THE HARDEST GANG IN HAKODATE by Kondoru

Standard Disclaimers

Thanks to JP for beating.


Kuina, long suffering leader of the Dragon Knights, Lacrymas finest warrior Monks and general bunch of idiots was busy giving them a pep talk.

Atori was picking his nose, Kosagi was poking her umbilical, Fukuro was crotch scratching, Isuka head scratching, Karasu thoughtfully tracing the red symbol of their Order on his chest.

Only Tobi was looking at all businesslike; he was examining his implanted PC.

Kuina gave the programme a closer inspection.

Tobi was playing `Knights V Destructors`

However this was a training simulation. Kuina could do nothing about it.

Tobi hadn't been Quantumised for his fighting ability though; this made his continual running of the simulation a tad suspicious.

"Tobi..."Scolded Kuina warningly.

Tobi paused the game and switched it off.

"Today we are going on a very important mission."

"Whose the `We`?" asked Kosagi and was given a thick ear.

"Ok! I'll rephrase that!" snapped Kuina. He had a good array of mellow responses, none of which he felt like bringing up today. "`You` lot are going to Jump to Hakodate of 15 years ago, grab the Dragon Torc, and bring it back."

"The Dragon Torc?" asked Karasu.

Kuinas paused, he was well aware, the normally impeccable Karasu, wanted the Dragon Torc for his own use. Karasu was such a Reizuhead. Kuina had resolved to let him have the artefact, which would destroy him with its great power.

"Yes. I give you lot this lecture every day, don't I? The retrieval of the Dragon Torc is the reason you little lot exist. It is the key to Lacrymas survival."

The Dragon Knights decided to nap on their feet with their eyes open.

Kuina gave up. "Fail and you will be given six of the best and sent to bed without any supper."

All were silent. Beatings and starvings were part and parcel of life in the Henhouse.

"Bring back the Dragon Torc, and I'll buy you all a huge tuck hamper."

The Knights perked up. Tuck hampers were rather scarce in the Henhouse. The Knights were sustained by Reizu, they did not need to eat solids, and so for Budgetary Reasons none of them got the rations of their order.

But this did not mean to say that the Dragon Knights didn't get hungry...

"Rye crackers with green algae paste." smiled Karasu.

"Fungus chips." Added Tobi.

"Squigs...Lots of fat wrigglers" One of Atoris favourites.

"Fungus beer!" Said Fukuro, one eye gleaming.

"Maggot stew." Kosagi said. (She never got any.)

"Tinned cave fish." Karasus starved imagination worked overtime.

"Marmite." Tobi licked his lips.

"Rats on sticks." Atori rubbed his thin belly.

"Candy." Isuka had a sweet tooth.

"Pigeon pie!" Kosagi was the best bird hunter, but somehow Kuina took all her kill off of her.

The Knights starved imaginations worked overtime.

Kuina smiled benignly, "yes, all that and more will be yours if you return with the Dragon Torc."

The Six Dragon Knights filed out of the common room to begin their solemn mission.

---------

Isuka, as luck would have it, materialised by the football pitch.

"Damn it!" Isami forgot the ball.

Isuka stepped forwards and grasped Isamis wrist in his huge paw. "Gotcha!"

"Lemmme go!" yelled Isami, suddenly afraid.

"Dontcha know its wrong to pick on someone smaller than yourself?" A huge body blocked out the sun.

Isuka had not taken Miyamoto Musashis advice on always fighting with the sun; he was blinded.

The huge Knight was brutally squashed by Tsuneyoshi bodyslamming him.

Fukuro materialised a minute later to find Isuka held down by a laughing Tsuneyoshi, Isami was cheering his brother on.

"Do you need any help, Isuka?" Asked Fukuro. He appeared to be losing.

"Gotcha!" Isami leapt bodily on Fukuros back; he had also applied Miyamoto Musashis teachings, approaching the Knight on his blind side.

"Impossible!" Fukuro went down.

--------

Yu was playing with his video camera in the garden.

He was bored, and wanted someone to film.

Karasu stepped though the gate. It was no surprise to find Yu here; Karasu somehow always knew roughly where his younger version was.

"Harrumph!" greeted Yu; Just his rotten luck; the one person who would show up was someone who hadn't enough presence in this Reality to be visible on camera. "What are `you` snooping around for?"

Karasu didn't know what to say to that; Yu evidently was `not` pleased to see him.

The Front door opened, it was Mrs Goto. "Ah, Karasu, how nice of you to come to play with Yu."

Karasu and Yu looked at each other then at their shared mother.

"Aren't you going to help Yu with his homework? Its Quantum Physics today." Mrs Goto asked. She knew how to tug Karasus pipeline.

"Quantum Physics?" Quavered Karasu.

He had painful memories of being wired to a neural pain inducer whilst learning Quantum Physics in Knight School. Lacryman educational methods being nothing if not innovative.

"Excuse me, I'm suffering a lot of instability today." Karasu teleported to safety.

---------

Ai was sulking in the woods. She had fallen out with Isami, for the third time that morning.

Unknown to her, someone was watching intently from a high tree branch; someone who was just as evil as Ai.

"She's on her own." muttered Kosagi to herself. "And she will know where the Dragon Torc is!"

Kosagi jumped out of her tree, onto Ai.

"What the?" Ai was not surprised, Ai never got surprised, she was mad instead.

Kosagi got a good close look at the enraged Ais face.

And saw, not Ai, but the Lady Amamiku.

Who had given Kosagi a particularly unpleasant intimate examination just yesterday. (The fact that it was in front of Kuina and her fellows did not help. `You're one of the Boys, aren't you, Kosagi? Then there will be no special treatment for you.`)

Kosagi, unspeakably brave as she was, had a nanoseconds panic.

Which was all Ai needed. She sidestepped, and pushed Kosagi over in a muddy puddle.

------

"No frogs!" Warned Miho as they passed by the pond.

Clara had found something more interesting than a mere frog, she sniffed at Atoris layze boots.

"I'm not a frog," Atori stepped from behind the bush.

"Atori!" Miho greeted him then paused. She knew Knights were not always to be trusted.

Miho had a sensible rule of thumb as to whether a Knight was good or bad; Good ones had no pipeline.

Atori clearly had the blue line of insubstantial reizu snaking upwards.

Miho gave the Knight a penetrating stare. "You're after Haruka aren't you?"

"Who? Me?" Atori put on his best innocent look.

It didn't fool Miho.

Atoris quiff was pulled violently, while a ferocious Dashund was shoved in his face.

------

"Off co-ordinates!" Grumbled Tobi.

He looked about him. He had materialised in a back alley high on the mountain.

There was no one about.

So Tobi sat down in a black habited mass, he called up his holographic display and began one of his unending `Knights V Destructors` games.

Tobi was pretty sure he could not tackle the might of the Dragon Torc all by himself, so why bother getting pasted?

Getting pasted was a regular and inevitable event in the Henhouse.

His game was rudely interrupted by Yu swatting his sensors into nothingness.

Yu was not alone.

"Why, if it isn't little purple jerk himself!" growled Isami.

Tobi suddenly realised he was surrounded.

By kids bigger than him.

"Don't hit me!" He squalled.

His puny body disappeared under several bodies landing on top of him.

Tobi got pasted.

--------------

The defeated Knights teleported to their rendvous point at the old defence post one by one.

They looked frazzled.

"What a bunch of bullies!" Whimpered Tobi. "My commander warned me about kids like them!"

"You don't say." Kosagi tried to wipe mud off her layze, only smearing it about more.

"Fancy wrestling with me without warning!" wheezed a rather sat upon Isuka.

Karasu shuddered. "Homework!" was all he said.

"Kids are such annoying Brats, I always knew that." Atori tried to straighten his now very bent quiff.

"We will have to apply teamwork." Fukuro said. He stood in for Kuina on missions.

None of the Knights were sure just what that meant.

Kosagi looked up the word in her PC dictionary. "It means we work as a group...I think." She said doubtfully.

"Are you sure?" Asked Isuka. Who wasn't.

Fukuro nodded. he looked closely at all his fellow Knights with his one eye. "I think we can manage it."

The others nodded. Too much was at stake here.

They teleported off.

----------

Haruka and her gang were playing football in the park.

Haruka had not seen any of her black robed nemesis's at all.

"Dragon Knights on the prowl?" She sniffed disdainfully. "Always that bunch of idiots making trouble for me."

"Don't worry." Yu told her, "we can take care of such nuisances for you."

"I beat up Fukuro." Isami told them.

"I hope you didn't cause a paradox?" Grumbled Ai.

Isami shook his head. "No, only a bruising." He laughed, "and you should have seen my Bro whack Isuka."

"I expect Tsuneyoshis glad to have someone his own size to pick upon." Said Ai, who thought the huge guy was a pain in the arse. "I clobbered Kosagi good and proper." She puffed out her chest, "she was spitting out mud where I landed her in a puddle."

Miho put on her best disapproving look. "Well, Atoris not going to cause trouble, not until the dog bites on his face heal." She shook her head in mock sadness. "Clara mistook him for a frog."

Clara yipped in triumph, she hadn't had so much fun in ages.

Haruka beamed proudly; weren't her gang good in a fight? But this martial prowess was no good if it denied her the chance to use the Dragon Torc on the Knights.

"No Karasu?" Haruka didn't want Karasu hurt...Much. She could tolerate Karasu. When he was not stalking her. Besides, it was always Karasu who approached her while the others were hiding...And then it was Karasu who got the brunt of the Dragon Torcs powers.

"Mum scared him off." Yu smirked.

"Your mum scares everybody." Chided Isami.

Yu got Isami in an armlock. "My Mums just fine!" He looked up at the disapproving faces of the girls. "She asked him to help me with my homework."

Haruka grinned broadly. "I can just see his face."

Yu shook his head, "and he vanished." Yu growled, "you would think he would be willing to help me. Good students help themselves, don't they?"

They all nodded.

"No Tobi?" Asked Haruka, who had been counting. Tobi was in many ways the most formidable of the Knights. He looked harmless…But wasn't.

"Oh him." Isami laughed." We found the girly runt in a back alley. He was playing a computer game."

"So we kicked him silly." Ai added, who did not care that four against one very little guy was not a fair fight.

"Poor Tobi." Haruka sighed in mock sympathy. "Still, he shouldn't try to do a tough guys job if he's going to get stomped on."

The kids chattered merrily about their latest victory over the Dragon Knights.

"Blue snow!" Miho pointed to the other end of the playing field.

"`Lots` of blue snow!" Ai frowned.

Haruka shook her head, "looks like the gangs all here. Baron, to me!" She called to the big dog who was sniffing a bush some yards distant.

Six black robed forms materialised with a flash and crackle of reizu.

"There she is!" Fukuro pointed.

"Bang on target! You did a good job, Tobi," The tallest Knight said to his sensor surrounded companion.

"It's the Dragon Knights!" Yelled Isami, "let's get them!"

Fukuro was narded by a smartly flung football.

The air was full of flying sticks, stones, fists, feet and Clara, who was enjoying a new career as a sausage shaped missile.

Isami bowled Karasu down and started jumping up and down upon his head.

Kosagi was engaged in a wrestling match with an enraged Baron, getting mud all over the white dogs coat.

Isuka was swinging a wailing Tobi about by his braids. He was determined not to get winded again, and so was lashing out with the nearest item he could grab...Which happened to be Tobi.

Clara had managed to get under Atoris habit, and was now savagely biting at his crotch, Even though his armour was proof against the little dogs teeth, Atori was panicking, and lashing out at friend and foe alike.

Bam! Tobi was catapulted into Ai, bringing both of them both of them down.

Ai grabbed Tobis braids in both hands and demonstrated her football header technique on his skull.

Isuka went to follow up his strike, only to find Miho on his shoulders, he bucked and shook, but Miho was not to be dislodged.

"Aren't we supposed to be friends?" A nervous Fukuro asked a menacing Yu, who was not looking very friendly.

"Yes," Yu punched the Knight in the solar plexus, Fukuro doubled up, "I'd stab you with my knife if we weren't friends."

The Knights seemed to be winning. But this was only because Isuka had shaken Miho loose and was now trying to extract Clara from her position of groin biter.

Haruka stayed aloof from the punch-up, it was evident she was engaged in summoning the Dragon Torc.

Time Stopped.

The Scrum came to a panting, cursing halt.

"Right guys, Off to your filthy shithole...Before I send you back myself."

The Knights took not the hint.

Haruka, the activated Torc glowing about her neck, brought both hands together in a mighty smack.

The Reizu Simulator kicked in.

"Agh!" Fukuro was enveloped in blue sparks, he threw Yu off him, owing the boy that much at least.

"Urgh!" Atori was suddenly wrapped in his habit.

"Haru..!" screamed Tobi.

"Yelp!" went Baron, leaping bodily off of Kosagi, who disappeared.

"Nooo!" Karasus pipeline, overstrained, nearly slipped loose from its plug, he grabbed it and vanished.

"Eeeep!" Isuka was whisked away into nothingness.

The reizu manifestation died down. Time restarted.

Haruka dusted off her hands, "Takes more than a bunch of losers to best me!"

Her friends nodded. Hadn't it been a fun fight?

------

"Six Birds return to the Henhouse."

The Knights rematerialised in the Transportation room.

Kosagi dropped to her feet, shaking her head. She was covered in mud and dog slaver.

Karasu fell to the floor, chest heaving in exhaustion. The pipeline gave up the uneven struggle and pulled free, blood dribbling from the umbilical. Karasu nearly hadn't made it.

Fukuro pulled solemnly at his hair. His pony tail had come undone in the fight.

Atori shot out of the chute like a rocket, he was screaming, dancing around. "Get it off, get it off!"

The Observer who operated the Transpoprter room sighed and called for Psych wing support.

Isuka keeled over.

Tobi drooped down, wheezing where he had been winded. He bore a big trainer print on his face.

Kuina shook his head in sadness.

"Can't any of you Knights capture `one` little girl?"

--------

In the common room, six Knights watched their leader with trepidation.

"Can I be excused punishment, Kuina? I'm hurt." Karasu displayed bloodied hands.

Kuina called up his wrist computer, set it to medical scan, perused Karasu for all of twenty seconds then gave him a sharp backhander.

"Kuina..."Chided Atori, who had managed to calm down sufficiently not to be straitjacketed and and dragged off to Psych ward.

There was `not` a small dog under his habit as he had immediately suspected.

Kuina made a dismissing gesture to Atori, the blonde Knight took the hint for once.

"Off with your armour." He barked in a no nonsense tone. Normally Kuina needed not to order about his birds, but they knew when he did, it was serious.

They all silently dismissed their layze underlayer. With layze it was all or nothing; six naked bodies stood before Kuina.

Kuina looked them up and down for a minute. Why was he lumbered with this bunch of losers?

Eleven nervous eyes watched his every move.

Kuina held up his hand, forming layze into a nice flexible rod. "Ok, who's first?"

Everyone clamoured to be last on the theory that Kuinas would have tired by then.

"What a bunch of sissies! Turn around and bend over."

No one was going to take any risks, six pipeline umbilical implanted bottoms were presented to him. This was not a pretty sight, but Kuina was used to it.

"Smallest or biggest first? Or alphabetical order?" He mused.

"Stop!" Cried Karasu.

"Don't be a wimp, Karasu." Kuina cracked his layze whip.

"Give me half an hour." Karasu turned around.

"Half a what?" Kuina grumbled.

Karasu rematerialised his layze armour and habit. "Half an hour and I'll return with the Dragon Torc."

"You are injured…" Said Kosagi.

"I have two umbilicals" muttered Karasu. "I'll use the other one."

Kuina sighed. "Ok. Ok."

"I don't return with it...You can put me in a correction cell."

"It's a deal!" Kuina had lots of faith in the surly Karasu.

Karasu went out the door, the other Knights, pleased at this reprieve, rematerialised their comforting Layze. "Off to your cells boys!" Kuina sat by the table to wait.

At least he was spared the expense of a tuck hamper.

----------------

Actually it was just under twenty minutes. The Transporter room bell chimed on Kuinas computer, he alerted the other Knights and they silently entered the Transporter room, best be wary.

"One Bird returns to the Henhouse," the Observer announced, quite unnecessarily.

The winch cranked.

Karasu rose back into view.

In his arms he bore Haruka.

"Hi guys." She said to the waiting Dragon Knights. "Karasu invited me to tea with you. Isn't that nice of him?"

Kuina groaned, he would have to order a tuck hamper after all.