Disclaimer: I do not own Zatch Bell
*hides so that she doesn't get hit by random objects thrown by angry viewers* I'm soooo sorry! I didn't mean to take so long with this chapter! I'm sorry you guys have to put up with such a lazy author! Though technically it wasn't just because of my laziness that I didn't update. This time of the year got pretty hectic especially with me being a senior and all. Luckily, now I'm done with school, so I'll have more chances to update this story. That's right, people, I'm officially a college student! Yay for me! haha *sighs* Still, I can't believe I missed updating on my story's anniversary! It's already been a full year since I started this thing! Time sure does fly. Once again, I apologize. I know I always do this and say I'll do better but hopefully I will now that it's officially summer!
To Just Another Sophia: Sorry about confusing you. For some reason, I always use hair and eye colors for descriptions when I use characters X P Also, please feel free to send in an OC! I love getting new OCs : )
Big thanks to Windraider for helping me with Trance's scene and stevethemime for helping with the ending ^-^
Here's chapter 27 of A Battle To Remember! ^_^ Hopefully this one will turn out better than my last one X ) Also just in case you don't know though I have a feeling everyone does, "Oka-san" means mother in japanese.
Heihachi and Marly walked together silently as Uuda ran ahead looking for any clues that might show where Haley and Kai had been taken. Since Heihachi was without a mamodo and Leon thought it would be better for him to search with another team, the orange haired teen decided to tag along with the youngest team seeing as he was the most familiar with the two, and he wanted to make sure the children didn't get into any trouble.
The three decided to search the right side of the road like Derrick and Alice though they had moved farther up the road. Heihachi had noticed since they had begun looking that both Marly and Uuda had become eerily silent. Silence really wasn't unusual for Marly, but for the outspoken Uuda, it was quite strange.
The black haired girl's eyes were slightly puffy from crying, and there were still some tear stains on her cheeks from where she forgot to wipe them away. Marly wouldn't make eye contact with the older teen, and there was a slight frown marring his features instead of his usual neutral look.
Heihachi sighed as he realized his predicament. "They're blaming themselves for what happened to Haley and Kai. They probably think that if they hadn't been knocked out they could've helped Haley and Kai fight that other mamodo. But it's not their fault. They couldn't help what had happened. It was just bad luck on our part."
Blue eyes dawned with realization. "They're like me. I blamed myself for what happened just like them, but something changed."
Shortly after Leon explained his plan, both Yamamoto and Trance left claiming that they couldn't help. Surprisingly enough, Leon didn't get mad like they had expected. Instead he just told the two where they could find them if they changed their mind. It was the opposite for Derrick and Katsu, however. They couldn't believe the baseball player would just ditch Haley and Kai like that. To them, it was like Yamamoto and Trance didn't care about their missing friends at all. A few minutes later everyone began to head outside. The only ones still inside Leon's apartment were Derrick, Alice, Katsu, Kira, and Heihachi.
"Why aren't you angry?"
The four turned to face the older teen. Katsu, who still pissed about Yamamoto leaving, scowled, "What are you talking about? Of course we're angry! Someone kidnapped our friends! And that baseball bastard just abandoned us!"
Heihachi shrank under the other's heated glare and averted his eyes. "I-I meant, why aren't you angry at me? It's my fault this happened. If I hadn't left them…"
The orange haired teen jumped in surprise when he felt a gentle hand on his shoulder. He looked up to meet Derrick's warm brown eyes. "We're not mad at you because it wasn't your fault. Haley told you to leave, so that you could take those kids to safety. You didn't abandon her."
Katsu rolled his eyes. "Besides, you wouldn't have been much help anyway without a mamodo."
Alice, noticing Heihachi slump at the other's words, walked over to the orange haired teen and placed a hand on his leg gaining his attention. "Derrick-kun's right, Heihachi-san. There wasn't anything you could do. But you know what?"
When the blue-eyed teen gave her a curious look, the silver haired girl continued, "I think Haley would've been very proud of you for bringing Marly and Uuda-chan to safety. I don't think she would blame you at all for what happened. So please don't blame yourself."
Heihachi frowned, "But-" Before he could continue, the orange haired teen was surprisingly interrupted by Kira of all people. Icy blue eyes stared intensely at the older teen. "As long as no one else blames you, then there's no reason to blame yourself, correct? Instead of worrying about what happened in the past, put your focus into the future and what you can do to help."
With that, Katsu and Kira left without another word. Derrick and Alice followed shortly after but not before giving the older teen some reassuring pats and sympathetic smiles.
Once everyone was gone, tears slowly began to stream down the blue-eyed teen's face. His body trembled as he looked down. "These people... Even though they could've blamed me for what happened, they didn't. Instead, they consoled me."
A small smile formed on his face. "You've got really good friends, Haley."
Heihachi quickly shook his head and began to wipe his face. Once he was done, the orange haired teen hurried for the door. "They're right. This is not the time to be wallowing in my own self pity. I need to focus on helping find Haley and Kai. After all, they're my friends too!"
He clenched his fists. "Because of their words, I was finally able to forgive myself for my weakness and move on. I may not be much help to everyone else without a mamodo, but I can at least help these two!"
"Hey, can I talk to you two for a minute?"
The kids paused and turned to face the older teen. For the first time in awhile, Marly spoke, "What is it, Heihachi-san?" As usual, the boy's voice held a dull tone though the tone seemed somewhat different than usual almost as if the blonde was annoyed.
Uuda crossed her arms. "We don't have time to talk, Heihachi! We've gotta find Haley and Kai!"
Heihachi sighed already expecting such a response from the children. "Oh well here goes nothing." "I understand. Don't worry this won't take long. I just need to ask you two a question."
When they gave him looks to continue, the orange haired teen took a calming breath then asked, "You do know that none of this is your fault, right?"
As he expected, both partners froze then quickly averted their eyes. Marly was more subtle about it while Uuda was looking anywhere but at Heihachi.
The older teen sighed, "No turning back now." He walked over to the kids and knelt down to be at eye level with them though the two still refused to look at him. "Guys, I understand that you think this is your fault, but it's not. You couldn't help what happened. That mamodo was after Haley and Kai. He didn't care about us."
White eyes brimmed with tears. "But we should've been there! I-If we hadn't been knocked out, we could've helped them! But because of us, Haley and Kai were left by themselves and had to face that mamodo alone!"
Usually dull grey eyes bore deeply into the other's blue orbs. "Because of our weakness, Haley-san and her mamodo had to fight on their own. I know that they're strong enough to take care of themselves, but because they were worried about us, they couldn't run away in fear that something might happen to us. Now do you still think we shouldn't blame ourselves, Heihachi-san?"
Both Heihachi and Uuda blinked in surprise at the cold tone of the blonde's voice. Once he shook off the shock, the orange haired teen reached over and placed a gentle hand on the boy's shoulder. "I do. After all, I don't think Haley and Kai would want you to blame yourselves for what happened. It is true things might have worked out differently if we had stayed, but there's no point in dealing with "what ifs", right?"
When the two partners remained silent, Heihachi continued, "Like I said, I understand what you're going through. For awhile, I couldn't stop blaming myself for what happened either, but after some wise words, I realized there was no point in worrying about what happened. Instead, I should focus on the future. So let's make a deal"
Marly and Uuda stared at the older teen in confusion. Uuda tilted her head. "What kind of deal?"
The taller teen smiled as he held out his hand to the two. "I promise that I'll stop blaming myself for what happened if you two do. How's that sound? Deal?"
A few seconds passed in silence as the children stared at the outstretched hand then at each other. Finally, both partners reached out and grabbed the offered hand. A large smile formed on Uuda's face while Marly's lips slightly twitched upwards. "Deal."
The blue eyed teen's smile grew. "Good."
Uuda quickly wiped away her tears and gave Heihachi a determined look. "No more feeling bad about what happened. From now on, I'm gonna put all my strength into finding Haley and Kai!" She nodded to herself. "Yeah! There's no way we won't find them!"
Before the boys could stop her, Uuda took off and began to thoroughly search the area. Marly shook his head before turning toward the older teen. "I apologize for my rudeness earlier, Heihachi-san. As a man, I should have better control of my emotions."
Heihachi sweatdropped. "Man, how old is this kid?" He chuckled, "Don't worry about it, Marly. It's fine. I know you didn't mean anything by it. Besides,-" The taller teen placed a hand on the blonde's head. "I think it's pretty normal for a man to get worked up now and then. After all, we're all human. Now let's go try to catch up with Uuda before she leaves us behind."
Marly deadpanned, "Too late for that."
The orange haired teen laughed as the two quickly hurried after the now energetic Uuda. "Looks like I was able to be useful after all. I'm glad."
"Hey Yamamoto, are you alright?"
Despite what the two had told the others, Yamamoto and Trance had in fact gone toward the area where Haley and Kai had been taken. Wanting to do this on their own, they just let everyone else believe that they didn't care about searching for their kidnapped friends when in truth the pair was just as worried as the others. They were just better at concealing their emotions.
Yamamoto moved his gaze to stare at his partner's worried emerald eyes. He automatically smiled trying to soothe the other's worry. "Of course! Why would you ask that?"
The white haired mamodo frowned as he pointed at a nearby tree. "Because we've passed that tree three times now, and you haven't said anything since we entered this forest."
His book owner blinked in surprise as he came to a stop. He studied his surroundings for a few seconds now realizing that they had in fact already searched that area before. Yamamoto scratched his head as he grinned sheepishly. "Well what do you know, I guess we have. Sorry about that, Trance. I guess I must've zoned out again."
Trance nodded already knowing the real reason for his partner's absentmindedness. Ever since they left Leon's apartment to search for their missing friends, Yamamoto had been relatively quiet lost in his own thoughts. It was obvious to the white haired mamodo that the older teen was worried about their friends.
As he continued to think about their situation, a slight shudder ran through his small form as flashbacks began to plague his mind. The shorter boy shook his head trying to clear his mind but to no use. No matter what he did, they just wouldn't go away.
"Aren't the stars pretty, Trance?"
Trance, who was now much smaller around the age of 6, nodded as he lay in his mother's lap stargazing. He always loved when he got to do this with his mother. It was always so peaceful. The dark of the night concealed most of her features, but with the starlight, it was easy to see that Trance's mother was a beautiful woman. It was said he took after her in appearance while his older brother took after their father.
A frown formed on the white haired child's face when he noticed the look of worry in his mother's eyes. "What is it, Oka-san?"
She smiled at the boy and slowly shook her head. "Oh it's nothing, dear. I was just thinking about your brother."
Trance's frown grew at the mention of his brother, Arcane. Despite being so young, the emerald-eyed child had already developed an inferiority complex toward the older boy after being compared so much with his brother. Like, how at Trance's current age, his brother was already considered a prodigy while Trance didn't have any offensive or defensive spells only spells to create things like tools.
Now Trance didn't actually hate his brother, he just couldn't stand always being in the other's shadow. He wanted to be recognized as Trance not Arcane's little brother.
Mistaking the boy's frown for worry, the woman quickly added, "Oh don't worry, Trance. Arcane should be alright. I've just been worried ever since I found out that he went to go save a nearby town by himself after he heard a rouge mamodo was attacking it. I heard the mamodo's very strong, so I'm worried about your brother's safety. Not that I don't think he can handle himself. I have full confidence in Arcane. It's just a mother can't help but be worried about her child."
Wanting to comfort his mother, Trance hugged her. "Don't worry, Oka-san. Nii-san's strong. He'll be fine."
"After all, Nii-san can do anything." He thought bitterly.
His mother smiled, "You're right, Trance. I'm sure Arcane will be fine."
Noticing his depressed expression, she also added, "Now there's no need to be jealous, Trance. One day, when you discover what true strength is, you'll be able to do just as well as your brother. Now instead of all this worrying, how about we get back to where we left off? I know how much you love to stargaze."
Trance nodded absently though inwardly he really wanted to go back inside to his room. After their talk, the white haired mamodo felt like he couldn't enjoy himself anymore. "No matter where I am, I can't escape your shadow. Can I, Nii-san?"
Slowly the flashbacks began to recede back to the deeper parts of his mind causing Trance to release a sigh of relief. When Yamamoto gave him a concerned glance, the shorter boy smiled at his partner to show he was alright.
The white haired mamodo stared up at the sky watching the clouds drift aimlessly. "My true strength. Even after all these years, I still haven't figured out what it is. I wonder…"
Trance shook his head dismissing those thoughts. "There's no time for that. I need to focus on looking for Haley and Kai." A small bitter smile formed on his face at the thought. "It seems I'm more like you than I thought, Nii-san. Now I'm the one trying to save people. I just hope I won't end up looking like how he always did whenever he managed to finally come home."
A memory of his brother coming home covered in blood made the emerald-eyed teen flinch. Even though it happened numerous times, the white haired mamodo never could get used to the sight. What made it worse was the way his brother would act cheerful and pretend nothing was wrong when he was clearly hurting. "I always hated when he did that."
Trance looked up at his partner, who was once again lost in his own thoughts, no doubt worrying about the fate of their friends. The child clenched his fists. "I may have not been able to get Nii-san to stop his cheerful act, but I can at least get through to my own partner." "Yamamoto?"
The other smiled, "What's up, Trance?"
"I know you don't want me to worry about you, but could you tell me what's wrong? Even if you try to hide it, I can still tell that you're upset. I understand you're worried about Haley and Kai. I am too, but you shouldn't keep your feelings all bottled up."
The white haired boy reached over and grabbed his book owner's arm. "We're partners. Whenever one of us is upset, the other is there to help them out. You've always been there for me when I needed help, so it's time I return the favor. Please let me help."
Yamamoto stared at the mamodo in surprise not expecting the other to be able read him so easily. Finally, after a few seconds of silence, a small smile formed on his face. It wasn't forced like the previous ones though there was a hint of sadness to it. "Guess you saw through my act huh?"
His partner frowned, "Yamamoto."
The raven haired teen knelt down and ruffled the other's hair. "Thanks, Trance. You're a good friend. I don't know what I'd do without you. Before you came, I wasn't used to having many friends, so I usually just kept my emotions to myself. Instead, I'd always just smile like nothing was wrong."
He sighed, "I guess that's why I'm having such a hard time keeping my emotions in check now. Since I'm not used to having friends, the idea of Haley-sempai and Kai being in danger kinda has me rattled. We may not know each other very well, but I feel like I can trust them. They're good people, so I hate that this happened to them."
Trance patted the other's shoulder consolingly. "I understand. Don't worry, Yamamoto, we'll get them back. Like you said, they're our friends, so we're not gonna stop until we find them. They'll be alright. Remember, Haley and Kai are a strong team. It'll take a lot to beat those two."
His book owner chuckled, "You're right. I don't see Haley and Kai going down without a fight." A real smile formed on the taller teen's face. "So there's no reason I should be feeling so down like this. Just because they've been captured doesn't mean there's no chance of helping them. We'll definitely find them. Thanks, Trance. I needed that."
Trance grinned as he gave Yamamoto a thumbs-up. "No problem, partner."
While the younger teams searched near the area Haley and Kai disappeared, Leon and Toshiro had moved ahead wanting to search the areas they hadn't investigated yet. They had just finished examining the right side of the road before turning toward the wooded area on the left.
Both had been relatively silent as they searched. Each worried about their younger siblings' safety. Unlike the rest of the group, the two weren't having any issues with blaming themselves. Instead, the older teens would switch between being worried about their siblings and being angry at the mamodo who took them.
Leon cracked his knuckles. "Just wait until I get my hands on that bastard."
"You and me both, partner."
In usual cases when Leon was being his overprotective self, Toshiro would tease his book owner, but seeing as his brother was also in danger, he wasn't in a very joking mood.
After another ten minutes of fruitless searching, Leon punched a nearby tree in an attempt to vent out some of his anger. "Dammit! How can there be no sign of where they were taken? Nobody's that good! Everyone always messes up!"
Toshiro leaned against another tree and crossed his arms. "I guess not this time." His grip tightened on his arms as his cerulean eyes darkened. "Whoever took them is smarter than we thought. He's not the usual run of the mill mamodo."
Emerald eyes narrowed. "I don't care who the hell the bastard is! I just wanna find him, kick his ass, and take back my sister!"
His partner raised an eyebrow. "And you think I don't?"
Leon blinked before sighing. He rubbed the back of his head. "Sorry about that. You know how I can get sometimes. I'm just worried."
Toshiro rolled his eyes. "I know." The shorter teen pulled away from the tree and moved toward his partner. "So you ready for some more searching?"
The redhead nodded, "Yeah let's go." Leon moved forward but froze when he felt his phone vibrate from inside his pocket. Despite knowing there was no way it was from who he hoped it was, the older teen quickly pulled out his phone to see he had a message.
Emerald eyes widened at the name of the message's sender.
The black haired mamodo gave his partner a confused look. "What's wrong?" When he didn't get a response, Toshiro moved so that he could look at the other's phone. When he noticed who the message was from, his eyes also grew large.
On the phone's screen were two words. "From: Haley."
Without anymore delay, Leon quickly flipped open his phone to look at the message. To their disappointment and confusion, it wasn't an actual worded message. Instead, it was a series of numbers and letters.
The redhead raised an eyebrow. "What the hell?" He quickly tried to call his sister but discovered that the phone was off. "I don't understand. Why instead of calling us would Haley send us a weird message full of numbers and letters that don't spell anything?"
Toshiro studied the numbered message. "Maybe this wasn't from Haley." At his book owner's pointed look, he continued, "Maybe someone else got a hold of her phone and sent this to us for some reason."
The shorter mamodo shrugged, "Don't ask me. My brother's the genius not me."
Shortly after Necro had left his hideout to recapture his test subjects, the mysterious swordsman quietly snuck into the building and found the room where the green haired mamodo kept all of the captured book owners' belongings.
Once the black haired mamodo obtained the items, he quickly made his way toward the exit. The brown-eyed teen gave the computer room a passing glance. He knew from the bug he planted that he needn't bother with it since the whole system was already destroyed, but the mysterious swordsman stealthily entered the room anyway.
Dark brown eyes observed his surroundings intently before finally finding what he was interested in. Not far away from the ruined computer system stood a small metal filing cabinet. The young mamodo made his way over to the cabinet and opened it. He swiftly perused through the many papers before finding what he wanted.
Three of the files were the ones that were about Haley, Josh, Lee, and their respective mamodo while others were of mamodo Necro had yet to look into. The black haired teen slowly pulled out the folders and stashed them inside his kimono before heading for the door.
A few seconds later the silent thief quickly exited the building managing to avoid all of the security cameras just like when he entered. There was no trace of his visit left behind almost like a ghost. The two scientists would be none the wiser.
After departing from the secret hideout, the mysterious swordsman headed back toward the area he had last seen Haley and the others knowing Necro wouldn't be far. Once he found an area suitable to his liking, the black haired mamodo placed the green backpack he had been carrying onto the ground and then pulled out a red cell phone.
When he flipped open the phone, the brown-eyed mamodo looked at the background picture of Haley, who was smiling and giving a peace sign with an arm around her partner's shoulders, and Kai, who looked like he didn't even want to be in the picture though there was a slight smile on his face. The young teen stared at the screen briefly before typing a message and sending it.
Once the message was sent, he turned off Haley's cell phone and dropped it into the green backpack which had a tag on the top of it with Lee's name and address written across it no doubt to show that it belonged to him. Inside the bag were the cell phones of the other two book owners as well as a few school items of Lee's. The black haired book owner must have been kidnapped on his way home from school.
The mysterious swordsman leaned back against the large tree behind him. "Everything's now in motion. All that's left is to deal with the pawn."
He crossed his arms. "Though if the knights continue to progress as they've been doing, they might be able to take care of him by themselves, and my aid won't be needed. I guess I'll have to wait and see to find out. "
Not long after they received the mysterious message, Leon had called the others, and they all met up to discuss their ideas about the weird text.
Derrick stared at the strange series of numbers. "I don't get it. What's it mean?"
Leon scowled, "Beats the hell out of me. We've been trying to figure that out since we got it."
Alice's eyes sparkled with hope. "Will this help us find Haley and Kai-san?"
Toshiro shrugged, "It's possible though we'd have to find out what it means first."
Katsu raked a hand through his hair. "It looks familiar, but I can't seem to place from where." He looked down. "I've failed you, Anego!"
Kira shook his head at his partner's antics as he too tried to understand the meaning of the strange message. Uuda turned to Marly who had a thoughtful expression. "Do you know what it means, Marly?
The blonde shook his head. "Like Katsu-san, I can't seem to remember why the number pattern seems familiar. I know I've seen something like it before."
Heihachi, who hadn't gotten a chance to look at the message yet, peered over Leon's shoulder. Blue eyes widened. "That's!" He grabbed the phone from the shocked redhead's hands. "No way!"
The rest of the group watched with mixed expressions of surprise and curiosity as the orange haired teen pulled out a small blue booklet from his pocket and began to flip through it. After a few seconds of anxious silence, Heihachi stopped flipping through the pages and began to study one page in particular.
Katsu raised an eyebrow. "What the hell is he-" The grey-eyed teen was unable to finish as he was interrupted by a loud "I got it!" from Heihachi.
A large grin formed on the blue-eyed teen's face. "I know what these numbers mean."
The others blinked as the teen's words slowly sunk in. Eyes widened. "You do?"
Heihachi never lost his grin. "Yep. These are coordinates. And not just any coordinates. I bet they'll lead us straight to where Haley and Kai were taken."
Alice smiled broadly. "Really?"
Leon grinned, "You know where they are?"
The orange haired teen nodded, "Yes. According to these coordinates, we'll find Haley and Kai at Mt. Rausu."
The group aside from Kira and Marly exclaimed each wearing a surprised expression. Toshiro raised an eyebrow. "A mountain? They were taken to a freaking mountain?"
Heihachi shrugged his shoulders. "That's what this message says. To be more specific, it's near the base of the mountain. So don't worry, there shouldn't be too much climbing involved."
Derrick sweatdropped. "He sure is taking this pretty calmly."
Uuda beamed, "You're so cool, Heihachi! How'd you know how to read those numbers? We didn't even know they were coordinates!"
The blue-eyed teen looked away shyly. "Well you see, ever since I could remember I've always wanted to become a pilot like my dad. So I began studying everything I could about flying at a young age. For some reason, I had a knack for reading coordinates, so it wasn't hard to learn about them."
Marly nodded in understanding as he moved his gaze toward the blue book still in the other's hand. "And that book?"
Heihachi blinked then raised his arm so that the book was closer to his face. "Oh this? My dad gave it to me. It helps me figure out what the area for the coordinates is when I can't tell by just looking at it."
Katsu gave the orange haired teen an incredulous look. "And you just happened to have it in your pocket?"
The older teen blushed, "I-I always have it on hand. I like to look at it a lot when I don't have anything else to do. It's very precious to me."
Not wanting the others to ask more about Heihachi's past and accidentally bring up his father's death, Marly tried to change the direction of the conversation. "So? How exactly are we going to get to Mt. Rausu? It's not exactly close by."
Derrick nodded, "He's right. It's at least two hours away, right?"
Katsu crossed his arms. "So? Who cares? We've got to go find Anego and Kai!"
Leon sighed, "We will, but first we're going to need a plan and some means of transportation."
Alice frowned, "It's too bad Yamamoto-san and Trance-kun aren't here. We could use his father's truck."
Katsu scowled, "Like we need help from them."
Toshiro studied all of the tired but eager faces of their friends then nudged his partner. "How about we all go home and get some sleep first? We won't do Haley or Kai any good if we're too worn out to fight."
Uuda bit back a yawn. "I-I'm not tired!"
Marly shook his head. "Please do not worry about us. We'll be fine. Haley-san and Kai-san are more important."
Alice nodded vigorously. "Right! We can't stop now!"
Leon closed his eyes and took a deep breath. After a few seconds, emerald eyes reopened. "As much as I want to go ahead and look for them, I know better than to go charging forward recklessly. Alright here's the plan. Everyone go home, pack whatever you're gonna need for the trip, and get some sleep. We'll meet at my house first thing in the morning. Leave our means of transportation to me."
The rest of the group bit back their complaints knowing it was no use. The redhead had made his decision, and there was no way to change his mind.
Reluctantly, the group headed back toward Leon's apartment. Once they were gone, two familiar figures appeared from out of their hiding place.
Yamamoto was wearing a large smile. It seemed the news of now knowing where Haley and Kai were had cheered him up considerably. "Looks like we're going on a field trip, Trance."
Trance grinned his cheerfulness also returning. "Sounds like fun."
The two shared a look before they too headed for home. By the determined lights in their eyes, it was easy to tell that the two were on a mission, and they wouldn't stop until their friends were found.
By 7:00 AM the next day, everyone was prepared and ready for the journey to Mt. Rausu. The group consisting of Derrick, Alice, Katsu, and Kira met up on their way to Leon's apartment. None of the four were able to get much sleep due to their excitement about looking for their missing friends, but the lack of sleep didn't show. Each had a fiery light of determination in their eyes. The group finally arrived at Leon's apartment to see the redhead, Toshiro, Heihachi, Marly, and Uuda already outside waiting for them.
Since it had been so late, Leon told Heihachi and the kids that they could just stay at Haley's apartment since he had an extra key. They were reluctant at first, but they finally agreed seeing as it was their best option. Heihachi quickly called his mom to tell her that he would be staying at a friend's house and that he should be home tomorrow afternoon.
What really shocked Derrick, Katsu, and their mamodo was the sight of a familiar dark green truck parked in front of Leon's apartment. The grey-eyed teen scowled, "What the hell is that bastard's truck doing here?"
Derrick covered Alice's ears. "Watch your language around Alice, Katsu." He then frowned, "Though I admit I'm also curious about why it's here."
Leon shrugged, "Not quite sure myself. When we woke up, it was just sitting here with the keys in the ignition. There was a note on the dashboard from Yamamoto's dad saying we could use his truck for the day. He also apologized about Yamamoto's absence. He said his son had to work today, so he couldn't go."
Katsu's face turned red from anger. "Work, my ass! That traitorous bastard obviously is just avoiding us! He probably sent us this truck to make him feel less guilty!"
Derrick shook his head and removed his hands from Alice's ears. "I just don't get it, Leon-san. Why's he doing this?"
Leon scratched his head. "That Yamamoto kid is a weird one. I can't really understand his motives myself though I have a feeling there's more to him than he's letting on. Don't worry about him now. Instead, let's just be grateful we have this truck to use. Otherwise, I would've had to borrow my friend's minivan"
Everyone sweatdropped at the mention of riding in a minivan. "I don't even want to know."
The redhead dangled the keys in front of them. "Alright two up front with me, and the rest get in the back. Let's move out!"
Eventually the group decided on letting Heihachi and Toshiro ride up front with Leon since Heihachi knew the most about where they were going, and Toshiro figured it would be best to sit with his partner.
"Are we there yet?"
Marly, who had somehow managed to obtain a strand of wheat to chew on, moved his gaze to his partner. "We've haven't even been on the road for an hour, Uuda."
The black haired girl pouted, "But I'm bored! Let's play a game!"
Alice's face brightened. "What kind of game?"
Katsu rolled his eyes. "How about the silent game?"
A small smirk formed on Kira's lips at his partner's sarcasm. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to leave the hot tempered teen in the back of the truck with all of the children.
Derrick grinned, "Now, now, Katsu-chan, no need to be grouchy. There's nothing wrong with a little fun now and then."
The grey-eyed teen scowled, "Don't call me that, you bastard!"
Uuda opened her mouth about to suggest a game to the other girl when suddenly the truck came to a stop jostling the passengers in the back. Katsu was the first to sit up. "What the hell?"
Alice grabbed her head dizzily. "What's going on?"
Marly adjusted his newsboy cap. "Did something happen, Leon-san?"
"I guess you could say that. There are two guys in the middle of the road!"
Everyone leaned over the sides of the truck to get a better view. Like the redhead had said, there were in fact two people on the road. One was a brown haired man in his late twenties while the other was a red haired child.
The taller of the two grinned, "Alright listen up. Everybody get out of the car, and nobody gets hurt!"
Katsu's eyes widened. "What the hell are those guys doing here?"
The two strangers were none other than Komaru and Hogoro, the mamodo team Katsu and Kira had fought in the botanical garden. Kira's eyes narrowed in recognition. "It seems we ran into those two sooner than I expected."
Both Komaru and Hogoro stared at the group in shock as they too recognized the team they had previously fought. The brown haired man pointed a finger at Katsu. "It's you! I can't believe we ran into you of all people here. I guess now's the perfect time to get my revenge for what you did to me back at the garden!"
Derrick cocked his head. "Friends of yours?"
Katsu scowled, "Hardly. We met these guys on a class field trip and fought them. Of course we won, but I decided to spare their book since the guy was injured, and I didn't wanna have to take care of him."
Alice smiled, "That was so nice of you, Katsu-san!"
The grey-eyed teen's scowl grew. "I wasn't trying to nice! I just didn't feel like burning their book!" He jumped out of the truck bed with Kira right behind him. "Hey if you two don't want me to burn your book, you better back off! I seem to recall making you swear your allegiance to Anego."
Komaru crossed his arms. "And as I recall, I was unconscious when this supposed deal was made."
Hogoro stuck his tongue out. "So the deal's null and void!"
Icy blue eyes stared at the two coolly. "It seems you two are more stupid than I thought."
The brown haired man scowled, "What was that?"
Katsu raised an eyebrow. "Kira?"
Kira moved to stand in front of his book owner. "You haven't noticed have you? You're outnumbered. We're not the only mamodo teams here."
Both Komaru and Hogoro paled as they moved their gazes to check out the rest of the passengers in the vehicle. Leon was glaring at them while holding his sky blue book in plain view. Derrick grinned cheekily as he waved the powder blue book in his right hand. Marly stared dully at the newcomers while keeping a tight grip on the peach book under his left arm.
Uuda blew a raspberry at them. "Not so tough now, huh?"
Alice frowned, "I'd rather avoid any meaningless battles, so do you think you could let us pass?"
Toshiro smirked, "What's it gonna be? Fight or back off? Choose wisely, guys."
Hogoro took an involuntary step backwards. "K-Komaru? What do we do?"
Sweat trickled down the older man's face as he thought about their predicament. A few seconds later, a cocky grin formed on the brown haired book owner's face. "Fine. We'll let them go for now, Hogoro. We could easily take them all out by ourselves, but we'll be generous and let them go."
His partner also grinned his previous nervousness gone. "Right!"
Katsu shook his head already used to their personalities while those in the truck sweatdropped. The grey-eyed teen sighed, "So what are you guys doing here anyway?"
Hogoro puffed up his chest proudly. "We were training!"
Leon raised an eyebrow. "Training?"
Komaru placed a hand on his mamodo's shoulder and smirked, "That's right! Don't think we're the same as last time, kid. We're much stronger!"
Katsu just rolled his eyes while Alice cocked her head to the side in confusion. "You were training in the middle of the road?"
Hogoro frowned, "Of course not! We were just on our way back from the nearby forest. We're on the road because our car got a flat."
His book owner slapped him on the back of the head. "Idiot! Don't tell them that!"
Toshiro smirked, "Looks like you two are in quite the predicament."
Heihachi, who had remained silent throughout the exchange, finally spoke up. "What should we do, Leon-san?"
Katsu quickly made his way back to the vehicle with Kira following behind him. "Easy. We leave them. We have more important things to do right, Aniki?"
Alice's eyes widened. "We can't just leave them here!"
The grey-eyed shrugged, "Sure we can. It's not like they're our friends. What happens to them shouldn't concern us."
Marly crossed his arms. "We are a little taxed on time."
Uuda frowned, "But Marly! Who knows how long it'll take them to get to the nearest town!"
Derrick sighed, "That's true, but what about Haley and Kai? They're counting on us!"
Katsu scowled, "Exactly! Anego needs us, so we don't have time to deal with these idiots!"
Komaru reached toward them. "Wait wait wait a minute! We could be useful to you!"
Leon raised an eyebrow. "Oh really?"
Hogoro nodded vigorously. "Y-yeah!"
His book owner crossed his arms. "You said you were on your way to help this Haley girl, correct? By the sounds of it, she and that other guy are in trouble, so there's a good chance they could be injured when you do find them, right?"
Everyone's faces darkened at the thought of their friends being hurt. Surprisingly, it was Marly who answered him. "There is a possibility."
Toshiro narrowed his eyes. "So? What's your point?"
Komaru's cocky grin returned. "Well you see my partner, Hogoro, here has an awesome arrangement of spells. It so happens one of his newest spells is a healing spell."
Alice's eyes widened. "You mean?"
Hogoro grinned, "Yep! My spell can heal anybody! No matter what the injury!"
The brown haired man nodded, "So it would probably be in your best interest to bring us along."
Katsu face palmed. "You have got to be kidding me."
Heihachi looked back and forth between Leon and Komaru who were having a stare down. "Well it would be nice to have someone who could heal Haley and Kai if we do find them injured."
Derrick scratched his head. "Yeah but how do we know if they'll actually help? We hardly know them. They could be lying about having a healing spell just to get us to help them."
Hogoro frowned, "We're not lying!"
Komaru smirked, "Why would we lie when we're clearly outnumbered? Let's make a deal. We heal your friends, and in return, you take us to the nearest town. Sounds easy enough, right? "
Uuda turned to her partner. "What do you think, Marly?"
The blonde sighed, "It seems like the best solution is to take them up on their offer. I doubt they'll try to pull anything with this many mamodo around."
Leon gripped the steering wheel tightly as he glared at the older book owner. Finally, after a few minutes of silence, he slumped back into his seat. "Fine. Get in."
Katsu's eyes widened. "What? Aniki, you can't be serious!"
The redhead gave the grey-eyed teen an annoyed look. "Of course I am. Besides, what if we do find Haley and Kai injured? What if they need serious medical treatment? I hate to think like that, but I have to be realistic."
Katsu stared at the older teen for a few seconds before sighing. "I understand." He turned toward Komaru and his mamodo with a glare. "You two pull anything funny and you'll have to answer to me, understand?"
Komaru mock saluted. "No problem. You won't have any problem with us. After all, we just wanna get home."
Hogoro smiled, "Right!"
Reluctantly, the group let the newcomers join their party, and the two quickly got into the bed of the truck. Soon after, the vehicle resumed its drive toward their destination. The group would soon realize how lucky they were to cross paths with Komaru and his mamodo when they finally reunite with their missing friends.
I managed to end a chapter without a cliffhanger, impressive haha Though I bet that last sentence has you guys wondering X ) Alright now the rescue team's on the way with two unexpected tagalongs. I wonder what's in store for them when they reach their destination. Ok so now that that's taken care of we can go back to Haley's group. You know what that means, right? Yes, the highly awaited battle against Necro! I know you've been waiting on it for sometime : )
I hope you enjoyed the chapter! And thanks to all of my loyal reviewers, you guys are the best! I can't believe I almost have 150 reviews I'm so excited! XD