Disclaimer: W.I.T.C.H. is owned and copyrighted by the Walt Disney Company Italia and is in no way affiliated with the fictional works of Galistar07water.
Author's note: If you would like to see drawings of W.I.T.C.H. Dreams of Lusteria, please visit my page and click the "W.I.T.C.H. Dreams of Lusteria" folder in the gallery section.
Author's 2nd note: I know that some people think that Kimi seems like a Mary-Sue in the previous chapter, but trust me, she's not. I've already explained it that in the W.I.T.C.H. series, every time the school gets a new transfer student, the other kids get excited about it, both in the comics and in the animated series. Just because Kimi seems "popular" at first, it doesn't make her a Mary Sue and neither does having super human strength or being a martial art practitioner. She's not the only one as Orube, a character from the comic series, also had super strength and is skilled in combat. Both Kimi and Orube comes from worlds where its inhabitants have those skills and abilities.
Chapter 02: Brave New World pt. II
"So this is your heart mate, huh?" Kimi asked as Will continued to apply ointment to Matt's bruised forehead. "Frankly, I'm not impressed."
Will just wanted to hit Kimi so hard right now for trying to skewer her boyfriend with a samurai pole weapon made from constructed light. Yet, her attention was more focused on Matt who was sitting on the couch. After he fell through the ceiling, Orube and Ngọc Long held Kimi back from her intention to kill him then and there. The girls and the warrior from Basilíade explained to Kimi that he was an old friend and had been their trainer when they received their New Powers a long time ago.
"Matt, what were you thinking?" Will objected.
"I just wanted to know how skilled the Guardian of Light is," Matt explained, wincing when Will pressed too hard on one of his bruises. Glaring at Kimi, Matt sneered, "And because I have never heard of you before from Kandrakar, I don't trust you."
"Is that why you've been following me around since this morning at school?" Kimi raised an eyebrow. Matt starred at her blankly and she scoffed. "For your information, I've known that you were trailing me for hours, Matt-boy."
Orube and Ngọc Long snickered in unison.
"What did you call me?" Matt demanded.
"Matt-boy," Kimi folded her arms. "I just called you Matt-boy, or are your ear drums still ringing from the fall?"
Matt was starting to like this girl less and less. "Matt, my name is Matt! And I am no boy."
"Whatever, Matt-boy," Kimi replied condescendingly.
Matt got up at and was about to lecture her, but Orube placed a hand on his shoulder and whispered, "Forget it, Matt. Kimi is as stubborn as you can think. She will continue to call you whatever she deems worthy."
"How do I get her to stop?"
"Unless you can defeat her in a fight or until the day you've done something to earn her respect will she stops," Orube said, looking up at the hole in the ceiling. "But after what you just tried to pull off, I wouldn't recommend it right away."
Ngọc Long looked up at the hole in the ceiling. Her eyes glowed green and the next thing they knew, the entire room was back to normal.
The Jade Dragon looked back at the seven of them with piercing eyes. Matt could do nothing but stare at the Guardians' new caretaker. It was as if something about her was gripping him tight, warning him not to interrupt her.
Suddenly, two large interface screens appeared out of thin air behind her like the ones used by Lord Araël and Lady Verlona in Kandrakar. Cool, Matt thought, thinking it as if it was from a superhero comic series with futuristic technologies.
"Now that there are no more interruptions…" Lady Ngọc Long began, snapping her fingers. "We shall discuss of your next mission, Guardians." One of interface screens showed a display of the charred medallions from the Guardians' previous fights. The other displayed an unfamiliar map. Luckily, they were colored and labeled. Will and her friends could see many countries and kingdoms, but the largest of all were the five in separate colors. The Eastern Air Kingdom of Nihon was colored in purple and there was a small dot near one of its mountain ranges.
"This was where you have fought against Karaten, the tengu near the base of the Azure Dragon Pass," the Jade Dragon pointed to the dot. "And this is how much the Sins have spread so far." Several colored mists covered small parts of the five bigger kingdoms. Most of the smaller nations have been completely enveloped. "Now that we know the Deadly Sins are being inducted into spirits, demons, and Lusterian humans, the Gemini Council and the Oracle have been making attempts to track their process. As of now, we were able to detect only five of the seven Deadly Sins; Gluttony, Sloth, Wrath, Lust, and Envy. Of the other two, we have no words."
"Where are all these Sins coming from?" Hay Lin asked. "I can't see any patterns to trail back to their sources."
"If the Sins are anything like the Black Plague, it should have a geographical source," Taranee noted.
"That will be your next assignment," Ngọc Long nodded. "You are to start in the city where you were supposed to go the last time before you left for Meridian…Edo. There, you shall investigate where those medallions came from."
"How are we supposed to do that?" Irma asked.
Holding out the medallions, Ngọc Long threw them at the Keeper and Will caught them in her hands.
"The designs on these medallions may lead you to your answer," Ngọc Long suggested. "Perhaps a scholar or a professor at the local university can help you."
"What about our other mission?" Kimi asked. "Do not tell me that we are not to look for my brother."
"I did not say such thing," Ngọc Long replied. "I believe that your brother is a medical student at the university, is he not?"
"Wait, he's still a kid but he's already a medical student at the university?" Taranee's eyes widen in surprised, clearly impressed.
"We can kill two birds with one stone," Will smiled. "Maybe we can find someone there who can help us find the sources of these Sins and see if anyone can give us a clue about Kyochi's whereabouts."
"Great, let's go," Cornelia said, getting off the sofa.
"Orube and Kimi will guide the five of you since they're both familiar with the large capital," said Ngọc Long.
The two screens disappeared as the six Guardians stood up and transformed themselves. Soon, Orube was also garbed in her red and fiery warrior outfit.
"Wait, I want to go, too," Matt insisted.
"No, Matt," Will shook her head. "I know that you were an honorable 'Captain' and all to Kandrakar, but Lusteria is too dangerous."
"But…" Matt objected.
"Stay and know your place, Earthling," Kimi sneered. "You are unwanted from this mission."
Before Matt could retort, Will shoved Kimi ahead before they could start another fight. Nodding to Ngọc Long, she said, "We're ready, Jade Dragon. Open the portal."
When they finally arrived, Irma was the first to speak. "Hey, girls," she started off. "Why was the portal in a closet?"
"Urgh, I do not like squeezing in there," Cornelia complained. Holding out a few strands of her blond hair, she tried to smooth them out. "Look at my hair! I am so telling our new caretaker to open a portal somewhere else whether she is a dragon or not!"
Will shook her head and tried to suppress her giggle. "Well, I guess the Jade Dragon does have a small sense of humor."
"You mean making my hair all frizzy is funny?" Cornelia demanded as the other girls laughed.
"Look on the bright side, girls," Hay Lin chirped. She pointed to what's in front of them. It appeared that they have arrived in an ally. Ignoring the garbage and the scurrying rats, Hay Lin pointed to the street ahead. "We've arrived right in the city. Let's go!"
"Good idea! This dark alley is giving me the creeps," Taranee agreed, looking around to see how damp it was. "What does Lusterians have against dry and warm places?"
Once Will and her friends stepped into the busy street, it felt as if they were in a film set. The streets were filled with shops and restaurants; some were like the Silver Dragon restaurant back home where the top floors were made into living quarters of the owners. There were no cars, only carts and carriages pulled by horses. The people where dressed in beautiful kimonos and yukata robes, although some were simpler and poorer than others.
"Sugar dates! Melons! Mangos! And watermelons!" cried a shopkeeper.
"Udon! Fresh udon! Come try our latest recipe!"
"Would the lovely lady like to buy this silk fabric?" asked a man behind them. Hay Lin turned to see that he was trying to sell her a beautiful green roll. "Come, and see. These are made from the Spirit silkworms of the Bamboo Forest! Imported from the Kingdom of Zhong-guo."
"They're from China, you say?" Hay Lin exclaimed excitedly. Holding it to her face, she squealed with delight. "They're so smoothed! I could just picture the prettiest outfit with this!" She looked at the other rolls on the stand and the ones propped up outside. "Oh, my gosh!" she gasped. She grabbed the light purple one decorated with intricate patterns of birds and clouds. "I've been looking for a fabric of this design for ages! It's perfect!"
"Wow, Hay Lin's definitely in heaven right now," Irma mused.
"You wish to buy this, lovely lady?" asked the shop owner. He clasped his hand happily. "I do have some more in my shop. Would you like to see?"
Before Hay Lin could say yes, Kimi grabbed her by the arm. "We don't have time for this nonsense, lily-liver. The university is up ahead and we still have our missions."
"But who knows when I'll be back?" Hay Lin objected. "C'mon, I have never seen any silks like these! They're even better than the ones back home! And who knows if I'll ever get the chance to shop here again?!"
Kimi sighed, seeing that Hay Lin was dead set on getting her way when it comes to the silk. "Fine! Make your purchase and let's go."
"I'll take the purple one, please!" Hay Lin smiled. "Make that two yards!"
"Arigato-gozaimasu! The shop keeper bowed. He snapped his fingers and a pair of scissors flew from his pocket. The roll of fabric floated and magically rolled out two yards of purple silk before the scissor cut it down. "That will be four thousand and five hundred yen!"
"Hay Lin, that's too much!" Orube objected. "We don't have that kind of money with us."
Hay Lin widened her eyes, clearly forgetting about the currency. The shopkeeper eyed her suspiciously. "Um…wait, I think I have something here…"
"I don't think dollars count as yen here, Hay Hey," said Irma.
The shopkeeper was getting annoyed when he realized that Hay Lin didn't have the money. "What do you take me for? If you have no money, then what good are you to me? Get out!"
"But I…" Hay Lin protested.
"Here's your money," Kimi said, tossing him a bag of coin. "Now hand over the silk and we'll be on our way."
"Arigato," the shopkeeper nodded his head. Opening the bag, he began to count his money and smiled with great satisfaction. He handed the product to Hay Lin and went back into his shop.
"Are you going to carry that thing with you the entire time we're here?" Irma asked.
"Of course not," Hay Lin said. She snapped her finger and the fabric disappeared. "I'll just hide it somewhere safe until I'm back at my designing desk." Turning to Kimi she said, "Um, by the way thanks for paying. I'll pay you back somehow."
"Think nothing of it now," Kimi replied, turning her head towards a huge complex on the top of a hill. "We still have our missions to fulfill today."
Six of them spread their wings and flew while Orube ran through the streets. It was strange to fly through the city without being starred at by the people below. But then Cornelia and Taranee almost flew into something, and realized that they were not the only ones in the sky.
"Hey, watch it, you clumsy bird!" replied a floating girl who was holding an umbrella. "You humans never respect us rain spirits! Always flying wherever you please as if you own the sky!"
"Sorry," Cornelia frowned, trying to pass her.
"Honestly, why must I endure this every time I decided to go into the city? Serves me right for leaving the sanctity of my mountain." The rain spirit mumbled as she continued to float away.
"Cornelia, are you sleeping back there?" Irma called from way ahead. Cornelia didn't realize how far behind she was until she decided to put her wings into gear.
Once they were over the campus, the six Guardians landed in the quad where Orube was waiting for them.
"Welcome to the University of Edo," Orube announced.
"Wow, this place is huge," Will replied in awe.
"No kidding," Taranee agreed, adjusting her glasses. "I would love to see what courses they offered here."
"Hey, how come there are no girls?" Irma asked as she looked around. Sure enough, the students who were passing by tied up their long hair into traditional Japanese topknots, but it seems none of them are girls. A group of boys passed by and started to whisper to each other upon seeing Will and her four friends. One of them laughed too much and accidentally dropped his scrolls and books.
"They probably don't offer education for girls because they considered it improper during this time period. They viewed women to be put into the domestic line traditionally," Taranee explained.
"Sorry, but I'm afraid you're wrong, Taranee," said Orube. "I don't know how your Earth education system was run but on Basilíade, it does not matter if you are a girl or a boy. I was taught many things other than fighting by Luba when I was a child. We do not discriminate against genders and neither does the Lusterians in terms of education."
"So where are the female students?" Taranee asked.
"They're all on the east side of the campus," said Kimi. "Unlike your Sheffield, the schools on Lusteria forbid both sexes to interact in the same classroom. They considered it improper, especially for those who are already betrothed. The arenas are the only place where they are allowed to be in each others' companies for martial art trainings."
"Was that why those boys were laughing at us?" Cornelia asked.
"No, it's probably because they have never seen people with white or black skins like yours before," Orube replied.
"I'm guessing Lusteria is a very Asian planet," Hay Lin said. "But why name it 'Lusteria' anyway? Aside from all those other names we've heard so far, the planet's name doesn't sound Asian."
"We can discuss the history of this world later," Orube said. "For now, we have to concentrate on our missions and we've already been side-tracked enough as it is."
"So where should we start first?" Taranee asked.
"Let's split into two groups," Will ordered. "One group will go look for a professor who can help us identify the source of these medallions and the other group will ask around about Kyochi's whereabouts. Check to see if he had left anything behind that would be a clue."
"So who's going with who?" Irma asked.
"Hay Lin, Taranee, Orube, and I will be on one team," Will said. "Cornelia and Irma, you two go with Kimi."
"You have got to be kidding me!" Irma protested. "There is no way I am strutting around with the rudest and most condescending person on the team."
"Will, tell me you're not serious," Cornelia urged.
"Look, like it or not we have to work together," Will frowned. "I am in charged here and what I say goes!"
"Who died and made you leader, lily-liver?" Kimi asked. "For your information, I can do this without your help. I don't need you to have your little friends follow me around."
"Oh, really? Well if you hadn't needed our help, then why haven't you found your own brother by now?" Will challenged. "Don't try to hide it with all that talk, because I don't think you're as powerful as you claimed to be. If you can't follow my order, you're the one who's useless around here, not me or my girls."
"Nice one, Will," Irma cheered. Orube shot her a warning look. "What?" Irma asked.
Will's words seemed to have an effect on Kimi. She swallowed her pride and turned to leave. "Try not to fall behind," she said to Irma and Cornelia.
"Maybe I should go with them so that they don't accidentally kill each other," Taranee offered.
Irma and Cornelia followed Kimi and Taranee without any eagerness. As the rest of them watched the foursome go, Will turned to Orube. "Did I say something wrong?"
"As a matter of fact, you sort of did," Orube replied. She turned to lead them to a large building that seems to be the department for anthropology and history. "Of all my times training with Kinomoto clan here in Nihon, I've gotten to know a few of Kimi's maternal relatives. I believe the way you talked to Kimi back then reminded her of her kin."
"And that's bad because?" Will asked, clearly not seeing where this was going.
"Let's just say that some members of the Kinomoto clan are a lot worse than Kimi in comparison," Orube replied and urged the girls to leave it at that.
They arrived at the department of humanity and social science where students and scholarly instructors in history and anthropology walked about. Hay Lin didn't know whom to ask.
"How do we find the right person to help us?"
"We'll look for the professor in linguistic anthropology," Orube suggested. "Or a professor in ancient Lusterian history."
Turning to see several students sitting together with opened books ad scrolls, Will strolled over to them. "Hi, can you boys help us? We're looking for a professor who can help us identify the sources of these medallions." She handed them the charred relics.
The boys reached for the objects and began to study it. Looking up, one of them adjusted his spectacles and replied, "You must ask either Kobayashi-sensei or Atsuko-sensei. They are both experts in ancient deity languages and ancient civilization history."
"But don't expect much," said his friend. He gave Will back the medallions. "No one has seen either of them for weeks. All of their classes had been rescinded."
"Where are they?" Orube asked.
"We don't know," the third replied. "Since the coming threat of Darkness, they disappeared on an unknown mission. No one has seen either of them since."
"Is there anyone else who can help us?" Hay Lin asked. "Surely another instructor?"
The three men exchanged pondering looks. "Well, there is one person who could help you. Komei Kinomoto—"
"Chancellor Komei?" Orube's eye widened.
"Hai," they replied. "The Chancellor is visiting the university currently to monitor his son's academic and training progresses."
"He was just here this morning," said the first one with glasses. "If you are lucky, you might be able to find him."
"Much gratitude for your help, Lusterians," Orube replied bowed.
The three men nodded and returned to their studies as the three of them left.
"So who's this Chancellor Komei?" Will asked.
"He's a member of the Kinomoto clan and perhaps one of the greatest military tacticians of this kingdom," Orube explained. "He's also Kimi and Kyochi's uncle. A very humbled man who is always calm even in the face of danger. I have never met anyone as brilliant as him."
"So he's a genius?" Hay Lin asked. Orube nodded.
"How are we going to find him?" Will asked.
Orube smiled and tapped her nose. "I can remember his scent clearly. I'll be able to find him in no time."
Orube stopped and took a whiff of the air. Thousands of smells flooded Orube's nose, but her feline ability was able to distinguish and file through all of them in an instant, dead set on the most specific one. Finally, she caught it. "There." Orube pointed in front of them.
Will and Hay Lin followed Orube as they ran half way across campus, careful not to bump into the other students and faculties on the way. Orube stopped and spotted a man in front of her and called out to him.
"Chancellor Komei Kinomoto!"
The man in robes instantly turned around and smiled upon seeing Orube. He held up two hands and placed them together as he bowed.
"Konichiwa, Orube-san," he said. "It is a pleasure to see you again, even when the current circumstances is difficult."
"It is an honor to see you again, Chancellor," Orube bowed. "It is because of the difficult circumstances with the growing Darkness that the Guardians and I are here." Turning to face Will and Hay Lin, Orube gestured to them. "Allow me to introduce Hay Lin, the Guardian of Air and Will Vandom, the Keeper of the Heart and her leader."
Komei turned and bowed deeply to them. This only made Will and Hay Lin flushed with honor. "So it is true?" he asked. "The Fortress of Kandrakar does have five more Guardians. It is an honor to have you here in Nihon, Guardians. I am Komei Kinomoto. It has been my family's legacy to produced notable pairs of twin siblings to be the Guardians of Light and Darkness for generations."
"So you knew them?" Hay Lin asked in amazement.
Komei nodded. "My great-grandfather and his brother were the previous Guardians of Light and Darkness. It had been one of my greatest honors to served them years ago. Now I find it is a privilege to be in the presences of two more from a different world."
"Thanks, you're making us blush and…wait, time out," Hay Lin looked confused. "My grandmother was a Guardian before me. And if your niece and nephew are the current Guardians of your world, how can your great-grandfather be a previous Guardian?"
"My apologies, Air Guardian," Komei smiled, immediately identifying the Air symbol on her outfit. "The lifespan of my people are quite long in comparison to yours from Earth. Our last Twin Guardians lived to be two hundred and twenty lunar years old."
Before Hay Lin could ask him how old Komei was out of curiosity, Will spotted something in his hand. It was a large feathered fan.
"Why do you carry a fan when it's so cold out?" Will asked. "It must be autumn here on Lusteria, too."
Koumei chuckled as he fanned himself gently. "It helps me think and keep calm when I needed to be. It is the one habit that I refuse to give up."
"You remind me of someone," Hay Lin said suddenly. "I can't put my finger on it, but my grandma once told me of a man who wields a fan in ancient China."
"China?" Komei asked. "Is that your world's version of our Zhong-guo? I see that there are some things that our two worlds share in common other than having Guardians."
"Chancellor, the Jade Dragon and the Gemini Council have sent us on an important mission today," Orube urged as she and Will quickly explained to him their situation and why they needed his help.
The chancellor listened patiently and studied them before asking, "I am moved by your commitment, Guardians. I will be honored to help you in any way I can. May I see the medallions?"
Will was about to hand them to him when suddenly, the ground beneath their feet shook.
"What was that? An earthquake?" Hay Lin asked, jumping into the air to avoid the trembling earth.
Komei stayed calm and looked over his shoulder to the arena. Fanning himself, he tsked and shook his head. "It seems as if your fellow Guardians are in trouble."
The other four Guardians didn't mean to enter the fight in the first place. They were trying to head to the medical labs where Kyochi used to work. But to get there, they had to cross through the training ground. Once there, Cornelia, Irma, and Taranee were amazed at the hundreds of students practicing martial art moves in unison like an army. They followed the movements while instructors walked about checking on their stances and whipped those who got it wrong.
In a small section away from them were separate arenas for free sparing pairs, survival courses, and other brutal miscellaneous training. As they watched, they noticed a boy (around Matt's age, perhaps?) being blind folded as he took a horse stance in the middle of a large pool of water. Around him, three male students summoned their magic and threw giant boulders at him. The boy in the middle instinctively raised his arms and the water danced around him, slicing the coming targets before they could touch him. Unexpectedly, one of the three earth wizards hid an arm behind his back and gestured a rock on top of a hill to roll down as a surprised attack. Bigger than the other boulders, the rock rolled down at top speed, daring to crush the water wizard in its path.
"Look out!" Irma cried.
The boy ordered the water to strike it, but at its top rolling speed, the water bounced off of its surfaces and splattered into droplets. Having no choice, the water wizard only had a split second left to save himself. He quickly turned around without taking off his blindfold he abandoned his magic and smashed his fist against the giant boulder, relying on his Lusterian brute strength. Unlike what Kimi accidentally did to Dean Collins's car, this boy didn't dent the stone. He destroyed it.
"Impressive, Kenji-sempai," said one of the three earth wizards, grinning.
"You were lucky," said the second. "I was intentionally trying to kill you."
The boy, Kenji, smirked condescendingly as he took off his blindfold. "Don't count on it, Teppei. You'll never catch up to my level. Soon, I will be strong enough that even the Elders of Kandrakar will beg me to become a Guardian."
"Yeah, right!" Irma cried. "Over my dead body. There is only one Guardian of Water right now and that's me!"
Kenji and his friends turned around to see the girls. Cornelia and Taranee both shot Irma a glare for opening her mouth. Kimi, on the other hand, only had her eyes for Kenji. She folded her arms, hardly glad to see him. Kenji on the other hand, smirked with a wicked glint in his eyes.
"Well, well, well…if it isn't Kimi-chan," he declared. The other three earth wizards laughed. "Boys, the mighty Guardian of Light have decided to grace us with her presence," Kenji bowed mockingly. "We must show her how honored we are for we know how busy she is with her missions."
"Tell me, Light Guardian," Teppei asked, "What brings you back to Edo? Last I've heard, you were sent to live on that backwatered world of Earth with those filthy Earthlings."
"What's the matter, Kimi-chan? Was Earth too much for you?"
"That's understandable. After all, who would want to be stuck on a pathetic planet where those Earthling-scums infested the world with their ignorance?"
"Why I come back is none of your concerns, twinkle-toes," Kimi snarled.
"And who are you dirt-bugs calling us scums? I dare you to say that again!" Irma said. Obviously, she was upset as both of her hands were balled up in fists with magical water molecules glowing.
"Irma, don't!" Taranee warned, placing a firm grip on Irma's shoulder.
The boys turned their attention to the other three Guardians and looked amused.
"And who are these three little girls, Cousin?" Keji asked. "Your little fan club? I didn't think you'd be desperate enough to pay them off to do it."
"For your information, dear Cousin Kenji, theses lily-livers are my fellow Guardians and comrades," Kimi spat.
Kenji widened his eyes in shock as his friends exchanged baffled looks.
"These Earthlings are Guardians?" Teppei asked and then laughed tauntingly. "They're even more pathetic than I'd imagined. I bet they can't even take on an ushi-oni!"
"Take on this, bub!" Cornelia shouted and stomped one foot on the ground. The earth trembled beneath her and knocked the boys down to their knees.
"Cornelia!" Taranee warned. "What are you doing?"
"She's doing what I should have done five minutes ago, that's what," Irma smirked and blasted a jet of water at Kenji.
With quick reflex, Kenji used his magic and summoned the water around him to rise. It instantly froze over and formed an ice barrier against Irma's attack.
"So, you want to fight, Earthling?" Kenji smiled wickedly. "Let's fight. Teppei! Katsuharu! Hiro! I want you to teach these little girls who they're dealing with!"
Kenji slammed his fist into the ice wall and a flurry of ice bullets flew at Irma. Irma gasped and dodged out of the way as Taranee tried to cover her with a shield of fire.
"Kenji, that's enough!" Kimi shouted, shooting a blast of light sphere at him.
Kenji jumped out of the way as the attack collided with the remaining ice wall. The crystal ice reflected the light of Kimi's attack in all direction, accidentally blinding Cornelia and Irma. The incident gave Teppei and Katsuharu a chance to strike with their earth magic. In a horse stance, Teppei used his martial art moves and tore up the earth beneath their feet while Katsuharu summoned a sea of angry vines and trees from the chasms and wrapped them around the Guardians. For more thrill, he snapped his fingers and ordered the vegetation to slam the Guardians into each other before throwing them to the ground.
"That's it," Taranee warned, summoning a ball of fire in her hand. "You wanna play with fire? Here's a plateful!"
Taranee threw the flame sphere at Katsuharu who only jumped out of the way and into the air before flipping down and slammed his heel on Taranee's back, sending her flying. "Pathetic," he said.
Irma, Cornelia, and Taranee got up and tried to intercept their attacks, but the three boys just threw them off easily. They were too strong and too fast. Irma felt that brute strength when one of them slipped between her and Cornelia and kicked her into two nearby cherry blossom trees, destroying them in the process.
"Irma! Are you okay?" Taranee asked.
"Urgh…" Irma moaned, trying to get back up. "Yeah, I'm fine, as soon as I can kick some butts!"
Irma raised up her hands and so did the water around them. "Tara, give me some cover!"
Taranee nodded. Concentrating, she used her fire power to boil the water to a point where the molecules were evaporated, emitting a screen of steam cover.
"If they can't see us, then we can attack them," Cornelia grinned, cracking her knuckles.
Using her earth magic, she placed a hand on the ground trying to sense where they are. Once she pinpointed them, Cornelia sent a volley of rocks at Hiro, Katsuharu, and Teppei. The stones almost made contact and would have knocked them down hadn't a plate of earth just jutted in front of them and blocked the attacks.
Cornelia stared in disbelief. "How? They couldn't even see it coming!"
The boys laughed and Teppei flicked one wrist, sending the plate of earth sliding down at the Guardian of Earth. Cornelia gasped and jumped out of the way only to have it cut the ends of her hair like a sliding knife. Unfortunately, she was too concerned with dodging the damn thing, she didn't noticed that Hiro appeared right behind her and threw her across the field as if she was nothing more than a Frisbee disk. Cornelia tried to get her balance back in mid-air and was about to fly away when suddenly vines of ivy shot upward and wrapped them around her.
"You Earthlings are no fun at all," Teppei brood. "You're all too weak in comparison to us. Hardly a challenge."
"Don't break them, Teppei," Katsuharu taunted. "Or you'll make Kenji's cousin angry."
"I've had enough of you clowns!" Taranee screamed and burst into a pillar of flames.
"You go get them, Tara!" Irma cheered.
Taranee flew at them as she blazed in brilliant light like the human torch she was. She flew through the vines, setting them on fire as she cut them off and set Cornelia free. Next, she aimed for the three boys and shot volleys of fireballs at them furiously. As Irma and Cornelia cheered their friends on, the three boys quickly dodged the attacks and weaved themselves through the volley by jumping and flying around like cranes and tigers. Hiro came up from behind Taranee and knocked her down to the ground in unison with Teppei and Katsuharu as they both came up from behind Irma and Cornelia and threw them towards the fallen fire pillar. The three Guardians slammed into each and before they could get up and move, they were quickly tied down by Kenji's water cobras. The snakes coiled themselves around the three girls and tied them up like giant, thick ropes and loomed over them with hissing smiles.
"Well," Irma started. "This is embarrassing."
"Oh, there's an understatement, Irma!" Cornelia rolled her eyes.
"We have got to get ourselves loose!" Taranee urged, trying to wiggle herself free. Damn it, what's wrong with these binds?
If I didn't know any better, it feels like this water is infused with dark magic… Irma thought.
"Don't even try, Guardians," said Hiro. "Kenji's water magic are infused by his chi. It'll take more than a combination of your fire magic to evaporate them."
"You wish to know why we can take you out so easily?" Teppei asked mockingly. A stump of earth lifted from the ground for him to sit. "You see, Guardians," he said, mocking their titles, "Lusterians have learned to fight for thousands of years. A toddler is forced to learn martial arts once he or she is weaned from the mother at the age of three."
"And you want to know why we're more powerful than you?" Katsuharu asked, elbowing his friend teasingly. "For centuries, Lusterians have learned how to accumulate their chi in their bodies and concentrate it to a point where it enables them to be more powerful than you Earthlings."
"We are faster than you," Hiro added. "We can endure more physical pain. And we are, in essence, more skillful and powerful than you sorry lot."
"Now, since Kandrakar had the audacity to declare you girls as their Guardians, it means that they saw something powerful in you," Teppei got up and punched his fists together. "Let's see how powerful you are and how much pain you can endure."
Irma gulped. "Um…Kimi? Anytime you want to pitch in now!"
Kimi turned and tried to aid them but was suddenly block by a wall of cobras made from Kenji's dark water.
"Where do you think you're going, Kimi-chan?" Kenji laughed. "Don't you want to play with your favorite cousin?"
"I'd never like you to begin with," Kimi replied and tried to fly away, but one of the cobras got a hold on her boots, pulling her down. With her free hands, Kimi shot a bolt of light sphere and another one at Kenji's feet before escaping to the air. She dove down and landed in front of Teppei and punched him in the stomach before ducking and swinging her leg out, knocking the other two down.
"You little bitc—" Teppei swore but stopped when Kimi placed a boot on his throat to hold him down. Katsuharu and Hiro got up and wanted to dive in but Kimi manifested a pair of crossbows and too aim. The next thing they knew, arrows made from hard light pinned them against the trees, immobilizing them.
The three water cobra heads hissed and strike. Kimi let the crossbows dissolved before forming a shield in front of her. Unfortunately, the giant pillars of water cobras pushed her back against the other three Guardians as they sank their fangs into her shield.
"I can see every flaw in your forms, dear cousin," Kenji declared. He held up his hand and the cobras readied themselves for another strike. "Face it, Kimi. You are just like your Guardian friends! You're weak, pathetic, and a disgrace to the Kinomoto clan. You'll never be as powerful as your own twin and never will be. You are not worthy of your powers!"
"And you think you are?" Kimi mocked him in return. "If you were worthy, then why did Lord Araël and the Gemini Council choose me and Kyochi to be their new Guardians?"
"What do you know, whelp?!" Kenji screamed.
"Everyone in the Kinomoto and the Watsuki clans know it," Kimi replied. The snakes continued to batter against her shield as she tried to hold her ground against them.
Try to free yourselves while I keep the snakes busy, Kimi said telepathically. Taranee nodded and tried her best to slowly weaken the bond with her fire. Irma and Cornelia followed suit and each summoned their own power to weaken the bond. Kenji was too preoccupied with Kimi to bother tightening the serpents' grips on them and it gave them a huge relief to loosening his hold.
While Irma, Taranee, and Cornelia etched away at the watery bind, Kimi continued her banter. "That's right, Kenji. Since Kazuhiro and Kazuhiko's abdications as the first Twin Guardians, all of their successors came from the Kinomoto bloodline."
"What's your point?" Kenji demanded.
"You know very well that Kyochi and I are the descendents of both Kazuhiro Kinomoto and Kazuhiko Watsuki. Their bloods run through our veins and so does their legacies. Even your own brothers were eligible candidates to become Guardians." Kimi shrugged as the fury in her cousin's eyes grew more intense. "Yet, you were never called to the ceremony and you know why?"
"Shut up!" Kenji screamed and the cobras recoiled back before striking her harder. At that moment, Irma, Cornelia, and Taranee got free and jumped out of the way. Kimi, on the other hand, took the blunt blow and the serpents rammed themselves at her, breaking her shield of light.
"If there's anyone around here who isn't worthy to be a Guardian it's you, Kenji," Kimi spat. "And you know why? Because you are NOT a real member of the Kinomoto cla—"
"I SAID SHUT UP, YOU LITTLE WHELP!" Kenji roared and threw the serpents at her at full force. Each watery snake hissed as they grabbed a limb of the girl and pinned Kimi down to the ground, immobilizing her. "I have had enough of you, little cousin. I am going to wipe that grin off your pretty, little face!" Kenji laughed maniacally as he summoned more water cobras and aimed them at her face. "And this time, your big brother isn't here to save you!"
"Yeah? Well, take your best shot!" Kimi challenged. Although her wrists were bounded, Kimi summoned spheres of light orbs in the palms of her hands, ready to defend herself.
"Delighted to, little cousin!"
"THAT'S ENOUGH!" a new voice roared.
Suddenly, a small patch of storm clouds thundered above their heads. Taranee looked around and noticed that it was only over their area of the field while the rest was clear. The wind howled around them, causing the snakes to hiss as their attentions turned to the clouds. Lightning flashed furiously and struck the cobras, reducing them to nothing but water, freeing Kimi.
Kenji and his friends gasped and looked up to see Will, Hay Lin, Orube, and Chancellor Komei Kinomoto. At first, Irma thought the attack came from Will and Hay Lin, but then she noticed that the man next to them was holding up a feathered fan and immediately knew that he was the wielder.
"Father!" Kenji gasped. "Father, this isn't what it looks like! I just—"
"SILENCE, BOY!" Komei Kinomoto glared, his angry tone silencing him and forced his friends to kowtow in humiliation. "I am very crossed with you right now!"
"I SAID SILENCE!" Komei repeated and pointed his feathered fan at his adopted son. A cage of electricity appeared around him, trapping the boy and rendering his water magic useless. "I expected you and your friends to show the Oracle of Kandrakar respect by welcoming her Guardians from Earth with hospitality. Yet, you've disgraced me and soiled the Kinomoto clan's honor with your stupidity! I ought to disown you this instant!" Turning his attention back to the other three boys, he said, "And as for the three of you…"
"Forgive us, Chancellor!" Teppei cried, keeping his gaze down on the pavement.
"We've meant no disrespect," Katsuharu exclaimed, hoping that the Chancellor would hear him out. "It wasn't our fault. The Guardians were the ones who attacked us first!"
"Hey, only because you pea-brains insulted us!" Cornelia snapped.
"Regardless of the situation, the three of you have no business in our clan's affair with Kandrakar and their Guardians," Komei said. He folded his arms began to conjure a punishable thought befitting their acts. "Consider yourselves lucky for I shall spare you and your respected clans the humiliation. Now the four of you can get out of my sight!" he waved his fan and a gust of wind blew around them. Then next thing the Guardians knew, Kenji and his friends were blown away.
"Well," Irma spoke up at last after a pause of silence among them, "that was unexpected."
"Who's he?" Cornelia asked, turning her attention back to Chancellor Komei.
"Whoever he is, thanks a bunch for the help," Taranee smiled. "I didn't think Lusterians would be that aggressive against us just because we are from Earth."
"You must forgive my son's impetuous behavior," the Chancellor replied. "He resents the Guardians because he deeply wished to be one himself, yet I'm afraid it's not possible for him as he was adopted." Holding out his swan-feathered fan, the Chancellor bowed deeply like a gentleman. "I am Chancellor Komei of the Kinomoto clan and you must be the other three Guardians from Earth."
Irma and her two friends introduced themselves and thanked the chancellor again for his help. When his eyes fell on Kimi, she crossed her arms as if furious with him. Komei laughed.
"No greeting for me, Niece?" he asked.
"I didn't need your help, Uncle Komei," Kimi stated. "I could have handed Kenji on my own before you intervened."
"I see that your short excursion on Earth has done nothing to adjust your discourtesy, Kimi-chan," the Chancellor noted. Kimi shrugged.
"Why are you here, Oji-san?" Kimi asked. "It not like you or anyone in the Kinomoto clan cared about my well-being."
"Watch your tongue, Niece," Komei warned, his tone dangerously low. If Kimi had been afraid, she didn't show it. "You still have a lot to learn should you ever wish to be on par with your brother's level."
"Chancellor, if I may?" Orube interrupted. "Our missions are still a priority. Should you wish to aid us in our quest to help find your nephew, I would suggest you start now for the same of time."
"Very well," the Chancellor nodded. He composed himself and smiled. "I came here for another reason other than to monitor Kenji's more than less disappointing performances," he said, fanning himself gently with a hand behind his back. "I've been looking into Kyochi-kun's disappearances as well."
"And what have you found?" Kimi questioned. "I've been trying to sense his aura and tracking his last trail for days but to no fruitful result."
The Chancellor nodded his head and reached for the inside pocket of his robes. He pulled out an object and handed it to his niece. The other girls bend in for a closer look and it appeared to be a glass phial with a glowing blue liquid.
"This is one of Nii-san's," Kimi whispered. "Where did you get this?"
"In the laboratory of the science department, naturally," the Chancellor said. "Kyochi Watsuki is one of our many kinsmen to have entered the field of medicine and healing like his mother…my sister. He has created many herbal potions and I believe this phial was his last one before he disappeared."
"How is this thing going to help us?" Irma asked.
"Other than ailing your most fatal wounds in battle, its aura is as fresh as the morning dew in the fields of the mountains."
"I can use my power to sense Kyochi's presence," Kimi nodded. "People are not the only creatures to have auras. Objects touched by its master retain their memories and auras…"
Like before, Kimi's eyes glowed white as she concentrated her aura sensing magic on the phial. After a moment the glowing light dissolved and Kimi sighed. "This phial gave me a faint trail. I believe we have our lead."
"Where to?" Orube asked.
"Back into the Dark Forest Continent," Kimi said grimly.
"You mean we have to go back into that dark, creepy forest?" Hay Lin asked skeptically. "I don't know…I'd rather not get tangled with another tengu."
"There are worst things than tengus in the Dark Forest and in this world, Air Guardian," the Chancellor replied. Turning to Will, he held out his hand. "The medallions, if you please?"
Will gave him the medallions and Komei used his fan to brush some dirt and ashes off of it. He began to scrutinize what was left on the surfaces and after a moment, he came to a grim conclusion.
"These markings are ancient, dated back to the First Era after the Great Elemental War that devastated this planet," Komei said, giving the medallions back to Will. "They were once used by the sages and acolytes who worshiped and followed the five Celestial Sovereigns."
"But the Celestial Sovereigns fell after the Great Elemental War," Kimi said. "What do the old gods have anything to do with the Deadly Sins?"
"I am unsure of this myself," the Chancellor replied. "But I do know for a fact that their reign of powers did not end with their deaths. The gods' powers still reign today, although not as strongly as before."
"Do you have any ideas where these came from?" Will asked.
"There are small markings invisible to your eyes but telling to mine. After the Celestial Sovereigns died, their followers did build several temples to commemorate their sacrifices before perishing themselves. It was built deep in the northeastern corner of the Dark Forest Continent."
"But that's the most dangerous direction!" Hay Lin stated. When the other girls gave her a blank look, she shrugged. "My grandma told me all about it. In Wu Shing, the Chinese philosophy on the cosmology of natural science and occultism, it is considered one of the most dangerous directions."
"So it's like feng shui?" Irma asked.
Before Hay Lin could answer her, Chancellor Komei nodded. "You are correct, and those temples were to guard against evil…however, it has been thousands of years since their constructions and their guardians have died out."
"When I trained here, I heard horrible stories of those temples," Orube added. "The other warriors feared it and say that to journey there means utter foolishness."
"And the perfect place to breed evil," Taranee noted. "Don't you see, by spreading all of these rumors and urban legends, someone is ensuring a secluded location to devise havocs for Kandrakar and all of us!"
"The perfect location for the source of our troubles!" said Cornelia.
Kimi looked down at the phial of glowing healing potion. For a moment, Will noticed that her eyes were not full of anger or frustrations but longing. It was as if the phial was the closest thing she had to her twin's presence as well as her only clue to find him. The object was now more precious to them than they realized for it wasn't valued on its capability to save a person's life, but it was currently their major clue to find the missing Guardian of Darkness.
"I fear that a shadow and a threat had been growing on my mind," Kimi said. "Both the medallions and the phial are leading us to a place that whisper utter fear. This cannot be a coincidence."
"In our line of work, I don't think coincidence ever exists," Will noted. Turning to face the direction of the Dark Forest Continent, Will clenched her fists with renewed determination. "Come on, girls. We've faced tougher things before and we're noting to going to let a little dark forest scare us."
"Yeah! We're the Guardians of Kandrakar," Irma agreed. "Anything else goes wrong, we'll just show them who is boss!"
"Let's light up that dark place," Taranee added, cracking her knuckles.
Kimi tightened her grip on the glass phial, holding it closer. I'm coming, Nii-san. Wait for me.
"Look for your brother, but I urge you not to trust to hope for it seems that it's starting to forsaken this land," Chancellor Komei said. "Darkness is plaguing us every day and even more so now that my nephew is missing."
"We'll find him, Chancellor," Orube nodded.
"I hope that you'll do, Guardians," Komei said. "I have many nephews but none of them as anything like Kyochi. See to it that you'll bring him back to us."
And with a final nod, Chancellor Komei Kinomoto gave the Guardians his blessing. He stepped back and raised his feathered-fan. A wind tunnel circled them as they rose up into the air by the powerful gust and the next thing they knew, they disappeared magically into the depths of the Dark Forest Continent.
To be continued…
Like Nihon is Lusteria's version of Japan, the Kingdom of Zhong-guo is their version of China.
Edo was the former name of Tokyo in our history. I've decided to use it as the name of Nihon.
Chancellor Komei Kinomoto was based on a real character from Romance of the Three Kingdoms named Zhuge Liang. In the Chinese classics, Zhuge Liang was a Chancellor of the Kingdom of Shu and a master tactician of Lord Liu Bei. Komei is a play-on word based on "Kongming" which is another version of Zhuge Liang's name. Like the real historical figure of Zhuge Liang, Komei tends to hold a hand fan made from features of a bird. Zhuge Liang was not only an important military strategist and statesman; he was also an accomplished scholar and inventor.
In reality, Zhuge Liang had a few sons, including an adopted one. However, Kenji Kinomoto is my own creation and wasn't based on Zhuge Liang's actual adopted son, Zhuge Qiao, as I wanted to have someone depicted as an arrogant and disrespectful relative who loves nothing more than to torture Kimi for his twisted pleasure.
Lusterians are a bit like the benders from Avatar: The Last Airbender series, but also a little bit like Kryptonians due to their immense super-human strengths. They integrated martial arts into their cultures and their magic. Unlike benders in the Avatar series, only magical Lusterians can "bend" the elements and it is not limited to just four elements as many can control woods, light, darkness, crystals, illusions, storms, etc. Think of it almost like from the various styles from Naruto series, more or less as well but without all that ninja stuff. Regular non-magical Lusterians only have super-strengths and agilities.