I suppose I should be listing copyrights here, but if I said that I didn't own any of the original source and cameo characters that appear in this work of fiction, and that they belong to their respective owners, the Onmyou Bond scenario belongs to Kidzexion, The One Mind, One Heart arc belongs to White Hunter, The A Destined Friendship arc belongs to Zaix-fukutaicho, and others many of which belong to sunrise or whatever company owns Onmyou Taisenki, I suppose that would be enough, right?
ALTERNATE UNIVERSE INCIDENT ONE: SHIKIGAMI PHANTASM
Rikari was rushing through the bamboo thicket.
'Oh god, please tell me I'm not too late!'
"Byakko no Kogenta!"
"Our contract is hereby concluded!"
Rikari came flying through the bamboo thicket and landed straight in the middle of the Tachibana shrine grounds just as Riku was concluding his contract with Kogenta. He saw Kogenta turn into his name, and vanish behind a seal and shogi door. He instantly went into a heroic BSOD.
"Rikari, what's wrong?"
"Why would you send him away?"
"You know what I'm talking about! Your contract was roughly the same as mine. I asked Kogenta about it back in Tokyo right after we got the Moon Magatama. To the metaphorical end of the rainbow. However, you both knew that you hadn't reached the rainbow's end, and still convinced yourselves otherwise. You're the Heaven-Style Originator, for fuck's sake! You're SUPPOSED to stay with your Shikigami for as long as you can."
Rikari held his hand up. After a few moments he lifted his face up, attempting to force his expression to not be that of some poor kid who had just had his favorite toy taken from him and smashed with a hammer to bits and pieces in front of his own eyes.
"Sorry Riku, I'm probably overreacting. I guess this means that I can contract with him now if I really wanted to have him around still... But I can't even work up the motivation to stand back up right now. I'm a mess. Plus, how are we going to get readjusted back into our normal lives, anyway?"
"Could you help me up? I was serious about not being able to stand up. I think I twisted my ankle when I flew through the thicket."
"You're hopeless without me, aren't you?"
And so a year passed. The year was now 2007.
~Always stay beside me~
~So that we can laugh with eachother~
~Our hearts are like white winter, white winter~
Rikari's morning alarm was going off. However, he wasn't the one to turn it off this time. It was Sentsa.
"Rikari, you're getting a bit lazy, wouldn't you say?"
"Not at all~ After all, by keeping you manifested I'm still training, right?"
"I wouldn't really define that as training, but whatever."
"Is something the matter?"
"It's that day again. I wonder if Kogenta's actually gone, though. When we checked the drive a few days after it happened, you'd said that Kogenta had left a part of himself behind in Riku's Drive. We came back a month later, and it was still there, so I don't think he fully left in the first place."
"We may never know. Resolved contracts probably don't follow normal rules, so you can probably re-contract with the same shikigami over and over again as long as they don't die on you. Of course I've never had to deal with this myself, so I wouldn't know, but it's a theory."
"Yeah. Anyway, since I don't have school today, let's go up to the shrine again. Maybe Daichi and Akatsuki will be there today and we can all play cards or something. I don't think I've seen Tomas for a bit, either. Maybe I'll go do something with him after that. I'm sure Onishiba could use a bit of company, too."
And with that, Rikari got changed into his new casual wear. It was basically the same as his old casual wear, except Fubari had redone the vest, adding purple flames to the front and the Phantasm Brigade's ensignia on the back of it, along with an orange band of fabric with the characters for leader attached to the right sleeve when one pulled it out of the vest. He'd even redone the hood, to boot! In retrospect, Fubari had given everybody some form of a coat or vest with this on it, although Rikari's was the only one with Leader attached to it, as if he had been the one behind all of the operations that took place during the Utsuho incident.
"Everyone, these are our momento of the time we all spent together, okay? Please bring them back to me if you ever need them fixed or resized, and I'll take care of it as soon as I can!"
Fubari and Fain weren't the type of people to not celebrate this kind of victory, after all. They'd paid for the karaoke party that the group held about a month after everything had settled down. Surprisingly, everybody that had been invited came.
After that, everybody pretty much went their separate ways for the time being. Rikari had opted to stay with Riku, however, in order to keep him company, despite Mr. Tachibana having returned. As it turned out, he had appearantly known Rikari's parents, so he was fine with Rikari just staying with them as long as he didn't cause any trouble.
Later, at the Tachibana Shrine...
Rikari was messing with Riku's currently empty Drive once again. However, this time, something actually happened. The screen emitted a glow and displayed a message.
I don't know if you're going to get this or not, but I figured I'd try anyway. A guy just contracted me, so it might be a little bit before I can come back to you... I hope that's alright.
-Byakko no Kogenta
"Well shit. He really was planning on comming back after all, that sneaky bastard. Still, I wonder why Kogenta would be needed again. I'm relatively sure that all of the Toujinshi in Japan are at peace right now, and I don't think there are any Toujinshi in other contries... I wonder if something big is about to happen."
But in the end, it never did affect Tenjin-Chou. Although Rikari did hear about an incident where Kogenta had been spotted from Souma a short time later, however he chose not to investigate it.
The summer passed, and Rikari's ninth grade year started. Riku and him had ended up in the same class again, which was rather convenient.
Another year passed without much incident. Rikari had taken actual sword proficiency lessons with Sentsa as his mentor, but other than that, nothing noteworthy happened, save for Mr. Tachibana going on a pilgrimage.
Rikari was now in the tenth grade. The year was 2008. It was a really uneventful year. There wasn't a single distrubance that would be tied to Youkai or Toujinshi.
However, the year was now 2009. Rikari was in eleventh grade. Things were about to change for the better in his life once again.
"I-I'm Zean. Lucaster Zaen. M-My hobbies include music and cooking."
'I think I like this guy.'
A little while passed, and then it was Rikari's turn to introduce himself.
"I'm Rikari. Satio Rikari. My hobbies include music and gunpla."
A little more time passed, and Riku introduced himself.
A week passed...
"Hey teacher's pet! Stop doing stuff that's going to make the class harder for the rest of us!"
Rikari twitched. That guy named Sai had been harassing Zean all week, and Rikari had basically only been able to do a combination of attempting to best Zean in a very one-sided friendly competition that he'd passively initiated in order to take some of the pressure off of Zean, and watching him get bullied. However Riku kept stealing his fire, so it was becoming increasinly hard to do the former. It was also becoming increasingly hard for Rikari to resist walking up to the guy and beating him up during lunch to prove a point.
Later, during lunch...
Rikari was on the roof, attempting to enjoy his hard-boiled eggs, but he couldn't seem to even start eating when his homeroom teacher came out onto the roof.
"Akino-sensei? What a surprise meeting you here."
"Yeah, I like the view from up here, so on occasion I eat lunch up here."
"I know what you mean. Although I've never seen you up here before."
"That's because I normally eat my lunch on another part of the roof. But a change of pace is always a good thing, right? Anyway, I had something I wanted to talk to you about, and now's as good a time as ever, I suppose."
"Go right ahead. It's not as if I have anything to do anyway. I'm not all that hungry right now, and I don't have anybody to share my hard-boiled eggs with. Riku seems to have run off somewhere again, too."
"You two are awfully close, huh?"
"I've been living with him since an incident that's really hard to explain with normal words happened about four years ago. It's been really fun, but lately it seems like life's just gotten boring."
"Yeah, growing up sucks, huh?"
"I wouldn't put it THAT way, but sure."
"Anyway, I'm worried about Lucaster-Kun. He doesn't seem to be adjusting very well, and I was wondering if you could maybe make an attempt to reach out to him in an attempt to help."
"I was kind of planning on doing that anyway. Can my attempt involve slapping Sai?"
"I wish. The boy can't seem to behave to save his life. Sadly, as a teacher, I can't allow that."
"Worth a shot, I guess. Anyway, I'll bite. I guess I'll invite him over for dinner tonight or something."
"By the way... I've been meaning to ask you, What's with the metalic clanking noise that's always coming from your pants?"
"Ehehe... Well, to tell you the truth, I carry tanto wherever I go. I have a liscense, so I hope that's okay. Please don't tell anyone though, I don't want them to start treating me with fear."
"Intresting. I wouldn't have thought that somebody like you would have stuff like that."
"Trust me, I have a lot weirder things up my sleeve. Tell me, have you ever heard of the Real Phantasm Brigade, the one that isn't the one from that anime that aired a few years ago?"
"I've heard a few vauge things here and there. Why?"
"I'm the leader of it. I also did the voice for Renari, the leader of the fictional Phantasm Brigade."
"Now that's a little bit unbelieveable."
"You really don't believe that second part? Would you like me give you a sample line or something?"
Rikari stood up, pulling out his drive, doing a mock-preformance of being a toujinshi while delivering a few lines here and there, like "I can't give up now, we're nowhere near the start of the rainbow!" or "And then god said, let there be swords!"
"Wow, you weren't kidding."
"Anyway, what have you heard?"
"Well... That the Phantasm Brigade secretly saved the world, or something like that by using a good number of shikigami of the twenty-four seasons."
"It pretty much went that way. Riku was a part of it, too. However he willingly gave up his shikigami, and I've been trying to get said shikigami to come back ever since. So far I've met with nothing but failure so far."
"By the way, there's been this wierd mass of energy floating behind you this whole time. Is that normal?"
"Wait, you have a sixth sense?"
"Wait, nobody else can see that?"
"Normal people can't."
"Well, that's great."
"Anyway, that's my Shikigami, Byakko no Sentsa. He's quiet most of the time, but he's a good partner 'till the end. Wanna meet him?"
"Not today. Lunch time is almost over, and we need to get back to the classroom."
"D'aw. Maybe tomarrow then."
"Sure, why not. It's not every day that I get to discover one of my students is secretly someone famous who also seems like he's just hopped out of the fantasy genre when you get to know him."
"Haha, very funny Akino-sensei."
And so the duo went back inside. Rikari had a small chat with Riku, and the rest of the day proceeded as normal.
Right after school...
Zaen was walking out the door as Rikari was finishing packing up.
"Can I talk to you for a second before you leave?"
"How'd you like to come to my house for dinner tonight? I promise I'll make something really nice for you."
"I-I'm not sure what to say..."
"Well, in the end it's up to you to decide if you really want to come, but I can pretty much gaurantee that you'll have a fun time if you do decide to come."
"I-I guess I can try... When would you like me to show up?"
"Well, I guess whenever it's convenient. Maybe an hour from now? Oh right, I suppose you'll be needing my address."
Rikari pulled out a piece of paper and a pencil from his bag, quickly writing down the address of Riku's house on it, along with a small map that portrayed a few landmarks between the school and Riku's house.
"I'll also walk with you until we have to split up, if you want."
"I'd like that... A lot."
And so Rikari and Zaen walked out of the school, and a little way down the road before splitting up. The conversation topic drifted between music, anime, gunpla, video games, and homework along the way.
"See you in an hour!"
Rikari got home about ten minutes after that, finding Riku had beaten him home, and was working on a gunpla model that Rikari had bought for him.
"Okay, so Zaen should be here in about fifty minutes or so. I'm going to get dinner started, and then if I have time, I'll be out front in one of the trees."
And with that, Rikari stepped into the kitchen and started making shrimp fried rice, adding hard-boiled eggs to the rice after he'd cooked it. He had about 20 minutes to spare after that, so he left the rice in the cooker as insulation, having also added the shrimp. Rikari then summoned Sentsa and hopped into a tree out front with him, proceeding to sing a song shortly after doing so, relaxing on one of the tree branches as he did.
~LET'S GO and run into the morning glow, that we once dreamed of~
~It's still far away though~
~MAYBE, it'll be alright if we keep our love all the time~
~If you listen to my song~
~It's so easy to~
~Cross a heart with another~
~My heart of love soars into the night sky, carrying my burning emotions~
~Keep shooting down sadness and anger~
~A heart of love is inside you too~
~Face your DESTINY~
~it can go billions of light years ahead~
~TOTSUGEKI LOVE HEART~
"Ah... Life is just too quiet nowdays. I wish something big would happen again, even if it did mean that we would have to deal with constant streams of enemies again... Oh! I know! Maybe I should have Daichi join us for dinner, too! I mean, I probably made too much again, considering that the recipe for what I made feeds four, and not three..."
Rikari sat up, pulling out his Drive, a holographic display popping out of the screen when he pressed a few buttons on it. He activated the phone function on it and sent Daichi an email, getting a response after about a minute.
Hey, I think I made too much for dinner tonight, do you want to come over and have some?
Oh, sure. Give me a little bit to travel over. I hope you're okay that I'm going to be using the shrine to get over since it's the most convenient way of traveling in a short period of time. Do you want me to bring anything?
Well, I guess you could bring the usual, you know, cards and possibly a game system.
Kay. I'm heading out. I should be there in about ten minutes assuming that I don't get lost. I let my mom know where I was going, too, so I'll have to call her when I get to your place.
That's fine. Oh, and there's another guy coming over for dinner too, do try not to offend him, he's really shy and acts like a doormat.
Okay, will do!
"Well, I guess I should go meet one of our guests at the shrine."
Rikari hopped down from the tree he was sitting in, Sentsa hopping down moments later. Rikari went to the front door.
"Hey, Riku, if Zaen gets here earlier than I'm expecting him to, could you let him in and tell him that I went out for a little bit?"
"Sure. Where are you goining, anyway?"
"To the shrine. Daichi's comming over for dinner since I think I may have made too much food."
"I guess I'm okay with that..."
"Oh right. Sorry. Forgot to ask you first. Also, if he tries to leave, keep him busy, okay?"
"Um, I guess I can do that."
"No time for guessing. Gotta go!"
And so Rikari went up to the shrine. About seven or so minutes after he'd gotten there, Daichi came out of the shrine. And then Rikari heard what he thought sounded like a brass bell ringing, however, he shrugged it off as the duo began walking back to Riku's house.
'It's probably nothing. He couldn't possibly have come back now, of all times...'
"Rikari, you look like something's bugging you. I haven't seen you like this since that time you had to explain what a Toujinshi was and how it all worked to my parents, along with where I'd been for the last year or so."
"That was pretty hard to do, you know. If your parents hadn't been so open to things that aren't 'normal' occuring, I might have had to purge their memories of the whole thing... By the way, how's hunting down the remnants of the earth-style human experiment sect going?"
"Oh, we found another guy last week. That makes just two more before we've caught them all."
"Those bastards sure do have their ways of hiding out of sight. It's taken three years to catch what, five of them?"
"Technically there were six, but you erased the memories of the first one and beat him within an inch of his life, remember?"
"Oh right. Sorry about that, I wasn't in the right mind at the time, along with the fact that he was trying to inject me with the DNA of some kind of Byakko-Seiryuu hybrid. I was REALLY lucky that my armor seals were still in place at the time, or else that would probably have ended really badly."
"I'll say. I mean, at least I was human at the time, but still... That wouldn't have been very good."
The duo was just reaching the midway point between Riku's house and the shrine when they ran into Riku.
"Oh, don't mind me. I thought I heard something, so I decided to come here and check it out."
"Kay. See you back at the house."
And so Daichi and Rikari went back to Riku's house. Riku came back about two minutes after them, and went straight to his room after that, saying he'd be down for dinner, but needed to take care of something real fast. Another two minutes passed, and Zaen knocked on the front door. Rikari quickly opened it.
"Ah, there you are... Don't just stand there, come on in!"
And so Zaen came inside.
"Dinner's ready whenever, but I accidentally made too much, so I had a good friend come over too so he could join us."
"He's really nice, I swear."
"I'm right over here, you know."
"Yeah, yeah. Sorry for leaving you out. Anyway, Zaen, Daichi. Daichi, Zaen. Now play nice while I go find out what's taking our host so damn long to get his ass back down here."
With that, Rikari went upstairs to find Riku, leaving Daichi and Zaen downstairs.
"Oh, didn't you know? Rikari lives with Riku. It's a long story, and for a while, I was living here too, technically. This place holds a lot of memories for the three of us, along with a good number of other people. Anyway, it's not really that important."
"By the way, I meant to mention this earlier, but you remind me of someone..."
"Well, there was an anime project I was involved in at one point within the last few years. Rikari and Riku were involved, too."
"You've heard of the Shikigami Phantasm anime, right?"
"That's supposed to be the spiritual sequel to the Onmyou Taisenki manga, right?"
"What about it?"
"What if I said that Rikari was the one that did the voices for Renari and Kogenta, and Riku did the voice of the Narrator? Haven't you ever wondered what was up with that vest Rikari wears, and why part of Riku's clothing matches it?"
"Now that you mention it, I did wonder what was up with him looking like he was cosplaying Renari most of the time. It never occured to me that he was actually cosplaying him."
"Not quite. Rikari's always dressed like that. The flames were added just before the anime began production. His actual hair color is red, by the way."
"Come to think of it, wasn't Renari's hair also secretly red?"
"Yeah, it was a moot plot point. Anyway, addressing your point about me being familiar, the character Hoshi was based off of me. Even when he was still a shikigami."
"Wow, how'd you manage that?"
"I'll tell you later. I think I hear Rikari dragging Riku out of his room in a slight fit of rage over the sheer amount of behaving out of his normal behavioral habits. Normally, he'd be down here making the small talk instead of me."
"How odd. Anyway, what did Rikari make? I see that there's a really nice rice cooker and plates set out here, along with utensils and cranberry juice, but I can't discern what he's made due to the steam fogging up the glass window."
"Oh, he made shrimp fried rice with hard boiled eggs. It's the absolute best dish he will ever possibly cook, at least in my opinion. Although the cranberry juice is something rare. Normally he would have served this with some kind of chilled wine or something."
"I guess he didn't know my opinion on it."
"That's probably it."
And then Rikari came back downstairs, Sentsa floating behind him, looking estatic.
"Sorry about that. Riku's going to be a bit longer, but that's okay."
"'Something really amazing has happened, by the way.'"
"'Oh? Do tell.'"
"'Sorry, can't spoil the surprise. You'll have to wait until Riku comes downstairs.'"
"Anyway, I'm sure that Daichi's told you all about my involvement in Shikigami Phantasm by now. It's the first thing he tells pretty much everyone if it's relevant to bring up. Here's something he probably didn't tell you though. It started out as a pet project, but after the CEO of the Mikazuchi corperation found out about it, there was no turning back."
"Wait, even Souma Ausuka is involved in this?"
"Yeah. I'm surprised you know about him though."
"Well, I only know a few things..."
"He's really a nice kid, honestly. A few screws loose here and there, but all-in-all I'd say he's still my first choice for backup."
"You say that as if you two are close."
"We are, although it's been a while since we've gone out to do stuff. Maybe you'll get to meet him if you spend enough time around here."
"You make it sound like he frequents the place."
"Not as much as Daichi, at least, not anymore anyway. He used to stop by at least once a week, and we'd play games. He's just been busy lately is all... Anyway, enough on that matter, Riku's on his way down, so I guess I'll take care of serving everyone now. The food's probably finished steaming properly, what with all the seasoning I threw in at the last second because I forgot to do it when I was cooking the shrimp."
And then Riku came down the stairs. It didn't LOOK like anything had changed, however he was wearing a red sleeve-less shirt, versus wearing his normal casual wear.
"And that's what was taking him so long. He was getting changed into something that wasn't school clothing, and was having a hard time deciding on something to wear that would be practical afterward."
"Hey now, you were the one that suggested this."
"Whoops. Forgot to mention that. Anyway, come on, the food is going to get cold fast now that I've served it, so let's eat!"
At some point during the meal, Rikari had noticed that Zaen wasn't eating very much, and had pointed it out to him. Zaen responded with a rather dull response that consisted of 'Sorry, I really only eat when I have to. Force of habbit I guess', at which point, Rikari scolded him slightly on how important it was that he ate, since his pallor was that of a sheet on laundry day, eliciting a response consisting of 'I know, sorry to worry you'
After the meal was finished and over with, Riku walked up to the shrine with Daichi, saying he was going to go play cards with him there since it was such a nice day outside. That left Rikari with Zaen at the house.
"Man, Daichi is going to be psyched at what Riku has in store for him."
"Long story. It relates to Shikigami Phantasm, sort of."
"Oh, cool. By the way, on the topic of Shikigami Phantasm, since you played not one, but two major roles, does that mean you made a lot of money off of it?"
"Nah. Most of my royalties to this day were withheld, at least until I turn twenty. Instead, I get exclusive and not-so-exclusive merchandaise for the time being. And if you're curious, my vest has been around since before production. In fact, my entire outfit has been. Souma decided to model one of the main characters after me, for some reason. Riku's also got a coat somewhere that has the Phantasm Brigade emblem on it, but he rarely wears it nowdays. Anyway, Daichi's pretty much spilled everything intresting about me, so why don't you tell me a little bit about yourself, Zaen?"
"Well... If you insist. As you know, my hobbies are music and cooking. Not that I get to do much of the second, I live by myself."
"Don't you ever get lonely? I know I was before I moved in with Riku."
"Eh? You used to live by yourself?"
"Yeah, you wouldn't be able to guess by appearances, but I used to have a really bad habbit of being a loner. But then I moved here at the request of my grandparents and met Riku, and things changed. I mean back when I was living with Fain-chan and Fuba-tan, things were pretty fun, but life kind of sucked. Their parents didn't like the fact that I was living with them one bit, although it was mostly because they didn't approve of how my parents raised me before stuff happened."
"It must have been tough..."
"Not really, they're still around, they just don't remember me. It's not like it matters anymore. Riku's pretty much the only real family I have now, aside from the rest of the Phantasm Brigade."
"You keep bringing them up. What exactly IS the Phantasm Brigade?"
"Well, most people would associate it with the one from Shikigami Phantasm, but the one I'm talking about refers to some of the people behind it. Everybody that was on the production team in one way or another was listed as a member of it. However only the people with uniforms that Fuba-tan's tailored are considered to be on the real team. Of course, the only way to actually know about that would be to ask the person in question how they got their uniform. Now then, I've sufficiently allowed a topic derail. Back on topic."
"Oh. Right. I also like to collect things."
Zaen began shuffling around in his pockets.
"Like this shell. Or thi-WAH!"
Zaen recoiled, his hand clutching what looked like a Drive.
"W-Who's that?! What's that, even?!"
Rikari took a few seconds to process what Zaen had just said.
"What are you talking about?"
"That tiger-thing floating behind you!"
"Well, at least he didn't call me a cat like Daichi did when we first met."
"Wait, you can see him?"
"That means he has a Drive, right Sentsa?"
"That or he's a Miko. I don't see the latter happening though."
"A Drive. Something like this?"
Rikari reached down to his waist and unholstered his Drive, pulling it out to show to Zaen.
"Did you happen to pick something like this up previously?"
"Now that you mention it, I think I might have."
Zaen picked himself up, bringing into view the 'Drive' he'd picked up earlier.
"Are you talking about this?"
"That's exactly what I'm talking about!"
The Drive was primarily silver, with white and black as the secondary and tertiary colors respectively.
"Wow, you got nice colors for yours. Mine represents something special, though."
"So wait, what exactly does this mean?"
"It means a field trip to the shrine."
Rikari offered his hand out to Zaen.
"So, Lucaster Zaen. You now have a choice. Come with me and have your life change, for better or worse, or continue living your life as it is now, most likely sad and or miserable."
Zaen took the offered hand.
"So, Riku, what was it that happened that was so amazing that Sentsa had to keep it secret?"
"Sorry, can't tell you until after we get to the shrine~"
"Riku, you're no fun at all!"
"Hey now, don't say that..."
Riku's cellphone rang.
"Oh, that must be Rikari texting me."
We're having an interesting turn of events. Meeting at the shrine in ten. Gather what Brigade members you can, and don't spoil the surprise for Daichi until AFTER I get there.
"So, now that you're technically a Toujinshi, there's a bit of knowledge that I have to give to you. Most of Shikigami Phantasm is actually true. There were a few changes here and there to separate it from reality, but other than that, it's a good summary of what happened starting four years ago up until about a year later."
"So wait, that means Renari really IS based off you?"
"Yep. The shikigami kept their names, but all of the human names had to be changed for safety reasons."
"What an interesting story."
"I wasn't kidding about Souma, either. He was Asuka Sakura."
"Anyway, we're almost at the shrine. I wonder how many Brigade members actually answered Riku's call. He's technically the one in charge, not me. It's just that I basically hold all of the authority for some reason."
"Sounds like you run the Brigade."
"I do. I was the one that came up with the name for the group. The reason it's named that was because it consists of Heaven, Earth, Jin, and Phantasm Toujinshi. Although we only have one member of the Jin-Style with us still, and I'm the only one from the Phantasm-Style."
"What happened to the other Jin-Style users?"
"User. And he basically left for parts unknown. Nobody really knows where he is, and I was thinking about going to Naraku to check and see if his Shikigami is there now... Oh look, we're here!"
Riku and Daichi were sitting in front of the shrine playing cards. It was obvious that they'd been there for a little bit.
"Geez! What took you guys so long?"
"Sorry, Daichi. Anyway, it seems Zaen here has a Drive. So I brought him up here so we could be here when he contracts."
"That's another thing you haven't explained to me."
"You'll find out in a minute."
Riku pulled out his drive and flipped the screen forward.
The world around the Tachibana Shrine faded to black as shogi gates appeared all around, the thick darkness slowly being replaced by a light green, as the lighting in the area went from late afternoon to mid-day. Then a Shogi gate opened up in front of Riku. Kogenta walked out of it.
"Byakko no Kogenta, Kenzan!"
Zaen just stood there for a few seconds.
"Wow... He's beautiful."
"Well, I wouldn't say that much. I guarantee that Sentsa's got him beaten in the elegance department. I'm glad he's back, though. Things were getting very boring without him around."
"And this just got awkward."
"Ahaha, so you thought about that time with the freezer too, huh?"
"Glad to see you're back."
"Glad to be back. I'm surprised you managed to bring me back."
"You left all the pieces behind that I needed you to. You should really be thanking Riku for finally noticing your call. I've been hearing that damned bell of yours every time I came to the shrine since you left."
"Well, that's a surprise."
"Not really, if you consider the fact that my ability is synchronization. I'm linked with Akatsuki too, you know."
"Say what now?"
"Oh right, it never came up, but back when Daichi and Akatsuki were the same being, I synchronized with him briefly during the final battle. It's how I know all of your In despite never making a contract with you directly, too. Although it did take quite a bit of work to find that part of your power that you'd left behind. Borrowing it was okay, right?"
Rikari produced a sphere of energy from his Drive, tossing it at Kogenta, who caught it akwardly.
"What exactly did you do with it?"
"Ask Souma later. It was pretty fun. Anyway..."
Rikari turned to Zaen.
"Now it's your turn. Swing your drive in the following directions while reciting the following. After that, you should learn the proper sequence automatically."
Rikari preformed the motions for summoning a Shikigami with his drive, taking care to not accidentally summon Sentsa in the process.
"Shin, Kan, Da, Ri. Now it's your turn."
Zaen repeated the motions, being cloaked in light shortly after that. A few moments later, the light vanished as Zaen gained a look of confidence.
A shogi door appeared inside a gigantic crystal, which had also spawned. The crystal quickly shattered as the doors opened to reveal a silver and black furred Byakko-type shikigami that looked an awful lot like Kogenta had back in the day, the difference being the color scheme, which was black and white, and his lack of sandals, and a tail bell, which was just a crystal instead. He stepped out, gracefully landing on the ground in front of Zaen while crystal shards gradually fell to the ground, making for an amazing entrance.
"Byakko no Ruleo! Kenzan!"
Zaen just stood there, as if he was in awe of Ruleo.
"You finally released me... I'm glad."
Turning to Rikari, Ruleo smiled.
"I owe you a great deal for helping Zaen."
"It was nothing, really."
Turning to Zaen, Rikari continued speaking.
"Anyway, I'm Rikari. Satio Rikari. The Phantasmal-Style Toujinshi, and the leader of the Phantasm Brigade."
Rikari took a bow, offering his hand out to Zaen.
"It's a pleasure to meet you."
"I-it's nice to meet you, too. I'm Zaen. Lucaster Zaen."
"Now then, I do believe it's my turn!"
Rikari backed up and held his drive forward.
The space directly in front of Rikari exploded with energy as a runic circle appeared, along with a shogi gate, which opened up shortly thereafter to reveal Sentsa, who stepped out of the gate, drawing Setsumaru from a mini-gate that appearted shortly thereafter.
"Byakko no Sentsa! Kenzan!"
"I think we're leaving Daichi out on this, aren't we?"
"I was waiting for you to ask!"
Daichi unsheathed his Drive, holding it foreward.
The energy in the air was something... else. The shogi gate was wreathed in fire and bathed in light. Then, it opened, and Akatsuki stepped out, drawing his sword from a mini shogi gate as he stepped out.
"Byakko no Akatsuki! Kenzan!"
Everyone in the group just stood there for a few seconds.
"Well, now what?"
"How about a mock battle to demonstrate how this stuff works for the newbie?"
Tomas was standing at the archway, his drive in hand. He pointed it foreward, flipping the screen.
A shogi gate popped up and opened. Inside was rustic scenery. Onishiba appeared, holding a paper parasol.
"Hopes and Dreams, Where do they come from? Reach for the skies, if you can grasp them, anything is possible."
Onishiba threw back his parasol and drew his guns.
"Souka no Onishiba! Kenzan!"
"Sorry we're late, I had a few things to take care of!"
TO BE CONTINUED