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Heir of Light

Chapter Text

BOOM

The sounds of a painful explosion, which was followed by a sickening crack; echoed throughout the once desolate forest. The force of such an explosion caused a massive billow of dirt and fragmented shards of trees to fly everywhere. As things began to settle down, the dirt cloud was slowly withdrawing; having revealed a rather deep crater. This sight was immediately followed by a small, pained groan. Without warning, a small gloved hand reached up from the crater; and with another groan, pulled themselves out from below.

The owner collapsed, sprawled out on their back; breathing heavily in a near haggard way. The owner, clearly male, was that of a seemingly ordinary sixteen-year-old boy. Rich, chocolate hair that was streaked with natural chestnut gold, fell to slender shoulders in messy spikes; framing a somewhat delicate face. Soft features that was highlighted with a creamy tan, and when his eyes opened, they shone a bright, oceanic blue. Sora Everheart reached up, shielding his sensitive eyes. Despite being in a great deal of pain, Sora's mind drifted over to what lead him here, to this precise moment.

Having spent a good deal of his childhood in the tropical paradise that was forever known as Destiny Islands; Sora enjoyed a peaceful life with his adoptive mother. Yes, you heard right, adoptive family. Sora was not from Destiny Islands, as he had just shown up one day after a meteor shower. Unfortunately, for Sora that is, he could not remember a thing prior to waking up on the sandy beach. During his childhood, Sora had become rather close with some of the other kids on the island; Selphie, Wakka and Tidus, and of course, Riku. Shortly after Sora turned six, there was another meteor shower; but this time, came the arrival of a girl known only as Kairi.

Riku...

Sora's cheeks heated slightly, as his blue eyes partially became glassy. He wasn't sure if anyone knew (and he hoped not!), but Sora did have a bit of a crush on the older teen. Wincing, he shook his head, trying to clear away his muddled thoughts. Right around the time that Riku started questioning things, life on the island took on a much darker tone. Sora's dreams were growing darker and more frightening, then those shadow creatures...all of this lead to the destruction of Destiny Islands. What hurt the most that he had been separated from Riku and Kairi.

And who knew what happened to the others.

When the island vanished, Sora found himself waking up in an ally on a world simply known as Traverse Town. While exploring this odd little place, Sora met and gained who would become close allies and friends. Even to this day, it still amazed Sora that there were so many worlds out there.

Cid Highwind ran one of the few shops that was available; he was also a pilot and mechanic. It turned out that he was trying to earn some extra cash so that he could fix his Gummi Ship and look for more survivors. Leon (who knew what his last name was), was a highly skilled swordsman. He was one of the few survivors who made it to Traverse Town when the shadows had first started attacking. You could say that Leon was one of the town protectors, along with Yuffie Kisaragi. Yuffie liked to claim that she was a ninja, but she also appeared to like shiny things as well.

Then there was Aerith Gainsborough, a sweet natured girl with a loving personality. While she wasn't much of a fighter, she was a gifted healer and did her best to keep everyone safe and in proper health. And last, but not least, was Merlin himself; a very powerful sorcerer who was more than happy to teach Sora magic.

Sora also wounded up meeting the two who would become his closest friends and allies; Donald Duck and Goofy. Donald, a white anthro duck was a pretty decent mage himself. Goofy, on the other hand (what was he, anyway?), was the captain of a legion of knights. And, although by looking at the unusual pair, you wouldn’t take them for a mage nor a knight.

Donald's outfit was quite simple, if not a little odd. He wore a pale blue shirt and a beret, however, both were lined with numerous zippers; and of course, thick and solid gold bands around his wrists. As for Goofy, his was just a bit more complicated. Goofy wore a green turtleneck complete with semi-baggy orange pockets, a black leather vest that sported a few pockets, oversized brown shoes (how he could still walk in those), and an orange pilots' cap with goggles. His faithful shield was carefully strapped against his back.

While he was happy to have made some new friends, and boy, were Donald and Goofy protective; not everyone was happy for him. In fact, when Sora ran across Riku again in the Third District, he had been stunned and hurt by the sudden hostility. It would appear that Riku had grown quite jealous of Donald and Goofy, but he also accused Sora for abandoning him and Kairi. It wasn't until a later date, where Sora discovered that Riku had been brainwashed by that blasted hag; a violent and powerful sorceress known only as Maleficent. Oh, how he hated her for poisoning his friend in such a manner. Even worse, Riku was now being possessed by a malevolent entity.

Sora grunted, shaking his head once more, before slowly getting to his feet. Now wasn't the time to daydream. He needed to find Donald and Goofy, not to mention finding out where they were. Sora looked around, only to see nothing but gnarled trees.

Huh.

"Help!"
...eh?

Sora whirled around, his eyes widening slightly as his ears twitched. He knew that cry, somewhere, somehow, Sora knew that Goofy was in trouble.

.-.-.-.

Peering from behind his shield, a very nervous Goofy gulped at what was happening around him. He winced as two dark creatures began to form; several of each, to be more precise, surrounding him on all sides. Oh man, he knew what they were; and there was no way that he could take them down by himself!

The first to form was a little over five feet in height, and humanoid in shape with broad shoulders and a muscular frame. Its jet black skin held a bluish tint, curved yet sharp purplish-blue horns, sharp claws for hands and talons for feet, small bat-wings jut out from its elbows, a heart-shaped hole in the chest, glowing golden eyes and was that fire underneath it?!

The Invisible.

The second creature resembled a large sphere, but its skin was jet black streaked with purplish-blue veins. Its jagged smile became a twisted grin as its tentacle-like ears flapped slightly; and it's poisonous yellow-gold eyes glowed with insatiable hunger.

The Dark Ball.

The Invisibles were gripping a blue, scalloped-style sword; their eyes locked onto the nervous knight. The Dark Balls were bouncing about as if excited for something; and Goofy had a sickening feeling on the reason. His ears perked slightly, barely catching a faint rustling from somewhere nearby. Tensing ever so slightly, Goofy's grasp over his shield tightened.

What if it was another one of them?
The rustling grew louder...

Without warning, an Invisible lunged for Goofy, who jerked back in shock with a high-pitched yelp. The sudden movement and loss of balance, had cost the knight greatly. His grasp over the shield had loosened and it clattered uselessly to the ground. Goofy's dark eyes closed as he braced for the brutal impact that would take his life, only...it never came.

...huh?

Goofy's eyes snapped open after hearing the startling sounds of metal on metal. "Sora!" He cried, sounding relieved by the sight of the teen. Sora's eyes were hard, as he stopped the deadly blow with his own sword. Strangely enough, it resembled a giant, golden handle, key-shaped sword.

The legendary Kingdom Keyblade.

Sora's icy blue eyes glared at the Invisible, gritting his teeth. "Back off now," He hissed, tightening his hold. He then went and something unsuspecting. Sora jumped up and actually kicks the darkling away; sending it flying back. Sora then looked from the Keyblade to the group, before a smirk graced his lips.

Oh?

Sora grinned widely as a crimson mist began to seep from his very form. Before Goofy could even react, much less blink, Sora's slender frame became nothing more than pure energy. And that same red energy darted between each Invisible and Dark Ball in a zigzag manner, before Sora reappeared behind the pack; having knelt as he landed.

For a moment, nothing happened.

Then, one-by-one, the Invisibles and Dark Balls burst into purplish-black wisps. At the same time, crystallized red hearts flew into the air; disappearing from view. Sora straightened himself, before turning to Goofy as the Keyblade returned to Sora's soul once more. His blue eyes softened; scanning the knight for any possible injuries.

"You okay?" His voice soft and gentle.

Goofy nodded, before stopping himself as he gave Sora a surprisingly stern look. "What about you?" He shot back, hotly before his eyes narrowed slightly as he put his hands on his hips. "And don't even think about lying to me," He continued, his voice stern. Sora felt his cheeks heat up and he looked away in embarrassment.

"I'm fine," He mumbled.

Suddenly, a sharp pain shot through his chest, and Sora soon found himself bent over. Goofy was alarmed when the small boy started coughing violently, it was a low and wet sound, too. After one last wet cough, the pain receded and Sora was left gasping. The brunette looked down at his gloved hand, grimacing at the sight of red stained fingers. He lowered his hand, slipping it out of view; but not before Goofy saw the blood.

"Sora..."

Goofy sounded exasperated with the kid, causing Sora to lower his head in shame. He knew why the knight was irritated with his answer. Truth be told, Sora wasn't exactly in what you would call peak of health. When he first came to Destiny Islands, no one knew just how sick he really was. And it wasn’t until he was subjected to a battery of tests that the doctors learned just what was ailing the tiny boy. Let's just say this earned him more than a few protectors.

"So," Sora said, sounding awkward as he hastily wiped the blood off grimacing as it was smeared across the black cloth that was his jacket. "Have you seen Donald?" Goofy shook his head, mumbling something about being low on stock, when an explosion sounded off in the near distance. The two exchanged looks, and shook their heads with a smile.

"Donald," They said as one.

As they headed in the direction of the explosion, the two soon became lost in their own darkening thoughts. Goofy kept glancing worriedly at Sora, his eyes never missing the pained grimaces or the fact that Sora kept rubbing at his chest. When he had first met the young boy, he had found Sora to be incredibly sweet, if not a little clumsy. But, two years of constant hardships and battles had taken its toll on Sora; and Goofy wondered if that sweet boy was still there...

After awhile, the duo entered a small clearing, just in time to see several wisps of darkness disappearing. Donald lowered his staff with a snort, a smug gleam within his eyes; before turning slightly in their direction. Upon seeing the two, Donald relaxed. "Finally!" He grumbled, he was annoyed with everything, but happy to see that they were alright. "Where were you two, anyway?" Sora shifted as Goofy looked away, neither of them would look at Donald; making the mage highly suspicious. He wasn't blind, he did raise his three nephews after all; so his eyes immediately zeroed in on Sora, only to see the faint traces of blood along the boy's jacket.

Not again.

PAIN!

Feeling a lightning bolt of pain striking his heart, Sora grunted, one hand automatically reaching up to his chest as he fell to one knee. As his hand fell over his heart, a dark reddish-pink light began to filter through his fingers; the light pulsing weakly. Underneath the pain, Sora sensed an underlining of worry and alarm. Something...something wasn't right here.

But what?

/"I'd run, if I were you."/
...huh?

Sora grimaced at the sound of a silky voice, unknown and yet, familiar at the same time. Wait a minute! He could clearly sense Donald and Goofy, but there was another presence nearby, someone who harbored malicious intent for the trio. Then that meant...

...oh-no...

"Look out!" Sora yelled, his voice panicked.

Donald and Goofy were shocked, but before the duo could even react, a large gust of wind swept through; sending the two spiraling deeper into the woods. Within moments, Sora was left in the clearing; alone and in a great deal of pain.

"Hello, Sora."

Flinching at the sound of the rich, smooth voice, Sora slowly lifted his head; watching as a familiar figure approached him. It was a man that appeared to be in his early to mid twenties with a lithe, yet muscular frame. His handsome features were accented by his naturally tanned skin, shocking silver hair that was partially styled back and cruel red-orange eyes. And what he wore, would leave anyone hot and bothered. A partially buttoned white leather jacket, black leather pants and knee high leather boots, a black sleeved white leather trench coat, and white leather elbow length gloves.

There was a most unusual mark that stood out against his tanned skin. It was a black heart outlined in crimson red, with a thin and jagged red 'x' going through it. Hold on, didn’t Jiminy's journal; when it recorded those reports, that only the artificial Heartless bore that mark? Then, did that mean that the man was...?

"Ansem," Sora murmured, his voice soft. The light that was coming from his heart, flickered ominously and for the briefest of moments, his blue eyes flashed the poisonous yellow-gold of the darkness. "It would appear," Ansem mused, his voice soft as silk. "That our paths have once again, crossed."

/"Duck."/

E-eh?

Sora dove to his right, barely avoiding the shadow claw that had been aimed at his head. It quickly sank into the ground, vanishing from sight. However, he could not relax and was soon forced to be on defense. Pillars of dark purplish-black energy was rapidly forming around the stunned brunette. Sora had to keep jumping around, to avoid being electrocuted; as something told him that being hit by the cackling flames would mean bad business.

/"Y'know, I can stop this."/

Hm?
That voice again...

Sora gritted his teeth, deciding to ignore the voice; only to learn that was not a good idea. As he kept dodging, a streak of dark energy grazed his right leg; sending painful shocks through the affected limb. He could vaguely hear the voice sigh as a faint sense of annoyance filtered through. Just as a wave of dizziness struck him, Sora felt an iciness wash over him. He grew alarmed as something settled in his very soul, keeping him trapped in his mind. Sora was now a mere passenger within his own body. Strangely enough, he could feel a ghostly caress of his right cheek as if someone was standing in front of him.

/"Relax, Sora,"/ The voice whispered, oddly soothing. Despite his fear and the constant pain; which was slowly growing numb with each passing second, Sora found himself relaxing into the gentle touch. /"Just leave everything to me..."/ The voice promised. A soft whimper escaped Sora, as his eyes slowly closed. He couldn't help with what was happening, and he just felt so tired. Sora unwillingly gave in, and slipped into blissful darkness.

And knew no more.

.-.-.-.

Hidden deep within the mountains of China, laid a village that was untouched by time and man. The villagers enjoyed their peaceful lives, yet mindful of the world outside their home, and like so many; they enjoyed the world wide sport that was Beyblade. Today, however, would be a day that the villagers would forever remember.

Without warning, the once crystal blue skies grew dark and stormy as ominous clouds gathered overhead; blue lightning shooting across the now darkened skies. The villagers looked up, surprised by the abrupt change of weather. Even the air felt oppressive to them, as if cackling with some sort of mystical energy...

"Look!"

To the shock of everyone, bright shimmering blue lights were falling from the ominous skies. This was rather curious, was this odd event perhaps a meteor shower? No, this wasn't what was making the villagers nervous. Oh no, it was the sight of a rather large object that was spiraling towards the village.

BOOM

Several people winced at the sickening sound of something heavy colliding with the unforgiving ground. Thankfully, for them anyway, the object landed somewhere outside the village. Several of the Elders, who had witnessed the event, issued orders to some of their best fighters to find out what had struck and if possible; bring it back. A few moments later, five men left for the crash site. It took some time, but the men were soon running back; but they were not alone. Several young mothers, who had seen the men, felt a spark of rage at what they saw.

A child.
A heavily injured child, to be more precise.

Elder Wong urged the man who was carrying the child, to follow along and the two hurried over to the Healer Cheng's hut. Many wondered who this child was, and what could have injured them so badly.

.-.-.-.

Healer Mai Cheng looked up curiously; her once shiny green hair now streaked with silver, startled when Elder Wong and another male villager brought in an injured child. Her amethyst eyes zeroed in on the little one, before her eyes turned cold and her lips thinned with displeasure.

"Put him down on the cot," She barked, before turning to her counter. As the villager laid the child down, Elder Wong saw that she was indeed correct on the child's gender. Although feminine in appearance, the child was quite male. And he was young, very young; not even six winters.

Scattered among Cheng's counters were rolls of bandages, some gauze pads, salves and herbal remedies, bowls of various sizes, as well as knives and a mortar/pestle set. She picked up one of the bowls, filled it with cool water; before grabbing some clean washing cloth, then turned to her patient.

Elder Wong dismissed the villager, before looking expectantly to one of their best healers. As an elder, and a member of the council; he must be able to protect the village at all costs. But, as he watched her work, he wondered if he was getting paranoid in his old age. Cheng gently washed the blood away from the child's face, she found him to be quite cute. A sweet, round face which was just beginning to sharpen, wild inky black hair, a small nose and full lips, and long dark eyelashes framed the closed, almond shaped eyes. She raised an eyebrow, realizing that the boy was mumbling something.

"Rei...Rei...Rei..."

Oh?

Hearing a soft clink, Cheng looked down, only to see a bulge in the boy's right pocket. She also saw a rather nasty looking burn against his leg. Curious as to what it was, she reached down with a free hand, and carefully pulled out what was hiding. Much to her curiosity, she wound up pulling out a single vial of a bright greenish-blue liquid and a simple black band that sported three dull marbles. Picking up the vial, she inspected it; seeing that the label was nothing more than a fiery silver ball. Oh, squinting she saw that there was some writing underneath the picture. There, in tiny yet elegant script were the words Elixir. Popping the cork off, revealed that it smelled like one of her herbal remedies.

Hm...

Getting an idea, Cheng set the now red tinted cloth down. She then gently lifted the boy's chin, making sure that his mouth was opened; before tipping the vials contents into his mouth. She was then quick to massage his throat, allowing him to swallow the liquid. Moments later, the boy twitched, before his eyes slowly opened.

Pure yellow-gold eyes.

Blinking owlishly, the boy stared blankly at them before he was up on his feet, backing against the wall; his pupils slowly thinning into slits. "Who are you?" He demanded, flashing a set of fangs. "And where am I?"

The two elders exchanged looks, as if silently discussing something; earning an annoyed look from the boy. He had a feeling that they were talking about him, and sure enough; the two adults turned back to him, the woman sighing. "I am Healer Mai Cheng, and with me is Elder Wong," She said quietly, gesturing to herself and the man next to her.

"You are currently in my hut," Cheng continued, her voice soft as if to reassure the boy. "And our village is known as the White Tiger." The boy, whose breathing had grown frantic from fear, was slowly ceasing as he relaxed; if only slightly. "Now," She knelt down before him, her purple eyes gentle; and was pleased to see that he was coming out of his feral state.

"Who are you?"

The boy stopped, looking confused, before his eyes widen in shock as he realized something. Who was he? Turning pale from the implications, he looked up with wide, frightened eyes; tears beginning to form. "I-I don't remember..." He stammered, trembling as the two adults exchanged swift looks; startled by the admission.

"I-I can't remember anything..."

.-.-.-.

In the end, the council decided to grant the amnesic boy a citizen's status. In fact, it was Healer Cheng who christened the boy Reiki 'Rei' Kon. Rei soon became friends with Healer Cheng's and Elder Wong's grandchildren; Kevin Cheng, Lee and Mariah Wong, and another boy named Gary Tan. And it wasn't long before they were a tight pack, always looking out for each other; especially so after the other kids learned about Rei's past and health.

And so, a new chapter in Rei's life is about to begin...

Chapter Text

It had been roughly ten years since that meteor shower occurred, ten years since the amnesic boy known as Rei Kon, came to their little village. The now sixteen-year-old boy stood at a height of five foot ten with a slender, yet muscular frame; and his beauty (which Healer Cheng found cute), only grew. And sadly, this brought about something that everyone with common sense would fear...fan girls/boys!

Rei's wild inky hair had grown considerably, and no one really had the heart to cut his silky locks. So, his hair was kept in an ankle length ponytail; bound by simple white cloth. Thick spikes framed his delicate face, which was accented by a light sun-kissed tan, and almond shaped, pure yellow-golden eyes. Much like the villagers, Rei wore clothes that were traditional, yet stylish; for now, anyway. He wore a short sleeved, gold trimmed white shirt, black kung-fu style pants, black fighting slippers, a crimson silk sash was tied around his waist, fingerless crimson gloves and a crimson headband which held up his spiky locks. His gloves and headband bore the infamous yin-yang symbol.

As of right now, Rei was lounging about in a clearing; sitting on one of the many branches of a large tree that overlooked the area. His eyes were closed and he appeared to be asleep. Down below in the clearing, were several children trying to train with their Beyblades. Despite the noise going on below, Rei did not move; and unknown to the kids, he was wide awake, but lost in his own troubling thoughts.

Shortly after Healer Cheng had christened him his name, she went and did a full medical check on him; much to his annoyance. What she found had appalled her greatly, even the council had been stunned into silence by the test results. Cheng was horrified and furious to find that Rei was suffering from a partially weakened bone structure (early malnourishment, perhaps?), slight nerve damage that had been done to his right leg, and a weakened immune system. With such a weakened body, it was a miracle that he could handle Beyblade.

Anyway...

After the health evaluation, Rei had been taken in by another village elder. It was a peaceful life, he had to admit; although, he had to sneak away at times. What? He found those orbs after he was taken in, and somewhere in his soul, Rei knew that he had to train in using them; especially after activating them for the first time.

And so he did.
And mastered all three by his fourteenth year.

"Rei! Hey, Rei!"

...hm?

"Wake up!"

Rei's eyes slowly opened, and he yawned as he sat up on the branch. Stretching a bit, Rei looked down, and raised an eyebrow at the sight of his best friend; Lee Wong. Lee was only a year younger than Rei himself, but was obviously more muscular. His shaggy, dirty black hair was partially tied back, broader features, tanner skin and warm copper brown eyes.

While his style was similar to Rei's, there was a great difference between the two. Lee wore a short sleeved, opened green trimmed yellow shirt, black kung-fu style pants, black fighting slippers and a white sash was tied around his waist. There were even bandages wrapped around his arms and legs. "I had a feeling that you would be here," Lee teased, looking up; shielding his eyes as he did so. His smile slowly faded when he saw that Rei's eyes were suddenly glassy and he was looking at Lee kinda funny. Unknown to Lee, Rei wasn’t seeing him, but that of a rather pretty red-head with dark blue eyes.

"I knew that I'd find you snoozing down here."

"Rei?" Lee called softly, worried about the older boy. For a moment, nothing happened, then Rei shook his head as his eyes regained their natural hue; much to Lee's relief. Rei grimaced, reaching up to his now aching temples. "You okay?" Lee asked gently, once Rei was safely on the ground. He checked his friend over carefully, before realization dawned on him.

"Did you just remember something?"

Another surge of pain, and a soft hiss escaped Rei. "Not sure," He rasped, trying to force the pain back. Slowly, the pain died down to a dull ache, and Rei was able to focus on Lee once more. "Anyway," He mumbled, hoping that Lee wouldn't pry further. Lee raised an eyebrow, but wisely kept silent, for now anyway. He would confront Rei about this later, but for now, there was something else that needed to be addressed. "I can't believe that you forgot," He scolded, his voice light and teasing. Blinking owlishly, Rei tilted his head, still confused. Lee snickered at the adorable look, and Rei huffed, looking away in annoyance. "Today is the day that the council assigns the spirits!" Rei stopped, looking back at Lee with a startled gaze.

Spirits...

That's right.
How did I forget that was today?

The spirits, or Bit Beasts, were ancient beings that took on the form of various animals. It was rare to even see one, much less having one as a guardian. Luckily, the village had not one, but five. Rei gave a slight smile and a soft laugh as his friend proceeded to drag him to the Councilmen. And of course, in the Councilor’s Lodge, were their friends; all waiting impatiently. Time had been good to them, especially Kevin.

Mariah was a bit tall for her age, but shapely and well-toned muscles. Her long, dark pink hair was tied back into a high ponytail; held up by a pink ribbon that made it look like she had cat ears. Her skin was just as tanned as her brother’s, her features just a bit more sharper, and the same copper brown eyes. Her style was simple, yet it reflected her fierce personality. Mariah wore a sleeveless, pale pink GI that was trimmed in dark pink, pale pink boots, fingerless dark pink gloves, and a gold band around her upper right arm. It was clear to anyone who saw her, on what her favorite color was.

Kevin was the youngest of their team, but at least he wasn't short anymore! His dark emerald hair was swept over one eye; and styled into a short ponytail, slightly pale skin and round features, and his grandmother's intense purple eyes. Kevin wore a short sleeved, pale blue shirt with a sleeveless dark blue trimmed, deep blue shirt over it, dark blue shorts, dark brown boots and fingerless dark blue gloves. Gary was a year older than Rei himself, and it was clear by his size. He was extremely muscular with lightly tanned skin, a short dark mohawk and squinty eyes. His choice of style was simple, yet comfortable. Gary wore a short sleeved orange shirt, a forest green vest and kung-fu style pants, a rope-like belt, black boots and a pair of black wrist bands.

Hearing the door opening, Mariah turned with a scowl upon her face and her hands on her hips as she saw her brother drag in her crush. "Honestly," She snapped. "You two are late!" Lee released Rei, rubbing the back of his neck in a sheepish manner as Rei looked embarrassed by the sudden scolding. Mariah rolled her eyes, turning away with a snort. "Boys," She grumbled, but she sounded amused.

Heh, heh...

Hiding his smile, Rei went over to Gary; his attention locking onto the council of elders, who were sitting at the head table. Laying on the table before them, sat five tiny disks. Each disk was etched with a single animal: leopard, spider monkey, grizzly bear, mountain lion and a siberian tiger.

Elder Wong picked up the disk with the leopard and handed it over to Mariah. The girl cheerfully inserted the disk into her pink-and-white beyblade. She watched as the disk glowed softly, before the image changed. It now showed the leopard wearing sky blue armored breastplate and green armored bands around the forelegs. "Gaulx..." She whispered, pleased with her new guardian.

Kevin was immediately given the monkey, and he inserted the disk into his lavender-and-yellow beyblade. The disk glowed a soft yellow, before the image changed. The monkey was definitely bigger and more aggressive looking with an armored horned helmet. Blood red gauntlets adorned the wrists, and what appeared to be a thin, armored band around the forehead. "Galman, huh?" Kevin mused, his eyes alight with mischief. Gary was then given the bear, and he inserted the disk into his red-and-blue beyblade. The disk glowed a soft red, before the image changed. The bear was now standing on its hind legs, somehow more muscular and dangerous looking. Dark crimson armor decorated its arms and heads; its paws ending in some massive claws.

"Galzzly..." Gary rumbled, pleased.

Now for the final choice.
The lion and tiger.

Lee was hoping for the tiger, as he spent his entire childhood training to be the leader, but was shocked into silence by the council's decision. To his shock and hurt, he was given the lion. He reluctantly inserted the disk into his black-and-grey beyblade. The disk glowed a wicked black, before the image changed. The lion was now more feral looking with a flaming white mane and tail. Golden armor decorated its face and front paws; the armor shaped like lightning. As Elder Wong handed him the tiger disk, Rei felt a silver of unease as his eyes traveled over to where a sullen Lee was. He knew just how much Lee had desired the tiger spirit, and how long the younger boy had trained into being the leader; but it seems it was all for naught.

The disk glowed an eerie green, and the image slowly changed before his eyes. The tiger, a white tiger, was much bigger than before; and the stripes were longer and more jagged in shape. Golden armor adorned its shoulders, a band around the forehead, armored bands around the front paws and an armored tail.

"Driger..."
Then Rei realized something.

The spirit guardians all matched up with their new owners. Mariah was fierce and swift on her feet, Kevin was mischievous and hyper, Gary was strong and sturdy, and Lee; while strong, was fairly aggressive. But, why was Rei given the tiger? He honestly didn't believe that he deserved such an honor...

.-.-.-.

So cold...

Shuddering violently, Rei came around with a pained grunt. His eyes fluttered wildly, before they opened, glazed from a mixture of sleep and fear. It took him a few moments as his eyes adjusted to the darkness of his room, and he was soon left staring up at his wooden ceiling with weariness. His mind clouded from the frightening nightmare; which was already beginning to fade, something continued to nag at him.

Huh?

As if sensing something, Rei slowly crawled out of bed, still in his night clothes; and padded over to an opened window, looking outside with wide eyes. Strange, dark purplish-black clouds were beginning to gather ominously over the village; bright blue lightning crackling across the deadly skies.

Oh no...

His fear rising at the sight of such darkness, Rei knew that he needed to leave; and fast. Rei bit his lip, his eyes dim with remorse, but he quickly shook it off as the lightning continued to rage above the village. Sighing, Rei scrambled about, changing out of his night clothes into his regular outfit; before grabbing a bag from his closet. Rei proceeded to throw in some extra clothes, a well stocked first-aid kit, a modified belt, a small tool kit, some ration bars and a small pile of money. He grabbed his Beyblade, slipped it into his pocket, then took a traveling cloak and ran for it.

I'm sorry, but I can't stay here.
Please forgive me.

.-.-.-.

About two weeks later, Rei found himself living in Beijing, while renting a crappy one bedroom apartment and working as a stock boy in a small store. Unknown to him, this very day was going to be rather special. Today, Rei Kon was going to be getting a blast from the past. Placing a heavy crate; that held dozens of glass bottles full of who knew what, down, Rei reached up and wiped the sweat away. At the same time, he saw that his shift had been over for some time. Oh well, guess he lost track while working. Grabbing his bag, Rei paid for a cold bottle of water. And after waving at some of the other workers, he took off for a nearby park.

Taking a sip of water, Rei stopped as he came to a halt just outside of an alleyway. For some reason, he could sense a faint energy coming from the alleyway. And oddly enough, the energy felt familiar to him, almost too familiar. Capping the bottle, Rei looked down at the alleyway with a frown. Seeing that no one was looking, Rei darted down the alleyway, and about halfway down the path, he was stunned by what he found.

Kids.
Two boys and a girl.

Rei got closer, and knelt down; checking for a pulse. Luckily, they were alright, just out cold for some reason. He sat back, his yellow-gold eyes scanning them carefully, noting that one boy was slightly older than him, while the other two were roughly his age. The lone girl was slender with a toned frame, dark chocolate hair fell to her shoulders in thick curls, soft features and lightly tanned skin. He noted the simple yellow sundress and brown sandals; hm, definitely not a local, then. His attention was then drawn to the younger boy.

The younger boy was tall and built like a swimmer. Short, yet messy, bleached blond spikes surrounded a youthful face and sun-kissed skin. His clothing was quite odd, too. There was no shirt, but a short yellowed sleeved black leather jacket, dark jean shorts and black leather shoes. Rei’s sharp eyes caught a flicker of silver gleaming in one ear; an earring, seriously? The last male was definitely older, perhaps a year or two? Only, this guy was bigger and more muscular than the blond. He had shocking, unruly flaming orange hair, sharp features and lightly tanned skin. Even his clothes were odd, just like the other two. He wore a sleeveless white shirt, somewhat baggy orange pants and dark brown sandals.

Funny.
It felt like he knew them.

Without warning, the girl let out a soft groan, twitching slightly. Rei stood up and backed off as the girl began to regain consciousness. Soon, her eyes were opening, revealing soft emerald green irises. Her green eyes traveled upwards, and met his yellow-gold ones before letting out a startled yelp and backed away. Her yelp awoke her two companions with a start, and soon, the blond was up and glaring at him.

"Who the hell are you?" The blond snapped, bright blue eyes glaring at him. The orange haired male helped the brunette to her feet, and the girl was looking at Rei kinda funny. Her green eyes scanned him carefully, taking in every inch of his features, before realization dawned on her; as if she couldn't believe it.

"S-Sora?" She stammered.

Eh?

The two boys looked at their friend, as if stunned by the sudden question. "Sora," The girl breathed. "Is that really you?" Rei frowned, suddenly unsure as his eyes darted to the side. The two boys exchanged looks before looking back at Rei with weariness. "Selphie," The blond said slowly, after giving the dark haired teen a brief glance. "Are you sure that's Sora?" The brunette, now identified as Selphie, nodded; looking oddly pleased. "There's no doubt about it, Tidus," She insisted, giving Rei a warm smile, her eyes bright with joy. "That is Sora!" The orange haired boy looked at Rei a bit more closely, before seeing the similarities and paled slightly. The boy was indeed Sora, just older and the coloring was all wrong; but that was Sora standing in front of them.

Looking utterly confused.

"D-Do I know you?" Rei rasped, his unease easily reflecting in his eyes as he shifted about. At this, all three stopped, looking at him in shock. "That's not funny," Selphie said, her voice tight. "Is this a joke, Sora?" Tidus demanded. The orange haired boy, who had been silent, looked Rei straight in the eye, before his doe brown eyes softened. "You don't remember us, do ya?"

His cheeks pink, Rei shyly shook his head. "I'm sorry," He murmured, feeling bad as the girl and blond looked upset. "But, I can't remember anything before I was six." At this painful admission, all three flinched as they realized the implications of his seemingly innocent words. "Just like Kairi," The orange haired boy mused, before sighing as he gave Rei a look of understanding. "Guess you would like to know our names, huh?" His voice light, but heavily accented.

That would help.

"De name is Wakka," The orange haired boy introduced himself, before looking to his companions with a fond smile. "Dat be Tidus," He gestured to the blond, who looked embarrassed about something. "And dat dere is Selphie," He grinned as Selphie giggled, giving Rei a sweet smile; who turned pink.

Rei looked them over, before making his decision. He gestured for them to follow, and he lead them to the park that he had been heading for earlier. Along the way, Wakka and Tidus told Rei about their favorite sport known as Blitzball; and Selphie rolled her eyes in fondness as the two boys were excited. And in return, Rei told them all that he knew about Beyblade, and the ancient guardians known as Bit Beasts. Once at the park; where there were several bey-dishes scattered about, the group sat underneath a grand tree. The trio were amazed and awed at being in another world, having no idea that Riku had been right about the idea of there being other worlds. However, before anyone could even relax, a group of younger kids ran up to them.

Oh?

One kid held up a plain maroon Beyblade, looking eager. "Which one of you Beyblades?" His voice full of excitement. Rei raised an eyebrow, somewhat annoyed by the interruption, before he stood up. "That would be me," He said quietly, yet firmly. The kid grinned, looking oddly smug for some reason. "Then, I challenge you to a match!"

Rei tilted his head.

You're funeral kid.

The two, along with everyone else, went over to one of the bey-dishes; and luckily, this one was free. The two got into position, the kid's maroon versus Rei's silver-and-white one. The islanders were curious about the game, and the boys were curious if it was as exciting as Blitzball. Well, they were about to find out.

3...2...1...Let 'er rip!

The two Beyblades clashed furiously, sending sparks with each collision. Rei rolled his eyes, looking bored as the younger kids grew frustrated. "Come on!" The kid who was challenging him. "Take me seriously!" Rei's yellow-gold eyes narrowed slightly as one pupil thinned into a slit, and spoke a single word; which sent chills down everyone’s spine.

"Driger."

His Beyblade lit up with an eerie green light, and everyone stared in shock at the sight of a massive tiger hovering over Rei's Beyblade. "Holy...!" One kid yelled. "He's got a bit-beast!" Another squealed. Rei's Beyblade suddenly vanished, and for a moment, nothing happened. Then, without warning, the kid's Beyblade was thrown out of the dish, and shattered upon impact. Rei's Beyblade reappeared, and flew back into Rei's hand. At the same time, the bey-dish shuddered, before cracking in half. Rei looked from the damaged bey-dish to his Beyblade and back again; his eyes wide with shock. This was the first time that he had truly called on Driger, and boy, did the tiger spirit pack a punch.

"Sora," Selphie's voice drifted through the shocked boy's mind. "What's that by your feet?" Blinking owlishly, Rei came out of his daze, and looked down. Much to his curiosity, there, resting by his feet, was a small orb. Bending down, he picked it up; inspecting it carefully. There, barely visible in the dull orb, was what appeared to be a witch's hat.

Somehow, he knew the name of said orb.

The Black Mage.

Shaking his head, he pocketed the orb before hearing soft clapping. Curious, he turned and was surprised to see an elderly man walking towards the four. The man was wearing a gray business suit, bowler hat and a cane. The man's bushy gray mustache twitched slightly as he smiled kindly at them. "Tell me, young man," He began, looking to a curious Rei. "Are you, by any chance, Reiki Kon?" Rei flushed at the sound of his full first name, earning amused looks from the islanders. Still pink, Rei shyly nodded as the man smiled. "My name is Stanley Dickenson," The man started as Rei looked up sharply. "Mr. Dickenson...as in the head of the Beyblade Federation Association?" The man nodded, amused when Rei looked quite excited by the news, his eyes full of amazement and awe.

"I would like for you to join the team that we're planning on," Dickenson said calmly. Rei stopped, suddenly thoughtful about this. Something deep down was urging him to accept the invite, but...? "I'll go," He said quietly as he looked to the islanders with a faint smile. "So long as they can come." The trio perked up, looking hopeful as Mr. Dickenson looked thoughtful. After awhile, the man smiled and nodded in agreement. "Where are we going, sir?" Selphie asked, her voice curious.

"Seaside City, Japan."

Chapter Text

Seaside City, Japan

"Come on, Tyson!"

A rather peevish looking young boy was dragging a slightly older boy behind him. "I can't believe that you made us late!" He continued, as they hurried through the halls of the stadium. Oh, they should've been there over an hour ago, and now, the round would be ending any minute!

Despite his small size, he was actually twelve. His thick auburn hair hung over his eyes in an unruly mess, lightly tanned skin and oddly enough, large coke bottle glasses. His style was simple, yet geeky; and it suited him just fine. He wore a short sleeved white shirt, a green tie, dark gray shorts and shiny black shoes. His name was Kenny, but everyone just called him 'chief'. Hidden within his trusty laptop was a spirit guardian; Dizzaga, or 'Dizzy' as he called her. No one knew what type of guardian she was, as she never came out.

His good friend, Tyson Granger, was a bit pudgy for being thirteen. His dark blue hair was tied back into a simple ponytail, naturally tanned skin, round features, and warm navy blue eyes. For him, Tyson preferred a short sleeved yellow shirt, a white trimmed red jacket, blue jean shorts, fingerless elbow length brown gloves, red-and-white sneakers and a red baseball cap.

Finally swallowing the last of his sandwich, Tyson pulled himself free from the younger boy's grasp (who was surprisingly strong). "Ease up, chief!" He pouted as Kenny sent him a dirty look. Honestly, how hard was it for someone to call him by his name? After walking down the seemingly endless hallway, the two finally reached the correct arena. Unfortunately, Kenny had been correct on his assessment of their lateness. Block A was just finishing up as they entered. His eyes cleverly hidden behind his glasses, scanned those of Block A; only recognizing one.

Not good.

Leaning against the railing, Tyson tightened his grasp as his blue eyes scanned the group. Almost immediately, he was drawn to an older boy. And judging by his strong features, Tyson estimated him to either be a local, or perhaps from China. It was the sight of those eyes, that made him shiver; honestly, who had such yellow-gold eyes, anyway?

Wait a minute...

No way...!

Down below, there was a flash of bright green light, and for a moment, nothing happened. Then, without warning, every Beyblade was thrown from the dish, leaving only one; a silver-and-white. The lone Beyblade launched itself into the air, and was grabbed by the strange teen that Tyson had been watching.

"That's Reiki Kon," Kenny murmured.
...oh?

Tyson looked down at Kenny with a raised eyebrow, surprised by what the younger boy had said. "You know him?" Tyson questioned, gesturing to the unknown teen. Kenny frowned, shaking his head. "Only by reputation," He admitted. The younger boy shuddered, as if something frightening just came to him. "He's an up and coming fighter from China," Kenny continued. "And he's one of China's strongest players," He looked up at Tyson with worry. The bluenette looked at the older teen with wide eyes as Kenny's warning registered with him.

As if sensing them, Reiki looked up and straight at them; those eerie yellow-gold eyes seemed to glow with an inner fire. Reiki gazed at them for a moment, before his lips curled into a smirk and he disappeared into the shadows.

Damn.

.-.-.-.

Max vs. Kai

Standing at the dish, and fiddling around with the necklace that his mother gave him, thirteen-year-old Max Tate, was nervous and uneasy with his match. Sure, he may have just moved here not that long ago, but even he knew that going against Kai was bad news!

Max brushed a lock of shocking golden blond hair from his pale face; blue eyes dim. His clothes reflected his bright and cheerful personality. Max wore a bright green tee-shirt with neon orange overalls, neon green socks with bright orange sneakers, and green wristbands. His necklace, which had a green disk in it, and on it, was etched out in purple, a dark armored purple turtle.

Oh man.

Why did I have to get Kai Hitawari as my opponent? Max whined, his mind a jumbled mess as he thought about his strategy. Thirteen-year-old Kai Hitawari was tall for his age, with dark blue-and-blue gray tones, naturally pale skin and eerie red wine eyes. There was even a set of blue slashes across each cheek. And unlike many boys his age, Kai was quite muscular. As for his choice of outfits; it was a sleeveless and semi tight black shirt, slightly baggy blue jeans, black combat boots, metal armbands and a long, white scarf around his neck.

3...2...1...Let 'er rip!

As the two duked it out, high above in the stands, sat Mr. Dickenson, along with Rei and the islanders. Rei had almost immediately dozed off, and could you blame him for that? Ever since Rei left the village, he hadn't been getting a whole lot of sleep. The three misplaced islanders, on the other hand? They were curious and very eager to see the match. Selphie inspected the two carefully, before nodding as she faced her companions. "Who do you think will win?" She asked curiously. Tidus and Wakka exchanged looks, before shrugging. Suddenly, Rei's eyes snapped open and he abruptly sat up, his yellow-gold eyes reflecting his interest.

Looking upwards, Rei raised an eyebrow, surprised by what he saw, hovering over Max's green Beyblade. A large, armored turtle could be seen within the purple light. So, Max had a guardian spirit of his own, hm? Rei was rather interested, as he could sense the power coming from the turtle spirit, as well as the sense of the ocean.

How odd.

Looking towards Kai, Rei also sensed a powerful spirit on the younger boy. Unfortunately, for Max, that is, Kai was the stronger opponent. "Kai will," He said quietly. As Kai's Beyblade made mincemeat out of Max's, a sudden and most curious sensation washed over him. And the sensation was something that left Rei a bit unnerved.

Hunger.

Shaking his head, Rei saw that Kai had beaten Max, and was walking away. He sighed, rubbing the bridge of his nose. Well, it looked like he was going to be going against Tyson. And whoever won that, would be the one to face Kai.

Why am I getting a bad feeling about this?

.-.-.-.

Later that very night, Max, Kenny and Tyson were celebrating at a spa that was frequented by Tyson's family; and no wonder. The spa was set at the edge of the city, with a surrounding forest; making this the perfect spot for relaxation. "Man," Tyson sighed as they climbed into the hot spring. "Am I glad that we came here." As he slid down in the water, enjoying the lovely steam, Max let out a sudden yelp; practically jumping to his feet. "Something bit me!" He cried. Kenny raised an eyebrow, giving the blond a strange look. "Max," He said slowly. "The temperature of the water is far too hot for anything to survive." Max sent him a dirty look, as if annoyed by the sudden lecture, and slowly; almost reluctantly, joined them.

Without warning, there came a sudden flash of purplish light; from behind the springs and towards the woods. The three exchanged looks, before they were out of the springs, and peering over the edge of the fence. All three were shocked by the sight of what they found.

It was Rei.
But something wasn't right.

Rei stood there, a set of trees behind him; a shimmering light flickered ominously before it was gone. Rei, for some reason, seemed unusually pale, and his long inky hair shadowed his face, but that wasn't what got their attention. Oh no, not by a long shot. From where the trio were watching, they could see strange purplish-black markings slowly etching themselves into Rei's left arm. The teen silently lifted the afflicted limb, and they could see that his nails were slowly lengthening; becoming more clawlike as a purplish wisp could be seen rising from his arm. As if realizing that he was being watched, Rei’s attention was immediately drawn to where they were.

Eep!

The three dove back for the spring, shaking from the sudden encounter. Tyson was left with some disturbing thoughts as he recalled Rei's eyes. Gone was the pupil, leaving behind solid yellow-gold eyes, and something else that he recognized only too well.

Hunger.

.-.-.-.

Rei vs. Tyson

The next day was the second half of the semi-finals, and it was Reiki Kon vs. Tyson Granger. The crowd was excited for this match, as the next day would be the finals; and the one who would be crown Japan's strongest Beyblader! "Making his way through the tournament," Jazzman; a rather odd and cheerful man who was the tournament's announcer. "Is our new rookie, Tyson!" Tyson walked out into the arena, waving cheerfully as the crowd cheered. He had a rather smug expression, probably expecting to win. "And his opponent, the dynamite, Rei!"

Rei silently entered, and strangely enough, his left arm was bound in bandages (at least, from the elbows on down); and the crowd was amused when he yawned. A large teardrop appeared on the back of Tyson's head as he fell over in a rather comical fashion. "What was that for?!" Tyson demanded, his voice having a slight whine to it.

Two Beyblades clashed curiously; one silver and the other a cream color, the collision caused sparks to fly between the two. Tyson was scowling as he realized that Rei wasn't even taking this seriously. If anything, he looked like he wanted to be anywhere but here at the match. "Why aren't you taking this seriously!" He yelled, his voice loud and angry. Rei's yellow-gold eyes snapped open and those slitted eyes glared at him. Tyson was getting the feeling that he should have kept his big, fat mouth shut.

"Driger..." Rei growled, showing needle sharp fangs.

I'm screwed, Tyson thought weakly

"TIGER CLAW ATTACK!"

Tyson could only look on in utter shock at what happened next. The disk within Rei's Beyblade suddenly lit up with a blinding green light. Tyson cringed, flinching violently as a massive roar silenced the stunned audience. When the light became more bearable, Tyson was stunned to see a massive green tiger hovering above Rei; growling.

"That thing's huge," Tyson whispered.

The younger boy wanted to run, as the slitted eyes of both blader and spirit focused on him. He had never seen something like this before. In fact, Tyson was pretty damn sure that this type of bond didn't even exist in the history of Beyblade! Without warning, Rei's Beyblade vanished as the attack ring glowed softly, and at the same time; Tyson's was sent flying from the dish. He flinched when the Beyblade shattered upon contact with the unforgiving ground. Tyson hurried over to inspect the damage, and fell to his knees in shock. His once proud white Beyblade laid out on the ground; utterly shattered.

Deep claw marks marred the once shiny white metal, and even the dragon disk was showing deep gorge marks. Tyson swallowed thickly, stunned by the amount of damage that had been done. "It looks like it was torn apart by a real tiger's claw," He whispered, struggling to pick up the pieces.

Hearing footsteps, Tyson looked up from what he was doing, only to see that Rei was walking away. "Hey, where do you think that you're going?!" Tyson demanded, hotly. Rei stopped in mid-strife, before sighing as he turned to face the confused boy. "This match is over," He said quietly. "And according to the rules," Rei smirked, his eyes gleaming. "If you don't have any spare parts, you're automatically disqualified."

WHAT?!

Tyson turned white, looking decidedly ill. "Y-you're kidding," He stammered, a silver of fear going down his spine. "Right?" Tyson's fear only grew as Jazzman gave him a sympathetic look. "Sorry kid," He murmured. "But, those are the rules." Thankfully, Kenny provided a solution as he arrived; a large tool box and some spare parts. So, in return, the two were given some time so that Tyson could repair his Beyblade.

Hm...

While Tyson and Kenny went to repair his Beyblade, Rei returned to his own locker; confused and weary by his recent attitude. His emotions were constantly surging, and with everything that's been happening, his thoughts were only turning darker with each passing day. Rei was brought out from his disturbing thoughts when his stomach rumbled.

That was another thing.
Why was he so damn hungry?

What's happening to me?

Shaking off his unease, Rei waited patiently for the match to continue. And luckily enough, Kenny was able to repair the damage done to Tyson's Beyblade, earning Rei's respect. It wasn’t easy to repair a damaged Beyblade after he got through with them. And to do it within ten minutes...?

Impressive.

Unfortunately for Rei, Tyson had a new trick up his sleeve. A trick that would lead to some rather painful consequences.

"Dragoon!"

What the - ?

Rei blinked owlishly, pushing back his dark thoughts and hunger; surprised by what was happening. Tyson's Beyblade was spinning at an alarming rate, and to everyone's shock; a genuine tornado formed inside the arena. Only Rei saw the massive blue dragon lurking within the whirlwind...a pissed off dragon.

Oh boy.

Why me?

Rei felt a sharp pain in his left side, as if something sharp had just clawed him. Moments later, he was slammed into the arena wall that was behind him. Silence fell as Rei hit the wall with a sickening crack, and the teen slid to the floor with a pained grunt. Tyson flinched, somehow knowing that he just caused some serious trouble. Realizing that something was wrong, a rather nervous Jazzman hurried over. The man knelt down and carefully felt for a pulse. He was relieved to find one; it was faint, but steady. Jazzman then ran his fingers along the boy's still form, before feeling that Rei's ribs were moving a little too easy under his gentle touch. And his red bandanna was turning a darker shade of red.

Crap.

"The winner of this match is Tyson," Jazzman announced loudly, his voice grim. "Now, I need a medic over here!" A murmur went through the audience as Tyson turned white, swallowing thickly at the ominous words. Moments later, two EMT's came running onto the scene; one was pushing a gurney as the other was carrying a bag of some sorts. They knelt down, sliding a board underneath the unconscious boy; then gently lifted him up and carefully placed him onto the gurney. Taking note of his injuries, a neck brace was placed around his neck; and the EMT's were taking the teen off to the hospital. All the while, a pale and teary-eyed Tyson watched on; feeling remorse and guilt for hurting Rei.

.-.-.-.

In the end, Rei's injuries tallied up into something rather extensive. Not only did he have a concussion, but two broken ribs, a bruised spinal cord, some muscle spasms from his heart being aggravated from the blow, and blood loss from the deep claw marks to his left side. After all, the cuts had been deep enough to require stitches.

.-.-.-.

Tyson vs. Kai

It was a somewhat pale Rei, who had shown up for the final match; but he was leaning heavily against Tidus. The four sat next to Mr. Dickenson, watching as Tyson and Kai duked it out for the championship title. As the islanders watched with excitement, Rei was still exhausted from yesterday, but he appeared to be normal (the bandages were gone, anyway). Somehow, Rei was not surprised by how the match went. Tyson and Kai each won a round, and in the final round; it ended as a tie. In the end, the two had tied for the championships; and it was clear to anyone, that Kai was not happy with the results.

Tidus carefully helped Rei down to the arena floor, making sure not to jostle Rei's ribs. The others followed the two, with Mr. Dickenson leading the odd group. Max and Kenny ran up to Tyson, and all three of them were amazed when Jazzman announced that Tyson, Kai, Max and Rei would be representing Japan in the World Championships. Tyson bit his lip, his eyes hollow as Rei and the islanders approached them. He wasn't sure on how to react with the older boy, and hoped that Rei wasn't upset about their match. However, it was Max with his cheerful personality, who approached Rei with a smile.

"Are you feeling better, Rei?"

Cheeks pink, Rei shyly nodded, before looking away with a huff as the islanders snorted. Tyson looked from the islanders to Rei with worried eyes. "Why?" He asked, his voice soft. "What's wrong?" Selphie rolled her eyes, but it was with fondness. "Sora," She said with a sigh. "You would say that even when near death."

Oh no...

Did I really hurt him? Tyson's mind whimpered.

“It’s nothing,” Rei said quietly, but his voice was stern as he shot the islanders a dark look. It was as if he knew that Tyson would blame himself for the incident, and he wasn't about to let that happen. Seeing that the islanders had everything under control, Max was about to turn to the others, when he felt something in his right pocket. Confused, he reached down and pulled out a small, dull gray orb.

Weird.

"Where did this come from?" He wondered out loud. "Whatcha got there, Maxie?" Tyson asked, turning his head slightly. "I found this weird orb in my pocket," Max murmured, before holding out said object. "That's odd," Kenny mused, looking at the orb with curiosity. Only, Rei saw the gnarled staff lurking in the cloudy orb. "Say, doesn't that look like the one you have already, Sora?" Tidus asked curiously, catching the other's attention. "You have something similar?" Kenny echoed, tilting his head as Rei gave a slight nod and Max had a determined look. "Then, I guess it belongs to you," He said firmly, before pressing it into Rei's hand; much to his amusement.

Rei then knew the name.
White Mage.

Smiling softly, Rei pocketed the orb; knowing that he would need to train extensively with this new orb. Something told him that both the White and Black Mage orbs would become useful for him in the future, very useful. "Wait," Kenny stopped as he realized something. "Our team still needs a name!" Kai scowled and stormed off, earning a shake of the head from the eldest islander. Tyson was thoughtful, his blue eyes slightly dim before focusing once more as he looked to the others with a grin.

"How about the Bladebreakers?"

Max and Kenny exchanged looks before Max grinned. "I like it!" He chirped as Mr. Dickenson smiled softly. "The Bladebreakers it is, then," He said warmly. "Mr. Dickenson," Kenny began as he looked to the man with curiosity. "Where is the first tournament being held?" The man hesitated, giving Rei an uneasy look, before turning back to Kenny. "I'm afraid that the first tournament is being held in Beijing, China."

Shit.

I'm dead.

Chapter Text

Upon receiving the news that he would be returning to the one place where he knew there would be trouble, Rei didn't react so well. Back at the hotel, and to the shocked horror of the islanders, Rei collapsed. It turned out that the doctors had missed something rather important when Rei was in the hospital. And so, it was with great reluctance that Rei went on ahead; and luckily, the mismatched trio were with him.

.-.-.-.

Beijing, China

After their plane landed, and getting through customs; Mr. Dickenson treated the newly formed team to lunch at a local café. While eating, the elderly man explained to them just how different the World Championships were to the standard tournaments. Tyson was on his fourth rice ball, savoring the sweet taste when their waiter approached them.

"More tea?"

Tyson looked up, before choking on the rice at the sound of the familiar voice. "R-Rei?" He squeaked, stammering a bit. The others looked up from their meals, startled to see Rei standing there. He was dressed in the male workers uniform; a blue silk shirt and gray slacks. The teen smiled slightly, a strange shadow flashing over his yellow-gold eyes. "I've been serving you guys all afternoon," He said lightly, his smile growing with each word. "And you never once noticed." Looking up and towards a clock on the wall, Rei saw that his shift had ended. He then headed to the backroom and changed back into his usual clothes, before coming back out with the islanders; all three looked oddly amused.

However, just as the four took their seats, for some odd reason; Kai stormed off in a fit of rage. The eldest islander, who had introduced himself as Wakka, shook his head; brown eyes annoyed. "Dat boy is gonna be trouble," He muttered, accent notwithstanding. Rei was watching the event unfold with a thoughtful look, before turning to Kenny.

"Think that you can track Kai down through his Beyblade?" He asked, his voice soft. Kenny blinked owlishly, before slapping his head in frustration as he muttered something about why he hadn't thought of it in the first place. Kenny took out his laptop, and with Dizzi's help; got a lock-on Kai through his Beyblade. Rei peered over Kenny's shoulder, his eyes scanning the screen before realization dawned on him. "I know that area," He confirmed, getting up. The others soon got up to follow, and as they left, Mr. Dickenson frowned. The elderly man was getting an odd feeling as he watched the kids leave. Hopefully, this was just an old man's paranoia and not something else.

Hopefully.

.-.-.-.

Unknown to anyone in the group, they were indeed being watched by two individuals; one who was rather familiar to Rei. "Follow them," The smaller figure instructed as the other nodded; before going after the group. Furious purple eyes remained locked onto Rei, and the owner's lip curled into a snarl.

"Soon, traitor."

.-.-.-.

While searching the streets for Kai, Rei twitched slightly; his agitation growing with each passing moment. Not only was Kai actively avoiding him (which was getting tiresome), but Rei's instincts were screaming at him. As if sensing his agitation, it was Max who voiced his concern. "Rei?" The blond's voice was soft and hesitant. "Is everything okay?"

Hm...?

Rei stopped in mid-strife, tilting his head; as if hearing something that they could not. His yellow-gold eyes narrowed slightly, and shifted; his head moving just a bit. At the same time, a large metal object crashed into the wall behind him; said object scurrying across the ground as it landed. What was quite odd, that the object in question, was a steel wok.

How did - ?

"Alright," Tyson said angrily, as he looked around with narrowed eyes; clearly pissed with what had happened. "Who threw that?!" Rei sniffed the air, picking up on a faint odor; before he wrinkled his nose in disgust. It was the combination of low grade machine oil and vanilla, not exactly the most pleasant of scents.

"That would be me."

Turning slightly, the group was surprised when a young teenage boy came into view. He appeared to be about fourteen, maybe fifteen years of age. He was well built with toned muscles, naturally tanned skin, dirty black hair and somewhat inward-shaped murky brown eyes. He wore a gray vest and GI styled pants, but bandages around his arms and legs.

Why is he imitating Lee?

It was odd; to say the least, well, to Rei it was. The strange boy was doing his best to imitate Rei's best friend (was Lee even his friend after he left?), and Rei wasn't sure on how he felt about that. "I am Bruce of the White Tigers," The teen announced in an arrogant type of voice, as Rei's eyes narrowed dangerously. "And I'm here to challenge Rei Kon."

Wait - what?

They...they actually replaced me?!

Scowling, Tyson took a step forward, as if sensing Rei's destress; all the while, glaring at Bruce. "No way, pal," He snapped. "You'll be fighting me." Taking a step back, Rei watched as the two duked it out; the feeling of being watched continuing to grow. He looked towards the roofs with a frown, before his eyes narrowed when he thought he caught a glimpse of green hair.

It can't be...

...Kevin?

Without warning, another Beyblade; a soft shade of purple, came out of nowhere and slammed straight into Tyson's. Tyson paled when he saw his Dragoon Beyblade went spiraling straight for Rei's head. Thankfully, Kai's dark blue one knocked the Dragoon back to Tyson; who barely caught it.

About damn time, Kai.

Rei snorted, relaxing as Kai came into view. "You definitely need training," Kai grumbled as he pocketed his Beyblade. Tyson, on the other hand, looked embarrassed as he pocketed his, before stiffening as a soft snicker echoed around them. Everyone, minus Rei and Bruce, looked around with curiosity; Rei frowned while Bruce flinched.

"Pathetic," The voice sneered, showing that the owner was male, and young at that. Bruce, who had recognized the voice, was panicking. "Please, Kevin!" He begged, looking around with wide, frantic eyes; poor guy was practically in tears. "You can't kick me out of the team, now!" Bruce continued, pleading. "I just got a nickname!" Selphie frowned, crossing her arms as Bruce continued to weep. She was finding herself disliking the boy greatly. Bruce appeared to be extremely selfish and was a definite whiner. "How’s this for a nickname?" 'Kevin', whose sly voice mocked the crying boy.

"Mr. Loser?"

Upset, Bruce ran away; swiping at his eyes as he did so, while a small boy jumped down from a nearby roof, landing with surprising grace. His emerald green hair was swept over one eye and tied back, allowing a single purple eye to glare at the unusual group. Rei tensed, easily recognizing the angry boy, and no wonder.

It was Kevin Cheng.

"Hello, Rei."

Tyson stopped, and looked from Kevin to Rei; his blue eyes confused. Rei was silent, but his yellow-gold eyes were like chips of ice, while Kevin continued to glare at the older boy with absolute hate. It was clear that the two knew each other, and to satisfy his curiosity; Tyson voiced his question out loud. Rei winced as Kevin snorted, his purple eyes never leaving Rei's. "Oh, he knows me alright," Kevin sneered.

"We go back, way back."
"Isn't that right...traitor?"

Traitor?!

Feeling a surge of rage coursing through him, Rei's pupils thinned into slits, and unknown to him; familiar dark markings started to form around his left arm. The hatred for that single word was immense, and underneath that rage, the faint sense of hunger started to take hold. As if sensing the upcoming danger, Tidus gently placed a hand on Rei's right shoulder.

"Sora," The blond said in a gentle tone. "You need to calm down." Tidus wasn't liking how pale Rei was, nor the markings that he could see along Rei's left arm. "You don't need another heart attack." At these ominous words, everyone turned to the four with wide, horrified eyes. "H-Heart attack?!" Max squeaked, stammering his words a bit. Rei was just too young to have a heart attack! Kevin stopped and was now eyeing Rei wearily. Was the strange blond right? Did Rei really have a heart attack before returning to China?

Sure, he was upset and hurt when Rei left the village; who wouldn't be upset with such a terrible thing? But, it wasn't like he wanted Rei dead! Rei was just a kid. Hm...why didn't his grandmother know about Rei's heart? Should he even be participating in Beyblade...?

Taking a deep breath, Rei did his best to calm down; but he was just so angry over that one word uttered so carelessly by Kevin. His breathing harsh, Rei suddenly stopped as something caught his attention; and his head swerved to the right, his yellow-gold eyes intense. "Sora?" Selphie called, her green eyes worried. "What is it?" Rei's pupils were slits, and he was growling softly. Seeing that Rei was descending rapidly into a feral state, Kevin was very quiet and still; knowing that any movement would mean painful retribution. What Rei said, sent a chill down several spines.

"Trouble."

His voice had deepened into a guttural growl, the word coming out as a raspy hiss. Before anyone could react, Rei took off. Cursing softly, the islanders ran after him; but not before Tidus told the team that they would meet back up at the hotel. The Bladebreakers exchanged confused looks, and at the same time, Kevin took off himself. "What was that all about?" Kenny asked as Max shrugged, his blue eyes reflecting his unease.

"I have no idea."

.-.-.-.

As he ran in the direction of the energy source, Rei couldn't believe what had happened only moments before. First, he runs into his old teammate, Kevin Cheng; only to be called a traitor. He’s then nearly consumed by that crazed anger, and now he was running towards the same darkness that had forced him to flee in the first place! If that darkness was brewing here, who knew what could happen if it ran wild?

Wait a minute...
...that energy source...

I know that energy...

"Sora!"

Slowing down just a bit, Rei looked back and saw that the islanders were struggling to keep up with him. A bit confused by their appearance, Rei was about to ask them why they were there, when several civilians slammed into them; screaming Guàiwù and Yùnxíng tā. Those shouts in Chinese from the running civilians, were making Rei very, very nervous.

"What the hell is with everyone?" Tidus asked, wheezing as his lungs protested from that painful burst of running. "They're screaming about a monster," Rei said grimly, scanning the crowd. "Dat doesn't sound good," Wakka said weakly. Something caught Rei's attention, and he realized that the source of darkness was coming from the park where they first met Mr. Dickenson.

Somehow, this wasn't surprising.

Hurrying to the park, the four were shocked by the sight. Dozens upon dozens of eerie shadow creatures had swarmed the park. They were roughly the size of a young child, but made entirely of inky shadows. They had round heads with a thin frame, gangly arms, misshapen feet, wiggling antennas and glowing, yellow-gold eyes.

Selphie turned white.

"Sora," She whimpered, hiding behind a grim Wakka. "Those things were there that night." Wakka and Tidus were glaring at the shadowy creatures, it may have been awhile; but they could still remember that frightening night. The night that their home was swallowed by the darkness. They didn't even know if anyone else survived that night...

Wakka's brown eyes scanned the growing shadows and grimaced. "Dere's too many for us to take out," He said, his voice low and uneasy. Tidus silently cursed, his hand twitching slightly as if wanting to reach for something. Rei looked at the group of shadows, and grimaced when he saw that they were multiplying at an alarming rate. Just then, a pleasant warmth washed over him, and faint whispering echoing softly.

"Oui ghuf fryd du tu, Summoner."

Eh?

"Lymm so hysa!"

The trio watched on in awe; their eyes wide. The ground beneath Rei began to glow softly as a massive and intricate seal formed. The seal shone a brilliant blue with four smaller circles lining the outer rim. Funny, there was a rather large symbol in the center of the seal; a symbol that they recognized as the wind crest.

Soft colored lights swirled around Rei; whose eyes were closed, and at the same time, the circles began to spin at an alarming rate. Moments later, the lights shot into the skies; ripping a hole through the dimensional walls. A large creature soared through the skies; the dimensional rift sealing itself shut. With surprising gentleness, the creature landed in front of Rei, nuzzling the surprised boy. Whatever it was, it was very large and rather intimidating looking. It appeared to be some sort of hybrid; a mixture between avian and draconian. It had massive reptilian wings; wings that were shaded a creamy tan but with a purplish blue tint. A single gold chain dangled from each wing. The body was primarily smooth, shaded a warm brown but with purplish blue talons and a reptilian tail. Spiky crimson feathers lined its swan-like neck, and there was even a ponytail of feathers; the crimson blending into a forest green.

The face was more along the lines of a smooth, bone-like mask. Two small golden horns adorned its beak, with two slightly bigger horns jutting from its forehead. Four pale green eyes glittered with a keen intelligence. "Valefor," Rei whispered, looking up at the wind spirit with awe and amazement. Had he really just summoned this majestic creature? The spirit cooed, butting his hand as if demanding to be petted. Rei smiled softly, reaching up and running a gloved hand along its feathery neck; admiring how soft the feathers were, despite their appearance.

"Um," Rei hesitated, looking from Valefor to the shadowy creatures. "By any chance, think you can get rid of these shadows?" Valefor sent a dirty look at the shadows; their green eyes nothing more than chips of ice. They watched as Valefor flew high into the air; the spirit's wings flapping gently. Moments later, their beak opened up and out came a thin red beam of pure energy. Much to the four's shock, the red energy beam actually tore through the growing shadows; and yet, left no damage on their surrounding area. Each shadow being burst into purplish black wisps, and crystallized red hearts flew up into the air, before disappearing all together.

"What the hell was that?!" Tidus yelled.

Chapter Text

Damn you, Kevin.

Eyes narrowed, and scowling heavily, Rei watched as his Beyblade spun weakly; before going still once more. He couldn't believe what had been happening these past few days. Ever since the encounter with those shadows, the Bladebreakers had been hit with a string of bad luck; all by the name of Kevin Cheng.

Kevin then had the audacity to sneak into their hotel, slip into Kenny's room and tried to steal the boy’s data on their fellow players. After chasing him down, Kevin had somehow tricked Rei into losing Driger, sending the tiger spirit who knows where. His mind shut down to the building rage, a nearly feral Rei took to the mountains. It was only by pure luck that there was still some form of sense left in him as he left; well, enough that he didn't attack anyone on the way out.

Gritting his teeth; which were becoming more needle like, Rei released his Beyblade once more. The silver Beyblade spun weakly, and as it wobbled dangerously, a familiar pink Beyblade slammed into it; sending it right back to Rei; who easily caught it. "Mariah," He said simply, not even have to turn, only...his voice had grown rougher.

Mariah Wong caught her Beyblade, after hopping down from her perch on a nearby rock. She had been watching him for some time, taking in his appearance. Rei was slightly pale, and strange black markings stood out on his left arm. When he turned, she saw that his pupils were thin slits; nearly disappearing into the yellow-gold iris. "I hear about what had happened from Kevin," She said quietly. Rei stiffened, clenching his left hand; feeling an icy numbness slowly making its way up the affected limb. What was Mariah getting at?

.-.-.-.

Unknown to anyone, an emerald green slit appeared high in the skies; forming a rather large hole. If anyone had been watching, they would have been shocked to see an actual spaceship, coming out. The ship was shaded a deep red with golden trims, although, it was a bit on the small side.

Please be here, Sora.

.-.-.-.

Eh?

Rei looked up, and unknown to anyone; his eyes flashed a bright blue, before he shook his head. Realizing that Mariah was still talking, he silently turned back to her. "Is it true?" She demanded, repeating her words as his eyes met hers. Cheeks pink, Rei looked away, as if embarrassed by something.

"Rei..." She growled, looking pissed.

Flinching, he looked down, biting his lower lip. To be honest, he never could lie all that well, and it's with great reluctance that he nodded. Mariah swallowed thickly, feeling a sense of fear as Rei confirmed her suspicions. She was worried sick now; why hadn’t anyone known about Rei's heart?! "Rei," She said softly, going up to him, and gently took his right hand into hers. He turned inquiring eyes on her, tilting his head slightly. "Why don't you come back to the village with me?" She suggested. "I'm sure that everyone will forgive you if you just explain why you left."

Er - ?

Rei hesitated, wondering on what he should do. Should he tell her about the storm, or keep the event to himself? His eyes harden, before gritting his teeth as he made his decision. Despite longing for the peaceful life of the village, he could not explain that terrible storm.

Oh?

Their ears perking up, the two turned around; surprised when a bruised and battered Tyson, Max and the islander trio, standing there. All five looked utterly exhausted; had they been searching for him ever since he left the hotel? Feeling his left arm burn as his stomach lurched; Rei's eyes flashed dangerously.

"Mariah," A cold, sharp voice rang out.

Tense, Mariah grimaced and slowly turned around. Lifting her head, she saw her older brother; Lee, standing on a rock that was above them, arms cross as he glared down at the group with murderous eyes. "What do you think that you're doing?" He demanded, practically hissing in his anger. Feeling that familiar numbness, Rei's left hand automatically reached up to his aching chest; the sharpening nails brushing over the area where his heart was. Amazingly enough, a faint reddish-pink light began to filter through.

/"Really now, Sora?"/

Rei stiffened as a low, silky voice hissed in his mind. Along with the voice, his chest and left arm burned. However, the pain was slowly receding as a pleasant warmth was settling deep in his mind. A warm voice; male and female, young and old, crooned softly in his mind, a wordless tune one might say. And it wasn't long before his vision grew dark, and Rei knew no more.

Everyone was shocked when Rei's eyes suddenly grew dark and dim; a strange orange sheen appearing over the now empty irises. His head seemed to droop slightly, and a chill went down everyone's spine as they realized that Rei was somehow in a trance. Slowly, Rei's head turned to the mountainside, where a strange symbol (where had that come from, anyway?) shimmered against the stone wall. Curiously, the islanders recognized the symbol to represent fire. "Sora," Selphie called out, her voice uneasy. "You need to come over here." She balked when he ignored her, and simply placed a gloved hand on the symbol.

The symbol pulsed a soft red, before a portion of the wall vanished. Much to the shock of the Wong siblings, there was a hidden cavern behind the wall. Thing is, they've explored these mountains so often, that this cavern shouldn't even exist!

Still entranced, Rei silently entered the cavern. However, as he bypassed the entrance, a shimmering diamond-like and colorful shield flashed across the entrance. Wakka was cursing up a storm as he realized that the shield was to prevent anyone from following. Something inside this cavern had called out to Rei, but what or should that be whom?

Due to the shield blocking their way, they had no choice but to wait. It wasn't until the sun was beginning to set, when the shield abruptly vanished as Rei finally emerged. He looked a bit pale, and thankfully, his eyes were back to normal. Although, those black markings remained, as did the sharper nails. Blinking owlishly, Rei took a step forward, only to collapse into a very surprised Tidus; who automatically caught him. Rei looked up momentarily before his eyes closed and he fell into a deep sleep. A small orb fell from one hand, rolling along the ground, before coming to a halt at Wakka's feet.

Wakka knelt down and picked up the orb. It shone a dull green, and hidden within the green mist, was a paw print of some large animal. As he pocketed it (so he could give it to Rei at a later time), the same symbol that had been on the cavern wall, flashed on Rei's right hand; before vanishing altogether.

What's happening to you, Sora?

Chapter Text

Nearly a week had passed since that odd afternoon back in the mountains, unfortunately for those who were there; what occurred in the cavern would forever remain a mystery. It was clear to everyone, that Rei was in no mood to talk about it. It wasn't until they had gotten back to the hotel, that the islanders realized something rather disturbing.

The markings over Rei's left arm, well, they were still there. And luckily, for Rei, anyway, the islanders were able to keep it covered with bandages that had been enchanted; thanks to Selphie (who was quite good with magic). However, the same couldn't be said for his nails. The nails upon his left hand were noticeably more longer, the nail bed having a distinct dark tint.

SNORE

Cringing at the loud, deep snore of the room that Tyson and Max shared, Rei shook his head. Oh man, was he ever glad that he didn't have to share a room with the two. How could anyone snore so loud, loud enough to wake the dead even? "Oh," Kenny moaned, running his hands through his hair. "We're going to be so late!" Tidus grimaced as another loud snore came from Tyson. "Ugh," He groaned as he and the other islanders came into the room. "How is he so loud?" Shaking his head, Rei checked a bedside clock and his eyes widen when he saw just how late it was.

Sighing, he rubbed the bridge of his nose in annoyance. "Look," He said quietly as he looked over to Max, Kenny and Kai. "Why don't you guys go on ahead?" He suggested. Kenny turned his head, his eyes wide from behind his bangs. "Are you sure about this?" He asked, his voice hesitant as Rei gave a slight nod. "Alright," Kenny said slowly. And so, Rei, along with the islanders, watched as Mr. Dickenson left with Kai, Max and Kenny for today's matches. When they had left, Rei turned to the others with a raised eyebrow.

"So," Selphie said lightly and with a teasing smile as she gestured over to Tyson. "How do we wake sleeping beauty here?" As Selphie said her words, a sudden bolt of pain shot through Rei's mind. And for a moment, Rei swore he saw the image of a rather pretty woman with long, curly blond hair and wearing a shimmering deep blue-purple gown. There was even a small gold crown resting on her head.

Oh?
Then it was gone again.

A memory then, perhaps?

Shaking it off; Rei looked from the sleeping Tyson, to the adjoining bathroom and back again. His blinked owlishly, before his lips curled into a mischievous smile. Selphie tilted her head, watching with curious green eyes as Rei went into the bathroom; and they could hear the sounds of running water, before it was silent once more. Moments later, Rei came back out, only this time; he had a glass of water with him. Looking closer, Wakka snorted when he saw that the glass also had some ice cubes. Ah, a classic way of waking someone up; dumping cold water on a sleeping victim.

Tyson awoke with a start, a small yelp escaping him as the cold water soaked through his night clothes. Water dripping down his face, Tyson glared at the snickering teen. "Oh, very funny," He grumbled, trying to dry his face. Wiping the tears from his eyes, Rei gave the grumpy boy a stern look. "Hurry up and get ready," He instructed as he placed the now empty glass down. "We're late enough as it is."

Eyes widening, Tyson hastily changed into some dry clothes; silently cursing the fact that he had overslept on such an important day. After doing a quick check to make sure that they had everything, Rei ushered everyone outside to the front of the hotel; where a bus was waiting.

As the bus sped for the arena, Rei felt his instincts stir. Roughly half way there, Rei's instincts came surging through; and he sensed the danger before it could actually happen. He quickly buckled himself in, before grabbing onto the sear. "I'd hold on, if I were you," He warned them, his voice flat. Panicking, the others scrambled for their belt buckles, just as the bus gave a terrible lurch; the road trembling beneath the vehicle.

.-.-.-.

Meanwhile

Unknown to Rei and Tyson, Max was doing his best to stall the match; hoping that their missing teammates would make it in time. It was at this precise moment, when a rather pale Mr. Dickenson came running up to them. "Bad news, children!" He managed to get out. "I'm afraid there's been a landslide."

Oh-no...

.-.-.-.

After giving one final lurch, the bus came to an abrupt halt. Rei grunted as the seat belt slammed against him, his head hitting the seat in front of him. Shaking his head, he undid his belt, before he was crawling out of the bus; and hopped onto the vehicle's roof, inspecting the damage carefully. Moments later, the other passengers began to emerge from the bus. There were a few bruises, but otherwise than that, everyone was fine; if not a bit shaken up. What on earth could have caused the driver to react in such a manner?

Looking ahead, Rei's yellow-gold eyes narrowed; frowning deeply. Just up ahead, and fully blocking the road; preventing any access from reaching the arena in time, was a massive pile of shattered rocks. They were lucky that the driver had swerved in time and avoiding the landslide; but not before the bus crashed into the mountainside.

Sighing, he checked for another route, before his eyes zeroed in on a rarely used path. Rei smiled as he realized that this path was one that would take them directly to the arena. There was just one little problem. The path was a bit on the long side. "We can take that path," Rei announced, pointing it out to Tyson and the islanders. "It leads directly over the mountain and straight to the arena." Selphie looked happy with the news, but then she realized something. "And exactly how far is the arena from here?" Rei stopped, looking down at them. "Eh, about ten k."

"WHAT?!"

Wincing at the loud shouts, Rei rubbed his now tender ears, before giving the others a dirty look. His hearing just so happened to be incredibly strong, and that shout of theirs had hurt. "Move it," He snapped out, eyes cold. The four gulped at his sudden burst of anger, and hastily followed him as he made his way to the path. Grumbling, Rei leapt from rock to rock; keeping a head of the tired four. Unlike the others, he was still quite capable of movement.

When they were roughly half way down the path, Rei stopped and tilted his head; ears perking up. Despite the fact that they were quite far from any road, something was setting off his instincts. Tensing slightly, Rei looked around with weariness, and unknowingly; caught the attention of the others.

A low rumble.

...what?

Rei looked up sharply, his eyes zeroing in on an area above them. The rumbling grew louder, and all five realized with sickening horror that they recognized this type of rumbling. "It's another landslide!" Rei warned, just as dozens upon dozens of stones rained down on them. Rei managed to dodge two boulders, before he saw a rather large one spiraling straight for an unsuspecting Tyson.

Shit.

Tyson yelped as he was abruptly shoved to the side, hitting the mountainside with a pained groan. However, he was greeted to the sounds of a sickening crack. Thankfully, that particular boulder passed over the others without any trouble. When Tyson was able to regain his senses, he looked around wildly only for his eyes to land on a shocking sight. Selphie was fretting over Rei, with Tidus and Wakka standing by protectively; both looking rather grim. Rei was on the ground, his face a twisted mask of pain, and he was holding onto his right ankle. Tyson felt bile rise up as he saw something white sticking out from behind closed fingers; a dark red liquid was seeping through. He realized with sickening understanding that the white was really bone that had torn through tender flesh.

Gritting his teeth, Rei managed to sit up, only to hiss as pain shot up his right leg. "There's no way that you're walking on that," Tidus said flatly. Rei frowned, looking down before sighing as he looked to Tyson; noting the boy's pale face. "Tyson," He said quietly. "If you stay on this path, you should reach the arena in no time." Rei groaned, he was beginning to feel dizzy from the sudden blood loss. Tyson’s blue eyes narrowed, and he gripped his fists as he lowered his head; his bangs shadowing his eyes.

"No way, man."

...huh?

.-.-.-.

After Kai had ordered for Max to finish the match, the blond won said match. And there was no doubt about it, Kai won his match with ridiculous ease. Unfortunately, without Rei or Tyson, they were in a bit of trouble for the final round. Afraid that they would have to forfeit the final match, it was a rather relieving sight when Rei, Tyson and the islanders, finally deemed it worthy to show up.

However, taking a closer look, Kenny was alarmed when he saw the state the group was in. All five were bruised and battered, not to mention utterly exhuasted. And why was Wakka carrying Rei like that? It was Kai, who noted the thick bandages bound around Rei's right ankle; his red eyes narrowing when he saw the dark stain marring the bandages. "Whose turn...is it?" Tyson demanded, his voice a rasp. "Yours, Tyson," Kenny answered softly. While Tyson got into position for the match, the rest joined the team on the bench. Wakka carefully set Rei down, before gesturing for Mr. Dickenson.

Up in the stands, Mariah was confused by Re's late arrival. Why had he and Tyson come in so late? She was even more surprised when Kevin finally took his seat, and his purple eyes reflected his anger. "Damn," He growled. "I could have sworn that those landslides would have stopped them."

WHAT?!

Down below, while Tyson was duking it out; Rei was lost in his own thoughts. His mind slowly drifted over to what had happened as he was still in shock. After all, how could it happen?

"No way, man."

Rei looked up, startled by Tyson's words, before raising an eyebrow. "Tyson," He said slowly. "I'm not exactly in any shape to move, much less compete in a match." Tyson shook his head,a deep frown gracing his lips. Selphie was already at work, cleaning and wrapping Rei's ankle up. And like her friends, she was surprised by Tyson's words.

"I'm not leaving a friend behind."

Rei stopped, and was eying the younger boy with a critical gaze. So, after everything that had happened, Tyson considered him; Reiki Kon, a friend? "There," Selphie announced, as she started packing her gear up. "That's the best that I can do," She sighed, getting to her feet. "You'll still need medical attention," Selphie warned. Sighing, Wakka knelt down and gently took Rei into his arms. Almost immediately, Rei turned a beet red, earning a giggle from Selphie and a soft laugh from Tidus. "Let's just get out of here," Rei mumbled, covering his face with his hands; as if embarrassed. Snickering, the group continued down the path, and everything seemed to be going well...

A little too well.

Without warning, the skies turned a brilliant green, before a green beam shot down. They were left staring in shock, stunned as a shape began to take form, before their very eyes. The shape took on a feline-like form, a form that Rei recognized all-too-well.

"...Driger?"

The tiger spirit seemed to smile, giving a soft huff; and only Rei heard the soft whispers in his mind. Huh, who knew the spirits could talk to their owners? "Nǐ zhēn de yǐwéi wǒ huì líkāi nǐ ma?" Rei smiled, his eyes lighting up as the spirit drew close, before shrinking into a ball of pure light. Only for the light to go straight into Rei. Moments later, a familiar image reappeared on his Bey-Disk.

Huānyíng huílái.

Rei shook his head, and looked up with a slight smile as he saw that Tyson had won the match. Well, this meant they were one step closer to the finale. As Tyson cheered, jumping with joy as Max and Kenny congratulated him on his win, Rei did have a disturbing thought; looking to the islanders with a grim expression.

Who set off those landslides?

Chapter Text

A few days after the match that had gotten the Bladebreakers into the finals, a shocking revelation on the White Tigers part, was made. It was during the match between the two teams on who would go against the Bladebreakers, and somehow; Rei wasn't surprised to see that one of the teams was his old team, the White Tigers.

It was during Lee's match, that Tyson got furious on Rei's behalf. Rei's yellow-gold eyes had narrowed slightly when Galeon had abruptly used Driger's signature move. Upon winning, Lee whirled around and turned murderous brown eyes on an uneasy Rei. "I'm the one who should have gotten Driger!" Lee snarled, trying to lunge for Rei; only to be held back by Gary. "Not that traitorous outsider!" He continued, his voice growing louder with each word. And what Lee said next, sent a chill down Rei's spine. "I wish that you never came to our village!" Lee screamed.

Wait...
...what?

.-.-.-.

At long last, the day for the Asian Tournament finals, had arrived. And the match would be an interesting one, a match that pitted the White Tigers against the Bladebreakers. First up, was Max and Gary. As the two went up to the dish, Gary's stomach rumbled loudly, earning a sweatdrop from the embarrassed blond. Rei shook his head, rolling his eyes with fondness.

Some things never change.

As the two Beyblades clashed furiously, Max; for some reason, decided to call forth Draciel. In a flash of purple energy, the massive armored turtle appeared. Only, it seemed that Gary wasn't about to be outdone by a rookie. And so, Gary called for his spirit.

"Galzzly!"

Max's blue eyes widen and he took a step back in fright at seeing such a huge spirit. In a flash of bright red energy, a massive bear rose up; roaring with great fury. From where the team sat, Kai's red eyes were wide. "I must admit," He murmured softly. "I'm impressed." Kai sent a sideways glance to Rei, who was sitting next to him. "Is it as impressive as it looks?" Rei's yellow-gold eyes opened, and he frowned deeply as he watched the match. "Let's just say that I'm glad that I'm not in Max's shoes," He mumbled.

"Do it, Galzzly!" Gary ordered as the bear roared. Max squeaked, trembling as he covered his ears from the frightening howl. Galzzly slammed into Draciel, the bear's claws tearing right through the turtle’s right arm. Unconsciously, Max flinched, rubbing at his right arm, still trembling from that cry. And much to everyone's shock, the sudden movement from Gary's Beyblade brought the dish down; utterly destroying it.

Needless to say, Gary won.

Max dove forward, scrambling in a mad panic to dig out his Beyblade from the rubble. After pushing away some of the metallic debri, he found his green Beyblade. It was slightly battered, but otherwise than that, it was fine. Sighing, the relieved blond pocketed his Beyblade, and looked up as he realized that Gary was standing before him.

The older teen was smiling as he held out a hand to Max, who was definitely confused. "That was a good match," He rumbled goodnaturedly. "I hope that we can be friends." Max blinked owlishly, before a smile graced his lips as he took Gary's hand, and was helped to his feet. "Friends," Max agreed.

Knowing that he was up next, Rei slowly stood up only to grimace as he saw that his opponent was Mariah; and at that moment, his left arm burned. Thankfully, it didn't take the arena workers long to replace the dish. "Go and show those White Tigers what we're made of!" Tyson cheered, only for Rei to whirl around with a savage look. Tyson cringed as Max placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. "Tyson," The blond warned. "It might be in your best interest in not mentioning his old team." Growling, Rei turned away and made his way to the dish.

Mariah was silent as Rei approached the dish, silent but worried. Her sharp eyes immediately zeroed in on his left arm, noting the bandages and black nails. Her eyes then widen when she swore she saw something glowing underneath the bandages. But, that light was gone before she knew it.

Rei's vision darkened slightly, but he willingly chose to ignore it as he got into position. Mariah was nervous as she too, got into position; and from up in the stands, the islanders saw something that was a definite cause for alarm. The bandages around Rei’s left arm had been wrapped from his elbow to wrist; shielding the dark markings.

But now...?

There, before Mariah's very eyes, dark markings began to creep up from his elbow; the dark tint to his nails were becoming more visible and longer. Everyone watched in stunned silence as a dark, purplish-black mist began to flicker around Rei, the dark wisps slowly rising from his still form.

"Rei..." Mariah trailed off as their Beyblades clashed with great fury. He turned to her; and she bit back a gasp as his left eye was a solid yellow-gold, sclera and all. "Whatever happened," She swallowed thickly, trying to keep her fear from her voice. "I'm sure that we can work things out," Mariah continued before realizing something. "Rei..." She said slowly, confused.

"Why did you leave?"

...huh?

/"Xiànzài lái ba, xiǎorénwù."/

Rei twitched, his left eye flickering ominously. A familiar soft whisper echoed through his darkening thoughts, before a sharp pain shot through his head. This earned a pained groan, and a shaky hand to reach up to rub at aching temples. What the hell was wrong with him?

Without warning, whispers broke out among the audience when Rei suddenly fell to one knee and the islanders cursed softly as they realized what was happening. Taking a single, deep breath, Rei slowly stood up; only for a chill to go down Mariah's spine. For solid yellow-gold eyes glared into her stunned brown ones; eyes that reflected a malicious soul.

This...

This wasn't Rei anymore.

But someone else.
Something dangerous.

"R-Rei...?" Mariah called, her voice shaken. A cruel smile graced his lips as he shook his head, confirming her fears. The now possessed teen's smile grew, revealing sharpening fangs; the markings glowing a sickly purple. He started to make his way towards her, only to stop as the islanders landed in front of the stunned girl; each carrying a weapon of some sort.

Selphie was wielding a set of giant nunchakus; the metal gleaming under the stadium lights. Tidus was wielding an impressive looking sword. The handle was of pure brown leather with bits of metal woven in, the blade long and slightly jagged around the hilt and it was shaded the deepest of blues, and at the hilt, was a golden dragon head. It was impressive to say the least. As for Wakka, well, it was unusual. It was shaped like a ball, but made entirely from metal. It was primarily black with a crimson red armor lining it, a blood ruby was in the center; complete with a black metal star. And lining the ball itself, were numerous metal blades.

Yikes.

"Don't know who you are," Selphie growled, snapping her nunchakus. "But back off!" The possessed one stopped, tilting their head; solid yellow-gold eyes scanning the islanders carefully, before smiling slightly. This caused the islanders to bristle, and left others rather uneasy.

"So," 'Rei' began, his voice much lower and rougher than it had been moments before. The possessed teen was eyeing the islanders with a strange form of glee. "You're the ones who went missing when the island was destroyed." At this announcement, everyone stopped and looked at the possessed teen in shock; even the White Tiger's were stunned by this announcement.

...destroyed?

The possessed teen shook his head. "Well," He snipped, his voice cold. "I suppose that I should finish what they've started." With this ominous announcement, a cold chill swept through the arena as the islanders froze; a faint trickle of fear going through them as they stared at the teen in stunned horror.

Only, there was a problem for this dark one.
Driger.

/"Nǐ shì nàyàng xiǎng de!"/

For the first time, the islanders heard the soft whispers; only to wince at the absolute fury. The whispers were male and female, young and old, and yet...they were none of them. "Gaulx!" Mariah cried, her voice panicking. Realizing that the match was still going on, many turned back to the dish; and out of the corner of their eyes, the islanders were startled by what was happening. The two Beyblades were continuously slamming into one another, until the disk within Rei's silver Beyblade began to glow. Everyone watched in awe as his Beyblade lit up with blinding light, and many swore they saw an armored tiger hovering within the light.

/"Chūqù!"/

The green light flared even more, forcing everyone to look away, and there came a faint cry of pain. When the light began to dissipate, and the audience could see once more, what was left behind, shocked everyone.

Mariah was left staring at her smoking pink Beyblade in shock, and yet, the silver one was still spinning. Looking over, everyone noted that the orange haired male was now cradling Rei; who appeared to be unconscious. The girl was murmuring softly as the blond's blue eyes were scanning the arena with weariness, but occasionally would send the unconscious boy worried looks. Mariah hesitantly picked up her Beyblade, knowing that she had indeed lost, before looking over to where Rei was. She saw that the orange haired male was gently picking up, and the trio were bringing him over to the bench where the Bladebreakers were. She sweatdropped when Rei's Beyblade actually followed them!

"What happened?" Max demanded, frantic with worry as Rei was gently laid down; propped against the wall. The poor guy was decidedly pale, and dark markings were curling up from his left elbow, and what was worse were the nails; they were now a solid pitch black. Looking closer, Max winced when he saw the small fangs overlapping his bottom lip.

Not good.

Seeing that he was still breathing, Tyson was unsure if they should continue with the match; but luckily, it was announced that Rei was the winner. Looking over to the dish, Tyson saw that Lee was his opponent and grimaced at the look of pure rage on the older boy's face. Despite the earlier event, Lee was still pissed with Rei.

As the two battled it out, Rei was slowly coming around. A soft groan escaped him, and Max turned as the older boy shook his head. There was another soft groan, and slowly, Rei's eyes opened. Seeing that his eyes were normal, or as normal as they could be, the islanders were quite relieved. "Welcome back," Tidus said softly as Selphie hugged the startled teen. "Don't you scare me like that again!" She scolded, her green eyes teary.

Uh...

Did I miss something here?

"I don't believe it!" Kenny cried. His shocked cry caught the attention of the others, and the Bladebreakers as well as the islanders followed Kenny's gaze; only to stare in shock. Both the black and white Beyblades had been knocked out from the dish, revealing the ominous results of a tie.

A tie meant a death match.

"I'll do it," Rei said quietly. His teammates looked at him, startled by his quiet words. "Are you sure you should be doing this?" Max fretted, his blue eyes scanning the older teen carefully. Rei nodded, and it was only Kai, who understood why. Having known the White Tigers for years, Rei would know their every movement, every weakness. So in reality, he was the only one who had the chance of actually winning.

Hopefully.

Rei slowly got to his feet and made his way to the Bey-Dish, as Lee had already retrieved Galeon. However, as he approached the dish, something else caught his attention. To everyone's curiosity, not to mention weariness, Rei was suddenly tense; his yellow-gold eyes scanning the arena with an almost feral intensity.

Something was wrong...

Without warning, Rei did a quick side step, barely avoiding a dark blue blur. The blur, revealed itself to be an unusual looking... "Is that a monkey?" Max asked, tilting his head in confusion. It did look like a monkey, but since when were monkeys that big?!

The 'monkey' was rather big, being roughly the size of a five-year-old child. It was bulky in shape, but strong looking. Its fur was various shades of medium to dark blue, with wide and round ears, but razor sharp black nails extending from each hand and foot. Its tail was snapping back and forth as glowing yellow-gold eyes glared hungrily at the two Beybladers; eyes that were peering out from a darkened, solid black face. A strange crest was burned into its chest. A black heart outlined in thin red, with a thin and jagged red 'x' going through it.

How odd.
...and familiar.

I know that symbol...
...don't I?

Unfortunately, this 'monkey' wasn't alone, there was at least six more of its kind were with it. Even worse, those shadow creatures were along for the ride; and there was at least two for each monkey.

Not good.

The moment the islanders saw the shadow creatures, Tidus let out a colorful word, earning a shocked look from Selphie and a snort from Tidus. As for the Bladebreakers, their faces turned red at the word, now nervous by the strange creatures appearance. "What is it?" Kenny asked, seeing their nervous looks. "What's wrong?" Selphie swallowed thickly, her green eyes wide. "Remember how he said that our home was destroyed?" Max winced, recalling the shocking revelation by Rei, before slowly nodding as Wakka heffed a sigh. "Dose shadows were dere dat night," He said grimly, gesturing to the shadowy beings.

Uh-oh.

Rei was tense and agitated as he saw even more shadows appear, cursing softly as he realized that there was no way that he could take them all on. Well...not without help, anyway. His mind raced over what he knew, before his eyes widen as realization dawned on him.

Of course!

Hope this works.

Rei closed his eyes, and allowed the familiar warmth to surge through. Everyone watched in awe as golden energy cackled at his feet, a sparkling purple mist began to trail along the ground. And so, it was with great surprise when a gold winged, blue staff slammed into the ground; blood red flames spreading outwards until a gloved hand reached down and picked up the staff.

Instead of his traditional uniform, Rei was wearing something that the village elders would most likely consider scandalous. He wore no shirt, but a black hooded, leather jacket; a jacket that was tripped in dark blue-purple and with droopy sleeves, black silk slacks, black gladiator style sandals, a spiked belt around his upper left thigh, a silver feather adorned his hair, a silver ring on his right hand, and fingerless black fishnet gloves.

Woah.

And as for the staff...?
A magnificent piece of work.

The staff was a little over a foot taller than Rei himself, and was shaded the deepest of blues. There was a tiny golden wind-up key down at the base, where thin golden lines were circling the base. And at the top, pure silver was wrapped around the staff, and reaching outwards; was the shimmering form of a red-and-gold phoenix that bore emeralds for eyes.

Lee felt his face heat up at the sight of Rei's new appearance, and looked away as if embarrassed. What on earth is he even wearing? He wondered, cheeks noticeably pink. Rei looked down, his eyes carefully taking in the new clothes; and slowly, basic knowledge of the orb filtered in.

Oh, so that's what this orb can do...

Everyone stared, some gaping, in shock at what happened next. Rei raised the staff up, golden energy cackling ominously around it. And it was only the islanders, who recognized the spell that he was about to use. Hey, despite how peaceful Destiny Islands was, there were mages and fighters living there!

"Thunder!"

Surprisingly enough, genuine lightning rained down; striking down at least four of the shadows. Those that had been struck, burst into purplish black mists. It was quite odd, though. As those burst into mists, what looked like crystallized hearts, flew into the air. Unfortunately, there were still far too many left behind.

Without warning, the monkeys were on the attack, and lunged for a startled Rei. The teen was constantly jumping back, weaving in and out of the monkeys furious swipes. Despite their size and girth, you wouldn't expect them to be so damn fast! Taking a chance, Rei looked up and his eyes widen when he saw one of those blasted monkeys sneaking up on an unsuspecting Lee; raising their claw.

Oh, no you don't!

Gritting his teeth, he kicked a monkey away and burst into a full on run. He was hoping that he would be fast enough to spare Lee of what would no doubt be a painful blow. Lee didn't have any time to blink as he was suddenly shoved, and he grunted as he hit the ground. He was about to snap back, when he heard Rei's sudden cry; a cry that spoke of pain.

What the - ?

Looking up sharply, Lee's brown eyes widen when he saw that Rei was grasping his right side; dark crimson blood was seeping through his gloved fingers. As he got to his feet, Lee realized with sickening horror that Rei had just saved his life; and here he was, furious with the boy for having left. Rei staggered back, his hand tightening a bit over his injured side; and his eyes were flashing with rage.

"That does it," he growled.

Eh?

Releasing his bloodied hand, Rei bent over slightly; the gloved hand reaching up to where his heart was. To the shock of the audience; not to mention the two teams and the islanders, a ball of pure flames floated out from his heart, hovering above his hand. Rei then dropped the flames, which sank into the ground; a strange and massive seal flashed in bright red beneath him. The ground exploded as a massive creature jumped out; the force of the explosion having sent Rei flying. Luckily, the creature caught him and gently set the teen down.

The creature was massive, at least six feet in height and quite muscular; a mixture between lupine and feline. Its skin was a shade of brown that reminded many of chocolate; blood red flames burned into each shoulder. There was a flaming mane that burned a deep red-gold, flames burning around its muzzle as well as its elbows and ankles. Despite its animalistic appearance, it was built very much like a human. Strangely enough, it wore pants, er-sort of. In reality, the pants were flames. It had human-like hands, but paws for feet; with the hands being much bigger. However, both ended in razor sharp, thick black nails.

Thick, black horns jutted out from its forehead; circling the face and turning downwards, along its back. Also, a single, curved horn had pierced each shoulder. Jagged lines could barely be seen, marring its arms. Last, but not least, thick gold bands adorned its wrists and ankles; pure flames dangling from the wrist bands. A blue-and-gold beaded necklace hung around its neck.

It let out a furious howl, slamming a fist into the ground; yellow eyes glowing softly. Somehow, and yet again, Rei knew the fire spirit's name. "Ifrit," He whispered, feeling safe as those yellow eyes focused on him. Ifrit gave a slight nod, before turning to the shadows and monkeys.

Hm...

Ifrit opened his muzzle, flames swirling ominously; before forming a large ball of dark red flames. The newly formed fireball suddenly spiraled towards a group of shadows, and even scorched some of the monkeys; causing those who got hit, to burst into mists. With Ifrit dealing with the larger group of shadows, leaving Rei to deal with the monkeys.

Raising his staff, Rei sent down more lightning bolts; but, he could feel his mana rapidly drop. Hm, so his mana in this form wasn't very high; damn. Slowly, but surely, the two were driving the group back; only Rei was starting to look a bit pale. At long last, the shadows and monkeys dissipated into black mists; the red crystals rapidly disappearing. His mana now fully spent, Rei fell to one knee; breathing heavily as the orb's power finally gave out. The orb receded, and his clothes were restored to their normal appearance. Ifrit gave Rei a proud look, before his body became a small, flaming ball. Moments later, the flames returned to Rei; sinking into his chest.

"R-Rei?"

The exhausted teen looked up, blinking blearily as he struggled to focus. He was confused to see Lee, along with the rest of the team, approaching him. "Were...were those things," Lee swallowed thickly. "Were they the reason why you left?" Tyson knelt down and helped Rei to his feet; earning a soft groan of protest from the older boy. Despite his temper, Lee wasn't stupid. He had seen how those shadows and monkeys had gone solely after Rei; those things totally ignored him (save for that lone monkey). Come to think of it, the night Rei left...wasn't there a storm? Struggling to stay awake, Rei looked at his old friends; wondering if he should tell them or not. But, then he saw the pain, anger and even grief within their eyes, and Rei knew that he could no longer hide the truth from them.

A heavy, sigh.

"Yes..."

Chapter Text

After a heavy discussion between the officials and Mr. Dickenson, it was decided, that in the end; the Bladebreakers were the winners of the tournament. Perhaps it was Rei's fight with those shadow creatures and monkeys that had cinched their decision? Or perhaps it had something to do with that display of summoning that fiery spirit?

Who knows.

With the tournament now over, Lee found himself longing to reconnect with his old friend. And while the Bladebreakers were being congratulated for winning, he snuck off and contacted his village elders. How odd, it was to find that his grandfather and Healer Cheng, were already there. It turned out that Elder Wong had come to watch the match, believing that the White Tigers would have won; as he hadn't known that Rei was in the tournament. Healer Cheng, on the other hand, had overheard her grandson mention that Rei's health had gotten worse since his departure; so it was no wonder, that she was worried for the teen. Rei was with his team when he saw the approaching elders, and immediately tensed. He was understandably worried by their appearance. "Rei," Tyson called softly, once he noticed Rei's stressed state. "Is everything okay?"

"Elder Wong," Rei said quietly, greeting one of the village's most respected elders. He was about to greet Healer Cheng, when the elderly woman marched right up to him, and slapped the poor boy across the face. Rei staggered back with a pained grunt, still drained by his fight; holding one hand up to his reddening cheek. Ow, for a seemingly frail woman, she sure was strong! "Oi!" Tyson squawked, his voice angered. "What the hell was that for, lady?!" He snapped, never once noticing the reaction of Rei nor the White Tigers. Oh Tyson, there was some things that you just didn't do, and getting angry with a village elder, much less the healer; it simply wasn't advisable.

"What were you thinking, boy?!" Healer Cheng demanded, her voice somewhat shrill and growly. Blinking owlishly, Rei stared at her; wondering what she was harping on about. It wasn't until he saw from the corner of one eye, a sheepish look on the face of one Kevin Cheng.

Oh.
So that's what she meant.

Luckily, for Rei, that is, the islanders were able to calm the agitated woman down. Well, at least to where she wouldn't slap the poor boy for his choices. Huffing, the elderly woman turned to her grandson, only to converse rapidly in Mandarin. Strangely enough, the other White Tigers and even Elder Wong, were giving Rei sympathetic looks. At the same time, their conversation grew louder and both of them were giving Rei certain looks. The poor teen sweatdropped as he realized what was happening.

Why me?

.-.-.-.

In the end, Elder Wong and Healer Cheng; with permission from the Council, allowed the White Tigers to leave the village. The team would be allowed to travel with the Bladebreakers, so long as they sent back information on the outside world. In reality, it was the Council's way of keeping an eye on (in their mind a rogue) Rei.

.-.-.-.

With things now settled between Rei and his old team; it wasn't long before the unusual group found themselves on the shores of America. Mr. Dickenson; along with Grandpa Granger, brought the two teams to one of the American branches of the BBA. What was surprising for the group, was that the facility in question, was being run by Max's own mother; Judy Tate. Despite her age, Judy Tate was quite the beauty; so it was easy for them to see where Max got his looks from. Dr. Tate had the same sunny blond hair and bright blue eyes, but her skin was a little paler than his. She wore a purple business suit with a white lab coat, her badge shining upon her right breast.

As Dr. Tate lead them through the hallways, explaining what they did at the facility, Rei glanced sideways at Mr. Granger (or as the man insisted 'Grandpa'). The elderly man was rather eccentric, but sprightly for his age. He was the one who was teaching Tyson kendo, much to everyone's shock. Shaking his head, Rei turned back to the tour and raised an eyebrow.

Oh?

Somehow, when his thoughts drifted off, the tour had abruptly stopped and Dr. Tate was talking to a girl, who looked to be a bit older than Tyson. The girl had shoulder length, dark reddish-orange hair that was styled very similar to Selphie's, pale skin and sharp dark blue eyes. And judging by her yellow-and-green uniform, Rei realized that she was an athlete; which sport, he wasn't sure.

Wait a minute...

Why am I getting a bad feeling about this?

Rei shivered, rubbing at his bare arms, as he looked around with weary eyes. A decidedly cold chill went down his spine, and the feeling of being watched was growing stronger with each passing moment. Realizing that something was wrong, Tidus looked to Rei and noted the slitted pupils and he gave his fellow islanders a discrete signal.

They weren't alone.

To the shock of Grandpa Granger, Dr. Tate and her assistant, multiple shadowy beings rose up from the ground; their yellow-gold eyes glowing with an insensational hunger. The two teams and the islanders, however, were dismayed and annoyed by the sight. "It's those things again!" Tyson said angrily. “What do you mean by again?" Dr. Tate demanded, her voice sharp, yet shrill. She was annoyed when the group ignored her, focusing on the looming shadows with dread. Rei was tense, inching back slightly as more shadows continued to form. Without warning, something heavy slammed into him, sending the teen flying back and hitting one of the walls with a sickening crack.

Ouch.

His body alit with pain, Rei struggled to move; but inwardly cursed as he realized that he could not. The blow to the wall had left him paralyzed, and now helpless to whomever or what that attacked. And standing over the paralyzed teen, was definitely new, and yet, ridiculous looking.

The being was huge with an incredibly big stomach and thick, muscular arms. Its skin was shaded a deep, yet dark blue and a comically small black head with glowing yellow-gold eyes and a jagged grin. It wore a magenta vest trimmed in gold (gold string was used to keep it somewhat tied), dark magenta pants, black shoes that curled at the tips, thick metal bands around their wrists and a metal helmet. That same black heart crest stood out proudly against its chest.

Damn.

The bigger being raised its fist, as if getting ready to attack, and the shadows were shifting in agitation. Moments before the shadows could rip into the teen, Reiki Kon, vanished into thin air.

What the - ?

"W-Where did he go?" Mariah stammered, her eyes wide as she looked around with a frantic frenzy. Strangely enough, each shadow stopped and tilted their head; and even the bigger one looked confused. Then, one-by-one, they each vanished before the group's very eyes. "What the hell is going on here?!" Grandpa Granger and Dr. Tate screeched. The two teams exchanged uneasy looks, wondering how they were to explain the shadowy creatures; especially since this was the second time they saw them! The only ones who would have an idea on what they were, were the islanders and...Rei.

Where are you, Rei?

.-.-.-.

Hmm...

Rei groaned softly; he was partially curled up, breathing softly. Eyes fluttering, Rei was drifting between being awake and asleep. Sleepy yellow-gold eyes slowly opened, only to close as bright sunlight shone through; earning a pained wince. Rei froze as something suddenly dawned on him.

Sunlight...?

Shielding his eyes, Rei slowly sat up; surprised by the lack of pain, and looked around with curiosity. Instead of the hallways of the BBA facility, Rei found himself in a place that didn’t feel like the facility; but could be described as a paradise. Rei was sitting in a warm patch of soft grass. Just up ahead was a sandy white beach where crystal blue water lapped at the shore. Turning his head, Rei saw that there was a huge jungle behind him. This place, it seemed to be perfect; maybe a little too perfect? The best way to describe the land, it would be paradise.

Urgh…

Rei groaned, rubbing his now aching temples. This island, it felt familiar to him, very familiar. Had he been here before? Feeling something by his feet, Rei shook off the pain, and looked down; only to see another marble. Curious, he picked it up and looked at it carefully. The orb was a dull blue-green with what looked like a modified gun upon the surface.

The Alchemist...

As if sensing something, Rei turned towards the jungle with a raised eyebrow. He could see a large tree that stood out, and what looked like a gaping hole at the base. There, shining around the roots, were sparkling and colorful lights. Something about the hole was drawing him in.

Guess I should check it out...

Chapter Text

Where...am I?

Blinking owlishly, Rei looked around with wide eyes. From what he could remember, he was in the hallway of the American BBA facility which was run by Max's mother, he then woke up on a tropical island; before passing out after going into a dark tunnel. But now, Rei was standing in an endless black void; the only light source, shone above him.

"Do you remember ____?"

Rei inwardly frowned as a soft whispered; a voice that was male and female, young and old. It was quite odd, to hear such a thing, but the voice also sounded rather familiar.

Remember what?

As if by some silent command, the light from above, suddenly flared with tremendous force; and forced Rei to shield his eyes. Through the blinding light, he swore that he could hear something. As the light began to die down, the sound grew louder and more vibrant. And when the light finally faded, Rei was left staring in utter shock.

Oh wow.

There, looming ahead, was a grand looking castle. The castle shone with a mixture of soft cream and warm brown, and from what he could tell; four different towers. Two large pillars surrounded an intricately designed wooden door, a wonderful looking garden and were those water pillars surrounding the palace?

Hold on.

I know this place...
...don't I?

"Hey, what are you doing?"

Rei stopped, his ears twitching as a soft and boyish voice reached his ears. Confused, he turned, wondering who it was that had spoken. Frowning, he watched as another teenager, a male; who looked to be about his age, coming towards him. The new teen had short, but wild and flaming red hair, fair skin and delicate features, but bright green catlike eyes. He appeared to be wearing a sleeveless white shirt, a sleeveless orange jacket, light brown tunic pants, red-and-white sneakers and a yellow scarf was wrapped loosely around his neck.

The boy suddenly bypassed Rei, and Rei realized that there was something behind him; something that had caught the redhead's attention. Curious, he turned and his yellow-gold eyes widen in shock.

No way...!

The redhead was fast approaching a small boy, who was standing by one of the water pillars. Now, as Rei looked closer, he realized that in reality, the pillars were cleverly designed water fountains. The small boy; who was trying to hide, was young, very young (roughly five or six).

The little boy turned, and Rei was left gaping in shock. If not for the coloring, Rei would swear that he was looking at a much younger version of himself. The little boy bore messy chocolate spikes, slightly tanner skin and bright oceanic blue eyes. His clothes, while simple; were made from the finest of materials. He wore a cream colored tee-shirt, light brown shorts, a gold trimmed red vest and sturdy looking sandals. The boy took a step back, nervous as the redhead gently knelt down; his green eyes friendly.

"You lost there, little man?" The little boy bit his lip, blue eyes darting to the side; otherwise, he remained quiet. It was then at that moment, that another voice called out; only this was for the redhead. "Lea, where are you?"

Rei turned, watched as another teen approached; only this boy was the complete opposite of the redhead. The new boy was the same age as Lea, but with shocking blue hair that stuck up everywhere, tanner skin and almond shaped aquamarine eyes. And unlike Lea, his clothes were of a more darker tone.

The new boy wore a sleeveless black tee shirt, a short sleeved dark blue jacket that was trimmed in deep blue, cream colored tunic pants and black combat boots. There, imprinted on his jacket, was a crescent moon.

"Over here, Isa!"

Lea and Isa, hm?
Those were definitely interesting names, to say the least.

The blue haired teen saw where his friend was, and his aqua eyes widen at the sight of the little boy. Oh? It would appear that Isa recognized the little boy, but why hadn't Lea? Seeing the blue haired teen approaching the two, Rei had the strangest feeling that Lea was just as dense as Tyson.

Seeing Isa coming towards him, the little boy cringed deeply; trying to scurry backwards. Lea saw this, and he was surprised that the little boy was so frightened of his friend. "Hey," He said softly, catching the boy's attention. "It's alright," Lea continued, holding up his hands as if to assure the boy. "Isa may look scary, but he's really cool!"

Isa flushed when he heard Lea's appraisal, and was pleased to see that the little boy was beginning to relax. It wouldn’t do him or Lea any good if the boy worked himself into a frenzy. Rei frowned as he watched the scene unfold itself, something about this was bothering him. He then realized that Lea was still talking.

"My name is Lea," The redhead pointed at himself. "And of course, that's Isa." Said teen gave a slight nod, his eyes soft as he looked down at the little boy. "What about yours, kiddo?" The small boy was silent, as he looked from Lea to Isa with wide blue eyes.

For a moment, nothing happened.
Then...

"It's..."

Chapter Text

Weary, yellow-gold eyes slowly opened and Rei (strangely enough), wasn't surprised to find himself staring up at the white ceiling of a hospital room. "Sora," Came Selphie's relieved voice. "You're finally awake." The exhausted teen turned his head slightly to the left, and sure enough; there sat the islanders. "You scared us there," Tidus said softly, seeing those yellow-gold eyes focusing on him.

Rei tried to speak, really he did, but his throat burned like crazy; and he gave a weakened, dry cough. Selphie hurried and poured him a glass of cool water, before helping him to sit up. Taking it slow, Rei drank in the cool water; glad that he could soothe his burning throat. "Wha...what happened?" He rasped, as Selphie set the glass down. The trio exchanged looks, and Rei was left with a sense of unease. "You tell us," Wakka said dryly, crossing his arms as he leaned against a wall, his brown eyes boring into Rei's. "You fell through some kind of hole and no one could find you for several hours," Tidus piped up, his voice reflecting his unease. "You reappeared some time later in Dr. Tate's office," Selphie continued.

"But, you've been out since."

Rei stilled, his eyes widening at the implications. He couldn't have been out that long, could he? Did that mean that the team had been eliminated from the tournament?! "Calm down," Selphie said, soothingly when she saw that he was getting stressed out over their words. "How long?!" Rei demanded, almost frantic with worry.

"De entire tournament," Wakka said softly.

WHAT?!

Rei sat up, but whimpered as his vision blurred and his head throbbed. Selphie gently pressed him back down on the bed, as Wakka held up a hand to calm the younger boy. "Don't worry, ya," He assured Rei. "Your team was able to win de tournament." Rei blinked owlishly, his eyes slowly widening.

"S-seriously?" He stammered.
"Yep."

Rei sat back in disbelief, he was truly amazed that the Bladebreakers were able to win a tournament with him out of commission. Tidus tilted his head, as if something had been bothering him. "What was it that you were dreaming about?" Rei looked up, surprised by such a question. "It seemed to be pretty intense."

Rei was quiet, his eyes cast downwards as he pondered over the decision if he should tell them or not. Sighing, he looked up with tired, yet disturbed yellow-gold eyes. "It wasn't a dream," He murmured, catching their attention. "It felt more like a memory..." That cinched it for the islanders. "Sora," Wakka hesitated as Rei focused on him. "Truth is, you didn't come from de islands like us." Rei tilted his head, a bit confused by the orange-haired male's words. "You just showed up one day," Tidus added. Selphie was quiet before realization dawned on her. "A meteor shower..." She mused, thoughtfully. "You showed up right after a meteor shower." Her green eyes were wide.

"Just like Kairi."

"So," Rei said slowly, as if unsure about something. "You don't know anyone named Lea or Isa?" The islanders exchanged looks, before turning back to Rei with a shake of their heads. This left Rei confused, and he looked down at his hands.

Now what?

.-.-.-.

Sigh.

Having those disturbing thoughts were bothering Rei badly. He knew that there had been a meteor shower the day he arrived at the White Tiger village, and according to the islanders; there had been a meteor shower prior to his arrival. Were the two somehow connected? Sighing, Rei shook his head, before turning to the docks; looking up. There, an elegant cruise liner, was waiting to take them to Russia; where the World Champions were being held. The teams were just lucky that they had three weeks until the actual tournament. So, this sweet cruise would be the perfect way to relax and train.

"Finally!" Tyson cheered, stretching his arms as he put his hands behind his head. "We can relax!" Max nodded in agreement, his blue eyes never leaving sight of the magnificent ocean liner. "Let's just hope that there won't be any trouble," Kenny muttered, shuddering at such a thought. Rei and the trio grimaced as they exchanged looks, before shaking their heads at such poor words.

Bad move, Kenny.

.-.-.-.

Once they were on the ship, the kids dropped their bags off in their assigned room;s before going off to explore. Tyson, Max and Kevin headed for the arcade, Gary went to check out the buffet (that boy was always hungry), Kenny stayed in his room to work on some new strategies, Kai was who knows where, Mariah had gone on to the swimming pool, and Lee chose to stick with Rei and the islanders. Something that was not lost on the islanders, what with all of the bad luck that was hitting the older teen.

Too bad the peace wouldn't last.

.-.-.-.

"Rei?"

...hm?

The dark haired teen; who had been leaning against a railing while on the top deck, his yellow-gold eyes dark as he gazed out at the ocean. He had his left hand in his pocket, while the other was gripping the railing with surprising strength. Surrounding him, were of course; the three islanders, all watching with concern.

It was Selphie who saw Lee approach, and it took Lee a couple of tries to get Rei's attention. "Is...is everything okay?" Lee was hesitant with his words, having noticed the sudden changes to his friend. Rei was silent, his eyes absentmindedly going from the islanders to Lee; before turning to the ocean once more.

Lee was afraid that Rei wasn't going to talk to him, only for the older boy to sigh heavily. "I-I'm not sure," Rei murmured softly. "It's just..." Lee raised an eyebrow, but was patient as he wondered if maybe, just maybe, if Rei remembered something else about his mysterious past...

"Sora's starting to remember his past," Selphie said finally. Lee frowned, looking from one teen to the other, tilting his head in confusion. "Shouldn't that be a good thing?" He asked, curiously. "It should," Wakka confirmed. "But, we tink dat maybe Sora blocked out his earliest memories for a reason," He continued, looking at Rei with concerned brown eyes.

Oh?

As if sensing something, Rei tensed, his eyes scanning the area with weariness. "Sora," Tidus' voice was sharp as he saw the agitation within his friend. "What is it?" Rei's eyes were locked onto the ocean, and his pupils narrowed slightly. "We're being watched," He hissed, his voice suspiciously calm. The others tensed, and the islanders couldn't help but wonder if it was those shadow creatures that Rei was sensing.

Suddenly, and without warning, the ship gave a tremendous lurch. Those on deck, stumbled; sending the passengers into a panic. "Did we hit something?" Lee demanded, doing his best to keep himself steady as the ship gave another lurch. Rei's eyes were cold, and he was growling softly; the dark markings on his left arm glowing softly. "No," He growled.

"We're under attack!"

Shaking his head, Tidus peered over the railing, and realized with shock that Sora was indeed correct. Despite the dark waters, he could see multiple large objects surrounding the ship. And the blond had the feeling that these weren't friendlies.

A third lurch.

"Sora!" Selphie screamed.

Tidus whirled around, and his blue eyes widen at the sight. Rei was still at the railings; the trembling of the ship was causing him to teeter a bit. Several of the passengers suddenly screamed as lightning of all things, rained down; causing quite the destruction. One bolt got a bit too close to Rei, the blast sent up a bright flash of light; causing Rei to stumble back with a grunt (shielding his eyes as he did so).

Stumbling back, Rei slipped as a railing was destroyed, and would have plunged into the ocean; if not for someone grabbing his right wrist. His eyes snapping open, Rei found himself staring into the red-wine eyes of a slightly older boy. The boy had sharp, yet curved shocking purple hair, sharp European features, fair skin and startling red-wine eyes.

Who is he?

.-.-.-.

Robert Jürgens, had been on a cruise from America that would take him back home. He had been lounging on the main deck, keeping an eye and ear out for any potential Beybladers; when the ship gave a sudden lurch. The lurch had caused him to rise to his feet and look around warily; noting the panicking passengers, save for five others teens, who were over by one of the railings. Something about that group was calling out to him, perhaps it had something to do with the dark haired teen (who was only slightly younger than himself)? Realizing that they had an idea on what was happening, Robert was about to approach them, when the ship lurched forward again, and this time, lightning rained down.

He heard a scream coming from the direction of the five, and Robert looked up with wide eyes; before cursing softly. The boy who had caught his attention, was a bit too close to the now shattered railing; teetering dangerously. Unfortunately, another bolt struck near the teen; sending up a flash of bright light. This flash sent the teen stumbling back and he would have fallen, if not for the fact that Robert dove forward and grabbed his outstretched hand.

.-.-.-.

"I got you!" The purple-haired teen grunted, trying his best to keep his hold of Rei. From the corner of his eye, Rei saw that the islanders and Lee were scrambling to help him and the strange teen. Unfortunately, it would seem that whatever was attacking the ship, wasn't going to let the help come.

Another lurch.

The purple-haired teen's (Rei really needed to get the guy's name) red eyes widen when the lurch caused him to loosen his grip on the damaged railing, and both boys plunged into the unforgiving waters below. The panicked cries of the passengers who had seen this, were the last things that the boys heard before hitting the water.

The moment the two hit the water, and didn't surface; both Wakka and Tidus cursed as they realized that the pair were unconscious. Selphie gave the duo the go-ahead nod, knowing that they were the only ones who had experience with water combat; due to being Blitzball players. She then went over to Lee, and could only hope that the two could rescue Sora and that other boy, before anything bad could happen to them.

.-.-.-.

Diving into the waters, the two swam through the current; trying to see where Sora and the other boy had landed. It wasn't long before Tidus spotted the two floating where two odd types of creatures were surrounding them. Are they like those shadows? The blond wondered, before withdrawing his sword as Wakka readied his Blitzball.

The largest creature resembled the deadly angler fish; but it was distorted into gargantuan proportions. It was primarily a light blue and deep blue jagged lines, while there was darkness masking its glowing yellow-gold eyes. There was a frightening smile, and were those fins shaped like hands?! Hovering nearby, was a humanoid resembling a scuba diver of some sorts. It was shaded a mixture of various greens, but its head resembled a missile of all things. Part of the missile head was open, revealing glowing yellow-gold eyes. Unlike the giant fish, it was wielding a trident.

Not good.

For some reason, one of the divers got a little daring, and to the islanders rage; dragged its trident along Sora's right side, the sharp metal slicing into tender flesh. Almost immediately, dark blood began to flow; staining the waters around him. At the same time, the purple-haired teen woke up, and his head snapped to the side; stunned by the sight of Sora bleeding.

Looking to the side, his red eyes caught sight of Tidus and Wakka; the later taking out the divers. Tidus turned his head slightly, and met the stunned red eyes of the purple-haired teen; giving him a slight nod. The purple-haired male nodded and gently took Sora; before swimming for the surface.

But, not before they were sighted.

The huge fish growled as it swam after them, baring its fangs. Cradling Sora, the purple-haired teen twisted his body around so that he could take the blow instead; and closed his eyes, waiting for the fatal move. Only...nothing happened. In his shocked state, his eyes opened and he could only look on in stunned awe as the fish gave an inaudible screech; before dissolving into black mist as a crystallized heart flew off.

What the - ?

Shaking his head in disbelief, he continued his trek; and the two finally surfaced. He saw that the dark haired boy was growing distinctly pale with each passing moment; and knew that this was a bad thing. Thankfully, the ship had come to a complete halt when the attack occurred.

Now...

Where are those two?

.-.-.-.

Robert was relieved when the two odd boys surfaced, only moments after he did; and they swam over to him and the other boy. "Thanks for protecting Sora," The blond whispered, once the two reached them. The orange haired teen gently took Sora from Robert, just as several life savers with ropes, were tossed over. Robert and the blond grabbed one each, while the orange haired teen kept a firm grip on Sora; and grabbed a saver with his free hand.

It took the crew several moments to pull all four up, and once on board, a crew member went to call for a medic; especially once the damage was noted. Those who had been at the pool during the attack, approached the shivering boys and carefully placed their towels around them; relieved as their shivering slowly ceased. Selphie hurried over, thankful that she always kept some spare potions on hand; and unfortunately, she was running low. She knelt down to Wakka, and pulled out two potions which was followed by a mega potion; administering the contents to an unconscious Sora. At long last, she couldn't keep it to herself, anymore.

"That does it," She grumbled, gently rubbing Sora's throat so that he would swallow the potions. "I'm getting him some protective gear," Her green eyes narrowed. "Even if I have to do the enchantments myself!" Wakka winced, knowing that the girl was not only the most protective of their group; but she was really good at magic. Shaking his head, Lee felt something by his feet and looked down with curiosity; only to see a gem. Curious, he knelt down and picked it up. The only visible thing about the cloudy orb, was a single lightning bolt.

Wonder what this is?

Chapter Text

London, England

Three days after that terrible event, the cruise ship came to a port that was in London, England; a time to restock and for the passengers to disembark for awhile. This also marked the halfway point for the World Championships. Of those who chose to disembark, were the islanders and the two teams; but not before Kenny got the departure time from a crew member.

However...

After a delightful outing; shopping in the girls case (and boy, Selphie hadn't been kidding with her words, she really was getting Rei some protective gear!), the gang arrived back at the docks only to stare in utter shock at the sight.

The ship was gone.

"Sir!" Kenny called out to a bystander, who promptly stopped and turned to the group with curiosity. "What happened to the ship that had been here?" The little auburn haired teen asked, his voice weak. The man looked the odd group over carefully, before speaking in a soft voice; his ominous words were quite shocking.

"It left about an hour ago."

WHAT?!

The man then hurried on, leaving behind a stunned group. Distressed, Kenny turned to everyone. "What do we do now?" He asked, his voice rising due to his fear. Strangely enough, Rei exchanged looks with the White Tigers, as if having some sort of silent conversation; moments later, Rei sighed and looked to the others.

"Look," Rei began. "The Beyblade Federation Association has branches throughout the world," He continued as Max perked up. "Really?" The blond sounded interested, and Rei gave a slight nod before gesturing back to the city. "There's even a branch right here in London." Rei smiled slightly. "I'm sure that someone there can help us."

"I hope so," Kenny fretted.

.-.-.-.

As the group headed for the BBA London office; unknown to them, they were being watched by a lone figure. This person, clad entirely in black, stood on a roof of a tall building; their gaze never leaving sight of the group. After giving the barest of nods, they smiled to themselves.

Perfect.

.-.-.-.

Many among the group were lost in their thoughts or talking with one another; and of course, Rei and the White Tigers were leading the way. During this time, Lee was more than happy to talk with the islanders as he was rather curious about Rei's life before the village. And boy, was he surprised by the revelations.

Well, according to the trio, Rei's health had always been poor; but despite his disabilities, he was always a cheerful and sweet natured soul. Even more surprising, was when Lee learned of Rei's self appointed protector; Riku. Lee tilted his head, looking very much like a cat as his brown eyes reflected his confusion.

"Who's Riku?" He questioned, feeling a strange sensation and he realized with guilt, that it was jealousy. He was jealous of whoever this Riku was, and he hadn't even met the guy! Although, he had the feeling that Mariah was to never learn about this Riku person. Oh, don’t get him wrong, he loved his sister (really he did); but he wasn't blind to her faults.

Like her growing 'crush' on Rei.

The islanders were amused, and even Selphie giggled. "Riku was the first one who found Sora," Tidus smiled fondly at the memory. "And this was after he washed up on shore." At this admission, Lee seemed to perk up. So, did this mean that Rei wasn't from the same island as them? In fact, he voiced his question out loud, and the islanders looked grim. "We don't know where Sora came from," Selphie said quietly. "He just showed up one day after a meteor shower," Tidus mumbled.

A...meteor shower?

Lee looked over to where Rei was, a thoughtful look upon his face. A meteor shower, huh? Hadn't there been a meteor shower the day Rei came to the village? Was it possible that Rei could be...?

Nah.
Such a silly thought.

As if realizing something, Wakka looked to Selphie. "Wasn't Riku de one who gave Sora his name?" Selphie blinked owlishly, before her cheeks turned a light pink. Oh yeah, she had forgotten about that. Shaking his head with a smile, Wakka looked back to Lee; who looked surprised by everything. "If ya ever meet Riku, be careful wit" him,” He warned.

Huh?

"He's very protective of Sora."

Oh, that's why.

CRACK

What the - ?!

At the abrupt sound of a loud crack, the kids whirled around in shock. Something had been dissolving into black mists as whatever it had been, had slammed into a diamond-like shield. Seeing the red crystal flying off, Rei frowned, feeling a bit uneasy.

"What was that?" Max asked, a bit shaken by what had just happened. "Forget that!" Tyson squeaked, his blue eyes wide. "What about that shield?!" The diamond-like shield; which was a perfect blend of pink, blue and green, shimmered softly before dispersing altogether. Selphie frowned, recognizing it for what it really was, and looked over at Rei. "Sora," She called gently, catching the confused teen's attention. "Did you...?" She trailed off, gesturing to where the shield had been. Realizing what she was talking about, Rei shook his head.

Then who...?

.-.-.-.

Despite that little mishap, there was some good news. According to the London BBA, there was a train that could take them out of the city and towards their destination. However, the train wouldn't leave until tomorrow morning. Thankfully, the company was able to put the teams up in a nearby hotel for the night. And now, as the mid-afternoon strolled in, the kids were rather hungry and headed for a café.

Too bad trouble was right around the corner.

.-.-.-.

Sitting down to a late and much needed lunch, Rei let his mind drift over to that little mishap. He was rather confused by what had happened, not to mention worried. He had no clue as to what had attacked them, and who or what caused that shield to appear? After all, it wasn't like he'd been training those spheres.

Hm...

...what was that?

Keeping quiet and his face carefully blank, Rei's eyes traveled around; scanning their surroundings. It felt like they were being watched by someone. To his curiosity, there was someone who was indeed watching them. Their form was partially hidden by the lurking shadows of a nearby building. Whoever it was, wore a dark green hooded cloak, and...glowing eyes?! Unknown to Rei, his own eyes flashed a brighter shade of yellow-gold, and oddly enough, the cloaked figure seemed almost amused. Moments later, they withdrew, leaving the unaware group alone.

Who was that, anyway?

.-.-.-.

The next day, the gang found themselves on a rather nice train that was set to take them onto their next destination. Rei was quiet as he sat with the islanders; in fact, as time went on, Rei found that his memories were slowly coming back, and he realized that the islanders were perhaps a key to his memories. That, and he felt safe with them. While Rei sat with the islanders, the others were scattered about in the main car. Tyson, Max and Kenny were watching a cheesy horror movie, the White Tigers were talking among themselves, and who knew where Kai was.

Selphie sighed softly as she looked out the window; watching as the scenery passed them by. Like Rei, she was disturbed by yesterday's events; and more importantly, who had cast that shield? Huffing in annoyance, she looked back to Rei, whose eyes were slightly narrowed; a thoughtful frown upon his face.

Oh?

"Is everything okay, Sora?" She asked gently as he looked up, as if surprised. Blinking owlishly, Rei glanced at her before his eyes scanned the train. "Don't you find it odd that there's no one else here?" He asked quietly, making sure that the others didn’t hear him. Tidus and Wakka looked up sharply, they had noticed that there was no one else, save for them, on the train.

That was odd.
And worrying.

"Yeah," Tidus agreed, his voice low and grim. "We better check things out," The blond continued. The islanders got to their feet, but not before Selphie pocketed a small book that she had been reading earlier. Rei also got up to search, as his unease continued to grow with each passing moment.

Kenny, on the other hand, had been freaking out over the movie; noticed the islanders and Rei getting up. Where are they going? He wondered. Well, whatever it was, they weren't gone all that long. Moments later, the islanders returned to the main cabin; looking rather uneasy.

Wait a minute...

Where's Rei?!

(...)

Rei had promptly gone to the pilot's cabin and he was startled by what he found. Upon entering the cabin, Rei saw that no one had even stepped inside as everything was freaking automatic!

Figures.

Suddenly spotting a glint by one of the control panels, a spark of curiosity caught him. Rei knelt down and saw a familiar looking orb. Like the Black Mage orb, it was full of an ominous purple smoke; but this one sported three playing cards.

Odd.

As he picked it up, the orb floated from his hand before diving into his chest. Rei staggered back, wincing as his chest burned. Well, that was a first for him. Shaking his head, he looked around the cabin one last time and decided that he needed to get back to the others.

However, before Rei could even think of moving, something hard came down on his head. With a pained groan, Rei collapsed, and a cloaked figure stood over him; their eyes hard as a cruel smile graced their lips.

(...)

Tyson looked up as the islanders returned, curious if not a bit worried by their expressions. "What's up?" He asked, curiously. The islanders exchanged looks, before nodding. "There's no one else here," Tidus said quietly. "What?!" Kenny screeched. "How can that be?!" Mariah looked worried when she saw that Rei was nowhere to be seen. "Where's Rei?!" She demanded, her voice loud and frantic.

Um...

The islanders were uneasy, as they looked from one another. The train wasn’t all that big, so Sora should have returned with them at the same. Question was, where was Sora Everheart? Just then, the train plunged into darkness, and the train came to a screeching halt. Poor Kenny was fretting over the sudden halt, not to mention he was still frreaked out over the knowledge that they were the only ones on the train. Taking a chance, Lee looked out a window, only to see a stone wall.

...huh?

Oh.
A tunnel.

"Come on," Lee urged, as he headed for the cabin door. "We should check things out.” Mariah frowned, her eyes narrowing slightly. "What about Rei?" She demanded, hotly. Selphie inwardly frowned, her green eyes locked onto the younger girl. She wasn't the only one who had noticed the girl's growing obsession with Sora; her two friends had noticed as well. There was now a silent agreement between the islanders. They needed to keep an eye on one Mariah Wong, and keep her away from Sora. After all, Riku would never forgive them if anything happened to Sora.

Stepping out of the train, the group saw that it had come to a perfect halt within a tunnel. However, the moment that they stepped out, numerous lights came on; illuminating the tunnel with a soft yellow light.

Okay...

"Heh, heh..."

Tensing, the teams slowly turned around, only to stare in utter shock. The islanders were tense as well, their hands twitching as if wanting to reach for something. Whatever, or whoever this was, was sending their instincts into overdrive.

Three cloaked figures slowly stepped out from the shadows, each one looking rather amused. "And where do you think that you're going, Bladebreakers and White Tigers?" Lee and Kai froze, shocked that these strangers knew their team names. And so, one-by-one, the three removed their hoods; showing the gang who they really were.

The leader was tall, and judging by his elegant features, he was of old blood. His hair, which was slicked back slightly, was primarily a greyish-black that blended into ruby red, and with a single ruby red stripe going through his locks. His skin was quite pale, and his eyes...they shone a startling shade of red; red as freshly spilt blood.

The shorter male had a more rougher tone to his appearance; his built clearly muscular. His features were stronger, tanner skin, a shaggy mane of blue-gray hair, and slitted blue eyes. Hold on...slitted eyes?! The last male was very tall and clearly more muscular than his friends. His features seemed to be more flatter, and like the shorter male, had tanned skin. His hair was along the buzz cut style, but with spiky bangs, and strangely enough, his hair was green; but not quite the same shade as Kevin's. No, this guy's hair was more of a forest or murky shade of green. And his eyes were a dark shade of green, the pupils thin slits.

Not good.

"W-who are you?" Max asked, stuttering out of fear. The leader smirked, showing needle sharp fangs as he gave a mocking bow. "You may call me Sanguinex," He purred. The shorter one grinned, revealing sharp teeth. "And I'm his little brother, Lupinex." This admission left both teams confused, as neither of them looked alike. "And you may call me Zomb," The biggest one rumbled.

"And I'm Centopah."

...huh?

Getting a bad feeling about things, the teams turned, only to see a fourth cloaked male appearing. This newcomer was as tall as Sanguinex, but he had bandages wrapped around his more slender frame; and it looked like he was wearing the headpiece of an Egyptian pharaoh? And with him was...

"REI/SORA?!"

Everyone was shocked by the sight. Centopah had a firm grasp on Rei's shoulders; and it was clear to them that Rei had been knocked out by the dark figure, and boy, were the islanders pissed when they saw a faint trickle of blood going down the right of Sora's temple. "What did you do to him?!" Mariah yelled, her eyes slitted as she hissed with a felineous fury. "Don't worry," Sanguinex said calmly. "Your friend is fine." His red eyes narrowed slightly as he looked the two teams over. "Now, how about a little game?" At this challenge, the two teams stopped in confusion.

A...game?

While all of this was happening, Rei was beginning to regain consciousness. His head was throbbing like crazy, and his eyes fluttered before opening. He was surprised when he felt a slight pressure on his shoulders, and looking ahead; he found the two teams about to face off against a trio of Beybladers. A team that felt off, dark almost, too him.

Time to get free.

He frowned, before an amused glint came to his yellow-gold eyes as he realized that whoever was holding him in place; had no clue that he was awake. Well, he should correct that then, shouldn't he? Centopah froze when he felt a sudden movement coming from his seemingly unconscious captive. Looking down with wide yellow eyes, he saw that Rei was looking straight at him; said teen was grinning at him. Before Centopah knew it, Rei had grabbed his hand, lifted the older male off and over his head; and kicked him towards the other dark ones.

Startled by this, the teams turned, only to see that Rei was awake, but something wasn't quite right. The islanders were surprised when a seal appeared underneath Sora. Golden energy was cackling around him as tiny stars glimmered when purple smoke started to circle the bemused teen.

"...Introducing..."

A large purple seal appeared on the ground, sporting a spade symbol. Four smaller spades appeared along the edges of the seal, spinning rapidly as Rei came back into view; his clothes changed once more. And quite a few them felt their faces heat up at the sight. Rei now wore a dark purplish-black vest with black straps bound around his upper arms, a pair of rather revealing black silk pants, a silk scarf was wrapped loosely around his neck, dark purplish black boots, and last, but not least, a gold coin belt was wrapped around his waist. In one gloved hand, he held a set of large playing cards.

Cards that were cackling with purplish-blue energy.

"Lightning," Selphie breathed in realization. "He's channeling lightning through those cards!" After turning pink at the sight of his outfit, Rei looked over at the now paling dark ones and grinned widely; his grin widening when he saw them flinch. "Now," Rei began as the cards floated above his outstretched hand. "Let's see what this can really do." He held out his arm, and everyone was left gaping as the cards flew out of his hand and struck each dark blader. Not surprisingly, they screeched in pain as they were electrocuted; and were damn lucky, that Rei kept it at a weakened level.

Not like he wanted to kill them.

As the electrified cards struck the dark bladers, three casino like slots appeared over Rei's head; spinning rapidly. "Why am I getting the feeling that we're screwed?” Lupinex asked, groaning as his body was still twitching from the sudden shock. Rei raised an eyebrow, looking amused with the blunt words that were uttered so carelessly. "Yes," Rei said cheerfully. "Yes you are."

As if hearing something, Rei looked up and smiled. The slots had finally stopped spinning, landing on a bar and two cherries. And the cards that had been spinning around him, suddenly halted as one began to emit a pure white light. At the same time, the four dark ones yelped as a dark green energy paralyzed them; keeping them firmly in place. The light continued to expand, illuminating the tunnel with its brilliance; having forced everyone to look away for their own safety. Despite the bright light, the teams could hear the faint cries from the dark ones...

With the light receding, they were finally able to see again; only to find the dark one had collapsed, groaning softly or pained whimpers. "Impressive," Tidus whistled, his eyes bright as Selphie nodded in agreement. "Just how strong is dat form?" Wakka wondered as the two Beyblade teams were left gaping.

The soft click-clack of Rei's boots against the stone platform, echoed softly as he calmly walked towards the downed team. He knelt down before Sanguinex, his eyes sharp; a strange gleam reflecting from within. The dark haired male groaned, his red eyes traveling upwards to meet Rei's. To the shock of those who were watching, a cruel smile graced Rei's lips, before he whispered something to Sanguinex; whose eyes widen slightly.

The group could only stare as Sanguinex's skin paled even more, and they wondered what Rei had said that gotten the older male so spooked like that. Sanguinex staggered to his feet, before sending his team a grim look and shook his head. Then, one-by-one, the four disappeared into the shadows; hopefully for good. Sighing, Rei straightened himself back up as a pale purplish smoke swirled around him; the effects of the orb no longer needed. The smoke receded, leaving Rei in his normal attire. The islanders hurried forward, leaving the astounded group behind them.

Rei shivered, his face red. "There is no way that I'm using that one again," He mumbled as Selphie giggled. "Aw, I thought that you were cute in it, Sora!" She squealed as he shot her a glare. "Aw, come on Sora," Tidus said cheerfully as he placed an arm around Rei's shoulder and guided the teen back to the others. "I know for a fact that Riku wouldn't have mind that outfit," He teased. Rei stared blankly at him for a moment before he turned bright red at Tidus' words. "Why you...!" He yelled, chasing the mischievous blond around.

"That's not funny!"

Chapter Text

Paris, France

"I still can't believe that we're in Paris," Mariah breathed as they stepped out into fresh air. It had taken a lot of work from the BBA, not to mention a lot of apologizing; but the unusual group had gotten a second train, and they were soon back on track. Hence, the layover in Paris France.

Unfortunately, it was going to be a few more days before they could leave. Hey, the company couldn't do everything at once! So, the group had plenty of time to kill, or in the case of a Beyblader; train. Turning to the bladers, Selphie raised an eyebrow. "So," She said lightly with a faint smile. "What are you guys going to do while we're here?" Kai snorted and walked off, leaving them behind; and caused Tyson to roll his eyes in annoyance. "There's a former villager who lives here," Lee piped up. "And since he owns a restaurant nearby," He continued. "We're gonna stop by for awhile."

Oh.

"What about you, Rei?" Max asked curiously, turning to the older boy; who smiled slightly. Rei gestured to the islanders, but only Lee knew why. Of course, only the islanders had an inkling on Rei's past. Come to think about it, did the Bladebreakers even know about Rei's amnesia? Lee took a quick look at the younger team, and knew almost immediately that they did not.

Mariah frowned. To be honest, she didn't like the islanders all that much; to put it simply, she was jealous. Mariah hated the fact that since those islanders came along, Rei was spending all of his time with them, and not with his real friends. So yes, she was jealous! Placing a hand on her shoulder, Lee gave Rei a curt nod; watching as the boy relaxed. Rei was happy that Lee understood his reasonings, and anyway, he could train with Driger later on. Watching as the four left, Lee turned to his sister with a dirty look. "Don't Mariah," He snapped at her indignant look.

"You know as well as I do," He continued. "That those three are the only ones who can possibly help him remember." Hearing this, the Bladebreakers were surprised. "What are you talking about?" Tyson asked curiously, as the White Tigers exchanged unreadable looks. "There's something that you need to know about Rei," Lee said quietly as his eyes dimmed a bit. "He just showed up one day," Mariah murmured. "After that meteor shower," Kevin pointed out, shivering as he remembered how frightening that day was. The Bladebreakers were looking at them with wide eyes. "Meteor shower?" Kenny repeated, his voice awed. Meteor showers rarely, if ever happens and for one to happen right over a village?

It was unheard of!

The White Tigers nodded. "Yeah," Lee sighed. "Unfortunately, Rei couldn't remember anything." Max held a hand to his mouth in shock. "That's terrible," He murmured. "You mean he couldn't remember anything about his past?" The blond continued. Lee shook his head.

"Nothing at all."
"Not even his own name."

.-.-.-.

"Glad to be away from that," Rei muttered. Tidus snorted, his blue eyes twinkling with amusement. "What?" He teased, ribbing the annoyed teen. "You've finally noticed it?" Rei shot him a dirty look, huffing. "I'm not blind you know," He grumbled as Selphie raised an eyebrow. "So, you have noticed it," Her voice light.

"If you mean Mariah," Rei said dryly.
"Then yes."

.-.-.-.

"Think Sora's here?"

"He has to be..."

.-.-.-.

Absentmindedly keeping an eye on their surroundings as they walked on, Wakka glanced at Rei with a curious look. "Den why haven't ya done anythin' about it?" Before he could answer, something caught his attention and Rei looked up at the clear skies with confusion. Frowning, he shook his head before looking back at Wakka. "She's the granddaughter of one of the village elders," He said quietly. The trio winced at the implications of such a statement. "That high up, huh?" Selphie asked with a weak smile. She shook her head as Rei sighed heavily, hanging his head. "You have no idea," He whined.

(...)

"Let's see how you handle this."

(...)

...huh?

Rei suddenly stopped in mid-strife, his yellow-gold eyes widening slightly as he felt his left arm heat up; a decidedly cold chill was gripping his heart. "Sora?" Selphie called gently, once she realized that Rei had fallen behind. Tidus and Wakka also stopped, realizing that like Selphie, something was wrong and bothering their friend.

My hearts pounding like crazy...
What's going on?!

The temperatures were beginning to drop, and if anything, a shadowy mist seemed to settle over the streets. Shivering, Rei slowly turned around, his eyes darting about as if looking for something. It felt like he was being watched by someone, or worse, something. His eyes looked ahead; growing white as a sheet, and no wonder.

Shadows.

Hundreds of them.
If not thousands.

And unfortunately for Rei, each and every single Shadow was looking straight at him. "Sora!" Selphie cried as the shadowy beings started for the stunned boy. "RUN!" Swallowing thickly, the now terrified boy turned and took off down the streets. No need to tell him twice!

.-.-.-.

Riku was still confused by everything that happened. What, with his home being consumed by the darkness, then to him being used and manipulated by Maleficent just so that he could wake up Kairi. Why, oh why had he turned against Sora like that? Remembering how those shimmering blue eyes looked at him with such hurt and betrayal, that Riku felt awful for his actions.

Guilt that Ansem used to possess him.

After the possession, Riku felt himself drift through an endless darkness, that is...until a light reached out and pulled him back to consciousness. The next thing that Riku knew, he had his body back; so who knew where Ansem was. He was also left alone with Sora's two companions; Donald and Goofy. Although, neither of them seemed happy with him; something that he couldn't fault them for.

Speaking of those two...

He turned and raised an eyebrow at the sight of the duo. Thanks to the magicks of this world; something that Donald was grumbling about, the two had been altered so that they could blend in better. Yes, you heard right; the magicks of this world had turned the two into humans.

Goofy was now a man in his late thirties to early forties, with unruly black hair and slightly tanned skin. Thankfully, his clothes remained the same. Donald, on the other hand, looked like a man in his late twenties to early thirties with short and cropped snow white hair, and rather fair skin. Of course, the disguise added on some jeans and sneakers; a good thing, too. As it would have been rather awkward, not to mention the explanation to the police...

Goofy was inspecting Riku carefully, noting the changes to the boy. Riku was a lot taller now, thin but built like a swimmer. His silver hair was a bit longer, too; and his green eyes were darker now, harder one would say. Even his outfit had changed (which was confusing). Riku now wore a sleeveless black shirt with a yellow trimmed creamy vest, semi baggy blue pants, black and white sneakers, and a yellowish-white wristband/glove on his left hand.

"So, you don't remember anything after Ansem took control?" Goofy questioned, his voice soft but gentle. Riku shook his head, green eyes dim. "No," He whispered. "All I remember was seeing a bright light," He sighed, looking up at the sunny skies. "Next thing I knew, I was in control and with you guys."

Oh.

Shaking his head, Goofy turned to Donald, who was quiet. "Donald," He called. "Is Merlin right about this?" He asked nervously. "Is Sora really here?" It had been a little over ten days since Sora had vanished, and everyone had spent their time and energy to track the boy down. Donald gave a curt nod, his dark eyes eyes scanning everything carefully. "Yeah," He murmured. "Merlin tracked Sora's magic to this world."

This world...
...why was it marked Beyblade?

"Sora!"

Riku looked up sharply, as if hearing something that the other two could not. "That...that was Selphie!" He realized with dawning horror. "RUN!" The two jumped as that terrified cry, before realization dawned on them as well. Well, they found Sora; but there was a little problem. Sora, was apparently in trouble.

Figures.

.-.-.-.

"Wait," Kenny frowned, as if realizing something. "If he can't remember anything, then who gave him his name?" Kevin smiled slightly. "Grandmother said that he kept mumbling 'ri'," He explained. "So, he was given the name Rei." Mariah suddenly scowled, looking rather annoyed. "Ever since those people showed up," She grumbled. "Rei's changed, and I hate it."

Lee rolled his eyes.

"Sora!"

The two teams jumped at the loud, distressed cry. Max swallowed thickly as everyone looked about with wide eyes. "Isn't Sora what those guys have been calling Rei?" The blond asked, his voice nervous. "RUN!" The teams exchanged uneasy looks before bolting in the direction of the scream.

.-.-.-.

Rei was racing through the crowded streets, darting between startled pedestrians. He was trying hard into not knocking anyone down; as it wouldn't do him any good if someone got caught up in this. Unknown to Rei, he had bumped into a certain green haired boy; who could only stare in shock as the dark haired teen ran by. Damn, those shadows weren't giving up!

...huh?

Looking ahead, he was surprised to see that the Eiffel Tower was coming into view. Had he been running that long? Taking a chance, Rei looked over his shoulder and winced at the sight. If it was even possible, the amount of shadows had increased; and Rei could sense the desperation from the dark mass.

Desperation and incredible hunger.

"Thundaga!"

Rei squeaked, ducking as blue lightnint rained down. He looked back once more, and was shocked to see that some of the shadows were dispersing into mists. Slowing down slightly, Rei watched as a green and silver blur twirled along the streets; slicing even more shadows into nothing. And last, but not least, he saw a pale yellow blur racing through the shadows.

Oh?

Unfortunately, despite the help, more and more shadows were pouring out and speeding right for him. Cursing softly, Rei took off once more and realized that he could escape by making it to the tower. Hopefully, whoever was helping him, would get the same idea.

(...)

"Damnit!" Donald growled, sending out several ice and lightning spells towards the mass of darkness. Goofy landed, skidding a few feet back; panting as he stood back up. Riku had also skidded back, holding a dragon-winged sword; his face greatly flushed as he panted. "Where all of these Shadows coming from?!"

"Riku!" Said teen tensed, but relaxed when he saw that it was Selphie, Wakka and Tidus who ran up to him; Selphie being the one who called out his name. Strangely enough, the three were joined by seven other kids; a group that the three were well acquainted with. When Riku saw that Sora was nowhere to be seen, he felt a silver of fear going down his spine. "Where's Sora?" He demanded, still keeping an eye on the growing mass. Selphie simply pointed ahead of the mass, and it was at that precise moment that everyone realized where Rei/Sora was.

Oh hells bells.

Seeing this, Donald and Goofy looked from the group to Sora's location; before looking back to the group, and felt their hearts break at the sight of the devastated look upon Riku's face. The two exchanged swift looks, their eyes telling each other everything. Understandment and acceptance of what was to happen, Donald gave a slight nod before the two turned to the group.

"Riku," Goofy said softly, a sad smile gracing his lips. The teen looked up, a bit confused. "Look after Sora for us, won't you?" The silver haired teen frowned, suspicion nagging at him. "So, you take good care of him." Donald snorted, crossing his arms as he gripped his staff tightly. "And don't you even think of turning against him again!" He scolded as that suspicion continued to grow. "Just one last thing," Goofy sighed as he looked up at the darkening skies with dim eyes. "When you see Max and Daisy, can you tell them that we're sorry?" With that last having been said, Goofy took a step back as fear drove Selphie to demand. "What are you doing?" She yelled as the two ran towards the deadly mass. "Taking care of Sora!" Goofy called back, his shield in hand.

"No..." Riku whispered, stunned by the realization.

"Riku?" Tidus looked the teen with unease. "What's happening?" Kenny demanded, his voice shrill. "What are they going to do?!" Riku was white as a sheet, as the horror of their ominous words rang true. "They're going to sacrifice themselves!"

WHAT?!

(...)

Owww!

Rei grunted as he was abruptly slammed into the unforgiving tower; pain shooting through his spine from the painful collision with metal. Struggling to get up, he whimpered as his body screamed in protest from the sudden movement. Rei's eyes fluttered widely and he looked up; only to turn white as hundreds of shadows lunged for him.

Oh no...

"Ulta!"

The once semi-clear skies grew dark as ominous clouds gathered overhead; lightning cackling as it arched across the darkening skies. The air felt heavy as temperatures dropped at an alarming rate. The dark clouds slowly parted; swirling over a single spot and without warning, a single beam of golden energy shot down. It seemed to have hit its mark, as a bright light illuminated the arena; forcing everyone to shield their eyes or to look away.

As the light began to fade, the clouds were dispersing themselves as the sun slowly came back out. Silence washed over the streets as dust clouded the senses. Shivering, Rei managed to regain his bearings as the pain within his spine began to recede. Wincing, he sat up, coughing over the thick dust. Shaking his head, Rei slowly got to his feet and looked around with weariness. Waving away the dust, Rei looked around as he could vaguely hear the cries of his friends. His yellow-gold eyes scanned the area carefully, before landing on two still figures; both clearly male. Dread slowly filled him as their features came into view; features that struck a chord of familiarity.

He knew them.
...but who were they?

Kneeling down to the oldest one, Rei gently brushed a singed dark lock from the man’s face; hesitating as the man groaned softly, his eyes opening, thus revealing dull dark orbs. Again, the feeling of familiarity resonated from within, and the faint sense of the wrongness of the man filtered through. Almost as if he knew that this was not the man's true appearance. "I-I know you..." Rei whispered, feeling the hot tears trickling down as the man gave a tired smile, and a weak chuckle. "Oh Sora," The man breathed. "I know that...we promised the king that...we wouldn't leave..." He reached up and gently wiped away Rei's tears. "But you're worth so much more..." He wheezed and Rei realized with sickening horror that the man was fading, and fading fast.

"You don't need us...anymore..."

Rei felt his heart shatter as the man’s eyes closed, and his hand went limp. With a soft sigh, the two men breathed their last as they died. Tears dripping, Rei felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up with a watery gaze.

Yellow-gold eyes met cat-like green.

Riku was startled by the sight of Sora's appearance, but underneath the inky black hair and yellow-gold eyes, Riku would recognize his best friend anywhere. He didn't even protest as Sora lunged for him; hugging the older male and he buried his face into his chest. Somehow, Sora wasn't ashamed when he cried.

"Why?" Sora whimpered.

"Why does it hurt so much?!"

Chapter Text

Riku just held Sora, running a hand through dark locks as the younger teen cried. Exhausted by the recent events, Sora fell asleep in his arms; feeling safe as he did so. Sighing, Riku kept his voice low as his green eyes met a worried Selphie. "Selphie," He said quietly, his arms still wrapped around Sora. "What happened?"

The islanders hesitated as the two teams looked unsure. Well, in Mariah's case, she looked pissed with how Riku was holding her crush. "Well," Selphie said slowly, her eyes never leaving sight of the unconscious boy. "While we're not sure why Sora's appearance changed," Her voice sounded weak and uneasy. Riku was silent, before realizing that this world's magicks must have changed Sora's appearance just enough to blend in.

"We do know that Sora's memory is gone."

...what?

Riku looked up at that, as if surprised and winced as Wakka nodded. "It's just like before, ya," He murmured. "At least he's remembering this time," Tidus muttered as Wakka looked disturbed. "Sora blocked dose memories for a reason," He said quietly. "And I'm not sure if I want him ta remember."

Wait a minute.

Rei had lost his memory before?

...hm?

Feeling the rising surge of energy coming from that odd tower, Riku turned his head slightly; only to stare with wide eyes. The islanders and bladers followed Riku's gaze, only to stare in shock; some freaking out over the sight. There, at the base of that tower, was a shimmering energy shield; a mesmerizing blue, yellow and green. What happened next, was truly amazing.

Slowly emerging from the shield was a rather large creature. It was equinine in nature, and yet, at the same time, it wasn't. Its body was primarily a blue-gray with a tarnished silver armor lining its spine (resembling a skeleton), and golden armor lined its neck and curled around its front legs. It had a silver-blue mane, a somewhat stubby tail, but silver-blue fur lined its shoulders, legs and even its hind quarters; oddly resembling flames. Last, but not least, a long and curved horn that looked a bit like a sickle.

Milky eyes met green.

It merely walked up to the pair, nuzzling Sora with surprising gentleness; before its eyes locked on the mismatched group. The being straightened itself out, and looked down at the unconscious boy. Its body slowly dispersed into colorful lights, before said lights swept themselves into Sora. At the same time, a dull lilac orb rolled up and Selphie picked it up; revealing a cloud yet dark purple musical note.

"Well, I'll be...a unicorn!"

Surprised by this, everyone turned, only to see a teenage boy; about the same age as the islanders, standing there with wide purplish eyes. He was an odd one, that was for sure. He was of average height, but with a slight feminine appearance. Startling green hair framed a delicate face as light purple eyes sparkled with joy. He wore a red shirt with white pants, dark shoes, a sleeveless blue trench coat, a blue french beret (which held a pair of pilot’s goggles), and a white scarf. The boy, once he realized his manners, flushed slightly before giving a soft smile. "Forgive me for my rudeness," He said sheepishly, rubbing the back of his neck as if embarrassed. "My name is Oliver Boulanger, and I'm the current reigning champion of Paris." The bladers jerked back in shock, for this was the second time that they ran into a Beyblade Champion.

Oh?

Oliver blinked owlishly, realizing that something wasn't quite right and was immediately concerned when he saw Rei's state. "Your friend," He said softly, one hand curled up. "Will he be alright?" Riku's grip tightened slightly as the islanders exchanged looks. "He'll be fine," Selphie murmured, carefully inspecting her friend; realizing that Sora was simply asleep.

I've finally got you back, Sora, Riku thought.
And I'm not leaving you again.

.-.-.-.

Rei woke up a couple of days later, but it was clear to anyone that those events were still affecting him. He was quieter than ever, his eyes were hollow and he seemed rather listless; hopefully he could be brought out of his funk. Now, as the days slowly passed, the newcomer; Riku, was showing that he was definitely of the protective sort, especially when it came to an embarrassed Rei.

During this period, Oliver decided to test Tyson, and much to the younger boy's embarrassment and frustration; thoroughly trounced him. After beating Tyson in such a brutal fashion, the older teen was soon scolding Tyson for his poor techniques, shaming the younger teen. However, after his lecture, Oliver, for some odd reason; suggested for the group to head to Italy.

Most curious.

.-.-.-.

Enrique Giancarlo.
Italy's reigning champion.

So, that's why Oliver suggested Italy.

Enrique looked to be around fifteen with short and slightly wavy pale blond hair, fair skin, sharp features and pale blue eyes. Huh, he wore a yellow shirt with a short, white trimmed, short sleeved red jacket, green pants and red-orange sneakers. Unfortunately, he proved himself to be of the old fashioned type when it came to many things, including on the treatment of women. Thus, his little flaw, did not endear him to Mariah or Selphie. If anything, it got him slapped by said female for whatever he said!

Although, something unusual did happen. About a day or two after meeting Enrique, the teen took Tyson to task, and challenged him to a match. His Amphilyon (a two-headed dragon), easily wiped the floor with Dragoon. But, Tyson wasn't about to let this loss affect him. Instead, Tyson worked with Kenny on upgrading his Beyblade; and once that was done, he would challenge Enrique to a rematch.

With Tyson busy upgrading his Beyblade, the others were left on their own. Selphie was still at work creating a set of enchanted clothes for Rei (he was still embarrassed by this), and others were discussing among themselves. Rei, on the other hand, was lost in his thoughts as his mind drifted over the match from earlier.

Rei thought it was odd with how Oliver, and now Enrique, fought against Tyson. It was as if the two were one with their bit-beasts. Was that even possible for a blader? Rei looked down at his Beyblade with curiosity, wondering on the possibilities.

Wait.

A test.
All of this was a test.

Question is, would Tyson even be able to pass it...?

Surprisingly enough, Oliver had showed up for the rematch; and chose to sit with the gang. The rematch was being held in a place that was a near identical replica of the Roman Coliseum. Only, as Rei entered the arena, he was suddenly struck with a strong sense of familiarity. It was the feeling of familiarity of being there; but that sort of feeling should have been impossible...shouldn't it?

Looking up from her stitching, Selphie was left staring in shock. "I don't believe it!" she cried. Snapping out from his thoughts, Rei slipped his Beyblade back into his pocket before looking up and following Selphie's gaze to the arena floor; his eyes wide. Somehow, Amphilyon had gotten his two necks tied around each other; sending the poor beast into a frenzy. Dragoon, on the other hand? Well, surprisingly enough, he had a rather smug look in his gleaming golden eyes; almost as if he was satisfied with Amphilyon being in pain. Hm, who knew that the dragon spirit was such a jerk?

Enrique dropped his shield and sword; yes, he was decked out in full gladiator armor, staring dumbfounded by such a tactic. He was confused and a bit worried when Amphilyon suddenly stopped listening to him; oh, this was so not good. If Amphilyon refused to listen to him, the beast spirit could easily go on a rampage. "Amphilyon!" He cried, desperate to reach out to his friend. Enrique took a step back in fear as the frenzied beast turned on him with an enraged roar. Everyone could only look on in shock as Amphilyon slammed one of the Coliseum's towers, and said tower crumpled almost immediately as large stone pieces sped for the terrified Enrique.

"Move!" Tyson screamed.

The younger boy dashed forward and with a grunt, threw himself at the armored teen. The two tumbled forward, and just as they did, the crumbling stone pieces hit the ground with a sickening crack. Enrique sat up looking to be quite shaken, his eyes wide and his breathing was rather fast. Even Tyson was breathing heavily, his body trembling from the sudden burst of adrenaline. The gang scrambled to their feet, hurrying down the stone stairs and down to the arena floor, before heading up to the two dazed males. Oliver was frantically checking Enrique over as Max fretted over Tyson. The French teen sighed when he saw that his friend was alright; just shaken by what had happened.

Helping the blond to his feet, Oliver sent Tyson a grateful look. "Thank you," He said softly. "Thank you for saving him." Tyson turned a light pink as Kenny helped him to his feet. "Heh, heh," Tyson cackled, rubbing the back of his neck in embarrassment. "No problem." Well, at least they were alright. Sighing, Rei stopped when the hair on the back of his neck stood on end. Getting the feeling of being watched, he turned his head slightly; only to see a cloaked figure watching them. Hm, it didn't feel like those dark bladers. As if realizing that he was watching, the cloaked figure disappeared.

If the person wasn't one of the dark ones.
Then...who was it?

.-.-.-.

After finally calming down from that frightening event, both Oliver and Enrique chose to take the group to a friend of theirs; Robert Jürgens. When Oliver showed them a picture of what Robert looked like; it was Rei, Selphie, Wakka, Tidus and Lee who recognized him. "Hey," Lee started. "That's the guy who helped us back on the ship!" Selphie gaped, catching Riku's attention.

Uh-oh.

Riku's green eyes sharpened as he looked from Rei to the islanders and back again. "What was that?" He asked, his voice may have been pleasant, but only the islanders recognized the danger. "Nothing, nothing!" Tidus said weakly, holding up his hands as if to shield himself. The bladers exchanged looks, knowing the Tidus was lying; but, as they saw the dangerous looks that Riku was giving the three, it was decided that it was for the best that Riku did not learn about the incident.

"Finally done!" Selphie squealed, putting the last of a black garment away in a box. Well, she had been working on that protective gear since the cruise, and judging by her exclamation, she had finally completed her project. So, that meant that not only was the gear completed, but the enchantments done as well. Grinning, she dragged Rei over and lifted the box just enough for him to see. Surprisingly enough, his face heated up and he backed away from the giggling girl.

"I'm so not wearing that!"

Chapter Text

Selphie raised an eyebrow when Rei backed away with a red face, before giggling as she realized why he was so embarrassed. "Aw, come on Sora!" She pouted, before her green eyes traveled over to a confused Riku, grinning widely. "I think you would look good in it." Seeing her wink really got Riku's curiosity burning. Blinking, Tidus peeked over Selphie's shoulder at the new garments, before he turned a light pink.

Rubbing the back of his neck in a sheepish manner, Tidus sent a giggling Selphie a look. "Maybe only Riku should see Sora in that, hm?" His voice, while calm, his hard eyes momentarily looking the bladers over; dismissing them before focusing on Selphie once more. This action, definitely caught Riku's attention, and he wondered what it was about that group that made Tidus a bit on the nervous side. Hm, looks like he would have to keep an eye on them.

"What's going on here?"

...whoops.

Everyone turned red at the sound of Oliver's voice. Embarrassed, they turned around, only to see Oliver and Enrique standing there. Oliver had his hands on his hips, his eyes stern as Enrique looked amused by their antics. Heh, they sort of forgot that the two were even there. How embarrassing it must have been, for the two to have overheard their antics.

"Sora's a bit embarrassed by what Selphie made for him," Wakka said with a smirk. "Don't blame him," Tidus mumbled, his eyes looking everywhere but the embarrassed Rei; whose face was still a bright red. Oliver seemed to perk up as Enrique groaned loudly, causing everyone to look at him in confusion. "Probably shouldn't have said that," Enrique said with a groan. When the blond saw their confused expressions, Enrique rubbed the back of his neck as if embarrassed by something.

"Oliver," He said slowly. "Despite how he looks, is a fashionista." At this, realization and understanding dawned on the girls. Curious, Oliver calmly walked over and checked out what the pretty brunette had made for the mysterious boy. Once he saw the contents, Oliver's cheeks turned a light pink, before looking back at Rei; and grinned widely, making Rei nervous, very nervous. "Sorry love," Oliver teased, before reaching for Rei's right arm. "But you are definitely changing into that outfit." Rei squeaked as the teen proceeded to drag him off, completely ignoring his protests.

Oh dear.

(...)

Oh man.
How embarrassing.

Rei's face was still beet red, as he slowly stepped out from the bathroom that Oliver had dragged him to. He felt absolutely mortified by things, and he was rubbing at his arms; feeling rather exposed. The others, who had finally caught up, looked up in surprise. Selphie, on the other hand, once she saw their reactions; had a rather smug look upon her face.

And no wonder.

Instead of his usual GI and tunics; Rei was now wearing a sleeveless, dark-blue top that was tight enough that it appeared almost painted on. Any time he shifted, the shirt would ride up, exposing a toned stomach. Loose fitting black pants clung to him, revealing nearly slender hips; silver chains looping around his waist. Soft brown leather straps were wrapped around his thighs, sleek black boots, a short sleeved black jacket with a blood red hoodie, and fingerless black and blood red gloves. Oddly enough, the only thing that remained, was his yin-yang bandanna.

Looking closer, barely visible traces of pure silver ran along the sleeves of his jacket and down the sides. And unknown to everyone (save for Selphie, that is), there were traces of armor lining the back of his jacket. There was also numerous protection spells woven into the very cloth itself. Riku was eyeing him, his green eyes traveling over the slender form; finding that he was liking in what he was seeing. Somehow, if this was even possible, Rei turned even redder. The poor guy was resembling a tomato with how much he was blushing.

"Told ya, you would look good!"

(...)

About a day or two later, Oliver and Enrique took the large group over to Robert's home in Germany. Who knew that Enrique kept a private plane? While relaxing and looking out a window, Rei was a bit confused by himself. When they had gotten on the plane and upon takeoff, his fingers itched as if wanting to take ahold and fly the plane himself. But, he didn’t know how to fly a plane, so what was with him?

/"You might not remember much,"/ A familiar voice whispered, and Rei was careful about not letting his emotions show. /"But, it seems that your body does."/ Hmph, that voice better not mean what he was thinking. There was a soft laugh, and it felt like there was a hand clasping at his shoulder; but there was no one there.

/"Are you sure that you're innocent?"/

Wait...
...WHAT?!

(...)

Wow.

Robert's castle was impressive. If Kenny had one word that he could describe this ancient structure, it would be goth. The castle was immense, with delicate and intricate markings visible along the dark stone. Luckily, for Kenny's sake (really, he needed to calm down), there were no gargoyles. Unfortunately, as the plane landed, a heavy rainfall began. Even though the rainfall had been unexpected, there were some umbrellas on board. Seriously, how were these two prepared for such things?!

The kids had to run towards the castle; where an elderly man in a black tuxedo awaited, desperate to escape the pouring rain. The man, was carrying an umbrella, and holding up a lantern; as the rain made it rather difficult for anyone to see. Rei was shivering violently, looking around with curiosity; admiring the paintings of landscapes of far away lands. There were even a few statues and vases that were tastefully set up that they blended in perfectly with their surroundings.

"Hm, so you've finally arrived."

Oliver and Enrique smiled as Robert came into view. The older teen's red eyes looked them over, recognition flickering there, before it was gone. "Sorry," Enrique said with a sheepish smile. "That rainfall slowed us down a bit." Robert raised an eyebrow, giving the blond a pointed look as Oliver snickered at his friend's plight.

A violent sneeze.

...oh?

Everyone stopped, before slowly turning around to Rei. The poor guy was rubbing at his nose, his cheeks slightly pink. "Sorry," He mumbled, before sneezing again. Frowning, Selphie strode forward, placing her hand against his forehead. Hm, no temperature...yet, anyway. Sighing, she looked over to Robert; who was indeed watching with concern. "Do you have anything we can use to dry off?" She asked tiredly. "I'd rather Sora didn't get sick again."

Blinking, Robert gave a slight nod and gestured for the group to follow them. Oliver and Enrique were concerned, as they followed. Looking from the shivering Rei to the islanders and back again, neither of them realized that Rei could get sick so easily. And well, that rain had been coming down rather heavy. As the group traveled down the hallway, the elderly man from before; the butler, apparently, was following along as he handed out several towels. A few moments later, they were brought to a rather grand looking library, which held a marble fireplace; a fire blazing happily within.

Oh good.

There was a red couch that was just off to the left; where a teenage boy was laying, seemingly asleep. Ignoring him, Selphie grabbed Rei's hand and gently brought the shivering teen over to the fireplace; for his skin was practically like ice. Wrapping him in towels, her eyes then traveled over to the boy on the couch.

Hm...

The boy looked to be roughly their age; it was hard to tell, though. His dark auburn hair stuck out everywhere in a wild way, being held up by a simple blue bandanna. He wore a blue shirt where the sleeves had been roughly cut off, semi baggy dark pants, black boots made from soft leather, a bright orange vest and sported a pair of dark blue-black, fingerless gloves.

Robert rolled his eyes, before whacking the boy upside the head; waking him up. "Wake up, Johnny," He snipped. The teen rubbed the back of his head, sending Robert a dirty look earning a sweet laugh from Oliver as Enrique rolled his eyes. After awhile, Johnny looked the group over with less than amused gray eyes.

"Ch," He turned his head, seemingly dismissing them. Seeing this, Tyson was bristling at the cold dismissal. "And what's that for, huh?" He snapped, eyes narrowing as he glared at the older boy. At the same time, Oliver winced as Enrique slapped his head in annoyance. Johnny McGregor had a really nasty temper, and Tyson was close to triggering it. And well, let's just say it wasn't going to be a pretty sight.

Johnny's eyes turned to ice as he gave Tyson a rather pointed look. "As it is," His voice was sharp as well, earning a flinch from Max. "You barely qualify to fight us, much less being in the World Championships." As wrapped up as he was, Rei could clearly hear Johnny's voice and inwardly winced. Oh man, Tyson was going to be taking that as a challenge.

"Excuse me?!"

Yep.

Soft laughter.
...oh?

As if realizing something, Selphie lowered the towels that she had been using to dry Rei off; she was determined to keep him from getting sick. Once he was dry enough, she would worry about herself. For some odd reason, Rei had gone very still, his golden eyes scanning the room as if searching for something. His head tilted to the side, before his attention was drawn to the opened door; his eyes widening slightly as if seeing something that they could not.

Oh dear.

To everyone's shock, Rei took off; the towels dropping to the floor as he ran. "Sora!" Selphie cried, stunned that he would leave without as so much as a warning. "Where's he going?" Enrique asked, looking at the dumbfounded islanders. However, Tidus could hear a soft whisper on the wind; a voice that he swore that he recognized.

"Do not worry Tidus."
"The little light will be fine."

Little light...?

(...)

Wait, why am I running?

Something had caught his attention, something that should not exist in this castle; magic. The magic was very old, and very, very powerful. The walls around him seemed to blur as he ran down a seemingly endless hallway. The magic kept tugging at his soul, and to be honest, it was starting to get a tad bit annoying. Once again, he heard that soft laugh.

Grr...

Hearing the soft whispers of a boyish voice, Rei was greatly surprised. And wait, what did they mean by 'little light'?! Again, nothing but soft laughter, earning a frown from Rei. After awhile, he came to a halt as the magic settled within him; as if satisfied by what had happened. His head turned to the left, only to see a rather old door, one that cleverly blended into the wall.

Huh.

Wonder if Robert knows about this?

There was a symbol carved into the door; and it, oddly enough, resembled a queer looking sun that was spun out from pure flames. Squinting, he was surprised to find a familiar looking orb, nestled inside a small hole; just under a barely visible handle. Curious, he picked it up; revealing a cloudy and dull dark blue-black, and a creepy looking skull could be seen faintly within the smoke.

Hm...

The...Dark Knight?

(...)

It wasn't until some time mid evening, when Rei finally returned to the others; somehow finding them in the dining room, or Great Hall, as it was known. He was rubbing his wrists, his eyes dim as if lost in thought. "There you are!" He winced as a rather annoyed looking Selphie stomped his way. Oh man, was she mad.

Well, I'm screwed right now.

The other islanders, as well as Riku, were behind her; and none of them looked happy with his antics. "Where have you been?" Selphie demanded, hotly as he turned a light pink. "You shouldn't have run off like dat," Wakka scolded. "What did I miss?" He asked, weakly as he tried to steer things away from him.

How could he explain things?
He was summoned by a bloody dragon!

Riku gave him a pointed looking, knowing what he was trying to do, before sighing. "Well," He said slowly, his green eyes never leaving Rei's. "That Johnny kid went and challenged Kai." At this, Rei grimaced, looking away; somehow aware of the outcome of that particular battle. "He lost, didn't he?" Rei's voice was soft, refusing to look at them.

"Yes."

Rei was quiet, before speaking once more. "There's more," He said quietly, finally looking up. "Isn't there?" The islanders hesitated, exchanging looks as Riku frowned. "The Majestics are giving you guys a chance," Selphie said after awhile. "But there's a catch." Rei frowned, his eyes narrowing slightly. "And that is...?" He drawled out, his voice turning sharp.

Oh boy.

"Should you lose," Tidus said slowly, his blue eyes meeting Rei's golden orbs. "Your team forfeits their spot in the World Championships." Rei stiffened, his eyes turning a darker shade. He couldn't believe it, no wait, he could see Tyson taking that challenge. Sighing heavily, Rei reached up to his now aching temples with a groan.

Why Tyson?

.-.-.-.

Today was the day that the Majestics were going to school the - in their opinion - rookies; the Bladebreakers, on what it really meant to be a blader. Although, it was a bit unnerving when they showed up, and by they, they meant the Dark Bladers. Besides that unexpected visit, what were they to do about an opening?

What?

This would be a lesson to remember.
So of course, the opening had to be grand!

What the - ?

The three teams and the islanders walked into the arena; amazed by the sudden changes, and watched in awe as darkness fell upon the arena. At least two massive machines were flying overhead, a perfect blend of hoverboard and skateboard; shaded a mixture of purples and golds, sparkling blue flames were seen from behind. There was a single man on each machine; strumming some rather interesting looking guitars, dressed in shimmering black and sparkling silver. At least five miniature lights spun in the air; focusing solely on the gaping hole. To their shock, bright blue light could be seen from within, before a massive humanoid robot rose up. Bright blue energy was swirling above its head, holding a set of equally large drumsticks as several bronze drums appeared around it.

Riku shook his head fondly, as he could sense Sora's magic in the air. "This is definitely Sora's work," He said with a snicker as the islanders looked at him with curiosity. Mariah blinked, raising an eyebrow, as if interested by something. "Really?" Tyson asked, his eyes wide. "Rei did this?" Max gaped, stunned. As the robot rose up, that bright blue energy formed a large disk; some kind of demented stage. To the shock of the teams, Rei Kon was standing in the center of the disk/stage.

5...4...3...2...1...

What can I do for you?

As the light landed on him, Rei's head snapped up and he strode forward, looking confident before giving a low spin. Surprisingly enough, he was surrounded by a soft blue light as a microphone dropped from the air; and with him easily catching it. At the same time, the light was slowly turning into a whole new set of clothes.

What can I do for you?
What can I do for you?
What can I do for you?

The blue light was fading; revealing that Rei was now wearing a low cut and sleeveless blue shirt that had a light blue ruffle of a trim, short black silky shorts, a dark blue belt that hung loosely around his waist, a blue silk sash, attachable dark blue sleeves/gloves that was bound by soft black chords, and semi-high brown leather boots. All-in-all, he looked good.

Real good.

I can't hear you

As Rei swung to the music, holograms of men and women in sleek all silver outfits; appeared. And like Rei, they too, were swinging and dancing to the music.

What can I do for you?
What can I do for you?
What can I do for you?

"Far beyond the hazy borders of my heart," Rei sang. "I could see a place that's somethin' like this," He continued as the teams took their seats. "Every now and then I don't know what to do." Rei's golden eyes sparkled as he smirked at the stunned crowd. "Still I know that I can never go back." Mariah's eyes were sparkling, as she eyed her friend with a dark and lustful gaze; much to Riku's annoyance.

"But the things I've seen, in those hazy dreams," Rei looked up at the circling lights and sighed softly. "Can't compare to what I'm seeing now." His lips curled slightly, the emotions were definitely contagious, and he just felt happy for once. "Everything's so different that it brings me to my knees!"

The teams were amazed by everything. "I didn't even know Rei could sing," Lee mumbled. Unknown to him, Selphie had heard his words and she snickered; covering her mouth a smile. "We didn't know either," She said lightly as he looked over with a raised eyebrow. Mariah was embarrassed as she wiped her mouth; a faint line of drool could be seen. That did it for her. He's definitely going to be mine! She thought with a gleeful smirk.

Sucks to be Rei right now.

"And though I know, the world of real emotion has surrounded me," Rei snorted at this. "I won't give into it, now I know that forward is the only way my heart can go." His eyes dimmed as the image of Riku rose up, causing his face to heat up. "I hear your voice calling out to me!"

"You'll never be alone!"

What can I do for you?
What can I do for you?
What can I do for you?

I can't hear you!

What can I do for you?
What can I do for you?
What can I do for you?

Selphie was watching the teams reactions, and she inwardly frowned when she saw the dark look to Mariah's eyes; silently gesturing to Tidus, who also saw the dangerous look. The blond grimaced, praying that Riku didn't see this; as the silver haired teen was vicious when provoked. However, he saw the murderous look in those green eyes.

He knew.

Great.

"Though from time to time, it's an upward climb," Tyson shook his head, but he was smiling as the older teen continued to sing. If anything, this little concert was enticing the crowd into a frenzy. But seriously, who knew that Rei could sing? "All I know is that I must believe."

"'Cause the truth I'm seekin', always was inside of me!" The lights continued to flash wildly as the guitar players flew through the air, still strumming to the beat of the melody. Behind him, the shimmering forms of both male and female, were still swaying to the beat. "And when I find the world of real emotion has surrounded me," Rei smiled softly.

"The many things that you taught me, will always be enough to get me through the pain," He called out. "Because of you I'm strong enough to know I'm not alone!" Rei's golden eyes scanned the crowd, before landing on where the teams were, and his eyes seemed to brightened at the sight of an amused Riku.

What can I do for you?
What can I do for you?
What can I do for you?
What can I do for you?
What can I do for you?
What can I do for you?

"What can I do for you?"

Rei gestured to the cheering audience as the music curled around him. "And if I find the real world of emotion has surrounded me," He swayed to the music. "And I can't go on, you are there the moment I close my eyes," Rei smiled, his eyes sparkling. "To comfort me..."

"We are connected for all of time," He placed a hand over his heart. "And though I know the world of real emotion has surrounded me," Rei grinned slyly. "I won't give into it now I know that forward is the only way my heart can go." The islanders exchanged looks and made the silent promise that then and there, Mariah was not to be left alone with Rei. "I hear your voice calling out to me," He continued to sway feeling the magic swirling lazily about the air. "You'll never be alone!"

What can I do for you?
What can I do for you?
What can I do for you?

I can't hear you!

What can I do for you?
What can I do for you?
What can I do for you?

"I can't hear you!" Rei looked out the audience, and he seemed to smile. "I can't hear you!" At this, he brought his hand down, and everyone had to shield their eyes as everything lit up with blinding blue light. When the light began to fade, only the islanders could sense the retreating magicks; knowing what had happened. And sure enough, when the audience could see again, everything that had been there; the massive stage, robots, the hoverboard/skateboard machines, even the flashing lights...was gone.

Everything was back to normal.

.-.-.-.

It was some time later, when the teams and islanders left the stadium; only to run into Rei, who had been waiting outside. Once again, he was in the outfit that Selphie created; only to turn as they approached him. His golden eyes looked them over, before smiling slightly as he looked straight at the Majestics.

"So, you guys are going to get along better, hm?" His voice was light, but there was a distinct sharpness. "Dunno what you're talking about," Johnny muttered as Rei raised an eyebrow. "Oh?" His smile turned sharp. "Then that wasn't you and your friends who screwed the Dark Bladers over?" At this, everyone froze and looked at Rei in shock.

How - ?

"How did you...?" Tyson asked, dumbfounded. Rei hadn't been there when the Majestics admitted their mistakes about how they had dealt with the Dark Bladers. Rei just gave the younger boy a look, clearly not impressed. "Tyson," He said slowly. "No one has that kind of hatred towards someone." His eyes landed on the shadows, watching as the Dark Bladers came into view; surprising the others.

"Not without a reason, anyway."

The Majestics winced at Rei's words, knowing that he was right. If they hadn't been so cruel to the Dark Bladers, then maybe their former friends/allies wouldn't have been vulnerable to possession. So yeah, they had a long way to go when making amends. "There's, uh, something you should know," Oliver said with a sheepish smile, catching their attention.

Oh?

"Hello children." The kids jumped at the voice, and Kenny whirled around in shock. "Mr. Dickenson?!" The elderly man was smiling as he approached the group. "I'm sorry about what happened," The man's kind voice sounded embarrassed. Rei and the four islanders blinked before realization dawned on them. "A test?" Tidus said dryly. "This whole journey across Europe was a test?!" Kenny shrieked. Oliver snickered, hiding his smile behind a hand. "Well, you're more than welcome to visit," He said lightly. Enrique rolled his eyes fondly, before giving the teams a pointed look, and what he said, made Rei snicker with delight.

"Next time, call first!"

Chapter Text

Russia

Rei looked out the window as the train sped towards their destination of Moscow Russia. He couldn't believe just how far they had come. For him leaving the village and coming to Seaside City where he would eventually become apart of the Bladebreakers. Then it was onto Beijing China, where he ran into his old team and some serious troubles. Thankfully, he and the White Tigers made up and were slowly, but surely mending their bonds.

They were supposed to head to Russia in style; an ocean cruise. Unfortunately, they had gotten stranded back in England. And boy, was that an adventure in itself; crossing Europe, and running into a whole bunch of trouble. Who knew that curses were real?

But now...?

Now they were finally here in Russia.

"I can't believe that we're finally here!" Max breathed, his blue eyes wide with excitement. It really had been a long journey, some more so than others. The blond looked the compartment over, smiling softly. Thanks to how large their group was, they had gotten two large compartments to themselves. Right now, the Bladebreakers were in one compartment, with Kenny doing his best to look up the home team; not to mention training strategies.

When he had learned about Rei's past, he felt absolutely terrible for the older boy. To live a life without knowing who you were or where you came from, must have been terrifying. And with Rei's history of illness, Max didn't blame the three islanders for being so protective of the frail teen. As for the new guy, well, Max may be blond, but he wasn't dense (that title went to Tyson). He could see the looks the silver haired teen was giving, not only to Rei, but the dirty looks at Mariah.

Oh he knew.

Knew that Riku was possessive as hell.
And that he disliked Mariah.

Max hid a smile, his blue eyes twinkling as he turned his head slightly; catching Tyson's attention. The bluenette tilted his head, but Max gave him a knowing look, before shaking his head in amusement. Still confused, Tyson shrugged it off as he turned back to Kenny, who was muttering softly about the World Championship and about how he was having trouble in locating data on the home team.

On the other hand...

Rei inwardly frowned, his golden eyes eerily blank as he watched the bypassing scenery. Despite everything that had been happening, Rei did notice that Kai had been acting a bit...off lately. His sudden attitude, which had always been sour, had turned darker; and he seemed to be nervous almost, the closer they were approaching Russia.

Wait...
Could Kai be - ?

Understanding the sudden changes, Rei sighed as he leaned back in his seat; his golden eyes slightly dim. Of course, Kai was acting very similar to himself during the Asian Tournament, which could only mean one thing. They were heading straight for Kai's home.

Hm.

What else could he be hiding?

Meanwhile, while Rei was lost in his own thoughts, Kenny finally made a breakthrough. The little orange haired boy was ecstatic that he at least, found the name of the hometeam. However, as he read the name off; Kai stiffened, turning hard red eyes on him.

The hometeam's name...?

The Demolition Boys.

.-.-.-.
The Next Day

The train arrived at the station roughly mid-morning, the following day. The kids stretched lazily, having a comforting meal and a hot shower; before they were packing their things up and eager to explore. However, as the trained pulled into the station; there was something that a few of them hadn't thought about.

The weather.

While the White Tigers were used to harsh winters; they did live in a village in the mountainous range of China after all, the Bladebreakers and the islanders were not. Japan’s winters were nowhere near as harsh as the mountains, and the islanders...? Well, they were more used to mild weather; so the harsh temperatures and the snow was something that they weren't used too.

A bit concerned about the four islanders, Rei was relieved to see that Mr. Dickenson had sent along four extra winter coats. So, Rei and the White Tigers adorned their winter cloaks, and the others put on the thick, blue coats that was provided. Well...all but Tyson, that is. The bluenette was so excited about being in Russia, that he took his bag and ran outside; all without a jacket. Tyson immediately regretted his actions, as he fell to his knees; sneezing loudly.

Oh Tyson.

Shaking his head, Max grabbed his bag and the jacket; before walking outside as he handed the jacket over to the embarrassed Tyson. The bluenette flushed, rubbing the back of his neck in a sheepish manner; but he quickly put the coat out, tightening it as he shivered. Selphie shivered, tightening her jacket up as well; her face taking on a more pinker tint, due to the cold. "Ugh," Tidus groaned, shivering as he looked around with sour eyes. "I'm glad we live in the tropics." The blond was agitated, his blue eyes narrowing as he huffed. He was definitely not a fan of cold weather, and just wanted to get to a warm hotel.

"I hear you," Riku muttered dryly, agreeing with the blond. He was glad for the warm tropical temperatures of Destiny Islands, and wondered how long they would be in this frozen hell. Rei snorted, hearing their words and looked away with an amused smile. Tyson frowned, before his blue eyes widen slightly in realization as he turned to Rei and the White Tigers. "Why aren't you guys freaking out over the weather?" Rei and Lee exchanged smiles, before looking back at Tyson with amusement. "Tyson," Rei began, his eyes bright. "We live in the high mountains," He continued as Lee smirked. "This weather is nothing for us." Kevin snickered softly, as Tyson pouted. What? The village was in the high mountains of China, so of course they were used to cold winters!

Shaking his head with a smile, Rei was about to follow Kenny; who did have directions to their hotel, when he abruptly stopped. The smile was falling from his lips as he immediately turned towards the city, frowning deeply. Almost at the same time, so did Riku, Selphie, Wakka and Tidus; all four were looking straight at the city with a frown.

What's with them?

Realizing that something was wrong, Lee turned to Rei with curiosity. "Is everything okay?" He asked, his voice soft. "We got some trouble," Tidus said grimly, his blue eyes hard as he glared towards the city. Rei tilted his head, his eyes dimming slightly. "Feels like they're blending in with the environment," He murmured as Riku scowled. As it was, he only knew of two Heartless that used ice; Blue Rhapsody and Wizards.

But this...?

This felt stronger.
A lot stronger.

Wakka suddenly groaned, slapping his forehead as the others looked towards him. "My skills wit' magic aren't all dat great," He muttered. Tidus winced as he realized why Wakka was so nervous and he too, looked uneasy. "And my magic levels are too low," He said with a pained grimace. Selphie flinched, looking away with a nervous twitch. "Mine lies towards defensive and healing," She mumbled.

Riku inwardly grimaced at that, but looked over at Sora; whose eyes remained locked onto the growing signature of Heartless. "What about you?" He asked quietly, placing a hand on his shoulder; catching the attention of those yellow-gold eyes. "You still have access to your magic?" Blinking owlishly, Rei was a bit startled by the sudden question, but nodded slowly.

Good.

Getting an idea, Selphie hurriedly turned to a confused Kenny. "Can you give us the address of the hotel?" She asked, doing her best to keep her unease from her voice; which she failed, by the way. A bit nervous, Kenny nodded as he wrote the address out; and handed the piece of paper over to her. Snatching it up, she pocketed it before looking towards the islanders and Rei with a grim nod. "Let's go," She urged and as they took off in a seemingly random direction, Selphie called over her shoulder to the confused group. "We'll meet up at the hotel later!" She yelled, leaving the two teams to gap at her.

After a few awkward moments, the two teams exchanged looks. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" Kevin asked lightly as Mariah scowled, glaring in the direction that Rei and the others took. "Follow them and find out what the díyú is going on?" Lee shot back, his voice just as light, but there was a hint of hardness; surprising the Bladebreakers. Before the Bladebreakers could even react, the White Tigers took off in the same direction. They were left standing there, gaping unattractively, before Tyson let out an angry yell. "Gah, what the hell is going on here?!" He yelled, one hand on his hat as he yelled to the skies.

What indeed.

.-.-.-.

"Can't believe this is happening," Tidus panted, gritting his teeth as they ran through the streets of the city. They were weaving in and out of the confused bystanders; ignoring the angry yells or curious calls that were sent towards them. "You would think that we could get a break or something," Selphie grumbled, unknowingly running past the Demolition Boys.

Oh?

.-.-.-.

"Monstry!"

Hearing the frightened cries and screams, the gang immediately came to a halt; and Rei grimaced slightly. "I think we found them," He murmured as terrified people ran past them, and his yellow-gold eyes looked ahead before widening at the sight. And unknown to them, the White Tigers and Demolition Boys had finally caught up.

Looming ahead of them were two very odd looking beings; and there were quite a bit of them. The smallest one was shaped very much like a molten lava rock, two stubby legs that flapped about, a pair of bright yellow-gold eyes that peered out, and a curling red antenna sprouted from its head. It was accompanying a much larger and more humanoid being.

The second one was shaped much like a young woman, only roughly the size of a teenager. They had curvy hips, dark purple skin, thin arms that ended in large four sharp-nails, and cold yellow-gold eyes. Their face was almost entirely covered by a purple headdress; a headdress that was lined with a purplish-red, a silk scarf over their mouth. They wore a navy blue tank top, a pair of baggy, purple and lavender pants, a dark violet silk scarf that was tied around their waist; all sporting a pale yellow lining. They also sported thick, pale yellow bangles, a single yellow ring on each index finger, and yellow-gold dark heels. It was also balancing itself on a large crystal ball.

Oh dear.

Even worse, both were sporting an all-too familiar symbol.

Before they could even react, one of the humanoid's crystal's glowed, before several shards of ice sped for a startled Selphie. The poor girl yelped, and jumped to the right; barely avoiding the ice shards. At the same time, one of the little 'rocks', shook and small fireballs sped right for Tidus who immediately dodged to the left.

Wait - what?

"This could be a problem," Riku said grimly, his eyes scanning the two new Heartless over with weariness. And new they were, as he had never seen these types before. An ice elemental and a fire elemental; taking them out was going to be tricky.

From where they were hiding and watching, the two teams were surprised and a bit uneasy by the sight of the two creatures. And why were there so many of them? When the fire and ice was spat out, they stared in shock; unable to comprehend on what they were seeing. "We should help them," Mariah said angrily, glaring at her brother who was holding back. "Mariah," Lee hissed, glaring right back. "Not one of us can take those things on," He warned the agitated girl.

"Only Rei and the others can fight them."

Damn.

Rei was thoughtful, as he looked the Fortune Tellers and Fiery Globes over (and how did he know their names?) with a thoughtful frown. Hm, so they needed a way to take the Fiery Globes out, before taking out the Fortune Tellers. His eyes widen as something came to him.

Grinning, Rei raised a hand to his mouth, and to the islanders curiosity, bit into the tender flesh; drawing forth fresh, dark blood. The blood dripped from his hand, and he held it out, before murmuring softly. As the blood hit the sidewalk, a massive seal appeared beneath him; shining an electric green, and a set of kanji characters appeared in the center, glowing softly. Unknown to the islanders, the characters simply read as white tiger.

Lightning was arching, cackling around the teen who looked amused. There came a sudden and tremendous roar and everyone was left staring in stunned silence as a huge tiger leapt down from who knows where, and was curling around the teen in a protective manner. To the White Tigers, it was someone very familiar. The tiger was pure white, save for the jagged green stripes. Familiar golden armor lined its powerful frame, slitted gold eyes were glaring down the creatures, growling softly. There was no way that this was real, but apparently it was.

It was Driger.
In the flesh.

Rei tilted his head, a smirk gracing his lips. "Think you can take the Fiery Globes out?" He asked lightly as the tiger seemed to grin at him. With a snarl, the tiger lunged for the nearest Fiery Globe; his golden claws easily tearing it apart like it was nothing. Shaking his head, Rei looked over at the islanders with a raised eyebrow, looking amused by their gaping expressions. "Shall we?" He said with a teasing smile.

Riku flicked his Way to Dawn Keyblade into existence, as Selphie was holding her spiked whip, Tidus his sword and Wakka his Blitzball; they too, were grinning widely. Seeing their weapons wasn't surprising for the two teams, it was when Rei's hands lit on fire that was shocking.

What the hell - ?

Riku raised an eyebrow at the sheepish teen. "And how, may I ask, are you doing that?" He questioned as Rei threw a fireball at a Fortune Teller; sending it into purplish black mist as a crystallized heart flew up into the skies. Rei flushed as if embarrassed by something. "I, uh, can we talk about this later?" He asked weakly, his cheeks pink.

"I'm holding you to that."

Chapter Text

"WHAT?!"

Everyone winced, some cringing, at Mariah's furious screech. The pink haired girl was glaring at the embarrassed Bladebreakers, well, all but Kai, that is. She couldn't believe what the trio were admitting. How could something like this even happen? And right before the World Championship could even begin, too.

Shortly Rei and the islanders had taken off, with the White Tigers following, the Bladebreakers were left to make their way to the hotel. However, there had been a slight detour to what looked like an abbey of some sort. Only, it wasn't an ordinary church, but a training ground...for the Demolition Boys. They had even met the head of the abbey, a man named Boris Balkov. And oddly enough, the revelation of the man recognizing Kai, was definitely shocking for the younger kids. What was hurtful for the trio, when for some bizarre reason; Kai chose to stay behind. The dual haired teen just gave them a dirty look and turned away. It was Kenny who made the suspicious words that perhaps, the abbey was where Kai grew up; and it appeared that he was correct with his assumptions.

Rei sighed, rubbing the bridge of his nose as Tidus scowled, his blue eyes narrowing. "Always knew that jerk was no good," He muttered. "Dis shouldn' be surprisin'," Wakka muttered, rubbing the back of his neck as Tyson looked affronted by the admission. Lee frowned, looking thoughtful. Something like this wouldn't just come out of the blue, this Boris must have offered Kai something.

Question is, what?

/"It's obvious, isn't it?"/

Rei kept his face carefully blank as that voice whispered in his mind, once again. He was inwardly frowning, doing his best to ignore the soft chuckles. /"You know exactly why Kai left,"/ The voice cackled.

/"Don't you?"/

...yes...

For power.

/"Good boy."/

.-.-.-.

As if realizing something, Riku finally turned to Rei, whose cheeks turned pink, with a raised eyebrow. "So," He said lightly. "Are you going to explain how you were using fire magic like that?" Rei's cheeks turned darker as the remaining Bladebreakers turned curious eyes on him.

Heh, heh.

"Well...?" Riku drawled, crossing his arms.

Scratching a cheek, an embarrassed Rei reluctantly pulled out two strips of soft black cloth. Both strips sported six colorful marbles; some that were quite recognizable. Four of the orbs were bright and sparkling, and looking a bit closer; a tiny gold star could be seen shining against the colorful mist. And for some reason, the other eight were semi-bright; but did not carry a gold star.

Interesting.

"What's with the star on some of them?" Kenny asked curiously, as he took a more closer look at the orbs. The ones sporting a star each carried a different symbol; i.e. a handgun, a treasure chest, sword and finally, a yellow witchy-like hat. He was even more curious about the other orbs; finding their symbols curious. The other orbs sported a musical note, a gnarled staff, a curiously modified handgun, a human skull (creepy), a samurai's helmet (which caught Tyson's attention), a single die, a paw print and even a blue lightning bolt.

"The star means that it's fully mastered," Rei mumbled, his face red. "What's that supposed to mean?" Tyson asked, tilting his head; looking utterly confused as Rei sighed. "It means," Rei growled, before smirking. "This." And with a pointed look at the bluenette, snapped a finger and to everyone's shock; a glob of water was suddenly dumped on his head!

Tyson screeched; jumping up.

"That's not funny!" He yelled.

.-.-.-.
Exhibition Match A

"Hey guys!"

The Bladebreakers and the islanders turned, a bit surprised when a young, soft voice called out to them. Max's eyes lit up as he turned with a smile. To the curiosity of Tyson and Kenny, the American All-Starz were standing there; looking highly amused. "Mom!" Max squealed, tackling his mother, who was there to look out for the All-Starz.

The blond haired woman laughed as she spun Max; hugging her son. "It's good to see you again, Maxie," She said with a sweet smile. "I hope that things have been good for you and your friends." An awkward silence fell, causing Mrs. Tate and the All-Starz to stare at them with suspicion. Emily's eyes were narrowed, as she looked the Bladebreakers over; before realizing that they were missing someone.

"Where's Kai?"

Er -

Tyson, Max and Kenny all looked away in a sheepish manner, while Tyson was scratching his cheek. Rei and the islanders were quiet, simply content in watching as the event unfolded itself. "Never mind," Emily muttered. "Something tells me that I don't want to know," She murmured. Shaking off his unease, Tyson looked the team over. "Why are you guys here, anyway?"

Michael grinned at them.

"We're apart of the exhibition match," He said with a grin, gesturing to the arena that was behind them. "The White Tigers are supposed to be in the second one," He continued; much to their surprise. Rei was thoughtful, turning curious yellow-gold eyes to the stadium. Well, that would explain why they left so early this morning. Kenny tilted his head, quite curious. "Who are you supposed to fight?" He questioned and when Emily spoke, a sudden chill went down their spines.

"The Demolition Boys."

Emily watched them with a suspicious gaze as the remaining Bladebreakers exchanged looks, and even the islanders were tense. Something must have happened after their arrival, and something told her that she would most likely dislike the news; so yeah, no.

Oh?

Checking the time, Mrs. Tate winced. "Sorry Maxie," She sounded apologetic as she looked down at her son with soft eyes. "But, we're going to be late for the match." She smiled slightly. "How about after the match, I treat you?" Max's eyes lit up, and Tyson couldn't fault the blond; seeing how his parents were divorced. Maxie, in his mind, deserved to be happy.

As the team headed into the arena, they were left standing there; the unease was thick about them. "Think we should follow them?" Kenny asked, swallowing thickly as a dark feeling nagged at him. Tyson nodded, feeling rather nervous all of a sudden. With that silent agreement, the gang ran into the stadium, and while searching for the right arena, they ran into a confused White Tigers. "Hey guys," Kevin greeted, but then he picked up on their unease as his teammates straightened. "Where are the All-Starz?" Tyson demanded, his voice rising slightly as that unknown fear continued to take control. Lee blinked owlishly, a bit taken back by the sudden demand. "They're in there," He gestured to the arena behind them. "The match has already started," He continued.

"What's this all about?"

Shit.

"Are we too late?" Kenny squeaked, his eyes wide behind his hair. Rei's eyes were narrowed as his pupils were becoming slitted; and when Lee and Mariah saw this, they winced and were slowly backing up. Rei was always more intuned than they were, and he must have been sensing something that was sending his instincts into overdrive.

"What's going on?" Kevin asked, looking a bit worried when he saw that Rei was starting to go feral. The cheers, which had been going on for some time, suddenly ended in shocked cries and gasps; before silence fell. Now near feral, Rei was growling when the All-Sarz slowly emerged from the arena; they looked to be in shock. Mariah was stunned when Emily stumbled, falling to her knees. Granted, she and Emily didn’t get along; but seeing the once confident orange-haired girl fall like that, was frightening. Emily looked up as she approached, tears prickling at her eyes. "Emily," Mariah's voice was gentle as she knelt down. "What happened?"

Somehow, it wasn't surprising when Emily burst into tears; hugging a startled Mariah. Looking to Michael, Eddie and Steve; who seem to be in better shape, Lee frowned. "What happened?" He repeated, his voice firm. Steve shuddered as Eddie looked quite ill; his skin taking on a more ashen tone. "Kai," Steve swallowed thickly. "He...he..."

"Kai somehow stole our Bit-Beasts," Michael said flatly.

WHAT?!

Forcing back his anger, Rei drew in a sharp breath; doing his best to calm down. It was a relief, for the White Tigers anyway, when Rei's eyes started to go back to normal. "What do you mean that he stole them?" Riku asked, sharply. He was still getting used to the rules of this world, and the idea of someone taking something that powerful, should be impossible for someone who has no magic.

...shouldn't it?

"He had a new Bit-Beast," Michael said grimly, his eyes dark with anger and hurt. "It was that thing that stole them!" He hissed. "It somehow ripped our Bit-Beasts out and swallowed them!" The Bladebreakers turned white, and even the White Tigers looked ill. Rubbing Emily's back, Mariah looked up at her brother, and something passed between them. She carefully pulled herself away and went to join her brother.

Time to make Kai pay.

As the White Tigers stormed into the arena, Rei winced. "That's a bad idea, Lee," He murmured, shaking his head in disappointment; catching their attention. Sniffling, Emily stood up, swiping at her eyes. "Why?" Kenny asked, curiously. Rei sighed, his eyes dimming slightly. "I don't know about you," He murmured. "But we were trained extensively in order to handle our spirits powers," Rei's voice was quiet as he looked back to the arena with worry.

"If our spirits were ever ripped from us," Rei swallowed thickly, looking very, very nervous. "It could lead to some serious health issues." The Bladebreakers, All-Starz and the islanders froze; looking at Rei in utter horror. Rei and the White Tigers were that close with their Bit-Beasts?! Realizing the implications of Rei's ominous words, they ran back into the arena; only to find that they were too late. To the shock of Rei, the Bladebreakers and the islanders, hovering above Kai's new black-and-green Beyblade, was a massive black phoenix. The phoenix’s armor was a dark, almost tarnished, a flaming white mane, and inky black claws that looked like it could rip apart of flesh; and slitted blood red eyes.

Oh hell.

"Think we just found out why Kai abandoned us," Kenny said weakly. The air felt thick and heavy, and the temperatures were dropping, and dropping fast. "Why would Kai abandoned Dranzer for that?" Tyson asked weakly, feeling the Dranzer Beyblade heat up in his pocket. Oh, while he wasn't the true owner, Tyson could feel Dranzer's anger and pain at seeing Kai using this abomination. Rei's eyes narrowed dangerously, his senses picking up on the darkness coming from the phoenix. And through his magic, Rei was stunned to see dark tendrils coming from the phoenix and latching onto Kai; and he knew that it wasn't good.

For them.

And before their very eyes, Galux, Galleon, Galzzy and Galman were ripped away from the White Tigers. At the same time, the team collapsed to the ground; as if having their strings cut. Alarmed, the others ran forward. "Are they okay?" Kenny squeaked, as Selphie ran a glowing hand over Kevin; as she was worried the most for him. After awhile, the light left as she sighed heavily. "They're going to be weak and tired for awhile," She said quietly. "But they'll be okay after a good, long rest." Selphie looked up and glared at Kai, who took a step back as those murderous green eyes looked at him with such hate. It was a bit unsettling, to say the least.

Suddenly, a short purple haired teen approached them, but not before tossing them an envelope and hurried off. Confused, Tyson picked the envelope up; opened it and pulled out a note. He looked pissed as he read it out loud for the others. "Come to the lake tomorrow." He scowled, crumpling the note up as he glared at the retreating Kai; who was no doubt with the Demolition Boys.

Bastard.

"What do we do?" Max asked softly, as he helped Selphie out with the unconscious teens. "We confront Kai," Tyson said bitterly. "And make him see reason!" He continued with an angry shout, clenching his fists.

/"Too bad that you won't be around for it."/

Wait - what?

.-.-.-.
The Next Day

Thankfully, the White Tigers did recover; but they would be weak for awhile. They were at least strong enough to come with the gang to this lake. Luckily, the note; even in its crumpled state, did provide a map for them. And so, the teams and islanders were out at a frozen lake, in near below freezing temperatures.

It was strange, though.

Selphie bit her lip, as if unsure about something. Ever since they had been dropped off, she had been disturbed by her own thoughts. Ever since Kai stole the spirits of the White Tigers, Rei had gone very quiet; almost listless, really. He was also quite pale now, so she was hoping that he wasn't getting sick again. "About time he showed up," Tyson grumbled. Shaking her head, Selphie snapped out from her thoughts, and focused. There was a loud roar from above, and looking upwards; they saw a helicopter making its way toward them. A short time later, it landed; and Kai, of all people, stepped out and right onto the lake. Tyson gritted his teeth, clenching his fists as the arrogant teen approached them.

Until he finally exploded, that is.

"What the hell is wrong with you, Kai?!" Tyson yelled as Kai came within distance. "Do you have any idea how Dranzer feels about you using that thing?!" Kai snorted, his red-wine eyes narrowing slightly as he gave Tyson a disgusted look. "Dranzer is nothing," He snipped. "He was weak!" The dual bluenette hissed, and something dark flashed in his eyes. Oh dear, did Black Dranzer have the much of a hold over him? Selphie shivered, a chill going down her spine as she looked around with nervousness. She couldn't help but get the feeling that something terrible was about to happen. And that it would come from someone or something unexpected. So yes, she was nervous!

"That would be you, actually."

Everyone froze at the sound of the dual voice, as if two people were speaking as one. The deeper voice was overlapping one that stunned everyone, but not before Selphie hastily threw up a shield spell over the group; and it came in at the right time. A blast of dark energy slammed into the shield, effectively missing the gang. However, the blast was strong enough to negate said spell.

Not good.

Eyes narrowing, Riku whirled around as Way to Dawn was willed into his hand. Selphie was gripping her whip as Tidus flicked his sword and Wakka was gripping his Blitzball; tense and ready to fight. As for the teams, they were stunned by what they saw.

It was Rei.
And yet...it wasn't.

Rei's eyes had turned a solid, pure liquid gold; the pupils now non existent. There was a cruel smile gracing his lips as a sickly, dark purplish black mist rose from his form. His nails were rapidly growing in length, becoming more claw-like as they turned a pure inky black; his teeth sharper than ever as he grinned toothily.

"Rei?" Mariah called weakly, stunned by how her crush was acting. Lee had a hand on Mariah's shoulder, his eyes never leaving sight of his friend; knowing that somehow, this was no longer Rei, but someone else. Someone who was dangerous. "That's not Sora!" Selphie hissed, snapping her whip as the teams were left confused. "What do you mean?" Kenny squeaked. "Of course that's Rei!" Tyson snapped, agitated by everything. 'Rei' shook a clawed finger at him, shaking his head with a smile. This sent a chill down the team's spines as they realized that things were about to reach a whole new level.

"Who the hell are you?" Tidus snapped, his posture tense as he glared at the ravenette. 'Rei' glanced at him, before seemingly dismissing them as he turned to the others. He gave a low, mocking bow before the group; his eyes glowing softly, showing a malicious soul.

"My name...is Vanitas."