Dream a Little Dream: Book 2: Chapter 5

Mia, Sage, Rowen, Cye, Kento and Ryo all looked at each other abashed to a person as they had never thought about things from her perspective. She had been dropped into a situation that she was prepared for mentally, but it still didn't help her when it came to her feelings of being ripped away from everything she knew.

They all knew why they hadn't thought about it like that before. Her attitude never allowed for it. Strong, self-confidant and certain about what she was doing they all realized that all of that was a shell for a scared and lonely woman who needed their support more desperately than they had ever realized.

Kento stood and walked around the table to be the first to apologize for his actions and words but found that he wasn't about to be let near Crys. Whiteblaze was standing between them and as she was still crying he let out a low growl to warn them all off.

Ryo realized that Whiteblaze had known about her loneliness long before they did and was now protecting her in her own moment of weakness. A sniffle was heard and Crys stood, mask back in place but somehow skewed as her red eyes and tear-streaked face gave away her pain.

Kento tried again to approach Crys and was again warned off as Crys moved to go outside. "I will not be gone long, but I do need some time to straiten my thoughts again. I will not be alone as I know that Whiteblaze will protect me."

She left the house and walked out into the trees with the large tiger sticking by her. Inside the house were six confused, abashed and amazed people at the table and Yulie making an appearance from the stairs where he had watched everything and looking at the older people in the room commented. "You screwed up didn't you."

In a small clearing in the wooded area Crys was laying out watching the stars using Whiteblaze as a pillow. Locating the constellations was easy for her now and she enjoyed trying to find them in different places as a way to calm and collect her thoughts.

It had been almost an hour after she had left the mansion when Whiteblaze growled in warning. She knew that it couldn't have been one of the guys yet as she had left them all with a very large plate to work on. Knowing that it wasn't time for anything else she didn't even turn as she called out.

"Might just a swell come out of the shadows Sword Master Saber-Stryke. Blaze knows you're there and is not that hard to tell that it was you since you didn't attack seeing that I was unarmed." She smiled slightly as she heard the footsteps that brought the sword master out into the clearing.

"You know quite a bit about me for someone that has never seen me before as I would certainly remember seeing someone with as much spirit as you." He paused as Crys stood to face him. Whiteblaze stood with her to protect her but she called him off to speak with the sword master.

"I know a lot about you. Your fight with Talpa and his use of dishonorable tactics to defeat you. You quest for the Armor of Inferno to complete your revenge on a Demon Lord that is as good as dead. Blackblaze has to be around here somewhere. He usually isn't very far away where you are concerned."

Looking around Whiteblaze pointed out the location of the black tiger companion of Saber-Stryke. "I am not here to harm you. But I have been asked to make certain that The Ronin are able to defeat the obstacles in their path to maintaining the balance of good and evil in this world. You know that if that means fighting you to the death, Ryo will do it."

"You have a lot of confidence in a boy that is about as stable as a shaky tower." He tossed back at her.

As they looked at each other in the clearing Crys smiled. "That is because I know what his potential is. I also know that he can, and will full fill it and more."

"We shall see if your prediction is correct woman. For now I leave you in peace to see what becomes of your faith in the boy who as far as I can see, does not deserve the honor of wearing that armor." Bowing to Crys he walked back into the shadows and he and Blackblaze disappeared.

"Yes, we shall see indeed." She murmured to herself as she headed back to the mansion to go to bed.

The next morning her nose twitched as she smelled something delicious beckoning to her from her deep and peaceful slumber. Her emotional outburst the night before had worn her out and she slept deeply because of it. Turning over she tried to go back to sleep, but the smell was so good and then the whispering in her room started to get to her. If she had been in any danger Whiteblaze would have either taken care of it, or he would have woken her up.

Growling she turned back over and cracked an eyelid open to see everyone crowded in her room with breakfast for her and penitent looks on their faces. "This had better be good if you have to wake me up for this." She threatened.

Kento cracked from the back of the group. "Man, she's grumpier than Rowen in the morning."

Crys rolled her eyes and sat up as she corrected Kento. "I believe that he is only a total grump when you guys decide to use ambush tactics to wake him up in the morning."

"No way, you were harder to wake up than he ever was."

She glared at Kento not bothering to educate him on emotional dam breakings and nodding to Mia she wondered why they were all crowded in her room at this hour in the morning.

Ryo stepped forward and in a surprise move to everyone he took her hand gently and spoke for them all. "Look, we really wanted to let you sleep yourself out today, but what we have to say is pretty important. To help you wake up though Cye cooked breakfast for you." Looking at the tray she noticed some of the traditional Japanese breakfast items as well as some western breakfast items for her to choose from.

Nodding her thanks to Cye she took a few bites to give her stomach something to work on while she gave Ryo and the others her full attention.

Ryo hadn't let go of her hand the whole time; making her wonder if he was trying to read her reaction in how her hand moved in his. But as she looked up at the guys it was Kento that actually spoke up.

"Look, I know that we haven't been the best bunch to be around through everything you have been through. Still, you tried to help us despite what you were going through and did it while managing to keep us in the dark about how much pain you were really in while trying to put up with the crap we kept dumping on you for the attitude."

Kento trailed off as Sage picked up where he left off. "You were trying to be brave in a world and place where you had no friends, and now that we understand why you were being the way you were, we feel really bad for dumping on you like we did."

"It must have been really hard for you to make the choice to stay here despite everything that was going on." Mia sat on the edge of the bed and Crys crossed her legs to allow her the room. "I guess what we are all trying to say is that we are really sorry for how we acted to you and hope that you will be able to forgive us in time."

"I will forgive you, but it will take time. For now, apology, and breakfast accepted." She smiled a little as she saw a collective involuntary sigh of relief pass through everyone in the room. They had been nervous and scared that she would try to find a way home and leave them on their own. It was easy to see that none of them slept to well the night before and that they had put a lot of thought into everything they had done that day to apologize to her.

Now that things were starting to settle on the home front she allowed herself a moment to think about Anubis. Was he doing ok? Had he felt the energies that were invading the world again?

All of that was put out of her mind as she was asked to accompany them to the site she said they would be meeting Saber-Stryke. Her knowledge of the area was going to be an asset but even she admitted that she knew where the swords were, she still had no idea of the exact location so it would still take some looking.

Everyone agreed to head out and they left to give her some time to pull herself together. As she packed for the trip she found that she didn't have much. Just her blade and her wits.

She was going to have to be sharp. As far as she knew she had possibly set up the very circumstances that would lead to Saber-Stryke's challenge to Ryo.

Looking around as she brought her dishes down stairs she knew that she hadn't gained their complete trust yet, but she now had their understanding. For her, it was a start.

Directing Mia in the car while Yulie and Ryo took the Whiteblaze express to the park area she knew the swords to be in she looked around as she got out to get her bearings.

As the others wondered what they were looking for she told them to keep on the look out for a cave of some sort.

Kento as active as he was, hopped to the trees to get a better look around when the comments started. Crys smiled softly at the fond memories she had of watching that scene many times. As they walked behind Kento looking around from the ground Crys found herself counting backwards again under her breath and hit zero when Kento hollered down from the trees that he found an odd looking shadow. As she looked into the crevice she could only think that now was the test of truth.

As they all climbed down into the crevice they saw the Soul swords behind a protective ward. Looking at Kento she watched him pick up the large rock and throw it at the ward. As she watched the rock crumble she remembered and called out. "Wait!"

As the Ronin all looked at her she explained by yelling into the darkness. "Saber-Stryke! Dirty pool when you use fakes as bait!"

A deep laughter surrounded them as he appeared above them on a rock ledge with Blackblaze. "It is true that you know me as well as you claim to Woman. I can only wonder how you gained such knowledge."

He looked at the Ronin and pulled the swords from the scabbards on Blackblaze. "It is true though. It was easy to have cheap imitations made of these blades. I am Saber-Stryke Sword Master from the Dynasty. I challenge you Ryo of the Wildfire to a duel. If you win, you gain the Soul Swords, if I win however, you lose the White Armor."

"You're on Saber-Stryke." As she watched the Ronin's armor up she got the sick feeling of deja vue in her stomach and knew why. She couldn't turn away from the fight but at the same time she wished that she didn't have to watch.

As the fight progressed Ryo still hadn't drawn his swords. "Why do you not draw your sword Ryo? Could it be that you know that you can not win?"

As Saber-Stryke taunted Ryo, Crys moaned. Ryo's pride. The one thing she had forgotten to take into account. She had hoped to spare them the loss of the Wildfire swords and Whiteblaze for the time being but she realized that at least this time around it wasn't going to happen.

As they called forth the White Armor she knew that this was going to be a battle postponed. As she knew it would happen, on the trial of the Swords, Ryo's shattered under the stress he had put it under.

When Ryo dropped his guard Saber-Stryke attacked and as the blade fell Whiteblaze jumped to intercept the falling blade and took the hit instead. As the tiger landed Crys could clearly see the cut that had been made and could only wince at the viciousness of the slash.

As the Blood dripped Whiteblaze fell bellowing in pain. Ryo lost his interest in the battle with his friend down and it had seemed that Saber-Stryke had lost interest in the battle too. As Ryo went to his fallen friend Saber-Stryke spoke up.

"This battle is postponed in honor of your tiger that has shown such valor. We will continue this later Wildfire." As he vanished into the shadows Crys looked up and noticed several looks from the Ronin.

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