Now, I don't normally write fan fiction but I thought what the heck. Noticing that a bunch of the fanfics here are just new stories using existing characters, I decided to do something a bit different than that and go so far as to write it down and post it. This story sort of starts in the middle of the beginning. There may be spelling errors or other mistakes, and if they make it hard to understand let me know so I can clear them up. I am pretty sure I messed up the correct format for dialog since I have not written anything with dialog in... years. Once you get this old it's all essays folks. And "Bishi" is the Japaneses Onomatopoeia for "the sound of coming to attention, coming together, or getting into the proper order". (I decided to keep track of revisions in case I fix something. That would be your indication, a different number.) The reason new paragraphs start with a "" (image) because forum software of all types removes leading spaces, thus killing ALL indenting unless a non space is first. (I like everything to be in order... darn forum software...)
Introduction: (rev 3)
Everywhere there are children with dreams and the will to attain them. Those with the strongest desires, those who hatch their guardian character representatives of their would be selves, are known as character bearers and often take the task of defending the hopes and dreams of their fellow children from those that would exploit or destroy them. However, it is not required for a character to be known for its power to be used. In times of great stress or need, the inner desires can form a powerful ally, even if never seen or heard.
Chapter 1: Meeting (rev 3)
The sun began to set pulling with it a chill Autumn breeze. The colored leaves fluttered in the wind; some fell to adorn the park path with their colors. It was a pristine scene but to those who know it commonly it is nothing of interest. The type of thing forgotten until it is missed. A small group of friends traveled home from their evening escapades. They are character bearers, but nothing interesting ever comes to this place, nothing not handled by the older character bearers that view their task of protection in the highest regard. After a moment of silence, the girl leading the group, Mini, spoke up.
"Well, what are we planning on tomorrow?"
"I don't know," replied the boy, "we could just try again."
"Next time don't forget the Frisbee, you know I can't catch that ball."
"It's not my fault," motioning to the previously unnoticed character, "Benny here decided it would be fun to cause a small avalanche in the garage."
Pulled back to reality hearing his name, "Hey, if you hadn't walked into the thing."
"How the heck was I supposed to know what you were up to?"
Mockingly, "You should have looked first."
"You built it right in front of the door."
"Did I really?"
"What am I going to do with you? You're always so oblivious."
"Yet you're the one who walked into it."
"I already..." Joe growled at Benny. The third child lets out a small giggle.
"Joe is already just like Benny isn't he?"
Flustered a bit, with the touch of a small whine, "Meeeeg?!"
The conversation stopped again as the group neared the center of the park. From the distance they heard peculiar sounds that they first could not place, sounds they had not heard in a long time, never close by. The sounds of guardians in combat. Who could be fighting? They were frightened, but against their better judgment their curiosity took hold and the group approached and hid in the nearby bushes, peaking out to see the events unfold. Two older boys, they must have been in middle school, possibly even high school, stood in the stone cobbled center square. The boy in the center engulfed in a purple glow, held a cello, or so the best they could surmise. He was surrounded by blackened eggs, something the children had only heard about. He had an evil about him, an eerie otherworldly look of insurmountable malice. A look no boy should have. The other, was unarmed, and slightly hunched. Had he been the victim of an unexpected attack? Or was he to slow to react? The strangest thing about them, despite the best search the children could perform from the bushes, neither had a character with them, thought they fought as if they did. As if a call to power, the hunched boy spoke, not to the other, but to himself.
"The Acrobat." Uttering of those words he took a leap like the children had never seen right on top of the boy with the cello.
"You still need announce everything to bring out your power?" The boy's voice had a vile air that drove a fearful feeling in the children. "Do you expect to stop us so weak and forward?" Who was “us”? What was going on? He simply deflected the attack with the darkened field around him. He spoke again, "Let me show you..." he raised his bow to the strings "what real power is."
The children were shocked. Hiding in the bush they had neither an idea of the meaning of the events transpiring in front of them nor the identity of those involved. Meg refused any action despite the desperate pleads from her guardian. Joe’s concentration was fixed, Benny had nothing to say. Mini however, acted instinctively. With a simple motion to her character, Row, she ran from the bushes to take stance between the fighters. Joe and Meg for a moment forgot their situation and jumped up.
"Mini, what are you doing!?" Having realized they revealed themselves, they quickly ducked back behind the bushes, looks of shock strewn across their faces.
"Ahh, friends of yours?" the boy with the cello sneered "More pests!" He moved the bow across the strings creating a sound so disturbing it could haunt their dreams for years. Undaunted, Mini reached her hand forward, palm open.
"Character change. Reflect." A blinding flash of violet-white light filled the area.
His hand shielding his eyes, "I have what I came for." The boy with the cello, his actions still masked by the blinding flash, was gone, blackened eggs and all.
In shock at the events that had just transpired, the remaining boy stared at Mini and began to speak, "You're one of the...?" The children jumped from the bush.
"We need to get home now, the sun's nearly set!"
"If we don't hurry we'll end up grounded!" They practically dragged Mini away, but during her departure she was able to say one thing to the boy.
"Be here tomorrow afternoon."
Chapter 2: Telling of the Past, Interrupted (rev 3)
Mini laid in her bed, wide awake. What had happened today? Who was that boy? Her gaze fixed on Row's egg. How could she sleep? Was she sleeping at all, or was she awake with the same questions? Normally the older children would worry about such incidents. Could it have been one of them? What was he trying to ask? She walked over the events of the day in her mind, doing her best to remember the minutest details. The cool breeze, the rustling leaves, still what she wanted to know remained an enigma. Meg and Joe had pulled her away before should could learn anything. They later admitted how frightened they were, but explained that they had no way to know on which side of the conflict the boy stood. As if the voice dripping with an evil unmentionable and surrounding blackened eggs did not give it away! Really! They were just trying to get out of the situation. The club would meat Monday, the day after next. She could relay the information then, and set up an audience with the older group.
"If the boy comes to the park tomorrow..." Her own voice surprised her. She was so deep in thought it came unexpectedly. It was midnight, when had it gotten that late? In her softest voice, "Row, are you aw...", interrupted by the sound of snoring from her brightly colored egg. "I guess not..."
She woke rather early the next day; the sound of the cello in her dreams bolted her awake. Hours later she left again for the park with Joe and Meg. They spoke little past their hellos. Joe had again forgotten the Frisbee, but nothing was said of it. The park was close, but the whole way Joe seemed quite inclined to divert their course to elsewhere. Neither of them had heard the passing comment to meet but they were apprehensive to return to the area once again all the same. Had they known Mini had asked the boy to return, they would have likely forcibly pulled her elsewhere again, so it was best not to tell them anything. When had they become so afraid of different things, fearful of change? The group entered the park, no sign of the boy. They walked though the park's center square, for the first time noticing the small cracks and holes from the battle the other night. Two adults were there, discussing the 'vandalism'.
They made it to the open field across the park. It was bordered by small fir trees, an almost isolated area of the park. Not even the Fall seemed to reach it. The grass was green, the trees were green, as they always were. Their plans for the day had been all but forgotten, and having brought nothing with them, they were left with little to do.
"What do we do now?" Joe asked, his voice seemed to trail off as a brightly colored leaf blew by in the cool breeze. He seemed to follow it with his eyes.
"I swear you have A-D-D or something," Meg began, "right Mini? ...Mini?"
After a friendly prod from Row, Mini replied with one weak word "Yeah..."
"Are you even listening to me?" Meg began to pout, "I swear you two are off in your own little worlds. We came here to play so let’s play?!"
Mini was brought back to Earth, "What? Joe forgot the Frisbee again." A quick show of discomfort appeared on Joe's face when he heard his name.
"Then we play tag, hide and seek, anything!?" Meg replied. This was different, normally it was Mini who led the group but reserved to her own thoughts it was Meg who took control. She had always been so energetic, but never so ready to lead the group along. That is, unless her character, Mikku, became involved.
"Fine, you count we'll hide." Mini replied.
"Hey? You can't do that!?" Meg smirked, "Not it!"
"Not it." Both turned to look at Joe.
"Hey, you're it."
"You volunteered don't you remember?"
"Hide and seek, count, from 100."
"Do I really volunteer for these things?"
"You certainly don't decline."
"Fine, 100 – 99 – 98." The girls scrambled.
Mini was preoccupied; she just wanted a place to think things over. She ran just outside the clearing and scrambled up a tree to sit on the lower branches. Of course really two people were 'it', Joe and Benny. Nothing is ever simple with a group of character bearers.
"Row, keep watch for anyone."
A voice from above, "Who's Row?" Mini jumped, nearly falling from the tree.
"Oh... It's you from yesterday." Pointing at her character "She's Row."
"What? An imaginary friend?" Those words hit Mini with a bit of a surprise.
"You can't see them?"
"Never mind. Who was that yesterday. With the cello?"
"He was..." suddenly more serious, "an old friend."
"A friend? Since when does a friend try to kill you?"
"Since I betrayed our ‘master’."
"Master?" Aside to herself, "no one talks like that."
"The company that took us in years ago."
"Took you in? What about your family?"
With no change in the feeling of his voice, "Gone." There was a moment of silence, perfectly timed as Joe ran underfoot followed closely by Benny.
"This company. What are they?"
"Primarily power generation, but that is just the largest part of the conglomerate. They also have areas in entrainment, production, everything."
"What did they use you for."
"Collecting the X-Eggs."
"Those blackened eggs?"
Only now with a small reaction, "Yes. The broken dreams of children."
With a look of surprise, "What?! How could you do that?"
"I couldn't. That is why I left. Once I learned what they were, I couldn't."
"What do they use them for?"
"Power. Unlike coal, nuclear, wind, water: The cost is so much lower just to use the energy of the crushed dreams. As far as they are concerned so few are fulfilled as it is they are just earlier preparing the children for the future." There was another pause, time to let the statement sink in.
"What about you?"
"Don't you know?"
"So you're not like me. You are not one of the aberrations."
"That is what they call those like me. Those who they tried to extract and crush the dreams of who responded as I have. Those who develop abilities." He focuses on Mini, "You should be the same, the powers you used last night."
"That was thanks to Row, I..." Mini's eyes shied to the side. "I'll have to explain that later. You need to talk to someone who knows more than me. Where are you staying?"
"I can't report this till tomorrow. At noon head to the small clubhouse just east of the park. It's a nondescript building but the older members of the Guardians pool money and rent it out."
"It's just a name they picked up and liked. Someone told us about a similar group in another country, a school club really, that used that name. They had the same general goal so we took the name upon ourselves. We haven't had any communication with them though. We formed small clubs in many of the schools with various names and public purposes, but they are just gathering places for those like me."
"School clubs?" He stopped for a moment, as if he struggled to think of something to relate. "I see."
"By noon tomorrow they should know you are coming. Information travels pretty fast between the clubs and main group."
"I will see you sometime after then."
Suddenly, Benny from below, "Hey Joe, I found Mini, hurry up and get over here."
"Better get out of here, I never thought he'd look up."
"Joe's 'imaginary friend' just found me and told him where I was." Despite the strangeness of the statement, the boy began to climb higher into the tree, out of sight. "One more question. What is your name?"
"They've always called me Mike. And you, Mini?"
“Heatherford…” The name seemed to have some memory for him.
Again from below, "Hey good job Benny, ya found her." Now to Mini, "When they heck did you learn to climb trees?"
Climbing back down, "Probably one of the twenty times you were zoned out one day."
"Do you have any idea how long it took for me to find you? We don't even have time for another game, the suns going down!"
To herself, "We talked that long?" To Joe, "You found Meg?"
"Over an hour ago, we've both been looking for you." Joe takes a moment to turn back towards the field, "Hey Meeeeg! We found her!"
Mike watched the group from above as they walked away, in conversation between themselves and others he could not see. What on Earth were they? Would he get any answers from where he was told to go or only more questions?
Chapter 3: Private Memories (rev3)
Mike wandered the park looking for a good tree to set down in for the night. This had been his procedure the days previous, shortly after his escape. He had found it was a prime target, a place of heavy traffic of unfulfilled dreams. A vulnerable place. The Pascha Corporation had sent Clarence the night before, it was unlikely for them to send another so soon. Still Mike's guard was up. The trees had started turning rather quickly in the past few days. This left fewer and fewer places to crash for the night. There was a thick feeling in the air which only made him more uneasy. Perhaps it would be best not to sleep tonight. He began to consider the next day, on the contrary it might be good to sleep. There is no way to tell what would happen. The decision was made for him of course; he had forgotten to eat that day, a big oversight. It was unfortunate but he would have to sneak into another store again. The farmer's market wasn't always cleaned out each night, the best defense there was a simple fence. He would leap right over that. During the slow walk he had time to consider. This Mini, she seemed too helpful, she asked questions but not the ones one would expect. Was she with Pascha or was she just young, naive? He really had no idea how normal kids that age would act, in any situation. He was on his own then too. When Mike was 10, when he was Michael...
"Michael Cross, age 10, that's all we got out of him." The child was handed off to a grizzly older man, dressed in a blue uniform, a police man. The man who had just dropped him off, dressed in white and blue, turned back into the building.
The older man was quite troubled, "This shouldn't happen. It's the damn cut backs and shirking inspections." Michael had no real grasp of what had happened. Just hours previous he and his family had been on a plane headed to Florida, a Pascha Airlines plane. It hadn't gotten far, just a mile or two out.
"Captain? They said you would be around here." A man dressed in a crisp black suit walked up, "Is this a survivor?"
The officer just seemed to grunt. "Yes."
"One of the few. It's deplorable... It seems the maintenance forms were forged and funds embezzled. This is the result."
"That is what you're blaming?"
"Prosecutions are already in progress. I just wish it had not come to this. Pascha will be compensating the victims and the families."
"And what about ones like this?" The officer tugged on Michael's arm.
Looking down at the ground now, "I'll take care of him personally."
It was found later there were no living relatives left. The family was on it's way to a family vacation. Rather than subject Michael to an orphanage, the man dressed in black took a personal interest. Sadly his health began to fail shortly thereafter. Unable to take care of the boy personally, he used his power in the company to care for him. His health too frail to continue, he was supplanted as the company head by a James Ramkrauft. The man who had previously headed by Airlines branch of the Pascha conglomerate. It was under his direction that the company turned to concentrate primarily on power generation. At some point, he began trials on what he called "X-Energy". Michael and several others became test subjects for the extraction of this new form of energy. Most simply performed the same as they always had, their conditions had already staunched their dreams, but a few, like Michael, were aberrations. Putting nothing to waist, Ramkrauft employed them in the collection of additional X-Energy.
The sound of the wind shaking the chain link fence caught Mike's attention. He had nearly walked past the market he was so deep in thought – no – in memory. The experiments had begun when he was 15. He should have known what it was, what they were doing, what it was he was tasked with doing. What it really was. He had found out of course, about a month ago, less than a year later, but what he had already done. The number of dreams he personally destroyed.
He invoked his power, as he had so many times before, "The Acrobat," and took a bounding leap over the locked gate. There was relatively little left from the day before. Apparently the stock was about out and most had to bring in new produce from their farms. He found some corn, a personal distaste, but food was food.
A sudden set of footsteps, the voice of an older man, "Who's there?" Mike quickly jumped to his feet and began to run. The man had his flashlight though, and the gate was locked. "Wait, boy... What are you doing in here? You're trespassing!" The man's gaze fell on the cob of corn still clenched in Mike’s hand. Instantly the man's demeanor seemed to change. "Food?" Mike stood up straight. He could always jump the fence, but his powers seemed to leave him. He had begun to doubt himself again from his memories. At the moment he was cornered. "If it's just food you want, check the fifth stall. There should be some fruit left in there." The old man simply walked away. Mike did not like to be pitied, but for now, it was survival.
Chapter 4: The Three Chairs (rev 3)
"At noon head to the small clubhouse just east of the park." East... East? Mike took a moment to ponder his situation. He did not carry around a compass, it was nearly noon, the sun was right overhead, so which way is east? "It's a nondescript building, oh that will make it easy to find!" This was of course sarcasm. He took another random walk though the park, passing the square a fifth time, checking the time, twenty to noon. His eyes followed up the pole above the clock. "You've got to be kidding me." His eyes came to rest on a weathervane, damaged the night before last. It still had one direction, East. He chuckled silently to himself. "So it's this way." He tried to think of something during his walk, it felt quite aimless: simply a direction and a generic description.
"Isn't there a point where nondescript isn't nondescript anymore." He muttered under his breath. He had come to a single small building, crammed between two others. All the shops and other buildings on the street had clear windows, bright lights, open doors, and catching colors. This one building was mute, dark, and looked disused. "They sure picked a prime spot, the store spaces here must rent out rather well for their owners. It seems a waist to not have another store here."
"You think so?" A voice came from behind. "Really you’re the first person we've heard anything from." The girl began to examine Mike.
"What the heck are you doing?" Mike began, but he was cut off.
"What's your business here?"
"How do you know I have any business?"
"So you have business here."
Mike did not like this type of personality. "Well then I'll be going." He began to walk away, glad to avoid any more of the encounter.
"Hold on there Mike!" A different voice called. Mike turned to see a head sticking from behind the door, the girl had some stupid smile on her face. He turned back, hoping for a more respectable personality. The head from behind the door tried to continue.
"Hrmph!" The girl pushed the door shut against his head.
"Hey! Don't do that! You know that's dangerous." Mike watched the boy from behind the door regain his balance. He came over, extending his hand. "I'm Fred."
In a teasing tone, "Fredrick."
"Just Fred." He smiled again, moving his hand more forward. Mike ignored his gestures of familiarity.
"Is anything serious here?"
"Oh the serious type," Fred's demeanor seemed to change immediately, the girl too. "She’s chair for the content, the chair for the altered and savant and waiting inside."
"Chairs?" Fred motioned for him to follow and returned to the door. The girl followed behind, taking the time to give her stupid smile again before resuming her 'serious face' and walking inside. Mike followed reluctantly. He did not like the notion of being trapped in the small building, but he continued inside. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust to the darkness. He bumped into a table on the way.
"Yea sorry about that," a voice spoke out from the darkness. "We don't have many lights in here and as the windows are nearly no light gets in. We've managed to clear the windows over here, much more light." Mike followed the voice down a short staircase to a large room. Large compared to the rest of the structure. Apparently the building and the adjacent stores had been built on a slope, back facing the water, so their basement floors still opened to the air like the first. There was still a series of marks on the floor where Mike presumed, at some point, a pool table had been.
Fred walked into the light, "Now I think this is the time for introductions. You have already met Rosaline, chair of the content."
"Rose is fine. Pleased to meet'cha" She made the stupid smile again accompanied by an unnecessary tilt of the head.
Fred continued, "Chair of the altered, Lloyd." This was only acknowledged by a small nod from the boy. "And Marry, chair of the savant."
A small girl spoke up from a table in the corner, "We need a new class."
"What?" Fred and the others turned to face her.
"He is not content, altered, or savant. In fact he can't even see them, why is he here? Muggle?"
"She has a thing for Harry Potter, thought that phase was over."
"It is, I just like the word." Through the entire exchange she expressed no emotion. Mike was beginning to get agitated.
"I am tired of the small talk."
"Will someone tell him about the guardian characters. Last time I tried they fell asleep."
"I wonder why."
Mike decided to shift the focus, "If they’re the chairs then why are you doing the introductions?"
"I just happen to be the most briefed Mike. Mini reported to me."
"It would be best if the chairs heard it from you directly." Mike sighed, this was going to be a long conversation.
Mike explained what he had to Mini, this time providing the company name and head. He kept some to himself, how he became associated with Pascha Corporation, the details of what he had done under their direction. Fred was gone; he had left the building shortly after the account began. Now Lloyd was leading.
"Marry, you said something about a new class?"
"It's irrelevant if he doesn't have any characters."
Mike was getting perturbed, "What are these characters you keep talking about?"
"They are the manifestation of your would be self."
With an air of disbelief, "And they're invisible?" (Yea right.)
"No. Anyone who still has the egg of their heart inside can't see them. Then again, normally they can't see X-Eggs either. There have been cases of children with former X-Eggs describing seeing them. But that doesn't seem to fit you."
"So then why can't I see your 'characters'?" Mike ended in air quotes.
"Mental block?" The voice seemed to come from behind. Mike did a quick double take.
"Many can hear them if they yell loud enough standing on their shoulder. You need to understand that the X-Eggs are the same thing as the Guardian Characters. X-Egg extraction tends to fail on those with hatched guardians, but it seems you are a special case."
"And by that you mean?"
"You can call on you're guardian's powers even though they aren't even hatched. The name, 'The Acrobat', must have some meaning to him."
"And the other two?" This seemed to peak a moment of interest from the group.
"I missed that." Marry's statement seemed to shock the others more than Mike's.
The question was apparently plainly on his face. As soon as Lloyd looked at him again, "She is never wrong."
"I wasn't wrong, I never said there was only one."
"'The Alchemist' and 'The Artisan'."
"You said there were others like you?"
"Any with three?"
"Not that I know of."
"Someone with that many is almost always altered. They have characters that change their character."
Marry spoke up again, "No, he's not an altered."
Lloyd seemed a bit sarcastic this time. "Really another class?"
"There wasn't a savant class until just recently was there?"
"What are the classes?"
"Originally there were just those characters that were born from desires to improve oneself and those born from desires to change. Then, we found this description did not fit in all cases. These became the savant class: Those born without an apparent desire to improve or change, but rather as an extension of the current self. They are almost always born to eccentrics. Really it's a variation of the content, but they so far have been useless in combat so keeping them separate seems the right course of action. An interesting note is some savant class characters don't talk with their bearers, they seem to communicate another way."
"It seems the best thing to do in your case is somehow bring out these characters. Simply knowing what you do now may help you do that."
"Hey! It's gotten pretty late." These were the first words from Rose since the beginning. It seemed Mike's story had shut her up.
"Where can we reach you?"
"No idea. I can't stay in the park much longer without being spotted since the trees are loosing their leaves."
"You've been sleeping in the park… in trees?" Rose seemed genuinely upset. "Stay here at night."
"Hey?" Lloyd spoke up, "we need to vote on these things!"
Marry spoke from the corner while packing her things, "Vote passed, majority wins." With that they left Mike alone.
Chapter 5: Acrobat Reawakened (rev 2)
"Good Morning!" Rose poked her head in the door, a plastic bag hanging from her hand. Hearing no response she headed to the stairs, "Mornin' You awake down there?!" Again no response. She headed down to the room they had left him in. "Not here?"
Now from the distance, "Why the nerve of that guy?! I went though the trouble of buying breakfast! And to think I wasted the extra day off on you!" The rest trailed off as Mike continued down the walk away from the building.
"That's not nice." The voice seemed to come from nowhere. Mike brushed it off as an arrant thought. "How can you refuse food?" Mike froze in his tracks.
"I don't need anymore pity from people." Having realized what he was saying, "Great, now I'm talking to myself."
"No you're not." This time Mike just ignored it.
He had taken a key he found inside that night with him. He checked it first of course. Now he could crash there any time, all the better if they don't know. Of course he was hungry. Apparently his mind would not let him forget that to the point of a delusion. Disembodied voices, hah! He watched a school bus go by. School, shouldn't those 'Guardians' have been in school yesterday? That what be what the girl with the stupid grin meant by "extra day off".
"Go back to the club, she left the food." That voice again.
"Well I see enough people talking to them selves lately one more can't hurt." Mike headed back toward the building. Aside to himself, "Why does my insanity fixate on food?"
Inner conflicts aside, the voice was right, so on a full stomach this time, Mike took to a morning patrol. Really it was just irrelevant busy work. No attack would take place while all the children were at school. He let the crowd lead him around. He had no destination in mind so it seemed best just to go where everyone else was going. He was more lost in thought then attentive, it took him too long to realize. The crowd was thicker than usual; there were more children around then normal. Wasn't it a school day? Something was going on. As he turned the corner, ahead of the crowd he saw huge wrought iron gates. Was there some event at a park? He struggled to see any signage but it was nearly impossible with the gathering crowd. Finally he could see as he passed though the gates.
Russel Friends Zoo
Grand Opening / Free Admission One Day Only!
Paid for with generous donations from the Pascha Corporation
Something was up. The company had not donated to anything since Ramkrauft took control. He was a greedy man, he never put anything into anything that would not return double or more. This grand opening had drawn so many children, so many Heart's Eggs, they had to have some sort of plan. Were they involved in the construction, even the planning? What might they have hidden here?
"Hey Mike!" The call came from across the main walk, just beyond the information desk near some benches. It was the girl he had met twice in the park, Mini. He kept his slow stride as he approached.
"Hey, who the heck is that?" Meg said, squinting her eyes. The color all but drained from her face. "Oh no, that's!"
"Oh no." Mini's call had grabbed Joe's attention.
"What are you doing here?" A bit more quietly "It isn't safe." Meg and Joe were already on edge, they practically cowered once Mike spoke.
"Isn't safe? What are you talking about? The school wouldn't have a trip here if it wasn't safe! It's been on the calendar for weeks."
"Remember that corporation I talked about? This place has something to do with them."
"Hey you three! Stay with your chaperon." The call came from a short distance away.
"Doesn't that count as talking about yourself in the third person?" Meg began, "He is our chaperon." Apparently the momentary fear had left her.
"And who is this?"
Before Mike could say a word, Mini replied "He's a friend I ran into."
Now addressing Mike, "No one from your grade range is coming from the schools near here."
Mini tried to speak for him again. "He's..."
"Home schooled." Mike finished.
"Fine." Turning to address Mini and her friends, "don't fall behind the group. Once we split into our groups stay with your chaperon constantly."
"Third person again." Meg chuckled.
Mike followed this group from a distance. It seemed the best idea to follow the nearest group of children. With each passing moment the anticipation of an attack diminished. The constant nagging of this voice too seemed to distract from the possible danger.
"Hey, look, funnel cake!"
"I think that's for the elephants."
"Then why are they selling it?"
"You feed them yourself. There sure is a lot here to buy, makes up for the free admission I bet."
By keeping his distance from the crowd he also kept them out of range of his self conversation. Of course he got a few weird looks from passers by. It seemed any fears he had were unfounded until the zoo swelled to its highest occupancy. There was a sudden crackle on the intercom system. An eerie sound echoed over the caged areas and though the crowed paths. All life seemed to stop. Mini had her attention fixed on the intercom. Meg was clearly frightened, again. The chaperon and other children were frozen like statues. Joe had not heard the sound, but had noticed the sudden stop, as if the life itself had left the zoo goers.
"Wha.. wha.. what was that?" Meg stuttered.
"Everyone froze." An obvious observation from Joe.
Mike had caught up to the three now, "This is what I meant by dangerous."
The X-Eggs began to gather from the frozen guests. The three children were able to follow them. Even Joe kept his attention.
A voice came from the ever growing darkness that enveloped the area as the Eggs gathered, "My, my, my... You and your friends again." Meg cowered in the corner.
"Common! This is no time - to - be - frightened - uggg." Meg's character tried to pull her to her feet. Mike seemed to hear this, but he could not risk the distraction.
"It's really a shame you left Mike. We could have been partners."
"Clarence, we both know you had no interest in that. There is no way I'd work with you even if I was still on your side."
"Of course, that obstinate attitude. The loaner persona. I always HATED that about you. They thought you were so much better, but I showed them that it's quality not quantity."
With a smirk, "So I left and they settled for second best?" That seemed to hit a nerve. Clarence leaned forward, his bow in hand. A few X-Eggs gathered around him.
"Dark Concerto!" A massive wave of blackness rushed toward Mike. It left him no time to invoke his power, he barely avoided it. Still, it seemed the way to win this battle was to play to Clarence's anger.
"And now who is announcing his attacks? You can't even fight on your own without the help of X-Energy?"
Tauntingly, "A big boy word we've learned?"
"Revel in your comments while you can, it's all you have."
"Oh? The Acrobat." Mike took a running start toward Clarence and, jumped two feet before landing on his face. Something rolled from his pocket. It had been there unnoticed since that morning. "What the?"
"You can't even use what powers you have? Look how far you've fallen!" Clarence raised the bow once more, aiming his attack squarely on the now down Mike.
Scooping the object back into his pocket, "You think that is all I have?" He was rising too slowly. Just like that first day, Mini ran between the fighters.
"Character change, reflect!" A large mirror materialized in front of Mini, blocking the attack.
"Resonate." The mirror was shattered and Mini was thrown clear across the walk near the Lions' cage. By now Mike was standing.
"Ruler of the earth, ruler of the sea, ruler of the sky, grant your wisdom: The Alchemist." Clarence seemed to be waiting for Mike to finish." Ancestors of our past, architects of our future, directors of the truth, grant me your skill: The Artisan." Clarence was clapping now.
"Oh how long it has been since I heard that stirring incantation. Is it as useless as it was back then?"
Rushing forward now, "We'll just have to see! The Alchemist!" The ground below Mikes right hand seemed to change. It bulged and rose to it as if pulled by some unseen force. It condensed, but it had no form more than a club. "The Artisan!" Now as it passes his left hand, it changed to a complete form. First a handle, a hilt, then a blade. "The artistic saber, stone."
"Oh a rock sword again? How well that worked before."
Now in reach of Clarence, "I escaped didn't I?" The sword took a powerful hit, a long deep crack formed along the blade. The dark field around Clarence offered too much protection. Mike quickly repaired the blade again with a pass of his left hand. Mini was getting up now. Clarence took immediate notice and turned his bow again toward her.
"Maybe I should take care of your friends first."
The voice from before, "Mike, you want to protect your friends right?"
"They are aren't they?" Clarence's expression changed, to him Mike was having a conversation with himself.
"Then you want the strength to do it?"
"I need to be stronger."
"Well I can do that. I can give you your hidden strength. Do you want it?"
"Then you have it. Character Change." Those are words he had heard before. Words he had heard Mini Say. He felt a surge of energy, greater than he ever felt before with The Acrobat. His demeanor changed.
"Sorted things out with yourself?" Clarence asked slyly. He was suspicious and once again targeted Mike.
"You could say that." Without warning, without incantation, Mike leapt over Clarence. The shock at this was plain on his face. It seemed to disturb him that things could change so much so quickly.
Shuffling his footing, "So you have a new trick, and here I thought you had just lost your mind talking to yourself. Or is it both?" Mike came from above, sword forward. He seemed to crack Clarence's shield before he was repelled.
The inner voice again, "No not like that. Use all of your power." Mike took another leaping attack. "You've already invoked them." He was going to overshoot. "Understand your powers and use them! That is how you gain strength!"
He still needed to voice those commands, "The Alchemist" The air beyond his outstretched hand gained a thickness, a solidity, something he could push off of, something Clarence would not expect. "Sonic Compression.” He took a dive directly on top of Clarence and shattered the shield of darkness that surrounded him. Clarence was now locked with Mike, his bow gripped like a sword. But Mike had forgotten about the Cello. Clarence used it as a club.
Clarence, smirking again after the surprise, "A little primitive, but effective. I don't know how you did that, but you won't be doing it again!"
"He won’t need to!" This time is was Meg, with a look of absolute determination. With a fire in her eyes. Was she really cowering in the corner before?
Mini was standing now, "Meg? Is that Mikku?"
Joe seemed worried, "This is dangerous."
Clarence, insulted, "What, and it wasn't dangerous before? Go back to your corner and cry little girl." Before he had finished Meg had already nearly reached him. He put his cello down as a shield. In a flash of light He was pushed back. "What is this?"
Joe, with an expression of aw, "Mikku, the Absolute Conviction..."
Mini now, "My complement."
“More like opposite.”
Meg outstretched her arms, "Sibylline Lance." A long handled blade materialized in front of her, she held it firmly. Her proficiency with the weapon was startling. It handled more like a scythe than the lance it was named. Against both Mike and Meg, Clarence was outmatched. Suppression attacks would no longer be practical.
"I have what I need." Clarence began to move away but Meg charged. Clarence formed a shield with the X-Eggs and escaped, but he was only able to take a few with him this time. Meg tried to follow.
Joe, grabbing Meg's legs, "No! You can't go after him!"
"Let me go! He isn't going to get away." What had been the flaming conviction in Meg's eyes had turned to madness.
Mini had reached them now, "Wait, everyone is going to come around in a moment. You can't be running off! Common Meg, come back. Meg." She stopped struggling, her expression quickly changed as she collapsed to the ground. The fire was gone from her eyes now, the lance too disappeared.
"Mikku did it again didn't she?"
"Yeah, but it's OK now."
Joe noticed the guests started to stir. "They're coming around."
Mike spoke up, "What about all the X-Eggs?"
"With an event this big, some Guardians better equip for this will show up soon."
"To try to purify them. Mike, you better get out of here just to be safe. You were acting a little strange before and they might think you had something to do with what small bit they remember." She had seen him talking to himself.
"I'll head back to that thing you call a clubhouse to make sure someone gets here to clean this up too."
Chapter 6: Minuet Heatherford
Ran out of room, this links to a later post.
Chapter 7: Awake
Ran out of room, this links to a later post.
Chapter 8: There are Others
Ran out of room, this links to a later post.
Chapter 9: Hatemonger
Ran out of room, this links to a later post.
Chapter 10: The Girl Behind the Glass
Ran out of room, this links to a later post.
Chapter 11: Doubt
Ran out of room, this links to a later post.
Chapter 12: The Enemy You Didn’t Know You Knew
Ran out of room, this links to a later post.
5114 badges, NOT ONE DIA
That is quite a story, nice job :D
A good beginning to what I predict to be a good OC story :D
Nice Job, keep going
♦Sυηηy♦ℓσσ♦ (I've nearly lost my voice dammit! :P)
I like it!
Can't wait to read the next chapter!
has left CR D: facebook took over, firstname.lastname@example.org if ya want me on msn :)
Posted Chapter 2.
Wondering why I am writing this. Not like me at all.
And sorry about some wording, when I get tired my filter seems to switch off and it makes me write with a more grandiose style. That and somehow I can draw too when I;m tired, but we won't get into that.
Made intro less pessimistic sounding. I seem to be great at pessimism so warn me if something seems a bit much. Also took out a word I only use when I try to sound smart, since it actually is a stretch to use it that way and it made me come off snobby.
I can't draw, or rather barely can (not people, even whet half asleep), but I am darn good with a computer. I give you Mini:
5114 badges, NOT ONE DIA
Offline -- Back from the dead [slight hiatus mode?]
5114 badges, NOT ONE DIA
Another chapter to be expected?!
Offline -- Back from the dead [slight hiatus mode?]
Currently I am looking at having everyone introduced and the base in place in the first 5/6 'chapters' (they are a little short it seems). Then come the chapters of evolving conflict and character development. And then the finale. I am almost up to where I stopped planning so far, but doing the character images seems to make me think more about the character development. For example, the "Eclectic Mirror" name carries some interesting meaning I did not fully have till tonight. Also, the titles are rather important to my story.
Titles devised so far (won't say who or what or why):
The Eclectic Mirror
Sound odd eh?
5114 badges, NOT ONE DIA
I think that's great. Absolutly wonderful.
And yes, i'm intrigued.
Okay, continue, continue. Please!
Offline -- Back from the dead [slight hiatus mode?]
OK, will go in shortly and fix all the errors, like tense and formatting and such. Then I will write some more.
UGG, forum software... If someone finds a nice way to do indents TELL ME!
Chapter 4 posted.
I think that's great. Absolutly wonderful.
And yes, i'm intrigued.
Okay, continue, continue. Please!
Quoted since you seemed to want to know when the next chapter was in.
Tweaked Chapter 4. Somehow I put Frank where I meant Mike twice. Maybe more. In fact, there is no Frank. I have that instead of Fred in some places too... Fixed, Rev2
Just letting people know I am still working on this. I just stopped being up till 6am, I was wrighting this in the span from 2-6am and now I am often sleeping in that time span. I'll get back to it soon.
5114 badges, NOT ONE DIA
I THINK ITS A GREAT STORY. And I apologise for shouting, but it's true!
Having fun, or sticking my head into a novel again.
Posted Chapter 5. It felt a lot longer when I was writing it...
Time for SLEEP. It is 6:20 AM in this timezone.
And now I feel like I can't sleep... It's the darn laptop I'm sure.
Added Chapter 6
I think this whole thing will get a rewrite at the point all character backgrounds are finished. You will note some characters don't even have names for several chapters in some cases.
Redid all chapters. Mostly minor revision and continuity changes. Also posted short Chapter 7.
5114 badges, NOT ONE DIA
I hit the post size limit.
Chapter 6: Minuet Heatherford (rev 2)
Mini stared at the blackboard in the front of the class. The week had been hectic. Of course the school always has an alternative motive for trips, the zoo was no different. Despite all that had happened there most had no recollection of it, only the 'normal' parts of the trip and a small bit of grogginess. The big issue was the mountain of work that piled up from it. Really she had learned nearly nothing at the zoo. Anything she had learned was forgotten for the incendiary events. Meg was in the same straits, weather it be from the fear during the event or her actions while character changed with Mikku. Joe was fine, oblivious in the first place during the zoo visit, nothing great was expected from him. He would always give something of merit though; it was almost like his oblivious nature was an act. With a frown, Mini copied the full text from the board to her homework pad. There was always a lot of homework, so much was evident in that the school supplied the homework pads, neatly organized into year, month, day, and subject. Worse the elementary school had no day off that week. The middle school had off that Monday for minor work being done in the building. The high school might have been out too depending on the work, they are on the same lot.
Mini began to pack her things for the walk home. Her old school had buses so you had to rush out to catch them. Here the attitudes were different, the houses closer together and closer to the school. It took less time to walk home then it use to to ride the bus. It was calmer here, or it was, before Mike. She left her seat and looked for Joe and Meg, but they had already left the room. Meeting two with characters in the same class was a help, it gave them something in common. They had walked home together since they first met, every day before last Tuesday. Really they were the only two she called 'friends', but that wasn't true anymore, she had called Mike a friend.
"Hey?! Leaving without us again?" Meg asked from behind Mini. She and Joe had been waiting against the wall just outside the school grounds.
"You disappeared after class again."
"This would have been the fourth time you've walked right past us this week." Meg and Joe fell in behind Mini. She was always the leader, always. Of course she did not want to be, it was a hassle, but it was about how they expected her to be. The walk home was silent from there.
Walking in the door, "Mom, I'm home!" There was no response. No one else was home, of course there was nothing wrong with this, she had her own key for a reason. It was just more of the easy going nature of the town. She dropped off her books and head out again toward the park. She wanted to think, about everything that had happened, about Mike. This was how she had learned to climb trees, wanting a moment alone. Now it was easy.
"This is the same tree..."
"Yep." The voice was unexpected.
"Who's that? Who's there?"
"Just me." Mike dropped down from a higher branch.
"What are you doing up here?" Mini was pouting now, her moment in private was over before it began.
"What about?" Mini lay back on another branch.
"No, but since that day I had some sort of voice in my head."
Mike chuckled, "Yes, a bonafide crazy person voice."
Row spoke up this time, "Hey, that's cruel! To call someone's voice a delusion like that." Mike bolted upright.
"Great, now it's two voices." Mini still didn't say a word. Mike removed an egg shaped object from his pocket, "And then during this fight I found this thing in my pocket."
This time from the egg, "Who are you calling a 'THING'?" Mike jumped again, a bit more than last time, and fell to the path below. The egg landed right on top of him, he caught it by reflex. "Hey, be more careful, you nearly smashed me!"
Mini climbed down immediately, "Hey Mike, you OK? What did you say you found?" Mini's eyes came to rest on the egg in Mike's hands.
"This thing, any idea?"
"Yea, I think so. It might be best if I show you what I am thinking." Mini began to walk toward home. With no verbal communication Mike followed.
"Stay here, I need to check if anyone is home yet." Mini walked into the house, "Mom, I'm back again!" No response, no one was around. She motioned for Mike to follow.
"Why are we here?"
"This." Mini held up Row's egg, separating both halves with her hands. "Does this look familiar?" Mike took out his egg again.
"They're different colors."
"But they are the same thing. How much did the Guardians tell you?"
"Oh?" Mini let Row carry the egg around the room.
"Then again neither is that." After a moment of pause, "They told me that my powers were probably the result of what they called 'guardian characters'."
"That might explain why you fell flat on your face at the zoo."
"I was trying to forget that. It doesn't explain anything."
"The egg in your pocked is 'The Acrobat'. That's why you couldn't just call on it. You had to ask for its help."
"So I am supposed to have three of these?"
"But a person only has one of these 'Heart's Eggs', how can I get three of these?" Mini shrugged at this.
"I don't know. There is a lot we don't know."
"I can see how the Acrobat relates to me, but what kind of 'would be self' can distort things like the Alchemist and create them like the Artisan."
"There is no obvious way to know."
Mini didn't want to answer this question. "Well..."
"I don't see how a mirror fits into anything."
"I'm one of those who wanted to change."
"I'm always the leader, I always have to act the way people expect me to act. I just wanted to be free of that. To ignore what others thought when it came to that."
"And the mirror?"
"It's loosely better than hiding behind something. Back when I moved here was when Row was born. It was because I was trying to be accepted by everyone by doing things I didn't really want to do. It's funny I end up being the leader so often, I don't want to lead."
"A good leader normally doesn't."
"Why did you move here?"
"My father's business. The main office is here."
"The only main office anywhere near here is The Pascha Corporation."
"Yes. That's where he works. It keeps him at all hours. Ever since we moved here he's gone before I wake up in the morning and home after I'm asleep." Mike tightened his fist.
"Your father works for Pascha? Why didn't you say anything at the Zoo?" Mini had tears in her eyes now.
"I didn't have a chance. You followed behind us so far I couldn't talk to you. By the time everything happened there I forgot to mention it. My father isn't a bad man you know!"
"How do you know?"
"He would never take part in any of this. He always wanted to work in the main office, to work side by side with his father, but he died before that could happen."
"How does that clear him?"
"His father, my grandfather used to head the corporation. None of the attacks, mass X-Egg appearances, any of it happened back when he was in charge. The company donated a lot to this community then too. That is why the schools are so nice and the town seems so safe."
Mike was shaking with anger now. "Then Ramkrauft took over."
"You know him?"
"Yes, and your grandfather.
“You knew him too?”
“You're right about him, he was a good man, but then he died and James Ramkrauft took over..."
"I heard awful things about him: That he may have embezzled money from inspections and repairs when he was head of the Airlines branch."
Mike clenched his jaw, "Did he?"
"No one knows, my father thinks grandpa was about to file evidence with the police when his health suddenly turned."
From down stairs, "Hey Mini, I'm home!" Mini didn't respond while trying to clear her eyes. "It's dark out, if you're not home..."
"I'm here." Mini began pushing Mike toward the window, whispering, "Go, go."
Mike whispered back, "Two stories up?"
"Just do that acrobat thing and go!"
"That doesn't work on command anymore remember? Plus there's a screen in this window."
Mini's mother, coming up the stairs, "Are you alright in there?"
"Then hide in the closet." Mini jumped over to the bed just as her mother walked in.
"Yea, I just fell asleep I guess."
"It's all that homework they have you up till god knows when working on. I mean, in middle school, working till dark?"
"That's probably it."
"Well, I'll have dinner ready soon. I'll call you down when it is." Her mother left and headed down the stairs toward the kitchen.
Mike, from the closet, "It's a good thing she didn't question your light was on." Mike paused a moment, "Or open the closet."
"She has no reason to go in there, she won't have time for laundry till... tomorrow. You have to go."
"How will I get out of here?"
"Just sneak out after she falls asleep. I'll lock the door behind you. Stay in there till then."
"Why not just tell her you had a friend over?"
"You're too old, it's already dark, and it's do late."
From downstairs, "Mini! Dinner's ready."
Chapter 7: Awake (rev 1)
Mike slipped out quite easily. Mini latched the deadbolt from behind so it wasn’t so obvious someone left. He had a lot more questions but they would have to wait for tomorrow. Mini seemed a bit upset after their conversation. Mike had no idea she had family ties to the Pascha Corporation. No, not to the corporation, to the man who took him in after the accident. To the man that almost became his stepfather. He had thought for a second when he met her, Minuet Heatherford. Another question came to mind: What was Mini’s father spending so much time at work for? Could it be some new plan he was working on? No, Mini said he wasn’t one of that group, but, she could just be in denial. No, no, that wasn’t it. He was searching for the evidence that had so conveniently disappeared when his father died. But then, what had he found? If Mike tried to contact him, he would most probably seem insane. But what if he had learned something? Mike walked again though the park, it seemed he always ended up there night after night, day after day. It was quite large, one of the Pascha Corporation’s projects from well before Ramkrauft. The whole area had prospered for being the corporate seat of Pascha, but now it was a hunting ground. With the progression of things, it would be a battlefield in the next few months, if that.
Mike gripped the cell Mini had given him. It was a prepaid, perfect for someone with no income for himself. She had apparently been waiting for the chance to give it to him. Every time they met some battle seemed to occur. She told him to call whenever, whether something ‘funny’ was going on or not, as long as her phone was on she would talk. It was a nice thought to have someone to talk to. He had already admitted to himself they were friends.
The egg in his pocket seemed to react a moment, just enough for him to notice. He headed toward the place he had spent the last few nights, the guardians’ ‘clubhouse’. It was dark, as it had been the last few weeks. He headed inside, already familiar enough with the structure to keep the lights off. He sat down in the only reclining chair he had found days before. There was a sudden voice from the corner of the room.
“I was wondering when you were going to show up.” Mike bolted upright and the lights came on. It was Rose, one of the Guardian Chairs, the one with the stupid smile. “We knew you were stayin’ here ya know. Why else would we keep leaving food?”
“That was rhetorical… I heard about the zoo you know,” She made a face like she was straining to remember something.
She spoke like it was an excuse, “Well, it’s not like you remember my name either.”
Rubbing the back of her head forcing a chuckle, “I guess you do.”
“You were saying?”
“The zoo, I heard about it from Lloyd.” She leaned toward Mike, “Mini reported you had an egg. So, who is it?”
“It still hasn’t hatched yet? Its been days!”
“No.” Mike produced the egg, it was mostly grey with a printed zipper pattern.
“Has it said anything?”
“Constantly.” Rose looked puzzled.
“Normally they hatch right after the start talking, if not before. Seen or heard anyone else’s?”
“Strange, he should be long since hatched.” Now dangling some of the food she had brought in front of the egg, “Hey, common out, I have donuts.” Right away, the egg cracked. Mike leaned forward. It broke open and the character from inside grabbed the donut right from Rose’s hand.
“What the heck?!” Mike fell out of his char.
“Wow, I’ve never had that work before.”
“He’s been on about food since the morning of the zoo.”
“And you never gave him any?”
“I barely have enough food for myself, I can’t let what was nothing more then a voice in my head govern what I do!”
“And now that it’s out of your head?” Mike looked at the newly hatched character as he finished the donut. Realizing he was being watched, he looked right at Mike.
“Oh, hi! I’m Rem, pleased to meet’cha! You know if you had just gotten me some popcorn I’d have been out a lot earlier.”
“Hello… Rem.” Mike turned to Rose, “He talks like you.”
“So he does. Pleased to meet’cha Rem.”
“Hello and… Do you have more donuts?”
“I do.” Rose placed the open box on the table.
“Hey, you eat too.” Rem threw a donut at Mike. “It helps if you catch…” Mike had seen so many strange things in the past week he seemed no longer phased by it. He turned his attention back to Rose.
“So, why did you wait for me here?”
“Frankly? You’re stinking up the place.”
“Here’s a change of cloths and some money for the gym down the street. Take a shower or something.”
“I’m constantly in battle with nefarious forces, when do I have time?”
“Now.” She got up. “See you tomorrow Rem, right Mike?”
Rem answered for him, “We’ll be here. Bring breakfast!”
Chapter 8: There are Others (rev 1)
So, Mike’s character had finally hatched. Mini thought to herself what he was like; she had yet to meet him. Mike’s hands must be pretty full with him though. She had only received one message from him since the night they talked. It was a serious message of course: “Be careful. Pascha may have gotten spooked by Clarence’s little match with Meg and I. They are likely to try something… new. Remember he is not the only one, there are others.” Since when does anyone write a text message with full words and punctuation like that? It was as if he had never used a cell phone before.
“Class, we have a new transfer student.” Mini’s attention snapped to the front of the room where the teacher was now standing with another student. “She will be joining us at least until the end of the year and will be graduating with the rest of you.” Now she turned to the student, “Introduce yourself.” The girl was wearing the school’s uniform, but it was the summer skirt. Mini took a quick look out the window to confirm by the turning leaves it was indeed Autumn. She spoke a bit loudly, probably because she was nervous.
“My name is Miame Hitomi, my father has moved here for work so I will be with you all for the foreseeable future.” Boy the names these days are getting weird. She might have said it differently but Mini could not help the thought she was named after a city in Florida. She also spoke better and more forward than anyone else in the class.
“Me-a-me Hit-O-me” Some of the students quietly repeated the name.
“Will she be getting a homework pad?” One of the students asked. It was meant as a jeering comment, but at the school’s ridiculous homework load and not the girl. The teacher was already handing her the pad. Mini realized there was a free seat on her right.
“She’s going to end up sitting next to you.” Row spoke up for the first time in class in a while.
“Ah there is a seat free next to Minuet.” The teacher pointed Miame toward the seat. Mini made a small wave, just a simple acknowledgement she was paying attention this time.
“Aww, no guardian character. I was really hoping for someone new.”
“We already have Mike’s new characters.” Miame took her seat and Mini stopped talking to prevent herself from looking crazy.
“You should ask her if she needs help with anything. She is new here after all.”
“I’m fine.” Mini looked at her a moment. It was possible she saw her thinking and just said that to head her off.
“I’m Minuet, but Mini will do fine.” Mini made a nervous smile that was returned in kind by the new student.
After class the group met outside as usual. They took some time to talk before they would start to walk home. The front offered a nice place to sit, though it was used a lot more when it was warmer. They watched as Miame left the building and head toward the front entrance. She was looking around the yard, her hand in the nervous first against her chest. She turned in the direction of Mini and the others but stopped. It looked like she considered something to herself for a moment then she came over. She seemed a little lost for words. Row flew over closer to her, she immediately looked away.
“I think she can see me.”
Almost too quietly to hear, “Yes.”
Mini this time, “You can?” There was an instant look of relief on her face as she collapsed to the cement seat.
“That’s a relief, I thought I was crazy.”
This time Benny spoke up, “We’re all a little crazy.” A Meg and Miame let out a small chuckle.
Mini began the introductions, “This is Benny, Joe, Meg, Mikku, and Row.” Miame’s attention was fixed on Row. “So, you’ve never seen one before?”
“I have, but… maybe in a crowd.”
“I see, then suddenly you’re seated next to someone with one. That had to be nerve racking.”
“You have no idea.”
Mini took a moment, something was nagging her. “So you don’t have one.”
Miame nodded slowly, “No.”
“This might sound a bit strange. Do you have an egg?”
Again she nodded, “No.”
“This is weird.” Miame made a strange look at Mini. “No not that. I mean, normally only someone with a guardian character of their own can see them.”
“Guardian characters…” Miame seemed a bit depressed.
“If you don’t have one that means you are content with yourself or at least that you don’t need the help.”
“Guardian characters represent your would be self, whether it be a radical change or an improvement. The main point is you don’t feel you can make that change yourself.”
“But I can see them, shouldn’t I have one?”
“I don’t know. There’s no science to it, no rhyme nor reason. It just is as it is. We do our best to understand it.”
Meg spoke up, “Hey, we better all get home. They gave us a lot of homework again.” Mini sighed. The group got up and walked toward the front entrance.
“Left or right?”
“What? Oh. Left.”
“Same as us.” Mini took the lead and Miame followed closely. “Miame, you just transferred here but they’ve piled a full load of homework on you. Do you need any help?”
“Your place or mine.”
“I’ll follow you.”
“Do you need to call your parents and tell them you’re not headed home?”
There was a slight pause, “No, it’s fine.”
Mini opened the front door. “Mom, I’m home!”
“I brought a friend, I hope that’s ok.”
“That’s fine. Who is it?”
“Miame, she just transferred in but they gave her a full load of homework anyway.” Miame poked her head in the room, she was holding the homework pad the school had given her.
“Come in, come in, I’ll clear off the table so you have somewhere to work.” The two worked for a good two and a half hours, a lot less time than usual. Miame was helpless with history but ended up leading Mini in the math and science work. “You’re done a lot sooner than usual.”
Mini, leaning back in her chair, simply pointed at Miame, “She’s good at math.” Her face turned a little red.
“You actually have some time to yourselves today then.”
Stretching her arms and legs, “Miame, what do you want to do?”
“Oh… I don’t know.”
“It’s a bit chilly to head to the park, your room is clean now right?”
“Mother… yes.” The two made their way up the stairs. Now that they had a bit more privacy they could talk openly with Row. She was a bit tired too from helping with the homework where she could. Having an extra set of eyes and ears in class helps for that, but not much else.
Row immediately began, “Hey, how do you think Mike is doing? I really wan’na meet Rem.”
“Mike? Rem?” Miame knew nothing of the two.
“There are a lot of things going on around here. Some pretty dangerous things. Anyone with a guardian character seems to get involved. Or at least, anyone who can see the X-Eggs.”
“There has never been anyone who could see a guardian character and not an X-Egg. There is a very high risk you’ll get drawn into this.” Miame was fidgeting a bit.
“I shouldn’t have said anything.”
“If you hadn’t you’d either go around thinking you were crazy or get drawn in anyway. At least now you know. This is all because of Ramkrauft.”
Miame paused for a moment. “Ramkrauft?”
“He’s the current head of The Pascha Corporation.” There was a long pause. “Yeeeeea, always so serious… It’s important not to let it get to you to much. Things seem to have calmed down lately, but it’s best to be aware.”
“Oh, there is some awful conflict you’re going to get draw into…”
“Probably drawn into…”
“…but don’t worry, everything is fine.”
“Sounds that bad huh?”
“Oh noooooo. It sounds fine…”
Some time later, Mini’s mother calls from downstairs, “Will Miame be staying for dinner?”
Both girls headed down the stairs, Miame replied, “I better be going.”
“Do you need a ride?”
“No thanks, it’s a short walk. I’ll see you in class tomorrow Mini.” She walked out the front door, Mini waved.
“She seems nice.”
“Yea mom, so, what’s for dinner?”
Out of view, Miame got into a black car, it had been waiting for her.
Chapter 9: Hatemonger (rev 1)
Finally, it was the weekend again! There was a lot of homework of course, but with Miame’s help that would get done pretty fast. If it wasn’t for how bad she was at creative writing and history she would probably have no reason to work with Mini or the others. She seemed to enjoy it though; she was a bit less nervous around them now, but she still seemed a bit skittish. They met again at the front entrance.
Miame began, “When do you want to get the homework done? Today good?” She seemed to feel her worth was solely in the work.
Mini didn’t want her thinking like that, “There is more to life then homework. I say tomorrow if that’s ok with you.”
“So what are we going to do?” Meg asked.
“The park is always nice, but I want to head home and change out of this uniform first.”
Meg agreed, “Definitely. What about you Miame?”
She held the bottom corners of her shirt out pinched between her fingers. “I rather like it actually.”
“OK, we’ll meet you and Benny in the park.” Benny kept going without a word. Miame took a moment and nervously went ahead after him.
“She doesn’t seem to like being away from you Mini.”
“Common, we don’t want to leave them waiting too long.”
“Where are you guys?!”
“Over here.” Miame called quietly. She seemed a bit concerned about something, “Please don’t shout around like that.”
“Why not? This is a park, it’s not like class or home.”
“My uncle told me to never raise my voice like that, it isn’t proper.”
“Quite a strict uncle. We’re fine, kids yell and shout playing in this park all the time.” The group tried to play several games. Miame was having a strange time. She was surprisingly proficient, but had to be told what to do for the most common of games. “Do you ever get to play around like this?”
“Not for a while.” She was having fun. You would think it was something she had not had for a long time, but it was probably just her nervous nature. The fun and games were suddenly cut short by a familiar sound, the cello. “What was that?”
“Clarence…” For the first time, the group ran toward the sound full well knowing what it was. Mini was already on her phone calling for any guardian nearby. As the center square came into view, so did a filed of X-Eggs. Children and their parents were slouched on the benches and laid out on the grounds, blank expressions on their faces.
“Wha… what’s going on? What are those?” Miame was terrified now.
“This is what I was warning you about.”
“These are X-Eggs?”
“And the victims they came from.”
There was the sudden sound of clapping from above. It was Clarence, seemingly suspended in the air, his feet resting on the tip of a branch far to thin for his weight. The usual evil purple glow surrounded him.
“Miame, get out of here!” No one had to tell her twice, she quickly ran back towards the field and dove behind some bushes.
“Oh a shame, we’re back down to three.”
“Oh she remembers my name. I’ll have to give you a sticker for that! Oh and here comes the one I want now.” Mike came running from the distance. He had already character changed with Rem as apparent by the large zipper.
He gave his incantation as he ran, “Ruling wisdom, the earth, sea, and sky: The Alchemist. Truth of the ancestors, skill of the architects: The Artisan.” The ground bulged below his right hand, with the pass of the left it took shape. "The artistic saber, stone." He was already striking on Clarence’s shield.
“Oh so we shortened it now? That won’t help you ya’ know.”
From the unexpected distance there was a voice. It was a loud voice, strong, “Character Transformation!” A dark form leapt in front of Clarence giving Mike just moments to avoid. “Authoritarian Hate.”
Clarence kept his attitude even toward an apparent ally, “Nice of you to join me Hatemonger, I thought you had decided to stay home today.”
Her voice turned, it seemed more vile than Clarence, if it even possible. “I told you not to call me that.” She was more clearly visible now. There was a white X on her head, offset to the right a bit. She wore a military style cap with her long dark hair in twin tails. Her clothes were mostly black and purple. There was an open jacket with a disheveled tie whipped up by the wind and a skirt that seemed slightly out of place with long socks. She took a moment to examine herself, as if she had never used the form before; she held the bottom tips of the jacket out pinched between her fingers. “Oh, I think I like this one.”
“Who the heck are you?” Mike could not place her, he thought her familiar but she reminded him of no one from the experiments at Pascha.
“Oh I’m hurt. You’ve completely forgotten me? Or did you ever know me?” She readied to attack raising a telescoping pointing stick, “Black Dictation!” A crushing force hit the ground, Mike barely jumped away. The path cracked from the hit. “Oh ho! I really like this one. I might have to keep it around.” She distracted herself with this, Mike took the opportunity to strike. At the last moment she evaded but at the very least the pointing stick was snapped. “You think that does anything? Black Dictation!” She waved the pointing stick at Mike, nothing happened. Holding it up to here face, the broken half still hanging, “I guess it did.”
“That’s what happens when you get full of yourself.” Mike jeered.
Clarence snapped as well, “You’re useless!” He pushed her aside, “Dark Concerto!”
Mini jumped into action, “Character change, Reflect!”
“Resonate!” Mike and Mini dodged to the side, they had expected this. The moment gained was more than enough for them to move.
“Old tricks Clarence?”
Before Clarence could even finish “Meg, Joe, NOW!”
First Joe, “Character Change, Idle Field.” Clarence’s movements seemed to slow.
“Character Change, Sibylline Lance.” She seemed to have more control than the last time. She had initiated the change herself, that had to help. She immediately made her strike toward Clarence.
“You’re forgetting someone…” The girl who had joined Clarence went after Joe. Mike deflected her, but it was enough to break his stance, and the Idle Field. Clarence slammed the lance from Meg’s hands with his Cello and knocked her back with several swings from his bow.
“Hatemonger, you failed.”
“I told you not to call me that! Just leave with what small prize you can. Without me you’d be finished anyway.”
“You’re not going anywhere!” Meg grabbed her lance again.
“You can’t stop us. Fog of War!” A dark cloud enveloped the two, it lasted only a few moments but it was long enough for them to disappear.
Mini ran to the center of the cloud as it cleared, “They got away…”
“They did.” Meg seemed to be back to normal.
“You’re ok Meg?”
“Hey, what about Miame?!” There was a muffled noise from the bushes. “What?”
Her head popped out from the bush, twigs and leaves sticking out of her hair, “I said, don’t ever let me jump into a bush again.”
Mike leaned toward Miame, staring hard at her. She clenched both hands into fits against her chest and leaned away. Her voice wavered, “What does he want?” Mike stood up straight. “I thought I knew you from somewhere.”
Miame let out a large sigh, “Well don’t do that again… That was creepy.” Mikes eyes moved to an X-Egg in her hand.
“What are you doing with that?”
“Oh! What!?” She took a moment, “These things are everywhere, I landed on this one.”
The egg jumped out of her hands, “Haaaaaaaaate! Haaaate!” the other eggs began their chorus, “Monnnnnnnnnnnney!” “Hate!” “Worthless!” “Useless!”
“One of us really needs to figure out how to purify these. Mike, can you call in some of the Guardians?” He was already raising the phone to his ear.
Miame didn’t understand, “Guardians?” They were talking about things she did not know again.
“Well that’s a long story. Should we tell her?”
Mike considered it, “I don’t see why not.”
“Ok well, it started when…”
Chapter 10: The Girl Behind the Glass (rev 1)
Clarence took his time getting back to the Pascha offices. The ‘Hatemonger’ was a joke it seemed. Ramkrauft seemed to overvalue her though, despite her failure. There was something else to it. He didn’t even have a proper name for her, the nickname she had been given, Hatemonger, was the only one he knew. The only other way he knew her was “the girl behind the glass.”
Mike tried to jump aside to doge the X-Egg attack. He overdid it and slammed into Clarence, knocking him over.
“Hey, sorry about that.” Mike said with a weak smile, his hand outstretched in aid to Clarence. Clarence slapped his hand aside.
“Just because you’re first doesn’t make you better.”
“I never meant that.” There had been animosity between the two from the beginning. Mike was ‘liked’ better, or so Clarence seemed to think. There was a small sound, like a giggle from the direction of the observation room. It was a young girl behind the safety glass. Ramkrauft called her over, the sound was too distorted by the glass to hear her name, but he seemed to have a genuine affection for her. It was the first time either of them had seen him this way, with… feelings of fondness. He was always a bitter man, always angry at something or someone. Even the favor he showed to Mike was in no form warm.
There was a sharp shriek over the intercom, then the proctor spoke, “Why are you stopping? Continue your exercise.” Under threat of some punishment, they forgot what it would be this time, they continued. Mike's constant calls got on Clarence’s nerves. Even if he seems to have a wider array of ‘gifts’, there was no cause to call them each and every time.
Clarence took his stance and recalled his ‘gift’, “The Cellist.” Ramkrauft seemed to favor Mike’s physical attacks; it was time or him to invent some of his own. Clarence took his bow in his right hand and gripped the cello in his left. He took a moment to do what he could to strengthen them. He was what they described as a ‘field type,’ all his abilities thus far had been an area of effect or some form of energy concussion or force wave, always something nonsolid. The X-Eggs in the room had gathered from the gap in training. They were forming rings, accelerating to the point they seemed solid. He removed the bow, the sudden stop in sound triggered the X-Egg attack. They seemed to think he had slipped, he hadn’t. CRACK, one egg was smashed and the other 3 of the ring fell to the ground. They rebounded but the bow knocked them back again. It was the first X-Egg they had ever broken. In training, it was a milestone; though every egg had an energy value those in the room were expendable.
Another shriek came over the intercom, “We’re done for today, take the rest of off.” This was a welcome thing, the past few days had been constant training. Ramkrauft wanted to use them soon.
As they exited the room they ran into Ramkrauft, “I would like a word with both of you.” They took a quick look at each other and followed silently. He motioned for them to sit, there were two chairs in front of the desk, he sat behind. There was silence while he gathered his thoughts, he was the type of man who thought about what he said and spoke well. They wanted to ask about the girl they saw, but neither dared to bring it up. “You are both going to be working together.” Clarence shot a quick dirty look in Mike’s direction. “Clarence will use his cello to attract the X-Eggs. Mike, you will collect them. Until your skills develop farther this is the best arrangement.” Little in their wildest dreams at the time did they think the power to directly control the eggs, at least in some capacity, would come forth. Now, they seemed to follow Clarence and the dark energy he gave off. For a time, they had done the same for Mike. There was the sound of the girl outside again. She was being lead by a young man, probably old enough to be her father. Ramkrauft adjourned the meeting there and lead the boys out the door. He followed the girl and her father, the boys’ quarters were in the opposite direction. They had seen the girl several times after that, always briefly and never clearly. Mike lost his taste for the job shortly there after. He left upon learning the origin of the X-Eggs. Clarence found his reaction laughable, he had found the source so much earlier, he extracted them himself after all.
Clarence entered the Pasche foyer, he held his ID out in his hand for scanning. No one questioned him, they had become used to his presence. He made his way to Ramkrauft’s office, the express elevator’s rare use kept his trip solitary. The door was open, Ramkauft’s black chair faced the bright windows. It turned to face him as he entered, he was expected.
“You didn’t take back a very large load this time.”
“That girl was useless. She nearly cost the entire operation.”
Ramkraufts face seemed to tighten, “That girl has a much greater purpose than to act as your assistant.”
“For the favorite she seems a bit unskilled.” Clarence had been afforded the privilege of speaking so directly. “Is it wise to involve family?”
“She is more important than you know. Soon the little ‘problem’ you’ve failed to overcome will be solved once and for all.”
Chapter 11: Doubt (rev 1)
Miame and Mini were together again. The weather had been stormy, Mini’s mother had the rare opportunity to pick the girls, and Joe, up from the school grounds and drop them off as she went. It was a Friday and Miame, at the start of the week, had arranged to stay the night over. Mini had never had anyone in her room, let alone overnight, before Miame. In just those two weeks they had probably grown closer than her other friends after months. It was not until that night that the heavy discussion began, as was common in such events. Rather than sleep they talked.
“You said that Guardian characters are representations of your would be self, so, what about me?”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t have anything, though everything indicates I should.”
“Not quite everything.” There was a pause, “Right?”
Revaluating what she had said, “N… No.” Rows egg stirred a moment and both stopped talking. It settled down and the sound of snoring returned. “What about you?”
“What about be?”
“What is your would be self?”
“I can’t say I really know.
“The mirror is a bit odd.”
“It doesn’t always make sense. It just showed I have farther to go. Remember what I told you about the types of guardian characters?”
“There were two, but with everything weird going on lately I think you said it’s gone up to four by now.”
“Those who want to change, those who are content with themselves but want to improve, those who, to the best we can tell, just are, and now, those that undergo great stress.”
“Which one are you?”
“I wanted to change. I'm always the leader, I always have to act the way people expect me to act. I just wanted to be free of that. To ignore what others thought when it came to that."
“I don’t know. I’m getting used to it.”
“What on earth does a mirror have to do with it?
“I figure it’s better than hiding behind something.”
“An eclectic mirror…”
“It’s furniture.” There was a moment of silence again as the sounds of dishes downstairs stopped and footsteps walked to the parents’ bedroom. “When was it your character was born?”
“After I moved here. I was trying to be accepted by everyone by doing things I didn't really want to do. I ended up being the leader most of the time. I didn’t want to lead."
“They say a good leader normally doesn't."
“Mike said that.”
The conversation turned in an instant, “I disagree.”
“If a leader doesn’t want to lead, they doubt their decisions. Ultimately they put others in danger due to inaction.”
“It’s strange your would be self is so different from others.”
“What do you mean?”
“Most I’ve seen seem to want to be leaders, to jump beyond their limits. You seem more content to ignore others and simply follow.”
The snoring from Row’s egg stopped. “I wouldn’t say that.”
“But it’s what your guardian character represents. Do you really want to be like that?”
After a long pause, “I think you’ve got it wrong…” There was no response, Miame was asleep. Maybe it was this negative way of thinking that prevented her from seeing her own guardian character. Could it be she was like Mike and Clarence? Could she have gone though something traumatic like they had? Mini was trying to reassure herself of her own worth, but what Miame had said nagged at her.
That morning everything was happy and normal again. Row was still sleeping; she must have woken up late that night and been unable to sleep again for some time. She had stopped snoring away suddenly that night. Miame was packed and ready to leave. They had just returned from a walk though the park. The rain had left everything wet, so with nothing to do there. A black car pulled up in front of the house.
“That’s my father.”
Mini’s mother walked up behind, “Oh, company car?”
“My husband drives the same kind. You can hardly notice it pulling in and out while it’s dark.”
“Did he make it home last night?” Mini asked.
“No, he pulled another all-nighter. Miame, I’d love to have your parents over sometime.”
“O… Ok. I’ll let them know.” She ran over to the car carrying her bag and let herself in the back seat. She waved goodbye though the window as it pulled away. Mini walked back to her room to clean up from the day before, Row was still sleeping. She went over to check on her, the egg was sealed.
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Great Story! I Love it. I've read the updated version. I'm a loyal reader, and this is one of the best shugo chara fan books ever written. Hope you update soon!
I love Chapter 9! It's such a great chapter!!!
Chapter 10 is so exciting, and so is 11! Can't wait till the next chapter!
Offline -- Back from the dead [slight hiatus mode?]
Added chapter 8. New character.
Added chapter 9.
Added 10/11 (Would have been one but I had a week time split that seemed odd.)
Moved Chapter 6 to the 2nd story post as the first was starting to loose some of the images at the end.
I will have to make a new post for the next chapter.
Fixed silly error where I swapped a letter and made a different word. I never proof read 10/11.
5114 badges, NOT ONE DIA