Chapter 8: Best Friends

Amu is still unconscious. We conclude that she hit her head in some way while dragging Utau and Kukai on to safe ground. Speaking of them, they woke up once or twice now, but are passed out again. Kairi is near the fire, cooking something up and Ikuto is on guard duty. Meanwhile, I'm in my sleeping bag, not even pretending to be asleep.

It's been two days. The rain has stopped yesterday, but Amu still hasn't woken up. Ikuto and Kairi have gone exploring of our location, and it seems we aren't far from where we're suppose to be. I suggest that we don't leave until Amu wakes up, to confirm her condition.

I wearily get up and check on Kukai and Utau. The first time they woke up, they had a bad case of amnesia. The second time, they seemed to be better, just very worn out. Well we all are, actually.

I examined all of our wings. It's very gruesome, seeing my friend's wings being torn apart so brutally. Beneath all the feathers, all wings are a pale yellow. It's rarely seen at all, and very disgusting to see, if anyone ever does. So when seeing the patches of yellow show through thin layers of feathers, I almost hurled.

We have to walk the rest of the way, and we'll do that the moment Amu is confirmed on her condition.

I feel someone shake me, and I turn to see Kairi. He hands me a bowl of rice and I sit up. We sit next to each other and eat quietly. Ikuto's currently resting up.

"She's stirring. Do you think she'll wake up soon?" he asks, looking over at Amu. He's right. She has been showing signs of life, but not many. I shrug.

"Let's hope so," I say. "We can't stay waiting forever." Kairi looks at me for a moment before going back to his food. Utau starts to stir and then her eyes open.

"What's going on?" she asks, looking around the cave. "Where are we?"

"We'll explain later. Kairi get her something to eat," I say. He nods, handing her a bowl of rice. We start to explain to her everything that happened. She looks over at Kukai in worry.

"What about Kukai?" she asks.

"He's woken up twice, but the last time was last night," Kairi says, looking at our friend with grief. Utau keeps looking at him.

"What are we going to do now?" she whispers.

"Well, first we have to make sure Amu's okay. After, we'll be hitchhiking the rest of the way," I say. Utau turns to me bewildered.

"We're still going through with this?" she asks. I nod. She shakes her head. "No, no. I'm not going along with this. This is completely stupid! We're battered, and torn, and we have no chance against a Vulture, let alone Isamu!"

"Utau," I say gently.

"No Rima! You just don't know when to give up!" she shouts at me. Utau gets up and hobbles to the back of the cave where she cuddles up next to Kukai.

"She's right you know," Kairi says. I turn to him with a surprised look. Kairi and I share a look for a minute before I give up.

"I know," I finally breath out. "But what can we do? We've made it this far already." Kairi looks at me, but just nods.

"Ikuto, you, and me can do it. Utau, Kukai, and Amu...I'm not so sure," he says. I sigh.

"I've been thinking," I start. "What if we leave Ikuto for Utau, Kukai, and Amu to take care of and you and I go take on the Vultures? Ikuto could help them, and you and I could complete the mission. Afterwards, we come back here and help get everyone back to the school." Kairi ponders this idea for a while.

"I think that's our best decision," Kairi agrees. "All we need now is for Ikuto senpai to agree." We gently wake Ikuto up and tell him our idea. At first he doesn't seem to fully agree to it.

"You guys will die out there." Way to give a pep talk, Ikuto.

"We have to at least try. We're so close to saving Nagi now, I can feel it. For Nagihiko," I say. Ikuto and Kairi share a weary look. "What? What is it?"

"We've been talking and the likeliness that he's even alive now are very slim," Kairi admits. "We have a better chance getting Kukai, Utau, and Amu out of here and back to the school safely."

"Isamu kidnapped Nagi to bait me there. I don't know why she'd do that, but she did. She wants me, and I'm giving her what she wants."

"Rima, have you ever thought that that is what she wants? That she's leading you all the way here for a reason," Kairi says slowly.

"Well, she wins, because I'm going to go face her, weather you guys are with me or not," I say stubbornly. I walk out of the cave and stalk my way in the direction I think the mountain is located. Footsteps shuffle from behind me, and soon Kairi is by my side.

"Ikuto-kun and I agree. We've come all the way, and neither of us are leaving without coming out successful," Kairi says. We share a smile. "Also, you're walking the wrong way." He points in another direction and I blush from embarrassment.

We make our trip on foot all the way to the mountain. In between the mountain and the ocean is a tightly packed dense forrest. The leaves are a lush green, but a lot of leaves are turning colors because of the start of autumn. Kairi and I have to dodge through low branches, fallen over trees, and wide streams.

"Do you think Amu's going to wake up?" I ask, trying to start a conversation. We haven't been talking at all, only when we have to. It feels awkward to Rima. Her and Kairi have been best friends for a long time, and now they treat each other like complete strangers.

"Rima-chan, I know that's something that isn't the number one priority for either one of us right now," Kairi sighs.

"We're going to get him back. We're going to get through this," I say, knowing exactly what he's talking about. Both of us are too nervous to wonder remotely about Amu's condition, or Utau or Kukai's either.

"The question is, are we going to come back," Kairi corrects. I shiver slightly at the thought. Suddenly, Kairi stops and I almost run into him. "Don't make any sudden movements." He keeps his back facing me, and I try to look over his shoulder, but it's not working. Whatever's got him spooked, he sure doesn't want me to see it.

Then his body relaxes and he continues on as if nothing's wrong. I stand like an idiot as Kairi keeps walking. Looking around, everything seems normal; a few bugs, a garden snake, trees. Nothing out of the ordinary. I shrug it off, probably being nothing.

We continue our trek, but I can't help noticing Kairi acting differently. He seemed more jumpy, more aware. At every dead tree, he'd inspect it thoroughly before climbing over it. At every stream he'd look up the stream, then down the stream, and repeat the process a few times before crossing it. Whatever got Kairi spooked, it sure spooked him good.

"I can see the mountain. We're almost there," Kairi says. I look and through the densely packed trees, I can just see a dark mountain in the distance.

"Stay on your feet. This place is probably crawling with Vultures." I shouldn't have to tell Kairi that, he's already on his feet about everything.

We carefully weave our way through the forrest. Occasionally, we'll hear a rustle and freeze abruptly. Then it'll just turn out to be a snap of a twig, or a squirrel, or another critter. Either way, we both would be spooked.

The mountain is very clear now, and I gape at it's actual size. It's taller than the forrest, obviously, and has a very wide base. It's dark faded color has been worn down over the years and also ash/lava that spills from it's opened mouth. At the base of the mountain, large smoldering pieces of harden lava stay along with large coals, some still burning white hot. Thin lines of steam burn from all around the mountains, in little cracks, or out of the top. Between the volcano and the trees surrounding it, is yellowing grass, meters long. There's a rustle in the trees above us, and Kairi and I duck into the low grass shrubs.

Three to four dark figures emerge from the tree tops and dart straight toward the mountain. They fly into the mouth of the volcano. The volcano groans and more steam explodes from it. Even a few pieces of burning coals explode from the mouth where the figures flew inside. They scatter out and a few land near Kairi and I.

I bend down to examine one. Steam escapes from it in white wisps. The coal itself is the size of my hand and is clearly still burning. It's completely black with red molten embedded within the heart of the coal itself. It burns the green grass underneath it, charring it black.

Another groan escapes from the mountain, making more steam escapes from it.

"It's gonna explode, and by these embers, soon, too. We have to get Nagihiko and get him out of here," Kairi says, examining another coal.

"Are volcanoes usually that color?" I whisper, examining it more in detail. There looks to be cracks in the side of the mountain where steam escapes from it. The volcano looks burnt on the entire exterior with the steam practically seeping out from it. It looks almost as if the volcano itself is going to give out any minute now.

"Not from what I've learned," he whispers, noticing the strange signs the volcano is conveying to us. "Isamu must've somehow clogged all the magma inside the mountain. All that built up hot fluid, has to have caused these cracks and color to have form." My eyes widen as I see more steam and bursts of heat come from the large mountain.

"It's gonna erupt any minute, now," I whisper in realization.

"Which is why we have to hurry up," Kairi says, getting on his feet. I nod, straightening myself up as well.

"Split up. We find our own ways at the base of the volcano," I say, coming up with the first thing that comes to mind. It'll work, I hope. "If either one of us fails to reach it within twenty minutes, somehow send the other person a signal knowing they're fine and on their way. If not, than that will tell the other person you've been captured." Kairi nods.

I take a moment to look at my best friend. Kairi and I have been through so much. We've been friends since forever. Best friends.

A scraggly stone immediately pops into my mind. It has one side that's smooth surfaced. On it are green, dark green, pink, and orange handprints, about the size of a child's. The green in the top left has "Souma Kukai" written underneath it. The pink in the top right has "Yuiki Yaya" written underneath that. The dark green in the bottom right has "Sanjou Kairi" written under that one. Finally, in the bottom left corner, the orange one with "Mashiro Rima" written beneath it. In the middle written in white says "May We Be Friends Forever".

It's out friendship stone. I remember the day we all made it.

Flashback (Normal P.O.V)

"Stop pulling on Yaya's pigtails!" A little auburn haired girl sits in the cafeteria with a group of older boys surrounding her. One of them keeps pulling on one of her pigtails. She's becoming very agitated with these boys picking on her, but what can a fifth grade student do against a group of sixth grade students? "Stop!" The poor girl has tears in her caramel eyes.

"What are you gonna do about it, Yaya?" one of the boys taunts. The boy holding her pigtail pulls again, making her squeak. The others just laugh at her embarrassment.

"Hey! What are you guys doing!" They turn to face a tall forrest green haired boy. He has a very lanky body with crystal blue eyes, covered by his glasses. His stance is cool and collective as he walks toward them. However, his eyes show annoyance, which is directed towards the boys bullying the younger girl. They don't seemed to be fazed by his presence.

"Chill out Kairi, we're just messing with the new-be," one of them states. "You know, if you got your nose out of the books for a while you might just be fun and not such a stick in the mud."

"I don't find bullying a younger student any 'fun'," Kairi states.

"Whatever," another mutters, grabbing Yaya's other pigtail and yanking it, hard. She squeaks out again, which makes Kairi ball his fist.

"You guys better get your hands off of her." They turn to see a stout blond girl with hard amber eyes stalks up to the group with a cold vibe coming from her. She looks to be the same age as the other girl, but everyone in the room knows that's a lie. "It's not cool to bully a girl, you know?"

"M-Mashiro Rima-sama!" one boys squeals. He immediately gets on one knee and bows to her. Rima raises her eyebrow. "I-I apologize for my actions. Please forgive me!" Rima holds back a sigh.

"You're forgiven, if you get out of my sight at this moment," Rima says. The boy scurries along, leaving only four boys of the group left.

"Just because one of your slaves left doesn't mean we all will back down to you, shorty," one says challenging her. He grabs at her wrist tightly. Rima winces. She knows better than to use her powers in a situation like this, although very tempting.

"Hey, let go of her!" Kairi defends. Two other boys come up and push him to the ground, holding him there. Yaya's silently sobbing as the boys all laugh.

"I don't think it's very polite for you boys to be doing that." Loud footsteps stroll in, and everyone turns to see a shaggy haired, mischievous green-eyed boy. He has something laid back in his step, and I obviously older than all of them.

"Souma Kukai!" The four bullies shout in surprise. They didn't expect a seventh grader to get into this.

"That's my name," Kukai says, very calm about the situation. "And I suggest you leave them alone before I tell Tsukasa your names and get you all in trouble." The boys immediately tangle themselves away and run out of the almost empty cafeteria.

Kairi stumbles up off the ground while Rima twists her arm this way and that, making sure it still functions properly.

"Are you guys okay?" Kukai asks, placing a hand on Kairi and Rima's shoulders. They nod, but Rima directs her attention to the still sobbing Yaya. She walks over to the younger girl, who looks up at Rima through her tears. Her stony face breaks out into a warm smile, surprising Yaya.

"It's alright now, you're okay," Rima says gently, taking a seat next to Yaya.

"Are you alright?" Kairi asks, taking a seat across from the two. Kukai makes himself comfortable in one next to Kairi. Yaya nods, drying up her tears with the sleeve of her blazer.

"Yes, Yaya is now. Thank you all so much!" Her whole face bursts into a wide smile. "Yaya's name is Yuiki Yaya!"

"Sanjou Kairi." Kairi pushes up his glasses, seeing as they were slipping down his nose.

"Souma Kukai," Kukai gives a wide smile with a big thumbs up.

"Mashiro Rima." Rima's voice is calm and quieter than before, with only a dainty smile on her lips.

"Let's all be friends!" Yaya cheers happily. The older three look at each other warily. She's clearly very childish, and they wouldn't want to make her upset by saying no. Having a silent agreement, the three nodded to Yaya, who seemed even happier than before, if that's possible.

"Hey, I have an idea!" Kukai says. He runs out of the cafeteria, and coming back within a few minutes with a large stone in his arms with paint supplies. "Let's make vow that we will all be friends forever from this day!"

The four all nod and proceed to take different colored paint supplies to decorate the piece of stone. This is the beginning of a new friendship.

End Of Flashback

Rima P.O.V:

None of us realized that we would keep that pack for years, well maybe Yaya did, but not Kukai, Kairi, or me. From that day forward, we kept our word to being there for each other and being best friends. In our beginning stages of being friends, I was terrified. I found myself liking to be around Kukai, Kairi, and Yaya, which is what scared me the most. I didn't want to lose them, because they've made such an impact on my life. Now they've impacted it again, and not in a good way this time.

"Rima? What's the matter?" I hadn't even noticed that I was crying, until I noticed the salty tears spilling down into my mouth. Looking up at Kairi, I engulf him in a hug. I've already lost Yaya, and practically lost Kukai by now. I can't lose Kairi, no, not him, too. "Shh, it's going to be okay. We can do this Rima." I nod, quickly drying up my tears.

"I'm okay," I say. "Just promise me that we'll always have each other's back, and that no matter what you'll be one of my best friends." Kairi looks taken aback by this, but then nods.

"Alright, I promise, as long as you promise me the same." I nod. "Good luck Rima." Before he leaves, Kairi embraces me in a hug, that almost makes me want to break into tears again. He's feeling the same as me right now; at lost, confused, helpless, determined. When he lets go of me, the wind gushes before he disappears, and I'm left alone.

Taking a deep breath, I calm myself. He'll be okay. Kairi will be okay. I know it.

The volcano groans once again, letting more coals explode from it. I scrutinize a time clock in my head, and to the best of my ability, start counting down. Letting out my breath, I dart out of my comfort zone of the trees, and into the dead grass.

It's pretty tall, and has dark patches everywhere, from coals. I slip once or twice, losing my footing by tripping over coals or tangled webs of grass. I make it quickly to the large molten rocks, surprisingly without any harm. Letting out a sigh, I crouch down, into one of the crevices.

I try to keep myself busy, as the clock in my mind is slowly winding down. Every second feels like decades, every minute feels like a century has passed. The volcano groans from behind me, but doesn't do much else.

My mind keeps drawing back to Ikuto, Amu, Kukai, and Utau, that I left at the cave. I pray that they're okay. Maybe Ikuto's found some sort of help. Maybe Kukai's awake. Maybe Utau and Amu are somehow magically healed and are looking for Kairi and I at this moment. Note how all these sentences with maybe at the beginning of them, meaning that none of this is true. Definitely not true.

Shaking my head, I look out at the rest of the molten rocks, spread out before me. The heat from them makes it almost comfy to be tucked into the cracks of them. If they weren't so hard and ruff, that is. They're all pitch black, so it isn't hard for me to see a flapping white piece of paper, slipped securely in between two coals.

Darting my head back and fort, seeing no other type of life, I pounce at it. The note is folded in half, instead of like the others. I take a deep breath as I unfold it, almost not wanting to see the words written.

'Get Closer To The Volcano. You're Surprise Will Be Waiting For You."

I gulp down the heavy lump in my throat. Even though the mysterious person is helping me, I can't help, but be scared at the same time. Of course my hunch of it being Kukai as the person are completely gone.

Ignoring the vile taste in my mouth, I carefully make my way closer to the base of the volcano. Looking around, I don't see anything our of the ordinary. It's all just black, black, black, brown...wait brown. I whip my head toward the brown book, resting against the base of the volcano. Moving closer to it, I suck in a breath, realizing what it is.

Last school year, I found a book. A book that told me so much of my power that I had never known before. Thing in that book, secret things no one is supposed to know, dark things. A book that turns people to the dark side with power. So much power is embedded in such a small book. A book that almost turned me to the dark side, that I never wanted to see again.

"I thought Tsukasa got rid of you," I mutter, picking up Angels and Evil: Facts and Legends. This is the demon, that almost killed me, mentally. Physically, I've gained so much, but mentally, I almost became unstable. I bite my lip.

With a trembling hand, I open the old worn cover. I feel it again. The weird sensation I get whenever I open the book. I had learned from Tsukasa that the book is a living thing. It makes you read it to the very end, your end.

I forget all that. I forget everything that I've been warned, and all the warnings my mind is trying to get through to me. I sit with my back against the volcano, and start to flip through the pages.

Thanks to Peachygotit-Kica and cutevampkitten03 for the birthday wishes :)!

As you guys can see, I'm not really into this story anymore. So as I was editing this (I skimmed so there are probably mistakes everywhere lol), multiple questions kept popping into my head.

1) I was planning on making a sequel to this one, but i looked at the reviews, reads, story alerts, story favorites and stuff and I thought "Is it worth it if I do?" Like will I be wasting my time with it and have no one read it. It really depends on you guys how the next chapter goes out and if there will be a sequel or not.

2) I read over some of my other stories and I was ashamed to be the author of them. I want to rewrite one of them. It's either One Little Thing Can Change Everything or A Scheme To Destroy A Scheme cause both suck and i really think I could do it. Any thoughts?

3) You guys are the reason why I write. Reviewing is my way of knowing "Oh people like this, i should keep writing for them". But without any I think "They don't care. I won't update that often since not many people actually care" and I know I say this a lot but this is how my mind works and how I know if i should keep writing for Shugo Chara or spend more time on my Transformers ones. :/

4) I'm thinking of writing another One Direction Songfic Shugo Chara. So...I have a form on my profile on a songfic you guys can request from me! It doesn't even have to be a song, just a Oneshot! so you guys can fill out the form and get it to me by review, PM, or anything else.

5) Since summer is coming up, I'll have plenty of time writing and updating. There are about three chapters left including the epilogue. I know this seems so short compared to Elements Angel and Evil but let's admit that more than half of that story is made of filler chapters. There really aren't filler chapters here, (well maybe this one a little). Just thought you guys might want to know :)

So that was a long authors note...