Trials of the Junsuikaoni: In Pursuit of a Prophecy: The Final Act (Book 4)

Noah and his team return home only to find that their lives will once again be turned upside down with the arrival of the new Academy Council. Their arrival triggers old wounds that they didn't even know they had, while precipitating their current ones. This all couldn't have happened at a worse time as the foretold Prophecy has finally been set in motion as Judas makes his move. After arduous training, Noah and his team set off on their most dangerous journey yet to gather the sacred shards of the Great Sword of Sorrow, the only weapon that can end the reign of Judas and eliminate the Junsuikaoni demons once and for all. However, the trials they each will have to face along the way will hold more danger than they've ever known. Witness the epic conclusion to a battle over 20 years in the making as Noah faces off against his brother Judas and the prophecy is at last fulfilled. Just which way will the hands of fate turn in the end? Will they ever find the happiness that they seek?


2. At Last, the Real Truth of the Prophecy is Revealed

         Mai stirs from her sleep, an early riser as always. She looks at the clock on the nightstand at her side, 7:00 AM, she’s always up at this time, like clockwork. She feels a heavy weight on her arm, though no need to wonder what it’s from, as there is only one person who’d be in her bed now a day, and that would be Lili of course. She looks at the sleeping girl, her long pink hair partially occluding her face as she slumbers peacefully. As though there is no care in the world. Despite how Mai feels about her right now and the fact that she’ll never forgive her for what she did to Eve and despite the fact that the love she once had for her will never be the same, she still feels happy when she can see her so at peace. Despite all this things, she will never forget that Lili is the real victim, even with her sins, as it was the pain caused by those men with selfish desires that made her this way. No matter what wrong she does, Mai can never truly hate her, as it’s all due to her trauma; one she will never be able to break free from on her own. That’s why Mai has decided to set her free. To the others it seems like vengeance, but no, Mai’s intentions are nothing short of mercy. Lili has suffered long enough and as her self-assigned guardian, Mai will see to it that she is freed from that pain and suffering and bear the burden with her. The day will come, no matter how much the others try to stop it, and on that day, she and Lili will sleep in an eternal peace, together for the rest of eternity. “So wait just a bit longer, I promise I’ll help you find peace.” She kisses her forehead and gently moves her arm from underneath her.

            She gets out of bed, not bothering to cover up and makes her way to the bathroom. She takes a nice, hot shower and twenty minutes later, she comes out wearing only her towel around her. Once she’s dry, she gets dressed, donning a simple pair of jeans and t-shirt. She puts her hair up in a ponytail and then walks to the entrance of their bedroom living area and stares in to the darkness. The blinds are closed and shut out all traces of sunlight and so she can see nothing with her eyes, but still she stares, her face showing no obvious expressions and says, “So, are you going to tell me who you are or are we going to play this game? Though you will lose.”

            It’s silent for a few more moments, but then finally someone speaks. “My, and here we thought we were masked so well in this darkness. Did you perhaps hear our breathing?” A melodic voice; clearly a woman’s, speaks softly with a hint of amusement.

            Mai scoffs. “Your breathing? No, I felt your presence from the moment I woke. I could feel the flow of your blood. That’s the one thing that you can never mask, to your misfortune.”

            “So you’ve learned to pick up blood flow, I’d expect nothing less of you Mai, but you should not be so vain as to think you are a master just yet. There is still much for you to learn.”

            In an instant, Mai can feel razor sharp claws at her neck and breath on her ear. She doesn’t panic, but she’s also aware that she’s trapped and even her skill couldn’t save her if they strike. The breath comes closer and with a whisper in her ear it says, “Never say never girly.” A deeper, husky voice speaks; clearly that of a man, his red eyes glow bright in the darkness. “You said we’d lose, but it would appear I’ve already won and fortune was on my side after all.”

            Mai scowls. “Perhaps you’ve cornered me, but I still stand by what I said, it’s impossible to mask the flow of your blood, no matter how skilled you may be. Impossible unless of course, you nullify my senses. Considering I sense the flow through my senses working together, if you dull my perception of them, then naturally it would appear as though the flow has disappeared. However, it’s not that it has, it’s simply I can no longer perceive it. A cool mind trick I’ll admit.”

            The man grunts and pulls back, his claws and red eyes reverting to normal. “Humph.”

            The woman laughs. “Oh my, it seems you’ve actually impressed Mr. Sourpuss, good job. You’ve truly become quite the perceptive and skilled young woman Mai, I’m very proud.”

            “That’s good for you. Now, I’ll ask again, who are you two and why are you here?”

            Now the man grunts with amusement. “I see she’s not one for small talk either.”

            “Keep your opinion to yourself, or would you like to test me? What do ya say…fuzzy?”

            “Don’t call me that! Not…here….” He sounds suddenly tame and she chuckles.

            “Yea, that’s what I thought.” She turns her attention back to Mai. “Now as to your question my dear, I won’t insult your intelligence by beating around the bush.” She stands and approaches the window. “First, let’s get some daylight in here shall we?” She slides open the curtains and raises the blinds, the sun beaming into the room and lighting it up such that everything is covered in light and not a trace of darkness remains. The woman turns back to face Mai and upon seeing her directly, even Mai finds herself feeling a bit of shock. “Mama’s here.”

            Mai stares at her, taking in her dark complexion, deep blue eyes, long blue braids that fall down her back and over her shoulders. Looking very much like her, there’s no doubt. “Mom?”

            The woman gasps pleasantly. “Oh my, how strangely exhilarating that feels. You have no idea how long I’ve waited to hear those words; though I’d hoped to hear them sooner than now.”

            “How is this…? I mean, I knew that if I was a hybrid, naturally one of my parents must be Junsui and it obviously couldn’t have been dad since he was human, so that only left you, but still…I never believed I’d actually meet you. I figured abandoning their kids was a standard Junsui practice. I mean you all left us and even Noah’s dad did the same to Tahno so….”

            The woman looks regrettable. “I can understand that it must come off as that for you all, but I really hope you’ll believe it when I say it was never our intention. We wanted to stay with you, but…well, there were many factors against our control that we couldn’t ignore.”

            “Look, I don’t really care to be honest, I was just stating what we all thought. If it’s not like that and even if you did have a legitimate reason to abandon us, it doesn’t change that you did and that just as it was with our human parents, we’re not going to take you in just like that.”

            “I know, we all know. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have at least a shred of hope you’d embrace me as your mother, but the truth of the matter is, it’s not the reason we’re here. We’re here for one reason and one reason only, to train you all rigorously, so that you may face the challenges that the prophecy will bring an end the threat of Silas’ reign. It’s our duty.”

            “Right, that’s ultimately what it all comes back to isn’t it. Well, that’s fine. How about we just make it official now then? I’ll do whatever training you ask of me, but don’t ask me to embrace you as my mother because I won’t. I’ve already lost enough with dad’s death; I won’t open my heart just to have it crushed again by death or by your own betrayal. I’ve had more than enough of that for a lifetime too. Besides, no point in getting close when my days are limited.”

            “I understand your feelings and I’ll of course respect them, I was also dismayed to hear of Viktor’s tragic death. I don’t know what you may be thinking, but I just at least want to make it known that I loved your father very much. He was my first love and even now I still do-.”

            “Cut the bullshit! If you really loved him, you would’ve never left us behind. You would’ve been there to save him on that night. If you had been there he might have…whatever.”

            “Hey.” The man places his hand on Mai’s shoulder and she looks at it like a bug. “Don’t be so hard on her, like she said, there are reasons beyond our control that kept us away.”

            Mai grabs his hand within seconds he’s pulling it away with gasp. There are several shards of ice imbedded in his hand. “Don’t you dare touch me, even if you are Lili’s dad.”

            He looks pained for only a moment, but then the ice quickly melts and his hand heals. “Feisty…just like your mother. However, don’t think because I control air that I can’t melt some ice. Air goes beyond creating simple wind, it’s about manipulating the elements and properties of the very air itself. Though the details don’t concern you, so I’ll save that for Lili. I’m impressed you figured it out, that I’m Lili’s father I mean. Just what was it that gave it away?” He smirks.

            “That’s simple, you both like to play mind games. I knew it from the moment you dulled my senses. Lili’s mind bending ability is a very rare skill that no other air elemental has been recorded to be able to do, marked child or pure blood Junsui. Only Holy Monks like Noah’s dad can do it along with their other spiritual abilities. So it’d follow that if I come across another person who can do it, it must be her relative. Her dad was the only logical assumption.”

            “Well, aren’t you just the smartest thing, deflate your ego a bit there girlie, it’ll implode.”

            “Yea, well call me girlie one more time and that won’t be the only thing that implodes.”

            He grins in amusement as Mai stares him down, and her mother just shakes her head. “You two…I can already see this is going to be a very long year if you can’t get along.”

            “Mai…who are you talking to?” Lili walks in, completely naked as she rubs her eyes.

            Her sudden interruption catches them all off guard, but seeing her naked, Mai quickly responds. “Lili, go put your clothes on! We have company here!” She runs to shield her.

            “Huh?” She finally wakes up completely and catches sight of the man. He stares at her with squinty eyes and a frown, with his arms crossed. His pink hair is in a side ponytail.

            He grins and says, “Well, you have certainly grown since I saw you last Lili.”

            Lili is shocked by the sudden exposure and so stands frozen. However, she quickly regains herself and begins to tremble as she shields her body. “You…you…pervert!” She shouts and then her eyes turn white, staring him down. “I won’t let you touch me! Not ever again!”

            “Oh boy, what a hassle.” He just barely gets out the words before his body becomes instantly paralyzed and his vison is stripped from him. He falls to the ground, clutching his eyes.

            “Lili! Stop that’s….” Mai is concerned only because she’s worried Lili will do something she regrets, but looking at her mother; who’s calm as a pond, she wonders if maybe he’s ok.”

            Soon her question is answered as in a few more moments, the man shakily stands back up and looks at Lili. “Come now little girl, you’ll have to do more than that to bring me down.” He lifts his hand and with a flick, his eyes become white similar to Lili’s and then she suddenly clutches her head and crouches down, screaming. “That is how you debilitate someone’s mind.”

            Mai watches as Lili wriggles around on the ground and screams, seeming to be suffering immensely. “Stop it already, you’ve proven your point!”  Mai shouts at him, her face intense.

            “Why do you care? You plan to kill her one day anyway do you not? So what’s it to you if I kill her now with my own hands? Since you believe she’s so weak, then she’d be worthless in battle anyway and therefore has no reason to live. I’d be doing you both a favor.”

            Mai can hear the irony in his words. “I don’t want her to suffer like this. She’s not weak.”

            “Oh is that so, then if you truly think that, why is it that you feel the need to free her from her suffering as you say? You call it mercy, I call it being too weak to admit the actual truth, you are weak. If it was all for Lili’s sake and you truly felt her only hope was to be liberated from her shackles of suffering, you would’ve killed her a long time ago, definitely after what she did in the underworld. However, you didn’t. You use the prophecy as your excuse to justify your hesitation, but it all comes down to one final truth you don’t want to acknowledge. You think it’s Lili who cannot live without you, but really girlie, you cannot live without Lili.”

            Mai’s expression goes dark. “Shut up. You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

            “Oh but don’t I? You like having Lili as your responsibility, you like the burden, because with it you can feel adequate. You can feel like you’re someone worthy of respect. You want to be praised for your selflessness and sense of duty. “Oh how noble she is to take on such a poor soul. To nurture her, to never give up on her even when she causes her nothing but pain and heartbreak. She must be so strong.” These are all the things you want to hear from others. Every time Lili clings to you, defies the others for you, puts you on a pedestal and worships you, it gives you immense pleasure. In simple terms, her dependence gives you a sense of power to do as you wish and leaves her at your mercy. Your own misery is what calls you to die, not hers.”

            “I said shut up!” Mai swipes her hand in his direction and a barrage of icicles fly at him. He dodges and they smash into the wall. “I only want to do what’s best for Lili, so step off me!”

            He laughs and then finally relinquishes Lili. “Well darling, I’d say the serum is working.” He walks over to the woman and sits beside her, wrapping his arm around her. “Quite well.”

            Mai checks on Lili and then looks up at them. “What game are you playing here?”

            “No game Mai, this is all quite serious. We’re not going to baby you the way Tahno has. Bless his heart, but the fact remains a human cannot train you all in the proper way. So we will be putting in our efforts from now on and hope you’ll receive them. We’ll explain everything in more detail once everyone is gathered, so perhaps you should help Lili get dressed and we’ll meet you out there.” They stand. “Forgive him by the way, he does things a bit more ruthlessly at times, but his heart is in the right place. See you soon.” They walk out together, holding hands.

            “Mai can hardly handle all the things that have just come at her at once, but Lili is her priority. “Lili! Are you alright?” She shakes Lili, who’s on the ground, trembling hard.

            “Mai…that…that was….” She suddenly vomits violently. “Mai….” She starts to cry.

            Mai scoops her up into her arms, not caring about the vomit on her shirt and takes Lili to the bathroom to get cleaned up in the bath. “It’s ok Lili, I’m here. I won’t let him hurt you again. I will protect you.” She runs the bath and once it’s at the appropriate temperature and level, she removes Lili’s clothes as well as her own and while still holding her, steps into the tub and sits, submerging them both in the water. With her back resting against Mai’s chest, Lili lies back in silence, still trembling slightly as Mai holds her. “That man is an evil bastard. Totally insane.”

            Lili suddenly starts to laugh, her trembling having subsided and her mind returning to normal. “Yea, it’s true. There’s no doubt about it, that’s definitely my father, because we are the same….” She trails off and Mai feels bad she cannot deny that they do share similarities. “Don’t feel bad Mai, I know it’s true that I’ve got an evil and twisted side to myself and there’s no question I’m insane, but I’m not sad. In fact, I feel happy. I feel relieved that I finally know why I didn’t deserve to have such a wonderful mother. It makes me feel good to know I’m scum that comes from a scummy dad and mom really was the angel I saw her as. Not to mention, I want to learn that from him.” Mai sees her eyes go dark and sinister and feels a chill run down her spine.


            “You are not alone.” Nik stirs upon hearing a voice. “I am here with you.” Singing? He opens his eyes to come to face with a cloak and someone’s chest covered with it. “Though you-.” The singing suddenly stops. “Oh, you’re awake, how wonderful!” Nik feels this person’s grip get tighter around him and kiss him on the forehead. Jove? He thinks it’s his boyfriend at first, but then he remembers that Jove is currently in the Bakemon world with his fellow reapers and not there with him. He may never see him again. The despair eats away at him, but the more pressing matter arises, who is this person next to me? He looks up to meet the gaze of a man with red hair, matching eyes, short spiked hair and smiling. “Good morning Nikoli! Did you sleep well?”

            Nik jumps, pushing the man away from him. “Hey, who the hell are you! You damn creep!” He jumps out of the bed and backs away, getting into a defensive position. “Who are you? You better answer truthfully unless you want a fireball to the face! I’m serious!”

            “Oh, no need to be so violent Niki, I’m not going to hurt you, I’d never do such a thing to my own boy. I was just showing you some love. Love is what you need Nik, not violence.”

            “What are you talking about? I’m not your boy, don’t act so familiar with me. I’ve never met you before and you don’t know me. Now, you’ve got five seconds to get out before I-.”

            “Niki! Oh it’s so sad. How could you be so mean to your own father? I’m really hurt.”

            Nik’s jaw drops. “What?!” He shakes his head. “No way, I don’t have a father! I haven’t had one since the day he walked away and abandoned me along with my mother. I may have made up with her before she died, but don’t you think for a second I’m looking for some parental love. Even if you speak the truth, I’m not interested in knowing you. So still get the hell out!”

            “Niki….” The man looks devastated. He walks towards him. “Niki, my son….”

            The man hugs Nik tightly and Nik hates it. “Get off!” He pushes him away, but the man doesn’t budge. “What the hell?” What’s with this strength? He struggles to break free from his grip, but the man doesn’t let up. “Get the fuck off me!” Fed up, Nik literally ignites, his body becoming encased in a fire capsule. This should be burning the man and Nik thought for sure this would make him let go, but the man still clings to him. “What the hell, do you want to die?”

            “No, I just want you to know you are loved and I want you to be happy with yourself.”

            Nik can’t believe how unphased this man is about being burned, though now that Nik realizes, he’s not catching on fire or seemingly affected by it at all. The only way that’s possible is if he’s Junsui and that he’s a fire elemental like Nik. Which would mean that just as he said.... “Dad?” He looks down at the man. “You really are my father?” The man smiles at him.

            “Yes, that’s right Nik, I’m your father. I know I have no right to just show up like this and throw myself on you, but I felt that you needed me to. You can imagine how terrifying it’d be for any parent to walk in to see their child asleep on bloody sheets next to some razor blades. Not to mention the marks on your arm. You healed a lot since last night, but I can see the scars. That’s just not good Nik. I don’t know your life, but I know that this isn’t the answer. I’m not asking you to take me in with open arms and call me dad, but I want you to let me in and let me love you. Being gay is nothing to be ashamed of and you shouldn’t let anyone make you feel like it is. I should know better than anyone because I’m gay too and just like you I have a boyfriend.”

            Nik can hardly believe what he’s hearing. “Are you serious?” He scowls. “So then, it’s your fault I’m like this? You passed on this curse to me and now years later you want to help?”

            “Well, being gay isn’t genetic Nik, so it’s just by chance that you ended up being gay too. I know it seems very wrong to just show up and demand that you let me be your father after all this time, but I assure you I really just want to help you and this is the only way I can. Well, besides training of course, that’s the real reason I’m here, but even so, I want to reconcile.”

            “Wait a second, if you’re really gay, tell me why I was born? I mean, why would you have been with my mother and make her have me if you didn’t love her? Or was I a mistake?”

            “No Nik, no! You were not a mistake, don’t even go there!  Yes, I am gay for sure, but I really did love your mother. I loved her with my heart I did, I just didn’t love her in a physical sense. There’s a reason why things had to be as they were and I can’t guarantee it’ll be a satisfactory explanation, but it’ll be one just the same. We’ll explain everything to all of you once we’re all out there. I swear. But for now, please promise me you won’t cut anymore.”

            Nik can feel the weight of his body against his as he continues to embrace him, but it all feels way to overwhelming right now. “I’ll listen to what you have to say, just please, let me go for now. I can’t, I can’t take this! It’s all just too much too soon! So please, just please….” The man lets him go and Nik runs to the bathroom, slamming the door behind him and cries.


            “Disgusting!” Gunther is startled awake by a loud voice. “Absolutely disgraceful I say!”

            “Huh?” He sits up, still sitting as his computer and still nude from last night, the crumpled tissue scattered around the floor and in the trash as evidence that it happened. “Lili?”

            “Not a chance! I hope that girl would have more decency to come to court a man such as you are displaying yourself to be right now. Do you really think she’d find this attractive? I don’t blame her for leaving you. You’re not anything worth sticking around for, not one bit.”

            Gunther hears her stinging words one after another and gets angry, not even knowing who’s saying them. “Who the hell do you think you are to come into my personal space and insult me about my life?!” He stands up and finally faces her and it shocked by what he sees.

            “Who do you think you are, speaking to me in such a way? I’m your mother of course.”

            He stares at this woman, who looks like she could be his twin, just with her hairstyle as a bun and the fact that she’s got breasts. Otherwise, green hair, eyes freckles and all, she’s the same. “Mother? How is it possible? I mean, where did you even come from? How are you here?”

            “The same way as everyone else of course, I walked in the front door. As to where I came from, well, that’s a longer story. We’ll be explaining everything once we’re all gathered, but you certainly can’t go out there looking like that. Put some clothes on boy! You’re a disgrace!”

            Gunther remembers that he’s naked and shields himself. “Ah, I’m sorry…mother.” He grabs some clothes and runs into the bathroom. He takes a quick shower and returns, fully clothed all in ten minutes, his new personal best. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to expose myself.”

            “So you do have manners, that’s reassuring. It seems I just caught you on a shameful morning. What are you even doing here? All these dirty tissues all around, it’s disgusting.”

            “Oh, I’m sorry! I’ll clean them up right now!” He immediately gets to work in picking them all up and throwing them into the trash and then he pours the trash into a bag and ties it up, wanting to make the evidence completely non-existent. He then goes to wash his hands again.

            When he returns, her face seems a bit softer, but is still hard. “Hmm, you seem to be quite obedient. I’d heard you were compliant and often the voice of reason, but I’m still surprised.”

            “Well, I’ve always thought that parents deserved respect regardless of my personal feelings, so that’s the biggest reason honestly. I can’t say I’m happy to see you, but….”

            “Oh I see, so it’s obedience by obligation, not desire. I understand now. Fair enough.”

            “Why have you come here now if I may ask? Where have you been all this time?”

            “I’m here to train you of course, as are all the others. We have to get you in tip top shape to face those trials and help Helios defeat Silas, you can’t do that as you are now. As for where I’ve been, that’ll be explained soon. So we should meet everyone out there in a moment. Before that though, I feel obligated to ask, what led you to participate in such a shameful act as that?”

            Gunther looks down in shame, realizing it was a dark moment, but answers honestly. “I just couldn’t deal with my feelings for Lili. I love her you see and I know she loves me too, somewhere in her heart, but the problem is that she’s been traumatized from her sexual assault as a child and so she’s not able to love others in the proper way. She’s dependent on Mai and loves her too, but in a different way. It’s a dependent love, one of comfort, but I know that her true love lies with me. It’s just she doesn’t understand the difference or how to break away from her dependence on Mai. Mai in turn takes advantage of that dependence to take control over Lili and claim her, like she’s a possession. She’d never admit it, but we’ve all come to know it’s true. Mai likes that Lili is dependent on her and she likes knowing that she’s the only one who can keep her in control. It’s kind of a power struggle versus genuine feelings. Things were stable before even with this situation, but now because Lili ultimately killed Eve, the one Mai actually loves in her heart, she’s claimed Lili even more so, to the point she thinks she has a right to decide her life and whether or not she deserves to keep it. She promised to kill Mai one day all in the name of liberating her from suffering, but I personally feel it’s also for vengeance. I’m terrified for Lili and want to protect her, but her dependence on Mai has only gotten worse and so she won’t let me. I just want her so much, but can’t have her right now and I can’t deal with it. So I used that live chat service last night with a girl who looks like her to fill the hole of desire I have inside of me. I’m not proud of that weakness, but it happened. I don’t know what to do.”

            The woman listens silently and then finally says, “That’s simple, you forget about her. You train so hard that there’s no space for her within you anymore. You focus on your mission and nothing more. Do that and your heart will harden and you’ll be just fine. Now, let’s go.”


            Noah hears a smash against the wall and sits up abruptly. “What the hell?!” Noah listens in to localize where the sound came from and what’s happening around the apartment. Next door, he hears two voices he doesn’t recognize as well as an angry Mai and Lili is whimpering. He hears Nik yelling at another person, whose voice he again doesn’t recognize and in pain. He hears a woman’s voice coming from Gunther’s room, but it’s an older woman, not one of his flings. Basically, it seems each of them have unfamiliar visitors and it’s worrying. He gets up and as he starts walking towards the door, he a hears Mia’s voice.

            “Noah, what’s happening?” She sits up in bed, rubbing her eyes, trying to wake up.

            “I’m not really sure, but it seems we have several unwelcomed guests, so I’m going to see what’s happening. Stay here for now ok? I’ll let you know when it’s safe.” She nods and he opens the door quickly and walks out on alert. However, what he sees makes him lose all his defensiveness. A man with white hair and blue eyes sits on a sofa, with his legs crossed, sipping a cup of coffee. He’s reading the newspaper and acting as though he’s in his own house. “Dad?”

            The man looks up and smiles. “Ah Noah, good morning! Did you sleep well?”

            “Dad…what are you doing here? How’d you even get in here? You have a key?”

            “Why do you sound as though I’m so unwelcome? Can a dad not visit his favorite son?”

            “Hey, don’t let hear Tahno hear that, it may not sit very well with him. Anyway, you can, but maybe not first thing in the morning uninvited. Even more so, it seems like you’ve brought your fellow team members with you haven’t you? Mr. Junsui Lord?” He’s sarcastic.

            “Ah, so you do indeed know. We thought so, that’s why we changed our plans. Rachel is a bit of a blabber mouth isn’t she?” Noah glares unconsciously. “Sorry, sorry, wasn’t sure where your relationship with her lied, I guess now I know. I won’t talk bad about her, but still…I wish she could’ve kept quiet about us. We were worried that once you told them they’d refuse to meet us and make things that much harder and so we decided that we’d take the shock value approach. Sorry about this, but we felt it was for the best. You understand don’t you? You should also appreciate that I talked them down from going after Rachel, they wanted to exterminate her you know, for discussing classified matters that may have jeopardized things. I talked them down.”

            “How noble of you. Anyway, if you had told us from the start when Tahno first mentioned a new council was coming, it would’ve prevented all of that. Sure they may have been against it, but in the end I would’ve had them accept it if they didn’t already decide to on their own. You should’ve trusted me at least, if I’m supposedly your favorite son and all. Why am I?”

            “Well to be honest, it’s because you were the only child I got to bond with from the start. Mason was taken away from us before I could even hold him and I didn’t meet him again until he was grown and resents me for abandoning him, though it was against my will. Silas was corrupt and completely under his mother’s watchful gaze, so there was no way I could’ve gotten close and he’d probably have tried to kill me even if I did. He doesn’t like me or even sort of consider me his father. You may not be warm and fuzzy, but you do call me dad and actually consider me as such, even if we’re not best buddies. Also, saving you back when you were a baby gave me a special bond with you. I could never forget the way your eyes looked at me the night I left you on your mother’s doorstep. It was with pure love and happiness, it moved me. It was then that I somehow just knew you were special and that we’d definitely meet again.”

            “Wow, that’s a really touching story dad, but seriously, you should’ve told me sooner.”

            “You’re right, I’m sorry Noah. Anyway, we have a lot to talk about now, so we should all be coming together shortly. So please, tell your girl to join us and take a seat.”

            “You know about Mia? How do you know? Do you have eyes in the underworld too?”

            “No, we felt your awakening. We knew it as soon as we felt it that a Junsui god was awakening and naturally we knew it had to be you. We never would’ve guessed it’d be Mia.”

            “So you knew I was a god too? It seems like you knew a lot of secrets you never told us huh? I’m not so sure I’m feeling very loved right now. You definitely should’ve told me that.”

            “I know, I’m sorry, but it was all for a good reason. I’ll explain everything, I promise.”

            “You’d better. Anyway, I’ll get Mia, but she’s not my girl, she’s my friend, got it?”

            “Of course.” Noah sighs and then returns to his room. When he returns with Mia, he sees a man and woman looking like Lili and Mai holding hands, a woman looking like Gunther and a man looking like Nik sitting beside his dad and they were holding hands, all sitting on one side. On the other, his teammates. Noah is stunned as Mika says, “looks like we’re all here.” Smiling.

            “Dad, what the hell?! Are you suddenly gay now or just having an epic bromance?”

            “Please don’t mention it Noah! I’m already throwing up in my mouth a little.” Nik gags.

            “Oh come now boys, don’t be so immature. There’s nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. I don’t know about being gay or anything like that, but I do know that I’m in love with this man right now and so that’s what matters. I loved Ouran’s mother in the past and I’ve loved other woman as well. This is the first time falling in love with another man, but I just consider it a new chapter of my life and a new experience. Life should be about experiences.”

            “Look, I don’t really care if you’re gay or not, but it just seems so sudden. Though I suppose I don’t know anything about you do I? We’ve never really had a heart to heart.”

            “That’s very true, which is why this a great time to fill you all in on our pasts and why things ended up how they are. This will also allow you all to get to know us better.”

            “Well it’s not that I care if you guys are gay or not, obviously, but I’m just freaked out that my father is dating Noah’s. Do you not understand what it means to have an awkward moment? You two are in a relationship when I used to be head over heels in love with Noah. How gross would that have been if we’d gotten together and then you two showed up together too. That’d be beyond creepy, but even in this situation it still is.”

            “What’s so creepy Nik? My dad and Mai’s mom are dating, but I don’t think that changes anything between us. There’s no blood relation between us, so we’re just step sisters.”

            “So that means you two are now a pseudo-incest relationship right?” Everyone turns to look at Mia, who feels awkward being stared at. Embarrassed she says, “Sorry, I read a lot of stories like that in the underworld. I read girls love, boys love and more.” She laughs nervously.

            “Well isn’t she just adorable. I like her Noah. If you two do get together at some point I approve.” He gives Noah a thumbs up and Noah cringes at the embarrassing statement.

            “Anyway, don’t we have some stuff to talk about? How about we get started then?” Noah says this and then sits between his team, Mia joining him. They are now all facing each other, each person facing their respective parent, with Mia sharing the space with Noah. “Ok, go dad.”

            “Right. Well, we should introduce ourselves I think first. Both sides should, so you first.”

            “This is stupid, but ok. Hi, my name is Noah Gremory and I’m a Junsui Demon God by birth, human by choice. My father is this loser in front of me, my mother is off the grid and irrelevant, Tahno is my long lost brother who’s a pain in the ass, Silas is my evil bastard of a brother who I hate and will kill if it’s the last thing I do for killing my family. My family is of course referring to my human mother, my real mother as far as I’m concerned and my human brother, who was the only brother I really wish to acknowledge as a brother. That’s it I guess.”

            “Thank you Noah, that was…nice I suppose. Who’s next?”

            “Um, I guess I’ll go. My name is Mia and I’m the daughter of Benjamin, formerly known as Hades and the daughter of the original Hades’ and Persephone’s child. I’m a semi-goddess I suppose, though like Noah, I think I’d choose to be human. It turns out that I’m his heart and so that’s my main purpose. I don’t really have much else to say, so that’ll be all. Thank you.”

            “Thank you Mia. I’m sure you have more worth than just being Noah’s heart, so don’t make yourself so insignificant. I’m sure you’ll find your path at some point, if you seek it.”

            She nods and then Nik jumps in. “Alright, I’ll go now. My name is Nikoli, but call me Nik, not Niki or anything else! I’m a fire elemental Junsui hybrid and I’m gay. That’s it.”

            “You also have a nice reaper boyfriend don’t you Nik. Don’t forget to mention that.”

            “I may not anymore, so that’s why I won’t bother. I’m sure he’s already forgotten me.”

            The mood takes a sad shift, but Mai jumps in to improve it, though not by much. “My name is Mai, I’m a water elemental Junsui hybrid and I’m a power hungry, controlling bitch. Does that about sum it up Gunther? Do you approve of that description?” She glares at him.

            “You said it, not me. Anyway, I’m Gunther, an earth elemental Junsui hybrid and I’m in love with Lili. She can’t love me right now for reasons, but one day I’m going to save her and we’ll settle down with a family of our own. That’s a promise, not a dream. That’s it.”

            Lili looks like a cross between flattered and uncomfortable, but she continues. “Uh hi, I’m Lili, an air elemental Junsui hybrid and I’m a bit of a mess. No, not a bit, I am a mess and probably a little crazy too, no very crazy. Uh…anyway, I’m in love with Gunther, as he said of me, but there are reasons I can’t be with him the way he wants or deserves right now and part of it is because I can’t be without Mai. She’s my rock and without her, I think I’d be dead by now.”

            The room is silent after all their introductions and the Junsui Lords all look a bit uncomfortable. “Ok then…thank you everyone. I guess we’ve forgotten how dramatic the young adult years can be…. Anyway, I suppose I should go next. My name is Mikael, son of the late Lord Cain and Spirit Junsui Lord. I’ve got three sons who I do love, even Judas despite his evil intentions and an adoptive child Ouran, who I also care for. I broke away from my family at 18, just after saving Noah from certain suffering and ever since have been on a mission to prevent the foretold prophecy involving my two younger sons from coming to pass. That led me to find Ouran’s mother, who I settled down with for a number of years, but then duty forced me to leave them and return here to once again save Noah. It was then that I met Tahno, my oldest son and tried to reconcile, though I failed, but we did correspond on things concerning Noah. However, I left Noah’s care to him for all these years and instead did what I could in our world. It was a couple of years later that I was able to find my Spiritual connection and became a holy monk, becoming able to control spiritual energy and heal wounds and other divine actions, while still maintaining my air elemental abilities which was my original trade. I soon after met these four and they said they were being put together as a panel of Lords and wanted me to fill the leadership position considering I had achieved my spiritual level and was also a legitimate noble lord. I accepted and so for the last five years or so, we’ve been working towards improving the Bakemon world and Junsui relations with it, as well as cleaning up the mess that Hokkaido City had become. As you heard from Rachel, we were successful in doing so and are happy to report that the humans are much safer. However, that has made the Bakemon underground more dangerous, but that’s largely due to Judas and his influence. It’s all due to the fact that he’s making his move, to see that the policy comes to pass. Now that Noah’s awakened, he’s about to take things up a notch as he knows Noah will be coming for him soon enough. This is why we must train you all in honing your Junsui abilities and powers properly. The serum we gave you all seems to have already kicked in and unlocked some of your latent skills and powers, so now we will help you control them and become very powerful in order to face the enemies ahead of you in your trials. However, now we can clearly see that not only do your abilities need honing, but your team relations as well. You five are broken and no matter how powerful you each become, if you can’t work together, you’ll fail and die. So think of this next year as a boot camp to fix all your bad habits and behaviors. When you return, you will be new people and will be ready to see this prophecy through and beat it. That is our aim, so please cooperate with us.”

            “Ok, we get it. We’ve always known that we would have to train pretty rigorously one way or another once we were setting our sights on the prophecy, so we accept. I speak for my team and I’m sure they’re on board. However, what we really want to know is why the hell you all are just now coming to us. You clearly knew we existed and helped in creating us, so why did you leave? You all claim it was due to some special reason and was not your choice, well then please explain it to us so we will understand. That’s what we wish to know now. I think I understand your reasons dad, so it’s more so for the others’ benefits. Though I am curious.”

            “Yes of course. You would want to know about that and we will tell you everything. I suppose I’ll start by giving you some background on the Bakemon council, where most of the reason behind this all lies. This council is comprised of a representative for each Bakemon race and they are the governing body of the nation rather than a single president like you have in the human nations. We feel that it’s better to have a larger panel that can speak for all races equally, rather than one particular race being considered better than the others all because the president was their race. We find that human history has shown us that it fosters hatred and allows racism to thrive. With our council, no one is better than others and all decisions are made by vote, with the majority ruling. It’s like the human senate, but no president is in power to veto their decisions, nor will there be a power struggle between the president and senate. The council are the rulers and that’s the end of it. Whatever decision is in the majority is what wins, end of story. This is, we all believe, the best way to run a nation and keep things peaceful. It’s worked thus far in respect to keeping most of the Bakemon races at peace and has allowed our nation to thrive for years, even as the human nations rebuilt after the great war. However, there is the issue of the Junsui, who have been our Achilles heel from the start, though it hurts to admit it and they have kept us from truly being at peace with not just ourselves but humans as well. The council has in the past wished to form a treaty with the humans, so that we may all live in peace, but time and time again, the Junsui have gotten in the way. Currently, the council is working with your new president to try and form a treaty and she’s been very interested, but she can’t overlook recent events as well as the consistent threat she can see the Junsui have been posing. On our end, the Junsui are revolting against the treaty, led by of course, your brother Judas, who remember is on the council as the Junsui rep. They can’t tie him to the various Junsui incidents because he covers his tracks well, but as a council member, unless he agrees and it’s unanimous, we cannot implement the treaty. So he can stop us either way, hence the dilemma we are facing now.”

            “Ok, so I think we get that, but where do you all fit into this. Why have Junsui Lords if we have the council. Are their lords for all the other races too? Because if not, then wouldn’t that be sending a message anyway that the Junsui race is better than others?”

            “That’s a good question and yes, you might think so, but it’s not like that. We as Junsui Lords are not in any power positions in terms of the Bakemon nation. We are kind of like the special forces of the Junsui force, sort of like how you and your team are the Elite Junsui Hunters that were tasked with destroying the rogue Bakemon and keep the city safe, we were the Elite force of the Junsui that the council put together for the purpose of stopping the Junsui incidents and revolts. We are basically special forces controlled by the Bakemon government, but have no political standing and cannot sway any of the legislations. That’s why we are not considered particularly special. Most Bakemon don’t even know about us much. We just maintain order.”

            “Ok, I guess we get that now. So then again, it comes back to the ultimate question, where do we fit in to this? Why did you all seem to coordinate having us and then bail? I think we can only assume this was part of the council’s plan, but why. What was their plan?”

            “Yes, it’s time that I finally address the question. You see, the prophecy was foretold a long time ago by a Holy Monk who had a premonition. He claimed that the Bakemon God came to him and told him that soon the world would be facing another crisis, both Bakemon and humans alike at the hands of a new Junsui ruler. However, unlike the Supreme Kusaru ruler that reigned during the great war conflict, this ruler would not incite a war just among the Junsui races, but with all races, human included. He would rise up and take over every world, Bakemon, human or otherwise and cause the ultimate destruction. The only way to stop this was by the Messiah who would rise alongside the new ruler, fighting against them and killing them, ending their rule and bringing peace to the world. However, only with the power of their four disciples could they match the ruler and destroy them. This is why all five of you had to come together.”

            “Ok, I think I might know where this is going, but first, I thought the sword was the only way to defeat Judas. That’s what we were told, which is why my team were at risk of dying and why I decided I would not use it and stop him on my own. You didn’t mention it though.”

            “Oh that sword.” He shakes his head. “Tahno was so misinformed. That sword isn’t needed to destroy Judas, your team is. That sword serves one purpose, to kill the Junsui race.”

            “Tahno wasn’t the only one to say that though. Ouran also said it, which is why he tried to talk me out of pursuing the prophecy. Are you saying they’re both misinformed?”

            Mikael looks nervous. “Look Noah, I was trying not to call attention it, but Tahno…well, I think we all know how much he despises the Junsui, for good reason mind you, but still, he hates them and wants to get vengeance for his family. He knew you felt the same way after losing your family and so he took advantage of that. He told you that the sword was needed to kill Judas so that you would use it and ultimately end the Junsui race like he wants. I know you’ve got no issue with sacrificing yourself for the cause, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I was trying to respect his relationship with you and not overstep, but I suppose it’s time I mention it as it does concern us all. We all agree the Junsui have a lot of bad apples and have sinned more than all other Bakemon races, which seems logical considering they are the Bakemon closest to the human race, who sin more than any other, but just as humans are allowed forgiveness, we believe that the Junsui deserve that as well. The way we see it, that sword was meant to be used only as a last resort, once the Junsui have truly become unforgivable and decide as a collective that we should be eradicated. That’s what the Bakemon god said in that folk tale you all heard wasn’t it? Hence why he made it so that only the Bakemon god could use the sword.”

            “So your saying that Tahno intentionally lied to me? I know Tahno is a jerk, but I don’t think even he’d be that evil. That still doesn’t explain why Ouran said that too.”

            “Oh well that’s simple and probably my fault. Clearly they didn’t wish for you to risk your life for it at all in the end, but the reason they likely didn’t set you straight when they knew you were not going to stop was because they actually despise the Junsui themselves. They still resent the fact that because of Junsui matters, including all my Junsui children, I had to leave them and their mom behind, ultimately spiraling their life out of control. They probably feel that if Junsui didn’t exist and I had just been normal, we could’ve stayed a family as we were. It may seem petty, but remember, Ouran was 12 at the time this happened and children hold grudges for petty reasons like that. I’d venture to say they only liked you for you, not so much your Junsui self and so if you were going to die anyway, I’d assume they figured you might as well take the rest of the Junsui with you. I’m sure it seemed reasonable and fair in their mind, so I wouldn’t blame them much. I suppose the same can be said for Tahno. They were children when they lost their families and so the grudges have been set in from then and have just grown stronger.”

            Noah doesn’t want to believe what his dad is saying, but he can’t deny it does make sense and would fit both Tahno and Ouran’s characters. “Ok, so maybe you’re right, but tell us then, so that we’ve finally got the record straight. Tell us exactly what it all means.”

            “Ok then, let me finish off with the sword. The sword is indeed split into five pieces, these five pieces are spread across the globe, guarded by minions of the Junsui ruler. They are each imbued with an elemental energy that only the corresponding Elementalist can touch, but to get it they must kill the minion guardian as their “trial”. Although the enemy will be real, it usually contains some sort of mental test as well. Once all five pieces have been secured, the sword can be assembled. Once it’s assembled, only the Messiah can wield it. However, it will not work unless it’s activated. To activate it, the elemental energy crystals must be activated by the soul energy of the corresponding disciple. Losing this energy will kill them, no doubt about it, so your hybrid statuses wouldn’t save you despite what Tahno may have thought. Once the sword is activated, it can be used on any Junsui and it will absorb their blood. Once the blood has stained the sword, there can be no going back. It will then smite down all who share that blood, which means all Junsui will be destroyed, good and bad. It will not discriminate, nor judge.”

            “So basically, you’re saying that if I were to go through with it and use the sword on Judas, I’d single handily be killing all Junsui, even good ones like us, is that right?”

            “Yes, that’s what it’d mean. Nevermind our lives per say, but can you live with that?”

            “I don’t know. That’s all I can say right now, so let’s just move on to killing without it.”

            “Alright then. Well like I was saying, to kill Judas without the sword, you’d have to absorb the energy of your disciples, in other words your team and power up to your God form. I’m sure you noticed that when you awoke you had those tattoos on your body right and that your eyes and hair matched each of the elements?” Noah nods. “Well that was ultimately your god mode, but not activated. Once you absorb their power and activate yourself, you will have great power and be able to strike down Judas easily. However, you can only do that if they are at their maximum power. If even one isn’t, then the merge will not work and you will not be able to activate your god mode. This is why training you all is of the upmost importance. If you pass your trials, you should be adequately powerful to allow Noah to use god mode. This is the ideal option in defeating Judas because none of you will have to die and the world will be saved.”

            “So basically, the only reason we really need to pass the trials is not for the sword as much as it is to prove we are powerful enough for me to activate god mode. However, it kind of gives us a backup plan because it the god mode fails, the alternative will be to use the sword. Perhaps not ideal, but between losing the Junsui or the world, it’s the logical choice.”

            “Precisely. That’s exactly it Noah. We wish for you to be successful with your god mode, but the sword will provide a safety net as that is guaranteed to work. With this reasoning in mind, 25 years ago, the council got to work on finding the strongest Junsui elementals of each class. They didn’t concern themselves with the Messiah at that point because they knew he’d be born regardless, however, they felt that if they could increase the odds of getting disciples worthy of the Messiah, we’d surely succeed. So that’s where my team comes in. They were all scouted in their youth, just at the age to start high school, as the strongest of each class and sent to the Junsui Hunter Academy undercover as marked children. They were tasked with blending in like humans, befriending them and ultimately choosing one of them to mate with. They’d been doing this since the prophecy was first foretold 400 years ago, right after the Junsui Academies were formed. Many of these earlier generations of undercover Junsui integrated and became humans, even settling down with their mates and living out the human life span and once their family died, they’d either start again with a new mate of retreat back to the Bakemon world to find one of their own kind. However, it was our generation that ended up being the chosen ones because we lined up exactly right. You all were born within the same year and so that is why you came together. Noah was born first and the others were born soon after and so the council was able to confirm that you four were the chosen ones and would join Noah, who they knew was the Messiah. You don’t know it Noah, but you were always being watched over by an agent of the council, even when you were living as just a normal human, even before I started watching over you myself. Before you ask, they were not allowed to interfere in human affairs, so they couldn’t have saved your family or town, only you. I know it seems unfair, but you were the only one that mattered to the council, not the humans. As for you four, well your parents can go deeper into this part, but ultimately, the council called them back after you four were born, saying it would be best if you knew nothing of them just as you wouldn’t know your human parents as rules of the Academy dictated. As for who you guardians were, well…it was your human parents. They could never know you, but they kept tabs on you, ensuring you never came to any harm in the academy. If you ever doubted it, your human parents have always been there for and loved you.”

            Everyone becomes a bit more expressive, memories of their parents resurfacing. Nik finally breaks his silence. “We know that! We know now, that they were there for us and loved us, that’s why it was so shitty that they had to die. Why them, why not you four?! I mean where the hell where you? The council called you back, fine, but did that mean you had to just drop our parents too? I can only assume you abandoned our parents too, with no explanation right?”

            “No Nik, that wasn’t the case. Let me finish please. Yes, my team had to leave you all, but it was not as cold as you are thinking. Your human parents knew your whom your Junsui parents were. They all told them the truth before they even conceived you all. As I said I’ll let them explain, but the relationship between your parents were true. When they left, your other parents knew why and accepted it was for a greater cause. That’s why they agreed to look after you in their place until the day came when they would return. They were always going to return, even if they could no longer be together, they always had promised to return for your sakes. The only thing that no one expected was the attack against their homes. No one could’ve know that would happen and when it did I ca assure you, none of us were immune to the pain it caused.”

            “If that’s true, then why didn’t they want us to drink Noah’s blood? Why did they seem so disgusted that we could become full Junsui? It doesn’t make sense if they really knew!”

            “I can’t speak for them, but if I had to guess, I think it’s not that they didn’t know you were hybrids already, obviously, but rather, they didn’t want to risk you becoming full Junsui. That was never in the plan either as your normal hybrid selves still would’ve been acceptable, but knowing there was a chance you’d become a full immortal Junsui, well they didn’t want that for all of you. Honestly, neither did my team. They never wanted you to have to live a Junsui life. They wanted you to carry out the prophecy and then be able to retire yourselves to a normal human life; one where you would live and then die, as it should be. Immortality and beasting out is not something we particularly love. Living forever isn’t something to look forward to and comes with many sorrows. We’ve all watched our loved ones live this truth. We didn’t want that for you. Though of course you Noah had no say unfortunately. But you four did, you still do.”

            They all feel like everything they thought they knew had just been smashed and now they don’t know what to think. Finally, Noah asks one last time, “Ok then, no more waiting. Dad, you’ve said it all, now it’s time for the others to start talking. Explain yourselves.” They all look at their kids with uncertain expressions, but are ready to talk. However, they are interrupted.

            Noah’s communicator goes off and he knows it’s Tahno and if he’s calling, it must be important. He sighs and answers it. “Damn Tahno, you really know how to kill a mood. What?”

            “Sorry to interrupt what I’m sure is quite the interesting story time, but my fiancé is currently in the delivery room about to give birth and I’m heading in myself, but I thought my darling brother and father might want to be there to meet my new kid. No obligation though.”

            Noah laughs. “Tahno, stop being such a Tsundere. If you want us there, just say that.”

            “I’m not being a…what? I don’t know what that even means, but anyway, it’s up to you like I said. I’ve got to go, so maybe I’ll see you, if not, enjoy your story time.” He hangs up.

            Noah sighs again and then looks at Mikael. “Dad….” He nods in agreement.

            “Yes. I’m sorry everyone, but we’ve got to go. You’re welcome to say and discuss things, but Noah and I must go to meet them at the hospital. Please forgive us.”

            “Yea, sorry guys, I really wanted to hear, but just fill me in later.” They start to go.

            “Wait, I’m going too.” Nik stands. “I want to know the story of my parents, but you’re my friend and I don’t want to miss such a special day in your life. So I’m going too.”

            “I’m going too. Noah’s always there for us, so I’m not going to miss out on this either.”

            “Yea, like Gunther said, this only happens at special times, we can hear those stories anytime. I’m in and I’m sure Mai is in too, right?” She looks to Mai who’s been silent.

            “Of course I’m in, I’m not going to hang around alone with these guys. Let’s go.”

            Mikael looks to his team. “Well there you have it guys. Feel free to stay and relax if you wish, or you can come along, it’s up to you.” They all look at each other and nod in agreement.

            “Yea, thanks Mika, but we’re going to sit this out. We’ve got to prepare for training anyway, so we’ll be heading home on our own. Training starts for you all first thing tomorrow morning, and we will be coming to pick you all up, so be ready. We promise to tell you all you wish to know about our pasts with your parents during that time, we have a whole year together after all. Enjoy your day and congratulations on your new family member Mika, Noah.” Nik’s dad spoke for them all and Mika nods in agreement and thanks. Then he and Noah and his team all leave. “We’ve got a lot of work to do everyone.” They all nod and then take their leave.


            A few hours later, they are all sitting in the waiting room bored out of their minds, until finally Tahno shows up to greet them. “Oh, you all came. How nice of you.” Tahno grins.

            Noah grins back. “Just admit you’re happy you loser. Anyway, can we meet the baby?”

            “Yes, they’ve finally cleared her for visitors. She was getting all her shots and checkup.”

            Noah raises an eyebrow. “She? Does that mean I have a new baby niece?”

            “Yes, that’s right. She’s a girl, now are you coming to meet her or not?”

            “Yes, we’d be happy to.” Mika nods in agreement and they all follow Tahno.

            They arrive to a room and when they enter, they see Rebecca holding a small bundle. She smiles when she sees them. “Oh you all came, how nice. Thank you so much. Come see her.”

            They all move closer, Noah and Mika in the front and Tahno beside Becca. They see a baby with black hair and burnt orange eyes, similar to Becca’s, but darker, almost red. Her skin is pale, but her cheeks are rosy. She looks like any other baby for the most part, but Noah and Mika stare at her, look at each other and then to Tahno who says, “Meet Macy Becca Tahno.” He smiles, but then notices Noah and Mika staring at him strangely and with somber expressions and so he asks, “What is it? You’re not terrified of a little baby are you?” He laughs, but then he sees the others are also looking at Macy and him with discomfort. “Come on guys, what is it?!”

            “Mika touches Tahno’s shoulder. “Mason, we should speak privately about this.”

            Rebecca looks concerned now as well and shakes her head. “No, tell us here. No secrets.”

            “I agree, anything you have to say she should hear too.” He says this adamantly.

            Mika looks around and sees there are no outsiders around and then in a hushed tone says, “It seems, though it comes as a shock, believe me, Macy is a pure Junsui, not a hybrid, but full.”

            Both Becca and Tahno are shocked. Tahno gets angry. “Don’t fuck with me Mika, it’s not funny! That can’t be possible! I’m not a Junsui, you said it yourself, neither is Becca, so…?”

            “I don’t know! A Junsui born as a human has never been extensively studied, only been outcastes, so it’s not well know how reproduction works. But genetics must be a factor in this.”

            Becca must think ahead of Tahno and in an effort to defend herself she says, “I swear, I’ve never been unfaithful to you Tahno. Please don’t think that I ever was and this Macy-.”

            Tahno shushes her. “Don’t say that. I know, I believe in you. This is our child. There must be another explanation. Goddammit, there better be some explanation!” He stomps.

            “There must be, but I’m sorry Mason, I don’t know what it could be.”

            Tahno looks like he’s going to lose his mind and seeing this, Becca touches him arm. “Babe, calm down. I know this isn’t something we wanted or planned for, but please, don’t yell anymore you’re scaring her.” He looks to see that Macy is indeed preparing to cry.

            He sighs deeply and then takes her into his arms. He looks at her face, which seems to smile at him and he realizes that although his loathing of the Junsui will not fade, he could never turn away from this child, his child. He holds her hand. “I’m sorry Macy, I didn’t mean to scare you. Papa’s ok now.” She gurgles in response and he holds her closer. He looks to Mika and says, “I want to know about how this could happen. I don’t care how you do it, but figure out how this is possible or at least tell me who I can go to find out. This is our child, so I will not forsake her, but I still need to know, do you understand Mika? Will you do this for me?”

            He nods. “Of course Mason, I’ll do whatever it takes to find out. I may postpone the start of our training Noah, but I will definitely find out more information. I will help you two as well in attending to her…special needs. She may be ok without blood, Noah was after all, but then again, Noah’s a special case. Regardless, I’ll keep a close eye on her with you. I swear I will.”

            “Thanks. Now if you’ll excuse us, I think we’d like to be alone for a bit if we could.” He nods. Everyone follows Mika out, but Noah is the last to leave. He turns to Tahno and can see the despair on his face. He’s trying to be strong, for his child’s sake, but he’s having hard time. His daughter is the one thing he hates more than life itself, that’s about the shittiest luck one could have. Seeing that torn expression, Noah made up his mind on the question of the hour.

             “Hey Tahno, I’m really sorry, truly. But if it means anything, I’m grateful to you. You’ve just helped me come to a decision I’d been struggling to make. I swear I won’t let you down.” Tahno nods half-heartedly and Noah walks out. Although it may be wrong and the others may not agree, Noah decides he will use that sword after all and end all of their suffering.

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