to be found.


Ryuki arrived back at the mall via a flaming vortex which then dispersed upon his arrival. Digging into his pocket, he then pulled out his Zodiac Dragon deck.

'You sure about this, aibou?' Yaminekoryu asked.

"It doesn't appear that I have a choice," Ryuki responded before putting the deck back into his pocket.

The mall was dark but that was simply the norm since it was already past closing time. Steeling himself, Ryuki walked into the mall in search of his friends. He could remember the words in the message so clearly as they played in his mind over and over again.

I have your friends. Come alone to the mall.

Scorpio

Ryuki knew only one person who referred to themselves as such and gritted his teeth in anger with eyes flaming. His fists were clenched tightly as he tried to reign in his burning anger.

He found the cage and his friends inside. When they saw him, Caitlin was the first to call out to him.

"Leo!" she cried out and he ran towards the cage.

"Caitlin-chan!" he shouted, "Minna-san!" He then noticed an extra person, "Ron-san?"

Apparently, Ron the Rent-A-Cop was in the cage along with them.

"The perp got the drop on me," Ron reported, sadly, "Now, get us out of here, maggot!"

"What happened?" Ryuki asked, feigning ignorance.

Jude chose to answer, "I was, like, in my room, when something grabbed me and threw me in here."

"The same thing happened to me," Jonesy said. He was in his underwear. Ryuki looked at him. "I was getting ready for bed, OK? Stop staring."

Nikki said, "Basically, something grabbed us from our rooms too and put us in here."

"I'll try to get you out," Ryuki said as he worked on the locks.

"Leo, what's going on?" Caitlin asked, fearfully.

"I think I can tell you all that," spoke a sly and cruel voice. Ryuki froze and then whirled around in anger.

"Asakura!" Ryuki roared as his body began to heat up.

Asakura, violent and deadly psychopath, a dangerous criminal and mass murderer, and the only person that Ryuki hated the most in his entire life. The list of people he hated was short. Actually, it was a one name list with Asakura's name in it.

"Good evening to you too, Little Dragon," Asakura grinned. Asakura was slightly taller than Ryuki and wore a leather jacket. He had on a pair of faded blue jeans with the knees ripped and leather boots. A chain necklace adorned his neck as a pair of cut off gloves was worn on his hands. His hair was a mess of uneven spikes and he had a scar running over his nose.

"Let them go now," Ryuki demanded, sharply, "Your fight is with me."

"Leo, you know this guy?" Wyatt asked.

"Oh, we go way back," Asakura said, still smiling. "You can almost say we're brothers."

"URUSAI!" Ryuki roared loudly, causing his friends to jump in shock. They had seen him angry before but never this angry. "Let them go. I won't ask again."

"Well, I fully intend to let them go," Asakura said, putting his hands in his pockets. "They were just bait to bring you over here so we can chat."

"I doubt chatting is what you wanted," Ryuki scoffed. Asakura was dangerous and intelligent. He also lacked any semblance of a conscience.

"Well, yes," Asakura nodded, looking amused, "But I still got what I wanted." He pointed at Ryuki, "You."

"Well, you got me," Ryuki replied. "Now, let them go."

"OK, I'll let them go," Asakura held out a finger, "But, you have to choose one person to die in their place." The others gasped at this request. "Their lives are in your hands. You better choose soon."

Both of them could hear the familiar ringing sound and glanced towards a nearby store window. There was Garuzak, Asakura's Zodiac Beast, waiting hungrily. Ryuki knew the fate of the one he chose would be as supper for Garuzak.

"You are one sick teme!" Ryuki growled. Asakura narrowed his eyes.

"Choose now," Asakura said firmly. "Or else they all die."

Ryuki took in a deep breath of air as he turned to look at his friends. "Gomen," he apologized as he looked at each of them. They looked at him in shock. He wasn't going to actually go through with this, was he?

"Dude, you can't be serious," Jude said, mouth agape as he saw Ryuki pointing his finger at them.

"I'm not given many options, Jude-san," Ryuki said regretfully as his hand moved to pick a 'sacrifice'.

"Leo, we're your friends," Jen said, scared, really scared. "You can beat this guy."

"Because you're my friends, this makes it even harder," Ryuki replied, "And your lives are at stake here."

Jonesy was muttering, "Pick Ron, pick Ron, pick Ron," over and over again. This ceased when Ron tapped him on the shoulder.

"I heard that, maggot," Ron said crossly.

Ryuki hand continued to wander, choosing a target. His finger pointed at Caitlin for a moment. She was crying and her mascara was running.

"Leo?" she asked, eyes flowing with tears.

"Forgive me, but I've made my choice," Ryuki said before leaning in to kiss Caitlin for what could very be the last time. "Gomen." He then turned towards Asakura. "I've made my decision!"

"OK, what is it?" Asakura asked, looking frustrated. "I'm waiting."

Ryuki raised his hand and then pointed…to himself. "I choose myself." His friends gasped.

"Yourself?" Asakura questioned.

"Hai," Ryuki nodded. "You wanted me to choose someone, but it didn't necessarily have to be one of them. Well, I've made my choice. You can kill me and then you'll let them go."

Asakura chuckled, "Well, a deal's a deal."

His friends began to protest loudly at him.

"Dude, not cool!" Jude shouted.

"Don't do it!" Jen shouted. "We're not worth it!"

"Leo! No!" Caitlin cried out.

Ryuki apologized once more, "I'm sorry for putting you in danger," before walking away from them and towards Asakura. "OK, now let them go."

Asakura pondered for a second, "Not yet."

"But you said-!"

"I know what I said, but I think it would be a lot more fun for your friends to watch as I slowly rip you apart, piece by painful piece."

Ryuki growled, "You are despicable."

Asakura smirked, "I know." He then took out his Scorpio deck. "Now, let's give them a show so you can show them who you really are."

Ryuki knew there was no turning back. He knew his friends would want answers. Unfortunately, he may not be around to give them. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out his own deck case. Casting one last glance at his imprisoned friends, he stepped back from Asakura.

Asakura shouted towards the cage, "Hey, you! Your friend here is going to show you something so you better keep your eyes opened!" He then addressed Ryuki, "Go ahead and show them."

Ryuki nodded. Caitlin always saw him as honest but she did not know he had a secret…a secret unlike anything she could imagine. Summoning the Zodiac Belt, he then called out, "Henshin!" before snapping on the deck. In a flash of light, glass shards collected onto his body before turning into a suit of black and white armor. His friends gasped at the amazing change. "Zodiac Force! Dragon!" Suddenly, flames engulfed his entire body, turning his armor red and adding on accessories. The white eyes of his helmet then flashed and turned green.

His friends were struck with silence. The friend they thought they knew had been keeping a big secret.

"My turn," Asakura grinned. "Zodiac Force! Scorpio!" He snapped his deck onto his belt and allowed glass shards to form his base armor before a tornado of sand engulfed him. The tornado dispersed and he was clad in his sand colored armored. Like Draco's, his armor covered his torso, forearms and lower legs with a chestplate that bore his Scorpio symbol, plated gauntlets and boots. A helmet with a silver faceplate that had 3 slits on the visor, over each eye, covered his head. Hanging down the back of his helmet was a faux ponytail to emulate a scorpion tail which had a stinger at the tip. In his hand was a scythe that also bore his emblem. "It's show time," Scorpios said in amusement.

As Draco and Scorpios stared each other down, the hostages (A.K.A. Leo's friends and Ron) were gaping at the transformation that they had just witnessed.

"Woah, dude," Jude gaped.

"No way," Jonesy agreed.

"Is that…Leo?" Wyatt asked with some confusion.

"I think it is," Nikki blinked. "It was him, right?"

"Did you see what I saw Caitlin?" Jen asked. Her voice was quiet and amazed.

"It is him," Caitlin nodded. She was just as amazed as any of the people who had watched. It was still Leo to her, but he had some serious explaining to do once they got out of this mess.

"Oh my God," Ron gaped as Draco and Scorpios began their fight.

"Time to die, Little Dragon!" Scorpios roared as he charged at Draco. Draco ducked under a scythe slash before punching Scorpios repeatedly in the chest and then giving him a vicious elbow strike. Scorpios, undeterred, use his powers and blasted a sand storm at Draco. Sparks exploded off from his armor where the sand hit before Scorpios charged and began slashing at Draco rapidly, eliciting screams from him with each blow.

"Leo!" Caitlin shouted, gripping the bars.

"Oh, man!" Jude winced. "That is majorly sick."

"You got that right," Jonesy cringed as he watched Draco getting a slash across his chest, sending him reeling. He saw Draco getting back up and his hands were engulfed in flames. "OK, now that's so a different type of hot."

"You can beat him, Leo!" Jen cheered.

Draco swiped at Scorpios with flaming hands but the Scorpio Knight changed into sand and disassembled before reassembling behind Draco and slashing him in the back. He then turned into a tornado of sand, trapping Draco in the centre whilst attacking him. Draco yelled out in pain before he was literally spat out of the tornado and crashed onto the floor. Draco pushed himself back up before sliding a card into his gauntlet.

"Sword Vent: Condor Glaive!" he summoned and a golden glaive fell into his hands. He used the weapon to push himself back to his feet. Scorpios did the same as he slid a card into his scythe.

"Strike Vent: Scorpio Claws!" Replacing Scorpio's gauntlets were bigger ones resembling a scorpion's clawed pincers. He demonstrated their sharpness by grabbing a chair and then slicing it in half with a single squeeze.

Draco roared and charged, slashing at Scorpios who blocked with his claws. He then grabbed Draco by the neck and squeezed but the Dragon Knight disappeared in a vortex of flames before he could be decapitated. He then reappeared behind Scorpios and blasted him in the back before swinging the glaive wildly at his opposition.

The gang could not take their eyes away from the fight. This was something else.

Scorpios and Draco ran up the escalator, trading blows which caused sparks to fly from the impacts. The Scorpio Knight then smashed the back of his gauntlet into Draco's face, causing him to go sailing and smashing upon the roof of the cage. Draco turned over and saw his friends staring at him. He then turned his attention back towards Scorpios before leaping off at an incredible distance and then continuing his engagement with the Knight of Scorpio.

The battle was brutal and violent and Caitlin couldn't stand to watch. Unfortunately, she did not have that option as she continued to watch, agape, as Draco fought with all he had.

Scorpios soon had Draco pushed against the wall, the glaive sliced in half.

"Any last words?" Scorpios sneered. Draco glared.

"How about this?" Draco then used a telekinetic blast to send Scorpios flying before leaping after him. He grabbed Scorpios by the foot and smashed him into the floor, leaving a crater. Scorpios growled and then turned his feet into sand to slip out of Draco's grasp before stabbing him in the chest with the pincers. He then used his powers to turn his arms into hammers and smashed them down on Draco, knocking him to the floor. He then flipped Draco's body over and pointed his pincers' tips at his throat. Once again, a torrent of flames deterred him from landing the finishing blow before Draco got up and drew another card.

"Sword Vent: Dragon Flame Saber!" Draco called as he slid the card into his gauntlet. The sword appeared in his hand before he started to slash wildly at Scorpios' chest. The Scorpio Knight was hard pressed at launching a proper counter as sparks started flying off his chest. Draco landed a perfect 6 hit combo to his chest before whirling around and smashing him with a back kick. He then used his telekinesis to smash him into the floor again, repeatedly.

Scorpios reached to his waist and removed his scythe before throwing it at Draco. The weapon embedded itself into Draco's shoulder and he screamed out in pain. He fell to his knees as he tried to pull it out. Scorpios wasn't going to allow him such a reprieve before kicking him in the faceplate and then cruelly pulling the scythe out, causing Draco to scream loudly.

"You know," Scorpios sighed before he stomped on Draco's wound, causing the Knight beneath him to scream. "I was kind of hoping to get a much better fight out of you."

Draco grunted, trying to crush the pain he was feeling.

"Ah well," Scorpios laughed. "I guess we can't have everything. I'll just have Garuzak eat your little friends. He needs some protein in his diet."

"No!" Draco cried as he tried to get back up, only to be pushed back down again.

"Well, it's your own fault," Scorpios shrugged. "You went half-ass into this fight so I think I'm entitled to change the deal."

Scorpios reached to his belt and drew a new card from his belt. This one depicted an image of Garuzak. If he loaded that card into his scythe, then Garuzak would be allowed to come into the human world and his first target would be Draco's friends.

"Swing Vent: Sting Whip!"

A pink barbed whip cut through the air and raked across Scorpios' back, making him cry out in pan and stumble. The weight was off Draco's chest and it allowed him to get up. He looked in the direction of his savior and found Jawz looking at him.

"Niisan?" Draco asked in shock.

"I foresaw this event," Jawz answered. "You should know me by now, otouto."

"Gomen," Draco sighed.

"Apology accepted," Jawz nodded. "Now, let us deal with Scorpios."

"Nani?" Draco blinked. "But the others are still trapped!"

"I have it covered." Jawz answered.

Up with the others, they were watching the battle with hope that their friend would win. They were trapped in a cage at the moment and were in no position to help.

"Leo," Caitlin sniffed, thanking whatever force that was behind this armored figure saving her boyfriend.

"Dude, who is that guy?" asked Jude.

"Dunno," Nikki shrugged. "But if Leo is this trusting to him then I say he's a welcome addition."

"Now if we could only get out of here," Jonesy frowned.

In what seemed to be an answer to his question, sparks ripped across the bars of the cage, breaking the bars and making a wide opening for the hostages. They gaped at the hole in shock as they wondered what had happened.

"Well?" asked a voice with a Britich accent. "Are you getting out or not?"

The air in front of the hole shimmered before a figure appeared. He was donned in a black bodysuit with purple armor styled after a cobra. He was holding a yellow sword with a jagged edge which he had used to cut the cage open.

"Who are you?" asked Jen with some suspicion.

"Shadowcobra," the purple warrior answered. "I'm a friend of Draco's. Now are you getting out or not?"

That was all the initiative that the group needed. They scrambled out of the cage.

"Why are you only in your underwear?" Shadowcobra asked as he saw Jonesy. He didn't get a response merely some muttering as the barely dressed boy ran out. Caitlin was the last to leave as she spared a glance at Draco. She then turned to look at Shadowcobra.

"You're going to help him, right?" she asked.

"Yes," he nodded. "If he wants me to help, anyway."

Back on the battlefield, Scorpios saw that he was now outnumbered. He then looked towards the cage and saw that his hostages were gone. He only saw Shadowcobra with his arms crossed and standing near a large hole in the cage.

"So," he snickered. "The little snake and the little fish have decided to help out the little dragon. I really should have seen that one coming. You little punks always hang out together."

"Then it will be your fatal mistake," Jawz frowned as he reached to his belt.

"Heh," Scorpios snickered. "Don't get angry, Little Fish. I know when I'm beaten. I may be crazy but I'm not stupid."

Scorpios then took his card and slipped it into his scythe, "Add Vent: Summoning Garuzak!"

A hissing noise echoed into the air before the scorpion Mirror Monster slipped through the glass of one of the stores. He charged straight over to Scorpios while destroying the main fountain.

"As fun as it will be beating you all, I think I'll just mosey along now," Scorpios laughed as his body began to turn into sand. "Sayonara!"

Scorpios' body turned completely to sand and became a literal sandstorm. Draco and Jawz covered their eyes out of reflex before sparks ripped across their bodies from sandy assaults. Both Knights crashed through some benches. Several potted trees were ripped from their positions during the storm. The sand then shot into the cockpit in Garuzak's head. The Mirror Monster gave off another hiss before it scuttled to one of the display windows and sank through the glass.

"Kuso," Jawz muttered underneath his breath. "He got away."

"But no one died, niisan," Draco added. "That is a victory in itself."

"Hai, it is," Jawz nodded. "But it won't stop Ichijyo from getting upset."

"True," Draco sighed. "Very true."


Ichijyo and Tazuka stood a distance away from Ryuki as he spoke to his friends. Ichijyo had healed Ryuki of all his wounds, post and prior to his fight with Scorpios. The CEO of Smart Brain Tokyo had just erased Ron's memories of tonight's events. He then decided to allow Ryuki to make his own choice about his friends.

"Knowing him, he'll let them remember," Ichijyo sighed, arms crossed.

"Well, can you blame him?" Tazuka asked. "You know he doesn't like it when people's memories are erased."

"It's for the good of the world," Ichijyo retorted. "I know it sounds cliché but you know I'm right. I still think it's too big of a risk to let them remember."

"Let him make that choice then," Tazuka advised.

"What do you see?" Ichijyo asked, referring to the future as Tazuka frowned.

Ryuki was explaining everything to his friends.

"So, those cuts and stuff were from a monster?" Nikki asked.

"Exactly," Ryuki nodded.

"And the flying books was because of you?" Jonesy asked. He was now wearing some spare clothes Tazuka had brought along.

"Hai." He demonstrated by levitating Jude's hat for a second. "I'm telekinetic."

"That explains a lot," Nikki commented.

"Hah, I knew it!" Jude exclaimed. "This is so cool! Explains everything, dude!"

"Wow, this is one big secret you've been keeping from us," Wyatt said.

"Well it does explain when we looked in the bathroom and found you missing," Jonesy said. Ryuki stared at him.

"You followed me?" Ryuki asked.

"Hey, the last time you went in there you were bleeding and stuff," Jonesy said, turning slightly pale at the memory. "We were worried."

Ryuki smiled, "Arigatou."

"I guess Darth's story wasn't that crazy after all," Nikki admitted.

"So, you're like a superhero, right?" Jen asked. Ryuki flinched.

"Not exactly…" Ryuki sighed. "I'm more or less like a secret agent." He pointed behind him. "The one in the coat, who helped free you, is my boss."

"He's kinda creepy," Caitlin commented. Ichijyo glared at her and she gulped.

"So, why didn't you tell us about this?" Jen asked.

Ryuki knew he had to tell her the truth. "I didn't want to, but I thought it'd be safer for you if you didn't know."

"It's safe to say that it wasn't the case here," Jonesy crossed his arms angrily. "We got kidnapped because of you."

"And for that, I'm sorry," Ryuki bowed his head. "I just didn't want you to think I was a freak."

"A freak?" Jude repeated. "Dude! You're a superhero! It's like a comic book brought to life and I'm in it! This is wicked awesome!"

"You're our friend, and you saved us," Jen smiled. "We don't think you're a freak."

"And you're okay in my book," Jonesy said, patting Ryuki's shoulder.

"Same here," Wyatt nodded.

"Yeah, what they said," Nikki shrugged.

Ryuki looked over towards his girlfriend, "Caitlin…?" She looked upset.

"Why couldn't you at least trust me?" Caitlin asked. He placed a hand on her cheek tenderly.

"I didn't want you to get worried," he said. "Listen, you all have normal lives. You didn't need to know about all this."

"Um, normal is a relative term," Nikki pointed out. "You think I hang around these guys to be normal?" She snorted, "As if."

"And well we're your friends," Jen said. "Of course we'd worry about you. We were worried when Samson was beating down on you."

Ryuki gulped. This was going to be painful.

"And it was so brave of you to come save us," Caitlin said, hugging Ryuki. "You're the best boyfriend ever."

He felt his heart breaking.

'You sure about this?' Yaminekoryu asked.

'Hai,' Ryuki replied before taking out his cell phone.

"How about we take a picture of this?" Ryuki said. "All of us together?"

"Sure, dude!" Jude grinned.

"Everyone, together now!" Caitlin grinned.

"Oh, is this gonna be a group hug thing?" Nikki said before standing with her friends.

Ryuki watched as they stood side by side, smiling and posing for him. This was how he would always remember them. Unfortunately, it would not be the same for them.

"Say cheese," he said as a tear fell down his cheek. Caitlin was the first to notice this before he pointed the camera lens at them.'Gomennasai. Sayonara...'

FLASH!

And the world went white for them.


The next day, the gang was back at the Lemon, just chatting about and hanging out together. Caitlin was looking at the paper. It was about the tournament that had taken place the day before.

"Oh, this guy looks so cute!" Caitlin said, staring at a picture of Ryuki adoringly. "Wonder if he's single?"

Nikki rolled her eyes. "Caitlin, he's probably long gone by now."

Caitlin sighed depressingly, "Yeah, I know."

Jonesy looked down on the paper and rubbed his chin. "You know, he seems kinda familiar."

"You know, you're right," Wyatt added. "But it escapes me for some reason."

"Would've been nice to hang with him, right?" Jude asked.

"Definitely," Jen smiled. "Oh, sorry, gotta run before Coach Halder gives me another penalty." She then ran off.

Not too far away were three Japanese boys. One of them, with red hair and green eyes, sighed sadly. His friend, who was wearing a black trench coat, put a hand on his shoulder.

"You did the right thing," Ichijyo said.

"Did I?" Ryuki asked before putting his hands in his pockets. Last night he had erased his friends' memories of him. The fountain had also been repaired as well as any damage caused by the fight last night. Ichijyo had also sent the Erasers to erase nearly every single trace of Ryuki and Tazuka here. As of now, they were total strangers just like the first day they came. It was like they had never been here. Their mission was complete. They had no reason to stay. Ryuki walked away, his head down.

He looked over his shoulder briefly at the gang and smiled. At least he could look at Caitlin's smiling face one last time before he stepped out through the doors. "Sayonara..."


THE END

That's the end of the 6teen fic I wrote and it wasn't really a happy ending, huh? Well, not everything ends with a happy ending. That's life. Anyway, thanks for reading and reviewing. I'd like to thank my reviewers as well as Shadow Element 13 for giving me Raiden and Tan Faced Paladin who helped me co-write this. Brave Kid also proofread. Thanks, Kid.