Chapter 3: Vortex

It was night time two days after Hikari, Rikuto, Sora, Raijin, and Maruga had come to Ryuji to warn Rose and Sapphie about Vortex, who was a woman with the intention of stealing one of each Dragon's scales. All they knew so far was that Vortex seemed to be gunning for the scales in a specific order; they believed this since she did in fact skip out on the chance of getting the Green Dragon's Scale when she and Raijin were defeated by her the first time, and she only took his scale.

Hikari, Rikuto, and Maruga stayed awake during the night to keep lookout for Vortex just as they had planned. Hikari was on the roof, using her light powers to scan around for Vortex initially. Meanwhile Maruga used her Dragon wings to fly around the building continually watching for Vortex from every angle. And lastly Rikuto kept watch inside Ryuji's apartment in case Vortex managed to get past both of them without being seen.

After another circle around the building, Maruga flew upward to Hikari. "What are you doing? You need to keep a constant lookout." Hikari told Maruga.

"Something is still bothering me about when Vortex attacked me to take my Dragon scale. I felt it important to tell you." Maruga told Hikari, who began to listen intensely. "The problem is that Vortex attacked me in the middle of the night, but instead of going directly for my scale, she wasted time and blew a hole in my wall with the Yellow Dragon's lightning to wake me up and fight me; only stealing my scale after knocking me unconscious."

"The other Dragon's and myself had similar occurrences when they were first attacked. Do you think it is possible that even though she possesses our powers she does not have enough control over them?" Hikari proposed.

"No, that doesn't make any sense, why would she waste time attacking us at all with a power she knows she can't control when she could easily just take the dragon scales off our hands without making so much as a sound?"

Hikari considered this for a moment. "You're right; it is strange that she wastes the time to do all this. Is it possible that she is testing herself, seeing if she is strong enough to defeat us before taking our scales?"

"If her motive truly were simply obtaining our powers, then that possibility is not likely. But if what we assume is correct and she does have another motive behind obtaining our scales, then it is very possible that she is testing herself against us to make sure she can accomplish her final goal; or even that defeating us to obtain the scales is actually a necessary part of the process to accomplish her final objective."

"In the end, we really don't have a clue as to what Vortex is planning, do we?" Hikari scowled. "Anyways, continue keeping watch, we need to be prepared if Vortex decides to show up."

"Alright, but I never did get a good look at Vortex; what am I supposed to be looking for?"

When Maruga asked this, Hikari realized a fatal flaw in their plan. "Actually… I never got a good look at her either. It was too dark to see her at the time." She admitted.

Maruga groaned with confusion. "How are we supposed to look for this person is we don't even know what we're looking for beyond the fact she's a female with Dragon Scales in her hand?"

"You're right; this is pretty useless right now. Let's get back to Rikuto." Hikari decided, and jumped off the building, soon after spreading her dragon wings. The two of them flew back around the building and found Ryuji's apartment which had its window currently locked.

Hikari knocked on the glass and Rikuto let them inside. "What's the matter, did you see Vortex?" Rikuto asked the two.

"Well that's sort of the problem; we realized we don't know what we're looking for to identify Vortex with." Hikari said. "You didn't happen to get a better look at her face did you?"

Rikuto thought for a second. "Well I did get her under a street light for a second, but now that you mention it she actually hide her face and jumped out of the light before I could get a good look."

"So it's not just that we haven't, it's that she's making sure not to show her face." Maruga noted.

"So it seems, but I'm a little surprised Vortex hasn't shown up yet." Rikuto said. "The time gaps between the rest of our attacks make sense because of the distance she had to travel. But from Maruga's place to get here shouldn't even take a day. So why hasn't she attacked yet?"

"Do you think she's waiting for a certain amount of time to pass? Or maybe she just hasn't figured out this is where Rose and Sapphie live yet." Maruga suggested.

"That doesn't make much sense though. Even when Rikuto and I first arrived it didn't take us but a few hours to follow the trail and find this apartment." Haruki said.

"So why hasn't she shown up?" Rikuto asked.

Becoming frustrated, Hikari began to run her hands through her hair. "Man, we really know nothing about this woman do we?" She asked angrily and sat down on the couch, rubbing her forehead like she was having a migraine.

Deciding it was useless to continue searching outside the building, Maruga and Hikari just slouched around the room with Rikuto for the rest of the night. In the morning they told the others about their realization before Ryuji, Rose, and Sapphie went to school with Sora and Raijin watching over them.

While they were off at school, Hikari, Maruga, and Rikuto caught up on some much needed rest. Maruga and Rikuto used the apartment's two beds while Hikari elected to sleep on the couch in the living room.

However, it was only a couple hours before there was an unexpected knock at the front door. The knock woke Hikari up with a start, and she pointed her Dragon Scales at the door and didn't move. She was only so suspicious because anyone who knew Ryuji would have known he had school today and therefore realize the apartment should be empty.

There was of course the more likely idea it was someone completely unrelated like a delivery man dropping off a package, so Hikari stood up and walked over to the door, just to get rid of whoever it was.

However, when Hikari opened the door, she didn't see anyone there until the person spoke up leaning against the wall next to the door. "Finally, fighting 7 Dragons at the same time is not part of my plan." Hikari turned to the woman standing there immediately. The woman standing there had long wavy brown hair and purple eyes; and was wearing a long-sleeved, button-up white shirt and black trousers. "If there's just three I can do it easily"

But the thing Hikari noticed was the hand the woman had raised in front of her, decorated with their stolen Dragon scales. "Vortex!" Hikari got out before the white Dragon scale began to glow, and ice spurted forth.

Hikari was quick and jumped back into the apartment just before the ice caught her and instead froze the door hinges. But because it was so sudden, Hikari stumbled back and fell on her butt as Vortex entered the room and had a sly grin on her face as she used the power of the White Dragon scale once again. Hikari attempted to get to her feet and jump behind the couch for cover, but this time was too slow and her left leg caught in the ice and stuck to the couch, and Vortex shot more ice to freeze Hikari's right hand with her Dragon scales to the couch as well so she couldn't fight.

At that point Rikuto and Maruga ran into the room and saw what had happened. "It's Vortex!" Hikari warned them and they turned to the woman in the door, who had their Dragon scales on her hand.

Vortex clenched her hand and shot more ice at the two Dragon's who had just entered the room, but Maruga used her own powers over ice and stopped the attack as it hurdled toward them. "Rikuto, hold her off while I help Hikari." Maruga said.

"Got it," Rikuto replied and ran at Vortex.

Rikuto punched forward and rock began to form around his hand with the power of his scales, and the shot the chunk of rock at Vortex. However Vortex held out her hand and stopped it with her bare hand, utilizing the power of the Rikuto's stolen scale, and threw it back at him.

Rikuto used his powers to shatter the rock before it struck him, but once he did he saw Vortex suddenly up on him thrusting her hand toward him with an electrical charge surrounding it, using the power of Raijin's scale. Vortex pushed her hand against Rikuto's chest and sent a few hundred thousand volts through his body, causing him to yell in pain and fall to the ground.

Vortex turned her attention to Hikari and Maruga and saw that Hikari was not only free, but preparing to use her scale's power. Hikari used her power to fire off a laser of light at Vortex, but in a quick reaction Vortex put her hand up as the laser was shot, and using Hikari's stolen scale, deflected the beam to the side and it burned through the window pane without causing it to crack in the area surrounding glass.

Maruga followed up Hikari's attack with a shot of ice, but Vortex saw it coming and ran forward, using the white scale to separate the ice and keep it from striking her and then used Rikuto's scale and threw a large chunk of rock at her, hitting her in the head and knocking her unconscious as well.

"Damn you," Hikari shouted right next to Vortex and covered her hand in light, making to punch vortex with that power.

But Vortex reached over and grabbed Hikari's hand with hers and kept the power from being released. Hikari pushed against Vortex's hand while trying to rekindle the light power in her fist, but Vortex's power over the same element made that difficult to get it to work.

Then, Vortex pulled her head back a bit and grabbed Hikari's shoulder with her free hand. Vortex pulled Hikari in and head-butted her as hard as she could. Hikari was knocked off balance and stumbled to the ground. "Geez, did you three get weaker since last I fought you?" Vortex asked, but without waiting for an answer brought another rock down on Hikari's head, knocking her out.

Vortex looked around at the three Dragons and sighed. "Hee, you're all fools if you thought you could beat me."

AN: Sorry I haven't updated in forever, but I am back on track and promise to have more updates soon! (if there's not one soon feel free to call me out on it, may be just the motivation I need)