Chapter 4

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Kagome was only vaguely aware of what was going on. She saw what was going on around her and she acknowledged the actions in her mind, but her emotions seemed considerably dampened down. There was nothing there except a quiet, overwhelming sense of defeat.

Still, a little part of her knew that this wasn't like her; that this wasn't right nor natural. No matter how helpless she currently felt, she stubbornly held on to what little sense of duty and optimism that was left.

So when Kagome realized that a tiny little something came out of her own body, stole the shards, and, most horrifyingly enough, ate the souls of others, even with her dampened feelings, she could not just sit there and do nothing. She went with the same people who took out the souls and led them to the shards in hopes that they could stop the little monster.

But the fact of the matter was that she did feel incredibly negative. All her fears and insecurities were practically overwhelming her. Even her fierce stubbornness had its limits, and it was barely keeping the negativity from bay. So she only could watch as the little black creature practically decimated the girl she hoped could stop it, and then saw it do the same to several elementary school kids. And the sight just sent her plummeting even further.

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"Tightrope Dancer!" Rima shouted as cords danced around her body before ensnaring the X Character, it squeaking in horror in response. She held onto the ropes tightly as to not let it escape.

"Negative Heart, lock on!" Amu shouted, holding out her hands as Tadase pointed his scepter at the X Character.

"Open Heart/White Decoration!"

A blinding light surrounded the X Character, but when the light faded, it hadn't been purified.

"No way! Even with their combined forces, it wasn't enough-desu!" Suu cried out in horror.

"What's up with that X Character?!" Miki demanded. Ikuto leapt up at the still ensnared X Character, probably intending to knock off that other shard of pinkish glass off its head. Unfortunately, it broke free with burst of energy that sent him and Rima flying back. Ikuto flipped and managed to land on his feet, but Rima unfortunately was sent to a tree and consequently knocked out. Kusukusu popped out as the Clown Drop transformation came undone.

The X Character was readying another arrow, and it was aimed at the fallen Rima.

"Rima, wake up!" the little clown urged to her Bearer to no avail.

"Rima-chan!" Amu screamed. Not her too!

The arrow was sent flying. At the last possible moment, Kairi was in front of her and blocked the attack with his wooden sword.

"I'll somehow protect Queen and Ace," the Jack said, panting slightly. "Joker, King, you have to keep fighting!"

Before Amu could ask how, a broken voice cried out, What can I do?

Behind the X Character was a faint image of its Bearer, the same girl who was lifelessly standing beside Utau's manager.

How much longer can I juggle between two lives before I crack? After my adventures are over, will I have anything to fall back on…my grades suck and I have no reason to stay in the other side afterwards…

"Is that her heart…crying out?" Amu breathed out.

I love him…I love him so much…but he won't leave his past behind…so weak…I'm so weak…even if we win…after all our suffering and hardships…even if we win…in the end…

what if I won't have anything to show for it all?

Amu couldn't say anything. She didn't know what the story was behind this girl…and something about her words struck something uncomfortable in her own heart.

The X Character screamed, an energy blast exploding out of its body. Amu summoned and held up her pompoms to shield herself while Tadase summoned a Holy Crown Special to dampen the blow. They both managed to stand their ground, but after a moment, Tadase was knocked off his feet and Kiseki tumbled out, though the blonde managed to stay conscious.

Amu made up her mind right there and then. Even if she didn't know what to say to this girl, this couldn't continue any longer.

"Please!" Amu cried out. "Stop hurting everyone!"

The X Character and the shadow of its Bearer quirked up a little at her words.

"I'm sorry, and I don't know what you're going through and how you feel, but please, stop this! You're hurting all my friends and put an X on one of them! Is this right?! You don't seem like a bad person! Are you really okay with all of this?!"

(Beat.)

"…no, I'm not. Not at all…"

The statement came from the physical girl herself. She slowly walked towards her X Character. "I'd never forgive myself…if my own weakness caused others to get hurt."

She was now in front of her Character, it staring back at her. They stared at each other for a moment…and Amu certainly didn't expect her to suddenly grab the Character in both hands tight.

"No matter what happens to me or the future…I will not be able to stand…seeing others getting hurt…and if I'm the cause of it…I will make up for it!"

"Wow…so cool," Amu couldn't help but to say.

"Amu-chan, try purifying the X Character now!" Miki suggested.

"Negative Heart, lock on!" Amu shouted once more, holding out her hands. "Open Heart!"

The heart-shaped rays of energy hit the girl still gripping the Character head on, and the girl shut her eyes closed as the light blinded her. Something purple seemed to explode out from them…

When the light faded, light returned to the girl's eyes. Her hands were cupped, and inside them was a Guardian Character, a girl dressed in a full white and black kyudo uniform. Her dark blue hair was in a messy, windswept bangs and a high, tussled ponytail. Her dark blue eyes were shining and a large, serene smile was on her face. In one hand was a bow. In the other was the pink shard.

Amu let out a sigh of relief and happiness before Ran popped out of her body. Tired, she plopped to the ground on her bottom. The archer Guardian Character twirled around in the air several times before making her introduction.

"That feels so much better! So glad to finally meet you, Kagome-chan! My name's Katama, and I'm your Guardian Character, your would-be self!"

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Kagome was in awe of the tiny thing in front of her.

"My…would-be self?"

"Yup!" 'Katama said cheerfully as she pressed the shard into Kagome's open palm. "I was born from your hopes and dreams!"

"My hopes and dreams…" Kagome repeated, replacing the shard back into its tiny bottle. "Is that possible…?"

Katama giggled before tapping Kagome on the head with the bow. "You travel though time and fight monsters. Is it really so hard to believe that something could be born from your heart?"

Kagome couldn't help but to smile in response. "I guess-"

"The X-Eggs!"

Both of them looked up to see the air littered with the black eggs from before. The singer had shouted out, bringing it to their attention. The Eggs were singing out, "So useless, so useless" over and over again.

"Oh dear, they didn't get purified along with me!" Katama said in dismay.

"Amu-chan and the King are too tired to Transform again!" the tiny pink cheerleader beside the pink haired girl cried out. "They can't purify the Eggs then!"

"Those are the hopes and dreams of other people," Katama said as she noted Kagome's confused face. "But they've been corrupted and will cause mayhem while their owners will lose all hope in their future."

"That's terrible," Kagome gasped out. "But what can we do?"

"Have you forgotten what you can do?" Katama said, giggling as she disappeared into a golden brown egg, its print akin to that of a beautiful, tightly woven basket with wide strips. "Kagome-chan's own heart, unlock!"

"Wha-?" was all Kagome could manage to say before the Egg flew into her chest and a bright light enveloped her completely. "Character Transformation: Shining Arrow!"

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So there's chapter 4! Kagome gets her Character and a Transformation! Stay tuned to see Shining Arrow in action!

So yeah, Katama represents Kagome's desire for not only strength and (even more) optimism, but also her desire to look to the future while not losing her grip of the present. After all, an archer has to shoot a far-off target while maintaining a steady form. And since she wears a modern kyudo uniform, a modern version of an ancient practice, it also represents her desire to find balance between her two lives.

'Katama' means 'tightly woven basket' (I think! I think!), while 'kagome' means 'basket eye'. A tightly woven basket traps evil within itself with no means of it escaping. 'Basket eye' refers to the gaps made when a basket isn't made so tightly. Since it has 'eyes' seeing in every direction, it can spot any incoming evil. Despite the names being somewhat opposite, they are both appropriate names for miko, which is why Katama's egg's print is that of a basket.

Well, I hope that wasn't too lame.

Sigh, since a lot of you really want a Ikuto/Kagome, I'll hit a compromise. In no way are they hooking up, but they will have a one-on-one conversation later on.

Please review so I know if you like it or not! (I can't help but to notice how many more people have this on their watch list but not reviewing...-_-'...I should be expecting this by now...)