The Moonlight Shire is ruled by the Royal Moonlight Clan, as well as seven other ruling families that run the territory. It is a sub-dominion of the Southern Frontier.

Its rulers are Momoka and Mabushi.

To Midnight Lands

After a long period of practice into the evening, Noriko sighs. "I haven't sung this long and hard before... can we... can we take a break?"

"Heck yea you can,man. My hands are cramping up." Shakes his hand out of pain. "Take a rest guys. You sing pretty good. Surprised you haven't sung in any band before."

Noriko looks away. "Thanks... I didn't really have much of an opportunity to... ....I only really struck out away from 'home' not long ago, and well... ....I'd rather not say."

"Oh It's good. Personal things. We totally respect that boundary."

A bolt of lightning strikes nearby, and Michiko and Drake appear again. "Hello again, I assume since it is evening you'll be looking to have dinner soon?"

"Um yea, we have pizza we have waiting in the fridge, but you probably aren't gonna be in the mood for that. So, yea. We're basically done for tonight."

Michiko looks at Drake. "Are you hungry now?"

"Yeah, I can go for something to eat but I don't know what exactly... I might have to cook some Cyanic dishes of my own since I'm not really a fan of Earth, Echo or Fantasy food..." Drake sighs.

"If you would like, I can take Drake here to get something more along his tastes, and if you would like to eat together with Noriko, I can pick her up when you are done. Band bonding time opportunity perhaps."

The guys look at each other and shrug. " Sure why not."

Michiko nods. "Very well. We will be leaving soon, perhaps as soon as tommorow, so if you have any performances, it may be a whole week before we return. The rest of the family has not seen her since she was a child, and I myself only found her a day or two ago. If you wish, you could speak with the resident mage of New Vince and arrange teleportation, and she could arrive and return, should you have a event planned."

" Well we don't plan events. We just play wherever and people crowd. Then they just throw money at our feet. It's a pretty good system for us as long we can feed ourselves and keep the house."

"I see. We shall be off. We'll see you in a bit." She disappears with Drake in another flash of lightning. Noriko looks at the guys.

"So what kind of pizza?" She asks inquisitively.

"Well its our own supreme pizza. Topped with vegetarian pepperoni, vegetarian griller, chopped-up bell peppers, pineapples, and olives. The black ones, not the green salty ones."

Noriko has a large grin. "Taste buds, a challenge awaits us! Let's.... CHARGE!" She cheers enthusiastically.

The guys follow right behind her towards their kitchen which is relatively small.

She sits down and looks at the group. "Oh, I'm terribly sorry, I forgot to ask your names! Sorry about that!" She say with slight embarrassment.

"Hey no worries. Um, I'm Chaz." ponts to the shorter beautiful blonde teen "That's Tippton or Tippy we like to call him."

Tippy: *waves with a smiles*

Chaz: And that one right there. *points to the big, mediocre teen* Is Morsel.

Morsel: *gestures a smooch at her and grins*

Tippy: *elbows Morsel and shakes his head at him in disapproval*

Noriko looks at Morsel for a second then smiles at them. "Well it's nice to meet you all, Chaz, Tippy, Morsel. Shall we eat then?"

Chaz: Morse, put the pizza in the oven and set it to 450.

Morsel: *goes to the deep freezer and asks out a frozen pizza with all their toppings on it and slides it in the oven and sets the temperature and the time and starts the oven*

Noriko takes her gloves off and begins arcing multi colored electricity between her fingertips to pass the time, eventually putting her gloves back on, electing to randomly change her eye and hair colors.

Chaz: So tell us about yourself. We would like to know about the fairy who sings better than an angel.

Noriko blushes slightly. "Well... allegedly I was once a princess, shocking I know. Though since a organization took me away as part of a pact between them and my family, I didn't exactly grow up with riches and stuff like that. In fact the organization pretty much raised me ignorant of my heritage. ...though that might have been in my favor, otherwise I might have ended up like a stuck up brat. ...Don't even want to think about that. But a few years ago things got shady so I started digging, and in the end I kinda just started wanting out. That went on until I met Drake, and we arranged to defect together and here we are. Though uhhh, Morsel, I don't think it would be good for your health to do that when Drake's around. ....He might introduce your face to your ass. ...Just a warning. We're kinda... ...close, if you want to put it that way.

Anyway, I like doing all kinds of things, adventuring, pranking, music, the list goes on."

Chaz: Hm. Interestin' backstory. What did you think guys?

Tippy: *raises a sign that says '9.5/10'*

Morsel: *snickers*

Noriko looks at him blankly. "Something funny?"

Chaz: Your back story seems...far-fetched.

Noriko lets out an irritated sigh. "...Pardon? I honestly hope you're not calling me a liar." Her voice seems normal, but to those who know her, it is actually a touch on edge of aggravated.

Chaz: It doesn't matter if we don't believe you, it just matters that you know that you're telling the truth.

As an edge of irritation becomes visible, one of the lightbulbs flashes dangerously.

Chaz: Does it matter what we think? We never said you were a liar nor are we thinking that.

"Saying my story is far fetched is practically the same thing. I have nothing to gain by lying about how I was raised and where I come from. Which is why it's rather insulting that you said it's far fetched."

Chaz: So does it matter what we think? We obviously don't know anything pertaining to you back-story. So if we don't believe it, that's our fault, ok? We're not insulting you. You're the only one seeing it that way. You don't have to prove it to us, ok?

In response she shrinks into her fairy form and sits on top of a ceiling fan, looking down on them.

"Yeah whatever."

The pizza is done and Morsel takes it out and sits it on the table. Tippy takes a pizza cutter and breathes then cuts it in eight slices in 4 seconds and breathes again.

Chaz: Dig in. *takes a slice*

Tippy and Morsel are already scarfing down their first slice.

Noriko's stare practically drills holes into them before she finally comes down and returns to normal size and eats, pointedly keeping her gaze to the food and not them.

Chaz: Still upset at us?

Tippy: *makes a 'Duh' gesture*

Halfway through her pizza she speaks up. "What part of my story is 'far-fetched'?" She says in a neutral tone.

Chaz: Well we heard the word 'princess' so that threw us off, then being taken by an organization cause of a deal your rents made with them, the slowly digging into your past with some dude and on while doing that have a thing going for each other and you now your out of the organization. Sounds like an interesting novel more than a real life story.

Noriko draws Lightning Slayer, and the electricity in the house goes nuts for a split second, before she silently sheathes it again.

"That sword is a trademark weapon of the organization I come from. If I must, I will name it."

Chaz: Neat.

Tippy: *thumbs up with a smile*

Noriko sighs, as Michiko appears in the doorway. Michiko looks at her for a moment. "Ready to go?" Noriko quietly looks at her half eaten pizza, and quietly gets up and walks over to Michiko. "Yes..."

"Hmmm...." Michiko's eyes give the three a critical look, as if putting them under a through investigation. "I see. We'll talk about it when we get back, Nori." She says, her gaze fixed on the three, her expression unreadable, but her air suggests she is well aware and is displeased about the present situation.

Chaz and Tippy look at Morsel in disappointment and Morsel shrugs in confusion as to why they're looking at him.

"I would look towards all three of you, rather than the one. Your behavior was all around deserving of admonition. Is this how you treat someone you just met? Who you intend to work together with? Shameful. It matters not if the intent was harmful or not, only how it was received. Perhaps I should invest my sister's talents in a more respectful and prestigious group, one more competent at least to respect the feelings of their peers. What say you now?" She says coldly. A blue spark of electricity jolts from her.

Chaz: What is your problem? She asked and I gave her answer. We were honest with here. Like every partner should. It's childish that we're even arguing about something as minimal as this. When you're out there you gotta be willing to accept the feedback. Some might not like you. Some might. It doesn't matter what they think. It only counts for what you think.

Michiko puts her hand on Noriko's head and she disappears in a bolt of lightning, and she stares at Chaz before walking up far too close for comfort, her face in his, an electric current emitting from her strong enough to make his hair stand on end.

"....Perhaps it is true what they say about rocks pretending to be brains inside of men's skulls." She says, disappearing.

Tippy: *slaps both of them in the back of the head and gestures 'Really?!'*

A slip of paper falls where Michiko stood, with her number. If you need anything from Nori, call this number.

Michiko appears in the hotel, where Drake is being served Cyanic food by some of her staff.

"You know, I think you should take me more seriously when I say my chefs can cook just about anything, and if not, fake it convincingly." She says with a smile.

After Drake finishes one of the dishes, he grabs a tissue to wipe away any access food left on his mouth before throwing the tissue in a nearby bin and looks at Michiko with a smile. "And to perfection too, it feels like I'm right back home, I can't remember the last time I had Cyanic dishes..." He laughs as he eats a small treat. "I feel like a kid again, thanks Michi."

Michiko sits down next to him and Noriko, who looks a bit upset from earlier. Kanashimi slyly steals some of Drake's food while he's not looking.

Drake looks at Noriko, handing her a Cyanic treat before asking. "Hey, what's up? Did the band thing not go so well?"

Noriko sighs. "They asked me to tell them stuff about me, so I told them my back history, and they didn't believe me. Why would I lie about any of that?"

Drake simply rolls his eyes. "Hmph, humans... Some are good, some are bad and some are complete dumbasses, best to either ignore them or bring proof just to shut them up." Drake chuckles as he notions towards Kurai, who's hung up on a coat hanger. "I could say hi and 'show' them Kurai, probably even let them hold it. That'll be enough proof, right?"

Michiko sighs. "I'd rather not have to rescue you from authorities, Drake... that's quiet unnecessary."

Noriko hugs Drake. "Thanks for the offer, but I'm fine. Thanks anyway...."

Drake puts one arm around her and kisses her forehead before looking back at Michiko. "So, when are we going to see the rest of the family? I'm starting to get quite anxious." Drake says, a bit nervously for asking.

Michiko smiles. "I was going to get to that. I have some plans to leave tomorrow at proper afternoon. We won't get there for a while. Because, you know, teleportation on Echo is finicky."

Drake nods. "Alright, I wonder if there's a better explanation to why teleportation is the way it is here... Noriko isn't the best with explaining, but nevertheless I'm already ready. But considering you two, yeah, tomorrow is a good time to head off." He yawns as he runs his hand through his hair before sighing. "Maybe I'll have to stop with the mercenary work again for a while... Dammit, just when the first mission was fun."

Michiko smiles. "You'll likely have plenty of time after we come back. We'll be there about a week, two if you fall into the depths of insanity along with us."

Drake laughs. "Me and insanity are friends, remember that I have Corruption inside a blade and is basically a friend... Albeit a very unfriendly one, so I'm expecting them to be very regal, or very childish like Nori here... How much am I right about either of those things?"

Michiko looks at him for a moment, and she is suddenly in his hair in fairy form. "Oh I would imagine the only 'sane' ones is my parents and our two brothers. It's open season for your shoulders and hair with our sisters."

Noriko quickly joins Michiko in his hair.

Drake stays silent for a moment before smiling and plucking the two out of his hair, dangling them infront of them. "That's nice and all, but I'd rather not become a nest for fairies if that's alright. Besides I'd prefer that my hair doesn't become infested with fairy dust." He chuckles before letting them go to flutter around.

Noriko stubbornly flies onto his shoulder and sits on it.

Michiko grows full size and looks at them. "Anyway, I suggest you get some sleep, not right away, but I think you'd want to be well rested for our trip."

Drake nods once more before stroking Noriko. "Yeah, don't worry about us Michi, we'll be fine and ready in the morning. Although, Noriko, anything you want to do before you head off to sleep?"

"Mmmmmm.... ....No, I can't think of any... why?" She asks, sighing contently at his touch.

"Oh, I was just wondering. Since you always have that one small thing to do before you finish the day, so I'm surprised that you have nothing left to do... Huh, alright then. Well, I'm gonna have a quick shower then I'll be ready to sleep." Drake softly puts her on her pillow then goes to the bathroom, locks the door then does what he needs to do.

Noriko sighs and slowly grows out into her full size, burying herself under the covers when she finishes.

After a while, Drake comes out of the bathroom, still drying his head with a towel, placing it aside after he's finished. Drake then gets ready for bed, soon after getting in bed, he then sighs. "Noriko, forget about what those idiots said..."

Noriko embraces him. "I'm ok. I just wish they'd believe me. I mean it's who I am and I was honest with them... ...yeah you're right. I can't wait to see where I came from..."

Drake smiles and gives Noriko a soft but warm kiss before chuckling, running his hand through her hair. "Neither can I, although the thought of your sisters being like you... It scares me, but it's gonna interest me too, I expect a great welcome for you when we arrive. But if your parents are as anything your sister said, then I'm gonna be really surprised if someone as regal and, dare I say posh as them could make someone as hyperactive as you."

Noriko laughs quietly. "I imagine there's more to it than meets the eye. If you could survive me I'm sure you'll do fine." She returns the favor and lays against him as she kisses him back. "Thank you for caring so much about me. I'm glad I can depend on you, even if my problems might be petty..."

"Hey, that's what couples are for, right? Standing against the test of time, dealing with any problem that comes our way, besides I imagine in a full out fight we kick ass. Drake Ryunexo and Noriko Moonlight, see, that sounds epic!" Drake then blinks as he realises he goes off topic slightly. "Oh, whoops... And with caring so much about a loved one, that's only natural." Drake wraps his arms around Noriko and hugs her tightly, the moment goes on for a little while longer before Drake tiredly yawns.

She laughs quietly, then begins to fall asleep in his arms, a smile on her face.

Drake smiles as he slowly dozes off to sleep, kissing Noriko's forehead one more time before doing so.

When Drake wakes up the next morning, Noriko still lays against him, and interestingly enough she seems to have been generating an excess of electricity, as he can feel static when he moves, and her hair is more poofy than normal.

Drake chuckles as he wakes Noriko up, simply poking her which causes the static to discharge. "Zap... Zap... Zappy zap zap..." He then rolls his eyes as he tries to sit up, but it doesn't help that the static is shocking him little by little whenever he moves. "...I guess you slept well then."

"Mmmmm.... I did... ...I love you so much..." She moans, wanting to sleep more.

Drake playfully sighs as he looks at Noriko. "Well... Michiko did say until the afternoon, you can sleep for five more minutes. Then I'll wake you up, alright?" Drake manages to get out of the bed without disturbing Noriko any further, he then goes around and preps himself up for the day, soon after eventually waiting for her to wake up.

Noriko eventually sits up in bed and feels her hair, then sighs. "Could you comb my hair....?" She asks, her eyes still sleepy.

Drake's eyes widen for a brief moment before he takes a look around and grabs a nearby comb, walking up to Noriko and sits behind her then starts combing her hair. "I bet this makes you feel like a princess, just make sure this power doesn't go to your head ok? I'm your boyfriend, not your servant so please keep that in mind." He chuckles as after a while he's halfway done with combing.

She lets out a sigh of content, then laughs. "I'vvvvve got alllllll the power in my heaaaad!" She cackles, as a spark of electricity jumps from her head.

"Thank you Drake, that feels great..."

"No problem, but I'm counting this as a favour so now you owe me a favor." Drake smirks, soon after pulling the comb out and placing it aside. "Done."

Drake notices that Noriko looks much more like Michiko, now that her hair is smoothed out and hasn't been given her shower and electricity treatment. She sighs contently and rests her head against him.

"I don't think I'll have a problem with that." She says with a quiet smile.

"You say that now, who knows what I could have planned." Drake says as a devious grin grows on his face, he gives Noriko one last stroke before gaining tribal markings on himself. Shrinking down to the size Noriko gets when she's a fairy, he then laughs and flies around the room, a small trail of fire tailing him. "Wow, this is fun! I should do it more often!"

Noriko laughs for a minute, then gets up and walks to the bathroom, stopping to grab a different outfit and then closes the door behind her, taking a shower, and after a while comes out, and lets loose a discharge of electricity, and her hair becomes more poofy and like its usual style, though a thick steam forms in the room.

"...We should of opened a window before you did that, now I can't see a damn thing!" He flies around the room and eventually collides into Noriko, he then perches himself up on her shoulder and chuckles. "Alright, we're both ready, but then there's food to deal with... But I'm still full from yesterday, so yeah... I'm fully ready, it always comes down to the girls that take a year and a half to prepare." 

Noriko's stomach growls. "Hmmm..." She heads over to the dining area, where Michiko and Kanashimi sit. 

"Oh, looks like the tables have turned!" Kanashimi says with a smile. She doesn't appear to notice she's grown energy wings, six of them. Food is laid out, and Noriko digs in. 

Drake looks at the wings, eventually flying off of Noriko and growing back to full size, landing perfect on a chair while doing so."Hmmm... Why have you grown, oh yeah... Nevertheless they look impressive, I still doubt you could outrace me with those!"

She blinks. "Huh?" She looks back and almost jumps. "Geez didn't even know those were there. I think my powers are coming back... ....slowly. And keep talking while you cuddle up with Nori, old man."

Michiko wipes her face with a napkin and looks at Kanashimi. "The one who starts the day off name calling gets to wash the dishes with the servants."

Drake smirks as he responds. "Heh, I could even have Noriko in my arms and I can still be faster than you... Like I say." Drake enters his Half Dragon form and stretches out his wings, making a proud but friendly growl. "Nothing beats the original, when concerning me at least." Drake then reverts back to normal, his smirk on his face still present.

Noriko sighs. "Except you haven't even fought a CE yet. You were the Eta Prototype, right Kana?"

Kanashimi nods.

"Well, keep that in mind. Have you even been told what a CE is actually capable of?" Noriko asks Drake out of curiosity.

"I've heard of monstrous things from the guards back at Yosai, plus what Daikeim told me about Kanashimi... But in all honesty, I'm sorta excited to fight one, I'm sure if Kanashimi is a Eta Prototype then that means there must be other CEs that have I genetics, all I know of is Silent Angel and Kana but that's all... I remember Azula trying to kill me but Silent Angel did come to my rescue which surprised me. But yeah, I've been told, but I haven't seen any in action yet so that makes me very anxious."

Noriko shakes her head exasperatedly. "I wouldn't want to fight one..."

Drake thinks he can feel a prickle of cold air.

Drake takes a look around, glancing at the others before asking them. "Uuuh, do you guys feel that? That can't just be me, right?" He tries to focus of the wind direction to see where the coldness was coming from.

A blue light appears in the doorway, and blurs and grows until it takes the shape of a humanoid figure, and a cold air starts to emit from it. After a few minutes, it takes the form of Aoi.

"Oh, I got it right on my first try. Noriko, I need to talk to you about something. It's very important."

Noriko blinks. "Uh, ok?"

In response, the image of Aoi blurs and returns to the light form, and disappears in Noriko's head.

"Oh, one... one second....*yawn...*" Noriko says, then falls 'asleep'.

"...What just happened...?" Drake looks at Michiko and Kanashimi before looking back at Noriko. "Was that just..." Drake narrows his eyes. "Aoi, I swear to God if you just highjacked Nori, I am going to burn you!"

"I swear, so grumpy some times... I'm talking to her, calm down already..." Aoi's voice comes out of Noriko's own mouth.

"Though his little temper tantrums can be cute in an odd way..." Noriko seems to respond.

"I think you mean 'annoying'. So wait, you two are a... ...oh that explains... ...right. Moving on."

Drake rolls his eyes before asking a question. "Speaking of things, who the hell rescued you and Caess from Yosai? I heard the news and apparently is was a... Aetherborn-netherborn, I dunno, wasn't really paying attention since White's voice is like a damn grater. Oh and you forgot your painting, I actually grabbed it before heading off, it's in my HSC if you want it."

"....Kalin. Oh, and thanks.... ...though I can't really take it with me... I won't, or rather, can't be here long so...."

Drake goes silent for a moment. "...Didn't he kill your mother? Anyways, I'll let you two finish, I'd like Nori back soon."

"He would have, except I saved her crystal from melting. I admit, that wasn't a shining example of his intellect... but he's a good person..." A warm smile is on Noriko's face, as if mimicking the expression Aoi would have.

Drake begins to laugh. "Haha! Right, if you two are a thing... Then you have Stockholm Syndrome, oh this is priceless! So you're telling me that after being rescued by someone you didn't even know, you fell for him... This is pure gold right here, please go on."

A cruel smile crosses Noriko's face.

".......Drakey, I really shouldn't have to say this, but I think you need to look in this." She holds up a mirror and shows him his reflection. "Take a good look in the mirror." Noriko says in a too sweet voice.

She then proceeds to shock him with a bolt of lightning.

Drake stays silent, narrowing his eyes at Noriko with a spiteful expression on his face. Only saying a couple of words."...When you least expect it." Drake then opens his HSC and pulls out a small cube from the HSC, inside the cube is a miniature and harmless Cecil who he just watches as he tries to escape. "Just finish your conversation already."

After a few minutes, a blue light leaves Noriko's body and disappears. Noriko then opens her eyes, then abruptly tackles Drake onto the floor out of the chair, her expression surprisingly serious.

"What was that for, Drake? The look. Is this about the thing I said about the mirror? I won't let you up until you're done with the hissy fit."

Drake's eyes widen at the sudden change of Noriko's attitude, taking him just a moment to adapt. "No, it was because you shot lightning into me..." Drake then manages to sit up, glancing at the mirror before realising that on the other side of the table is Michiko and Kanashimi. "Uuuh, Noriko, wanna get off of me now?"

Noriko seems to genuinely consider that, and then smirks. "Hmmmm.... ...Noooope." She then proceeds to fully lay on him, refusing to budge and laughs.

Kanashimi cracks a smile, but Michiko merely opens a newspaper.

"I do believe someone has dish duty, Kanashimi." She says dully.

"Dammit Noriko..." He tries to struggle to get her off of him but to no avail, soon after he just sighs and accepts being stuck like this. He looks around him before looking at Noriko. "So what were you and Aoi talking about?"

She laughs for a moment. "Talking about the CE's, asked a lot of questions about what I knew about them."

"Huh... Ok, that seems random as anything but I guess there's a purpose behind it..." He then raises his voice. "Michiko, when are we going again?"

"In a few hours." She says without lowering the newspaper.

Noriko lays her head on Drake's chest with a smile.

"A... A... Few hours..." The tone of dread in Drake's voice is noticeable, but after a moment he looks down at Noriko and smiles, kissing her head then wrapping an arm around her. "I guess we're not moving for a while..."

She kisses him back, then scooting up to rest her head against his.

"....Norrriiiiii....." Michiko calls out. "Do you want lemon cake?" She asks, which causes Noriko's head to whip up.

"M-M-M-My faaaaavorite....." Noriko moans, a hint of drool coming from her mouth.

Michiko lowers her newspaper, a smile on her face. "You my dear, truly are my sister. I just knew it. Too bad I don't have any made today."

Drake can just practically see the smile and happiness drain when Noriko hears that, and sadly plops back down, dejected.

Drake laughs. "That was mean, but in a sense Noriko did deserve it... Oh cheer up Noriko, when we meet your family, they'll probably have a big lemon cake just for you, so keep that in mind." He ruffles Noriko's hair as he smiles.

Michiko gets an amused smirk. "Hmmm... that's right... there is a lemon cake left in the far right left refrigerator."

Noriko bolts toward the kitchen as fast as she can go. After a minute....


Michiko laughs, and lets the despairing crying commence, until she calls out again: "Oh sorry, it was the RIGHT refrigerator!"

After a few moments of silence....

"YEEEEEEAAAAAAAA!" Noriko's shout of joy booms through the apartment.

Drake gets up and sits back on the chair, chuckling. "Thanks Michiko, as comfy as she is, I'd rather not be forced to lie on the floor for a couple more hours... So how long do you think until she finishes eating the cake?"

"Mmmm, ten minutes? If she's anything like me, she'll inhale it."

Drake pictures that in his mind. "...Charming, nice to know she's of royal blood, oh, is there anything I need to know about your family, heritage, history and that?"

Michiko blinks. "Well, you know this already, but our family has always been associated with Phoenix, as part of a protection deal. It's more customary and honoring the past than anything else nowadays, but we've had many notable members within the organization. One of our greatest early contributing members was Eien, 'The Red Lightning'. He was probably the strongest member of our family to date. He disappeared after some time, no one knows what happened to him."

Drake's overall tone shifts, his eyes looking down at the table, they begin to glow only faintly. 'Eien...'. Drake then rests his right hand on Kurai's handle, a soft growl can be heard. But after a while he shakes his head and looks back at Michiko, sighing. "Y'know I'll never understand why this family would tie themselves with Phoenix, if it were with the Ryunexos, we would never let one away to some scum like them... Willingly or not." Those last three words seemed much more harsh when Drake said them, but then rolls his eyes and smiles. "So don't you think people should stop focusing on the past, I know it's hard for someone like me to say that. But usually someone's pride, past and history can really cloud one's judgement... I mean no offense, I'm just saying."

"I do believe that people should live in the present, not the past or future. But it's important to honor and remember what once was. I don't know much about Phoenix. All I've known is that they wanted us to uphold our pact with them, and we readily agreed, and later regretted. They were once a very honorable organization, regardless of what you've experienced with them, their leadership determines their policies. ....Also... you ok? You seemed... ...upset about something." She looks over at his face with a crease of concern in her face.

"Huh? ...Oh, that, it's nothing. Just got a bad memory, that's all." Drake says with a nervous smile, which soon turn into chuckles as he finally grabs a treat from the table and decides to eat.

Suddenly Drake feels an intense pain in his head, which quickly goes to his eyes, and his vision begins to become oddly layered, each layer a different color, his head begins pounding like a drum.

Drake quickly puts one hand over his eyes and the other on his head as he yells pain, this continues for a moment before he slumps over and falls to the floor but manages to use one of his hands to keep him from hitting the floor. "What... What the fuck was that!?" When Michiko looks at him, she can see that he's breathing heavily and sweating, soon after tribal markings appear only on his face. "...Ok, that... That should suppress the pain for now... Oh God that hurt like hell..."

She calls out to him, but her voice seems very distant, and soon things fall out of shape, and slowly a scene begins to play before him, as a young man in a yellow cloak walks toward a Japanese styled fortress, and blows open the gates, setting the front of the fortress ablaze, he then stalks straight through the center to a throne, where a woman with white hair and gold eyes and a greenish gray robe with white flower print sits, watches him approach.

"Eien... so this is your choice? No, I already knew that when you killed the others. I would say, 'what do you want,' but I suspect I know the answer to that question," She says, as he draws his Slayer, which sparks with red lightning.

The man she calls Eien pulls down his hood, showing Drake his face. He is a young man with blonde hair and blue eyes, his face has a vague build to both Noriko's and Michiko's, though rougher and more masculine. He glares at her.

"I want answers... answers to it all. This is the path that will show me the answers I seek!" He roars, discharging a bolt of red lightning at her, but she moves so fast, it takes Drake and Eien a full minute to realize where she has gone, on top of the roof.

"I see. You want that power. You're willing to kill me to get it, I imagine?"

Eien steps toward her. "Yes. I am."

She looks at him for a long moment, before drawing her Light Slayer. A tense moment passes between them, when suddenly the woman drops the sword to the ground.

"You win, Eien. Take the power you so desire. You'll find it's not what you think it is." Before Eien can even respond, she disappears, and is seen no more.

Eien stares at the white blade of Light Slayer, eyes fixated on it.

"At last... at last... I'll see it all... I'll find the answers I seek!" He jeers with glee. As he reaches for the blade, the vision grows fuzzy and Drake is suddenly back in Michiko's apartment, but no time has actually passed. Michiko moves quickly and feels his head.

"Are you alright? Do I need to call a doctor?" She asks with concern.

Drake takes a while to respond, slowly sitting up and putting a hand on his head. "No... No need for a doctor, I'm fine... Answers, I wonder..." Drake attempts to stand up but staggers over, but soon manages to sit back on his chair, taking a drink of water. "Don't worry about me, Michi, I'll be fine. Just give me a moment." He chuckles as he thinks over what he just saw.

Michiko blinks. "You sure you're alright? Why are you laughing like that?"

"Because when I meet someone, I have a couple of questions to ask... Or in other reasons, I usually laugh off most things since this world is too dark and gloomy... I like to think myself as comic relief, stupid I know considering my usual attitude."

Michiko sighs. "Probably pointless to ask for specific details, right?"

"Hmm? What do you mean?" Drake says as he looks at Michiko.

"I mean it's probably pointless to ask what you're talking about, like that 'someone' you mentioned, or what happened to you."

Drake sighs once more. "Eien... I just got a flashback from his past, he wanted something from a White... A Slayer... When I meet Eien, I have some questions to ask him..."

Michiko looks confused. "Huh? But Eien is dead, like... he was... I don't know, a great great something something grandfather, I don't know how far back he actually was in the family line."

"Oh, he's alive alright... And he's already decided to piss me off, while that I don't want to get into detail, but trust me, I've seen him before." Drake softly growls as he looks at Kurai.

Michiko sighs. "Alright then...." She walks over to the couch and sits down, just as Noriko comes in with an absolutely giddy hyper expression, almost skipping while she laughs.

Michiko smirks. "Suuuuuugaaar high. I wonder what happens now?"

As if on cue, Noriko turns into her fairy form and starts wizzing around at high speeds in every direction possible, occasionally rapidly orbiting Drake's head while laughing, then going off to go nuts some more, all the while shouting,


Drake smiles as he watches the lightning fairy wizz around. "...You'd think that giving Noriko of all people a lemon cake would be a bad idea, but it's surprisingly tame. For now at least." He joins Michiko on the sofa and watches.

Noriko eventually after a lot of random intensive flying around, suddenly dive bombs at Drake.

Drake quickly vaults over the sofa and hides behind it, narrowly dodging Noriko. "Nope, I take it back. Bad idea bad idea!"

After a moment... "What are we hiding from?" Noriko's voice says from beside him.

Drake springs up to the roof, holding onto a chandelier as he looks back at Noriko. "JESUS CHRIST! YOU ALMOST GAVE ME A HEART ATTACK!"

She pouts. "Awwww come back here! If you're going to play hide and seek, you gotta try harder you know!" She turns back into her fairy form, but Michiko traps her under a plastic cup.

"Heeeeeeeeey! Let me out! That's not fair!"

After a moment, Drake jumps down and lands just infront of the cup, looking at the little fairy as he chuckles. "Awww, you're like a little pet." He taps the cup, a small childish smile on his face. "Can we keep her, Michiko? I promise I'll look after her." He says jokingly.

Noriko puffs her cheeks indignantly, and crosses her arms.

Michiko smiles. "I don't know, I think there's a chance of electrocution involved."

"I'll be ok with that, a little shock won't hurt me..." Drake pulls the cup up and puts it aside, placing a open hand infront of Noriko. "C'mon... It's ok I don't bite." His smile showing how much he loves playing along with this.

Noriko looks at his hand, then looks at his face, then down at his hand...

then suddenly grows full size and tackles him. "I got you again! Now I'll never ever ever ever let you up!" She cheers joyously, pinning him to the floor again.

Drake chuckles as he reaches his head up and kisses Noriko's cheek. "If you let me up, you'll be rewarded with lemon cake."

She hugs him tight. "No! I'm keeping you down this time! Nothing will stop me! Not even Lemon Cake!"

Michiko smiles. "Oh, that reminds me. It's time to go now."

Noriko looks up. "Whaaaaaat? Nooooo..."

Michiko has all their bags prepared. "That's right. It's time to hit the road."

Kanashimi laughs as Noriko's face turns into a pout again. "Great..."

Kanashimi smirks. "Maybe you can give me a few pointers on flying while we're traveling, 'pops'."

Drake smiles as he hugs Noriko back, looking at Kanashimi. "I would but your mother currently has me pinned down to the floor, and as much as I'd like to just relax here..." He looks back at Noriko. "We have to go see your family, so it's time to get off of me."

She sighs. "Okkkaaaayyy..." She gets off of him, slightly grumpy looking.

Michiko coughs. "So you know, Echo is not without its savage beasts. Also... what do you know about Echo's weather?"

Drake begins speaking more proudly. "Pfft, beasts are nothing compared to a dragon! And so far, I've seen day and night, so next to nothing, but it can't be that bad... Right?"

Michiko has a peculiar smile. "One word for you: Supersonic Wind."

"That's... That's two words, Michiko..." He smirks as he enters his Half Dragon form, letting out a cocky growl. "But nevertheless, a little wind wouldn't do much against me."

Michiko turns on a screen, and shows him a video of just how much destruction a Supersonic Wind does.

"You only find winds like that on places like Neptune, Uranus, and Jupiter. Not sure about Jupiter. The point is, there's hardly anything that can withstand those winds. Once we get out into the plains, we're going to have to keep an eye on the weather."

Drake sighs as he looks at the wind on the video. "...Great, that's gonna be a bother to deal with. So we should get there as soon as possible." Drake looks at the bags and opens his HSC, expanding the size of it until it's big enough for the bags to fit in. He then walks over and grabs the bags then begins to put them in the cube, after a while he closes the cube down and stores it away, looking at Michiko. "So, let's get moving now, shall we?"

Michiko nods. "Yes... as soon as redhead does the dishes."

Kanashimi blinks. "Wait that wasn't a joke?!"

Michiko smirks. "Of course not. Now go."

"Or what?"


"OW! I'm going, I'm going!" Kanashimi yelps after being shocked, and runs toward the kitchen.

"....The dishes were done twenty minutes ago," Michiko whispers in Drake's ear.

Drake chuckles as he watches Kanashimi scuttle off, looking back at Michiko. "Wow, you and Noriko are alike... Your sisters must be the same then?" Drake rolls his eyes. "Oooh yaaaaay... I'm gonna go insane, aren't I?"

Michiko smiles. "We're various types of insane."

After a while, Kanashimi comes back, panting.

"Oh, forgot, they were already done. Good job giving them that extra sparkle," Michiko says with a smile.

"You. Suck." Kanashimi growls.

Drake laughs, patting Kanashimi on the head. "Hey, at least you're learning to be responsible, so there's that. But we should also get your language sorted, you're very rude." Just then Kurai hisses. 'Yeah, because you're language is just fine...' Drake then growls. "Shut it, Corruption."

"Uh huh, my language definitely needs sorting. Yeah, I'm totally the rude one. That's totally correct."

Drake glares at Kanashimi then smirks. "Hmhmm... Anyways, let's just get going before these winds pick up, ok? Me and Kana need to race so I can prove that I'm better than her!"

Michiko nods, and they begin to walk out, heading towards the city exit. Once they are outside of the city, Kanashimi looks at Drake.

"Ok, ready? Ok... GO!" She says as she blasts off into the sky.

Drake laughs as he enters his Half Dragon form and springs into the air, flying up to Kanashimi and soon manages to keep up. "Hey! Nice weather up here, isn't it?"

"Sure is, if you're looking to lose!" She quips.

"Ah, so I'm guessing you're sightseeing then!" Drake's wings then make a single flap and suddenly he disappears out of sight, after a moment of looking, Kanashimi can see Drake in the distance, a faint laughter can be heard as he speeds off.

Michiko sighs. "If you all are going to goof off, please at least stay where we can see you! Last thing you need is to get lost!" She yells after them.

Michiko can hear a faint voice which belongs to Drake. "Oh don't worry about us, we'll be fine! Besides I'm kicking Kanashimi's ass with this race-- CRAP CRAP CRAP CRAP CRAAA--" After a moment of silence, Noriko and Michiko can hear cracks as they hear the laughter of Kanashimi.

Michiko sighs. "Idiots..."

A while passes before they see Drake flying just above them, but notice that he has his backed facing down. Drake then looks down at the two and wave before flying off again at a more tame and relaxed speed. "Y'know... This is really peaceful, for once, we can just have a calm walk... Until the wind kicks in of course, but still.."

Kanashimi flies up next to Drake, flying with more agility than before. She rolls over with her back facing the ground like him, leisurely flying. She looks over at him. "Hey, Drake? You've changed a lot lately. I actually wanted to ask you, what do you think I should do with myself? I mean, now I'm free and all... ....what should I even do? I know it's dumb and all, coming from me, but I don't feel like I have a purpose right now, and it's kinda bumming me out."

Drake goes silent for a moment, pondering on the thought before he looks at her and speaks. "I ask myself that sometimes, even in the state I'm currently in... Well, let's see what's laid out on the table shall we?" Drake starts listing off things, although whispering to himself before he speaks again. "Well, like I said, I do mercenary work... But knowing the direction I'm going in, I might have to retire as one. I mean, you could do mercenary work too but I know it's not your kind of style... Sadly I haven't got any answers, best bet is to just wait for an opportunity."

Kanashimi thinks for a moment. "You think you could... teach me? Train me, I guess? I just need... ...something. ...I can't help but think how lucky I am though... ...when the others are all still slaves... but what if they get free? What will they do with themselves? ...I hate these feelings, you know?"

Drake chuckles to himself. "Kanashimi, trust me, the other CEs will be free... Afterall, if I'm not the one who kills White, then I'll just have to beat the crap out of the person who does!" Drake says as prideful yet determined as ever, he then smiles. "And, yeah... I'll teach you, I am your dad anyways, so I sorta need to, don't worry about it." Drake then looks down at Noriko then back at Kanashimi. "Umm, what would your reaction be if I told you that you might be getting a sister or brother..."

She stares at Drake blankly. "Wuuuuuuuuuuuttt......?" When what he said hits her, she goes, "Wait what?! U-u-h-h-h.....uhhh... Huston... we have... a problem... too.... much... shipping... too... much... " THWACK!

Kanashimi accidentally crashes into a tree.

Drake bursts into laughter for a moment, helping Kanashimi back up into the air, but still laughs while doing so. "Haha... Nice to know your reaction, I guess no sister or brother for you for a looong time. You alright now?"

"Uhh, wait, I thought you were talking like literally that was happening..... ...ah you dick...! Geez don't scare me like that. Dear lord though... you actually considering that?" She asks. She begins flapping her wings in an attempt to stabilize herself.

"I... I actually don't know, I mean personally I don't plan on it. But after a while maybe my opinion will change, I mean don't take it wrong... But I technically have you and Silent Angel, possibly some others knowing how White is."

"Hmmm... You know Drake... I'm honored that you treat me like you have... but really, to be honest, I'm just a former test subject who happened to have been created by someone using your DNA to create me. I'm not the real thing. You don't have to look at us like you do. I mean..." She pauses, unsure how to continue.

Drake sighs. "Listen, just because you're a former test subject doesn't mean I'm going to neglect or hate you, as you know... I look at you as a daughter not because I have to, but because I want to, even though you're only related to me via the DNA. Think of it as a adoption, in a sense, just because you're not actually my child doesn't mean I'm not going to treat you like one, this goes with Silent Angel and possibly others... To me, you're family, and considering that I had no true family when I was growing up, you and the others mean a hell of a lot to me..."

He can see her almost choke up, then she struggles on for a moment before saying, "....Thank you... I was trying to say this but... ...even so, don't replace the real thing with us. Regardless of what you decide to do with Nori, at the very least... I guess I could say that if you love her as much as you've said you do, I want you to at least think about what future you could have and what you'd want and how'd you'd want to spend your future with her. She isn't like us... ....I don't think I'll have to ever worry about dying... ...I'm probably one of the more long living breed of Mythos out there now. You'll always have us, assuming someone doesn't stick a sword in us, but Nori... she won't live forever like us. So, think about it ok?"

Kanashimi thinks for a moment. "You're doing her a great favor by the way, coming with her to see her family. I don't think you know this, but I suspect she's dreadfully nervous. I think she'll be looking for your support in this." She suddenly playfully punches Drake in the shoulder. "So be the tough guy she'll need alright?" She says with a grin.

"Don't worry, I will." Suddenly Drake hugs Kanashimi, almost making them plummet down to the floor, but he lets go quickly. "And if anything, thank you... Now if you will excuse me, I have someone to dive bomb onto, I'll come back up in a minute." And with that, Drake gains tribal markings as he shrinks down to a size of a fairy, and with a small laugh he then flies down directly at Noriko. "INCOMING!"

"Awwwww maaaan!" She moans, and starts running the other way with lightning.

"Oh no you don't!" Drake then begins to chase Noriko around, soon after managing to catch up to plant a small kiss on her cheek. "For lightning, you sure are slow." He says playfully.

Noriko giggles, before trapping Drake with her hands. "Gotcha!"

"H-Hey! Let go of me!" Drake says has he punches Noriko's hands, although not to much avail. "Norikooooooo! You evil person!"

"Heehee heee! Oh look Michiko, I found a pet! It's a little Drake! I'm gonna keep him in here all day!" She chirps with giddy glee.

Drake begins to pout as he looks at Noriko. "Noriko... Pleeeeaaaase?" After a while, he yawns as he rests his head on one of Noriko's fingers. "Actually... Keep me in your hands, the flying really tired me out... Just give me a moment." Drake closes his eyes and rests for a while, a small smile on his face.

Noriko looks at Michiko for a moment, then gets a grin, then cracks open her hands and starts tickling Drake with her pinky.

Drake begins to giggle which then turns into controllable bursts of laughter. "Ahaa.... Hahaha... Hahahahah! Nori! Stop! Haha! Let me rest you hahaha! Please! Hahaha!"

She only stops when he is finally out of breath, then relents, still giggling. "Ahhhhh... sweet revenge... funny how the tables have turned today!"

Drake sighs as he hugs two of Noriko's fingers. "Yes they have, but... Please let me rest, I need to conserve my energy for your hyper family..." Drake then kisses one of the fingers and rest, strangely to Noriko, she can feel a small purr from Drake as he rests.

Noriko looks over at Michiko. "So, when will we camp?" Michiko points out a far distant area on the horizon, where the massive cradling mountains fade from view.

"We'll stop at the mouth of the plains."

Emerging Into The Wild

As dusk falls, the group arrives at the mouth of the valley, where the mountains open up into a large plain, where off in the distance, barely visible, mountain ranges can be seen on the other side.

Michiko raises her hand. "We stop here. It's not wise to proceed until daylight." A gentle cool breeze blows through the air.

Drake wakes up and pokes his head up above Noriko's hands to see the wilderness, he then yawns. "Ok... So we're staying here 'til tomorrow... Alright." Drake flies out of Noriko's hands and reverts back to normal size, stretching his arms. "Aaah, that's better... We're just gonna make camp here, if so... Then won't we need stuff? Like food, water... Fire..."

Michiko sighs. "Did you think I came unprepared? Also, we can't risk fire. These wilds aren't... ...uninhabited. Take that cube that has our belongings in it out."

Drake nods and opens the HSC, expanding the cube out so everyone can get what they need. "Here we go, that's everything... Huh, this is sorta like a camping trip, isn't it?"

Michiko smiles a bit. "Yes, you could say that indeed." She takes some prepared food out of a case, and creates a field of energy around it, cooking it, and after a moment hands everyone some spiced chicken.

"We may be traveling for about a week, depending. If we find a caravan, it'll cut our travel time significantly. Now, Drake, keep in mind: there are elemental marauders out here who would not hesitate to kill someone for sport. Not all elementals obey the Eight Clans, some work on their own. There's that, and monsters. So, keep quiet if you can. So no yelling or hollering. You never know what's out there."

Drake smirks as he draws Kurai, examining it then sheathing it back. "Trust me, elementals and monsters are gonna be the least destructive thing out here... Besides, mercenaries usually kill for money, so at least me and the marauders have something in common." He takes a bite out of the chicken and smiles, making a satisfied noise while doing so.

Michiko looks around for a moment, and spies an outcropping of rock. "Let's move everything under there, we'll make our camp there. Once we move everything I'll set up bedding and we'll sleep."

Drake stands up as he begins to slowly move everything under the rock, neatly putting everything in place. "I guess that counts me as being on nightwatch duty... I literally just woke up so I'll be up for ages, plus the marauders and monsters might come here..."

Michiko nods. "Very well then." She quickly sets up the bedding, some sort of roll up mattresses that are really soft, with multiple blankets and a cover for each. She and Noriko prepare to sleep, while Kanashimi joins Drake.

"I'm gonna join you on this one." She says, sweeping her hair out of her face.

"Are you sure? Don't you want to get any sleep like the others?" Drake says as he scans the area for any threats, walking around.

"I'll be fine. Besides, I kinda wanted to spend time with you. Haven't gotten much of a chance to."

Drake chuckles as he looks back at Kanashimi. "Alright, so bonding time while we protect two princesses lives... Sure, why not?"

Kanashimi laughs for a moment, then looks at the setting sun. "Man, I can't believe this is a whole world. The cities are so big, but the wild is so much bigger..." A soft wind blows in their faces. "I wonder just how big this place is..."

"Echo as a whole must be at least the size of Earth... But yeah, it's probably bigger than we imagine." Drake perches himself up on a rock and looks out. "A week's long travel... That's gonna be tiresome, hmm..."

Into the night time, with the moon shining down and making things have a silver glow, Drake eventually notices in the far distance on one of the mountain ranges forming the lip of the valley's entrance is a faded green robed figure standing quietly. He can't tell if its male or female, but its hood's opening seems pointed in their direction.

Kanashimi sees it too. "Hey, you see that person right?"

Drake cautiously unsheathes Kurai, focusing on the figure. "Yeah... Probably a marauder, but still we can't be careless... I say we still wait to see it's next movements, then we plan out."

To both their surprise, the figure appears to start slowly disappearing from view, eventually fading, as though they just saw a ghost.

Drake's eyes widen for a moment before narrowing. "What the hell... Stay on your guard, it might of just teleported..."

Kanashimi looks around a bit before seeming to relax. "It went away. It's not here right now, it moved on somewhere else."

Drake sighs but still keeps Kurai out. "I'm still not sure... So what the hell was that?"

"Hmmm.... I think a spirit of some sort... it seemed to be focused on you. Not sure why, but I could... ...feel its energy directed at you."

After a moment of silence, Drake sheathes Kurai and looks at Kanashimi. "But why would it be focused on me? A spirit... Hmm, it probably noticed Corruption since he's basically a dark spirit in a sense."

"Maybe... ....weird... anyway, I don't think it meant any harm."

Drake jumps down and leans against a rock. "You're probably right... So, anything you want to talk about?"

"Do you know how many brothers and sisters I had before I died?" She asks, laying down next to him looking up at the stars.

Drake shakes his head. "None that I know of... I thought it was just you, but then came Silent Angel and there's probably more."

"There is. Silent Angel, you know him. Name speaks for himself. But there's Lyre, Sukimu, and Kagerou. By now there's probably even more."

Drake laughs. "So, there are more then... I wonder how far up White's ass they are, figuratively speaking of course... Kanashimi, Silent Angel, Lyre, Sukimu and Kagerou... Alright then."

"Yeah... but by now, I'm pretty sure White has made even more of us... ......lots lots more...." Kanashimi says, deep in thought. "How much do you know about how we're created?"

"Actually... None, I have no idea, I remember seeing the test tubes, but nothing else comes to mind."

"Ah... you want to know?"

"Sure, but if you're ok with saying it anyways... If you're not then there's no need to explain."

"Well... ....White takes us... as humans... she gathers us like cattle. She picks the ones she feels is 'most adaptable', and then wipes our souls clean, transfigures our bodies into nothing more than genetic bases, shells ripe for changing into anything she wishes. She uses a retrovirus to accomplish that. Then, she infects our shells with the CE strain of that virus, and we are slowly made into hybrids and given new souls and identities. While this happens, she makes a biomechanical device called the Primary CE. This is the thing that controls us. It's main component is an organ grown in the back of the neck. It binds with our very nerve network. ...that's why outright destroying it is so bad... it causes a final 'killswitch' mechanism response that can kill us in less than five seconds."

Drake hugs Kanashimi. "I'm sorry that happened to you, I promise that when I battle with White. With the killing blow, I'll say that it's for every human who she put through hell..." Drake chuckles as he looks up to the sky. "I guess I've found one of my many goals; to liberate every CE I can. No one should be put through torture like that, so the least I can do is at least help the CEs to be like they once was."

Kanashimi sighs. "Thanks Drake. For looking out for me. ...I wish I could have gotten to hang around Daikeim for a while longer though. He was a nice guy. Just so you know, I'm glad you care about me so much. helps a lot."

"I'm just glad I have someone to care about in all honesty... Hell, that's the worse feeling... When you know you have no one to care for, like I said I'm glad that I have you, Daikeim, Michiko, Noriko and others to care about. And if you want, sooner or later, we'll go see Daikeim. He's with Elaonore at Upnation, oh did you know those two are engaged now."

She smirks. "I see. Should have guessed that. Anyway, thanks for the talk, I'm gonna get some rest." She gives him a hug.

"Ok, rest well, we have a long day tomorrow..." As he sees Kanashimi go off to sleep, he looks out in the wilderness where the figure was. "So... What the hell were you..."

For the rest of the night, he sees nothing, but occasionally gets small tingles as though someone is watching him, though he never finds out what the source is. Morning eventually comes, with the first streak of light crossing the plains. Noriko quietly sleeps in her bedding, in a fetal sort of position. She adjusts herself off and on between various sleeping positions, not entirely comfortable.

Drake chuckles as he sheathes Kurai and yawns, walking over to everyone. A devious smile grows on his face as he comes up with a little prank, after wiring and setting everything up, he gleefully hides somewhere and watches as after five minutes. A alarm goes off as a bag of flour bursts open and covers everyone with powder, as they look for the culprit, they hear Drake's laughter from high up on a rock.

"Drrrrrraaaaaaaaake!" Kanashimi snaps, launching up into the air after him. "You got that stuff all over me damn it!"

Drake deviously smiles as he looks Kanashimi. "Good morning, how'd you sleep? I imagine pretty well until I woke you up."

She dive bombs him hoping to tackle him to the ground. Meanwhile Michiko and Noriko busy themselves with cleaning themselves and the bedding.

As Drake gets tackled down to the floor, he still continues to laugh but stops after a while. "Hahaha... Owowowow... Oww... Ok I'm sorry."

After wrestling with Drake for a while, she finally relents and helps pack up.

Michiko looks at Drake. "Well, we'd best be going. I hope we can get as much progress as possible before nightfall. If we are lucky, we should reach the next valley either by midnight or early next morning." She points at the distant mountains on the other side of the plains they stand in.

Drake gets up and nods, helping to pack up. When that is done, Drake wastes no time and already walks towards their targeted location. "Pfft, I say we can get there before the moon rises once more."

Michiko sighs. "It is farther than it looks. Much farther."

Drake chuckles as he looks at Michiko. "I think we need to go back, it's obvious that you've left your optimism back at the hotel. Alright so we're either walking this or we try to find a caravan, doesn't seem that difficult..."

The rest of them begin walking after Drake.

"We'll have to be lucky for the caravan. In multiple ways. They don't all go all the way south."

"Nevertheless it will help, so currently that's one of our goals... If we find the caravan, that's... Around a quarter of the journey completed?" After a moment of silence, Drake sighs. "Why did you have to live so FAR away from your family... Just why..."

"I don't live in New Vince. I make periodic trips for discussions with Azure and New Vince. The two are our major trading partners, so I'm sent to maintain a constant relationship with them. In other words, I serve as an ambassador." She sighs.

"The only downside is the length of the trip. You're lucky we bumped into each other when we did. This was my last week there before spending time back at home."

Drake takes a sigh of relief as he opens his HSC and scrolls through the items he's collected. "That was lucky then, otherwise none of this would ever happen... So, how come no one has made a pathway or road towards these two locations? Or is that ebcause of the marauders and monsters?"

"It's the weather. And the fact that this is unclaimed territory. The general issue becomes who spends all the money building it? This is no man's land, no law applies here."

"Oh... Right." Drake says as he looks at the travel the group they have to take. "...There must be a faster way to travel..." Drake opens his spellbook and rummages through the pages, looking for a spell to aid the group.

A sharp gust of wind suddenly ruffles the the pages violently and is almost enough to push him back.

Drake quickly puts the book underneath his jacket to defend it from the wind, he then looks at Michiko and sighs. "So... I'm guessing this is stirring, the Supersonic Wind. This is going to be a massive bother..."

Michiko seems on edge. "Too sudden... ...there's no clouds either... ......magic....?"

Drake takes a look around and then opens his spellbook. "This isn't any Cyanican magic, it could be something new but I doubt it... Nevertheless..." Drake stores his spellbook and puts his hand on Kurai's handle.

Michiko looks up. "Up there!" When he looks, he can see two figures fighting each other, or rather, two blurs. They move far too fast to see clearly. One of them stops momentarily, and suddenly a magic circle appears under them, and they find they can't move. A few seconds later, a white flash occurs and they are on the other side of the plains, looking back towards where they were, as massive numbers of lightning bolts, red and green violently clash with one another in the far distance.

Drake focuses on the colouration of the lightning, before looking back at the others. "Well... What should we do? Just stand by and watch, ignore or help... If that's an option."

Michiko shakes her head. "We should go. Whoever those two are, we should leave. ....I.... ...have a rather sickening feeling neither one of those two we want to be around when they're done with their fight... it would be safest to continue south. And quickly."

Drake nods and continues to move down south, his pace fast enough to become the one leading the group down. After a while Drake unsheathes Kurai and cuts his palm, letting the blood drip down into the blade, he then sheathes it again and begins humming a tune.

Noriko joins him and tries to keep pace with him. "How are you doing today?"

Drake smiles. "I'm doing well, this walk is really relaxing. And what about you?"

"I am fine, though...." She suddenly shakes her head ferociously, shaking off a massive cloud of flour onto him. "I saved you a present!" She giggles.

Drake glances at Noriko for a moment before chuckling as he shakes the powder off of him, he then gives Noriko a hug."Thanks for that, I'll have to pay you back sometime."

Noriko laughs again. "So is it a prank war?" She asks teasingly, then gives him a hug as well.

"Sure, if you even want to call it that, don't expect to win." He says, grinning. "So, how do you think you'll respond to meeting your family?"

Noriko frowns for a moment. "I... don't know... ...Phoenix was the only family I knew, so I can't say I know what to expect or respond to them. I'll have to see for myself. That's the whole reason I came after all... to see where I came from."

She thinks for a moment, walking alongside him quietly.

Drake then abruptly picks Noriko up and caries her on his back. "Haha... I wonder which one of us will find it more daunting, I'm basically meeting my family-in-law..." Drake then stays quiet for a moment. "...Oh, the in-law thing is for married people, right?

She smiles with a teasing air. "That's only as problematic of an error as you want it to be," She says in a mischievous tone.

Michkio looks over at Kanashimi. "At it again. I can hear the love birds tweeting away in the breeze. Wrong season though, it's still winter here."

Kanashimi just laughs.

Drake looks back and smirks. "Hey, let me remind you that there are two love birds here. And looking at both of you, I notice not a single one fluttering or tweeting."

Michiko looks at Kanashimi for a moment, then looks at Drake, then snaps her fingers and summons a strange bag. She takes out a golfclub and a golfball. She has a strange smile on her face.

"...You're not planning on... Ok... Noriko hold on tight." Drake starts to run then eventually flies away from Michiko, hoping to get as much distance away from her as possible.

They hear a sharp 'Crack!' as Michiko hits the ball with the golf club, and after a minute of awkward silence, Drake suddenly feels a rather strong smack to his head as the ball strikes his head with great velocity.

"A fine strike, if I do say so myself," Michiko comments, and Kanashimi holds up a 10/10 sign with a devilish grin.

Drake turns around as he hovers in the air, a black fireball growing in his hand as he focuses on the two. "My turn, I suppose..." Soon after, the fireball grew until the size of a car, Drake then smirks and throws it down at the two. "A golf ball versus a fireball... Good luck."

The distant clash of red and green lightning seems strangely closer, which is confirmed when a green bolt destroys the fireball.

Michiko whirls toward the source and pales. "Oh no... Drake, we must vacate this area immediately, we are in monstrous trouble!"

Kanashimi groans. "Can you quit with the pretentious words yet?!"

Drake lands down and looks at the lightning before sighing, putting Noriko off of himself. He then looks back at Michiko."Do you think we can move fast enough to get away from it?"

Michiko seems absolutely terrified. "...We might have a chance if I can get enough time to contact the family for a direct portal... but..." As she says this, a bolt of green lightning finally knocks back the other figure, and the source of the green lightning descends in a wreathing emerald sea of flames, a foul air rushing towards them with its presence coming closer.

Michiko can see tribal markings creep onto Drake's skin as his eyes glow white, rune circles appearing on his palms, he then looks at the source of the danger. "Do what you need to do, I'll hold them back for long enough, ok?"

The flames crash into the ground, burning with a great roar, melding into a vague shape, which begins to take the vague outline of a witch, still wreathing in emerald fire.

Michiko begins working on a spell, but it is clear she is fearing for her life. No, all of their lives.

Drake steps into the witch's view and growls, his eyes narrowing as he clenches his fists. "Step away from us, we're only passing through... But if you want to make this difficult, then that's your mistake." The runes on Drake's palms glow faintly, preparing for an attack.

He is greeted instead by a gentle laugh, which throws him off from his impression of the being, and the fire dies down to reveal a woman in a rather large witch hat, wearing plate armor and robes. She has long pink hair and purple eyes, though they change to pink with her amusement, a small coy smile on her face as she looks at Drake. She has a rather odd combination of robe and armor, a hood of some sort visible under her large hat.

"Oh, I'm afraid you misunderstand... I'm not interested in just random travelers... I see you have a couple of little pets with you..." Her gaze drifts toward Noriko and Michiko.

"Already you've pissed me off, focus on me, witch... You dare consider these as pets, if that's the case then I'll need a more fitting word of you... Insect." Drake unsheathes Kurai, the markings on it glow red as it hisses with an energy, he then aims the blade towards the witch. "One last warning, back off."

She does not seem concerned, instead the coy smile only grows. There is no trace of hostility in her expression or body language.

I'll give you a fair warning... ...hold her off as long as you're able, but no more, no less. She is the Witch of Causality, Inga Kankei. If you push your luck, she will annihilate you.

A voice rings in his head.

Drake growls once more. "If you're going to underestimate me... Then that's your first mistake." Drake opens his free hand and aims it towards the floor under Inga causing a rune circle to appear and restrain her for a brief moment to allow Drake to charge at her and punches her in the gut. Causing her to go crashing across the floor, Drake then glares at the witch to make her next move.

She stands up, and as she does, Drake feels something akin to a fist slam into his gut, and knocks him across the floor, the witch Inga is unscathed. She smiles again.

Drake stands up and growls, but just as he starts another spell. He stops midway and smirks, looking over to Igna's last location when she was fighting her opponent. "Hmm, red lightning, just like from the flashback..." He then glances back at Igna. "Thanks to Corruption's abilities, I could examine the fight... Interesting that he lost to you... A simple spellcaster, humorous really. If you're a witch then it seems that I have some more spells to learn." A rune circle appears beside Drake as he chuckles, gesturing for another attack.

Inga quietly smiles, amused. "A simple spellcaster would lose in a mere second against him. Plus you could say... I have a few trump cards... otherwise I truly would lose a fight against him... ...given time." She makes no apparent move to change into a fighting stance, merely standing there completely relaxed with almost a care free smile on her face. The only move she makes is summoning a white ivory staff.

Drake simply shakes his head. "Tell me what you want with these two..."

Inga stares at him without much interest. "Souls. I gather souls. It matters not if I take a couple here or there, they breed like rabbits, the fey. That and their abundant energy makes them prime for mediums for my spells. It's as simple as replacing one white rabbit with another white rabbit." She says with an even, unconcerned tone. She doesn't seem to have an ethical view when talking about them.

"So you you're basically a merciless killer... That's a relief, now I won't feel bad about what happens next..." Drake takes a step forward towards Igna, his smirk growing on his face. "That's nice to hear that you collect souls, but trust me... Attempting to take these will result in your demise, simple as... And if I can't do it, then Corruption will." He then takes another step towards Igna. "I've learned something about Echo, which is pretty neat if you can use it to your advantage..." Drake then creates a fireball and attempts to slam it into Igna's stomach, only to disappear in a flicker of a flame, and after a moment of silence. Igna suddenly get blasted with the same fireball only from right beside her, sending her towards the Cyanic rune. "Aaaaaand kaboom." Suddenly the rune opens a whole and a massive torrent of destructive energy collides into Igna.

What happens next is just outright bizarre. He watches as each and every incident that occurs, reverses, as though he was watching a tape being rewound, and she comes to stand in the exact same spot she was before the fireball, no damage taken from any of the events. The smile spreads.

"Killer? Don't be ridiculous. Their souls are merely extracted, who cares for what is but a shell?" She opens her hand, and a blue, glowing sphere of energy appears in her hands, twisting into the form of a small fairy, which mindlessly orbits the witch's body without an apparent care in the world.

"Simple pleasure, simple existence." She says calmly. She calmly fires a blast of emerald lightning.

A Cyanic rune appears infront of Drake and absorbs the lightning, he then sheaths Kurai and laughs. "Ok... And as I've said..." Igna notices a dark presence overtake Drake's own soul and energy, being replaced with something unreal and demonic, Drake's eyes are coloured black as he smiles. And now he simply stands, being the only obstacle in the way for Igna to get to Noriko and Michiko.

She smiles again. "Femur, Patella, Tibia, Fibula. 200 psi." Suddenly, in both legs, each bone in Drake's legs that she mentions breaks with a violent and audible snap, making him fall on his face. The fairy soul disappears in a small burst of energy.

She can hear a laugh as black tendrils and a symbiote like material raises Drake up, she can hear the bones snapping back into place, his laugh turns sinister as he looks at Igna. "A Cyanican's natural ability is that they can regenerate bones, and how pitiful, your spells need a sacrifice to use... Heh, as powerful as they are, they pale in comparison for what I'm capable of..." After a moment, the tendrils dissipate as Drake stand without a single wound on him. "I guess you can say now it's a two versus one..." Suddenly the area around Igna turns pitch black. "Shadow Cast: Oblivion's Wake. Now Corruption, intertwine." The same black material floods the floor around Igna, attaching itself onto her which then she feels energy seeping out of her. Black thorned spikes emerge from the darknes and launch towards Igna.

She now has a bored expression on her face, as neither the spikes nor the material affect her. She looks at Corruption with an absolute bored expression. "Is that it?" She says, in a tone that matches her expression perfectly. She merely walks forward, as the last spike rushes toward her and has no effect.

"You're quite boring. I expected better." She says dully.

Michiko looks up. "I'm almost done, Drake, be careful, she's just baiting you! This whole fight means nothing to her!"

Corruption looks at Igna and sighs. Swiping his hand across the air as a black thorned spike launches itself through Igna, suddenly Corruption appears infront of Igna and knees her in the gut, finishing his attack by grabbing her by the neck and throwing her across the floor. "Don't bore me, little girl..."

She effortlessly dodges all of his moves, as well as the spike, then taps Corruption on the forehead, instantly banishing him, then kicking Drake aside, just as a portal opens and Michiko grabs Noriko and Drake, with Kanashimi jumping ahead of them, and pulls them through, the portal closing inches before the witch can utter a death spell.

"...." The witch looks at where the portal disappeared, then sighs. "And so the hunter continues the chase." She begins walking off, slowly fading from view, adjusting her witch hat as she disappears into mid air.

Moonlight Sanctuary

They all tumble into a room, panting, Michiko looks over at Drake. "You know, I truly think you almost overdid it there." She says as she gasps.

Drake takes a moment to breathe. "Yeah... Yeah I think I did... I'm still annoyed that's one more person I need to beat, first White now her... Great..." Drake eventually sits up and looks around. "Where are we exactly?"

Michiko stands up, helping them up. "The portal room of the palace. ...We should be getting company soon. ...So... you know... ...incoming."

Drake sighs as he looks around. "...Ok, so here comes the fairy bombardment... Ummm, why didn't we do this instead of just walking? Surely it would of been much safer, but then again I guess that it's for emergencies only..."

"Yes... and the Witch of Causality was just one of those... she could have killed you know." She pauses, looking at the doorway.

"And... three... two... one...."

A girl's head pops out from behind the doorway, much smaller than Noriko and Michiko. Her head is rounder, with short curled blonde hair and wide round blue eyes. She stares at them for a moment, before slowly withdrawing behind the doorway again.

Drake slowly walks over to the door and eventually looks through and around the doorway, spotting the girl. He then walks out infront of her and looks at her, a given moment of silence before Drake speaks. "Umm... Hello?"

If he could imagine eyes going bigger, hers go wider than that, and she trips over herself in surprise. "Don't eat me, big dragon guy," She squeaks.

Michiko walks up to his side. "That would be Aiko, the Shy. She'll be all shy and timid when you're watching her, but she loves pranks. ...She never acts up if you can keep an eye on her. Really sweet too. ...A bit too easy to fool, kind of naive. Someone once convinced her there was a crocodile in the toilet. ...that did not end well."

Aiko curls up into a small ball.

Drake gets down and picks her up, surprised at how light she is. "Wow... I'm guessing she's the youngest... Don't worry Aiko, I don't bite." He looks over at Noriko. "She's your family Nori, you say hello."

Aiko looks at him with her still slightly afraid eyes and blinks, not really resisting. Noriko comes out of the room, as they hear footsteps coming down a flight of stairs. Noriko immediately fawns over Aiko.

"♪Oh, so cuuute!♪" Noriko chirps when she sees her.

Drake chuckles and places Aiko on the floor, he then sits down infront of her and smiles. "Hey there Aiko, I'm Drake and that's your sister, Noriko. It's nice to meet you."

Aiko looks at Noriko, then giggles. "Now I can have another sister to compete with!" She says in a soft, yet cheerful voice.

Two people walk down the stairs, a male with a black coat and brown shirt, with tan pants and heavy boots, with blonde, spiky hair and greyish eyes, and a woman with long flowing blonde hair that travels down a inch past her feet, which is apparent by the fact she is lightly floating, yet still walking, giving the appearance she walks on air. She looks at Drake with similar electric blue eyes to Noriko's, with a similar poofed look to it. A light, playful smile crosses her face as she looks at Michiko, Drake, Noriko, and Kanashimi.

"I'm glad to see you escaped the Witch mostly unharmed," She says in a gentle voice.

Drake looks up at the woman and nods. "Yeah... 'Mostly', such a pain... Nevertheless, it's good to get away from her, although I would like to know how her own spells work... Anyways, it's nice to meet you."

She smiles and lands on her feet near him. "My name is Momoka." She looks at Michiko and then Noriko. "So, is this her," She asks Michiko.

Michiko merely nods. "She is."

Momoka looks at Noriko for a long moment, before turning her eyes to Drake. "Are you injured at all?" She asks.

Drake smirks and stands up, casting a fireball and throwing it between his hands. "Not a single stratch on me, it's gonna take more than a little witch to injure me." He says in his obvious cocky toned voice, but after a moment his whole tone suddenly shifts as he puts one arm behind his back and the other to his side, he then bows slightly towards Momoka and the man. 

The man looks at him, not seeming to possess much of the energy of the others.

"That 'little witch' has the ability to basically make anything she desires come true. If she wanted your head to rip off and rot, I would not doubt it would be of little issue. It's called Causality. The power or principle of Cause and Effect. Any event or phenomena that can happen, she can make happen of her own whim, or by the same path of logic, forbid any event or phenomena. Doubtless you saw your attacks were nullified, if not completely erased? She could literally do the same to you. The worst part? There is next to no possible counter to such powers. Except of course, another user of Causality."

He pauses for a moment, then coughs. "My name is Osamu."

Drake smirks as he hears the explination. "Well then, I guess I'll have to learn how to learn such powers... And hello, Osamu, Momoka. I am Drake Ryunexo, it's an honor to meet you." His blade hisses. "You've welcomed yourself to the woman twice now." Drake looks at Kurai and growls. "Oh, now you decide to speak..."

Momoka offers her hand to Drake. "Well then Drake, please, why don't you come with me? I will show you where you will stay during your time here. I'm afraid we haven't gotten everything prepared just yet for you, but it's enough for the moment. I must apologize. We didn't anticipate Inga would be beginning her movements again so soon."

Drake looks at the hand but shakes his head. "I'll come with you, but with all due respect I won't take your hand... And don't worry about acomidations, I adapt easily, and no need to apologise. I just needed to protect Noriko, Michiko and Kanashimi, simple as, and as you can see, they're fine." Drake chuckles to himself. "Anyways, let's get going, shall we?"

She nods, leading Drake up the stairs and into a more refined area with marble floor and a well decorated stone hallway, which she leads him down.

"So you and Noriko are partners, is that correct? Michiko told us about you being together, but we didn't really know exactly what kind of relationship it was. No doubt she wanted to hog her for a while," Momoka chuckles.

She pauses at a wall and a hidden door appears. "We go in here. I'll leave the trauma of meeting the family for later." She walks in.

Drake follows her. "Well, partners in the sense of boyfriend and girlfriend. I don't know the proper term for it and I'm afraid that saying that we're courted or something means something completely different. And I doubt that meeting the rest of the family can be traumatic... So where exactly are we heading off to?"

"I see. At the very least, I'd like for you all to get settled down before you get bombarded by the other siblings. Our home is often... unruly at times. We're going along the secret passage ways, so that the kids won't find us as we head to your room."

"Ah ok, my room... Hmm, well I guess I see why we're going along here considering how Noriko loves pranks... And if she does, then most of your children do, so I've met Noriko, Michiko and Aiko... That still leaves two brothers and three sisters?"

"Yes, it does. The brothers will likely help you out of a situation if you can befriend them."

"Alright, but I doubt I'll be needing help out of a situation since I'm usually the one that causes them... So six daughters and two brothers, they must of been a handful to deal with." Drake stays silent, not knowing what to say next.

She laughs. "Oh yes, they were, and still are. I'm glad..."

".......Mooooooom, are you trying to hide guests from us again?" A girl's voice echoes from one of the enclosing walls around them.

Drake sighs. "Well... So much for your kids not finding us, this oughta be interesting." Drake says as he looks around the walls and passage.

Momoka quietly grabs Drake. "We can still get out in time." She runs, hoping to get through before they're caught.

Drake looks at Momoka is utter confusion, managing to detatch herself from her. "Woah woah woah... They're just girls, not a plague, besides if they're as bad as your making it out to be, then I can stop them in their tracks simple as."

"Well, Mother always does like to overreact about things. Though.... much would you pay me if you wanted me to keep quiet?" A small voice says above Drake's head.

Momoka sighs. "Hoshiko, please don't... they just got here..."

"Please doesn't sound like a form of currency."

Drake opens his HSC and casually scrolls through his items. "Gold, ruby, diamonds, jade, emeralds, artifacts, weapons... Currency wise I doubt that a bit of Cyanican coins will keep you quiet... So Hoshiko, nice name, anyways just choose."

Hoshiko makes a small hum as she ponders. "Hmmm... I'll take...."

She is interrupted by Momoka. "Hoshiko, please give your sister's partner some respect and let him relax."

"....Sister?" Hoshiko asks.

"...Noriko. Do you remember her anymore?"

"......Waaaaaaaait. You mean, that Noriko? ...." The tiny fairy lets out a gasp, and Drake can detect a slight movement on his head, which suggests she is currently in his hair.

"....Well then, consider that payment enough!" She chirps with surprising glee.

Drake chuckles as he closes the HSC and stores it away, slightly moving his head to confirm that Hoshiko is in his hair, he then looks at Momoka and smiles. "Well then, this is interesting..." He then plucks Hoshiko out of his hair and dangles her infront oh him. "Sorry there Hoshiko, but my hair and shoulders are reserved for Noriko." He then holds out his hand to let Hoshiko sit on there, once she done he continues following Momoka.

She appears as a little green orb, and he can hear her humph in protest. "Well maybe I SHOULD tell the others..." She grumbles.

"Wouldn't effect me that much, you can tell the others once I actually settle down, ok? Besides that'll only be two sisters and two brothers that haven't been informed about my arrival, although knowing Nori... That won't take long, so are you gonna flutter off or bother us?" Drake says with a teasing smile.

She jumps off his hand and grows into her full form, a girl with long blond hair, much like Noriko's, though she had green eyes oddly enough, and she wears a set of glasses, though she wears more contemporary clothing, a shirt with white and green stripes, a pair of denim shorts, and floral designed leather boots. She crosses her arms.

"Iiiiiiii'm staying."

Drake shrugs. "Ok then, suit yourself, foureyes." He says jokingly before looking at Momoka. "So how far is this room now?"

Momoka shrugs. "Not far." She continues walking.

"Right..." Drake unsheathes Kurai and looks at it. "Corruption, you alright? Igna pretty much kicked your ass back there..." The blade hisses back at him. "Be quiet, if I wasn't trapped in your body or this blade, I would of easily devoured her myself." Drake smirks and chuckles. "Yeah, well too bad for you that you're stuck in that blade... Besides, I doubt that you could even injure her, Osamu said that she uses something called Causality... So if we're able to get that then maybe we can, but until then I doubt we can do much..." Drake sighs and sheaths Kurai before looking at Hoshiko. "So what are you then? Noriko is hyperactive beyond belief, Michiko is calm and Aiko is shy."

As he finishes asking, a rope suddenly snags Drake and lifts him by the leg, leaving him dangling upside down, where he gets a great view of Hoshiko laughing at him.

"The smart one. Guests always step on that stone, so I rigged a trap there. Works 95.5% of the time." She says, smirking.

Drake groans and fades away into fire and reappears behind Hoshiko. "Funny... The sooner we get to my room, the better."

She laughs again. "Oh yeah..." Drake hears a click, and he barely dodges a boxing glove as it appears out of a wall at his face.

"There's a couple of those in here. Anyway, I'll see you later..." She disappears.

Momoka sighs. "The reason I wanted to run is because she is more or less very good at spying and transferring information. I was hoping we could get to your room before she could tip anyone off. My apologies for getting too excited. It was childish of me."

Drake laughs. "Don't worry about it, it's nice to be childish sometimes and it's good to meet the others too, but I can see why you'd act like that." Drake says while smiling.

They arrive at another door and she pushes it open, leading into a rather decent sized room, though furniture is still in boxes, the bed is assembled and fully decked with the necessities to sleep.

"Like I said, we didn't expect you for another week. My apologies."

"It's ok, thank you." Drake then starts going around and furnishes the room with the contents of the boxes, after a while he turns to look at Momoka. "Well that's that done... If you don't mind, I'm gonna stay here for a short while, I'll catch up with you later, ok?"

She nods. "I will tell Noriko where your room is. I'll be back in a little while."

Drake nods and sits on his bed, opening his HSC and looking through his stuff before picking out his spellbook and reading the pages. "Ok, see you soon." He then throws Kurai at a clothes hanger and it lands perfectly, he chuckles then puts his jacket next to him then continues reading.

He eventually hears the door open and Hoshiko jumps on top of Drake, pinning him down on the bed. "I got you!" She crows, before suddenly changing into Noriko.

"Juuuuuuuust kidding," Noriko chirps.

Drake smiles and hugs Noriko, kissing her on the cheek. "So, what's it like meeting your family? Pretty big, huh?"

"I haven't really met them yet. I'll meet them all with you. I think it's better that way." She smiles.

"Oh ok, that seems reasonable enough... So in the meantime, what do you want to do? I'm kinda out of ideas at the moment..."

She merely squeezes him tight and lays down properly in response, a content smile on her face. "And here I thought you were the creative one..." She giggles.

Drake chuckles as he lays down next to her. "I'm creative sometimes, and considering that I fought a witch, I sorta just need a time to gather my wits and rest for a moment. I'm alright now so if there's anything on your mind, we can go ahead and do something."

Noriko rests her head against him, cuddling up with him. "I don't care what we do, as long as it doesn't involve getting up for at least an hour..."

Drake smiles and holds Noriko close as he softly yawns, kissing Noriko before closing one of his eyes. "I guess we can rest for a while..." Drake then grabs the cover and wraps it around the two, he closes his other eye and slowly dozes off. "See you soon..."

While they sleep, the door silently cracks open as Hoshiko looks inside, whispering to someone, then closes it.

An hour or so passes when Drake finally stirs and wakes up, taking a while to sit up and starts to get ready for the rest of the day. After all that is done he goes over and grabs Kurai and begins spinning the blade around his hand as some sort of training. "Nooorriiii, wake up,"

"Nuuuuuu...." She moans. "....Gerk.... ....Errr..." She say as she begins to open her eyes. "I didn't know you made your hair into a Christmas tree..." She says, half asleep.

Drake looks at Noriko in slight confusion before going towards a mirror perched on a wall, after taking a look at himself he instantly notices the multiple coloured lights in his hair. His silence is soon interupted by a loud growl, he looks at Noriko with an annoyed expression on his face. "Yep... This is your family alright, now should I turn myself into a flame? Because I'm sure I've said that my hair and shoulders are reseved for Noriko only."

"Well sorrrry that we were tired of waiting to see our sister, and just so happened to have found a convenient, not to mention soft place to hang out while we waited. ...That soft spot being your hair. Plus it's always fun to admire the view." A voice unfamiliar to him speaks up.

He notices a blue light leaving his hair, Michiko growing full size as she does so.

"I did it to have a bit of fun at your expense. I will stop, can't say much for my sisters." She says as she walks out.

Drake groans as he shakes his head. "Get out of my hair already! Go jump into Noriko's hair, not mine!"

A swarm of colored lights flies out of his hair and out of the room.

"We'll be waiting, love birds!" One giggles as it leaves.

Drake sighs as he looks at Noriko. "The sooner the better I guess, when are you ready to meet your family? Hopefully before I become a Christmas tree again."

Noriko giggles slightly, getting up. "I guess I'm ready, maybe a little nervous though...." She trails off.

Drake smiles and walks up to Noriko and hugs her. "Oh come on, it won't be that bad, if you can sing in front of a band then you can at least reunite with your family... I'll let you relax in my hair on the way there if you want."

She takes one look at him and dives for his head, becoming a small sphere of gold as she flies, landing on his head.

"FOWARD, MARCH!" She cheers, pointing toward the door.

Drake chuckles as he begins walking out the room, making sure to dodge the traps in the corridor that Hoshiko set up, after a while he stops and thinks. "...Where do we even go...?"

At that moment, Momoka walks by. "I was just about to fetch you, come with me. I'll take you to see everyone. ...I hope they haven't started acting up yet..."

"Oh thank God... Ok, following you now." Drake walks up beside Momoka, chuckling. "They decided to turn my hair into a light show... I need a way to get them back, any ideas?"

She chuckles. "Best not to play their game."

Drake sighs as he looks at her. "I doubt it'll be that hard, just set up a few runes here and there, get some spells ready... It'll be eaaaasy, but if you say so..."

She walks up to a large door and stops, and cautiously turns the doorknob, and she waits for a few minutes, before the doors slam open and fireworks start exploding in their faces.

Drake quickly jumps back and watches the fireworks go off, after they finished, Drake walks through into the next room and growls as he glares around. "...Ok, this challenge is accepted... When they least expect it." He turns to look at Momoka. "Hey, you ok?"

He sees Michiko, Aiko, Hoshiko, and two other girls, a girl that looks much more like Noriko, even a similar hairstyle. She lets out a grin when she sees Noriko. The other is a much older, obviously the eldest, and has a more dignified air. She gives Drake a faint smirk.

Momoka straightens her dress up. "I'm fine. These are the sisters. ...And you two can get out of the armored knight statues now." She says to two knight like statues. The helmets lift up, revealing two blond haired guys, looking exasperated. "You had to give our position away, didn't you, Mom?" One says in annoyance.

Momoka just shakes her head, as Osamu walks in. "What did I say about fireworks?"

The group sighs. "...No fireworks inside the castle, or used in pranks..."

Drake smirks. "You're lucky that you were sold out, otherwise I would of attack and probably killed you... So, five sisters and two brothers, well then that's surprising..." He gives Noriko a small stroke as he puts her on his shoulder instead, he then looks at everyone. "So this is the Moonlight family, for something that sounds so calm..." He chuckles. "So then Noriko, willing to finally introduce yourself properly?"

Noriko looks about for a moment, then hops down and turns to normal. When the similar girl sees her, she squeaks with sudden joy and outright charges her and knocks her to the ground in a fierce hug.

"NORI!!!" She cheers ecstatically.

"Gah! You're- crushing..."

"Me? Oh, sorry, sorry!" She panics, in a flurry of movement she rights Noriko up, but gives her another big hug.

Drake finds a place to sit and smiles as he watches Noriko reunite with her family, and after a moment his expression changes slightly as he looks at Momoka and Osamu. "Are they twins? They look too similar to each other to not be..."

"Yes, they were born at the same time. Identical twins. Her name is Haruko."

Drake looks at the two and chuckles. "Noriko, Haruko, Michiko, Aiko, Hoshiko... I'm noticing a theme here." He jokingly says as he he becomes unsure of what to say, so he just watches the interactions with a small happy smile on his face.

One of the guys in the armor suit statues looks over at him. "If you want to be anti social, you're free to join us. There's an extra one." He indicates an empty suit. The guy looks pretty bored.

"I'm not anti social, I'm anti idiot... And I don't like suits that much, so I'm guessing out of this lively family you can get bored once in a while. Hmm, well I can leave Noriko to interact with others..." Drake stands up and walks past the two, indicating them to follow him. "C'mon, we have a couple of things to do."

The two look at each other. "Better than sitting in these things." The other one sighs. "Excceeeeept...."

"...Oh right. Hey err.... Drake? We're kinda stuck actually. ...They may have glued our feet into these things."

Drake sighs and presses his hands against the armours, suddenly tribal markings appear on the armour as they begin to float in the air. Drake walks off which causes the armours to follow him, Drake sighs. "Ok geniuses, let's go."

"Where are we going?" One of them asks.

"You're going to tell me where all of the sister's rooms are, they prank me I prank them, simple as... But first, I want your names, ok?" Drake says while exploring the building.

One of them speaks up. "Akarui." The other one looks at Drake and sighs. "....Mabushii. And you might not want to do that..."

Drake glances at Mabushii. "Coming from the one who's stuck in a big tin can... Besides, I'm not going to be the one going in the rooms." Drake smirks as a rune appears on his palm, he then aims at the ground which causes an aura of Drake to form out of the ground, it then looks at Drake and nods. "Think of it as a phantom clone, it can do everything I can but it's just a ghost really... Now can you start giving me directions?"

The two do a facepalm.

"....Turn around." Mabushii says slowly.

Drake gives them a blank stare. "Well sorry for not knowing the ins and outs of a massive place like this the first time around..." He then growls and turns around.

Before he knows it he is planted in the spare armor suit, courtesy of the eldest who was hiding behind Drake. She winks, before saying, "Looks like you're in a sticky situation. The name's Kumiko."

Drake stays silent while giving Kumiko a death glare, when he does speak, his growl is still present. "Hi Kumiko... Now before I really lose it, you better have not put glue in this thing..."

"No, but..."

Kumiko points down, where Aiko waves. "I did!" She says cheerfully. "Lots and lots of glue!" She says with a childish grin.

"Aura... Cube." The second that's said, the aura nods and a rune appears under Kumiko and Aiko and within a split second an energy cube forms and traps them both within it. "There... I swear if this messes with my hair, you're deathwishe have come early... So then what do you two want?"

"Well, if you promise to leave our rooms alone, we'll leave you alone. Mostly. The getting unstuck depends on if you're nice." Kumiko says.

After another long moment of silence, he sighs as the aura and cube disappear. "Fine whatever... Now how do I get unstuck..."

"Like this." Kumiko summons hot water and manipulates it into the shoes of the statue. After a moment of thought, she releases her brothers.

"Finally, we've been stuck in here for a hour..." Akarui says with relief.

Momoka claps her hands once. "Alright everyone, let's settle down. Anyone hungry?"

Drake looks at Momoka and nods. "Yeah, I'm starving... Michiko's cooking on our way here wasn't exactly the best, so I'll be glad to taste some fine dishes."

Michiko looks over at Drake. "Apparently you exceed in putting your foot in your mouth. We all take turns every other week cooking. Unfortunately for you, today is my turn, and I trust you, my cooking is not that bad. We were in the wild after all. Maybe I should make you watch us eat as punishment, o' presumptuous one."

Drake looks at Michiko. "Yeah, but now that I've said that, and knowing some of the antics the children of this family. My trust levels with you are on par with a schizophrenic murderer... Maybe I should just skip food." He says unsurely.

She folds her arms. "The most I've done is sit in your hair. I don't put bloody poison in my food, now quit acting like a baby!"

Drake's gaze turns into a glare as he growls at Michiko. "Hmph! Not even poison could put me down..." He then sighs and rolls his eyes. "Fine... I'll eat your food..."

Michiko snaps her fingers, and the dinner table in the center of the room becomes decked out in meats, fruits, vegetables, sweets, pastry, and various other foods.

Kumiko folds her arms in a smile. "Very nice, looks like a top ten competitor this week."

Momoka leans in close to Drake's ear. "They like to compete to see who's the best cook. Insulting their cooking tends to upset them. ...They're severely competitive."

"Ah ok..." Drake looks at the food and suddenly the pupils in his eyes become cat like as he takes a single bite of steak, suddenly Drake becomes an unstoppable force as anything within his arms reach, he consumes in about two to five minutes.

Noriko sits next to him, eating in a similar fashion, occasionally swiping food right as he's about to grab it.

Drake's eyes shift towards the food Noriko is eating and swipes any food before she has a chance to even look at it.

Noriko gives him a pouting look, before she smiles. "Ok, I'll just eat you!" She says, a bit too cheerfully.

Drake looks at Noriko and smiles devilishly. "I'd like to see you try... I wonder what fairy tastes like!" Drake says in a similar fashion to Noriko.

She smiles for a moment, before chomping on his hand. "Gimme back my food!" She pouts angerly.

Drake yells in pain as he tries to shake Noriko off of his hand. "OW OW OW OW OW OW OW OW OW OW GET OFF GET OFF GET OFF GET OFF!" After a moment, he then softly bites Noriko's arm, but hard enough that it hurts. 

"Gimme my fooooood!"

Drake smirks as he picks up Noriko's lemon cake. "You want it? Go get it!" He then throws it towards Michiko which collides directly into her face

The air grows cold as every single sister gives him a cold stare.

"He's an eeeeeeeeeevil man...." Aiko says with her wide open.

"He must buuuuuuuurn...." Haruko hisses.

"You really don't know what you've just done," Michiko says calmly.

"NOOOOOOOOOO!" Noriko wails. "Lemon caaaaaaaake!"

"So worked up over a lemon cake... .......and rightfully so..." Kumiko says with a sigh.

Hoshiko adjusts her glasses. "I shall prepare his funeral service."

The two brothers look at each other, and pull out umbrellas and hold it infront of them, as the sisters begin bombarding Drake with various fruits and vegetables.

Drake smirks as he breathes out a torrent of fire which incinerates the food before it even touches him, he then catches one of the fruit and takes a bite out of it, more than obvious that his cocky attitude has returned for a short while. "Aaand allow me to retort..." Drake says as his smirk turns into a devilish grin as he clicks his fingers, suddenly every single piece of food rises into the air, he then swipes his hand casually in the air which causes the food to speed towards the sisters.

The food stops abruptly as Momoka claps her hands. "Not today. Knock it off. Share the food, there's more than enough, but no food fights." The food is placed back down safely.

Drake chuckles lightly as he takes second bite out of the fruit. "Just saying, I would of won that." Drake says while smiling, but after a moment he goes back to eating regularly. 

Michiko hands Noriko some food, which she happily devours.

"You do know that you're going to regret that later, right?" Michiko says under her breath. "This family is a game of diplomacy in itself."

Drake rolls his eyes and finishes what he's eating, sitting back to wait until the others are finished. 

Noriko finishes eating, then sits quietly as the others continue eating.

Drake looks at Noriko and sighs. "Sorry..."

From below the table directly in front of Drake a small hand reaches up and swipes a lemon cake slice from in front of him, a small childish giggle emits from below.

Noriko meanwhile grabs Drake and puts him in a bearhug.

Drake chuckles as he hugs Noriko back and kisses her cheek before grabbing a slice of lemon cake and handing it to Noriko. 

She eats it in delight, and he notices the hand comes up again and is reaching for a chicken leg.

Drake kneels down under the table and notices Aiko, he then sits down and decides to watch her move around stealing little snippets of food.

She freezes when she realizes he's watching, then slowly reaches back up and steals something from Akarui.

"Hey, come on, stop stealing my burgers Aiko!" He complains. "That's the fifth one today! What are you, a shark?!"

Drake smiles as he sits back up then turns to look at Momoka. "Are they always like this?"

"From sunrise to sundown." Momoka replies. "The only time they behave... ...except for Aiko... is in an official function. Other times... ...well, they have on and off phases, but all it takes is just one trigger to start a whole few hours of chaos."

After a moment of silence, Drake then looks at Osamu. "Can you tell me about Causality and how to obtain it...?"

"If I'm thinking what you're thinking... I wouldn't bother. How to put it... do you understand what 'Omnipotence' is?"

Drake nods. "Omnipotence is having unlimited or universial power, only the stupid or brave go for such a thing... So I don't know what you would class me as, and why shouldn't I bother?"

"Well, put it bluntly, that's what Causality is. A logical, or logic based sort of Omnipotence. It's the ability to literally control cause and effect, in other words, anything she desires to happen will come to pass, while all events she desires to be negated are. This power applies and even overrules all other powers, because it is technically the source of all other events. It even applies to control of time and space. ...which basically means, if she was creative enough... could work it so that you yourself were never born, with no repercussions to her. That's how powerful it is. She can do anything, pretty much. ...Though hers is slightly flawed, but at the same time is the most powerful form of it.

Even if you could find out how to use it, considering how rare it is, it would take many countless years to just get a basic grasp of it. Even Inga isn't a perfect user. ...She has... ...specific flaws."

Drake laughs. "Heh, years? Trust me, if I found out how to use it, I could master it in a matter of months! ...So is a sense it's control over everything, yeah, that's something I want to strive to get. And Igna? Hmph, I could barely call her a spellcaster, as I said to her, to me, she's nothing but an insect." Drake says in an over confident voice.

Osamu outright smacks Drake upside the head. "...Do not. Do NOT. Underestimate her. Ever. Do I make myself clear?"He says in a dark voice enough to make his blood run cold.

"We as a family have lost countless loved ones... ...generations of pain you insult with that overconfident tone. Don't repeat that mistake." Drake didn't even register that Osamu had grabbed his shirt, until he lets go. Without a word, Osamu walks out, his footsteps echoing loudly in the room as he leaves, slamming the door shut.

Momoka glances at Drake cautiously. "....Drake... is best that you be cautious about that subject... ...she has taken many lives over these few hundred years... ...including his kid brother.'re not the only one who has fought and died trying to fight her. ...We've lost so many, from just her rituals, it's even worse that many across Echo hear of Inga's deeds and try to nobly defeat her... ...and just become another victim."

Drake goes quiet for a moment before muttering under his breath. "That's probably why Eien was battling with her... Hmm, so you're not quiet the bastard I thought you were..." Drake then stands up and walks off to his own room.

After a few minutes, he hears Noriko following him, who is also being tailed by Aiko, who is quietly crawling on the ceiling.

Drake stops walking and turns to look at the two, sighing. "Look right now, not in the best of moods, what do you want?"

"I just wanted to check up on you..." Noriko says, just as Aiko suddenly jumps from the ceiling and Noriko turns just in time to have Aiko crash into her face and hug her head, the momentum sending Noriko crashing to the ground.

"BLARG! Ow, that hurt! Heeeey! Get off me! Why'd you jump on me?!" She squirms, trying to get Aiko off, unsuccessful as Aiko laughs gleefully.

Drake looks at the two and walks over, managing to pull Aiko off and place her aside as he helps Noriko up. "Don't worry about me, I'm fine. Are you ok?" He then turns to look at Aiko. "You shouldn't attempt that, you could hurt yourself..." He then looks up at the ceiling. "...How the hell did you get up there... Nevermind."

Noriko gasps. "I'm fine, she just spooked me."

Aiko smiles and stretches her arms out toward Drake. "I do it all the time. I got ninja pads!" She holds out her hands, where some form of sticky pad is attached to her palms.

"I'mmmmmmm a ninjaaaaa!" She says happily.

Drake then high fives Aiko then holds his hand up and chuckles at Aiko just hangs there, he then starts to lightly swing his arm around. "Yup... Sticky pads, also a ninja needs to be silent, and from what I've seen, you're loud. But other than that, you're doing pretty well..." Drake then manages to detach Aiko and his own hand from each other.

She tilts her head at an angle and looks up at him, before insistently holding her arms out again, more determined than before.

Drake smiles, picks her up then hugs her, he then chuckles as he softly throws her up then catches her a couple of times before hugging her again. "There you go, happy?"

She giggles, hugging him back. "I have a new big brother!"

Drake's eyes open wide as he just freezes for a moment, shocked at what Aiko just said. He blinks before hugging Aiko tighter, a cheerful tone in his voice. "Thank you..."

Aiko only smiles.

Noriko looks around. "Want to wander around a bit together?"

Drake looks at Noriko and nods. "Yeah... I'd like that." Drake suddely swoops up Aiko and sits her on his shoulders then walks next to Noriko. "Ok, let's go."

Aiko points on ahead. "That way is a big big view!"

"Ok ok, I guess you're the leader." Drake then begins to follow where Aiko points, talking to Noriko on the way there.

They reach an archway, leading out to a balcony looking over the valley the palace is situated in. Around them are tall jungle trees of various kinds, and in the distance is a large waterfall that sends up a mist off and on through the valley below, occasionally creating rainbows in the sunlight. Below them are various scattered towns, between them countless massive flower fields.

"I'm not one for the enviroment and nature... But woah, this looks amazing, I wouldn't mind seeing this everyday, what about you?" He says at Noriko.

"Yeah... it looks lovely..."

Aiko laughs. "Nothing! Wait until the full moon tonight!" She giggles.

Drake looks at Aiko with slight curiosity. "Oh yeah? What happens tonight?"

She giggles some more. "Yooooou'll see," She says impishly.

Drake smiles and tickles Aiko. "Awww, you're not gonna tell your new brother? That's mean." He says in a childish tone.

"But I like surprises- No! Not the tickles! Not the tickles!" She giggles.

"So you do have the same weakness as your sister." Drake says while chuckling, and after a while he eventually stops and sits Aiko back up onto his shoulders. "Any other ideas of where to go? Or do you want to stay here?"

"What would you like to see? We have lots and lots and lots of rooms!"

Drake stays quiet for a moment before shrugging. "Surprise us."

Aiko begins point him in a certain direction, eventually leading them to a chamber with a great many number of exotic looking weapons.

Once he sees a single blade, he smiles with glee as he begins to act like a kid in a candyshop, examaning all of the weapons and constantly asking Aiko if he can try any of the weapons, his pace of talking speeds up to the point where they find it hard to hear what he's saying. 

Aiko giggles. "You're the adult not me," She laughs.

Drake then looks at one of the weapons and begins to swing it around, managing to miss Aiko and Noriko while he skillfully trains with it. A happy tone and smile to his face while he speaks. "This is awesome! I gotta get me one of these, it seems like it can cleave through people so easily."

"Daddy's guards make them all the time..." Aiko mutters.

Drake puts the weapon back and looks at Aiko. "Hey, you ok? What's with the muttering?"

"I was just saying that they make these weapons all the time, the guards do." Aiko says simply.

"Oh ok, so then... Any ideas on what you wanna do?" Drake says as he scruffles Aiko's hair, looking at Noriko afterwards. "Maybe after we're done we can get some lemon cake."

"You're the guests," Aiko says simply. "I want to tour my new brother and get a free taxi ride while doing it!" She says cheerfully.

Drake chuckles as he picks Aiko up and sits her on his shoulder and walks off again, exploring the palace. "So then, we never actually talked about each other have we, so what are you like?"

"I'm Aiko!" She says happily.

"...I mean, what do you like, what's your hobbies, y'know, stuff like that."

In response, she says in a hushed tone, "Boossssshhhhh...." and claps her hands, making the lights go out.

"AIKO! What did I say about knocking out the power?!"

She giggles. "I like playing with electricity! I like watching thunderstorms, and eating! Also, it's always fun to pounce!"

Drake chuckles. "I guess I should explain myself... I'm Drake Ryunexo, mercenary from a planet named Cyanic, I have dragon blood in me which allows me to have and use draconic powers. I like to relax and have fun when I battle opponents, I can be mean to people I don't know, but to others I'm more like the way I am now. I love food, can't get enough of it, I also enjoy chaos in general only if I'm the one causing it." Drake unsheathes Kurai and shows it to Aiko. "This is my favourite weapon, but inside it is something called Corruption, he helps me a lot when in battles and although he doesn't admit it, he appreciates my chaotic nature. Oh, don't touch it, it hurts people who don't own it..."

"Oooooh ok, well I'm fairy and shapeshifter, I wonder if you can guess which is which?" She giggles, then continues. "People scare me, but when they're not looking I like to sneak up on them and play ninja, I also love electricity and fooooood, lot's of fooooood.... I can steal half a table and not get noticed! Allllll with clever timing!" She chirps.

"I often contribute to chaos by being the mysterious one no one ever catches in the act!" She says with a smile.

She is then lifted up and given another hug. "And that is why you're already my favorite sister!"

Noriko laughs. "You are you eating her UP!"

Drake looks at Noriko and laughs too. "I can't help it, I have a soft spot for little mischiefs, especially ones that look like you." Drake places her on his shoulders again the begins to walk around the palace once more.

After a while, Aiko says ominously, "Prepare,".

After slowing his walking pace he looks up at Aiko then looks around cautiously. "Prepare for what?"

Suddenly a voice shouts in his ear: "BOO!" As Kanashimi appears out of thin air.

Due to Drake's natural instincts, he instantly punches Kanashimi with enough force to knock her into a wall, after a moment he suddenly realises and rushes over to Kanashimi. "Crap crap crap! Are you ok!?" 

"....Worth.... it.... hahaha, worth it! Invisibility is AWESOME!" She chuckles. 

"Ah, so you're getting your powers back? ...Oh right, Aiko, this is Kanashimi, my daughter of sorts."

She gasps. "Does that mean I'm an aunt?!" She giggles. "Do the dishes, for your aunt commands it!" She chirps, which causes Kanashimi to get an annoyed look.

"I am not doing the dishes!"

Drake laughs as he helps Kanashimi up. "Now now you two, as I'm older than both of you, I command that you both don't get on each others nerves, ok?"

"Awwww...." Aiko moans.

Kanashimi grumbles. "Little tyke..."

Drake sighs. "Can we not fight please?" Suddenly Kurai hisses, almost laughing. "You? Not wanting to fight? It seems the tables have turned, haven't they?" Drake looks at Kurai and growls. "Be quiet you... Anyways, any ideas on what to do now? I feel like we've been all over this palace..."

Aiko thinks for a moment. "Ooooh! I'll show you my super secret ultra cool place!" She cheers, and takes off running.

"H-Hey! Wait for us!" Drake shouts as he runs after Aiko, surprised about how fast she can run but eventually catches up to her.

Noriko and Kanashimi catch up, and Aiko stands at a tall painting, and pushes against it, which slides into the wall to reveal a passageway.

"In here, in here!" She chirps, already running inside.

Drake keeps following her, taking a look around the paggageway while doing so. "I'm guessing the parents know about this too, Aiko."

"Noooope! It's my little secret!"

"Oh ok... That's surprising." Drake says at he waits until they reach the secret location.

They walk into what looks like a old laboratory, with many dusty books and strange machines.

Drake takes a look around, curious. "What the... Aiko, when did you find this?"

"A year or so ago. I accidentally bumped into the picture."

"Hmm... I womder what this placed was used for, an old lab... Experiments?" He says as he examines the machines while taking a read through a couple of the books.

What he reads turns out to be more than he expected. A journal is the first one he comes across, and what is on it:

I have finally come back home after many years... I have written so many letters and waited so long to be home again... and to see Kio again... ...........I've missed her so much... I can't wait to see you again... my little sister...

The next page he reads is dark in tone, a complete shift in tone from the previous page.

.....Gone... gone forever. I'll never see her again. Her smile, her laughter... damn it all to hell... all I wanted was to see my sister one last time... one last time....! I could have lived my life in service to these fools back at the bastion, but damn it all to hell! After all my prayers and wishes, my hopes and dreams, it's all torn away!

No... there has to be a way, there has to! I'll do anything... to see that witch pay...

Inga Kankei, I will see that you burn in hell myself, no matter what it takes! Even if I have to join you there to do it!!!

After reading, he closes the journal and puts it in his HSC and goes into thought, taking a look around at the lab. "Oh I see... Piece by piece, E... I guess we'll have to talk soon... But for now, I guess I'll have to ask Momoka or Osamu about this 'Kio', see what I can piece together anything myself." Drake begins taking a look at the books and going through them. "Nothing but letters and lab notes... Great." He sighs as he turns back to Aiko, smiling. "This little hidden place is amazing, do you mind if I can use it at times?"

Aiko nods. "Yea, but no telling!" She chirps happily.

Drake smiles and hugs Aiko. "Thank you!" After a moment, he puts Aiko down and begins to walk back out of the lab. "If you excuse me, I gotta find your parents, ok? I'll come back soon!" 

"Okaaay!" She says happily, running deeper in the lab. 

After he gets out of the passageway and back into familar ground within the palace, he begins to look for either parents in hope of some answers. 

He eventually runs into Momoka, as she appears to be taking a quiet stroll through the palace. She notices him and flashes him a quick smile.

Drake stands and shortly bows. "Hello, Momoka, I'd like to ask some questions... Regarding Eien and his sister, Kio." Drake says with a slightly nervous tone in his voice.

"I know a little about Eien... ....but I'm not terribly familiar with the name Kio... ...but come with me regardless. Ask what you will..." She keeps walking, making an inviting gesture for him to join her.

"Ok, thank you." Drake walks beside Momoka. "I guess I should ask what was Eien like?"

"I'm not sure how exactly to answer that question. He would have been... my... great grandfather, at least I think he was. I'm not terribly sure. From what I heard from my grandpa, he was a eccentric, but well natured person. He always tended to act based on what he believed was necessary to be done, not necessarily what was right in the eyes of others, which tended to get him in some trouble on occasion, but he made up for that with a rather vicious intellect, and a powerful determination. He also believed in people setting their own course in life, and never gave direct advice unless it was truly worth the effort. He outright disappeared not long after one of Inga's attacks, and was never seen again. We don't know what happened after that.

"If he's like that, then I doubt that Igna would of killed him, he's probably out there somewhere. Umm, next question, do you know any history of him with Phoenix?"

"He was one of the members selected to become a lightning slayer. He was... the fourth lightning slayer to exist, I think."

Drake goes silent before smiling and nodding. "Ok, thank you Momoka. Can you tell me where Osamu is, please?"

"He's at the gallery, over there." She points him toward a set of double doors at the end of a hallway.

Drake thanks Momoka once more before going down to the end of the hallway, opening the doors and seeing Osamu. He takes a small breath and walks up to him, opening the HSC and pulling out the journal but keeping in hidden in his jacket. "Osamu, I would like to ask you a few things."

Osamu looks at Drake for a moment. "It's about Inga, isn't it?" He pauses, before looking at a painting. The painting is a family portrait, of people similar in appearance to Noriko's family in general, but obviously different people entirely. One of the people stand out as a young Eien, who has a warm smile and expression as a younger girl sits in his lap. The two are in the center of the family portrait. The girl and Eien seem to radiate a mutual glow of happiness in the picture.

"What exactly do you want to know, Drake?"

Drake pulls out the journal and hands it to Osamu, his expression is serious as he looks at Osamu. "I know the fate of what happened to Kio, and I assume you do too... But in this sense, I feel that you would like to know something." Drake takes a look around, assuring that no one is around before leaning in to look at Osamu. "I know the status of Eien, he isn't dead. I have multiple questions, and no, I'm not going to stop asking about how to obtain Causality... But I think you now have a couple of questions for me, don't you?"

Osamu closes his eyes. "Causality is not something normally achieved. It is a rare form of magic, and besides... Inga was born with the power, you were not. That alone puts you at a disadvantage you can't cross. I would imagine Causality isn't something that can be just learned anyway. Besides that...

Ask your questions, and just make them quick."

Drake simply sighs. "Very well, although... What information do you have on Kio and Eien, any and all wil be nice."

".....I was just a lieutenant of the guard back then. We celebrated the prince's return from Phoenix, we knew it wasn't forever, but we still deemed it necessary to celebrate. The day ended in disaster when Inga showed up during the late hours of the night, and attacked, reaping souls left and right. ...Though she had a specific target in mind. The palace. We fought her as long as we could, but we were helpless. It was like trying to fight a god. No matter what we did, even our best spellcasters couldn't harm her. It's a nightmare I'll have scarred on my mind. We failed the family... ....They had almost gotten away. But while Eien tried to protect his two sick sisters, Kio and Mio, who had fallen behind, Inga overtook them and reaped their souls right in front of his eyes. He tried to attack Inga, but she used Kio's freshly reaped soul as a hostage, forcing him to pull back to avoid destroying it.

....That very night, after that, Eien left us and we never heard a word from him again. That is what I know of the event that forever made us lose our pride since as a people."

Drake stays silent, before bowing to Osamu and walking away. "Ok, a thousand thanks to you for telling me... And I'm sorry that happened." Just before he leaves the room, he looks at Osamu. "Keep this to yourself if this means anything to you... But as I said, Eien is alive, I've seen him multiple times and sadly foreshadowed a terrible event. The event I cannot mention, but I aim to keep this event as far away from this palace and the family as possible... If I can, I'll speak with him but I can't guarantee anything." Drake then walks off, trailing towards his room.

Osamu only looks at the painting, quietly.

Mysteries of Eien

Konachan-com-125970-barefoot-blonde hair-clouds-fate stay night-green eyes-japanese clothes-namonashi-saber-snow

Drake sighs as he enters his room and locks the door, lying down on his bed with his hands behind his bed, being silent for a moment until he speaks. "Come on... Where are you, if you're all seeing then you know why I want to talk..."

He hears a faint spark of electricity, and in front of him appears a transparent yellow cloaked figure, which quietly walks past him and into a spot in one of the walls.

"There we go..." Drake springs up from his bed and follows the figure until gets to the wall, he then presses his hand against it to see for a reaction.

After searching carefully, he eventually finds a loose brick and pulls on it, causing a hidden door to swing open, and a tunnel is seen, with the figure walking far ahead, almost out of sight, heading down stairs.

Drake begins to run after the figure just to catch up with it, after catching up with it he begins to match it's walking page. "Ok then..."

After a long amount of time, the figure runs, then dives down into a large hole lined with runes.

"Dammit... So much for a nice stroll..." Drake begins to run after the figure then sees the hole, he takes a look at the runes and sighs, knowing this is a bad idea. Regardless he jumps down after the figure.

He falls for a long while, before he slows down and comes to a stop, floating in mid air. He appears to be in a very dimly lit massive spherical chamber somewhere below the palace. Ahead of him, standing alone is the cloaked figure. It only now seems to acknowledge him, its head moving slightly as if looking toward him, then slowly turns around, the area under its hood completely black.

Drake hovers up to the figure and looks at the hood, while being cautious about the whole thing. "...You're not Eien, right? Well... Regardless, where are we?"

The figure's only response is to grab the hood, and begins to pull off the cloak in a sudden movement, revealing a girl with medium length blonde

hair, turquoise eyes, and a ragged old kimono, that once would have been elegantly made. On her bare feet are bells, and the girl appears to hold a much more older air than her appearance lets on. He becomes aware of a complex sort of formation of runes collected around her chest, that seem to resonate with her very being's energy. She seems to regard him with an impartial gaze, her eyes dull.

He notices after a moment that her presence has become noticeable, and it is very familiar, but far more potent than when he first felt it: an image of one of the seven Avatars he fought comes to mind when he feels the presence.

In an instant, Drake places his hand on Kurai's handle, with the blade hissing. "This energy is fimilar to you?" Drake cautiously looks at the girl. "Yeah... It should be familiar to you too, Corruption... This energy is similar to the one of the Avatars I fought back on Yosai..."

On seeing Kurai, the girl's face changes into something along the lines of hate, and a slight movement is seen as she starts to move forward, but suddenly a great host of golden chains suddenly manifest and bind every inch of her body, then violently constrict against her, and she lets out a howl of pain, then limply submits, now hanging lifelessly.

".........You're.... one of them......" She speaks, after the longest time. Her voice is a cracked and dry rasp, as if she hasn't used her voice in years.

Drake looks at the chains and then the girl, sighing as he sheathes Kurai, shaking his head. "No, I'm not part of Phoenix, I was the one who was imprisoned there..." He looks at the chains again. "Much like you are now... Is there a way to free you?"

"Liar... you have one too...'re all liars... tricksters, snakes, treacherous... ...dogs, vermin, festering, scheming, deceivers...."

She falls silent. "It'll be just like him... he brought you here, didn't he... liar... that's all he is... ...wanted you to find me... just to spite me..."

"I have a Slayer, yes... But that doesn't mean I work for Phoenix, in fact I'm trying to bring them down and kill White, you can trust me... It'll just be like him?" Drake goes into thought before sighing. "Eien... Of course, how is he a liar?"

Suddenly the chains unravel at a frighting rate and Drake's hair suddenly stands on end.

Drake quickly creates a energy bubble around him as tribal markings appear on him, he then begins to hover around, preparing himself for any attacks.

She becomes wreathed in a aura of pure lightning of countless colors, in fact the entire room begins to fill with lightning to the point of the ridiculous. The symbols on her chest glow brighter, as she begins firing bolts of lightning at him at random intervals.

"Crap crap crap!" Drake begins to create rune cirlces with absorb or deflect the bolts, he also dodges them skillfully, opting not to fight the girl. "Stop firing at me! I'm not your enemy!"

Corruption begins to get the impression that the runes blazing on the girl's chest mean something significant, and that Drake can't actually fully sense them. There is a significant amount of power flowing from the runes, but none flowing in.

Kurai hisses. "Drake, focus on the rune, it's the one generating or converting energy... What you need to do is to calm it down, disabling it will prove damaging, ok?" Drake nods as he continues to twist and turns around the lightning, one of the runes in his palm changes to a more circular one, he then makes a small calming chant then speeds towards the girl and presses his palm against the rune. Causing it to glow a soft blue which in turn should calm her down, Drake then pulls back and watches the results. "You better be right about this, Corruption."

The energy in the chamber dies down abruptly, the girl sparking unsteadily clutching her chest, after a while the energy starts flowing again, though it is not as focused and steady, and she narrows her eyes.

She rushes him suddenly, her hand outstretched and grabs his head, and he can sense her spiritual energy pumping into him and eating at his.

Drake grabs her arm and his eyes go a darker colour as Corruption quickly gives the sensation of spikes ripping out of her arm, causing her to let go. He takes a step back and sighs. "Why are you doing this?"

"You wouldn't understand... freedom... you take it for granted... you people take it away and then ask why we hate you... I'll do anything... even take over your soul...'re all nothing by liers and tricksters... make empty promises and bait us with freedom... I won't be lied to again... I won't allow you to mock me anymore....!"

She forms a powerful spear of lightning and prepares to throw it, when the spear collapses and dissipates as she curls up into a ball, crying as the chains reappear and bind her legs and arms, a single one with a collar also forms around her neck, and she says nothing more.

Drake walks up to her then sits down infront of her. "I know what it's like to have my freedom taken away from me, to be treated like animals for people to come and laugh at... To be binded to chains, tortured, humiliated infront of hundreds... I don't need to ask why you hate me if I already know the answer, I can tell how desperate you are for freedom. I'm not a liar, I won't mock something of what I once was... You're what fuels my partner's Slayer, aren't you... If I didn't have Corruption inside of me, then I would help you with your freedom, but I can't. So what can I do to help?"

A voice says, "You can't."

Suddenly she fades, along with the chamber, and Drake is falling again as he lands on his front half, when he looks up he is in some kind of room, in front of him in a decent looking chair is a familiar yellow cloaked figure, who chuckles in amusement.

"Gods, I believe that was one for the record books. Perfect faceplant by the way."

Drake gets up and walks towaeds the figure, only stopping at arms length, he then gets a chair out of the HSC and sits in it. "Well well then, Eien... Good to see that you came through... So then, why haven't you decided to show yourself to your family..." Drake says, instantly getting serious.

"Should I count that as one of your five permitted questions?" Eien asks casually.

"Should I count that as any fucks that I should give?" Drake says instantly, and after a moment he sighs. "Eien, if you're immortal, why do you follow Phoenix, actually... You wanted the same thing I wanted... Answers, wasn't it?"

"That really depends on what you mean by answers. Also depends on what you mean by 'follow'. I don't follow anyone or anything really. And they are not my family. My family died off several dozen years ago. Those alive, I'm not close to.

Any I don't know... more... significant questions...? I'm counting that one by the way."

Drake mimicks Eien's voice. "I want answers... answers to it all. This is the path that will show me the answers I seek..." Drake then smirks but only faintly. "I'm guessing you never got your answers, right? You weren't able to win against Igna which resulted in the death of Kio, that's why you went to Phoenix in the first place, wasn't it? You wanted answers and enough power to defend your family, that's why you killed the other members... And then it all led to the anti-climatic fight with you and White... Tell me, Eien. Do you know what she meant by 'Take the power you so desire. You'll find it's not what you think it is.'" 

"She likely refered to the power of my current weapon. But then again she did not know everything, nor the power I have developed since that struggle. I was already a member when my sister was taken. ....And she's not dead. ...Depending on what that means for you at least. She is very much still alive... you're getting a bit too comfortable with me, you know... ....that's a mistake you'll likely regret if you aren't careful.... besides. I was only interested in getting revenge on Inga. Make her understand what exactly she has done to me. Kill her. That is all. 

But these days, there is a different order of business at work. Inga knows I watch her, she wouldn't dare do anything to Kio's soul... I have all the time I need to deal with her. An upstart like her won't be a challenge to deal with once this party finally is set in motion..." 

"I know Kio isn't dead, but she's nothing but a soul now... Nothing but a hostage which Igna can use against you if she so wanted, what I find funny is that someone like you is struggling against her." Drake begins to chuckle, looking Eien directly in the eye. "Nothing gets past you does it... Shame, I wanted to keep this a secret, Aiko said so... Your lab housed a lot of interesting stuff." He then begins to recite what he read in the journal, before sighing once more. "And if I'm getting too comfortable with you, then deal with it... Afterall, if I believe that I belong to this family, then it applies to you." He laughs slightly. "The little one considers me her brother... So in a sense that would make you my... Great great great? Grandfather. Besides, we're sorta similar in ways, but only one of our viewpoints is blurred."

Eien snorts. "I don't consider them my family. Nor do I you. You've certainly changed though since I kicked the snot out of you.... but in this case it's slightly annoying. And for your health, I would advise abandoning that sentiment. I'm a very different person than those royals have told you... and I care not about them. Rather..." He pauses.

"....You will understand. But you won't like it when you do." Drake notices that the girl from earlier is here, standing next to Eien, her eyes are like glass, as though she can see nothing.

"Two more questions. I counted that speech of yours."

"I have nothing else to ask, I'm done here." Drake stands up and begins to walk away. "Oh, and for once... I hope you save your sister, if she's the only family you have left... Then I can't really stop a determination like yours, so good luck and have fun dealing with that Casuality she posseses." 

"Hmmph.... listen to him Kaminari... if he only knew the future... he wouldn't so kin on wishing me luck... Hmmm? Oh, reasons, Kaminari... reasons... enjoy it while you can... ....only four weeks left..." 

A faint laughter can be heard. "I can still hear you! Oh, one more question actually, foreseeing the future, to you, is that a blessing or a curse?" And with that, Drake flies up and out of the hole and makes it back to his room, he sits on his bed for a moment. 

Eien and Kaminari disappears. "Where's the fun in giving you an opinion?"

He hears someone humming the Jaws theme under the bed.

Drake smiles as he reaches under and pulls Aiko out. "Got you! Sorry for not coming back to the lab, something caught up with me."

Aiko takes out a party horn and blows it, the paper smacking him between the eyes.

Drake chuckles as he gives Aiko a hug then sits her on his shoulder, he then begins to leave his room and walk around the palace. "So then, what's up with the party horn?"

"I like to surprise people."

"Of course... So then, what do you wanna do?" Drake asks while looking at some of the paintings on the walls.

He sees a solo portrait of Kio, and he realizes the wall he's looking at is dedicated to victims of Inga.

Aiko thinks for a brief moment. "Maybe we could swim?"

Drake feels a small moment of dread. "Maybe that's not the best of ideas, lightning and water do not mix..."

"Awwww.... I'm gonna go swim, bye!" She hops down from him, hugging him quickly before skipping off. A few minutes later Noriko finds him.

"Drake!" She says with a smile, hugging him. "How are you feeling right now?"

Drake hugs back and chuckles. "I'm fine I'm fine, and what about you?"

"Overwhelmed... it's just amazing all of this..."

"Yeah, it's anstonishing... Your family are amazing, the palace looks great, the view incredible... But I'm just glad you're home." Drake gives Noriko a small kiss and smiles.

Midnight Glades

Outside a nearby window, the sun is just beginning its setting.

"Oh yeah, Aiko said to go out to the balcony to see the night, didn't she? Well then what are we waiting for? Well race there!" And without a second warning, Drake begins to sprint to the balcony, laughing on his way there.

Haruko grabs Drake's shirt collar. "Oh, it's dinner time, the whole family will be going out tonight though, so come with me and let's hurry and eat!"

Drake looks at Haruko and sulks. "But I'm not huuuungrrrryyyy..."

"I hear Michiko had her servants make you some Cyanic food....." Haruko says with a smile.

They can hear a growl in his stomach as Drake's eyes go cat like, a small childish smile grows on his face. "Ok, I may have room for a bit... When are we going? Does it have to be night? Can't it start now... Please?"

"We'll leave right when we're all done eating, don't worry! It just now started going down, it's gotta be when the moonlight hits the valley, silly!" She laughs, as she drags Drake along, with Noriko laughing as she follows. They meet up with Kanashimi, who laughs when she sees Drake.

"Hahaha, I see you're letting them drag you around old man!" She follows the group.

"Meh, it saves effort... But I think I can walk on my own now." Drake gains his barings and stands up which causes Haruko to let go, he then begins to follow her. "So then loud mouth, how the palace for you?"

Kanashimi thinks for a moment. "It's a nice place. Too many servants wanting to curl my straight hair up. The nerve..."

Drake laughs. "Yeah, everyone here has a weird fasination of hair for some reason... And I could never imagine you with curls, it would seem unatural..."

Haruko looks back and enchants Kanashimi's hair into curls with a gleeful laugh.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" Kanashimi sceeches. "Turn it back! Turn it back! Turn it back! Turn it back! Turn it back!"

Haruko and Noriko start laughing, but Noriko shakes her head after a moment, and Haruko sighs, disenchanting the hair a moment later.

Drake smiles childishly. "See, told you, it seemed unnatural... And ooooow, my ears... Did you need to screech that loudly?"

"*Pant* *Pant* *Pant*....don't.... don't ever do that again.... I like my hair, thank you very much...."

Drake's stomach rumbles again as he groans. "I want foooooood... Give me the foood... I'll kill anyone who hides it from me..."

"Then leeeeeeeeet's gooooooooo!" Haruko grabs Drake again and bolts off with lightning speed, Noriko close behind.

"....Whhhhhhyyyyyyy?" Kanashimi grumbles, running after them.

"I can practically taste it... The delicacies of Cyanican culture at it's peak of taste! The savory of the meats... The sweetness of the treats, the deliciousness of the vegatables..." Soon they can see Drake almost drool over the Cyanican food. 

Haruko sets Drake down in a seat, and she and Noriko promptly sit next to him, with Michiko sitting next to Noriko.

Aiko pouts. "I want to sit next to Nori!"

"Hmm... Aiko, come here, you can sit on my lap, alright?" Drake says as he waits impatiently for the food to arrive.

Michiko appears, with a full set of food laid out on the table, a section is Cyanic food, just for Drake.

To the others surprise, they see that when shown the Cyanican food, Drake eats rather well mannered than beore. But still retains his childish side throughout, smiling and giggling as he tastes familiar dishes. "This is amazing! All of it is amazing, I want mooooore!"

Michiko smiles. "I'm afraid we're out."

Drake looks at Michiko, his eyes filled with plead and sadness. "Don't tell me you're serious... There must be more!"

Hoshiko sighs. "Quit baiting him Michiko, give him the rest."

Michiko huffs. "You're no fun, Hoshiko." She snaps her fingers and more food appears.

Drake's eyes fill with glee as he looks at the food. "Thank you!" He then continues to eat.

Momoka and Osamu are off by themselves, appearing to be having a hushed discussion.

"Ooooooor... Hold on guys... Girls... Whatever." Drake then fades away in fire, only appearing as a small flame, he then hides somewhere just so he can hear the conversation.

"And I think we should...... .....Drake I know you're there," Momoka says without looking at him.

"No you dooooon't..." After a moment of silence, Drake sighs and lands down, growing back to full size. "My apologies, can't help it... So what are you two talking about?"

"....Don't worry yourself about it," Momoka says. "It's nothing you need to worry about."

"You know, when people say that, others tend to worry more... And I'm not the type that worries, so can you tell me, please?"

"It's just business about the kingdom. There's nothing that needs to be known. Taxes and stuff." Momoka says tiredly.

Drake blankly looks at Momoka. "With all due respect, you're a terrible liar... I'd hate to get angry with royals for lying, so would you kindly tell me?"

She smiles. "Ok ok, you got me. ..........We were planning a welcome home party for Nori. We wanted to keep it a surprise but...." She pouts.

"You just had to keep pushing..." She grumbles.

Drake sighs. "And I still am going to keep pushing... Look at your arm." When she does, she sees a Cyanic rune on it, pulsing at times. "Think of it as a lie detector..."

Momoka blinks. "Huh? I'm not lying. We really have been talking about it. It's supposed to be tomorrow. We didn't want to tell you because Nori might find out and the surprise would be ruined. Oh, that said..." She whips out some clothing out of nowhere.

"I want you to try these suits, tuxes, dress shirts, pants, boots, and etc on and find one you like for tommorow. Chop chop, there's a lot." There has to be more than fifty outfits stacked in her arms, which she promptly hands him.

"You got to be kidding... Fine, although suits never look good on me." Drake grumbles and walks off to his room, when he does, he shuts the door and stands infront of a mirror, looking at the clothes beside him. Suddenly a shadow appears beside him, chuckling. "Well then Drake, have fun with that."

Drake glances at Corruption and growls, picking some out. "Yeah yeah, screw you too... Now go back into the damn blade." Drake says as he tries some of the outfits, disliking each one. 'Corruption then laughs. "They're never going to suit you, you kno--" Drake quickly cuts him off. "I know! Now shut up and let me pick which one I hate the least..." After a while he finally picks out a suit, white shirt, red tie and black everything else, a small smirk comes to his face as he speaks. "Well then... This'll do." 

Kumiko's voice says from behind and above him, "That looks good."

"People don't know how to knock, do they?" Drake sighs as he turns around to look at Kumiko. "Hmm? You think so?"

The eldest sister nods. "A pro tip though, the oldest of us just slip in with magic or the door, the younger ones will be the more unpredictable ones. Aiko loves travel via the air vents."

As she says this, Aiko pops up out of an air vent in the floor. "Surprise!" She cheers.

Drake sighs once more. "Even so... Privacy... It's a good thing to have, it's not like I just appear in your room while someone is changing." Drake says with a blank expression, he then sits on his bed. "So then, what do you want? Or did you just come to check on me?"

"Mother asked me to see if you found one you liked, and to tell you it's close to time."

"Ok ok... Tell Momoka I'm ready anyways, I'll put on the suit when the time comes." Drake says as he scruffles Aiko's hair. 

She giggles, then quickly pops back down as quickly as she came up.

Kumiko drops down from the ceiling with ease. "I'll take you out to where the others are."

Drake nods and follows Kumiko and asks. "So, what's the plan for tonight then?"

"You'll see," Kumiko says with a faint smile.

"Oh yay..." Drake says as he rolls his eyes.

They meet with the others, who are all gathered up. Momoka looks at Drake. "Ready to go?" She smiles.

"Ready as I'll ever be." Drake says while nodding once. "So where exactly are we going?"

The front doors of the palace open, revealing the outside.

"For a walk," Momoka says simply.

"Alright then, I guess it'll help me with getting to know the area..." Drake says as he steps outside.

Outside, the area appears to have become something out of a story book, with thousands of werelights flittering throughout the starry night sky, throughout the whole valley countless small crystals glow brilliantly, like little lanterns. There are strange white flowers that literally seem to glow in the moonlight. There are many more people out, and Drake can see scores of small fairies wizzing around, at play, and a few of them curiously fly up to Drake's face, and while some leave, some decide to follow him, flying around his head, shoulders, arms and hands. There is a strange serene feel in the atmosphere.

Drake chuckles. "From deadly wastelands to tranquil fairy tale settings... Echo has it all, doesn't it? ...Man, if Echo was a person, I'd call it a showoff. So is this just a general walk or are we heading somewhere?"

"We're taking a walk, no where specific. You can go where you like, just stay within the valley cliffs."

"Ah ok... Then..." After looking around, he picks one of the paths and begins his walk. "And let's get going."

Noriko follows him, a half skip in her step as she looks around. Some of the fairies curiously fly around her instead, some landing in her hair for a ride, which makes her laugh.

Drake chuckles. "That's how it feels when you sit in my hair, strange isn't it? Hell... If I wanted to settle down, here would be my first choice... So anyways." He says, unsure of what to say next.

Her hand seeks his out, grabbing ahold of it. As she stares at the scenery around them in wonder, she almost has a sleepy cast to her eyes.

"This place... is this what it feels like to be home?" She wonders quietly, her energy noticeably less vibrant and more at ease.

"Well, it's different for everyone... Some dislike the feeling of being at home while some treasure it, some feel complete and others feels empty... I can easily tell that you feel complete, a sense of peace, you treasure your family and home which would make you feel like you belong here. That's how you feel, isn't it?"

She nods quietly. "It wouldn't have felt right without you here though..." She brushes her head against him softly.

Drake smiles as he puts his arms around Noriko and holds her close. "Yeah... it wouldn't be the same without you." He then chuckles. "Afterall, nothing is the same without 'tankboy'."

She lets out a small sigh of contentment, saying, "My little tankboy... all mine..." Before then drifting to sleep in his arms. The fairies in her hair giggle quietly.

Drake softly carries her next to a tree, he sits down and rests with Noriko sleeping easy in his arms. "I guess we wait on the others now..."

He sees Haruko walk around their path and smiles at them. "Awww I think someone's had a very busy day... I can take her back to bed. Should I find a room for her, or would you prefer to share with her?"

"I'd prefer to share, she likes the company." Drake gets up, making sure not to drop Noriko. "Thanks for coming, otherwise sleeping on that tree would be so uncomfortable..."

She nods, and gently picks Noriko up, grunting. "Oh my, she really is my twin... she weights just as much as me...! Errr... don't mention I said anything. She says with a smile. She looks at Noriko's face for a moment.

"Man times have changed... did you know it's been nine years since I last saw her? I missed her so much... ...being away from my twin sister was like... ...I don't know, missing half of my heart, I guess. We did everything together, and I sorta wasn't comfortable around my other siblings...'s been kinda lonely, ya know...?"

"Well... Not really? I mean, I got seperated from birth and my parents were killed during the planetary war with Kinaro... At least that's what the people I grew up with told me. But in a sense, I guess that's how I feel about Daikeim, he's like a brother to me... Huh, I guess so, it does get sorta lonely without Daikeim but I'm sure he's fine." He then chuckles. "And don't worry, I won't mention anything."

She smiles gratefully. "Thanks Drake. I'll be back once I take her to your room, alright?"

Drake nods. "Alright, see you soon then."

Haruko walks off toward the palace, eventually reaching Drake's room and gently places Noriko in bed, giving her a light hug.

Kanashimi flies up to where Drake is, and lands gracefully next to him. "Man, I'm starting to get the hang of it now..."

Drake chuckles. "Yeah, it does seem like that, doesn't it? But hey, who knows what other powers you have."

Drake's vision suddenly violently flashes, and he sees Torrent and a white haired male that seems eerily like him trudging through snow.

"How much further do we have to go, this is really starting to aggravate me...!" Torrent growls.

The male responds with a laugh. "It's not my fault we have to walk around this entire mountain range to get into the valleys beyond."

Torrent stops walking for a moment.

"....Kagerou.... ........BLOW UP THIS FUCKING MOUNTAIN!" He roars, pointing at the closest mountain to them.

Kagerou sighs. "....And I was enjoying the scenic route too..." The white haired male raises his hand and a sphere of multi elemental energy forms in his hand and rockets toward the mountain, destroying it in a colossal explosion.

"....But I'll admit the firework display is rather moving too," He remarks.

Beyond the destroyed mountain lies a large valley, full of grass and trees, and warmth.

Torrent growls. "I'm gonna make that bitch pay for making me go all this way just to find her..."

The vision ends.

Drake falls back against the tree and places his hand on his head, before entering his Half Dragon form and flying high up into the sky, he then closes his eyes as tribal markings appear around his eyes, suddenly his vision then zooms towards Torrent and Kagerou's location. A growl is heard as he opens his eyes and lands. "Shit... Phoenix... Looks like they're a while away too, so we have that..."

The one named Kagerou seems to mysteriously look up at Drake, and seems to give him a faint smile.

The smile alone makes Corruption shudder, as the tribal markings on Drake disappear. He then blinks while Kurai hisses. "How the... He knew you were there?" Drake just shakes his head. "I don't know I don't know... But still, we need to warn the others." Drake looks at Kanashimi. "Tell the others that two people from Phoenix are located in Echo, one wielding a Slayer and the other a possible Chaos Engine."

Kanashimi stands up. "What? They're here?!"

"In Echo, yes. But they're quite a while away, but still, it's best to warn the others, ok?"

She nods, and runs off to find Momoka and Osamu.

Hoshiko walks by and stops, looking at Drake, then towards the rest of the valley. "Curious to know why things are much more pretty at night?"

Drake sighs. "I expect because most things here are nocturnal...?"

"Well, the crystals around here are like solar panels. They absorb energy from the sun during the day, then release their energy in the night. The werelights you see are little sentient spirits of sorts. They're not like the more sophisticated ones, they're like very simple conciousnesses. Some of us use them as familiars to help with magic. And most residents of our nation aren't up during the day, though there are some of us, like the royal family who are up during the day."

A werelight floats by Drake, bobbing up and down as it travels.

Drake opens one of his palms, which lets the werelight hover on it's hand, looking at it for a moment before looking at Hoshiko. "How are these used to help with magic? I'd like to know."

"Well, all spirits naturally absorb the energy in the environment, the werelights look small, but they actually contain a lot of energy, and they subconsciously remember any magic they encounter, kinda like a arcane battery and spellbook in one, though you have to do a lot of digging if you want to find anything, as they will literally remember almost anything they experience. You often have to learn how to organize their minds before you can start looking, or you're more likely to learn more about what a plant feels like than a spell."

Drake has a fasinated expression on his face as he looks at the werelight, he opens his spellbook and glances through it. "So... Is there a way to tame a werelight or...?"

"A better word would be befriend. They're intelligent, so you have to impress, rather than control one."

"Ah ok... Befriend one, hmm..." Drake examines the werelight, before sighing. "Too many ideas... I don't even know where to start."

Drake feels a flicker of intelligence from it, and it floats off to a nearby pond, and proceeds to surround itself in a globe of water, which causes the werelight to create shimmering waves of light in all directions as the water ripples, then floats back toward Drake and seems to be expectant of something.

Drake looks at the water. "Huh... This'll be a first, here goes..." Drake gains tribal markings on his hands as he points towards the water, causing a small water orb to float in the air. Drake then creates a hand sign with the other hand, causing the markings to glow as the water shapes and morphs into a Chinese styled dragon. It's eyes glow white as it becomes sentient, floating around Drake, he then does the same but with fire. The two dragons then begins to circle each other, until Drake clicks his fingers, at then the two dragons collide with each other and cause the two to become steam, which then the steam also forms into a small dragon of the same style. As it flies off, Drake smirks at his own work. "Heh... That was interesting."

The werelight slowly begins flashing various alternating shades of green light, then begins making perfectly round spheres of rock orbit it in a planetary atomic model style.

"Ok... Rock based stuff..." Drake then creates a rune circle underneath him, when it begins to glow, the symbols on it change and form as rock from the ground attaches itself to Drake until he is completely covered. Tribal markings then appear on the rock as it slowly morphs into the shape of knight's armour, Drake takes a moment to move around before making one more hand sign which causes a small torrent of fire to consume Drake. Afterwards when the fire dies down, there are red patterns that glow all over the armour, complete with a sword made from the rock and fire. 

The werelight flashes green again, then seems to hover around him for a few minutes before suddenly rushing straight into his chest, disappearing, Drake starting to become flooded with a massive amount of energy and a large amount of information, before his body shuts down from the data overload, just as Haruko comes back.

"Oh, he's asleep?"

Hoshiko shakes her head. "Well, kinda actually. His system is reeling from the data input. He impressed a werelight."

"Whaaaat? Oh man, I haven't gotten one to like me yet..."

"Well you gotta be relaxed, not all upity. Do me a favor and take him to his room, he's gonna have a killer headache in the morning."

Haruko nods, then lifts Drake up with a grunt, taking him to his room to join Noriko.

"Well, see you in the morning." She closes the door behind her silently, with a smile.

"Maaan I can't wait for tomorrow..."

When morning arises, Drake opens his eyes to see nothing but yellow. He smiles softly as he realises where he is, after giving Noriko a soft hug. He sits up and gets her hair out of the way then sighs with contentment. "So comfortable... Just let me sleep for an eternity." He says, chuckling afterwards as he goes and gets ready for the day.

As Drake gets up, he starts to feel a rather severe headache, and a name, Praxi pops in his head insistently.

"Praxi? Where the hel-- Oooooooooooow... Oooow... Oooow... Why does it feel like I have White fat ass sitting on my head, uuuuuuugh..." Drake groans as he looks for anything to surpress the headache. "Ok... Praxi Praxi Praxi... Where could I... Oh right, the werelight... Ooooow..."

As soon as he says the name, the werelight pops out of his chest, now charged with his own energy, and it almost seems to have become an extension of his being.

Drake eyes widen as he looks at Praxi. "What... The... Can you explain what happened?"

He feels a faint impression from it that it has literally become a part of him, its memories, knowledge, and energy has become a mere extension of his own being.

"Ok... That explains it." Drake then places his hand on his head and groans again. "Uuuuuuugh... My head is killing me..." 

He gets another impression that it is simply due to having absorbed all of the werelight's being at once, and the headache will likely subside within the next few hours, and it recommends eating garlic. 

Drake tilts his head as he looks at Praxi, the then sighs and goes off to the kitchen to find any cloves of garlic. All while having a hand on his head, occasionally groaning at the pain. "This... Sucks..."

He sees Haruko, who waves at him with a smile. "Headache?"

"Yeah... I'm guessing you knew that this would happen?" Drake says in a sour tone.

"...Kinda...? I can help with the headache though."

Drake sighs with relief. "Really? Please help, this is going to kill me..."

"Ok, go sit down in a chair and I'll rub your head, trust me I'm good with curing headaches."

"Alright..." Drake sits in the nearest chair and waits.

She takes the back of his head and begins working his head, he can feel slight jolts of electricity on occasion, slowly helping release some of the pain.

He chuckles. "Ah... That's much better... Thank you Haruko, funny enough how electrcity is helping me... So with that ordeal over, what should I do with the Werelight? Or... Praxi as it's known."

"Oh, he's like a familiar. Even though he's a part of you now, he'll still likely have information you'll need, plus he can greatly enhance your capacities, including such things as storing extra energy you can draw from, making spells activate faster, and can do many various tasks. If you want him to retract himself back into you until you need him, just address him and tell him to go back in."

Drake smirks. "Enhance my capabilties with spells... Awesome, Praxi, it's time to come back in." Drake says as he opens his spellbook and reads through some spells to test out for later. He then starts walking back to his room, waving goodbye to Haruko. "I'm gonna check if Noriko is awake, I'll see you around."

Praxi disappears with a puff of air. When Drake enters the room, she appears to be fiercing hugging his pillow, wrapped around it as it she was still sleeping with him. He hears a sigh and she says, "Sooooooooooooft......"

"Awww..." He says as he slowly walks up to Noriko and chuckles, taking the pillow off of her. "Wakey wakey Nori, it's morning noooow."

She moans. "Nuuuuuuuu.... I don't want to get up.... where'd you gooooooo?" Her eyes are still closed, and her arms feebly start looking for something to cling on.

Drake walks around the bed then lies down next to Noriko, hugging her tightly. "Here I am... I had to deal with something for a quick moment, don't worry, you can rest for ten more minutes then we'll have to get ready for the day, ok?"

She squeezes him in response, a more happy aura emitting from her. "Hrrrrmmmm.... Ok ok... as you wish, we'll get up in twenty more minutes...."

"But I said... Nevermind." Drake says as he smiles and rolls his eyes, he then relaxes and waits until twenty minutes has passed.

Once the twenty minutes is up, Noriko still sleeps.

Drake sits up and looks at Noriko, placing a hand on her shoulder and softly shakes her. "Hey, wake up now..."

She opens her eyes sleepily, looking up at him, yawning. "...why do we have to get up... Nori is lazy... .....and sleeeeeepy...."

"I know you are, but who would you rather want to wake you up, me or one of your sisters?" Drake says while chuckling. 

She moans, before meekly sitting up, the bedding still half covering her, until she slowly flops over on top of him, resulting in a light childish giggle from her, before she slowly sits back up, and rubs the sleep from her eyes, yawning before sleepily looking over at him. "...Good morning..." She croaks.

Drake smiles. "Good morning Nori, slept well?" Drake says as he sits up, he then makes the bed and tidies the rest of the room. 

"Yes... ...sleep is like a haven... ...Drake, what do you want to do in the future? I could spend the rest of my life with you, and I would be happy... ...I've never felt that way before you know... ...we've changed so much, have you noticed? ...I feel happier and happier everyday, I can't describe it. I still sleepy...?" She murmurs.

"In the future? ...Huh, never thought about it, well... If I haven't done something stupid and gotten myself killed, I'd love to settle down in Echo with you... Yeah, I'd feel like I got everything I need if I did that, and yeah... We've changed a lot, I'm honestly surprised..." He chuckles as he kisses Noriko. "We used to be... I don't even know how to describe how we used to be, but it was different. And you're becoming happier and happier because you're home, around people who you care for, people who care about you, it probably is still the sleep but who knows?"

"....You would....?" Noriko says with surprise, his words making her wake up fully. "...You mean that?!" She asks, starting to brim with a overjoyed aura.

"Of course, silly... Why wouldn't I? I can't keep my mercenary job up even until I was an old man, and I feel like I would just want to get away from it all and rest... And since it would be in Echo, we can meet your family more often. So yeah, I would want nothing more in my future life than to settle down with you." Drake says with a small smile.

Her eyes widen huge, before she tackles him in a monstrous bear hug, the two crashing to the floor with a thud. "Thank you!!!" She cries.

Drake laughs and wraps his arms around Noriko. "It's ok, no problem. Just tone down with the tackles, ok?" Drake says, still chuckling, he then scruffles Noriko's hair. 

They hear a knock, and Michiko comes in and looks down. "I see the lovebirds are at play once more. You two going to be ready for breakfast soon?"

Drake looks at Michiko and nods. "Yeah, we're both ready, we'll meet up soon ok?"

She nods, and closes the door with a smile, her footsteps gradually fading.

Noriko lets out a yawn, and slowly gets up off him, thinking for a moment. "Oh, did you know Michi is teaching me how to control my electricity better?"

Drake tilts his head, a curious expression on his face. "Really, is that so? Give me an example, if you can."

"Well, I can take a bath and not kill anything," She says casually.

"That's an improvement, what about eletronic devices? Do you still need the gloves?" Drake asks.

"No, I'm still the Electro Serial Killer... can't lay a hand on em yet..."

"Oh... That sucks to hear, well then..." He giggles and hugs Noriko. "At least your hugs tingle, so are we ready to go to breakfast then?"

She thinks about it after hugging him back. "After a niiiiice shower."

Drake nods and begins to follow Michiko. "Ok, we'll see you at breakfast."

Moonlight Ball

After a while, Noriko appears at the breakfast table, wearing a fancy dress with steam rolling in clouds behind her, looking confused.

"Where did my normal clothes go?" She whines.

Momoka sighs. "There's an official function. I'm sorry but we had to make sure you would be dressed up, and well... ...we knew you didn't like dresses. So the clothes had to be removed temporarily. You can have them back at the end of the day. ....Oh, and Michiko, after breakfast, take Noriko and help her dress more professionally prepared, alright?"

Noriko's face blushes bright red.

Drake quickly chokes on his food for a quick moment before looking at the embarrased Noriko, then looks at Michiko. "...Have fun with that, Michiko." He says before looking back at his food and continues to eat.

Noriko quietly sits down next to Drake, redder than a tomato, looking straight down at her plate as she eats. "....I'm... I'm not... that bad... right? I-I mean... ...I don't look that weird in a... a... dress, .....right?" She stammers.

Drake looks at Noriko and plucks a small kiss onto her cheek, he then places his hand ontop of hers. "You look beautiful Noriko, you shouldn't have to worry about how you look in a dress. I'm sure everyone else thinks you look nice."

She gives him a hug for a few minutes, before finally starting to relax and eats her fill, though when she finishes, Michiko swoops in like a shark and whisks her off.

"Noooooooooooooo!" Noriko cries as she is dragged off. "I don't want frills and pretty dresses!"

Aiko giggles. "Another victim falls to Michi!"

Momoka swiftly grabs Aiko. "And now it's your turn to get a dress."

"Nooooooooooooooooo!" She wiggles free and runs off.

Momoka looks at Drake. "I'll make you a week's supply of Cyanic food for when you two decide to go adventuring again if you help catch her."

"DONE!" And without a second word, Drake speeds off in search of Aiko, a clear smoke silhouette of Drake is shown sitting down. 

Drake finds a large fish tank, with sharks swimming around.

"...Woah that's impressive." Drake takes a moment to look at the sharks.

One of them swims by, and he notices how it could probably fit a whole person comfortably in its giant mouth.

Drake examines that shark. "Huh... By the way it's swimming, it seems to have something in it's mouth." Drake looks around the tank. "...There's nothing for it to eat and there's no blood..." Drake's eyes widen. "Aiko!?"

As soon as her name is mentioned, the shark's jaws open and Aiko bolts out of the tank. "Darn it Bruce! Your acting sucks!" Aiko dives into the nearest air vent.

"Dammit Aiko!" Drake gains tribal markings as he shrinks down and enters his Half Dragon form to chase Aiko into the air vents.

"Nuuuuuuuu!" She cries, then after a moment, he hears chucking from her as she keeps running.

"Heeeeeeey loooooook, it's metal! There's metal everywhere, look at all of this metal, I think that's asking for a, stunningblow!"

Drake's eyes widen massively as his voice now has a worried tone to it. "Aiko... You're not thinking what I think you're thinking, are you? ...You wouldn't do that to me, right? ...Please?"

"Zappy zappy zappy!!!" She cheers as she continues running. "I'm gonna zap you, I'm gonna zap you!" She chants.

"How are you so fast!?" Drake shouts as he flies ever so closer to Aiko. "You have to get back to Momoka! Stop being so difficult!"

Up ahead, a pair of arms suddenly come down and grab Aiko, who wails, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

"Aaah hah!" Drake flies up to Aiko, hugs her cheek then flies up to see Momoka. "Nice catch." Drake then grows to full size and looks down at Aiko.

"Nooooo... I don't wanna dress up!" She moans.

"Thank you, Drake. That would have taken about six hours of torturous lockdown just to grab ahold of her."

"It's ok, anything for this little princess." Drake teasingly says as he helps Momoka get Aiko out, he then scruffles her hair and chuckles. "Hahah."

"......Damn it Bruce...." Aiko grumbles.

"Oh don't worry about it, I'll be in a suit, I hate suits." Drake says, sitting down so he's eye level with Aiko. "If you get ready, then so will I, ok?"

She sniffs. "....Meanie in a suit..."

Drake sighs and gives her a soft hug. "We'll play hide and seek after we're done, ok?" Drake says with a smile.


Momoka smiles gratefully. "Go on and get yourself ready, Drake. When you're done, come to the Great Hall. No, not the one we eat at. The main entrance one. Don't tell Noriko what's going on when or if you see her. This is a surprise party afterall."

Drake nods and walks away, he then heads to his room and gets changed before exiting the room. "One suit wearing Drake, check... No Noriko around, check... Now just to get to the function." Drake begins to walk to the main entrance and sees everyone there. "So, we're all here?"

There are many thousands of people in the hall, nobility, commoners, as well as others Drake notices must be family members. Momoka and the others, except for Michiko and Noriko are all gathered together.

"Woah, a lot of people here..." Drake then walks up to the main family. "Hello there fancy people... Any news on Noriko?"

"Oh she'll be here soon, once Michiko is done perfecting her image," Haruko giggles. "Michiko likes to overdo it."

Drake chuckles. "Of course, then I'm guessing she'll be highly decorated... I wonder how Noriko will look though, I bet that Michiko is decorating her too." He says as he adjustes his suit, keeping an eye out for the sisters.

"Oh she is, she's probably gonna put bows and ribbons and pretty slippers and make up and... get the idea. Noriko's probably being put through her equivalent of torture right now."

"Well then, it sucks to be her right now... So everyone here is also welcoming Noriko back home?"

"Yeah, she is a long lost princess and all. We are all very close to one another as a people, so it's good that they came of their own accord." She replies.

"That's nice to hear, I wonder how long it'll take those two to get ready... I see why you decided to hold this at night, fair enough... So then..." Drake says in an unsure tone.

"Hmmm? Something wrong?" Haruko asks.

"Huh? Oh, no, there's nothing wrong. Just thinking about things... Umm, has anyone seen Aiko?"

A small tugging on his pants catches his attention, and he sees Aiko in a cute dress, with a small hairpiece with a pink bow. She is looking up at him in a pout.

Drake smiles and picks Aiko up. "Awww, so how's this little princess?"

" an overly expensive doll."

He gives her a hug and chuckles. "Yeah, but you look adorable. And besides these Functions rarely happen, right? And it'll be over soon."

"....They love parties...." She grumbles. "Carry me?" She asks hopefully.

"Sure." Drake then sits Aiko on his shoulders and asks. "Anywhere you want to go?"

"Hrrrrm...." She suddenly looks up. "Ooooh, it's allllllmost tiiiiiime!" She giggles.

"Huh?" Drake then turns and looks in the direction that Aiko is looking in. 

Michiko comes out with Noriko, who is now wearing a gorgeous blue dress embroided with flowers and frills, as well as a necklace with a single large blue rose on the front, little blue flower earrings are on her ears, and her hair has been straightened and cut shorter. She appears to be deathly nervous, only augmented when the whole room claps upon the two's entry, which causes Noriko to appear as if she is a deer caught in headlights.

Drake looks at Noriko, stunned at her beauty. "...Woah, she's... Woah..." Drake subtly looks at himself to see if he looks presentable for her, he then makes sure his hair is fine, he then looks up at Aiko. "They really went far with her, didn't they?"

"Michiko's victims are never the same when she's through with em'... ...she always dresses me up ten times worse than my mother does on my birthday."

"Ah, well I think Michiko did a good job on Noriko, although I doubt the hair was easy..." Drake says, still slightly awestruck at Noriko.

Aiko crawls onto her mother's shoulders, and Momoka takes Drake's hand. "Come with me, it's time to start the party, and you know, it's that time where the public figures address the crowd, you'll be joining Noriko with me up there."

As she says this, Michiko is walking Noriko to the front of the room, where a large white stage can be seen.

"Addressing the crowd?" Drake says with a slight nervous tone, but nevertheless he follows Momoka. "Ok then, this will be interesting... I guess I should try to be regal, embarrassing the Moonlight family just by being me will be idiotic..." Just as he says that, Drake takes a minute to adjust his poise and stance. "Ok, let's proceed."

She laughs. "Don't worry," She says as she guides him to the stage along with Osamu. "You don't have to talk. I'm just introducing you, yada yada yada. It's nothing serious. Afterwards, don't be too much of a stiff, it's a party to celebrate and relax, not get riled up. Oh, and once the party starts, keep an eye out for the other Hierarchical Families. I'll explain once we get done with the speech."

Drake looks at Momoka with slight curiosity. "Keep an eye out for the others? Sounds off but ok..." He says as he glances at everyone then at Noriko. "I pray that you don't get stage fright..."

As the two parties get close together, Noriko's hand trembles and tightly grips his other hand, and he can feel her trembling.

Aiko giggles. "I think it's too late for that," She laughs.

Drake rolls his eyes at Aiko's comment and focuses on Noriko, a soft smile on his face appears as he intertwines his fingers with hers. "Hey, don't be nervous, you have your family and I here to make sure you don't mess up. Don't worry, you got this, ok?" 

She quietly squeaks in response, and Momoka and Osamu walk them up to the stage, and they take center stage. "Just stand by us, you don't have to say anything," She says to them in a whisper. 

"See? We'll just let your parents do the talking." Drake whispers to Noriko, he then decides to stand next to Osamu, having to break off the hand holding.

"My people, I welcome you to this wonderful event," Momoka begins, the crowd settling down. "Today we celebrate the return of a lost loved one of our family, finally returned from her service with Phoenix. It has been many long years, but we can finally be a family again. Today, let us have a day of celebration, of family, friends, neighbors, and good will. I present to you, my long lost daughter, Noriko, and her...." She pauses for a moment. "I believe they call it, 'boyfriend.', Drake Ryunexo!" She and Osamu step back for a moment, bringing Noriko and Drake together and present them to the crowd, who applauds for a moment, before Momoka and Osamu dismiss to allow the festivities to begin.

"You can go have fun now," Momoka says to them. "Maybe you could, consider it a 'date'?" Momoka adds teasingly.

"Oh... O-Ok... Yeah." Drake says as he then looks at Noriko, smiling. "Ok then, what do you wanna do on our 'date'?" Drake chuckles as he takes hold of Noriko's hand.

"....I-I-I... ....D-Do you like it?" Noriko stammers as she looks uncertainly at her dress. "Awwwwwwww... ...I'm so nervous I'm hungry...!" She whines, as a sharp growl comes from her belly.

"You look like a beautiful blue angel, and your hair really suits the way you are now. You look amazing, especially in a dress." Drake compliments, he then looks around and spots a table decorated with exotic dishes, and a nice lemon cake. "Ok, we can grab something to eat, but when it comes to the cake, you may only have one slice. Alright?"

She gives him a puppy eyed look. "....Awwwww....." She whines.

"Now now, we don't need to going too hyperactive, and I suppose that your family would want some too, so only one slice, ok?"

"....the power of puppy eyes failed.... *sniff*"

"I've seen it one too many times for it to work." Drake teasingly says, he then begins to lead Noriko to the food table while still holding onto her hand. He then grabs a plate and a slice of lemon cake and hands it to Noriko. "Here you go."

She takes it gingerly, and sniffs before taking a bite, the frown of her face evaporating in mere moments as she begins eating in earnest. As she eats, Drake notices her fairy wings grow out, but she doesn't shrink, the first time he ever saw her wings at a larger size. She pauses, and blinks in surprise when she seems them, and seems to experimentally flutter them. Much bigger, he's able to see many tiny currents of electricity flowing inside the large wings.

Drake looks at them in slight awe and curiosity, he slowly touches one but retracts quickly due to him getting shocked. "Ow ow ow... Is this a first for you?"

She nods, finishing her cake and then attacking some spicy chicken with gusto.

"You don't seem that bothered about it..." Drake then decides to take a slice of the lemon cake and eats slowly, looking at Noriko on some occasions. "So, what do you think about this so far?"

"This?' Noriko asks, Drake just now noticing her ears are also pointed, and he swears he can see them move on occasion, like a cat's.

"Huh... Never noticed... Umm anyways, I mean tonight, the party and all." Drake says, twiddling with one of Noriko's ears with curiosity.

She giggles at the touch, pulling away slightly after a moment. "It's ahh... overwhelming? Scary? Amazing? I've never had a party thrown in my honor before..."

"Yeah, that'll happen the first time around... But it's all for your return to your family, I'd love to have a party for when I ever go back to Cyanic to visit... But anyways, I can see why you feel like that." Drake gives Noriko a soft hug before looking around. "So umm, anything you feel like doing?" 

The two see Kanashimi walking very fast from Michiko, who has a determined gaze in her eyes. Drake notices Kanashimi is still in casual clothing. 

Noriko giggles. "Ooooo she's in trouble! Michiko warned her that if she didn't come properly dressed for the occasion, she would make Kanashimi wear the highest quality fancy dress she could find." 

Drake chuckles then sighs. "Should we just stand by and watch or actually help Michiko or Kanashimi?" Drake says as he finishes his slice of lemon cake.

He sees Michiko zap Kanashimi with magic, and in the resulting dust cloud, Kanashimi's clothes have been turned into a fancy red dress with frills, heavily embrioded with lace and roses, the sight of which makes Kanashimi gasp in both horror and reluctant awe.

"You should have listened! Now, you're stuck wearing those clothes for five days!" Michiko declares gleefully, before walking away with a mischievous smile.

"Nevermind." Drake says before laughing, he then notions Kanashimi to come over to where him and Noriko are. "Well well well, how's the dress, red head?" Drake says with a smirk

"Draaaaaaaake, PLEAAAAAAAASE! Help me!" Kanashimi begs, desperately. "I don't wanna wear a dress!"

"And I didn't want to wear a suit, life is hard Kanashimi, time you learned." Drake jokingly says as he pats Kanashimi's head. "You should of gotten ready, now you're stuck in those clothes..."

She sadly plops down next to Nori with her wings folded against her back, and starts eating chicken.

Drake eventually notices a group of men and women in red clothing all with particular insignias on their clothing.

"Hmm?" Drake glances at them and tilts his head slighty then smirks. "I guess that's the other families Momoka were talking about..."

One of them leaps up into the air upon seeing Kanashimi and smirks as he lands next to her and says with a mischievous grin, "HI," Startling Kanashimi out of her depressed air.

Geez! Where the heck did you come from?!" Kanashimi jumps.

"Oh, over there,' He says casually, pointing to the others impartially.

"What do YOU want?" She snaps, getting some of her composure back.

"Well, you looked like you weren't having any fun, so I decided to offer my hand as friend and lighten things up."

"Oh, hi there Drake Ryunexeo, nice to meet ya!" He says, offering a hand to shake with a smile. The guy appears to be around Kanashimi's age, with red hair and green eyes, wearing some manner of fancy robes.

Drake blinks as he looks at the person, cautiously shaking his hand. "Hey there, two questions running through my mind... One, how do you know my name? And two, who are you?"

"Well your name WAS announced to the whole room, it's not that hard. Also my name is Eisen. Of the Red Moon Clan."

"Oh... Right, sorry for that... Hello then Eisen of the Red Moon Clan." Drake then notions towards Kanashimi. "This is Kanashimi, my daughter of sorts... As you can see, she's in a hissy right now, so she'd love to dance, wouldn't you?" Drake jokingly says.

"Uh, no I would not!" Kanashimi panics.

Eisen grows a playful smile, and with a fluid movement lifts her by the hand onto her feet and spins her in a graceful dance move before looking back at Drake.

"Oh... .......May I?" He asks apologetically. Kanashimi's mind is still processing what's happening, then once it catches up, she begins shaking her head pleadingly.

"Now come on Kanashimi, you don't want to be hanging around your old man, do you?" He then turns to look at Eisen and nods. "I want her back in one piece, if you can."

She seems to shrink, right as he takes her hands and takes her off to dance, and Noriko fails to contain her laughter.

"Ahhhhh, that face of hers is precious! Hmmmm.... can we dance?" Noriko asks after a moment.

Drake smiles and holds Noriko's hand, not saying a single word. He then looks at her and nods, laughing softly. 

After a while, Noriko kisses Drake, smiling up at him. "...I still feel so nervous being in this dress...'s so... weird..."

"Don't be, you look amazing and I imagine that your dancing skills are graceful... I haven't danced like this yet so I guess we're both learning?" Drake says as he gets in position. Being as nervous as Noriko.

The two begin dancing, Noriko blushing and has a nervous smile on her face. They eventually catch a glimpse of Kanashimi and Eisen, Kanashimi still half petrifyed, Eisen still enjoying himself regardless. He sends Drake a friendly wave.

Drake gives Eisen a small wave before focusing on Noriko, chuckling. "See, you're doing great..." Drake says before looking around. "I never thought I'd be in this kind of setting, it's way to posh and classy for me..."

She laughs. "It's strange for me too you know," She says with a smile. "I didn't even know I was a princess in the first place."

Across the room, Eisen frowns at Kanashimi, who is avoiding looking at him and looks uncomfortable.

"You're really tense, you know? You should just relax. It won't kill you to come out of the shell you make of yourself."

Drake glances at Kanashimi and sighs under his breath, unsure if he should leave Noriko for a moment to deal with Kanashimi. 

Noriko gives him a reassuring smile. "Kana's just too stiff, she shouldn't be so uptight, don't you think so?"

"...Yeah, she should just try to be normal... I mean knowing how she is and what she came from, I can see why..." Drake then gives Noriko a teasing smile. "Stiff? Pretty sure you were as stiff as a board when you walked on that stage."

"H-Hey, that's d-different! Stage fright is perfectly normal!" She stammers.

Drake chuckles. "Yeah, I guess it is... Wow, your dancing is amazing, are you sure you never did this before?"

"Never. ...I'm not that good Drake, you don't have to flatter me..." She says with embarrassment.

Meanwhile, Kanashimi still isn't looking at Eisen. "....You don't like things that are girly, huh...? Is it because you consider that weakness?" He asks, which makes Kanashimi flinch.

"S-Shut up..." She mutters.

"I know it feels a little awkward, but you just need to cut loose and relax. You have to enjoy yourself at the very least, no?"

"...I don't like dancing..."

"Well, even if you don't, it would be a shame if you didn't have at least a little fun."

Drake glances at the two and sighs once more. "...I pray our child is never like that." He jokingly says as he dances with Noriko, soon sharing a kiss with her.

She blushes slightly at his words, but returns the kiss. "I never want this to end... ...being with you I mean."

"Neither do I, and if it did then I would do anyting and everything to bring us back to this... This is truly a heaven, my own little personal heaven..."

"...I'll tell you what, you don't have to dance, but you at least have to hang out. You hungry?" Eisen says after a moment, and Kanashimi considers.

"....Fine... ...and yes.... a little..."

"Ok then, let's go angel lady!"

"Angel lady?!" She barks as she is dragged away to the dining tables with Eisen, and is sat down next to him.

Noriko laughs. "Well, she just cracked."

Drake laughs too. "Well at least she's not dancing? I really hope that she'll cheer up soon, it'll be good for her to make some new friends and not just have her old man to talk about..." Drake chuckles.

"Hmmm... can I eat more cake?"

"One more slice ok?"

"Awwwww ok...." She pouts slightly.

He smiles and rolls his eyes. "Ok ok, you can have three slices... I'll be talking to the others, ok?" Drake asks.

She gives him a beaming smile and gives him a fierce bearhug. "Yeaaaaaaa!"

"Of course, lemon cake is your true weakness..." Drake says as he hugs back and kisses Noriko's head, he then manages to escape the hug and begins to walk off. "Remember, three slices!"

"...Ok, four slices! Got it!" She says happily as she takes a slice.

Drake rolls his eyes and starts to have conversations with others who have arrived to the party.

Eventually he sees Michiko walk over to him. "Say Drake... ...would you mind if we 'danced'? I'm rather bored."

Drake looks at Michiko and makes a slightly puzzled expression. "Umm... Yeah, sure I guess? I mean I'm waiting on Noriko to be finished wtih the lemon cake soon, and I don't know if she'll be comfortable with me dancing with you..."

She smiles. "No, I mean this kind of dancing." She summons a sword made to look so graceful it could almost be mistaken for glass.

Drake smirks as he unsheaths Kurai. "I'm gonna love dancing with you, in that case... But are you sure that we should be doing that at this time? A lot of people around..."

Michiko looks out toward a courtyard outside, where some groups are competing in friendly duels. "We'll be fine out there."

He glances over at the coutyard and nods as he starts to walk towards an open area within the courtyard, he then begins spinning Kurai around his hand as he waits for Michiko.

She teleports over to him rather than walk, and she grips her sword handle with grace, placing the tip of the sword on the ground. She bows her head slightly.

Some of the crowd seems rather eager to see the fight.

Drake looks at the overs and then looks at Michiko, bowing before saying something in Cyanican. 'May this match be won by the skilled weilder of the sword, and not just by their luck.' He then smirks. "Ok Michiko, ready?"

She smiles. "Are you?"

"Of course I am, Drake Ryunexo, remember?" He then slightly shakes his head, realising that he's still talking to royalty. "I mean... Yes, Michiko." Drake then gets in a Cyanic swordsman stance and tightens his grip on Kurai.

"...hahaha, don't be so stiff..." She chuckles, her stance relaxed.

Drake rolls his eyes and smirks. "Fine then, readysetgo!" Drake then speeds towards Michiko and makes multiple slashes towards her.

She jumps up with a swirl of her body and jumps on his head, leaping off it, and as she does, he feels a small slice on his back, and she lands with grace behind him.

He then spins around and makes a quick wrist movement which causes a cut on Michiko's arm to appear, he then jumps back and then uses the reverse sword technique to alter the way he holds Kurai. Covering his chest with his left arm, he then takes a moment to breath and looks blankly at Michiko. "An old technique I learned from Cyanic's ancient times... Lets see if it's still effective."

She smiles as her wound closes, and she points her sword at him. "Scattering Wing," She intones and the blade seems to crack and divide down the middle, collapsing and folding to reveal a light blue blade, glowing with a sapphire shine. He can see small arcs of electricity sparking on its surface.

"Ok, let's play like that... Corruption." Kurai then makes a slickly hiss as black tribal markings glow with a red aura, black fire consuming the blade as, Drake's hand covered with a black energy which acts like a guard. He then brings his right arm across so that the blade is covering his lower part of his chest. "You first."

In less than a few moments later, she is suddenly swinging her sword down, and their swords meet with a clang, he can feel some of the electricity running from Scattering Wing into his arm.

Just as she does that, she can feel a massive heat grow in her arm. He then pushes her back and pulls his arm back and then slashes the air multiple times which causes wave after wave of black fire to speed towards her.

Her sword glows brilliantly, and she stands her ground and slashes the waves aside, and then jumps forward, continuing to slash, then through the next wave she slices his leg, sending a paralyzing wave running through it, and he loses balance.

Drake simply hand springs and enters his Aura Dragon form, he hovers as he looks at Michiko. He then waits for a moment then lands again, losing his Aura Dragon form and sprints towards Michiko and sweepkicks her into the air. Drake then unleashes a multitude of slashes at Michiko, eat one inflciting a burn around the cut area. He then switches his blade formation and slices downards. 

After he launches her into the air, her majestic blue wings appear and she spreads them long and out, and blue lightning strikes him and knocks him aside before he can strike her. She creates an orb of lightning and tosses it at him, it exploding like an electric grenade, and she parries his next attack and kicks him in the stomach.

Drake sidesteps out of the way and grabs her leg under his arm, he then twists it and throws her back as he creates a black fireball and throws it at her, with it expanding tenfold. After she deflects the black fireball, she notices the Drake has sheathed Kurai and has tribal markings on him as he looks at Michiko. "Now the fun begins!" Drake says with a smile as he presses one of his hands to the ground, causing spikes to form out of the floor and speed towards Michiko.

She doesn't evade, but merely bursts into blue sparkles upon begin struck, and Michiko suddenly appears behind him and kicks him with both feet, landing on his back when he falls over on his front.

Drake smirks as he fades into fire and reappears infront of Michiko and elbows her before sidestepping behind her and slamming both his fists onto her back, sending her crashing onto the floor. He then grasps his hands together and pulls them back, creating an arc of energy to flow as he presses his hands to the floor, an energy dome appears around Michiko.

She gets up and presses a hand to the barrier.

"...Actually, that's harsh... This is only a sparing match too..." Drake sighs and disables the barrier, but still maintains a combat stance. "Ok, apologies for the dome..." 

She holds out her sword, and it glows brilliantly, she then spins at a rapid rate until she has become a rapidly revolving sphere of blue light with a ring of sapphire blue lightning, then launches at him full speed from multiple angles every few seconds. 

Drake tries to avoid the damage but still manages to get cut until he presses his hands together and his eyes glow white. "Shadow Cast: Temporal of Time!" Suddenly a dome of energy appears which surrounds the two, Michiko's speed is suddenly hindred massively to the point where she moves a couple of cenitmetres per second. Drake takes a moment to sigh before walking back from Michiko with a smirk on his face. "Phew... That was close, I hate resorting to Shadow Casting... But wow, that was close..." He crates a multitude of fireballs inside the dome and then exits and clicks his fingers, causing the dome to disperse and the fireballs to explode.

When the smoke clears, Michiko appears as though she is struggling to stand, her dress in less than decent shape.

Drake walks towards her and helps her stand. "Hey, are you alright? Sorry if I went a bit far there..." He says as Drake loses the tribal markings. "We can go get you a slice of lemon cake in a minute, alright?"

She nods quietly, patching up her dress with magic. "Thank you. ...I'm alright. ...You're stronger than I expected."

He chuckles lightly. "Well, with a bunch of years as a mercenary and the fact that I've basically been training my whole life... Don't expect me to not be able to hold my own in a fight."

She laughs wearily. "Well it does make sense, me being a pampered aristocratic. ...Good fight..."

"But still, that was impressive... Good fight, now c'mon, lets get you a slice before Noriko eats the entire cake." Drake says.

Noriko greets them with a smile, and Drake notices more than three slices gone, he suspects she may have had an extra helping or two.

He sighs as he gives Noriko a sly look. "Please tell me there's enough for your sister, Nori..."

"Oh yeah there's plenty, plenty plenty plenty! Huuuuuuuuuuuuuug!" She cries as she tackles Drake, and Michiko sits down while she's distracted.

Drake hugs Noriko for a moment and then sits up, looking at the two. "So, what do we do now...?"

Noriko thinks for a minute, before gleefully Drake a rather tight bearhug and pushing him back to the floor. "Let's squish Drakey!"

Michiko just shakes her head with a smile as she eats a slice of cake.

"No no no... Let's not squish Drakey!" Drake exclaims with a slight tone of distress, he tries to sit up but to no avail. "So are you enjoying the party or Function or whatever it is."

"Yes I am! I want more suuuuuuuggaaaarr......" She says happily, obviously she's had one too many slices.

"I think that's enough cake for you... I need to explain to Momoka about that." Drake says as he manages to sit up, holding Noriko's hand while propping himself up with his other arm. "Hmm... Oh Michiko, will other families arrive? Like the one that Eisen kid was from?"

A splash of water douses Drake's face as if to answer his question. "...Water's here."

Drake makes a growl as he looks at the person who blasted the water at him. "Who the hell..."

A small girl with blue hair in a simple blue dress giggles, as she floats inside a bubble of water.

He looks at the girl and sighs as the water on him evapourates as he looks at Michiko. "...Any OTHER families?"

A group of fairys in their small forms fly in with a gust of snow and ice, giggling as they fly, one stopping by Drake and gently sprinkles snow on his head, then flies off.

"Looks like they're pretty merry," Noriko remarks.

Drake shakes his head, causing the snow to fall out. "...I had to ask, so... Fire, Water, Ice or Snow..." Drake stands up and looks at Michiko. "And Lightning... Huh, a lot of families have arrived because you returned, Noriko."

"And Earth, Light, and Dark," Michiko says without looking up from her cake.

"We are the main family after all, it's kinda a momentous occasion for the nation."

"...Fire, Water, Ice, Earth, Light and Dark... Heh, add a Wind and Water family and it'd be like Phoenix in a sense." Drake says as he stands up and wipes any dust off of him. "So, with these sort of occasions, is there any... Events? That happen?"

"Did someone ring?" A girl appears in a whirlwind.

"There are just as many families as elements." Michiko says. She looks at the girl. "Nice to see you again, Agaila."

The girl curtsies before flying away in a whirlwind again.

"Events? Elaborate please," She says with a sigh.

"Oh, I just mean like something to pass the time other than sparring, eating, dancing and talking."

Michiko opens her mouth to answer, when a blonde haired male in crimson robes and a confident smile boldly steps near Michiko.

"Oh gracious Michiko, if I may ask a humble-"

"No." Michiko cuts him off.

"B-But you didn't even hear what I was-"

"You wanted my hand in marriage. The answer is no."

"P-P-Please, just hear me-"

"Don't make me call security, Siel."

The man seems to wilt and meekly walks away, defeated.

She looks back at Drake. "...That and-"

"Excuse me, Miss Michiko?" Michiko's face sours.

Drake sighs and creates a small shockwave which knocks everyone back a bit, he then creates a dome around Michiko and Drake. "Ok, before any more admirers ask to marry you, what is there then?" Drake says as he laughs.

"Well, there are magic contests, various carnivals, swimming contests, races... ....and eating contests too, though perhaps that goes with just eating then... ...though the majority of the stuff happens outside, for the noble families, there's various things like getting a picture painted... ....Mom wants one of Noriko and you, get ready to yawn. There's also jewelry making, weapon forging, outfit designing (I'm in charge of that and I love it), we also do familiar hunts and stuff like that. Depends on what you're into I guess."

He takes everything into account and smiles. "The weapon forging sounds good, so does familiar hunting, although I still have my own little Werelight to take care of... Huh... And Razorwind too... Wow... I am not a good pet owner, maybe I'll let both of them out in a moment." He then chuckles. "A painting of Noriko and I? Ok then, that'll be interesting." 

Michiko's eyes widen. "Razorwind?" She says incredulously.  

Drake smirks and nods and deactivates the dome then pulls out an energy crystal. "Razorwind, time for your long needed awakening."

Michiko grabs his hand. "Not here," She hisses. "People aren't fond of the Elemental Terrors, don't let anyone see that!"

He nods and hides the crystal. "Ok ok, when can I show it to you?" Drake says as he looks around.

"In private, but not in public, show me it when we're alone next time."

"Ok ok..." Drake stores the crystal away and looks around. "So... Weapon forging or the painting, which one should I do first?"

"Weapon forging would probably be more interesting to you. Do you want Nori to come?"

Nori, still on top of him, gives him another hug. "Take me with! Take me with!"

"Yeah, of course I will, it'll be interesting." Drake says as he finally gets Noriko off of him, allowing him to stand up. "That's better, so where is weapon forging?"

Michiko shines a flashlight beneath her face. "In the bottom of the castle duuuuuuungeoooooooon....."

Drake smirks as he turns the flashlight off. "You don't need the dramatic lightning to look horrible." He jokingly says. "Ok, castle dungeon, lead me and Noriko to the entrance and we'll make our way there ourselves."

She guides them to a door with a sort of touch pad. Behind them are glass habitats, inside which are several kinds of snakes, including a species of Boa.

"...Ooook then... Totally not creepy at all..." Drake says as he eyes down one of the Boa, a slight growl emitting from him before he holds Noriko's hand. "Ok, thanks Michiko."

"Open the door using the touch panel."

Drake cautiously places his free hand on the touch panel and presses down. "So if you're in charge of outfit making, who's in charge of this?"

The door slides open. "You'll see," Michiko says with a grin, as a Boa falls down from the ceiling and lands on Drake's shoulders.

He glances at the boa and picks it up by it's head with one hand, he makes a growl at it then shows his own draconic fangs. Smirking, he places the Boa on the floor and looks at Michiko. "Nice try..."

Michiko picks up the boa with no concern, and it wraps around her, though not aggressively. "His name is Seethe. Don't know why Akio wanted to call him that, but she did. We wouldn't put him in the prank trapdoor if we knew he was aggressive. He's a good snake." She tickles its head, and she helps it back into a container.

"Anyway, you two have fun."

"We will." Drake says as he enters the room with him still holding Noriko's hand. "Hmmm, I wonder if what alloys and metals I can use to make the blade..."

Noriko shudders slightly. "Snakes.... I don't like snakes...." She whimpers.

A voice laughs out, and they see Hoshiko, wearing her glasses and blacksmith clothing. "Oh hai," She says with a smile. "Want to make a weapon?"

"...No, I came here to grow some flowers... Of course I want to make a blade weapon." Drake says as he gives Hoshiko a blank expression.

She returns the blank look, as she happens to be wielding a high power blowtorch. "The sarcasm is not appreciated." She says flatly. She indicates a vast wall of model blade types, including some extremely fancy styles, as well as an equally large selection of grips, hilts, guards, and posters of various designs that can be carved, burned, and engraved, as well as charts of various crystal weaponry colors. 

Drake looks at the wall before openings his HSC and pulling out what looks like to be old and new blueprints, parts of swords, daggers, scythes and more to the extent where it surprises even Hoshiko. He then pulls out a piece of black paper-like material and begins small designs on a weapon, making calculations and more before looking at Hoshiko. "I don't want to forge or design a weapon made of normal metal, is there anything special or unique I can use?"

"Well, we do specialize in crystal blades, which are a great choice for spellcasters."

His eyes gleem with a childish happiness as he smirks. "That sounds great, but it's crystal... That'll fracture like glass."

"Not if they are enchanted properly," Hoshiko replies. "They'll cut right through armor usually, if they're made well."

"Well then, how does one make these blades?"

Hoshiko smiles, as she slides open a panel on a wall to reveal dozens and dozens of crystal types.

"To start, what gemstone would you like to use?"

After examining each and every one, he picks out an assortment of crystal types. "Let's see... For that, it'll be howlite, grey star Sapphire, grey quartz and for that... Apatite, Kyanite and Tanzanite for the detail..." He then looks at Hoshinko. "Could the white gemstones be combined seperately from the blue gemstones?"

She nods, and levitates the crystals and arranges them in their appropriate orders, then seems to transmute them into some kind of colored liquids, then takes some steel and diamonds and strangely fuses them together, forming a sort of base. She then manipulates the liquid mass of crystals into desired shapes, and a wielder's mask comes over her face.

"Stand back," She warns.

Drake stands back then opens his HSC, already designing the way this blade will look like.

She blasts the blowtorch on the crystal, igniting it, and multicolored light gleams as she does so.

"So, what's the story behind using gemstones for bladed weapons?" Drake asks as he continues sketching the design for the blade.

"Crystal is a medium that can store magic like a battery, it makes it very worth while for mages who have to get in the thick of things. Enchanted properly, they can slice armor like butter. They're actually some of the more potent weapons, as they can be enchanted with any spell, and changed on a whim. You can basically upgrade it."

Drake's smirk grows as he chuckles. "An ever upgrading weapon, that sounds amazing... So I'm guessing it works with all forms of magic so my runes should work perfectly on the blade... Speaking of which." Drake looks at his sketches and picks out a design. "Do you think you can shape it like this?"

"Most definitely, I'll get to work on it!"

"Thaaaank you... Now for a name..." Drake says as he starts writing out names on the panel. 

Hoshiko begins weaving and shaping the crystal mass slowly into the shape he indicated.

"Let's see..." He begins to list off a bunch of corny and idiotic names for the blade until he goes silent for a moment, piecing together a word. "Sha-- Shi... Shizukia... Shizuka... Yeah, that'll work, Shizuka. But... Why does that sound familiar..." Drake just stays quiet before shaking the feeling off and looking at Hoshiko. "Any progress?"

"It's going well. The blade is almost ready."

"Awesome... Now I guess I just wait." Drake then goes looking around at everything else in the room, inspecting and examinating all the parts to the weapon.

After a while longer, she shows him the finished blade.

"It's mostly done, got to wrap the hilt and make the sheath."

He simply nods and smiles. "Ok, thanks for doing this."

"You're very welcome, what material for the sheath?"

Drake looks at Kurai's sheath. "White... Hmm, black carbon mesh and ebony. Just to be polar opposite to Kurai's sheath."

"Alright, hold on then." She begins to make a sheath, as well as the wrapping of the hilt.

"Ok ok." Drake says as he opens his spellbook and glances through some of the pages.

After a few minutes, Hoshiko starts bonking him with the finished blade's sheath, with the sword in it.

"Iiiiiiiiiit's ready!"

He grabs the sheath and examines the slick, jet black sheath with a smile before slowly unsheathing the blade. An white shine emitting from the opaque white blade with blue markings stained throughout much like a cloudy crystal, he then looks at the handle which is wrapped in a crosshatch pattern with a blue material. He then grabs the same blue material from the table and wraps a bit of it around the top of the sheath, he then looks at Hoshiko. "So, just add the enchantments?"

"The special enchantment to make it sharper and stronger is there, you can add what you want now, yes."

Drake nods and places the sheath and sword on the table, he then puts everything else aside and opens his spellbook. Soon after, Cyanic runes and rune circles appear around the blade and sheath. He then begins saying stuff in Cyanican as he does a multitude and tedious actions with the blade, ten minutes pass until Hoshiko hears a sigh of content from Drake as he sheathes the sword. "There... Shizuka, this has been fun."

Noriko looks at the sword. "Nice... ...Where'd you get the name?"

"I remember it faintly... But apparently it was the name of one of the Ryunexo's targets way back when, pretty sad story too from what I was told..." Drake says as he cleans up.

"Do you like the sword?" Hoshiko asks.

"Why would I name it otherwise?" Drake says. 

Hoshiko shrugs. Noriko notices a small hand subtly reaching out to grab Shizuka from Drake ever so slowly...

Drake then holds the Shizuka up in the air and looks down at Aiko with a small smile. "Well hello there."

"So close!" She grumbles.

He smiles as he gets another sheath belt and places Shizuka into it, he then picks Aiko hug and hugs her. "So how are you?"

"I want the pretty sword!" She complains.

"Nuh uh uh... Sorry Aiko, but this is a sword made for me... Hmm..." Drake then opens his HSC and scrolls through, until he comes across a small sword perfect for Aiko, he then pulls it out and gives it to Aiko. "Here you go."

She stares at it for a moment, then takes it, only for Momoka to come in with a cross expression. "Aiko! I told you not to go in the dungeon!"

Drake looks at Momoka and chuckles. "You might as well let her roam a bit, considering the occasion. Besides, I can look after her if you want... Oh, so how's the night been for you?"

"...Alright... It's been fine, the party hasn't had any problems, which is the least I could have asked for."

"That's good to hear... So I assume you're also here because you want a painting of me and Noriko, right?"

Hoshiko looks over at Noriko and Drake. "Run while you can..." She mutters.

He smirks. "Well... That's nice to hear but..." He quickly holds Noriko's hand. "TELEPORT TELEPORT TELEPORT!"

Nothing happens. Noriko blinks. "....I think we're busted."

Momoka has a small smile. "Did you think teleportation would work down in a functional prison?"

Drake then presses one hand to the floor and chuckles as a dome forms around Noriko and Drake, which also blocks out anyone from seeing the inside. "...There we go."

"Come on, it's boring, but it won't kill you!" Momoka begs.

"I'm like a kid with ADHD, I need something to occupy myself otherwise I'll just snap!" Drake replies.

"I'll bake as many lemon cakes as you waaaaaaant~" Momoka calls, and Drake sees Noriko's pupils dilate to thin dots.

"Lemon caaaaaaaaaaake......." She moans with drool.

Drake sighs. "I'll make you a lemon cake that regenerates on it's own, giving you a lemon cake that you can eat forever if you stay in here with me."

"I can assign a chief who will cook you Cyanic food whenever you want, even away from the castle~"

"It'll be a burden for them, so no thanks." Drake says with a playful attitude.

"Drake please, it would mean a lot to me if you would do this, we want a picture to commemorate this occasion! Besides, we don't have any pictures of her, and since you're close partners, it just seemed right to include you..." Momoka seems to be becoming distraught.

After a moment of complete silence, the dome fades away as Drake looks at Momoka, a small nod happening afterwards. "Ok, guilt trip me why don't you... Sure, you can do the painting." Drake says with a faint smile.

Momoka suddenly grips him in a fierce hug. "Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!" She cries.

"Ok ok! Woah! Calm down!" Drake says as he manages to break free from the hug, he then chuckles. "It's ok..."

"We can get it out of the way right now, then you'll still have plenty of time to do whatever before the day ends."

Drake nods once more. "Yes, we can get it done right now if you want."

"Thank you~" She says, then walks to the door. "Follow me, we'll get it done as fast as possible."

He holds Noriko's hand as he begins to follow Momoka. "So, just asking, how long does it take to paint one of these?"

"About two hours in total. It could be worse."

"Two... Hours... Ooook then." Drake says as he looks at the paintings around him. "Huh, I guess it runs in the family?"

"It's the only way we can keep pictures of each other."

"Ah... Huh, so you don't have a camera or anything?"

"No, none at all. Besides, it feels... ...genuine? If that makes any sense?"

"I understand, it's a sense of something that's natural to do instead of relying on technology..."

They eventually arrive in a room, where a man stand ready with a canvas. "Shall we?" Momoka asks.

He nods once more but then looks around. "...So how is this going to be done? Are we sitting down somewhere or?"

"Sit here," She indicates to a pair of chairs side by side.

Drake walks to the chairs and sits on the right one, take a sigh. "Ok, so two hours... Alright then, I might as well get comfortable."

Noriko joins him. "Oh it can't be that bad!" She chides.

Two Hours Later....

When the painter is finally finished, Noriko collapses on the ground in a heap. "That was horrib- zzzzzzzzzzz....." She trails off, falling asleep.

"...Well then, I guess I'll be taking her to bed in a minute, so let's see the painting." Drake says as he picks Noriko up and walks over to the painting.

Despite being just a painting, there is a strong resemblance to both of them, a high level of detail went into the painting.

"I'm impressed, this looks amazing... Almost does looks like that we're actually in the painting... If that makes sense." Drake says as he looks as the painting.

The painter bows. "I'm pleased that you like my work."

"I'll always praise good artwork, simple as." He then looks at Momoka. "So, how many more do you have planned? I'm sure that you will want one with just Noriko, right?"

"Probably," Momoka says as Noriko snores. "We can do that another day though."

He chuckles as he looks around. "Alright, so I'll take her to her room now... Umm, where is it?"

"I thought you two were sharing."

Drake blinks. "Oh... Right, whoops." He chuckles then waves goodbye to Momoka as he begins to walk to their room, at times looking at Noriko and smiling.

Eventually as he's walking, Aiko suddenly drops from the ceiling and lands on his head on her stomach.


"Ow... Hey there Aiko, how is my little ninja doing?" He says as he rolls his eyes.

"I'mma fine, is she your princess?" Aiko asks curiously.

"Noriko? ...Well, yeah, obviously. She's my own little princess who I cherish and care for, but that's love for you..." He answers.

Aiko suddenly jumps off his head and starts running off. "Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" She cheers as she runs.

Drake shrugs as he continues to walk towards their room, soon a figure made of pure shadows appears beside him. "So... The new blade?" 

"It's a new sword and I'd like to learn how to battle with two swords at once."

"Of course of course... And your thoughts on today?"

"Fun, it was fun..."

A moment of silence before Drake can hear a slithery chuckle. "You hope they consider you as family, don't you?"

"Shut up Corruption..." 

Drake hears a 'click' as he steps on a pressure plate, and from the end of the hall a massive flood of water pours in his direction. 

His eyes widen as he quickly shields Noriko from the water, but after a moment he still feels dry as he realises that Corruption had created a dome around the three. "...It's only water." Drake takes a sigh of relief as the water passes over them. "Yeah yeah, thanks."

He sees Haruko whip her head into view. "Awwww.... he didn't get wet!"

"Any other time, I'd be ok with it... But trust me, a sleeping Noriko, is one you don't want to anger." He says as the dome fades away and Corruption disappears. 

Haruko frontflips over to him. "Did you get your picture taken?"

"More like painted, but it looks outstanding... Although Noriko decided it was beddy byes when it was finished, so I'm taking her to bed."

Haruko blinks. "I did that when I got my picture taken. Man those are boring. Anyway, it's almost time for the show to start."

"Hmm? What show?" Drake asks with such curiosity.

"Oh, when Michiko's suitors get drunk and get way too determined, it's hilarious. I think the water was one of her traps in preparation. Mom should really stop giving the guests wine."

Drake smirks. "Ok let me just put Noriko to bed and then we can watch." Drake then finally reaches their room, and after getting in, he slowly lays Noriko down onto her side of the bed and kisses her cheek before smiling. "Goodnight." He then leaves the room and looks at Haruko. "So then, show me where this show is."

Haruko quietly leads him to a balcony above the great hall, where they can get a full view of the party.

"Nice view and all, but where can I see the fun?" Drake says as he scans the area for the drunk suitors, a curious grin on his face.

Haruko casually looks toward Michiko, who is sitting alone at a table, eating. A small group of men seem to eventually take notice of her. Her head seems to creep ever so slowly in their direction, and she seems to hastedly finish her meal.

Drake begins to laugh. "Oh my God, this is going to be hilarious... We need some popcorn here."

A bag of popcorn lands on his head. "You are welcome," Haruko says without looking away.

He grabs the bag of popcorn, opens it and begins to eat as he watches in delight. 

They watch as Michiko gets up and begins walking swiftly towards an exit, and the group slowly begins to follow.

"Hehe... Lets add a little... Chaos." And with that, Drake points to a small rock, it then hovers up and is thrown at one of the men in the front of the group. As the man looks around, he sees another man looking confused as he sees a rock in his hand. "Aaaaand fight!"

The group splinters, half going for Michiko, and half going at each other in a drunken brawl, only for them to be escorted out. Michiko seems to get pinned near a wall, but she pulls a rope and the others get sent down a large trapdoor, and moments later Drake hears the water trap activate again.

Drake begins to clap and cheer. "And the winner in Michiko! A round of applause!" He laughs as he watch the men get escorted out.

One straggler managed to get around the defenses, and comes close to Michiko, only to get spin kicked in the face so hard, teeth go flying.

Haruko hears a thud as Drake falls on his back, laughing. "Did you see that?! Hahahahaha!"

Michiko promptly walks back over to her seat and resumes eating, and a few minutes later the events happen again, only this time the trap is a catapult that launches the new wave out of the castle.

Drake then gets back up and watches in amusment. "So, how long does this go on for?"

"Oh a few hours sometimes."

"Wow, quite a show then... I might as well get comfortable." Drake finds somewhere to sit but still manages to see what happens.

During the whole of the event, only one guy manages to hold his ground, but the end result gets him drop kicked, and then literally kicked out of the palace by Michiko.

"Well... That was fun, what's it like to have a sister like that?" Drake asks as he glances at the pile of men that Michiko has taken care of, a small chuckle emitting from him.

"She's nice. I mean, I understand how she feels. I mean, who wants to be with someone insincere about how they feel about you?" She shrugs. "Kumiko and Michiko get all the attention with the guys." She says, then laughs after a moment.

Drake then glances at Haruko. "And what's it like to have a family? And what's with the laugh, I'm assuming you're jealous of them?"

"I guess to care about the well being of everyone, and support them, even if they annoy the crap out of you. We've always got each other's back. It's... ...hard to explain? I'm probably... A little bit jealous."

She looks over at Drake, and he has to remind himself he's not looking at Noriko for a moment, then she gives him a hug. "You didn't have a family, huh?"

"No, I don't, but still... It's nice to see other people enjoy their families, even though some take it for granted." Drake replies, a slightly annoyed tone in his voice.

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing nothing..." Drake smiles as he watches down, but then looks at Shizuka. "I need to start training to duel wield, sorry to cut this conversation short." He then hugs Haruko back, breaks the hug then walks off to an empty room. 

"Awww... have fun then!" She waves him goodbye.

"I will, thanks!" He waves back before finding an empty room, after entering, he unsheaths both Kurai and Shizuka and looks at them. "Light and dark... Wow, what a gimic." He chuckles before creating a rune circle which appears a clone of Drake, allowing him to spar for the time being.

After a while, he feels like someone is watching him.

The two Drakes stop sparring as the original looks at Osamu, giving him a single nod. "Hello Osamu, what brings you to this room? Shouldn't you be busy with some important matter?"

"If I did nothing but work, even I would lose sanity. You can always use the training hall, instead of a small room, you know."

Drake sheathes both his swords as the clone dissipates into fire and flickers away. "Fair enough..." Drake then begins to make his way to the training hall, but stops to look at Osamu once more. "So why did you come here? To check on me?"

"You can say that if you wish. I didn't see why you should have to be alone."

"Simple, I prefer to spar alone... Or with someone who's equal to me, hence the clone."

"Today is a family celebration. No one should be off on their own when they could be with their family having fun. Besides. I was already on my way to shake the rust off my bones."

"Haven't got a family, had the Ryunexos but I got banished so yeah..." Drake says before sighing.

"Do you love Noriko? Do you truly love her?" Osamu asks right after Drake says this.

Drake snaps back at Osamu. "Are you kidding? Of course I do! And don't you dare think otherwise!" Osamu can easily detect the anger in Drake's voice when he answered him.

In response, the king sweeps Drake off his feet with his leg and firmly places a foot on him, then sits down, looking Drake dead in the eye.

"First of all, the temper is not appreciated. Nor necessary. What I would have said had you not thrown a fit at me the moment I opened my lips, is that in that case, if you truly love Noriko, then you're already part of my family." He gets up and helps Drake to his feet, then silently walks off.

He looks at Osamu. "...I appreciate that, but I want to make one thing straight, don't bother asking the obvious. I know I'm getting in way over my head by talking like this to you, but king or not, I will not be talked to like a fool."

Osamu turns his head, his sharp grey eyes seemingly stabbing him with an intense gaze.

"Fools are determined by the words they speak, and the actions they take. I have not judged if you are a fool or not, but for my daughter's sake, I trust her judgement. Drake Ryunexo. You are a valued member of this family. We look after one another. I suggest that you do the same. Look after my daughter. I will not care if you succeed or fail in that endevour, only that you never stop trying to protect her should you fail."

He faces forward, away from him again. "If you give up... ...that is when you will have become a fool, and will have earned my ire."

Drake doesn't say a word, but instead nods once more before walking his own way back to his room. 

Osamu walks by Haruko, and pats her on the head, before walking off to the training yard.

Once he enters his room, Drake sighs before getting ready for bed. "If you consider me family... Then fine... I guess it'll take some time getting used to." He says as he gets in his side of the bed, slowly falling asleep.

Later on, when he wakes up, Drake notices Noriko's arms wrapped firmly around him, Noriko snoring away.

"...Maybe I can sleep in for ten more minutes." Drake says as he yawns and turns over so that he's facing Noriko, he then smiles and kisses her cheek before closing his eyes again.

Noriko eventually opens her eyes, a smile spreading when she sees Drake next to her, but doesn't move, her body tingling from static every few minutes.

When the ten minutes pass, Drake yawns once more and opens his eyes to see Noriko. He smiles himself as he plants a small kiss on her lips, the charged up static giving them a harmless but ticklish shock while he kisses her. "Good morning Nori, how'd you sleep?"

"Shockingly well, thanks for asking..." She yawns.

"Of course you start the day with a pun..." Drake says while sitting up, stretching his arms. He looks down at Noriko and chuckles. "You missed it, Michiko was being harrassed by a group of guys but she took every single one out... It was hilarious and amazing at the same time!" 

"She is awesome, isn't she...?" Noriko says, sleep still in her voice. 

"Yeah, but not as awesome as you." Drake replies as he gives Noriko a hug and sits her up. "So, what's the plan for today?"

Her now pointed ears twitch a few times, and she thinks, before returning fire with a fierce bear hug, trying to knock him over.

"Too hyper to think!" She chirps.

He manages to keep his balance and attempts to knock Noriko over. "Oh, we're playing this game are we?" Drake says in a playful tone.

She giggles and starts tickling him in retaliation.

Drake begins to laugh but soon shrinks down into the size of a fairy and flies away. "Aaaha!"

Noriko chases after him, quickly catching up and lightly tapping him. "Tag!" In a matter of seconds, she rushes off and is gone.

He grows back to his normal size and begins to chase Noriko. "Oh no you don't! I'll get you!" Drake exclaims.

"You'll never catch me, you'll never catch me!" Noriko's voice sings far ahead, now in her fairy form and hiding somewhere in a nearby room.

"Me and Aiko had a similar hide and seek game, trust me, you'll be caught soon enough..." Drake enters the same room and takes a look around. "Now where could you be..."

In the room, there is a table with drinking cups, a cabinet with extremely expensive china, as well as various chests and boxes. There is also a pile of beanie bags.

"Hmm... If I were an electric fairy... Where would I be..." Drake's eyes shift over to the beanie bag for a moment before he walks over to them and picks them up.

He hears a giggle, but it is not from the beanies.

He places the beanies down and then looks at one of the chests, walking over to it and opening one. 

He hears a closer giggle, and one of the china cups jiggles.

"...Of course, near the expensive china... Noriko, please, be careful." Drake says as he closes the chest and walks up to the cabinet and opens it.

There isn't a giggle, but the cup jiggles again.

Drake holds the cup still and makes sure that nothing else breaks. "...Be careful."

He feels a small vibration from the cup, and a loud giggle, before Noriko pops up and pinches his nose, before making a flash of light that blinds him, and when he looks in the cup, she's gone. After a minute, there is another giggle in the room, but elsewhere.

"I wonder how long it'll take for her to realise that she hasn't even gotten ready for the day... Then again, neither have I..." Drake says to himself as he goes off searching for Noriko, entering the same room as her but takes a quicker scan around.

He feels something crawling on his head...

"There you are!" Quicker than Noriko can react, Drake springs his hands up and catches Noriko, he then brings his hands down infront of him and looks at Noriko with a smirk. "Heeeelloooooo there."

"Hellllooooooo Giagantor." She wiggles, trying to break free.

"Oh? You want to break out? Sorry Nori, but nooo can dooo." Drake says teasingly

Her cheeks puff up. "Letme go!" Her little teeth start trying to bite him, but it's only a small pinch.

Drake chuckles as he strokes Noriko with two fingers, finally letting her sit in his hair. "C'mon Nori, we need to get ready for the day."

"Day is boring... I wanna play..." Noriko grumbles.

"I know I know, but I thought you don't like feeling icky and such." Drake responds.

"Fine..." She sighs.

He smiles and pets Noriko as he trails off back to their room, when they enter he lets Noriko get ready while he reads a spellbook. "Don't take long, alright?"

She sighs, returning to normal size. "....Ok..." She enters the bathroom and closes the door behind her.

"We can play once you're ready, besides, I imagine that your sisters will want to join in." Drake says as he places his sheaths on a hanger, as well as his jacket.

When Noriko comes out, she charges her hair with electricity, causing a steam cloud afterwards. "Ok, I'm done!"

"...We need more windows in this room." He says as he opens all the windows in the room, letting the cloud out, he then enters the bathroom and closes the door behind him. Coming back out while he's drying his head with a towel, he takes a content sigh. "That feels better..."

Noriko doesn't seem to be in the room...

Drake takes a glance around, wondering to himself before smirking. "Now she's either gone off to play with her sisters or she changed into a little fairy..." He goes over and collects his jacket and swords before taking another scan of the room. "Nori, are you here?"

Suddenly a trap door opens up below his feet and drops him into a room below theirs, where Noriko tackles him. "GOT YOU!" She cheers a bit too loudly.

He looks at Noriko is slight shock before taking a couple of breaths, he sighs and pats her head. "Yes... Yes you did, God that scared me... So, where exactly are we now?"

"Oh in a room I made. Michiko helped me decorate!" The room almost looks normal.

"...Was this the only point in the room?" Drake asks as he manages to get up and look around, finally looking at the trapdoor he fell through.

"Pretty much, makes a nice hiding place though. Hehehehe," She giggles.

He rolls his eyes then chuckles. "Ok, fair enough... Well, now that you've had some fun... What do you want to do?"

They hear a click from above them, and Noriko's eyes widen.

"....Who just locked the trapdoor?" She asks hesitantly.

Aiko's voice can be heard giggling as she skips away...

Drake blinks before making a large growling noise. "...Aiko you SONOVABI--" Before Drake could finish, a shadowy hand sprouts from Kurai's sheath and muffles Drake. "Idiot... She's a girl, no need to curse." The hand simply fades away,leaving Drake a bit shocked. "...Ok... Ok... Ok... Umm..."

Noriko gets up. "Hmm... what should we do now?"

"No idea..." He looks around and shrugs, sighing. "When I get my hands on her..."

Noriko looks up at the trapdoor and places her hands on it, and slowly begins searching with her hands.

Drake looks up at the trapdoor. "Hmm? Looking for a way to unlock it?"

"Magnetisim... ...not as easy as electricity, but....." Finally they hear a click.

"It's open!" She cheers.

"Awesome! Now to get my revenge on that little girl..." Drake says as he opens the trapdoor and gets out, helping Noriko out. He then sighs and looks at the door to the room. "Ok... Nori, I hope you don't mind me turning one of your sisters into fairy soup..."

Michiko pops her head in. "I just came to check on you two. You're late for breakfast."

Drake turns his head at Michiko, a irritated expression on his face. "...Thanks, we'll be there in a minute."

She nods, disappearing back down the hall.

Noriko grabs Drake. "There's food to be had! CHARRRRRRRRRRGE!" She cheers, taking off running.


She slows down. "....Sorry..." 

"It's ok... Just be a bit cautious when grabbing someone's arm and speeding away like lightning." Drake says, lightheartedly chuckling but the tone of pain is still there.

She gives him a more gentle hug than usual. "...I'm sorry... I a pain to you...?"

He smiles as he kisses Noriko's forehead. "No you're not a pain to me, trust me, I'll be fine... Let's just head to breakfast." Drake says, hugging Noriko back.

She goes with him, but for the rest of the walk, her spirits seem to have plummeted.

Drake looks at Noriko and sighs. "There's no need to be sad, it's only a little pain, I don't blame you for being hyperactive. So don't go blaming yourself, all you did was almost dislocated my arm, I've been through worse and I could of easily popped it back into place. Just be your cheerful self, alright? I hate to see you like this."

She weakly smiles. "Ok..." She only seems to bounce back though once she starts eating, and she then appears to be better.

As he eats, Drake glances over at Aiko and smirks, whispering to himself. "Praxi, I need you to be sneaky... Steal some of Aiko's food for me."

The wisp sneakily floats over to her food and makes it disappear, reappearing at his, then disappearing.

"Alright, that's enough Praxi, return." He says, while enjoying the stolen goods with a smile on his face.

Aiko makes a pouting face, and gives him puppy dog eyes, lip quivering. "Pwease let me have my foooooood?" She begs.

Drake stays in silent for a full minute, before sighing and reluctantly giving Aiko some of her food back. "There you go... Just don't do stuff like that again, ok?"

"Yessssir!" She chirps, happily devouring her food.

Noriko giggles.

He looks at Noriko and smiles. "Nice to see that you're ack to your usual self, Noriko."

She gives him a hug, and as quick as a viper snatches a bread bun and eats it.

Drake smirks as he swipes an iced bun and eats that. "So you want to play that game, do you?"

"And I intend to win!" She says as she scarfs down all of his cinnamon rolls.

"Ha! Good luck!" Drake says, with his cocky tone. Seemingly to make everything a competition, Drake begins to steal and consume any and all of Noriko's food beore Noriko can finish his.

"Were those sandwiches good, Drake?" Noriko asks.

"...Yeeeees...?" Drake answers cautiously. 

Drake realizes there's something strange in his mouth, as Noriko starts eating sandwiches from her plate... ...but what does that mean for the sandwiches HE ate?

"...Oh..." Drake just glares at Noriko as he put the sandwiches down, but still swallows the food regardless, but shudders. "Uggh... That didn't taste well..."

She giggles as she finishes the last of her food. "I guess I win!" She says cheerfully.

"Hmph... Yeah, you win only because you cheated." Drake says spitefully, but then smiles and relaxes.

"You just didn't pay attention with all of the stealing you were doing~" She chirps.

Aiko claps. "Prank war!"

"Hehe... Even if I'd like to, I don't think I'll be able to keep up at all, sadly..." Drake says as he takes a sip of his drink.

Noriko looks at Momoka. "Could me and Drake have a turn cooking?"

A glint in Drake's eye appears as he smiles, he then turns to look at Momoka. "Yeah, can we please have a turn cooking?" Drake asks egearly.

"Err... I guess so?" She says reluctantly.

Drake then thanks Momoka, picks Noriko up and rushes to the kitchen. "So, doing the thing we did back at Yosai?"

"Ooooo yes let's do that!"

A servant knocks at the entrance to the kitchen. "Err, excuse me, Drake Ryunexo? There is someone wishing to meet you at the gates."

He slows down to a stop and looks at the servant. "Oh? ...Well alright then, I'll be there in a moment." He then looks at Noriko. "I'll be with you in a moment, you start it off." He then gives Noriko a hug and then makes his way to the gates.

When he finally gets there, a white haired male stands waiting, and he cracks his eyes open, pale blue.

"Ahhhhh.... Drake Ryunexo... I must appreciate that you came." He says with a grin.

Drake takes a step back in shock. "But... You shouldn't..." Drake then narrows his eyes at the male and growls, clenching his fist. "What do you want."

The male merely crosses his arms and leans against the wall. "Oh? Not happy to see me ehh? I guess you really are a villain, 'father'. But if you must now, no I have not told Torrent my wonderful and vulgar sidekick, that I noticed you peeping on our location. In fact, he thinks I'm taking a piss. ...Probably a really long piss by now." He cackles.

"Ahhhh.... now... how about some fun, or are you so villainous that you won't even play with your little boy?" He says while grinning.

"Father... Of course, you're a Chaos Engine... Just like Silent Angel and Kanashimi, your name then..." Drake says as he steps away from the palace, stopping when he reaches an open and wide area, he then glances at the male. "And you seem insane if you think I'm a villain, either that or idiotic..."

"Kagerou Ryunexo. Of course, I gave myself the last part. Everyone is a villain. I'm just the guy cleaning up shop."

"Kagerou Ryunexo... Hmph, like you deserve to share my name. And I'm gonna chalk you up as idiotic if you really believe that." Drake's attitude suddenly drops, becomming serious in an instant. He places his hand on Kurai's handle, prepared for Kagerou. "You made a mistake."

Kagerou's eyes open fully. "And what would that be?" For the strangest reason, Corruption feels a twinge of unease the moment Kagerou does so.

Kurai hisses. "...Is this what you people call... 'Fear'?"

Drake simply gazes at Kagerou, staring him directly in the eyes. "The original beats all... The fact you even came here was a mistake, I don't care what White says to you. Even if you do win, I will chase you back to Yosai and personally beat the 'Ryunexo' out of you." He slowly unsheathes Kurai.

The only response Kagerou makes is a low ominous chuckle. "How cruel of you..." He appears to be making no indication of drawing a weapon, nor is one visible.

After a moment, Drake growls once more and speeds towards Kagerou, only swinging Kurai once at his chest.

Kagerou disappears in a flicker of movement, appearing under the swing of Kurai and ramming Drake full force with his elbow directly into his stomach, the force strong enough to make Drake cough blood and go flying into the opposite wall. When Drake looks up, he has barely enough time to dodge as Kagerou descends on him with a chainblade. When Drake dodges the sword, Kagerou chuckles, but his face becomes serious for a moment. He puts the blade into the ground from a moment, and he gives Drake a certain look.

"No, I don't think I have made a mistake. I'm pretty sure you're the one whose made the mistake... you see..."

Drake's next sword strike is met with his own, one with far more raw force behind it than Drake's, and the clash of the two swords causes sparks to fly.

"You're acting on the assumption that 'original beats all' can even apply here. Appearance wise, we may appear to be copies but... we are originals, not clones. Clones can only be as strong or weaker than the original. What you, and so many of my brethren do not understand is... we have our own spirit and our own will. They are afraid and hate what they have become. But I? NO. I am proud! I am proud of my own spirit, and I am not ashamed of my origins. So many humans lack power, and the world has beset upon them!" Kagerou smiles. "But I, no, I do not hate power, it is a blessing! A blessing to change the course of your destiny! That is why I fight! While others are afraid, I shall always be strong, and carve my own path! My spirit is indomitable, and with it I will crush anyone who serves as a roadblock on my path! So long as you have that mindset, that I can never beat you, you can never overcome me!"

Kagerou breaks the sword lock with a kick to Drake's stomach.

"This isn't a fight to complete a mission, it's to show my villain that spirit!"

Kagerou suddenly gets slashes acrossed his arm while Drake headbutts him away, he is then slashed by both Kurai and Shizuka as Drake's growls once more. While in the flurry, Drake sweepkicks Kagerou and elbows him to the floor, his eye colour changed to a darker tone as Drake's voice becomes draconic. "If your 'blessing' comes near my 'destiny', then I'll crush you easily... And while you may be strong, I'll always tripumph over you, now listen here Kagerou, you have my DNA, my pride and my attitude. Face it, clone or not, you're a ripoff... And if you fight just because to alter my own destiny, then you're worthless, power simple doesn't get handed to you for you to come and do as you please. You see yourself as a hero? Then learn the responibilites that come with being one, because from what I see... I see a cocky little bastard who showed up here and challenged me to a fight."

"Hmmph." He easily rolls and gets to his feet. "I just told you this isn't about the mission. And I'm not like you... I am myself. My power is to change my destiny. I don't give a damn about yours... When I said a blessing to change the course of your destiny, I wasn't talking about you."

Kagerou disappears and reappears behind Drake, his chainblade whirling and slicing into Drake's back, spraying blood everywhere.

"Ever heard of an expression? Power is the ability to change your fate. Without it, no one can do anything but meekly follow the preset path! I won't follow such a path!" He fires a fireball directly into the wound and kicks Drake away. Kagerou's eyes are focused and steely.

"You don't even understand why I'm here, do you?" He blocks Drake's next attack with greater ease than before.

"In all honestly... I don't care now, but if you must, then go ahead." Drake says as he takes a step back. 

"You look down on the rest of us, won't even aknowledge us for who we are. You're content to dismiss us as mere copies. It's time for a wake up call. What's so different about her that you cherish so much, and different about us, that you'll degrade our worth?"

Drake then smirks. "Oh, you're jealous... Aren't you? That I care for her more than you or the others..." He then laughs. "To be honest, she hasn't tried to kill me, she has her issues. And she's free from White's order, unlike you and the others. Hell, I didn't even consider Kanashimi a copy, I saw her as an actual daughter... It must of been something that was in that test tube, but ah well. The difference between her and you is that I knew that she would become free soon enough, all it took was time, but look at you... You think I'm a villain, you're still uner White's order, what did you expect to get from me?" 

"Hmmph, someone has to fight. No point in fighting when it's a pointless effort. Yosai is the only place we CE's belong anyway." 

"Now who's the fool? Just because I look down on you and the others, doesn't mean I'm not going to try to convert you. Yosai is where CE's are made, but they don't belong there, every bird must leave the nest, but if you continue following her rule, then you're nothing but a bird with a broken wing."

"....Upnation was destroyed, Drake. Or rather, the capital, at least."

Drake's eyes widen slightly, but he still retains his composure. "Oh? When did this happen..."

"Only a few days ago. I wonder if he's alive... oh what was his name... the guy who killed Kanashimi... hrmm, oh yeah, Daikeim! I bet he's rotting in his grave right now thanks to Azula..."

Another laughter is heard. "Daikeim? Dead? Yeah, doubt it... The dude is a demi-god, and he knows a CE's weakness, all he would need is enough speed and bam... That's one dead CE, Azula, eh? Hmm, I remember seeing her at Yosai..." Drake then sighs and glances at Kagerou. "If you keep going on about Kanashimi, you might as well say hello to her."

Kagerou just shakes his head. "A demi god wouldn't be able to deal with a Lambda. We're outdated by a lot. Speed won't help you with a Lambda... they're akin to the divine in their own right. In a way more lethal than him."

He takes his sword and walks away. "We'll finish this in a few days..."

"Hmph... So much for your pride, for someone who believes they're strong. It surprises me that you say that, I pray that you at least have my own arrogance to believe that you can beat anyone you encounter..." Drake then turns and enters the palace, a small trail of blood following Drake thanks to the wound. "Ow... Ow... Ow..."

A Threat On The Horizon 

Noriko stands waiting in the grand hall, and when she sees that Drake is hurt, her eyes widen in alarm and she rushes at him, immediately inspecting him for the source of the blood, a frightened face clearly visible.

"Drake, what happened?!" She yelps when she sees the rather severe wound Drake took to the back.

"It's nothing, Noriko, no need to worry, I just need to stop bleeding for starters... Then I can attend to the wound properly." He says as he takes off his jacket and uses that as a makeshift bandage for the time being. 

"Drake, you look like you were almost bisected by a chainsaw!!!" She yells.

"Yeah... Pretty much." He chuckles, but then staggers to the floor. "...Ok, I may... Need medial attention right now." Drake then gets back up and slowly walks over to a chair. 

Noriko begins treating him, making his cells regenerate faster to heal the wound.

He smiles and holds Noriko's hand. "Thanks Nori, you're a massive help..." Drake then creates a rune circle on his hand and presses it against his chest, causing a green aura glow on Drake, which also heals him. "Umm, do you know where Michiko is? I need to show her something."

"She's... in her room. But what happened to you?"

Drake sighs. "...That was a CE, Noriko... Same type as Kanashimi, we only had a scuffle and then he just left... Kagerou was his name." 

"Kagerou....? ....'Eta Primeval 234...'" Something about Noriko's face tells Drake she knows something about the name. 

"Huh...? How do you know the full name for it... Did White give you info about him or?" Drake asks.

"I was in the know about a lot of things about Phoenix for a number of years. ...Through various levels of trust and snooping around. 'Primeval'... ...Kagerou... ....he's not like the other Etas. ...All I know is that White did something to him, and that he's supposed to have... ....something.... more than what the other Etas have."

Kurai then hisses, causing Drake to sigh. "What now?"

"Noriko is right, didn't you feel anything different when you had your little scuffle with him?"

Drake goes quiet for a moment then begins thinking. "Hmm... His codename is 'Primeval', he made you of all people shiver, what could of happened... I mean, I felt the need to go into Primitive just because... Oh... No way." 

"That's a guess... But it's only a hunch for now, maybe we can prove it in our next encounter, but as for now... Will you be ok?"

"Yeah, I will... Anyways, how long until the wound heals up?"

"Oh, well, I would let your system relax for.... ten? Twenty? Minutes, then you're probably fine."

"Ok, thank you Nori, I owe you some lemon cake." He then chuckles and makes a relaxed sigh as he just leans back in his chair.

Noriko hops into his lap with a smile. "Hey Drake?"

Drake looks at Noriko and also smiles. "Yes Noriko?"

"Thank you for coming here with me. You have no idea how happy that makes me feel."

"It's ok, I loved meeting your family and where you get your hyperactiveness from, but it's overwhelming that you're part of royal blood, that's amazing!" Drake exclaims, he then chuckles as he kisses Noriko. "I'm glad that I came with you, thanks for giving me somewhere to go after Yosai."

"Mmmm... you've changed so much on the way as well... I don't know where it came from, but I'm glad I got to know you more... ...what would we call each other at this point? Friends? Partners? Isn't there a word or something?" She says, starting to confuse herself.

"We're partners, boyfriend and girlfriend... I don't see why it would be anything else, so stop confusing yourself and just enjoy that fact." He says with a bigger smile on his face. 

After about fifteen minutes, Noriko leans into Drake, and causes the chair to lean back and then fall over, the two tumble down and she lands on top of him.

"I win the gravity challenge!" She cheers.

"It wasn't even a challenge! ...But yes, you did win." He says as he roles his eyes, he then smirks and begins to tickle Noriko. "Aaaha!"

"Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh! Nooooooooooooo!" She cries, her pin failing spectacularly as she tries to evade his tickling fingers.

He laughs himself and continues to tickle Noriko, turning the table on her quickly as he overwhelms her and lands on top of her, he then kisses Noriko again then tickles her even more. "I'll win this challenge!"

"Nooo!" She begins squirming under him. "I'll never surrender!"

"Oh yeah? Somehow I doubt that!" He says, but then tumbles over due to her squirming, Drake then takes a sigh of content and just looks up. "Yeah... We've both came so far, haven't we? ...Oh, and don't think I've forgotten about this challenge, maybe we just need to carry on later due to this damn healed wound."

She gasps for a few minutes. "M-Meanie, you're- you're just chicken..." She gives him a playful kiss.

He glances at Noriko. "Oh? So you want me to continue tickling you?" He asks, then smirks and returns the kiss.

"Zappy Zappy," Is her playful retort.

"Ok ok... No tickles for you." He chuckles but then sits up and sighs. "Sorry to cut this moment short, but I need to see Michiko alright? I promise you that I can get you a lemon cake, alright?" Drake then stands up, gives Noriko a tight hug then goes off to Michiko's room. 

Michiko is reading a book when she hears Drake knock. "Enter," She intones, not looking up.

Drake enters the room and shuts the door, he then pulls out the same yellow crystal and notions towards it. "So, didn't you want to see this?"

"I'm curious to know where you found him, but yes." She puts the book down.

"Well... As a mercenary, you get around... I was working for the MCCP and I was requested to hunt down one of the Elemental Terrors, ended up in a city where this Terror was destroying everything around it... Long story short, I fought the Terror and ended up freeing it, turns out that Phoenix had a band on these the crystals which sent these things mental. So after destroying the band, it spoke to me, telling me it's name is Razorwind, and where the other Terrors are... So yeah."

"Hmm, I see. You've certainly been through some interesting adventures then."

"Yep, without a doubt... So, when should I bring him out?"

"Now, if you really want to."

"Hey, you wanted to see him... Ok Razorwind, arise!" 

"I'm not some almighty summoned being from another realm, you could have just tapped my crystal or said my name, don't tell me you're turning into one of those old batty wizards that shout weird phrases all the time..."

Razorwind's staticy voice growls as the wolf appears, sparking with a large amount of electricity, a whirlwind for a mane adorns his head. 

Drake rolls his eyes. "It was for effect, and besides this is the first time I've done this so cut me some slack... Anyways Michiko... You wanted to see him, so here you go. Why were you so curious to find out how I obtained him?"

"Hmmmph, you've changed. Interesting." The wolf notes.

"Because I didn't know how anyone could gain the trust of one of the Terrors."

"In all honestly, I was surprised as well... But I guess if he trusts me, then I trust him too. Besides, it's not just me who gained the trust of a Terror." Drake says, he then looks at Razorwind. "I never asked, how are you?"

"Fantastic. I have been better in fact... ...hold on a second..." Razorwind's chest glows strongly for a second.

"I hear you... ...but what do you wan- .... I see. With haste, then."

Razorwind looks at Drake. "You could not have summoned me here at a better time."

Drake curiously looks at Razorwind. "Oh? And why's that?"

"Aoi was captured, from my understanding she's being tortured and experimented on. ...The identity of the captors is unknown from current information, Caess just informed me."

"WHAT!?" Drake's eyes open wide, suddenly a growl is heard. "Then what the hell are we doing here? We need to track down the captors!"

"....Drake. I smell the Wind Slayer. They are... 916.3 miles from this location and closing. 13 hours and 26 minutes."

"The Wind Slayer? ...Torrent, great... And the CE... This isn't going to end well, is it." He sighs. "So then, any ideas on what to do, just a shot in the dark really."

".....Phoenix is never to be underestimated. In all likelyhood, your best option is likely Chinmoku. If you can make it there... may be able to evade Phoenix."

"Yeah, maybe I could... Although..." Drake then remembers the vision he got when fighting Eien, he then sighs. "...I can't, not just yet, I can't make her leave here already."

"Drake, if it's the Wind Slayer, he's going to know where you are. The air itself is his ally. If you wait, you won't have any time at all."

Drake just stays in utter silence, before leaning against a wall. "So I have no choice, we have to go today... But... I don't want to leave..." Drake growls as he clenches his fists. "Ok... If it has to resort to that, then we will go..."

"I will delay him as much as I can after I meet with Caess. The clans here can probably assist in the delay as well. I am... ...sorry."

He notices one of Drake's eyes change colour to black as he places his hand on Kurai's handle. "I don't want anyone to get harmed, if I can, I'll postpone them myselves... I'm not letting them get here."

"Go quickly. I will see you later." The wolf disappears in a clap of thunder.

"Oh, I will." He grabs the crystal and stores it away, he then turns to look at Michiko. "I may warn the overs, I might not return... Sorry to give you that morbid thought, but it could be true..." Drake then leaves Michiko's room then makes his way to leave the palace when the shadowy figure appears beside Drake.

"Are you seriously planning on this, you know it's basically a deathwish..." Corruption says.

"Deathwish or not, I'm not letting those two bastards get anywhere near here!" Drake replies

Corruption sighs. "You're seriously putting your life on the line?"

"These people are the closest thing to a family I'm going to ever have, if I'm dying, it's to protect them... Hell, I just hope that I can get to Chinmoku before they find us..." Drake then looks around, soon calling for Noriko.

He hears a faint voice in the air gradually getting louder: "Commmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnggggggggg!"

Noriko suddenly tackles Drake to the ground as she dive bombs from the sky.

"You called me, Tank Boy-Sama?" She giggles.

Drake smiles, but only faintly as he sighs and sits up, giving Noriko a hug. "Noriko... We have to go..." She can hear the sadness and guilt in his voice.

"...What? We have to go? But why?" She asks.

"Torrent and Kagerou are coming to this exact point to find us... And knowing them... I don't want your family to get hurt, so we're going to Chinmoku in hopes that we can slip away... I'm sorry that we had to go this quickly..."

Drake feels a sharp bite on his leg. "OOMM! You can't leave! I won't let you!" He hears a voice below him, Aiko fiercely grabbing onto his leg.

He reacts a bit but then looks at Aiko, he then pries Aiko off of his leg and hugs her. "I'm so sorry Aiko, but we have to..."

She firmly hugs his face. "Nooooo! I will never let go!"

Drake lets her hug him for a couple of moments before pulling her off and placing her aside, he then softly smiles. "Thanks for the fun times, you're an awesome little ninja, I'll miss you."

He suddenly feels multiple hugs as the sisters teleport to him.

"You didn't think you were going without a goodbye, now did ya?" Haruko chirps.

For the entire duration of the hugs, Drake stays entirely silent during the hug, after a while he does speak, but only softly. "I think Noriko needs the hug more than I do..."

Noriko is just as equally swarmed as soon as he says that. "Nori, why do you have to go so soon?!" Haruko whines.

Noriko appears to be attempting not to get upset, but he can see it very faintly in her eyes and the tightness of the smile she's making that she's upset too, but trying to be strong.

"It-it'll be ok, Haru, we'll come visit again, I promise!" The parents are now coming out and looking on the scene.

"So there is a reason that you must leave?" Osamu asks.

Drake then walks up to Osamu and Momoka, bowing once before saying. "Two people from Phoenix are coming, Torrent the Wind Slayer and Kagerou, a Chaos Engine... I don't want this family to get harmed, so we're going to Chinmoku... I don't know how to put the rest in words, sir." He answered to Osamu. 

A strange wind suddenly blows, and everything turns grey, and the last words Drake spoke ring and echo in the air, as if he spoke into a cave.

"What the? ...Eien..." Drake then stands upright and looks around, before slightly looking up. "...Eien, if you're here because you're going to rub it in my face that I can't change what will happen, then save it."

On the stairs of the palace, Eien appears, and briefly indicates with his head to follow, then disappears inside.

Drake simple doesn't say anything and just follows. 

Eien walks into the grand hall, and stops at the edge of the carpet. He appears to be extending his arm straight out in front of him. A glow occurs around Eien, and suddenly the whole of the carpet drops down to reveal a massive stairway leading to a door emblazoned with a Phoenix symbol. With a swing of Eien's hand, the door creaks open, and Eien walks inside.

After a moment of gazing at the symbol, Drake's blood runs cold he continues to follow Eien. "What is it that you're going to show me... Because you wouldn't do this for any other occasion now would you." Drake takes a look around. "Well then... The lab, the area behind that hidden door in mine and Noriko's room and now this... You sure have a lot of places to just go to, don't you."

Once Eien reaches the center of a massive black chamber, he turns, a closed door on the opposite end of the chamber at his back. Once Drake gets close enough to Eien, the door behind Drake closes, and both doors disappear, and suddenly all awareness of the outside area becomes impossible, and Corruption notices that the space they are in exists separate from the world, and appears to have no limits.

"This... This is unreal... This feels like nothingness, this is sorta what the inside of the blade is also like, Drake." Corruption states, but Drake is too focused on Eien, finally, Drake's tone of voice grows confindent. "Ok Eien, we're here, now why have you brought me here?"

His only response is bringing his hands together in a loud clap that turns the whole space pitch black with Darkness, the only thing visible is Eien and Drake. A moment later, Kanashimi appears in a whirlwind of darkness and light, looking alarmed.

"How did I get here?!"

"I brought you here out of my Time Lock. And as for what we are here for... ...Draw your sword."

Drake cautiously unsheathes Kurai and holds the handle tight as he gets in a stance, a light aura appearing on Drake due to the Dark Slayer in Kurai. He says nothing and just gazes at Eien before narrowing his eyes, completely focusing from this point onwards. 

"Swing your sword into the Darkness, not at me."

"...Oh? ...Ok...?" Drake then slashes Kurai into the Darkness.

The stroke of the sword creates a wave of light that begins growing out into the dark at a rapid pace, stretching on and on until finally Eien cancels out the light.

"Alright then... first of all, Energy Management. I want you to reign in the power of your sword stroke this time. Like this." He takes his own blade out and slashes, a quick burst of light and nothing more erupts from the blade, the flash of light as brief as it had appeared.

He nods and stays still for a moment, before carefully moving Kurai into position. Drake then makes one horizontal slash, causing a wave of light that overstays it welcome a bit too long, causing Drake to sigh. He then tries a couple more times, each slash showing more and more control than the last. Until he finally does one more slash, a swift light bursts out of Kurai but then quickly dies out, just like a flash. "There..."

He nods. "Good."

Kanashimi looks at Eien. "Who are you, why are we here?" She snaps.

"I am here because Drake's improvision with the Slayer will only take him so far. Against Torrent, well, he'll be swimming with the fishes, I'll put it that way. Proper training with a Slayer will be needed to take him on, which is what I am providing. Fortunately, this space does not have time, so once you step out of here, there will have been no time passage what so ever from when you first entered here.

As for you, there is something I am going to give you, only after he finishes his training. Or rather, there will be something I will be granting the both of you. Who I am matters not."

Drake looks around. "I see... So a harmless void, nothing exists here but us and Darkness... So you're training me with Kurai, ok then... So, how long will we be?" 

"It won't matter. Time doesn't work here. Now, try creating bands of light and dark and manipulate them so that they are perfectly straight and don't move. Like an American flag." 

"Alright." After gripping Kurai's handle with both hands, he closes his eyes and centres Kurai right in front of him. When a moment passes, Drake's eyes suddenly open and he makes a multitude of slashes and strokes. Being able to control light and dark to his advantage, after a couple of seconds, what resembles the British flag hangs just in front of Eien and Drake. "Heh, I prefer the British flag."

"Urrgh. I hate smart asses. Now this one is more tricky... ....create a massive sphere of light. Notice you can't actually control light, only the avenues it flows in."

"A sphere of light...? Huh... Ok then..." Drake attempts to create the sphere but fails multiple times. "...How the hell do you do this?" He says to himself, this obviously takes the most time as he just stands there thinking of how to execute this. Drake then tries to make a smaller sphere of light, and to his surprise it works, he then slowly makes the sphere bigger and bigger until it's big enough. "...There...?"

"Hmm, yes, though your focus needs to unify and pull away the darkness all at once at all sides. I suppose we can do our last test. Make everything white."

"Everything...? Well, that should be easy... Albiet a little risky." Drake releases control and then takes a swing, causing a wave of light to erupt from the blade. It crawls and consumes the Darkness, expanding at a massive rate until every shread of Darkness vanishes. 

Halfway through the process, the light suddenly collapses and Drake feels incredible pain as the sheer amount of energy backfires and blasts him.

"Figured that would happen. Trust me when I say, this is more tricky than it looks. Remember what I said about the flow of the light."

"I'm thinking about it wrong... The flow of light isn't exactly right, this slays Darkness, not control light since light is only the aftereffects of using a Dark Slayer... If I'm correct, I need to control the Darkness, not the light." Drake steadies Kurai once more, he closes his eyes and makes one stroke, although much slower. A small trail of light forms from the blade, as that is done, the tribal markings change from black to white over and over. 'Soon, little by little, the light soon boxes in a considerable amount of Darkness, but Drake becomes unsure. "I doubt this'll work..."

"You're doing good. Slow and steady."

Moments after, the Darkness gets condensed down into a small cube, Drake calmly opens his eyes to see what he's done. "Ok... Now all that's left is that... Ready Corruption?" Drake's only response is the tribal markings on Kurai flashing red, he smirks as soon, the Darkness begins to fold in on itself until it's as tiny as an ant. 

"Good. Now for the reason we did all of that." Eien takes out his sword, and before his eyes takes a similar form to Kado's Dark Phoenix Mode.

"Now... you try. But first, how does this process work?"

Drake blinks. "...No idea..."

"Focus and bend the darkness to the image and form you design. The spirit within can assist further."

Drake then nods and close his eyes, he holds Kurai upright with both hands and stays completely silent. Suddenly, a black aura crawls up Drake and enlarges itself as it slowly takes shape into a phoenix. It goes well until they can hear a growl as the aura becomes unstable, changing forms between three things; the phoenix, a dragon and some sort of demonic humanoid creature. Drake then roars in pain for a full minute before the aura turning completely black, hinding Drake within it, then silence... Soon after, the aura then goes into Drake and Kurai, his eyes open. "That... Was an experience..." 

"Corruption, behave yourself. Your existence is unsightly as it is, don't give me motivation to destroy you. Behave." Eien says sternly. 

"It wasn't him, this is a first... Remember?" He sighs and then sits down, crossing his legs, closing his eyes and holding onto Kurai as tight as he can. "Ok... Second time." He quiets down as he gathers the energy from Kurai and himself, soon after, he slowly gets engulfed in fire. It slowly expands as soon, it turns completely black, Eien can hear what seems to be a mix of a phoenixs cry and a dragons growl. What soon emerges from the flames is unbelivable.

A black dragon prowls on all fours, its claws are more avian like while the hind legs are formed into a phoenix counterpart, complete with talons. The wings and the tip of the tail has also changed to be more like a phoenix, the feathers on the tip of the tail and wings are set ablaze as the creature stands on its hind legs and lets out a draconic screech. It then returns to all fours and looks at Eien, and while it's mouth doesn't move, Eien can hear it. "So... Is this what we were aiming for?"

"A construct is the desired result, so it passes. If it is truly combat worthy, that's up to you and Corruption." Eien turns and looks behind him him, the door beyond him revealed again.

"Come. I have something." Without another word, he takes them to the door and it opens to reveal a pure white laboratory, with multiple active machines working, and several specimen tanks line one of the walls. A bizarre girl clad only in plants with talons for feet and claws for hands, yellow eyes with flakes of iridescence, as well as long green hair with a sheen of iridescent light with strange flowers literally growing from the hair, and six angelic green wings sleeps in one.

He then looks at Kanashimi, and takes out of a drawer something that looks suspiciously like CE armor. He takes a look at Drake's face and sighs.

"Do you really think I'd pull a stunt like that? ...Well, I'm malicious enough to think of it, but there's no mind control involved here. This is an armor design based off White VIII's armor, minus the controlling aspect. It works much the same as the old pair, and also aides in combat processing and even has some weaponry installed." He hands the armor to Kanashimi.

"Use if it you like. Now... another present..." He walks over to a tall cylinder object large enough to contain a person, yet surprisingly lifts it and carries it over to Drake.

"Open it." He indicates a door like panel.


Drake looks at Eien cautiously for a moment before looking at the cylinder and opening the panel.

When he opens the container, he finds a girl with long blond hair, wearing simple clothing... ....and bearing six snow white wings on her back. As soon as she opens her vacant but innocent blue eyes, Corruption recoils as if burned and buries himself deep inside Kurai, the event so abrupt it takes Drake by surprise. But what's more, Kanashimi's wings have grown out again, and she appears to begin to be glowing fiercely with pure divine light.

"Woah, so much power is flowing through me right now! I feel like I could stop a train with my bare hands!" She exclaims.

Drake blinks but then looks at Eien. "...Eien, two things... One, how is this a present, two, what the hell?" He examines the girl and takes a step back, still processing what just happened.

"She is the first Chaos Engine to exist, the First Alpha CE, and the Last. None of her generation remain. Her father was the Archangel Phoenix kept in their labs. She has more purity and divinity than a single one of the Chaos Engines in use today. What happened, was Corruption's essence was Purified. He had to retreat deeper into the blade to avoid being severely damaged. When at full power, Seriah is capable of even transmuting demons into angels, so strong is her powers of purification. I won't explain why I'm giving her to you, but she is now in your care. When her hair turns half black, and starts to get a starry pattern, put her back inside to be proccessed. This happens every other week."

Eien gives Drake a critical look. "It's very important that you take this gift. Don't question it, I won't explain why I'm giving Seriah to you, but understand that she is unique, and needs to be kept safe at all costs. She's important to your future."

He says nothing and just nods, after placing a hand on the cylinder. He sighs. "Thank you Eien... I'll look after her, so she's a purifier... Ok, this will be interesting, now... How will I actually move this around, how will we get back to the others... And how are they not going to notice this?"

"The second one I will arrange. As for how you move it around, do you not have a device that stores things? I believe you have the Abomination trapped inside it, do you not?"

"Oh right..." Drake pulls out and opens the HSC, he looks at Seriah. "Rest for a little longer, alright?" He then closes the panel and expands the cube so that the capsule is within it. Drake then shrinks down the cube and stores the capsule with Seriah inside. "Ok... There's that done."

"This is the last time I will intervene on your behalf. Drake. The next time you and I meet, it will likely be on the battlefield. Once it happens, my plans will be against yours. Keep that in mind. The coming times will be overwhelming, and you and the others shall be tried to the fullest extent possible. Oh, and be patient for my old friend."

Kanashimi and Drake's vision flickers violently, and he is back with the others, Kanashimi has joined them. For a moment, he forgets what happened, but it comes back in a rush.

Osamu looks at Drake, then hands him a emerald larger than his hand. "If you should ever wish to come by again, use this. It's an artifact we give only to our most valued family. Come back one day, alright?"

"Don't worry, Osamu... We'll come back, don't worry, I don't want to leave... But sadly we must, thank you for the artifact." He keeps hold on it as he then looks at Momoka. "Thank you for keeping us here, this means the world to us, I promise that we'll return. It's been an honour to be in your presense, the both of you." He gives off a weak smile, his eyes show a hint of sadness but happiness also. He then turns to look at the sisters who are all hugging Noriko and chuckles. "Feeling comfy in that hug?"

"Heeeeeeeeelpppppp! CRUSHING - MEEEEEEE!"

Drake's smile grows as he walks towards the group and frees her from the hug, he then looks at the sisters and sighs. "We're gonna miss you... I hope nothing bad happens to this family... Oh, and promise me and Nori that you'll save a slice of lemon cake for us, alright?" He says, laughing. 

"We will! Don't worry about us!"

"That's gonna be hard to, but we'll try!" He can't help himself but to hug them once more, after a moment, he looks at Noriko and Kanashimi. "Ready...?"

"Yeah...." They say sullenly.

"Alright... Let's go, we have a way to go..." Drake replies, he begins to walk to the entrance of the palace. He looks back one more time, giving a wave goodbye before finally walking away. "And the journey begins..."

Noriko hugs Drake as they walk, though she almost feels as though she needs more reassuring than he.

He stands still for a moment and tightly hugs Noriko back, he puts on a smile. "Don't worry, we will see them again, I promise on my life. I know this has been an unexpected change of plans, but it's for the safety of you and your family... I can't let your family and you get hurt... I know I'm no good with reassuring someone, but as I said, we will see you family again."

"Ok... so where should we go?"

"We're going to Chinmoku... Just a gut feeling, really." 

"Oooooh, Chinmoku? Huh, I guess you'll have a bad time though when we get there. They don't like fighting much."

"...Thanks Eien." Drake thinks to himself, he then chuckles. "I don't mind, just as long as we can get there... So, do you know the fastest route?"

"Well, I guess we just head northeast?" She says, pointing off in one direction.

"Northeast... Alright then, I guess I'll lead." And with that, Drake begins to walk in the direction Noriko pointed at.

Around two days of travel, while Drake is on night watch, he sees the same figure that had been watching them the first day they went out on the journey to the palace, now standing once again at a great distance on a mountain, seemingly staring directly at their camp.

Kurai hisses. "Do you think that's him?" After a moment of silence, Drake shakes his head. "No, he would of arrived by now... That being said, I wonder who this is..." Drake then realises something and opens his HSC and looks at the capsule. "Maybe I should let her out, at least for the night..." He then takes the capsule out as it expands back to it's normal size, he then takes a moment then opens the panel.

The figure on the mountains seems to start at the notice of the capsule and immediately disappears in a sudden flicker. The girl inside, Seriah doesn't seem to have noticed the door opening, her eyes half closed, but after a few minutes, there is a movement in her eyelids and her eyelids open fully, her eyes then blink as she looks up at him. She regards him with a childlike curiosity, though doesn't seem to be moving much.

"Oh...? Umm, hello there Seriah, my name is Drake... How are you?"

She doesn't seem to understand him clearly. She just looks at him blankly.

Finally... "I.... Seriah.....?"

Drake sighs. "Oh great..." He gets down to her height and looks at her. "Me, Drake. You, Seriah... How you?"

"....I.... don't... know..." She looks at him, leaning closer toward him. "....are you.... ...owner?"

"Not exactly... I'm taking care of you for the time being..."

"...." She uncurls herself, slowly standing up, and grabbing on to his arm.

"...Still... waking... carry?"

He nods and picks Seriah up, carrying her on his back. "Better?"


"Alright... Hmm, are you hungry?"

"...Maybe?" A light growl from her stomach can be heard.

Drake smiles as he sits down next to the campfire, allowing Seriah to sit on Drake's shoulders as he starts to cook something up from Cyaican's dishes. After a moment, he puts it on a small plate and holds it up to Seriah. "Here you go."

She unsteadily takes the plate in her hands and looks at the food, sniffing it curiously. "What.... food?"

"It's called kebrohshe, it's basically a kids desert... I only added stuff from Earth, like the chocolate, and the mango."

She curiously takes small tiny bites out of the food, saying nothing. Her wings occasionally flap at random, smacking him on occasion.

After a moment of silence, Drake cooks himself up something to eat also. After taking a couple of bites, Drake then asks. "So, how does it taste like?"

In response, her wings begin to flap at a excited rate, feathers going flying in a white fluffy cloud, her eyes widened and slightly energetic.

"That's good, I'm glad someone likes Ryunexo cooking." He says, smiling. "So I'm guessing you don't know how to talk much, considering your age, right?"

"...I... ...slow."

"Hmm, alright, I guess I'll be the one doing the talking... Maybe it'll come back to you, who knows?"

She quietly hugs his head.

Noriko looks at Drake. "Who's the girl anyway?"

Drake stays in utter silence for a moment before looking at Noriko. "Umm... Well... You see... This girl is named Seriah... She's the first Chaos Engine..." 

"....Where'd she come from, and why was she in the machine? ...First Chaos Engine?"

He sighs. "Yes, this girl is the first Chaos Engine created... The reason she's here, the machine too, and how I know about this... Is because of Eien."


Drake starts to explain to Noriko about all the encounters he's had with Eien during their time at the palace, he then begins to explain about Seriah. "So... When I saw Eien once more, it was just as we were about to leave... Time just stopped, he showed up, led me to somewhere and handed me a capsule with her in it... Whenever she gets a stary pattern or her hair turns brown, I'm supposed to put her back into the capsule. Sorry for hiding this to you, I just thought that it would stress you."

"I see... ...that's weird, so he's like a previous family member then?"

"Yeah... Your great great great grandfather, actually..." Drake says but then sighs again. "...I think he's part of Phoenix though."

Drake remembers from his first encounter with Eien how he seemed dismissive of actually being affiliated with them, and refereed to himself as more of an observer, now that he thinks about it, he mentioned 'others', who called themselves thus.

"...On second thought, no, Eien isn't with Phoenix... But, moving on... That's why I have Seriah with me, I doubt she'll become a problem right now, she's only a child anyways."

"Nom!' Seriah bites down on Drake ear, though not very hard, more to get his attention. "Fooood..."

He smiles and nods as he begins to make another kids dessert, soon giving it to Seriah afterwards. "There you go again."

The angel child happily devours the food, more firmly clinging to his head afterwards.

"See? She's harmless." Drake says to Noriko, he then looks around for the strange person once more before shrugging and eating his own food. Drake then hands Noriko some food as well. "Here, have some."

She digs in. "Not bad. She's cute, but shouldn't she be older?"

"Remember, it's a Chaos Engine... Kanashimi is only fifteen and they turned her into a CE, although you do have a point... I guess she was just a prototype, who knows? The CE are full of surprises."

Kanashimi is sleeping, though she mutters, "Who's talkng about me...?"

Drake chuckles before yawning. "No one, Kana, stay asleep... And as for me, I'm growing pretty tired... But I guess I can stay awake until the sun rises."

Noriko sighs. "I'm actually a bit sleepy... I'm probably gonna go to sleep now..." She says stretching out on the ground.

"Alright then, sleep well Nori, I'll wake you up at eight." Drake then sits on a nearby rock and just scans the area.

Seriah just sits there perched on his shoulders, resting her head on top of his, asleep.

He pats Seriah's head and smiles, humming a quiet tune until the sun rises.

As the sun rises, Drake notices Seriah's hair has grown longer, and she seems slightly heavier.

"The hell...?" Drake picks Seiah up and holds her infront of him.

She still sleeps, but he can tell there is immediate differences from the night before. She appears a few inches taller, and at least a year or so older. Overall she doesn't appear quite as childlike. Her eyes crack open after a moment.

"Good morning...." She says sleepily, her voice slightly older too.

Drake blinks. "Good... Morning Seriah, how'd you sleep?"

"Fine.... neck hurts though..." She yawns, her wings stretching out as she does so.

"...Maybe I should of layed you somewhere comfy, ah well... So we're heading for Chinmoku, it's a long journey."

"...Fancy words... hurt head.... ...still sleepy..."

"Oh right... We're going to new place, long time to go there, do you understand?"

"Ok... ....can I have a pony?"

"I... I don't think so...? I mean, if we come across any wild horses, we'll see. But for the meantime, no."

"N-No poooonnnnyyyyyyy?" She seems to snap awake, her eyes widening and her lips beginning to tremble.

Drake notices this in an instant. "Hold on hold on!" Drake then opens his HSC and gets a piece of chalk and his spellbook and begins to draw a rune circle while looking at the book. "I can't believe I'm doing this..." After the rune circle is finished, Drake bites his thumb and lets a drop of blood spill onto the center of the circle. It then begins to glow and in a flash, a pony emerges from the circle in perfect condition. "...There you go."

"Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! PONY!" She cheers, leaping onto the pony's back with glee.

He smiles as he looks at Kanashimi and Noriko. "C'mon you two, time to wake up!"

Noriko wakes up more readily, giving Drake a hug, while Kanashimi remains stubborn.

"Glad to see you're eager to start... As for her..." Drake looks at Seriah. "Check this out." A tribal symbol appears on Drake's palm as he aims his hand at Kanashimi and whisks it up, causing the ground underneath Kanashimi to blast her up into the sky. "GOOOOOD MORNING!"

Kanashimi appears behind him in a teleport, with a visibly angry face. She then grabs his hair and starts yanking on it. "I'M GONNA RIP YOUR HAIR OUTTA YOUR SKULL!"

Drake quickly grabs her arm and twists it hard enough for her to let go, he then throws her over his shoulder then finally helps her up. "At least you're awake."

"Grrrr.... jerk."

"I know I know, you hate me right now, but we have to get moving. I want to get a considerable amount of cover, we need to get to Chinmoku."

"Chin my ass...." She grumbles. "I say we beat the shit out of the blokes and get it over with."

"Yeah Kana, let's fight your brother and a damn Phoenix member. Because a premature CE, an ex Phoenix member, a mercenary and a damn child can beat them with ease! ... We're going to Chinmoku."

"....Ok ok..." She mutters. "So we going then? And you seriously caved in and gave her a pony?!"

"She's a child, anything to prevent crying... Why, you want one too?"

"NO! And another thing, what if you have a kid, are you just gonna bend knee whenever they start crying? Damn you're asking for trouble! Toughen up!"

Kanashimi can hear a low growl emitting from Drake, giving her a clear signal to back off. He then speeds up his walking pace as he opens his HSC and pulls out a book to read.

She looks at Noriko. "What, I was just stating a frank opinion..."

Noriko giggles. "Guys hate frank opinions I guess."

Drake then walks up to Seriah and looks at her. "Enjoying your pony?"

"Yeaaaaa pony!"

"That's nice to hear, have you given it a name yet?"

"Names are hard...."

"Ok then... Is the pony a boy or a girl?"

"I dunno... how do you check?" She asks.

What follows is a brief moment of silent before a nervous laugh. "Oh wait, I know what the pony is, it's a boy. After all I did create it myself..."

"Steve!" She cheers.

"Steve the pony? Ok then, I'm glad to see you're doing fine."

"Full steam ahead!" She gallops ahead of them, laughing.

Drake smiles and runs after Seriah, racing her.

Noriko and Kanashimi race after him, the group unaware of the woman in a grey green kimono floating in the clouds, watching them. She then looks to the west, where far away, two figures make their way through the mountains.

After a while, Drake easily catches up and laughs. "Looks like I'm going to win!"

When he gets close to Seriah, Noriko sneak attacks and tackles him to the ground. "Gotcha!"

Drake looks at Seriah as the pony she's on gallops away, he then rolls onto his back and looks at Noriko. "Well that was unexpected."

"Expect the unexpected!" She helps him up and holding his hand runs off after Seriah, who has paused to let them catch up.

After a couple hours, they break for lunch. Kanashimi sits next to Drake. "You know what we were talking about earlier? You know, about you training me?"

"Yeah? Well, when everything calms down, then I'll train you, why are you so eager anyways?"

"Because... ...well, I don't know what I want to do with myself. I thought I would learn from you and be a mercenary, you know, find a purpose for myself."

"Ah, but... I don't think a mercenary would be best for you... I grew up in a mercenary group so it was my only choice, as for you, you have the entire world at your fingertips... Find something you're passionate about and follow that."

"Why not? I was made as a weapon, so it's not a stretch."

After a moment of silence, Drake sighs. "Because it's not a lifestyle you should be interested it, it's also not the lifestyle I hope'd you have... Trust me, at times, being a mercenary can damage your moral and just how you function... Mentally or psychically..."

"You don't think I have my own mental issues?" She points to the jagged scar on her neck. "It's not like I had a good background to begin with. Plus, I want to be able to hold my own."

"And you will with training, but trust me, I doubt mercenary work will be the best option for you..."

"...." She bows her head and looks frustrated. "What do you want me to do? Go attend school and be a normal girl, have a normal life? In case you didn't notice, I'm a freak created to be a weapon of war!"

"What I don't want you to do is get hurt, look, being a mercenary isn't easy at all. Actively seeking out in being a merc won't do anything for you, hell it will make it worse, the only time you should be a merc is when it's a last resort!"

In her frustration, she picks up a rock and throws it. After a minute, it bonks into a grey hill. "What do I do then? What am I supposed to do with myself? I don't belong!"

"Look, I'm just trying to protect you from making a mistake... It's the last thing I want you to do because if you go into mercenary work, you'll change..." He sighs once more before blinking, he then turns his over at the gray hill. "...Uuuh, Noriko, Echo doesn't have gray hills, right?"

As if answering, the hill shifts, and Drake realizes the hill is some manner of large creature, which is now waking up.

"...Are those scales?" Noriko asks hesitantly.

When they look at Drake, they already notice the tribal markings inching across his skin while the runes on his hands glow. "Ok, get Seriah to a safe place... This should be easy." 

Noriko and Kanashimi get Seriah to a safe location, just as the hill fully rises, revealing a massive dragon with dull grey scales, and dark red eyes. It doesn't appear to have any actual intelligence, just pure animistic behavior. It charges up a fire blast and blasts at Drake. 

Drake opens his hands and aims his palms towards the blast, and suddenly a rune circle appears infront of the palms and begin to expand out until it acted as a gigantic shield for Drake. He smirks as the fire gets absorbed into the circle and fired back at him, the fire hitting the dragon back but with the aftereffect of the blast exploding on impact.

Drake makes the mistake of standing still when the blast goes off, as while the dragon's face is damaged slightly and bleeding, it seems to ignore the pain and blows right through the explosion and digs its fangs into his shoulder, twisting and shaking as it bites, tearing bone and muscle.

He roars in pain as he tightens his fist, with one quick strike, Drake punches the fangs hard enough for them to crack. Giving him enough leverage to grab hold of the fang and break it off, Drake quickly jumps back and looks at his right shoulder. "Grrr... Fine then, you wanna play animalistic? Be my guest." And with another growl, Drake sprouts out dark red dragon wings and tail while he becomes more draconic, he flies up into the sky and looks down at the dragon. He then dives down, unsheathing Kurai and Shizuka while doing so, when he gets close enough, Drake suddenly flies to the side of the dragon and slices his side with the two blade. "Bite into this you bastard!" Tribal markings on the blades begin to glow as the slice wounds on the Dragon suddenly causes black fire to erupt which entirely covers the dragon in a black blaze.

The dragon begins furiously rampaging after Drake, a combination of mad running and flying keeps it right on top of him, as it attempts to trample, bite, flame, and in general smash him to bits, seemingly disregarding the damage being done by the fire, either that or the pain is merely inciting it to further violence.

"So you're purely following instincts... In the case, time to show dominance." Drake hovers up in front of the dragon and looks at it dead in the eyes, with one intake of breath, Drake releases a ground shaking roar, enough to push the dragon back slightly. Soon enough Drake's aura changes shape into a dragon which towers over the gray dragon, it lets out a rumbling growl.

Its reponse is none other than to fly right up to its face and blast it with fire.

The aura dragon ducks under it and lunges itself towards the gray dragon's neck, biting into it hard enough for the aura dragon to toss it around like a ragdoll. It then throws it to the ground and pins it down, it makes one more roar before incinerating it with black fire.

Once the dragon is burnt to a crisp, Noriko peeks her head out from a rock. "It's a good thing that was a loner." Drake watches as Seriah climbs on Noriko and clings on to her, her little head poking out above Nori's.

"Meh... One or one hundred, I would of taken them all down!" Drake exclaims proudly as the aura dragon slowly changes back into Drake's aura, his dragon wings fold away as he lands on the floor. 'He walks over to Noriko and Seriah and smirks. "See? Not a scratch on me... Well... Other than the hole in my shoulder, but that'll recover on it's own... Gotta love Cyanican's regeneration."

Southbound Now North

Drake appears in the air above a stretch of powdery white snow, and falls down onto a hill. He eventually rolls to a stop, and notices he's landed in the middle of a thick pine forest.

Drake stands up and takes a look around, sighing in slight annoyance. "Great... I can't tell if I'm any closer." Drake looks up at the sun. "Rise in East, set in West... Unless that's changed in Echo as well, and if I recall..." After a moment of discussing to himself, Drake turns towards the direction he needs to go and continues walking through the forest.

After a while, he starts to hear a sound akin to bells.

Natrually, Drake follows the sound. "Huh, guess I've ran into a town..."

He finds no town, but only more forest. The ringing seems to be getting louder, but is just as elusive as mist.

"...Echo, I love this place, but my God this world can be confusing..." Drake continues to follow to the source of the sound.

After a little bit farther, the distant tone of the bells seem to stop, and becomes very distinctive right above him in the trees.'

After a moment, Drake takes a couple of steps back and looks up at whatever is causing the noise.

In the next moment, a form rushes through the overgrowth and tackles him, Drake finds himself pinned by a black haired woman with glowing blue eyes, apart from this, he can't tell much about her due to her body being covered in cloth from head to toe, a small opening in her headwear allows for him to see the eyes but nothing more. After a quiet moment she speaks.

"Where do you come from?" He finds that she has rather powerful muscles, getting her off is not going to be easy, though she doesn't carry a strictly dangerous air.

Drake chuckles. "...Heh, I should have seen that trap a mile away, I guess my senses have dulled a bit..." Drake looks directly at the eyes and tilts his head. "...Fairy-shapeshifter?" He curiously asks.

"...La'parsa." Drake notices she has a rather cold aura about her. "Where you from?"

"Specific birth place or... Becuase if not, I just teleported here from the North."

She tilts her head for a moment, then gets off him. "You mentioned the Fey?"

"...Yeah? Why?" Drake fixes his shirt and jacket before looking back at what so easily fooled him.

He notices a necklace of small metal bells that jingle with her movements, and a set of feathers woven into a headpiece that reminds him of Aoi.

"Take you." She turns toward the North and begins walking.

"Woah hold on, I may need your help with something... Specifically directions."

She turns her head back at him. "Take you to Fey. Help?"

"...Why do you seem offended by that."

"Offend? No." She continues walking.

Drake shrugs and follows the woman. "So... You have a limited vocabulary with human language, alright then... Can I get a name?"

"Emlha." As she walks, he can hear her dingling bells.

After a moment, it starts to get on his nerves. "Well... Emlha, can you take those bells off?"


Drake just sighs in response, eventually creating a fireball and beginning to toy around with it.

She continues to guide him North with a silent affinity with the land which makes him seem loud and clumsy with ease.

"...I do question why you're helping a total stranger go to the Moonlight palace."

"I know your intention is pure."

"Can't argue with that... So thank you." Drake says before letting the fireball dissipate.

They continue for a few more hours, the envoirment gradually gets warmer.

"So how come you rushed me? Thought I was an attacker?" Drake asks.

"Better to know than to assume."

"So it wouldn't be a first that something like this has happened?"

"Strange happenings? Common."

"I see... So, can I ask about... I assume you call it clan?"

"We Perma, live nowhere. Live among snow and ice. La'parsa are beloved to us." The air is considerably warmer, he can start to see areas without snow from atop the hill they most recently climbed.

"Huh... I guess we're closer than I thought. Once more, thanks for helping me out." After a moment, Drake sighs. "My heart's getting heavy, telling them what happened isn't going to end well." 

"Honesty and open heart bridges even great ravine." 

"If you say so... Y'know... I probably know I way to the palace now, if you want to go back, then that's ok." Drake says as he examines his surrounding area.

She disappears in a whirl of snow and ice. Beyond him a country of rolling hills and plains stretches out. In the distance is a small mountain range, which strikes him as familiar.

Drake faintly smiles as he takes in his surroundings, his wings sprout out and stretch before Drake flies slower than usual towards the mountain range.

As he flies closer, he eventually notices a wall between two large mountains, and a gate, the entrance of the Moonlight Shire.

"Well... Here goes..." Drake flies faster towards the entrance, he mentally prepares himself for anything that may happen.

Two guards hail him.

Drake lands in front of the two guards, his wings folding up as he looks at them. "Hello."

They pause for a moment, then suddenly bow. "Drake Ryunexo, you have returned. Do you require an escort to the palace?"

Drake ponders for a moment before silently nodding towards the two.

"Alright then, follow us." They begin to walk on the road behind them, motioning to other guards, who take their place.

He follows the guards and takes a look around, but sinks his head down as thousands upon thousands of thoughts cloud his mind. 'This... Is going to be tough.'

Upon reaching the palace gates, the guards leave. "Good day to you sir."

"Thank you." Drake looks at the gates before he begins to open them himself.

Upon opening them, his face is tackled by a yellow blur.


Drake chuckles and hugs the yellow blur. "Hello to you to, Aiko, it's nice to see you again."

"You're back again! Can I have a ride?" She says, sitting on his shoulder.

"Sure, but not for long, I need to talk to your parents... But for now." Drake begins racing around at a suitable pace for Aiko.


"So, how has everything been over here?" Drake asks while he stretches out his wings and hovers around.

"Same, lots of scary storms in South. Michiko is set to return to New Vince... *sniff*."

"Oh, is she? Huh... Any idea to when she will be going? And storms in the South... Yeah, I've noticed." Drake says as he picks Aiko up and begins lightly throwing her up and catching her with ease.

"Wheeee!" She giggles.

"A few days." He hears Michiko's aristocratic voice speak up.

Drake turns to look at Michiko. "Oh hello Michi, nice to see you again."

"You as well. ...How is Nori?"

By this moment, Drake lands and puts Aiko down, he then looks at Michiko. "We need to talk... You, Momoka, Osamu and I."

Her face falls. "...Oh..." She looks away for a moment.

Drake looks at Aiko. "I'll be back to play with you soon, alright?" Drake then begins to walk past Michiko. "We'll need somewhere to talk away from the others." He whispers to Michiko as to not let Aiko hear.

She nods quietly, and begins to walk him into the palace.

Drake stays equally as silent as he follows Michiko, his guilt finally starting to build up with each step he takes.

Michiko offers him her hand.

"No thanks..." Drake says as he clenches his hands together.

Michiko takes him to the throne room, where Osamu and Momoka sit. Upon seeing him, Momoka gets out of her seat and rushes forth, embracing him.

"Welcome back Drake."

He just stays silent and doesn't move, not even a bit.

After a moment of silence, she silently pats his back, as though comforting him.

"...Show him, Michiko." Momoka says quietly after a moment.

Drake looks at Momoka with a slight confusion before turning his head towards Michiko.

In Michiko's left hand is the hilt of a japanese katana, with a yellow color scheme... ...Lightning Slayer. Drake can see the pain that Michiko was previously hiding while she holds it.

"Oh..." A silent moment passes before Drake speaks up again, his tone filled with despair. "I'm sorry..."

Osamu speaks up. "Remember what I said before Drake?" His voice is impartial.

"Yes... And I still plan to stick to that, even if it kills me, Osamu." Drake responds.

"Then you are not yet a fool. And I doubt it would kill you."

Drake suddenly bows to Osamu. "I'm greatful for your words, Osamu, I truly am..." Drake then stands back up and looks at Michiko. "Could I hold it?"

Michiko looks at the blade with a mixed expression of deep pain, revulsion, and despair.

"Michiko, I promise you - this entire family, that they will see Noriko again with no harm..." Drake glances at the Slayer before opening his palm. 

She gingerly holds the hilt toward him.

Drake hesitates at first but then wraps his hand onto the handle of the Slayer.

Almost immediately he feels the strong rebuke of the blade in the form of a powerful electric current.

He falls to his knees as lightning sporadically arcs around his entire right arm, but he continues to hold onto it for a few moments before having to let go. He gasps for air as a trickle of blood escapes his mouth, he then begins to talk again after coughing. "My God... So that's how it feels... Jesus..." Drake looks at the Slayer for a moment with slight shock.

Momoka places a hand on him.

"I'm fine... Just wasn't expecting that..." Drake stands back up and sighs. "So... Do the others know about this?"

"Michiko and Kumiko, as well as Akarui and Mabushii. We haven't told Haruko.... She's her twin so..." Momoka trails off.

"So basically... Aiko, Hoshiko, and Haruko, alright."

"Yes... we felt it best they didn't know... ...not yet."

"I understand..." Drake says before sighing.

"We appreciate you came. What exactly happened to you two though?"

"Phoenix happened... Looks like White wanted her Slayer back, they sent Torrent and a Chaos Engine with my DNA... As you can tell, that was a fight we didn't win."

"...Stay a while, Drake." Momoka says gently but firmly.

Drake blinks once Momoka says that, but faintly smiles and nods. "...Sure, thank you."

She pats him on the head, and gives him a warm hug. "I'll prepare your room. Entertain Aiko a while will you? She's been more rowdy since you've left."

"I will." Drake hugs Momoka back then looks at Osamu and Michiko before walking back to Aiko.

He finds no sign of Aiko, but he does find the fish tank with the great white shark.

Drake looks at the shark before chuckling. "Aiko, I know you're hiding in his mouth..."

"Damn it Bruce!" Aiko leaps out of the shark's mouth, tackling Drake in a blur. "Stay! Don't leave again!"

"Don't worry, I'll be here for a while." Drake says while ruffiling her hair.

"Yeaaaaaa!" She hugs him hard.

He laughs and hugs Aiko back. "So then, what do you wanna do?"

"Hide and seek!"

"Sure... But no hiding in Bruce's mouth, ok?"


"Well, I would let you, but I would find you instantly, anywhere else in the palace is good to go though."

"Wheee!" She runs off, jumping off his head.

Drake begins to count to thirty, once he does, he recalls to his last game of hide and seek with Aiko and decides to check the air ducts for her.

He finds no sign of her in the ducts.

"Hmm... Noriko used to hide amongst cutlery..." Drake then makes his way to the kitchen and takes a look around.

He finds nothing, though he hears rustling in a room.

"Hehe, found you..." Drake goes into the room and examines it, a small smirk on his face as he does so.

The room appears to be a small dinning room, with various assorted potted plants.

He chuckles once more as he wonders around the room. "Oh I wonder where Aiko is..."

"He hee hee~"

After a moment, Drake begins to look in each of the empty pots, only to stop right at the one Aiko is hiding in. "Hmm... Maybe she's not here... Oh well, I guess I'll go back to the kitchen and make some lemon cake." Drake says while slowly walking back to the entrance of the room.

He hears a giggle, and a rustle from one of the plants.

He eventually turns back and walks towards said plant, he looks at it for a moment before shrugging. "Fooound you."

Nothing happens.

Drake blinks before looking around. "Aiko? I know you're in here..."

He notices a tiny wing sticking out of a flower.

"Ah..." Drake chuckles as he walks towards the flower and cups his hands around it and Aiko. 

She starts to squirm.

"Found you!" Drake exclaims before sitting her up on his shoulder.

Drake notices that Aiko is incredibly tiny comparied to Noriko and the others in fairy form, she is only as big as his thumb.

Drake lightly strokes Aiko's back with his pinky finger while chuckling. "So now that I found you, how about I make some of that cake for you?"

"Hahaha! Yeaaaaaaaaaaaa~!"

They then make their way to the kitchen, with Aiko bobbing up and down on Drake's shoulder each time he takes a step. They soon make it to the kitchen and Drake starts looking around, gathering up tools and ingredients to make the cake.

While he is getting the flour, Aiko climbs his ear.

"Aiko, what are you doing?!" Drake says as he squirms, causing the flour to go everywhere.

The flour sticks to him, making him rather white. "Spooooooooky ghost!" Aiko cheers, crawling into his hair.

"...Welp, the chiefs are gonna kill me..." Drake shrugs and continues making the cake.

Aiko for the meantime seems content to crawl in his hair.

Half an hour passes as a small lemon cake, perfect for Aiko comes out of the oven. Drake tops the cake with a thin icing before laying it on the table. "There we go, dig in little fairy."

She crawls out of his hair and next to the plate, sniffing it.

"What? Is something wrong, it's lemon cake..." Drake says, a bit confused by Aiko's actions.

Aiko takes a bite out of it with a sudden smile.

Drake smiles as well. "I'm glad you like it, I guess I'm getting good with cooking... Huh."

She appears to be stuffing her face, face literally in the cake as she eats.

In response, he lightly laughs and take a small piece out of the cake and eats it. He then waits until Aiko is finished eating.

Before long her tiny belly gets too full, and she plops down next to the cake, rubbing her tiny tummy, which has grown significantly due to all of the cake.

"Oooooooh.... cake...."

Drake picks Aiko up and lays her on his palm. "So, now what do you want to do?"

"*Burp* Can I lay down?"

He smiles and begins walking to Aiko's bedroom. "Sure, I'm guessing you want to go to your room?"

She makes another tiny burp in response, though she hugs his thumb.

"I'll take that as a yes." Drake pets Aiko lightly before reaching her room, he opens the door and enters. 

Aiko is still hugging his thumb.

Drake makes his way to Aiko's bed and chuckles as he watches Aiko hug his thumb. "So you missed me a lot, didn't you?"

She hugs him harder.

He sits on her bed and waits until she finishes hugging his thumb.

She eventually lets go of it and looks up at him.

Drake places Aiko on her bed and stands up. "I have to get some training done, as for you, if you need to rest, then go ahead... I'll play with you soon, alright?"


"Yeah I know, I don't want to go either, but there's something big coming up and I want to be prepared for it. I'll be in the courtyard if you want to play, but only after you rest, Aiko."


He only faintly smiles and ruffles her hair. "I know I know, but this is very important."

She starts wizzing around his head like a rocket.

Drake rolls his eyes and plucks her out of the air and sits her in his hair, he then starts walking to the courtyard. "Alright alright, you won."


Once they reach the courtyard, Drake finds an open space and sits down in a meditating position, Praxi comes out of Drake's soul and hovers around Aiko. "I just need to do something... Praxi will keep you company." Once he says that, Drake gains tribal markings all over his body as he closes his eyes, though Aiko can notice one eye still glowing a bright white.

Aiko pokes the werelight curiously. Praxi shimmers in rainbow colors in response.

Around an hour or so passes until Drake suddenly takes a long sigh, contemplating what he just saw... After a few moments, he looks at Aiko.

"...Big brother...?"

Drake stands up, his head looking down at the floor. "Aiko... Please leave the courtyard."

She doesn't understand his meaning or intent, but starts running off skipping. "Alright I'll go to bed!"

When she completely leaves the area, Drake's hands get coated in completely black fire as he clenches his fists and smashes the ground which causes the entire courtyard to crack up. "No..." Drake keeps punching the ground in frustration for around five minutes, he then roars which lets out an explosion of black fire, which only gets domed in by Drake's own energy, saving everyone around him. And for another twenty minutes, Drake just collapses onto his back, still taking in everything he witnessed. "I swear Noriko... I'll get you back..."

"Hmm, sounds like you need help." The voice echoes in Drake's head. "Hold on, I'll be there in just a second." Within a second, the black clad figure from before appears, holding a silver tree branch with blue lines engraved in it. He taps Drake's forehead and his eyes crinkle. "You're too young to have experienced something like that... Get up."

"Oh... It's you..." Drake stands up on his feet and looks at the figure. "So, what is it this time?" Drake asks.

"To give you a bit of help." He points at the shield, then Kurai and Shizuka. "Might as well optimize your stuff and awaken some of your potential in the process, as you are now revenge is outside of your reach."

Drake sighs as he realises that the figure has a point, he nods in agreement. "Ok ok... When do we start then."

"Now, it is sudden, but it's best to prepare sooner rather than later," he says. "If you have anything you need to do, I'd handle it before we begin."

Drake's expression changes to a surprised one. "But I just... Arrived..." Drake's head tilts down as he goes silent for a moment, he then sighs. "Yeah, just give me a moment." He then starts to make his way towards Aiko's room once more. "Seems like I'll never be able to just relax here, something is always going on... For better or for worse..." He approaches the door and opens it slowly, as not to wake Aiko up, he then walks into her room.

Aiko sleeps quietly, cuddled with a teddy bear.

Drake walks over to Aiko as Praxi merges out of him. "Keep her company, alright?" He whispers, Praxi nods in response as Drake leans over and lightly kisses Aiko's head before walking out of the room without a sound. "Goodnight, Aiko..." Drake then makes his way towards the figure. "Alright, I'm ready."

"Initial Domain: Null." The space around the figure and Drake ripples and warps until they are in a completely black spaces with countless tiny lights in the distance. "The first thing I'm going to do is Hone your weapons- rather, I'm going to reforge them from scratch based on your preferences to improve their quality and increase their overall parameters. Don't worry about the spirit or power within them being damaged, those components will be unaffected."

In response, Drake unsheathes both Shizuka and Kurai and places them down in front of the figure. "If you're going to completely reforge my blades, then could you at least forge Kurai to resemble a design I had in my head for a while now?"

"Not an issue. Explain it, I'd prefer not to pry further into your mind."

"I can do better." Drake says as rune circles form on his hands, he holds them out in front of him which causes a strange technology infused hologram to spawn in the air. "This allows me to design blades perfectly, I can get the weight, materials, what the blade will feel like when holding it, the fold lines, the list goes on... So if you give me a minute..." Drake begins working on a design, he creates a flame-like pommel, the katana handle, and then he designs a dragon skull as the handguard and sleave for the blade; which in itself is coloured a dark red and is covered with black tribal markings, the blunt spine constrasts the sharpness of the blades edge. Drake steps back and smirks as his design. "Yeah... Something exactly or akin to this will be great."

"Oh, thought it would be more complex. Then again, simple is best." He shrugs. "Any design for the other?"

"Not for the time being - No, Shizuka is created from enhanced crystal so be careful... So, how will you be able to completely reforge my blades yet still keep them... As them, their spirit and abilities and all?"

"It's something you pick up on after a few hundred thousand hours spent smithing and only smithing. As long as the spirits have something to tether with, they are in no harm. The abilities on the other hand will be lost, then reapplied if they are only linked to the weapon's structure because, well that will be lost. Now if they are linked to the spirits, there's no danger." The figure gently picks up the swords and inspects them. "Huh, not shabby at all. One last question, what do you want added to these two? I already have a couple of things in mind, but I want your input."

"I'm... Not actually sure, I mean, Kurai is a Slayer which is handy with two elements; fire and darkness... Shizuka just helps me manipulate the other elements as well as being a back up blade, I don't think I can think of anything ability wise that can be added. What did you have planned for them?"

"Linking them to you, where only you or designated people can use them as more than cutting tools. Honing Kurai to have a Seithr Edge, an attribute that would make it effective against things that absorb elements and grant it the ability to pierce defenses on par with the Old Dragon Emperor. Honing Shizuka to amplify Kurai's power while sheathed and grant it a healing effect on allies. Hone both to increase their sharpness and durability. Hone both to never dull. Oh and awaken the power within the spirits to their full potential."

Drake perks up at the mention of both the Old Dragon Emperor and 'awaken the power within the spirits'. "Huh... If you don't mind, I may have a few questions to ask once you're done honing these blades... And about the Weapon that you crafted, I assume."

"Thema: Telos." The weapons are encased in white light akin to starlight and disappear. "Ask away, we've plenty of time in this space."

"The Old Dragon Emperor... Guessing he's a being from your time?"

"Yeah, he was a good man. Made the choice go Dormant like the others did. Now its just the six of us."

"Six of you? ...Ok, I have to ask, who or what are you?"

"Collectively, we have no name, only the title the people we hail from left in legend, the Forge Lords. We craft more than weapons, rather entire universes are within our power. If we had any to be compared to, it would be the one governing this universe, though we make an effort to not be known on a large scale. That's one of the terms of our agreement with the guy governing this place: To not interfere on a large scale with his works and not attempt to usurp his right as head of the universe in exchange for a place to spread our many creations and allow them to interact with the works of others. That being said, none of us have even a slight interest in doing things that don't involve our creations, people related to them or the seldom few who can identify us and give us a task more than simply crafting tools of revenge or destruction." The figure's tone is solemn. "I myself am referred to as Solais, based off of the ancient sword of legend, Claiomh Solais. I am the Forgelord of Space- rather all of my creations involve the components that make up space and what lies within space..."

"So... To put it simply, the Forge Lords are few of the many gods of this universe... So, Solais then, and your creations basically created the space around us. Well don't I feel lucky." Drake says before seemingly going into thought on what Solais said. "Crafting tools of revenge or destruction... Then why are you honing my weapons, and why was that Weapon given to me? I am by nature, destructive... And currently, in a sense, revenge is what I'm after..."

"Because, it's a change of pace and because you didn't ask me to forge a weapon that would likely comsume you in order for your revenge to completed. Another reason is the little guy. Most importantly is the fact that you have something that you want to protect, do you not?"

"...Someone, I need to protect. But despite the advantages you're giving to my blades, I'm afraid it might not be enough... So... Can we discuss about the Weapon?"

"This will take a while to explain, so I'm going to break this up." Solais sighs. "The little guy is far more than a shield if you can't already tell. He's a weapon that is nearly peerless, save three others of equal quality and one of far greater quality. These are known as the Four Sacred Weapons or the Four for short. The little guy himself is the least offense oriented of the Four, but that only means he has the capacity to defend on a level beyond the others," Solais begins. "Past that extra defensive capacity is power that is nearly incalculable if used properly. The black shell, for example, can erase instances from existence if not resisted, while the blue shell can obliterate things on a star system's scale if enough power is stored and released at the perfect moment."

"Huh... So potentially, the weapon is capable of a godlike defence while offering an offense that's pretty insane..." Drake takes out the weapon and looks at it. "So, you keep mentioning it as a he... So does this have a name?"

"Yes, but he'll tell you when he's ready." Solais gestures for Drake to put on the shield. "How used to his base form are you? That will determine what I'll need to teach you before I give you a few pointers for other things."

"You mean... How well I can use a shield? Well..." Drake equips the shield on his left arm then looks at Solais. "It's been a while since I've used one properly, but it's done a unique thing where when I smash it to the ground..." As the example, Drake slams the face of the shield to the floor, causing the pitch black dome to form around Drake. "It does this..." Solais can just hear over the muffled voice of Drake.

"It's good you can do that, but can you change his form and shift which mode he is in?"

"Uuuh..." Drake pauses and sighs. "...No."

"Alright, repeat after me," instructs the forgelord. "Insula."


The shield glows blue and transforms into a slightly smaller shield with a sapphire colored shell with silver trim on the rim. A milky white gem rests in the center, humming faintly. Drake feels that the defensive aura the shield had has shifted to offense.

"Ok... Now, that's new... So what exactly will this do?"

"Explode when commanded- More so release a powerful burst of energy that ignores resistances and grows more powerful as it absorbs more energy from attacks." Solais paces the area. "Now, say Divis."

"Hmm..." Drake forms a rune circle on the floor which spawns a target dummy, Drake then points the shields face towards it. "Divis!"

Rather than doing what Solais said it would, the shield shrinks and wraps around Drake's arm to form a gauntlet of the same color as the shell with a small buckler attached to it. Thousands of blue and silver shards float around him listlessly for a moment before swarming the the dummy and engulfing it in what could be described as thousands of tiny explosions ringing off in quick succession.

Drake takes a step back in awe then looks at the gauntlet. "That's amazing... But, it didn't do as you said..."

"That's because the command I told you only shifts his form into that state. Now because you expected the explosion, the little guy made due on that." Solais shrugs. "The command for explosion would be Burst. That being said, any shield ability is amplified while in Divis mode. The downside is that you can't change shield forms while in Divis mode."

"Huh... Well if this amplifies any shield ability while in this mode, the what's the point in changing the forms?" Drake asks curiously while he keeps doing the same attack to the dummy.

"You aren't able to use the secondary abilities, like the Adamant Wall. You sacrifice one option for more of the other. Besides, for the later shields it takes energy to maintain Divis mode for long durations."

"...Why do I feel there is a steep learning curve to getting to grips with this weapon. So... I guess I'm gonna see how Adamant Wall works next?"

"You've already used it. What you will be learning next is the Blast Raid." Solais draws a line with the branch he brought, leaving a white line in the air. "Say Murgis."

Drake then turns towards the white line and repeats the word.

The shards of shield reform into the shield, returning to its original form.

"Now, slam the shield into the ground as you would for the Adamant Wall."

Drake nods and slams the shield into the ground.

The moment he does, he feels a slight pull on his entire being before over a dozen meteoric energy explosions detonate ahead of him, topped off by an actual meteor falling with dozens of tiny meteorites. The gem in the center of the shield dulls afterwards.

After everything has died down, Drake regains his composure and looks at Solais. "Woah... That was... Insane..."

"The Blast Raid should be a last resort, nothing can defend against it without being on the level of a Mid-Tier god of Warding or Protection or above. That being said, you have two uses a day as you are now, so be very wise about them," Solais explains. "On to the next form, Blados."

"So, do I have to have a trust bond with this weapon, or does it feed of an energy reserve?" Drake shrugs. "Blados."


The shield takes on a more hexagonal shape as it shifts from sapphire and silver to scarlet and gold in coloration. The gem in the center shifts to a murky black stone.

"...Just a question, how many forms does this weapon hold? And what's special about this one?"

"Theoretically, unlimited. By default, five," answers Solais. "This shield in particular may be to your liking because it normally can act as up to six swords at once."

Drake blinks as he looks at the shield. "Hence the name that you have to use to activate it... Huh, so, these will float around me, deflecting sword strikes, I assume?"

"If you use them defensively, yes. Use them offensively and you have a multidirectional offensive front.

"...I think I like this the most." Drake says with a grin. "So how do I activate the blades?"

"The deploy command is Draw, the offensive command would be Hunt while the defensive command would be Repel. As you are now, you're limited to one or the other, but with practice you'll be able to control how many defend and how many attack. Now, enter Divis mode if you would."

"Alright then." Once Drake says the phrase, the shield turns back into the gauntlet. "Ok, so I'm guessing I say Draw?"

As he does, thousands of tiny hexagons and triangles detach from the shield, forming a cloud of faint red around him.

"In Divis mode, you'll have access to all of these micro blades. You'll have to master controlling them on an individual level in order to get the most use out of them, especially if you like monomolecular blades. Admittedly, these should be much, much smaller, but you've only just started exploring the shield, so blades this size are understandable." Solais draws another line.

Drake looks at the line then at the thousands of tiny blades. "Funny how I've done something similar to this..." Drake then begins twiddling his finger around, with the armada of blades seemingly following his finger.

"Play around with them for a bit, then return him to his base form after you're done, I have two things I need to teach you about this form when you're ready."

Drake watches the blades float around before his smirk widens, he starts doing Cyanican martial arts, with the blades following his fists and feet with a slight delay.

Solais waits patiently.

After a moment, Solais notices how Drake is having exceptional ease controlling the multitude of blades. "So is there any other notes I should require about this weapon?"

"Each blade can be extended and act as a high frequency energy weapon or a shield capable of negating energy and magic based attacks towards your person."

Once that has been said, Drake attempts to form the blades back into a shield that levitates around himself. "Alright... I think I have the hang of this, so what's the next form?"

"I've yet to go over the secondary abilities of this form."

"Oh? And what might those be?"

"Under the Slay command, Blade Rave. Under Repel, it is Avenging Smite. The activation is the same as Adamant Wall and Blast Raid, but it should be noted that this activation method is only a requirement for so long as you lack his name."

Solais can see Drake's confusion in his face as he tries to wrap his mind around this weapon. "...Ooook, so... Slay: Blade Rave...?"

The shield glows ominously as a giant blade erupts from the ground, piercing through what could have been the sky line in an instant. The blade then vanishes in a flash of light and is replaced by a cloud of glowing swords that wildly and viciously dance through the air before forming into a massive ring of swords, with two glowing especially bright near the center.

"...I love these variations, so, the two blades, are they representations of Kurai and Shizuka?"

"That is an accurate assumption. Once the two of them are complete, it would be good for you to try that once more. Maybe you'll get more out of it that way."

Drake looks at Solais. "Once they're complete... That may take a while... But for now." Drake grabs the two phantom blades in front of him and begins to move around, the ring of blades following him perfectly, to test the capabilities, rune circles form around him and summons phantoms equipped with their own swords, they all go and strike for Drake. And as he expected, the ring of blades deflect each and every attack just by mental thought alone. "Heh, I think I have the hang of this."

"I'd explain the other skill, but let's wait for that one," says Solais, "Instead, say Gravitas."

Drake nods and says the phrase. "Gravitas... So this affects gravity, I wonder how."

"Not entirely on the mark," comments Solais as the shield turns gold and the gem in the center shifts to a lavender color.

Drake examines the new colouration of the shield before slightly tilting his head. "So what does this do then?"

"This is the Shield of Authority. It's a little special compared to the other three forms in the sense that it can use their abilities... Well modified versions of their abilities. In addition, it has the Command and Overrule abilities, which make it more of a tactical tool."

"How many features does this weapon have exactly? It's getting a bit overwhelming..."

"Infinite possibilities, but five presets. This is the penultimate preset and the last one I can actually allow you to demo without repercussions... The final shield is powerful, but it can consume you if you use it as things are now."

"I see... Well, let's get this over with... What commands does this have?"

"All of the prior commands can be used in this form. In addition, authoritative phrases such as kneel or halt will have power over those of weaker willed beings. Most importantly is Overrule, which completely negates abilities and skills of individuals who you surpass in a self determined way."

"Woah... Shame I can't have this in the gauntlet form, that seems the easiest to be agile with... So how exactly am I going to test out these new commands?"

"I'll summon a few 'dummies'," says Solias. "The Divis mode of this shield has no any of the abilities it normally has. Instead it boosts all of your parameters and breaks the limiter on Authority in exchange for draining your energy." He flicks a finger and six spectral figures appear.

Drake looks at the figures before looking at the shield. "Divis!" He then commands the figures to kneel.

The drain is almost immediately noticed as Drake's energy is gradually siphoned. In exchange however, the figures collapse to their knees before any form of resistance can be felt. The shield has transformed into a clawed golden gauntlet and armlet that extends up Drake's shoulder. A violet mantle hangs from his back and an amethyst gem is sewn into the center.

Drake smirks as he moves his arm around, testing the armlet. "And I just say Divis to stop the command?"

"You can call it off at will."

"Ok..." Drake commands the command to stop, causing the armlet to form back into the golden shield. "And there we go."

"Anything else you wanna know before I tell you about one more function that you can activate?"

"I don't think so, so then... I'm guessing this has the biggest risk to go with it?"

"The fifth form, yes. What I'm going to explain to you isn't that though." Solais glances at the shield before continuing. "Initiate Star Modus. Progression Four."

The shield glows and a spectral set of gauntlets materialize on Drake's arms while greaves appear on his legs. He immediately feels much, much lighter and like something deep within him has awakened. He feels like all of his parameters have permanently risen and like the extent of this abilities have increased.

Upon feeling the sudden surge, Drake's wings form and stretch out, he then flaps his wings once and instantly disappears, speeding off around the void at insane speeds before stretching out his wings once more, making him stop in front of Solais. "I feel like I'm gonna be using this... A lot." Drake says in a prideful tone.

"Probably. Your swords are almost ready."

"So, progression four... Meaning there's three previous ones, and I'm guessing one after?"

"Indeed. Progression Five is locked for now, the other three determine how much power the claws will exhibit."

"Ah, so what's just stopping me from going straight to the Forth Progression?"

"Nothing, but it's best you acquaint yourself with them in your own time."

Drake simply nods before looking at the shield. "Right... And how do I 'sheath' this?"

"Disengage Star Modus."

Drake repeats the phrase, hoping that it somehow shrinks the shield down or any other method to store it.

The shield glows brightly before shrinking down to a cuff on his wrist.

"For future reference, Minimize is the command you are looking for."

"Minimize... Alright." After a bit of silence, Drake sighs and slightly looks down to the floor. "If you are capable of visions like I am, do you think this would be capable of what I want to accomplish?"

"That depends on you. I could have made it to where there was no chance for you to fail in your endeavors, but that would be bending the rules beyond acceptability," says Solais, "Use what you have, learn to use what is at your disposal to its full potential and adapt to your enemies. That will be more useful than a new tool on its own, regardless of power."

"Right..." Drake mutters before shaking his head, he looks back at Solais. "So, my blades?"

"Just a bit longer, they'll be ready soon- Just in time too."

Drake raises one of his eyebrows. "What do you mean just in time?"

"It begins."

Drake blinks before his eye glows white, his eyes then widen before nodding at Solais. "Ah... I see, well then... I imagine this will be the last I see of you?" Drake asks, his tone of voice suddenly becoming more confident and bold, almost like he's already ready for the incoming event.

"Maybe." Two discs of light appear, slowly releasing a pair of swords, one red and demonic, the other blue and two-thirds of the length of the first, with a completely straight blade and simple design as opposed to the ornate design of the red sword. Soon after emerge sheathes for both, the sheathe for the blue blade being longer than it and the red sword and with a defined point as well, whereas the red sword's sheath is simple if ornate. Both seem to radiate with an unusual power.

Upon seeing the finished blades and sheathes, Drake reaches out and grabs them, the second he grabs Kurai; His natural eye colour glows deep red before he test both blades out. He feels much faster and stronger when swinging the blades, he notices how the blades feel perfect, and for a test, he disables his healing factor and cuts his arm, a blue glow forms around the cut as it heals. Drake chuckles and 'fastens them both to each side of his belt, he then chuckles and looks at Solais. "Thank you... So, I'm noticing something... Unnatural about the blades, care to explain?"

"Mark of the artisan. An innate ability granted by me forging your weapons is the ability to reduce things to zero. How that works, I'll leave to you to discover."

"...Ok." Drake blinks in slight confusion before looking around. "So... When we leave this place, where are we gonna end up?"

"The exact place we were before or a little ways away."

Drake sighs in relief when he hears that he won't stray too far away from the Palace. "Ok... Don't have to leave just yet then, thank you once more."

"Think nothing of it."

Drake simply nods in response before asking Solais for them to leave.

With a word, the space dissolves and Drake finds himself back in the courtyard of the palace, alone.

He unsheathes Kurai and examines it, a pleased expression on his face before he sheathes it once more before stretching. "Ok, so that's starting... I need to get ready." He says to himself before he begins training.

He hears footsteps echo from the stairway.

"Hmm? Aiko? Is that you?" Drake stops and turns towards the stairway.

He sees Michiko walking down the stairway.

"Oh, Michiko... Hey." Drake says, eventually walking up to her.

She is grimly silent, holding Lightning Slayer tightly as she walks.

Drake looks at the Slayer before looking back at Michiko. "...What do you think you're doing?"

"I'm leaving. I am not letting her suffer."

His eyes open up, slightly stunned but expected something like this to happen, he tilts his head down and sighs. "Michiko, I understand fully... But there's no way, you'll die..."

"I'm going to New Vince, Azure, hell, even the Capital, but I am not staying here when God knows how she feels right now."

Drake goes quiet for a moment. "...And the others know about what you're going to do?"

"I'm an adult, Drake."

"Doesn't matter, I think your family would like to know if you're going on a suicide mission."

"It's not a suicide mission. I'm going to our allies, they will help..."

"Your allies? Who do you think can stand up to Phoenix? Do you think that getting allies will change things?" Drake's voice slowly raises, his tone becoming more agitated.

"Don't get in my way, Drake. I need to do this."

Drake shakes his head. "I'm sorry, but I won't let another member from the Moonlight family die."

"..." Drake feels a rush of wind as Michiko soars past him at lightning speed.

"MICHIKO!" Drake quickly sprouts his wings and takes flight, chasing after her.

He is struck promptly on the forehead with a bolt of lightning.

Due to the force, Drake crashes to the floor but instantly gets back up and chases her, he clenches his fists, flickers like a flame then suddenly appears right behind her before grabbing her leg and throwing her behind him. "You need to think this through, Michiko! You WILL die!"

She lands on her feet, and tosses her hair back, a strange sparkling effect is seen as she does so.

Drake lands and stands in her way, he sighs and looks directly at her. "I will not let you waste your life like this, and if I have to use force..." Drake places his hand on Kurai. "I don't want to do this."

She raises her hand toward him and strikes him with a blinding flash of light.

Drake quickly shields his eyes before jumping into the air, he then dives down and slams her with his heel.

A series of quick nimble strikes to his body knock him out, and when he wakes up she is nowhere to be seen.

After getting back up, wiping any dust off of him, he growls. "...And now to find her... New Vince... That better be close." Drake flies up and quickly scans the area.

"Evening." A old male's voice speaks beside him.

"What is it, kinda busy right now." Drake responds almost instantly, still scanning the area and cursing at Michiko in his native tongue.

"I will handle the Ambassador. She'll listen to her Emperor. You passed into my territory, yet we had no arrivals that matched your description. What happened?"

"...I swear, if I turn to look at you... And you're that God damn eye..."

"I am here in the flesh. What happened?"

"She went off to New Vince to gather allies so that she can save her sister. That explain it enough?"

"No. Why did you not come to the city?"

"...Oh, you're talking about that." Drake glances to his side. "If you must know, we encountered a Phoenix member and a Chaos Engine on our way there. A fight errupted, and we lost." The Grand Eye can start to sense a slight tone of hostility in Drake's words. "Noriko was taken to Yosai, Kana, Seriah and I ended up North, to Azayakana's Tower."

"...Aza, huh? We've not heard from her since she left our founding father." The man beside him looks very old, with black irises and white pupils, yet has a tranquil air about him. Silver but well kempt hair adorns his face in the form of long hair and beard. He wears decent clothing and holds an elegant staff.

"...Phoenix... of my life's greatest regrets. It would seem that my former students cannot help themselves but turn to wickedness. The student shuns the teachings of the master..." His face tightens slightly. "Oh lovely Nyusatsu, why did you believe in that man...?" He muses.

"..." Drake lands then looks at the Grand Eye. "So you taught the founders of Phoenix..." Drake just shakes his head. "Well at least you regret Phoenix rather than enforce them." Drake says rather impassively. 

"My daughter and son in law... ...and yes. Not just them. Many including Shinwa Dragonclaw, the current White. I have lived by a benefit of the doubt belief... never judge for a ancestor's previous mistakes... Needless to say, I have made many poor choices as Emperor. ...I have one question. What was her fate?"

Drake goes silent for a long while before speaking up. "...All I know, is that getting her back will not be easy."

"Very well. I have things to do." He disappears.

"Yeah I'm sure you do... Now..." Drake flies up as high as he can, tribal patterns form around Drake's eyes as he looks around, extending his vision tenfold, he eventually spots New Vince. "There..." Drake's wings flap once and he's sent speeding towards the city.

Darkened Moon

Drake arrives at the palace, a new moon making the area much darker than usual. The glowing crystals and flora seem to be very dim by comparison to the last he saw them.

"...This better be a seasonal thing..." Drake enters into the palace and wonders around the halls, still thinking if letting Michiko go was a good idea.

He soon finds that something is in his hair again, giggling.

Drake lightly smiles and plucks Aiko out of his hair, he dangles her in front of him and chuckles. "Hey there Aiko."

"Hey Christmas Tree!"

Drake places Aiko on his shoulder and continues to walk around. "...Still don't know what Christmas actually is, but hey, did you sleep well?"

"I did!"

"Ok, that's good to hear. What do you want to do then?"

"I wanna decorate the Christmas tree!"

"...Please tell me you're talking about an actual tree and not me, right?"

"But your hair is so spiky!"

"It's not spiky... It's messy..." Drake sighs. "But if you want, then go ahead."

Aiko leaps into his hair again.

He rolls his eyes and wanders around again, letting Aiko mess around with his hair as much as she pleases... To Drake's slight annoyance.

He comes across various paintings of the royal clan.

Drake smiles lightly upon seeing them. "Must be nice being part of royalty, eh, Aiko?"

"I guess so?"

"Hmm... ...So what exactly ARE you doing to my hair..."

"I am all the decoration you could want!" She glows brightly as she says this.

Drake chuckles. "Yeah, I guess so."

"Twinkle twinkle little star!" She lets off a tiny spark.

"How I wonder what you are... Heh." Drake's smile grows as he looks up at the paintings one more time before walking off somewhere else.

Drake soon catches a glimpse of a painting that is familiar to him.

He turns towards it and takes a step back. "Huh... The one of Noriko and I... That seemed like it was yesterday, how time flies fast." He looks at Noriko's face and her delicate smile, causing his smile to widen. "Such a beautiful painting..."

"How is big sis doing?" Aiko asks.

Aiko notices Drake going silent, almost finding hard to say the right words. He eventually just lightly chuckles. "She's in a band, they're currently on tour in Fantasy, you should hear what she's like with a guitar, it's insane."

"Mom won't let me learn..."

"Oh? Why won't she?"

"Because I'm too little, because she doesn't think it proper for a little princess..."

In response, Drake begins walking out to the courtyard to a small corner, he sits down and opens his HSC and takes out the guitar that he got from Yosai, he applies some runes to it which shrinks it down to Aiko's normal size, perfect for her. "Alright, we'll keep this our little secret, shall we?" Drake says with a smirk.

Drake soon learns unlike her big sister, Aiko has absolutely no talent at guitar. A dying donkey would sound more pleasant. 

After a few cringey notes, Drake creates an energy construct resembling a guitar. "Now... I'm not as good as your sister, but I can teach you a few things..." He starts playing a four note tune that changes a bit each time, he plays it slowly enough for Aiko to catch on what he's doing while making it pleasing to hear.

Aiko still manages to be terrible.

"This is technically cheating... Buuut..." Drake taps both of Aiko's hands as two small runes form on her hands. "Ok, try now?"

She tries again.

This time, she seemingly manages to get the hang of the tune, but at times, Drake 'deactivates' the runes so that she returns to normal, then plays good again. He keeps alternating until he thinks Aiko actually has the hang of it.


He happily laughs as he plays alongside Aiko, providing a different tune that goes with the one Aiko is playing.

She giggles in response.

"You're doing great, Aiko, you'll be a rocking guitarist in no time." Drake says, patting Aiko on the head.

"Hee hee."

Drake's energy construct fades away as he stands back up and looks at Aiko. "So, I'm guessing you still want to play your guitar, right? That guitar belongs to you know, and just keep practicing, but just make sure that you keep it a secret between us, ok?" He says with a soft smile, he gives her a hug before having to walk off once more. "I have some spells to learn, so I'll be away from the palace for a bit, I'll miss you." He says before sprouting out his wings and takes flight away from the palace. 

After a short while of flying, he comes to a dense forest and lands, he opens up his HSC and takes out his spell book. Soon Corruption forms from his shadow as he looks at Drake. "So... What could be so bad for you to be this far away from the Palace?" Drake looks back at him and smirks. "The Vitae and Heroa Arts." 

Corruption crosses his arms and looks at the book. "Are you sure you're able to even to do those? They're restricted to them afterall, so unless you have a way to bypass the restriction, I don't see how you're going to succeed."

"Oh, it won't be using them exactly, it'll be replicating what they do, after all, what they do isn't exactly unique... It's just a few spells spliced into one. Now if you could help, that'll be great..." And with that, Drake starts to read the pages of his book, creating multiple rune circles, patterns and begins speaking in his native tongue, with Corruption helping from time to time. But eventually to no avail, Drake sits back and sighs looking at the rune circle. "...Y'know, this looks similar to what re-awoke you..." Drake then looks up and begins to reminisce on his time at Downation, before realising something, he stands and packs everything up but starts to reform and change the runes on his circle. "Right.... That should do it."

"Expecting to go somewhere?" Corruption asks, standing next to Drake on the circle.

"Yeah, Fantasy... Say goodbye to Echo for a while, Corruption, you're gonna miss it." The runes begin to glow as the two suddenly disappear...

Another Return

After a very long journey, they arrive near the Moonlight Clan.

"Finally..." He lands in front of the gates and smiles. "It's always nice to be back here. Let's hope the others are alright."

Kanashimi lands after him. "Right..." The guards posted seem to notice them and open the gates.

He walks through and folds his wings back up before taking a look around as usual.

Drake feels a mental tug toward a tall isolated hill.

He looks up at it then sightly sighs as he flies over to it.

He finds the Ancient standing under a tree.

"You asked for me? What is it?"

"Heh... You chose a nice place to be, but to get to the point. I need training, a lot of it."

"I assume this is related to soul manipulation to save her? ...In truth, this place is more fitting for our situation than you possible could have noticed. ...You do realize what is here, right?"

"...It's here? But I thought that she took it with her..."

"Not the Slayer, but the physical location of the Kanjo God of Lightning's seal. When Phoenix first sealed the Kanjo, they sealed them in very specific locations. The first Lightning Slayer sealed Kaminari under the Moonlight Glade."

Drake blinks. "...I know how to get there, there was an entrance in the room I was staying in while I was here... I wonder if it's still open though."

"It is. I can teach you very little on what I've already shown, but I can tell you we have an opportunity to make progress as of this moment. Fear not however, in my presence, there are few if none who can detect you or what we are currently discussing. The Yellow one, for instance, cannot perceive us right now."

That produces a smirk from Drake. "That's nice and all but what exactly are you planning to do concerning the seal?"

"The seal itself must be left alone, else we will break the already fractured entity into more pieces, which will not prove useful. Instead, once we enter the seal, we must attempt to vaguely define the two beings that were merged. The fact that they are not one solid uniform being is a blessing in disguise, if they had formed into a brand new person, there is little we could do. As they are undefined, it will be up to you and your memory to guide my power so that we can begin division."

"So basically we're putting the pieces of Noriko back together... And trust me, I'll be able to distinguish Noriko from Kaminari, so, do you want to start right now?"

"That depends if you want to try and sneak past your future sisters in law."

"...Knowing them... That's nigh impossbile."

"I would probably sate that issue before moving on."

Drake just smiles and nods. "Thanks, I don't know how long I'll be." He then walks down the hill and into the palace.

Soon after, he hears footsteps, and Kumiko, Noriko's eldest sister, appears down the hall.

He gives an idle wave at her. "Oh, hey there."

"I see you returned."

"Yeah, thought it would be nice to visit the family... So has everyone been?"

"Ok. It's all we can do from making Aiko worry though. She's been wanting to see Noriko play in that band you talked about."

"Oh... Yeah... I do too." He takes a look around. "...Any chance I could see her?"

"Aye. She's in her room."

"Alright then." He then says goodbye to her then trails off to Aiko's room.

He begins to hear horrible noise coming from Aiko's room. She doesn't seem to have gotten any better.

"...Note to self... Make sure Noriko teaches her." He knocks then opens the door, peaking his head through. "Hey there little one."

He hears a huge gasp before his face is tackled by a blur of blonde hair.

Drake laughs as he pries Aiko off of his face and holds her up. "It's great to see you too, Aiko."

"You're back! Yeaaaa!"

He has a smile on his face as he pulls her close for a hug. "So how have you been?"

"Fine... still not any better."

"I'm sure that you'll be a great guitarist, Aiko."

"You mean like big sis?"

"Yes, just like big sis."

They hear a knock at the door. "May I come in you two?"

Drake looks over at the door. "Sure, I think Aiko wouldn't mind."

The door opens, revealing Haruko. "Oh, so Kumiko was right, you're here."

Upon seeing her, he goes dead quiet and looks rather distressed but doesn't even move.

She nervously holds out what looks like a large folder full of what looks like paintings. "I thought you'd like to look at some things with me. And just talk. ....I figured it might help."

After a moment he shakes his head rather quickly then gives off a soft smile. "Yeah, I would, thanks... So I guess I'll come with you then?"

"Aye. Do you want to come along Aiko?"

"Nah, I got my guitar." She plays a note so horrible it sounds like metal grinding on metal, and Haruko flinches. "R-Right."

Drake just pats Aiko's head before walking besies Haruko. "Don't worry, Aiko, you'll be amazing." He then looks at Haruko. "Alright, let's go."

She walks back out into the hall, toward her room.

He follows her, taking a look at the folder. "So how many is in there?"

"A lot."

"Alright... Do you want to sit somewhere or keep walking around?"

"My room." She walks for a bit more before looking at Drake. "It's hard, isn't it?"

He nods. "Yeah... I'm sorry for the grief you're experiencing..."

"It's alright... I'll manage."

"Ok... So where did you get the folder?"

"It's like a photo album... it's the older paintings of the family, so we compile them when there's new ones to be put up."

"You guys have a lot of paintings... I doubt a young Noriko was easy to keep still during these."

She giggles. "Neither was I. Michiko was the only force that stopped us. That and Kumiko. She's more upset than you realize about it, mainly because she's the first born and has basically held every single one of us as babies at some point."

"I wouldn't exactly know how that feels... But I can imagine how much that is destroying her on the inside, it's admirable to see how well the family keeps their composure about it."

"...You've not been around much, so you really couldn't say that with confidence," She says slowly, he can tell he said something wrong. They arrive at her room, and Haruko takes a shaky breath before walking in.

He follows into the room, opting to sit on the edge of the bed.

She slowly opens the folder, and takes out a painting of two small babies, with a young girl who looks like Michiko. "That's her." She says, pointing to the baby on the right.

"Huh... I'm surprised the artist managed to paint that, was Noriko energetic even back then?"

"We both were. Identical twins and all. They had to get us while we were asleep, else we'd just endlessly squirm and want to play things. Later we were like Aiko and they had to keep up with us if they wanted us to do things. I remember when Nori stole an entire cookie jar filled with chocolate chips and the resulting chase pretty much kept everyone occupied. Especially once we switched to trick them. They didn't catch us til midnight."

Drake's smile widens until it turns into a small laugh. "Two Aikos running around causing trouble, that must have been a nightmare for the others. Also switching each other, that's genius."

She smiles faintly. "It was her idea to begin with." She pulls out another painting and laughs. "You weren't the only Christmas Tree in our family." She says, showing him a picture of Michiko with two bright yellow balls of light in her hair, looking displeased.

"So was Michiko the one who always had to make sure you and Nori weren't turning everyone into a light show?" He focuses on Michiko in the painting. "Was she always like this?"

"Nah, we were pulling her hair. Michi played with us even when she got older. She... ...kinda stopped after Nori went away..."

"Oh... What about the brothers? Did they keep playing with you?"

"Not really. They were always sorta quiet by comparison. Like Dad." She turns quiet, almost thoughtful for a moment.

Drake looks over at her. "Something on your mind?"

"I was thinking about what's been happening lately... what with Noriko and all... about why our family was picked by Phoenix in the first place. ...I wonder if it was by design..."

His expression is now curious. "Design...?"

"When we were little, we were taught an ancient saying of sorts handed down from the mother of the Kanjo, Kukyo. It describes the elements and their relationships with another. ...In some of its lines, it almost starts to sound like a prophesy. ...It's very long."

"I think we have more than enough time, I don't mind hearing it." Drake responds, interested in the saying.

She takes a long, deep breath before she begins to recite. "The First Phase, it encompasses all, precedes all. Hungering, it laments, yet despises that which gives it sustenance. Lonely it wanders, and the second Phase cannot breach its cold heart. The path of many, but mastered by none.

Path of the lonely, of the ones without heart, the grim truth.

The Second Phase, it reveals the truth and brings out the earth and all its splendor. It coaxes, yet lurks with hidden malice. Prodigy, yet the first born heeds the silver hand, to which all fail and falter. The object of perfection, the staple of civilization. Rejected by the lost.

Path of the virtue, it hides the truth in its glamour and veil.

The Third Phase, it cradles the fourth and is the bed of all that walks and crawls. Mighty it stands, but its foundations are endless and enduring, not even it may be free from its own might. No matter how much it may desire to be free, it eternally envies the Fourth and the Fifth.

Path of the Enduring, a shield whose strength shall be broken with time.

The Fourth Phase, it is the blessing of life, which divides the Third. It is the blanket of the Third, flowing and free. It is the kin of the Fifth, and master of the Sixth. It envies the Third, for it may only flow, only travel, it lacks the Third's foundation.

Path of the quiet mind, but wandering heart. Its promise scalded by fire.

The Fifth Phase, it is without master, it is endless expanse and cousin of the void. By its hand the Fourth nurtures the Third, and with its other it tears the Third apart. A soft whisper, a great breath of life. Its claws can destroy even mountains with time.

Path of the vagabond, masterless, without unity or form, a mindless force, the price of freedom.

The Sixth Phase, it is the rampaging heart without question. The enemy of entropy, the herald of life, its char brings inevitable death.

Fearful of the Fourth, it is the heart of the conquerer, the lover, of hate, and of anger. It and the Eighth are the masters of the eternal war.

Path of the passionate, of those whose souls shall become the kindled and ash. Upon the path hopes and dreams are the fuel, and ultimate victim.

The Seventh Phase, the core of life. Instant and fleeting, power and brilliance is its domain. It is the spark of all things, the one heart, the infinite expanse, but fleeting and fragile.

Path of the fleeting, they arrive and are gone, their power is the greatest, yet shall be quick to expire, nothing but the sacrificial lamb.

The Eighth Phase, herald of entropy and end of all. Bitter and in pain, it is devoid itself of the power of Seven, and so all shall and will become the Eighth, boundless winter.

Unite unto the world the Eight Phases, remember their names, and their faces, for they are the championed paths, and the ones who shaped the world, and shall now make it unmade.

The boundless now bound, and the infinite now finite, recall the name of Time."

Haruko can clearly tell that Drake is unsure how to respond, it seems as if he's still taking it all in but after a moment he returns to reality. "You were taught to remember and recite the saying? That's... A lot, was there a reason to why you had to learn that?"

"I couldn't tell you..."

"Oh... Because you don't know why or just can't tell anyone?"

"I don't know why, Drake."

"Ok ok..." To pass the awkward moment, Drake fishes into the folder and pulls out another painting at random.

The picture is a family picture of Momoka, Osamu, Kumiko, Akarui, Mabushii, Michiko, Noriko and Haruko, and a little baby in Momoka's arms. By the looks of Noriko and Haruko, they appear age ten.

Drake gets a faint smile and mutters under his breath. "Such a sweet family..." He then chuckles. "Seven children... Quick question; are all the royal families this big?"

"Yeah. Some get really complicated."

After a moment, Drake just gives out a laugh. "I remember meeting one of them... Eisen I think his name was, him and Kana... Oooooh man that was fun to watch."


Kanashimi, a bit lost, is wandering the halls looking for Drake.

"Need some help?" She hears a voice behind her.

In the next minute, Drake can hear a faint cry of alarm from the hall.

Drake perks his head up towards the door, he lays down the paintings. "...Speak of the devil, this may have to wait." He places a hand on Kurai's pommel and makes his way to the hall.

He finds Kanashimi fallen onto her rear, with Eisen standing nearby, scratching his head in confusion.

"Oh, hello Mr. Ryunexo," He says when he notices Drake. "I thought she was lost so I offered my help. ...Then she fell on the floor."

"Nice to meet you too, and trust me, she appreciates the generosity..." He walks over and looks down at Kanashimi. "I thought you were beside me, what happened?"

"...I may have been distracted by some paintings."

"And somehow I'm not surprised..." He turns to looks at Eisen. "So what brought you all the way here?"

"All the way here? The families all have access to each other's valleys. Though mainly in this case I noticed you in the area and decided to greet you all."

"That's kind of you." He then reaches down and pulls Kanashimi back up onto her feet. "Well since you and Kana are here, you two could spend some time together."

Kanashimi pales. "Not doing it."

Eisen tilts his head.

"Sorry Kana, I have stuff I need doing so I can't babysit you while you get lost looking at paintings... Besides, I'm sure that Eisen wouldn't mind after the lovely time you two had at the party." He gives Kanashimi a teasing smile.

Kanashimi's eyes narrow, Eisen looks slightly confused. "Is everything alright?"

"If I said yes I would be lying... So yes." He then turns back and begins to walk towards Haruko's room once more. "And please don't kill him."

Eisen looks at Kanashimi. "...How about something to eat?" Kanashimi quietly looks at him. "...We'll even make it a challenge." 

Kanashimi's face wearily breaks into a faint smirk. "Your funeral."

Eventually Drake reenters her room. "Sorry about that, had to deal with a couple's quarrel."

Haruko smiles faintly. "Don't expect much of a family blessing on his end."

"Hmm? Why's that?"

"He isn't entitled to his family's crown. He's a prince only in name. I don't know the exact reason, just that they don't approve of him much."

"That's a shame... He seems like a kind hearted person... Any idea who is entitled to their crown?"

"Just about everyone else in his family but him."

"Well... Aren't they just a bit... Harsh to say the least."

"Not everyone is nice here."

"I guess so..." Drake lets out a small sigh then looks over at the paintings. "Any others you want me to see?"

She pulls out a picture of the family all gathered in a rose garden, though Noriko isn't in this one.

"Oh... So after she went... When was this taken?"

"Sometime after Hoshiko was born, a little while before Aiko."

"Hmm... Where is the garden?"

"Toward the back."

He gives off a faint smirk. "I'm sure I've mentioned this with Momoka, but I'm surprised and impressed you guys don't use cameras for these."

"What's that?"

Drake blinks. "Oh... Right... Forgot about that... I probably have one in my HSC if you want to see it."

She tilts her head. "Oh... ok?"

He pulls out his HSC and opens it up, a panel hovers out with an object resembling a camera. Drake takes it out and closes his HSC, after preping it up he points it at Haruko. "Ok, do a pose, a smile, anything, ok? Just remember to stay still."

She stares at it, bewildered, her fairy wings sprout out.

Drake then gives a smirk and presses down a button, a sudden flash emits from the camera and soon after. The picture is displayed on the HSC. "And there you go... Granted the flash wasn't exactly needed but it's fun to do that."

She appears to have reeled back in alarm and is rapidly blinking.

"Woah, Haruko, calm down... It's just a picture."

"My eyes..."

"Oh, right." He chuckles. "But yeah, what do you think?"

She looks at the picture and shrugs.

"I guess it's not for everyone."

He stores the camera and photo in the HSC and puts it away. "Gotta admit, quicker than a painting isn't it?"

"Yes, doesn't really feel personal though."

"How come?"

"There wasn't anything creative or passionate, it was just then and there and done."

"Eh... To each their own... Anyways, is that all you wanted to show?"

"I suppose so."

He gives a smile and hugs her. "Thanks for sharing them, it means a lot."

She blushes faintly and returns the hug. "It was my pleasure."

Drake then walks off, he then takes a look around and wanders off to the room he used to stay in.

The room looks clean and tidy, almost as if he was always welcomed here.

"...God I love this family." He then gives a content sigh but then looks over at the wall, more specifically the hidden doorway. He approaches it and presses against it in an attempt to open it up.

He has a hard time pushing it until a white hand presses against it and it slams open, he turns to find the owner is The Ancient.

"...I'll just assume that you had some sort of magic while doing that... But anyways, nice of you to show."

"Brute force with a microinstant strike. You are ready?"

Without hesitation, Drake enters through and begins walking down the staircase. "Yep."

"When we reach the pit, do not jump in right away."

"Of course, but why?"

"It will be very difficult for me to properly protect us from observation if you are too hasty. This is a matter of unimaginable delicacy."

"So keep at your pace, alright." He slows down, walking down beside him. "So have you been down here before?"

"I don't need to have been to know what it is and what it means." The glint of light off of his eyes is strong at the present. "The Kanjo are all sealed across the realm in eight prisons. In a perfect circular formation."

"Ok, so by doing what we're doing... This is going to break that formation, and I assume they'll be something of a ripple affect with the other seals?"

"That would be a decent conclusion in some cases but no. The nature of this circle is insidious in that intrusion will alert the current leader or leaders of Phoenix."

"...And we're attempting to do this without alerting them, well the risk is certainly there..."

"Once inside, the danger becomes if we are detected, we could be stuck inside."

"Oh... So, let's recap... We're trying to get inside the seal and trying to tell the fragments of Noriko and Kaminari apart, right?"

"Yes. Once we do that, we need to give their beings a form of divide."

"A form of divide?"

"Yes, we need to give the collective entity two parts, ones we can contact easily and know who is whom."

"Oh... That'll be easy."

"Except if every facet of the beings mixed together is as small as an atom."

"Well, shouldn't be as different as what we did with Void, right?"

"It wasn't an actual soul with emotions, memories, thoughts, and the like."

"Well let's just hope for the best."

"You'd best give your best," The Ancient corrects.

"This is for her, it will be my all."

"Very well. We've arrived." They are standing on the edge of the yawning portal into the depths of Echo. "Gather your thoughts, mind, and soul. This endeavor will not come easy. Tell me when you are ready to take the plunge."

Drake closes his eyes and slows his breathing down, he clenches his fists. "I'm ready." He steps forwards and falls down into the portal.

The Ancient follows close behind, and soon Drake starts to feel strangely light, as if gravity was becoming weaker.

Soon he reopens his eyes. "Hmm... This wasn't like this the last time I came down here... At least I don't think so... But we may need to watch out, Kaminari had a habit of firing lightning at me."

"She was always a tempermental one when it came to trust, espeically with Phoenix..."

When Drake next speaks, his tone sounds aggravated. "Yeah... And it's Eien of all people she put her trust in for some... Reason." He groans.

"Eien... the Observer was not always as psychopathic or indeed insane as he is now. Events such as your own culminated into that. She married and trusted a man far different that what exists now."

"I very much highly doubt both him and I been through similar situations as one another, but the fact that he married a God... I don't exactly know how to feel about that."

"His sister, his children," He speaks simply in response. "All but one of his children survived, and they are the only reason Noriko is here today. I should think you two are on a very similar path."

Drake slows his descent and looks at The Ancient. "If you believe that's what you should think, then I'd advise you change your thoughts... Eien's path lead him to insanity and he lost the ones he loved, permanently meanwhile I plan on not losing Noriko by any means once I get her back."

"I would not say they are all gone... fact, it is most likely that Eien has his children alive... a similar state to your lover. Not by choice. Further more... it's that exact same outlook, methodology by any means that got him where he is now. Remember that in any other life, you could just as easily be filling his place."

"Disagree with me if you want, but I can think of one clear difference between Eien and I; I can accomplish what he couldn't with ease. Trust me, I won't turn out to be like him, it would be disgraceful to end up a pitiful mess."

The Ancient says nothing further, as they begin to drop down into a massive chamber.

As Drake finally lands, he scans the area. "Now this is more familiar... I guess you'll be leading the way?"

"No need... look."

Just below them is a gargantuan vortex of writhing, unstable yellow energy akin to lightning, spinning and whirling at immense speeds. They are just high enough to avoid getting pulled into the incredibly powerful howling wind below.

The Ancient notices Drake distort once more as he stares into the vortex but emotionless. "...Already, I can sense her fragments among Kaminari's... And among the agony that they're both feeling."

"They haven't noticed... that's good. Wait for a moment. I need to verify something."

"Yeah... Ok." Drake just keeps focused, slowly noting out each of Noriko's fragments.

"Right then... approach, but do not get sucked in."

He slowly hovers down and get as close as he can to the vortex, he stops at around arms length, not taking his look away from it. "Ok, now what."

The Ancient floats down near him. "Gather your thoughts, steel your mind. Don't let your thoughts wander for even an instant. This will take all of your concentration and beyond."

Drake simply nods and The Ancient can feel Drake just completely shut himself away from everything... All concentrated on the vortex, the runes on him glow white, even his eyes fully glow white. Drake gives a small nod, notioning The Ancient to move onto the next step.

"Concentrate on the identity of the first being you notice."

"Already been doing that, Noriko first off."

"Try to recall your strongest emotional attachment to her to form a link between you and the closest particle of her being."

Drake closes his eyes and thinks... Back from when he awoke at Yosai, to meeting her, to listening to her play the guitar, to cause mischief for the other Phoenix members, to promising to be by her side, to going all the way to New Vince with her, to their confession, their kiss, to meeting her family and to the eventual fight that tore them apart, everything goes through his mind. The spirit inside him roars in anguish but he slowly opens his eyes once more. "Done."

"Capture it and use the energy of that connection to pull in the other pieces, slowly."

It takes him a moment but he manages to secure the closest fragment of Noriko's spirit using the energy of his attachment with her, afterwards he uses that fragment as a magnet, slowly pulling in other fragments of her.

After a moment, his brain is assaulted by a random memory of Noriko, the sheer vividness threatens to break his concentration.

The memory causes a few of the fragments to quickly move away from the 'magnet', Drake gives out an annoyed sigh, entirely focused on pulling the fragments back in before working on the others.

"Focus," The Ancient warns.

A moment passes and a good half of the fragments are all as close to the magnet as possible with the others slowly making their way.

He appears to make significant progress.

"What'll happen once the fragments are all together, do we do the same with the Kanjo God?"

"Yes. I'd be quick about it."

Without haste, he finishes off the rest of Noriko's fragments, all circling around the 'magnet'. After that he begins to attract the Kanjo God's fragments with one another, making sure that Noriko fragments stay away from them while he does this.

He begins to feel a light pressure on him after a while.

Eventually all of the fragments are in a similar arangement to Noriko's fragments. "Now what."

"We need to leave, quickly."

Drake backs away from the fragments and looks at The Ancient. "Take the lead."

The scene begins to flicker with white static.

"...Let's hope this has done something."

Static envelopes them both and they appear outside the palace, where the Ancient begins to walk away.

"Hey, just want to say thanks for doing that..."

"...It's not any trouble for me. Better than the alternative. Besides, you sought me out."

He gives a small smile and nods. "I guess so... Anyways, I'll see you soon." He walks away from The Ancient and back to his room, he falls onto the bed and slowly dozes off.

"...See me soon... interesting notion... ...this old man needs a rest..." He walks off, and disappears.

Red Rose, Red Thorn

Eisen quietly notes Kanashimi's behavior after she's done eating, and frowns slightly. She seems deliberately trying to avoid talking or in general looking at him.

"You know I won't bite, you know. I'm not a vampire."

"Uh huh..."

"You can drop the act, you know."

"..." Kanashimi silently turns toward him when he says this, and he has to control an urge to smile. He can see in her eyes an unwilling confirmation, as though her eyes were silently trying to demand an explanation, even as her face tried to give away nothing.

"What are-"

"-You talking about? I'm talking about how you deny yourself and try to act tough. You think being a girl makes you weak, that emotions don't matter as long as you can hide them. I'm not stupid, plus it helps to be able to sense the wan and wax of the temperament of the soul. I can read you like a book."

Kanashimi's mouth is agape, she's at a complete loss for words.

"Well? I'm right, aren't I?"


"It's ok to express yourself you know. You don't have to hide."


"I'll tell you what. You tell me what's bothering, you, and I'll say nothing to anyone else."

Kanashimi seems to be torn.

After a long while, she begins talking to Eisen in length.

After a while longer, Eisen is surprised when Kanashimi falls asleep, head resting against his chest. He blinks, before faintly smiling, and pats her head.

"She's cute when she's not so tense. More so when she sleeps~" He remarks quietly, stroking her hair on occasion. He thinks back on the conversation they had and sighs. "Ugly ducklings we both are, huh? You came out a swan in the end, no such luck for me."


"...Well, I was born in... I think Boston? I can't remember my family too well, but I can remember what the school kids were like... they were horrible. They beat me and abused me because I came from a well off family. ...Assholes. Never did fight back. ...Pisses me off."

"So, you are this way because you're angry at yourself for being weak before, huh?"


"Oh calm down. I did express that I'm very good at reading people, no? For the record, I'm the son of a 'royal' family that taxes its people half to death and is unfondly referred to as the Red Barons. I'm the one guy who speaks out about it, and guess what they do? Suddenly not in line for the throne, practically kicked out of the family. They have to bring me to public events to save face, that's the only thing they ever do regarding me.

Believe me, I'm angry at myself too. Angry for believing in such people to begin with. I know all about that kind of thing. But you know, you can be beautiful and strong too, you don't have to treat yourself like this you know. Be proud of who and what you are."


"Is that tears in your eyes? Am I getting you about right?"

"Shut up! *Sniff*" Kanashimi punches him in the gut, before silently crying for a while, eventually falling asleep.


Eisen sighs. "Certainly a energetic one."

Only a few moments pass before footsteps can be heard, only to stop a few feet from both Kanashimi and Eisen. "Huh... What happened?"

Eisen quietly wipes off a teardrop from her cheek. "Oh, we talked about things. Mainly some of her repressed emotions. She's a fine girl, when she's not crabby. Like now. She'll totally kill me if she wakes up now, won't she?" He remarks, gesturing to the sleeping red head on his lap, silently sleeping against him.

Drake lightly chuckles. "Oh she'll kill you alright, but yeah, Kana's fine when she's calm. Do you want me to take her off of you or are you ok as it is."

"Oh it's fine, just mortally terrifyed of her waking up. You can take her now though."

"Very well." With one notion of his head, Kanashimi levitates in the air. "Hmm... I guess I should find her a bed to sleep in, it was nice speaking with you Eisen." Drake then walks off with his daughter floating in midair as he searches for an empty bedroom for her.

He finds a room not too long into his search that has a nice red theme like Kana, seemingly designed for her.

"Wow... They really think of everything don't they?" After laying Kanashimi down, Drake leans over and plants a small kiss on her head before making his way out of the room.

He is able to note a distinct drop in the lighting from when he was in the hall a moment ago.

Drake glances around the hallway, placing one hand on Kurai's handle as he progesses down the hall.

Not far, a figure rises from a pool of shadows, pure black, rising and rising until...

...A black cloaked figure with silver hair and a teapot sitting in a chair with a small table, sipping some tea appears in front of him, seemingly unperturbed by Kurai's presence. Drake can see Dark Slayer is on his waist.

"Helllloooooo there. I'm Kake Spiritwood, you're Drake Ryunexo, introductions done. Tea?"

However, Drake's expression doesn't change. "Spiritwood... So, brother to Kado and White then?"

"You get a cookie, yes indeed. You've heard of him then, though not surprising since you know Bitchlord Mccrabby and little ol' (Kado's name in the Echo tongue).... How's he?"

"I wouldn't know, haven't seen him in a while..." From the darkness, a more throne-like chair raises up, Drake takes a seat and continues. "So guessing by the Slayer on your side, you're Phoenix's new Dark Slayer. But that's beside the point, you're here for a reason so spit it out."

"Mmmm... quick temper, like the file said. The basic version is this. Either start running, or get ready for the penultimate battle. White's made her move. Though, I am interested in the Original Eta in there. ...Not in a malicious way, I was just curious when I got here, because I noted something of interest."

Drake glances away and looks towards Kanashimi's door then back at Kake. "What about her."

"She's nearly identical to another Chaos Engine in terms of energy signature, which had me confused for a moment. Plus, she's the first of my knowledge to be free, so I was naturally curious. If you wonder what my motives are, they are my own, and best left at that, in terms of why I'm with Phoenix."

"Kanashimi was declared a prototype to my knowledge when I first met her." Drake then nods his head in thanks. "But I have a feeling they're connected with Phoenix's goals, aren't they?"

"My goals are purely my own. If I have to play dog for a while, what does it really matter? ...It would seem to me you met Nezumi, did you not?" He asks out of nowhere.

Drake nods. "Yeah, I did... I think I did note that the two do look similar."

"Well that explains that... think sis completely replicated your little Kana, then had some err... ....'creative liberties'? With her. Welp, curiosity sated I guess. Also if you meet a guy named Nanashi, try to be nice, he's pretty chill. His brother is more hot headed, but the two are powerful allies, but legendary enemies if you ya piss them off. I'd take my warning and get ready, otherwise don't blame me if you find yourself facing a homefront war." With that, he starts to disappear into shadows.

"Mhmm." Drake stands and the shadows around him seep away, he just continues what he was originally doing. "Honestly the people who just decide to show up..." After a few steps however, he stops in his tracks and closes his eyes, feeling a similar soul or souls nearby, his wings stretch out and Drake has a small smirk on his face as he makes his way out of the palace. "So that's the Moonlight Family, The Ancient, the Kanjo God, Kake and now them... Today is the day of meeting people." He takes to the skies and goes towards the souls.

A Merciful Imprisonment

When Drake appears into the world, he hardly is able to feel anything, save for the faintly warm touch of the being laying in bed with him. When he rouses himself to sit up, he can no longer remember anything of the outside world, the Moonlight Shire unknown to him has become sealed away in such a manner that those who knew him and wished him harm, or those that sought him to bring turmoil to his life be it in the form of assisting them or otherwise, would be utterly incapable of finding him.

His memories of the outside world deteriorating, he struggles to understand himself or where he belongs, but an outside hand fills him with a new set of memories, also taking away his powers, leaving him mortal in most respects. This same force begins to rewrite his existence, an unnatural youthlike energy takes hold of his spirit as his draconian nature is ebbed away and replaced with a more and more fey nature, his ears elongate like an elf's, and the wings of a fairy sprout from his back. The alterations continue, rewriting him and his reality in countless ways, to the point no soul could recognize him. Now a newborn princeling of the realm, his life with Noriko, now fully restored by this same hand, is destined and bound, his being forever lost to the annuls of history, much like the Shire itself, a place now lost to time, history, and knowledge.

The newborn Drake and Noriko spend much of their time growing more and more closer, intimate with each other, surrounded by their loved ones, all of whom now forever remain ignorant of the outside. In the long years to follow, the two would bear the future of the Moonlight Clan, and lead it in prosperity.

White watches like a silent sentinel throughout this process of rewriting, a gloom over her face as she writes Drake Ryunexo from history.

"You had the potential to shake the foundations of this world, and maybe even find your way to this happiness. You forsook it all for your empty pride and ambition. Perhaps one day it will occur to your in your next lives to come, what you had done wrong. Perhaps not. This is goodbye, little man. You will thank me for this one day, even if you no longer live to remember me.

...Now you will truly understand firsthand what it is like to have a destiny set in stone." With this, White completes her nullification of the ties Moonlight Shire has with the rest of reality, the sole recognizing force remaining is none other than herself and Omega.

She waves her vision of the sealed vale away, it disappears like mist, and so too does the memories of Drake Ryunexo on a existence wide level.

Epilogue - End of a Mercenary

Drake lies with his beloved, days away from becoming the newly annointed king, and all that would remain is to consecrate his love of Noriko and claim her as his one and only queen.

The two lie together in their bedchamber, their bodies warming each other. He stares into her beautiful blue eyes and caresses her face, before kissing her, his mind full of desire. The contact with her is on a level he had never experienced, as though his time with her had once been a distant memory, and somehow they are finally reunited. He shakes away the thought and holds her tight, his greatest treasure.

Their passion for another builds until they are overcome by their own boundless spirit and embrace the madness of pure unbridled passion, their desire fueled well into the night.

And it is naught but a few days later when the two are the masters of the realm, and his true prize in all of this begins. Noriko slowly grows as a woman, and the kingdom whispers in excitement as she becomes more and more heavily endowed with his children, becoming more and more a mother with each passing day. The physicians show great confidence in the safe delivery as she grows into the last stage of her pregnancy, and Drake could not have been in a greater mental wreck as the suspense for the long awaited day builds.

When the day finally comes that she gives birth, Drake and Noriko are blessed with four young and healthy children, all but one female, save for one boy. For the next many years of his life, his children provide him with the greatest of joys. However, as with all things, they slowly grow old together, and are eventually succeeded by their children. In their last moments, they remained side by side until the end, dying in peace. Only upon their deaths does the Moonlight Clan reappear to history, an anomaly long forgotten to all. Their children would carry on in their footsteps the same indomitable spirit of their father, and the beauty and heart of their mother, but blind to the outside world they will soon discover for themselves.

End to a Road

Drake feels an immense pain in his chest rip him from his slumber, as he jolts awake, he sees White standing over him with a vile mass of foul energy in her hand, which she crushes, the energy exploding and splattering against her face like blood.

"Ah, you're awake." She puts a hand to his chest, healing his wound she had tore open. She then stands back from him. Their surroundings are cold and pure black, no sign of light anywhere around them.

"You... What did you do." Drake stands, hand covering his chest still from shock. His eyes as sharp as daggers, pointing directly at her. 

"I have removed a parasite that would have made you its mindless drone had I not taken measures to destroy it. Nothing harmful." 

She says in a manner that reminds him of her manner of speech before she had split apart in two. "It's good to see you survived the procedure, though I wish you didn't wake from it so I would have more time to... ...prepare." She says this last part hesitantly.

Drake realises what she means by the parasite, his hands clenching tightly as a low growl is heard. "You... Bitch. You have no idea what you've just done."

"Not that one, something far older. You think I'm that stupid?"

"It... Wouldn't surprise me... So, where am I."

"The closest thing I could describe it as, void. That's not really important..." She seems to stretch her hand out toward the darkness, energy sparking around her hand.

"I think it's really fucking important, I'm not waiting here while she's out there." The red in Drake's eyes are practically glowing in the void, two red lights in a realm of darkness. 

A soft golden light begins to appear in White's hand, growing until a distinct large sphere, golden yellow and humming with vibrant energy forms. He can instantly tell whose energy it is.

"If that's your concern, you might as well save your breath."

To say that Drake feels conflicted would be a massive understatement, he looks at the golden light for a moment before looking back at White. "...What the hell are you planning."

"Atonement." She gestures with her other hand and with a loud 'crack!', Noriko's empty body appears before White, after which, she slowly begins inserting the sphere into her body.

"Atonement? You sent your fucking dogs of Phoenix to beat her to a pulp and bring her back, I saw what you did to her in that prison!" Drake's voice easily drowns out the crackling. "Why would I believe you're doing this out of the goodness of your heart."

"That... ...was half of me. Rampant inner demons allowed to indulge in their excess, born because of my weakness. It seems I am fated to be rejoined with them once more." She continues reinserting the soul into the body.

"I deny nothing and accept the blame and sins, I won't run from them. This is my obligation, which I will do regardless if you believe my words or not. A word though, it will be a while before she fully unites with her body beyond this point, she will be more of a specter loosely bound to an unfamiliar shape. Make sure she isn't heavily disturbed, it will have negative consequences."

The mercenary doesn't utter a word, looking straight at White. He slowly realises that she isn't the White he's faced before, and that her words ring true - his head turns towards the body, his expression easing up. "...I understand." He approaches her and simply looks, unable to decide how to feel.

White slowly completes the process. "I will return you to the Moonlight Clan shortly with her. However, I would put your ways behind you and focus on her. She needs you. She may never stop needing you, thanks to what I did. You can't protect her in far off lands seeking adventure and wealth, she needs you by her side. You're her rock."

She sighs. "Perhaps it is for the best that this fate was bestowed upon me... all the wrongs I have wrought can never be undone... least this one can have a happy ending... ...There." She slowly, carefully picks up Noriko's bare form and gentle hands her to Drake.

She quietly eyes Drake. "There is one other thing..." She gently breathes on him, a strange cold, yet not unpleasant sensation, as though a mist of power had been placed over him.

"With that blessing, I hope your lives will be prosperous. Go, forget of me. Live your lives with abandon."

The chill crawls down Drake's spine as he holds Noriko firmly, finally back with her... He softly smiles and nods at White. "We will... Thank you." His eyes turn back to the woman he's fought for, after all this time. She's just in his arms, it's a bit for Drake to take in. "...Yeah, take us back to the Clan."

She and the surroundings begin to break up into static.

Drake closes his eyes, feeling the static coming and then going before he opens them once more to reveal that he's standing in front of the gates of the Moonlight Clan's Palace, Noriko still carried in his arms. He takes a look around, feeling unsure if his surroundings are real or not...

Things are silent for a few minutes, before a small yellow orb off in the distance of the palace comes out and seems to notice, excitedly darting back inside. Mere moments later, a large storm of them surge out from the palace and rush toward his direction with loud buzzing, slamming into him into the form of each of the Moonlight Family, excitedly embracing him.

While unable to put Noriko down, Drake practically hums a radient heat. "I've missed this..." He says quietly, looking at everyone with the same smile.

Momoka ushers them inside eagerly, directing him to their room.

He follows quietly while looking back at Noriko, faintly smiling knowing that through one way or another, he brought her back. His eyes gaze over at the rest of the family. "I think I've lost track of time... How long has it been?"

Momoka rubs her eyes. "I don't know... ...the days have all blended together..."

"Huh... I... It doesn't feel like it's been too long but then again." The mercenary lightly shakes his head, trying to shake off the odd sensation. "Nevertheless, it's great to be back... How was everything while we were out?"

Her face tells the story for him.

"Oh... I'm sorry." His head sinks, remaining quiet until he reaches their room.

"...You should rest now, both of you."

"Don't worry, we were planning on doing so. Thank you for welcoming us back, Momoka."

"It's nothing, sleep. You deserve rest. Both of you."

This time Drake stays silent, taking her words to heart as the door closes behind them. The room feels familiar, as does everything else, however to Drake there's still a sense of surrealness to everything as he approaches the bed. Pulling the covers off, he slowly places Noriko onto the bed - looking at her one more before taking his jacket off and hanging it up.

"This still feels so... Weird..." He mutters to himself, but eventually makes his way to his side and lies down. Staring at the ceiling before turning onto his side, wrapping his arms around his beloved before closing his eyes -falling asleep.

When he wakes up in the morning, he feels something pressed against him. Turning his head, she sees Noriko laying up against him, her face close by. Her position makes it seem like she had been trying to embrace him in whatever form of slumber she was in. She still seems rather lifeless, aside from the very rare faint breath or tiny muscle movements. He can 'feel' her there, but only in the most wispy, faint manner.

His hand softly falls onto her cheek, caressing her as he leans in and kisses her forehead. "I don't know if you can hear me... But good morning, Nori..." After a moment of resting in the warmth of her, he slowly rises from the bed and rubs the sleep out of his eyes. He lazily walks towards the bathroom and enters, getting ready for the day.

He can hear Aiko giggling and running past the room in the hall, a servant exasperatedly chasing after her.

Even smiling, Drake's not exactly in the best of positions, still throwing his shirt and jacket on while walking back to the room he shared with Noriko. He does wave at Aiko however, making sure she at least saw him.

Aiko runs off into the distance, faint noises of activity throughout the castle are heard.

The door to his room opens slowly, Drake steps through and looks over at the bed.

Noriko 'sleeps' soundly, not moving. She is still roughly in the same position as he had left her.

Drake kneels down in front of her, nudging her slightly before sighing. "Guess she needs a lot more rest..." His stomach groans, after planting a small kiss on her forehead. Drake exits the room and heads towards the dining hall, hand clutching his belly.

He starts to hear the clanging of dishes as a mountain of dishes with food on them heads his way, with the little Aiko scurrying towards him, valiantly carrying them toward him with a beaming expression on her face.

She appears to be taking the feast to him.

"Ooooh that's a lot..." The towering dishes looms over Drake, himself hoping he's hungry enough. But otherwise he looks down at the little blonde carrying it all. "Hey there Aiko, surprised to see you carrying all of this."

"I can do anything for my big brother!" She chirps.

Drake just blinks. "Hey Aiko, put the dishes down for a second."

"L-little..." She sways a bit.

Within moments, Drake rushes over, quickly using magic and such to levitate the dishes onto the table without spilling anything. "That was too close." He laughs.

She nervously laughs, then tips over with a faint plop.

Using the same magic, Aiko floats up into the air and onto Drake's shoulders. "So, all this for me?"

She nods, her blonde curls bobbing with her head.

"Don't want any?" He says as he examines all the food, stretching across the table.

"We already ate." Faintly, he hears the castle doors open and close, followed closely by what seem to be the guards speaking fiercely to whoever entered.

Rolling his eyes, Drake looks over at the closest plate as he stands up - Aiko still sitting on his shoulders, the dish hovers next to him as he wonders over to the source of the noise, taking a bite out of his food every now and then.

The guards appear to be blocking the way of someone just behind the corner of the hall, which seems to provoke an irritated response. "Out of my way!" They bark, a woman's voice snapping as the guards are kicked back into the wall.

"No way..." Drake rushes over past the guards, looking at the woman with a faint smile on his face.

The person that stands in front of him possesses short red and white hair, save toward the back, which is put up in a long but thin ponytail. She wears a black jacket with a red jacket and fancy inscriptions in the sleeve, notably pointy ears and a golden set of tattoos adorn her body. She also appears significantly older, and far more womanly, but after a moment, he is able to tell that this woman is in actuality, Kanashimi.

She blinks briefly, as though surprised to see him. "Ah, old man. I see you're doing well. I didn't expect to run into you so soon. ...Have you been here long?" Even her voice has changed, more authoritative and matured, giving her a dominating air than before.

Drake just walks up to her, sorta squaring up to her. Before smiling like an idiot. "Wow, you've... Changed, what's up carrot top? And no, I arrived here yesterday. How did you get here?"

She smiles every so briefly. "...Ah, then I should have hurried more." The smile fades. "I've been here since the whole 'world about to end' thing blew over. I have some things to be doing here, and then... ...well, I have somewhere to go."

"Oh, can't stay long then..." Drake's head sinks slightly, before looking back at her. "I have her back..."

Her eyes light up a bit. "Oh? That... ...that's a good thing." She quietly hugs him. "I'm happy for you, pops. I guess that also gives me less to worry about, and I can focus on my main priorities. I might stay for dinner, at the very least."

"That'd be nice, you can also fill me in on anything I need to know. Everything's been a blur recently, everything feels... Bittersweet, as phraes go." He returns her hug. "So, if you don't mind me asking - What do you do now then?"

"...I'd rather not say. I need something from Hoshiko and then I'm leaving Echo to deal with something. Overall, it's just a personal goal, rather than anything specific in terms of jobs."

"To each their own then." Drake responds, flashing her a smile before looking over at the guards. "...They're not gonna be happy with you once they wake up. Maybe it is best you get what you need to do over and done with as soon as possible."

"I don't blame them, it's not that easily to remember someone when they turn from teenager to grown woman. ...Fairly intense that was..." She muses for a moment. "...Anyway, I'll probably explain the situation to Momoka, she'll clear it up."

"Alright, I'll join in a minute... Aiko here made a lot of food and I think she'd kill me if I didn't eat at least half so." Drake notions towards the floating dish next to him. "Oh, and uh... Sorry if I seem scatterbrained, there's a lot for me to take in right now so I'm trying to deal with it all one at a time."

She shrugs. "Not like you ever used the full capacity of that noggin in the first place." She walks off, deeper into the palace.

He watches the now fully grown Kanashimi walk off. "Full capacity... Thanks Kana!" He yells sarcastically, before sighing. "Well, I got a feast to eat." He picks up Aiko off from his shoulders and puts her back onto the floor. "Go play, I'll eat all the food, I promise."

"Kay!" She chirps as she pounces on a passing Michiko's head.

His eyes divert to the massive feast, he slightly gulps. "I won't be able to eat for days after this... Well, here goes." With that, Drake rather hastily begins to eat. Dish after dish, dessert after dessert, with little to drink down in the meantime. However about half an hour in, Drake leans back in his chair, feeling bloated as he's done a majority of the dishes. He looks at the empty dishes, surprised. "I either don't feel hunger or I'm feeding two here... Right, I should see what Kana was doing." 

It takes him a moment but he does manage to walk without the additional weight from food comically swaying him side to side, he recalls the direction Kanashimi went and follows.

Eventually after a lot of searching, he walks by a room which has Kanashimi's voice drifting from it. "Yeah, I'm sorry Momoka, but I need to stop the freaks at Yosai before they hurt any more people. I got lucky, no, blessed to be taken in by Drake, but all of those others are suffering."

Drake softly chuckles to himself but instead of waltzing straight in, he lingers outside, listening in on the conversation.

"So that's why you need Hoshiko to forge a gemblade? I wish you would stay, even just for the evening."

"...I can't, I don't want dad to hear about what I am up to, and while I want to see Nori, I am worried what will happen if nothing is done."

"At least let me make you some food and provisions for the road..."

"Bah, you're as stubborn as he is, fine. ...Thank you for caring, it's more than I deserve."

After hearing enough, Drake softly knocks on the door. "Hey, can I come in?"

"Come in," Momoka replies, and when Drake enters, Kanashimi seems to be almost at another door, about to leave.

He looks over at Momoka. "I was wondering if you had any books or such about recovery spells or Echo magic in general... If there is a difference." His head turns towards Kanashimi. "Oh, leaving already?" 

"Echo magic is complicated and requires years of experience and education. We have healing magic books in the library."

"Gonna talk to Hoshiko. Then pretty much." She says, facing the door.

"Thanks Momoka, I'll get to them quickly... And Kana, if you see Daikeim... Wherever the hell he is, hit him for me will ya'?"

"Already planned on doing that." She opens the door and leaves.

"...So what were you two discussing?" Drake asks, lowering his voice.

"Her plans to deal with what she considers personal business, as well as explaining the situation with the guards. She doesn't plan on sticking around long, and might not really ever settle down, given her nature, she expects she will be able to do so at her leisure- -whenever that may be."

"Hopefully it will be soon, I mean... I don't want to sound all protective of her, I'm proud of how strong she is but... Out there? Well, I don't think I've faced anything as bad on Cyanic as I have on Earth, Fantasy or even some places in Echo. Maybe I'm just worried that something bad will happen to her."

"If Phoenix was able to do such unspeakable things to our daughter, then nothing is assured. And it's good that you worry. A good father should. However all hatchlings must learn to fly."

"Yeah... And she has a great set of wings on her." He smiles. "Speaking of which, I should check on Noriko. Thanks for your time."

"I'll see you later." She responds.

"Likewise." Drake exits from the room and wonders around the palace, eventually finding the library. After spending a bit of time, he leaves with a sizeable collection of books regarding regeneration and healing. He heads straight to the room him and Noriko stayed in and opens the door using his tail. "Hey Noriko, you up yet?"

She appears to be 'sleeping' with her eyes slightly open, a light blue color even in her whites. She notably has shifted positions since he left her, having migrated to a horizontal position, slightly drooping off the bed, as opposed to laying vertical along with the bed. She doesn't appear responsive to his voice.

He places the books on the side and helps her back onto the bed so she isn't drooping, he sits in front of her, his voice softly sounding. "It feels weird talking to you and to get no response, but I'm sure you can hear me... I don't know what you're feeling or how you're managing, but I'm wishing you the best." His head turns over to the books, as one softly hovers onto Drake's lap. "I want to do all I can to help you, but it's difficult because I'm not entirely sure what is happening to you." He looks into the book, mainly focusing on spiritual related spells, later looking at binding spells.

After a while, probably a few hours later, he hears a knock on the door.

Once hearing the knock, the books Drake has splayed out all close and stack up out of the way. He stands and turns, opening the door with his tail. 

Kanashimi stands at the door, with a red and white gemblade at her waist, she has a generally collected look on her face. "How she doing?"

He sighs. "To put it bluntly? I've no fucking clue." He notions towards the motionless Noriko. "I don't quite know what to do, but I know that she'll be fine given enough time..."

"..." Her gaze lingers on Noriko for a moment. "...She should start rousing by the end of the week, but don't expect much. She'll be like a vegetable for a while. It's gonna be a long road for you two."

"I know it will be, I wasn't expecting this to be easy. All I need to do is be by her side this time." He goes quiet before looking at the gemblade. "She makes fantastic blades doesn't she?"

She looks away. "Aye. ...I'll be heading off soon." She looks back at him, reluctantly. She then reaches out, and gently gives him a hug.

"I'll try to visit from time to time, can't make too many promises though. You take care of yourself, old fart."

"Bring back some gifts alright? I dunno how long I could keep my sanity if I have to play with Aiko's shark for days upon days. And you too, carrot top." He returns the hug and smiles.

"I think it'll grow on you." She begins to walk off. "Take care now."

"Take care..." He gives one more wave before the door closes as Drake sits up against it, looking at Noriko one more time before closing his eyes. Napping for a short while.

A long time passes before he notices one morning, a noise he's not accustomed to: someone else is breathing next to him, pressed up against him.

His eyes open slowly, a light draconic yawn and an eye rub later. "The hell..." He turns his head.

He sees Noriko is nuzzled up against him in a more intimate, deliberate way as opposed to subconscious movements. Her breathing is now regular and stable, a previously unnoted tension in her form has lifted, making it seem as though she is merely in a deep sleep.

Drake just wraps his arms around her, holding her close but gently. A warm buzz about him that he hasn't felt in a while, his wings envelop the two. "Good morning angel... It's great to see you're recovering so well..."

He hears the faintest of moans, so miniscule he thinks for a moment he was hearing things, but he definately heard her first real vocal response in well over a month.

Noriko feels a tear drop onto her cheek as she gave her response, Drake holding her as close as possible. "So good to hear from you... You have no idea..." He manages to stand, holding Noriko in his arms, he doesn't really move much. Just savoring the moment as long as he can before feeling obliged to lie her back onto the bed.

After he has done this, her eyes faintly crack open, their regular, beautiful hues faintly hinted at before closing with a quiet exhale.

Drake can barely contain his happiness as he kisses Noriko on the forehead. "I'll be back later, got some stuff to do." He heads towards the door and opens it, looking back at her one more time before exiting the room.

He gets little response, unsurprisingly.

The door closes behind him as he begins to wonder throughout the palace, wondering what's to do.

He gradually hears faint noises above his head.

It takes him a moment to hear the noises but once he does, his head slowly shifts upwards, trying to examine what the noise is.

His face is abruptly tackled by Aiko, who gives his head a tight hug. "I am ninja!" She chirps gleefully.

"JESUS CHRIST" Drake's speech is muffled by Aiko, the sudden force of the hug brings him to the floor. "Oh hello Aiko..."

"I finally win! Ninja hug successful!"

"It's too early for thiiiis..." He whines but manages to get back onto his feet, giving Aiko a hug.

"Never too early for play, big brother!"

Drake grins as he looks around. "Alright then, let's do hide and seek..." His wings stretch out wide, as if getting ready. "I will give you a minute to hide, after that - I'll come find you, and no hiding in your shark again."

In the blink of an eye, Aiko disappears.

"Let the games begin..." With a single flap of his wings, Drake is speeding around the palace, checking room by room - Hunting Aiko like prey.

After a decent amount of time, he has no leads.

Drake sighs and makes his way towards the giant shark tank, looking at its contents.

Aiko is not in Bruce's jaws.

"Alright where the hell... Hmm." An idea pops into Drake's head as he grins, innocently putting his hands in his pockets and exhaling louder than usual. "Well, Momoka did say that if I couldn't find her, I get her slice of that lemon cake..."

Meanwhile, a crow perched on an elevated area with a view of the whole palace and valley caws, with a golden glow inside its mouth. "Ssssssh, Tinkle! We're hiding!"

"..." Drake flaps his wings and flies up, holding the crow in stasis while seeing the glow. "Hi Aiko..."

"Oh lookie, you finally found me~"

"Maybe we should have the rule of no hiding in animals mouths." Drake suggests, while playful there is a faint tone of annoyance.

"You didn't say anything before, just sharks..." She says playfully. He cuts her a look before chuckling. "Well, considering it took me a while to find you - I think it's safe to say that you won that."

"Sooo how is big sis?"

His eyes open widely, unsure of what to say. "Oh... She's doing fine, has just been rather sleepy is all." Before the moment can get too quiet, he changes the subject. "So, let's see if we can actually get some cake, yeah?"

"CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!" She cheers, beginning to orbit around his head at high speed, a golden blur of hyperactivity.

Drake laughs and hovers down, Aiko still spinning around his head forming a halo of sorts. With a moment or two, he goes towards the kitchen. His little fairy friend giving his directions along the way.

Practically everyone can hear the commotion of her excitement, as several servants' heads turn toward the sound as they pass.

They soon arrive, busting open the dual doors to the kitchen, hungry looks on their faces. "Where do we start..."

Aiko seems to head toward a pantry off to the side.

As if he's her momentary slave, Drake lingers over to the pantry. "So what's here?"

She is staring at a glass case full of lemon cakes, drooling.

"Hoooly... Alrighty, maybe one slice would be enough.. Where's the smallest cake?"

The smallest one is several times bigger than a normal cake.

"...Well, they'll certainly notice it's gone... But you're better at hiding than I am sooo..." Drake reaches over the glass case, gripping tightly as he slowly raises it, being careful not to drop the case. "Quickly Aiko."

She grabs it, immediately rushing out of the room at top hyper speed. The case gets lowered back onto the table and makes a run for it, exiting the room within seconds.

Aiko is now only a tiny speck at the end of the hall, moving fast.

With a few flaps of his wings, Drake takes flight and manages to keep up with Aiko, zooming around the palace.

They fly by a bewildered Michikio, who blankly turns her head as they pass. "Aiko hold up! Go any faster and it falls to pieces!" Drake yells, now as desperate as Aiko to get a slice.

She doesn't heed him, turning quickly and moving out of sight down another hallway, soon Drake hears...


"Oh no..." Drake turns the corner to see if Aiko, and more importantly, the cake - is ok. "You alright Aiko?"

The cake has fallen onto the ground, frosting first, and Drake sees a little bump at the 'top' squirming underneath.

He rushes forward and dives his hand into the cake, managing to pull Aiko out. "What did you hit?"

"Everything..." She whines, and he notices she bumped into a glass mirror.

Drake's attention drifts towards the mirror, tapping on the glass with the back of his hand. "Well, there's no cracks, which is good..." His head turns to look at the pile of frosting, crumbs and a little fairy from head to toe in cakesponge. "And there's no cake, which is bad..."

"...I'm tired. Can you take me to my room?" Aiko asks.

As the moment passes, the mercenary reaches down and lifts Aiko up. Sitting her ontop of his shoulders, as he speaks to her, Drake's voice softens. "Alright, tell me which way to go." After she points in a direction, Drake begins to walk towards the room, his head attracted the the painted portaits of landscapes and family members alike.

He catches a glimpse of a portrait of a young blonde haired boy seated next to a girl with cream colored hair and gold eyes, a yellow colored katana and a white colored katana hanging on the wall behind them. They appear to have been awkwardly smiling, as though embarrassed.

Drake's walking comes to a halt as he look at the portrait, mainly focused on the blonde boy. He doesn't say anything, instead looking at the katana before turning away, continuing his pace.

He soon comes to her room, but by this point, Aiko is fast asleep on his shoulder.

The door opens and Drake steps through, now carrying Aiko in his arms as he approaches her bed. He lays her down and kisses her forehead. "See you soon." Once he exits the room, he makes his way back to the painting.

"And to believe you grew up to become him... And to think why you decided to warn me..." Drake eyes the blonde boy in the painting, his hands clentching into fists, but then loosely fall - a faint aura of calmness. "And to believe that sooner or later, you'll be a great grandfather-in-law... Sheesh."

"Admiring the paintings again I see?" He hears the voice of Momoka as she is walking down the hall from a distance towards him.

"Yeah... I still remember the one you had taken of Noriko and I... Our legs were so tired from standing." He laughs as he looks at Momoka. "You have one hell of a family, y'know that?"

"...Aye." She says softly. As she gets closer, Drake realizes something, Momoka's hair isn't as luminous and lively as it used to be, in fact, she seems... older. There is far less energy in her than the last time he saw her.

"...And hopefully, someday soon, I hope I get to see you join our family, and live a long, happy life here."

Drake slightly cocks his head, noticing the lack of... Saturation in her hair, but he shakes his head when what she says finally gets to him. Eyes widening slightly. "Oh, expecting to have grandchildren?"

"...I'm expecting that you will do what makes you happy." She puts a hand on his shoulder.

His response simply is a nod. "...So, do you know what they were like?"

"Hmm? No, but Osamu did. He told me stories of the Royal Family of those days. He wasn't personally there, but his father was a member of the guard during Eien's days as a young prince. I believe this was shortly after Phoenix let its trainees loose for a week to spend time with loved ones. I think this girl... ...Sukina, I think, wasn't fond of living at home, so she spent the week here with Eien. From what I heard, Eien and this girl had a short romance for a few years."

"Eien and Sukina... How, odd." He faintly chuckles. "Yeah, I heard that a few interesting things happened back then... Let's hope that everything mellows out from here onward."

"Indeed. It's been a long day, why don't you take some time to check up on Noriko?"

"I will, I need to rest after having to keep up with Aiko's antics." After giving a small wave of goodbye, Drake turns and begins to make his way back to Noriko.

The Rehabilitation

After many long weeks, Noriko begins to stay awake consistently, but interactions with her prove difficult, as she seems capable of 'listening', but not expressing what she has heard or acting on it, still bedridden. One such morning, Drake notices that Noriko is pressed up against him, her blue eyes looking up at him from her lower position on the bed. Ever since she had gotten the medical clear, the family members had taken turns taking care of her needs, such as bathing, feeding, and clothing her, while also trying to help her with physical therapy and retraining her to be functional again.

He hears a knock at the door, and Michiko walks in. "Good morning, did she sleep well last night? I noticed she's had a few nightmares every now and again."

Michiko sees Drake's hair standing on end as he attempts to comb it back down. "Besides a small jumpscare of sorts, she slept fine... Began letting me know via shocks, so that's always a nice wake up call... How's you?"

"Fine, fine, it's supposed to be my turn to care for Nori, but I am required to attend a major meeting. I know it might not be... ...the most thrilling idea you've heard, but can you handle her for the day? It's a pretty important meeting, actually."

"Believe me I wouldn't say no, it's no big deal, you can attend to your meeting." Drake responds, looking over at Noriko then back at her sister. "She'll be fine."

Michiko walks over to Drake and gives him a long, tight hug without saying anything.

The only response the mercenary can make is to lightly hug back. "Good luck with the meeting, Michiko."

"I'll do my best." With that she pats him on the head, leaving Drake with Noriko, who quietly is wrapped up in the blankets, her head looking in his direction with her soft, but still slightly out of focus eyes.

Drake approaches Noriko and smiles, his eyes matching hers. "So... I get to look after you, I'll say this now - I'm sorry if I'm a lousy servant."

Seeing the 'Nori Duty' list, he finds himself with the tasks of making sure she gets bathed, and then clothed in the morning, with feeding being afterwards as well. The rest of the morning is left to the caretaker's discretion, so long as Noriko is engaged in the activity or being kept company. In the afternoons, Noriko needs to be sent to physical therapy and relearning basic functions such as speech, writing, and other such essentials, with lunch afterwards, another small break period, followed by dinner and Noriko resting in the evening.

"So the first thing is... Bathing and clothing..." Drake looks back at Noriko. He imagine that if she could change her expression, it would be disapproval. "When you're at one hundred percent, please don't kill me." He picks Noriko up and lets her rest in his arms as he enters the bathroom, with his tail he begins to run a bath and props her in the tub so that she doesn't tip over and drown.

As the water fills the bath, Drake looks at some shelves in the room, examining the products that he should use. "What the hell does Nori like to use..."

He catches notice of some products that Michiko seems to approve of in a list, including liquid soaps and shampoos. Drake reaches out and grabs a few, laying them beside the bath as it filled. Once the water got high enough, he turned the taps off and lathered his hands in shampoo before beginning to work on Noriko's hair. "Y'know, this could be done a lot quicker if you could be a fairy..." Drake mumbles to himself.

This goes generally well until his hand brushes against the water, causing a electric shock. It’s this that makes him realize that there is a pair of rubber gloves on the counter.

After retracting his hand and reaching up to the counter, he puts the gloves on and returns to bathing her. "How you survive the electric is beyond me..."

He manages to get her hair clean, and after some effort gets the rest taken care of. All that is left is drying her off and getting her clothes on.

"This must be really embarassing for you Nori, but if it helps. This is how it felt being in that tube at Yosai." He dryly chuckles as he begins to drain the bath, opening up one of the drawers and pulling out a few large towels. He heats them up and wraps Noriko like a mummy before drying her off. Drake takes only a few towels off, covering up the parts that matter and exiting the bathroom to place her back on the bed.

"Ok so... Clothing next..." Drake's tail reaches for a comb and handles Noriko's hair while the doors to the wardrobe open widely, showing off a wide array of outfits, most of it princess attire thanks to Michiko's habit. After a moment of thinking, Drake reaches through and pulls out a more casual outfit, similar to what she wore during her time with a band.

Once finished with her hair, Drake strips away the towels and helps Noriko put her outfit on. Stepping away to get a better look, he's impressed with his own work - The narcissist. "Well, I think I did a good job if I do say so myself."

Noriko seems to wobble - having a lack of balance. It's not clear as to if she likes the outfit, given her generally blank expression.

"I'll take that as a yes... So next is breakfast." His expression changes to one of confusion. "How exactly am I going to do that... Guessing you can't exactly eat solids." As Drake is thinking, he coils his tail into a seat of sorts and props Noriko in it. The tail shifts and moves to keep Noriko upright but comfortable. "Suppose I can ask what the cooks can prepare." Drake lifts Noriko with his tail and keeps her close as he exits the room and makes his way to the kitchen.

He is fine for a little while, but she starts to feel heavy by the time he makes it to the kitchen. The kitchen chiefs take notice of her, and seem to get to work right away, and from what he can tell, they are serving some manner of pleasant smelling soup.

"I guess we'll get a table for two." Drake says as he notions towards a table, he steps towards it and pulls the chairs out to place Noriko in one. He takes his own seat right next to her, just in case she needs to lean against him to keep balance.

She wobbles faintly, meanwhile, the chiefs arrive once the soup is prepared. It appears to be a flavorful soup with pasta, ground beef, some vegetables like corn and carrots, and an amazing seasoning, the aroma alone whets the appetite. The chefs describe it as 'Minestrone Soup'. The wobbling from Noriko seems to become more noticable as she seems to catch the smell of the soup, even a faint squeak of her voice is momentarily heard.

Luckily, her partner's tail reaches around and keeps her steady, his surprised expression looking at her. "That's... New."

The chiefs depart, leaving Drake to tend to Noriko and help her eat. He picks up one of the spoons and fills it to the brim withthe soup. Before feeding it to her, he cools it down via a breeze of air. "Hope it isn't too hot."

Her mouth weakly opens.

Drake gently places the spoon into her mouth and tilts it, letting the soup pour off.

He continues this process until both their bowls are empty. With this done, he has the rest of the morning to do as he wishes, so long as Noriko is cared for in his presence.

"That was... Oddly nice, I haven't had soup in a long while. I guess we can see what your sisters are doing." Drake's tails forms the makeshift seat for Noriko to sit in, once properly seated he sets off to find whomever to talk to. Making laps mainly around the open courtyard.

Sitting on a bench, watching him is Kumiko, observing with her gold eyes. Of all of the sisters, she seems most like her father, a lot more quiet, reserved. This also seems to be reflected in her appearance, as the other sisters could be described as 'cute', Kumiko seems to fall more in the 'womanly' category. She silently greets them with a wave and smile.