Oh my God, I can't believe it's been this long since I've updated. Sorry, everyone. I've just been dealing with a lot lately, but with spring break here now, I can finally get my head clear and get back to psoting and writing.

Now it's time for a new battle!

I own none of the material within this piece.

Chapter 4. Nagi vs. Blitz

August 23, 2004

"This just in! It appears that another creature has begun to appear at Mitomo Island! There is no clear conformation, but based on the footage presented, this creature does not seem to bear any resemblance to the previous two that appeared only eight days ago. It is suggested for all residents within the area of Mitomo Island to head to the nearest shelter..."

As quickly as the latest news bulletin had come on News Claimer, the children in the lounge were already crowding around the glass door to the patio. They had seen the new creature begin to form before them as plain as day. Strangely enough, nobody running through the halls bothered to call out to them to evacuate as they ran for the shelter, wether they had noticed the group or not.

"It's here..." Kodama blankly stated. "It's appeared at the island again..."

"All right!" Nagi exclaimed. "I didn't think I'd get to fight this soon! This is going to be awesome!"

"Ugh!" Anko groaned. "I really hoped it wouldn't be gross..."

"Wait!" Tsubasa quickly gasped. "Moji-kun is still outside with Waku-kun!"

"I don't see them anywhere on the patio," Ushiro replied. The others looked at the patio to see that the spaces that they were standing in were now, indeed, vacant of their presence.

"Oh, crap!" Maki exclaimed. "Do you think they know?"

"We should go tell them," Daichi calmly stated, while still holding a bewildered look of concern on his face. "If they're still out there, then by the time this thing takes shape, they could get hur-" But before he could finish, he had been overcome by the static wave again, as had the others.

As quickly as they had caught sight of the new creature taking form before them, Waku and Moji soon found that they were no longer staring into the once open night sky, but now at the enclosing brown tint of the cockpit's interior.

"Good. We're inside," Waku quickly commented.

"But," Moji began, "where's everybody else?" Within seconds, however, the two of them soon found that the remaining members of the group began to appear within the cockpit. Kokopelli soon appeared amongst the lot of them, as well.

"Well," he stated, "it seems that everyone is present and accounted for. What say we get started then?" And in no time, each of the individual kids made their way to their hovering chairs, Nagi being the last to get to his. Once his seat was taken, the beige walls of the cockpit melted away to reveal a dark-blue surrounding which was the ocean of Mitomo Island. No trace of the island was visible from the depth that they sat at, nor any trace of their new opponent.

"Hmmm..." Kokopelli thought aloud amongst the seated group. "It seems that this one is certainly taking its time." The children were surprised that this enemy would be taking extra time to invade their world. This new enemy, which they would have to fight against and destroy to protect their planet, all by themselves.

"Hey," Nagi began, "Just to be sure, I'll be able to move this thing just by my thoughts, right?"

"That is quite correct," Kokopelli replied. "Just as simple as it sounds."

"What we should do," Moji began, "is that as soon as the enemy has finished materializing, Nagi should bring this thing above sea level, obviously. Then maybe try the laser attacks against it. If all else fails we can always resort to using this thing's strength; this..." He paused in mid-sentence for a brief moment. "Uh, what's the name of this robot again?"

"Name?" Kokopelli was notably puzzled by this question. "It doesn't have a name."

"It doesn't?" Waku was slightly surprised by this. "Really?"

"Nobody ever bothered to give it one," Kokopelli simply replied.

"Huh," Waku stated. "Well, it seems like there's still some time before we have to fight. What say we come up with a name for this thing, you guys?"

"Sure," Maki cheerfully replied. "I say we give it a really cool name."

"Oh! I know!" Kako bluntly interrupted. "We'll name it 'Isao-20'! Or maybe 'The Kakonator'! Or even 'Omnisao'! Or maybe-"

"Kako, shut up!" Kanji cut him off. "Quit centering all your name ideas around yourself! This robot is all of ours!" Again, the plastered look of disappointment easily found its way to Kako's face.

"I say we call it 'Anza'!" Anko claimed.

"That doesn't sound too b-" Machi quickly cut herself off. "Hey wait! Anko, that's just the name of a pop singer!" Anko blushed and tilted her head to the side.

"Well," Kanji began, "it's an uncolored...fearsome...overwhelmingly huge creature...abbreviate that, and you've got...The U.F.O.!" Kanji soon realized how corny the name sounded, and quietly backed into his seat.

"How about 'Druxia'?" Ushiro questioned.

"That's not bad, but maybe we should call it something like 'Korgodon'," Kozue said. "That way it sounds a little more fierce."

"Or maybe 'Gettaman'," Tsubasa said, "To make it more heroic."

"'Scraggler'," Machi said.

"'Samuraiger'," Maria added.

"'Carvanos'," Kodama threw in.

"'Ovaria'," Chizu plainly stated. Many of the kids looked at her very awkwardly, however.

"How about 'Koro-Koro-Rokon', while we're at it?" Maya lazily suggested.

After some time, it seemed that nobody could decide. Waku then turned over to Kirie.

"What about you, Kirie?" he stated. "You have any ideas?"

"Me?" Kirie quietly asked. "Well...I guess I could try to come up with something..."

"I...I think," he soon began, "I think that the name of this robot should stand for us. Well, not only those of us in here...Maybe also the people of our country, or on a very long stretch, the Earth, for that matter-"

"Hey! That just gave me a great idea for a name, you guys!" Maki immediately shouted out. Everyone then turned their attention to her. "Well, like Kirie was saying, we're all going to be fighting along side each other and with those around us in order to protect the Earth, so what if we called it something like... ZEARTH!" There was a small pause for everyone to absorb the suggested name.

"Zearth?" Ushiro finally said. "You mean like Z-Earth, for 'The Earth'?"

"I know it sounds kinda corny," Maki added, "but it's the best I could come up with after hearing Kirie's statement."

"That's actually not half bad," Waku replied. "I think it's a pretty cool idea for a name."

"I think it's lame," Kako stated.

"Well that settles it," Kanji retorted to him. "I'm for Zearth. You guys?"

"Yeah, I think it's kinda cool," Anko said.

"Me too," Machi added.

"I like it, too, actually," Moji stated. "What do you think, Nagi?"

"Well, I guess it'll work," Nagi responded. "Sure. Let's stick with that."

"Alright!" Maki shouted humorously. "That settles it! This bad boy is officially named Zearth from here on out." Everyone then nodded in agreement, while Kako had murmured to himself that he still thought his name ideas were cooler. "Well," she continued to herself, "we've got our robot named, so that's a plus. Now if only we could find some uniforms, or some cosplay to go wit-"

"Oh," Kokopelli gently interrupted, "It appears that the enemy is completely materialized." And he was very right, for just as soon, a pair of thick curved legs began to fall into the ocean before them, with noticeable tremors following. Moji thought to himself how the tremors were far worse for the people on the island than for themselves.

"Okay, you guys," Nagi stated aloud in a reassuring manner, "Let's make this happen, right?"

Nagi's mind drifted back to the situation at hand; before him was a far greater unseen foe which he would have to muster up a great amount of will power to fight. But first, he knew that he would have to rise to face his enemy. In that moment, he felt a slight tension in his muscles as if he was ready to move and suddenly he noticed that the limbs of Zearth were mimicking the motions that he had imagined taking, as it soon began to rise from the ocean floor.

"W-whoa!" Kozue exclaimed as the cockpit shook with Zearth's motions. "We're really moving!"

Nagi was not able to take notice of this exclamation, however, as he had focused his mind on lifting the robot to face the opponent. Once the robot had fully risen, the group was able to get a much better view of the island from far to the side from them.

And just in the opposite direction was the new enemy that they were to face. The shape of this enemy was very distinct compared to the previous enemy; it had a very dark green hue, a pair of long claw-like appendages, and a small armored head standing atop a slender neck with a large bulb-like base from which eight curved legs emerged and dug into the ocean floor to keep its balance.

"Jeez," Maki stated in an almost admiring tone. "Gross or not, this thing seems like it'll be way tougher than the first one."

"Okay, Nagi," Moji began, "Like Ushiro was saying, first we should see how this enemy handles the lasers. Take aim at it, charge up the lasers, and blast at it."

"You got it, man," Nagi responded. And with that, he began to ponder just how to work the lasers in the first place. He then felt a surge of energy course its way through his body all the way to the middle of his chest, and looked to see that an immense collection of bright light had gathered around Zearth's chest, as well.

"That's it!" Waku soon commented. And at that moment, he noticed that the enemy began to raise it's large arms into an offensive stance. Shortly after, the legs of the enemy began to skid clockwise along the water, causing it to move straight towards them. "Oh, crap! It's coming!"

Within that concentration of light growing before him, Nagi immediately understood what to do. As his enemy began to move closer, he moved towards it slightly and immediately unleashed all of the concentrated energy onto his foe. As soon as the lasers had made contact with it, a thick layer of smoke surrounded the attacked creature.

"Did it work?" Tsubasa asked, as everyone had kept their focus towards the thick cover in front of them.

And then the creature reemerged from the smoke, moving closer and closer towards them.

"Damn!" Nagi blurted.

"I guess the lasers won't be sufficient enough to damage it's surface," Nakama began to analyze, "so you'll have to resort to direct offense, Nagi." As soon as she had made the suggestion, however, the creature swung its large right claw at Zearth's side, causing it to tumble slightly. Fortunately, Nagi was quickly able to maintain the robot's coordination and move back before the creature's left claw could hit them.

"Whoa, nice dodge!" Kodama stated, taking special regard of how much more fluent the robot's movements had become as Nagi piloted.

The creature began to swing at them again, and Nagi quickly jumped to the side. It swung again, and Nagi dodged to the other side, although the creature was able to leave a rough dent in Zearth's right arm.

"Nagi, c'mon," Kanji said, curious about his constant dodging. "You're gonna have to hit it sooner or later."

"Sorry," Nagi replied, "It's hard to find an opening on this guy." As he replied, he appeared to be slightly exhausted.

Some of the children took a moment to look at Nagi, while others had their attention focused on the enemy before them. Nonetheless, they all shared concern as to how Nagi could attack this opponent. Then Nagi had a quick idea that he wished to try.

"All right, hang on guys. I'm going to try to charge at it."

"Charge?" Many of the kids were more shocked at the simplicity of his attack strategy than his choice of words.

"Nagi that might not be such a good idea." Moji replied; yet soon enough, Nagi had held out Zearth's hands to form a spear, and he soon used a good deal of Zearth's power to charge right at the enemy. AS it moved closer, though, the enemy quickly shifted to the side of his path.

"Guess that wasn't such a bright move after all." Kako retorted, which earned him a few glares.

"Damn! I guess it can dodge pretty quickly, too," Nagi cursed under his breath. He looked both agitated and strained form this. "Maybe I'll try to go for another one-"

But before he could finish, the enemy made a surprisingly quick dash at Zearth, knocking it right back. As the enemy proceeded to tower over Zearth, the kids were in slight panic about how they were staying balanced after being knocked over.

"Don't worry, Kokopelli reassured them, "the cockpit is specially designed for you to float."

As they floated, their enemy soared over them and held them down with its one claw while pummeling their chest area with the other.

"Aw, man," Waku stated, "at this rate, it's gonna pummel its way right through our armor. Nagi we need to try to get this guy off."

"I know that, man!" Nagi retorted, trying to think of a new strategy, "I'm trying to think but nothing's coming to mind. Dammit, what else can I do?" As he thought, his breathing became all the heavier.

"Snap out of it and fight that thing already, stupid!" Kako rudely blurted, causing Nagi even more stress. Chizu then proceeded to give Kako a sharp glare, which immediately shut him up.

"Nagi, listen for a moment," Moji calmly assured, "You were chosen to go first, but that doesn't mean you have to place everything on yourself. Just calm down and think of the mistakes that we made, along with some of our flaws, and reflect that off of the decisions that the enemy has made." As Moji continued, the enemy raised up its right claw. "Just try to think: What are some of it's own flaws that it's tried to avoid?"

As Moji finished, Nagi took a brief moment to analyze the enemy for all of it's features, and he soon began to take notice of the great difference in proportion of its arms to its legs.

The enemy then swung its claw down straight towards them. Many of the kids panicked with worry that they would be crushed to death.

Anko began to scream.

And another idea soon hit Nagi.

Suddenly, just before the enemy's blow struck them, Nagi had lifted Zearth's right arm up and swatted the enemy's other claw to the side, toppling it off of them. Some of the kids began to open their eyes and see that they had not been hit.

"That's it," Nagi said to himself. "I can use this guy's own weight against him!" A new wave of confidence suddenly overwhelmed him as he lifted Zearth back up on its feet to face his enemy.

"Nagi?" Waku stated with some surprise.

"All right," he quietly announced. "Now that I'm closer, I can hit this guy with everything that I've got!" And with that, he swung Zearth's right arm at the creature again, knocking it back.

"C'mon, Nagi! Fight!" Anko shouted as he swung at the creature again.

'I think I may finally have the ropes on this creature,' he thought to himself in excitement, and his breathing became much heavier. 'It may have had an advantage of be before, but now that I know it's weakness, I can turn the tides just in time. I can win. I can win!'

The creature then swung both of its arms towards them with immense speed, but Nagi was able to quickly block with Zearth's arms. He then proceeded to kick at the creature's legs, knocking out the two to its left, which caused it to move back.

"After it, already!" Kako blurted out harshly.

Nagi then moved towards the retreating enemy as it swung its arms to ward him away. Instead, Nagi fired the lasers again from Zearth's chest, emitting a cloud of steam from the enemy's surface to distract it, as he then kicked at its two frontward legs, causing it to topple off' balance into the sea.

"Keep going!" Kozue rooted on. "You can do it!"

With their enemy toppled, it attempted to attack again, by swinging its left claw at them. Nagi was again able to dodge this with quick speed and a quick sweat, as he was quickly at the creature's side, and proceeded to shove one of Zearth's long slender arms into the creature's shoulder. Once it tore through, he released a barrage of lasers from Zearth's arm, tearing off the enemy's limb and reducing its attacking capabilities.

"You did it!" Maki exclaimed.

"It's still not over," Kirie stated as they moved closer towards the toppled foe. "How do we beat it?"

"The base," Maya pointed out. "That has to be where its weak point is."

As Zearth towered over the maimed creature, Nagi blocked off the swift thrust it made with both of Zearth's hands, panting harder and harder. Then, shoving its claw aside, he shoved his right arm into the bulb-like base of the creature, with relative ease. Finally, wasting almost no time, Nagi unleashed a vast array of Zearth's lasers from its hand into the base of the creature, incinerating it from the inside. As steam continued to pour out of the creature's base, it's remaining arm had gone limp, and the lights on its face went out.

The creature was dead.

Nagi had defeated it.

Everyone in the cockpit had to take time to absorb the moment, overwhelmed by how narrowly they had achieved their first victory.

"Well done, Nagi Namoto," Kokopelli finally stated.

"Well done?" Machi asserted, as if that was a huge understatement. "Hell, he was totally wicked!" The others soon began to applaud to him, as well.

"You did great, Nagi!" Tsubasa added.

"Dude, you were so cool!" Kozue said.

"Jeez, I really want to go next now," Kako muttered to himself.

"Good job, Nagi." Moji said, smiling towards him. He then noticed that Nagi seemed much shorter of breath than he was before. "Hey, Nagi. Are you alright?"

"I...I think I need some a-air," Nagi struggled to reply. And as quickly as he had spoken, he fell from his chair, clutched his chest and struggled to breathe, much to the shock of the kids around him.

"Oh, God," Moji stated, "He needs help! Kokopelli, please take us back!" And as quickly as he had spoken, the wave of static overwhelmed them, as Kokopelli began to teleport the kids out of the cockpit from their seats, one by one.

As the children were teleported to the lounge once again, Nagi was still lying on the ground, clutching his chest tightly. The others circled around him in worry, while still trying to give him enough space.

"What's happening!" Anko panicked. "I don't understand!"

"Damn, I thought it could have happened, but I didn't think that it would be this bad!" Moji soon stood closer by Nagi. "All the strain and excitement from the battle must have affected his heart condition! Someone has to get help right now!"

"I'm sorry, Moji," Waku said as he got closer. "I should have listened to you! I should have gone first instead of him!"

"Nagi has a heart condition?" said Kozue. "Why didn't he tell us?"

"Wait, you mean that you knew that he could have problems, and you still let him pilot the damn robot?" Maria asked the two of them.

"Never mind that for now!" Daichi shouted. "Just try to keep him calm! I'm gonna go get one of the teachers!"

"Go quick, dude!" Maki retorted, as Daichi had already headed out. "Everyone's already outside the building!"

"Maybe we should try to carry him."

"No!" Moji exclaimed, and immediately kneeled beside him. "We shouldn't move him. If we do, it might make his palpitations worse. Nagi, just try to control your breathing." And with that, Nagi's breathing became more and more difficult, which lead Moji to immediately clasp Nagi's right hand, with Tsubasa soon grabbing the other.

"Come on, Nagi." She whispered. "You can make it... Please."

Yet despite their pleas for their friend to pull through, his breathing only became more and more troubled, until it had stopped altogether. Right as Daichi had returned with their teacher, the others stood in shock as their friend's skin turned blue and his eyes began to widen.

Nagi Namoto was dead.

Meanwhile, outside, as Zearth stood ominously in the ocean facing towards their school, a light went out on its face plate.

-End of Ch. 4-

In the next chapter: Their latest battle had come so suddenly, and in the briefest moment their recent champion's life had slipped away before their very eyes. How will this affect their battles to come? Will they have to give up their secret to those around them? Could their connection face a few shatters and shakes? Who will stop to give their friend one final farewell? The children take their next steps towards a more shadowy future in the events of Chapter Five: Lying to the Wake.

I feel that I'm beginning to get very lazy with the length of time that I am using to put these chapters together piece by piece. I suppose that I have just got a lot to deal with at the time, with colleges to look at, summer reading to work on, and an art portfolio to touch up on. Like that's hardly any excuse. But anyway, I am glad to see that things are finally starting to spice up with this story and I hope that my readers haven't begun to lose interest.

Thanks again for reading and have a good night.