"Child of Piety"
By Yoake Halo
Part Two - A Mother's Confession
Yuriko pushed her sweaty hair away from her face. She then glared at the
large stone she was trying to move. "You will move," she said lowly.
"Even if I have to tell Tama to break you down to pebbles, you will
get out of the way."
"Mama, where's the ice pack?" Tama called from the house.
Yuriko looked at her daughter and sighed. She was starting to look even more like her father. "It's in the back of the big freezer, why?" Her eyes fell to the blood stain on Tama's uniform. She quickly walked into the house and saw Cye still nursing a bleeding nose. "What happened?"
Tama smiled weakly. "Nothing much, Mama. There was just some trouble after school. Nothing to go ballistic over."
"What happened, Tama?" Yuriko asked sternly.
Tama lowered her head as she got the ice pack and gave it to Cye. "Those jerks that I told you about were picking on Cye because he doesn't think that I'm a freak." She looked into Cye's eyes and smiled slightly. "Then I told them to leave him alone, and they left."
"So, you didn't fight?" Yuriko asked.
"It wasn't a fight, really..."
"Okay, I knocked out Motaro's tooth. He swung first."
Cye removed the tissue from his nose and cleared his throat. "Ogawa-san, it's my fault. I should at least learn to fight and defend myself."
Yuriko looked at the young man and couldn't help but feel Tama's hopeful gaze. "It's okay. If you want, Tama and I could teach you," she said, sensing her daughter's thoughts.
"I don't want to be a bother."
"Don't be silly, it won't be a bother," Tama said quickly.
Yuriko looked at her daughter and smiled. "Ta-chan, go change and start work in the back. I'll help your friend."
"Okay," Tama said before going to her room.
Yuriko looked at Cye's bruise and sighed. "This'll hang around for a few days," she said lowly. "But Tama's right. It won't be a bother to teach you. Besides, she needs as many friends as she can get."
Cye looked at Yuriko and smiled. "Then I'd be happy to learn from you and your daughter, Ogawa-san." He then thought for a moment. "But a friend of mine, he may want to learn also. Would it be okay if he was here too?"
"As long as he doesn't mention anything about Tama being... different."
Cye smiled, his eyes glowing with innocence. "Oh, Kento's a good guy. He wouldn't do that. I'm sure of it."
"Yuriko, what's going on?" a lean man asked as he walked into the back door.
She turned and looked at her male friend. "Ryuichi, this is a friend of Ta-chan's. I'll be teaching him, and a friend of his, how to fight."
"Ta-chan's making friends now? How will we get along?" Ryuichi joked.
Tama came back into the kitchen wearing a pair of jeans and a gray tee-shirt. "Hey Ryu-ojisan. I see you met Cye."
Ryuichi and Cye shook hands. Cye then looked at Tama. "I have to get going. My mom is probably worried about me." He slowly stood and bowed politely to Yuriko and Ryuichi. "It was nice meeting you both. Ogawa-san, when ever you are ready to begin my lessons, just tell Tama to tell me."
"How's Saturday?" Yuriko asked.
Cye smiled. "Sure. I'll talk it over with my mom."
Tama smiled brightly. "Come on Cye. I'll walk you to the door."
Once Cye and Tama were out of hearing range, Ryuichi looked at Yuriko. "He's very special, you know that?" he asked.
She looked at him. "Surely you can't mean that he's one of the Armor bearers. He can't even fight."
Ryuichi shrugged. "He's the Ronin of Trust. My guess is that's one reason why he and Ta-chan get along so well. He's trusting and innocent. I do believe that Torrent has chosen wisely."
"Then the Dynasty..." Yuriko started. She trailed off when she realized Tama was in as much danger as herself. "Then I guess is is a good idea that I train Cye. He and the others may be our only hope of destroying Talpa."
Tama frowned as she listened to her mother and "uncle". She shook her head and walked into the kitchen. "I'm gonna get started on the backyard," she said. As she walked out of the house, she made a mental note to ask about this Talpa guy, and what he has to do with Cye. "Talpa, that does sound familiar though," she whispered before kicking the large stone in the center of the yard. She bit her lip gently as the stone split neatly in two. "Oh well, it'll come back to me."
Tama's practice sword flew out of her hands as her back hit the dirt. She
was about to get up when she saw a staff at her throat. "All right, you win,"
she said pushing her green bangs out of her face. "It only took you a year
to do it."
Cye smiled at her mock anger. "I would have done it sooner, but Yuri-san wanted me to go easy on you."
"Nani?!" Tama cried in outrage. She glared into his sea blue eyes and lost all of her anger. She just couldn't stay angry at that face. "Oh, don't you stand there and look all cute. You know I hate that."
He laughed as he helped her up. "Oh, I didn't show you," he said almost to himself. "You remember when I went home last night?" he said, pulling her over to his backpack.
"No Cye, I don't remember," she said sarcastically.
"Well, I found this really cool looking marble over by our lake," he said, digging into the bag. He saw Tama blush when he mentioned the lake where they always shared their after-school snacks. He pulled out the marble and smiled. "Cool, isn't it?"
Tama looked at it carefully. It was clear, and in the center was the kanji for Shin in light blue. "Yeah, it's cool," she said lowly. Tama gave Cye his marble and looked at the back door of the house as Yuriko and Ryuichi walked out.
"Hey guys, who won?" Ryuichi asked.
"I did," Cye answered proudly.
Yuriko smiled as she saw Tama trying to look into the kitchen. "Yes Ta-chan, Kento's still eating."
"I was just wondering if he ate the last orange," Tama said. Her eyes narrowed as Ryuichi got an innocent look on his face. "It's still in there, isn't it, Ryu-ojisan?" she hissed.
All of the color left Yuriko's face. That bastard, she thought, taking a small step back. He doesn't even know she exists and he still has an influence on her.
Tama looked at her mother and saw Yuriko's fear. "Mama?"
Yuriko looked at Tama and smiled faintly. "It's nothing. I'll tell you later."
For some reason, the conversation she listened in on a year ago came to mind. "All right. Later," Tama said softly.
Ryuichi looked at the crystal in Cye's hands and smiled. "What have you got there?"
"I found it by the lake," Cye answered.
"Do you know what this is?" Ryuichi asked as he looked at the crystal.
Ryuichi smirked. "It's a good luck crystal. There's only nine ever made. You're supposed to keep it with you at all times, and when you really need its magic, it'll give it to you." As Cye's large eyes widened, Ryuichi smiled. At times like this, he adored Cye's innocence.
A fourteen-year-old boy walked out of the house, tying a yellow bandana across his forehead. His blue-gray hair fell into his same color eyes before he had the chance to push the strands out of his way. "Okay, what are we learning this week?"
"Take it easy, Kento. I was just showing everyone the crystal I found," Cye said showing Kento the crystal.
"You found one too?" Kento asked. He reached into his backpack and pulled out a crystal with the orange kanji of Gi in the center. "I found this one last week in detention."
Tama looked at Cye and Kento and saw Ryuichi's smile brighten. Something's not right here, she thought.
"Okay, let's get started. Cye, Kento, why don't you two spar?" Yuriko said. She looked at Tama and sighed. Gods, I hope that I've trained them enough, she prayed silently.
Tama and Cye walked along the park that night "It's really beautiful tonight,"
she said softly.
"Tama, are you and your mom okay?" Cye asked carefully.
"Sure, why do you ask?"
Cye lowered his head slightly. "Because you've been really quiet, and your mom's been training us as if we're going off to war or something."
"I've just been thinking about how I was going to ask her about why she's been like that. It's nothing to worry about."
Cye looked at her and stopped walking. "Ta-chan, there's something else that I want to ask you."
She looked at Cye and saw a bright blush on his face. "What is it, Cye-kun?"
"We've been friends for a while, right?"
"Best of friends."
"We... well, I've... I've been... thinking."
"Cye, just say it."
Cye stepped closer to her and pressed his lips against hers in a gentle kiss. "Wo... would you like... to be... to be my... my... girlfriend?" he stammered out.
Tama looked into his eyes and started to blush. "You want me to be your girlfriend?" she asked. When he nodded, she hugged him. "Yes," she smiled. She kissed him again and felt his arms go around her waist. Tama pulled away from him slightly and smiled. "Let's get you home," she said, taking his hand and moving away from him.
"You two aren't going anywhere," a cold voice said mockingly. "So you're Torrent, and the child. Master Talpa will be pleased when I bring you to him." A large armored figure stepped out of the shadows.
"Who are you?" Cye called out.
Tama felt her face pale. She knew that Talpa, Cye, Kento and the crystals they found were all connected, but she couldn't remember how.
"I am Gabriev. Lord of Master Talpa's Dynasty." The armored man waved his hand and a soldier wearing green armor appeared.
"We're not going anywhere," Tama shouted.
The solider rushed Tama and Cye. Both teens jumped out of the way. Tama closed her eyes and concentrated. Her hands glowed brightly as a katana appeared in them. When she opened her eyes again, she felt someone behind her. She quickly swung her blade, only to have it connect with Gabriev's broadsword.
Cye saw the large soldier about to strike at him again. He jumped to the edge of the lake, and fell back into the water as the soldier's staff broke the ground Cye was just standing on. Cye's hand wrapped around his crystal and held it tightly. Before he knew what he was saying, or doing, Cye called out five words that would change his life forever. "Armor of Torrent... Dao Shin!"
Energy shot out from the crystal and surrounded Cye as he held it in front of him. His clothes were replaced by a light blue and white sub-armor when the crystal turned into sakura petals and also surrounded him. Every time a petal touched his body, a piece of light blue armor formed. A pile of petals fell into his hands forming a helmet.
Once all of the energy faded, Cye looked down at himself in awe. He then remembered the soldier trying to kill him. He tried to step forward, but only fell to his knees. Cye looked up at the soldier and balled up his right fist. He then punched the soldier in its chest. He eyes widened when he saw the claw on the right hand guard of his armor rip into the chest plate of the soldier's armor. A black mist escaped the armor just before it fell lifelessly to the water.
Cye then looked up and saw Gabriev kick Tama's legs from under her. "Tama!" he called out weakly.
Tama gripped her sword and thrust forward. Her eyes widened when blood started to pour down the sword, onto her hands. Tama looked at Gabriev as blood started to pour from his mouth. She released the sword and let the man fall to the ground dead. "Ohmygod," she whispered as she realized what she had done. Oh gods, he was human. Tama's breath started to quicken as she looked at the blood on her hands.
Cye walked over to Tama as she started to go through a panic attack. He gathered all of his strength and walked over to her. Just before touching her shoulder, he looked over his shoulder to the lake. He felt a lot stronger when he was in the water. Cye looked at Tama and touched her shoulder. "Ta-chan," he said softly.
She jumped and moved away from him. "Ididn'tmeanit," she said quickly. She looked at Cye with terror filled eyes. "I didn't. Honest."
Cye knelt down and picked up Tama. "I know you didn't," he said softly. He then carried Tama back to her house.
Yuriko looked at the pale green kimono she kept hidden in her closet. It
was only a matter of time until the Dynasty attacked. Both the bearers of
the Hardrock and Torrent Armors had been found. Cye and Kento would have
to go and find Halo, Strata and Wildfire soon. And Lord Sekhmet would find
her and Tama.
Yuriko looked up when she heard the front door open. She stood and hid the kimono again. "Ta-chan, you're back early," she said, walking down the stairs. Once she reached the living room, Yuriko stopped cold. "What happened?" she asked Cye, who was still wearing his armor.
"We were walking by the lake and these two things attacked us," Cye said quickly. "I don't remember everything that happened, it all happened so fast. I fell in the water, I called this armor, I still don't know how I did that. I killed this soldier thing, and next I know, Tama had a sword going through the other guy."
Yuriko took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Cye was starting to go through his own panic attack, and Tama looked like she was living a nightmare. It would only make things worse if she also started to over react. "Cye, relax," she said calmly. "Concentrate on getting out of the Armor and sub-armor, okay?"
Cye closed his eyes and took a deep breath. As he let it out, both were gone and he stood in his street clothes. Cye then fell to his knees, exhausted.
"It'll take some getting used to, but you'll be okay." Yuriko turned to Tama and gently touched her daughter's hair. "Ta-chan, why don't we go upstairs and get you all cleaned up?"
"I didn't mean it Mama. Honest," Tama said as tears continued to fall from her eyes.
Yuriko hugged her. "It's okay, Ta-chan. Everything'll be just fine."
"No it won't, Mama. Everyone was right. I am a freak."
Yuriko slowly rocked Tama. "No. You're not a freak. You just inherited traits from your father and myself that make you special."
Tama shook her head. "I'm not talking about how I look."
"Neither was I." Yuriko looked at Tama pushed her hair from her face. "You remember Ryuichi telling you about the legend he and Professor Koji were working on?"
Tama's eyes widened. Talpa, the crystals, the men in armor, everything started to fall into place. She suddenly felt like throwing up. Tama jumped rom the sofa and ran to the bathroom.
"Yuri-san, what are you talking about?" Cye asked softly.
"There's a legend. It's not really a legend, it really happened. An evil demon known as Talpa was Emperor of what's called the Evil Dynasty. The Dynasty is in what's called the Nether-Realm. Talpa became the supreme ruler of the Nether-Realm and tried taking over here, the Mortal Realm. A wise man was able to defeat Talpa and trap him in the Nether-Realm, until there came a period when five young warriors would band together and defeat him. You're one of the warriors Cye. Kento is another."
"How do you know all of this?" Cye asked.
Yuriko stood and sighed. "Wait a minute. I'm going to check on Tama. Do you think you can call your mother and tell her you'll be spending the night?"
Cye nodded and moved slowly to the phone. "I'll just tell her that I was training really hard and Tama wants to hang out. I don't think she'll be able to handle magical armors and swords appearing from nowhere."
Yuriko frowned. "Cye, how did Tama get a weapon?"
"She just put her hands together and they started glowing. Next thing I knew she had a katana."
Yuriko nodded in understanding. "After you're done with your mother, come upstairs." After she saw Cye nod, she walked upstairs. "Ta-chan," she said, opening the bathroom door.
Tama stood in front of the sink scrubbing her arms and hands. "It itches. I have to get it off," she said lowly.
Yuriko pulled Tama away from the sink and hugged her. "I'll help you. Come on."
Tama followed her mother to her room. She crawled into her bed and curled herself into a ball. "Mama, why is a guy named Talpa after me?" she asked trembling.
Yuriko pushed Tama's hair away from her eyes. "Because of who you are. You're very special, Ta-chan." She looked at the door and saw Cye leaning against it. Yuriko walked over to Cye and helped him over to Tama's bed. She noticed Tama curling up next to Cye, and the young Ronin putting his arm around her. "I was about to tell Ta-chan what she and I have to do with what I was telling you," she told Cye. When he nodded, Yuriko continued her story.
"Talpa was defeated and trapped in the Nether-Realm over a thousand years ago. He started to enslave every human left over from those who weren't turned into Nether-Spirits. My father, three brothers and myself all started to lead a rebellion against Talpa, five hundred years ago. Before you ask, aging is very slow in the Nether-Realm." Yuriko lowered her head as she continued. "My father, two of my brothers, and myself were captured by Talpa's Dark Warlords of Venom and Illusion. My small band was given to the Warlord of Venom. Over the centuries, I went from rebel, to slave, to lover. When I found out I was pregnant, I found my oldest brother, who helped me come here."
"So since my father's one of his generals, Talpa wants me?" Tama whimpered.
"Yes, I thought I could hide you, but I guess I failed you too. But please, never give in to Talpa's evil."
Tama nodded as she moved closer to Cye.
Ryuichi ran into Tama's room with Kento close behind. "Good, they're okay," he said, looking at Cye and Tama.
Yuriko shook her head as she looked at Ryuichi. Her eyes then fell on Kento. The young man wore an orange and white sub-armor. "You two were attacked also?"
"Yeah, but it was so cool," Kento said quickly. "There were these armored things everywhere..."
Tama buried her face between Cye and her pillow and started to cry again. Yuriko looked at Cye and Tama, then turned to Kento and Ryuichi. "Why don't we go downstairs for a little while?" she said, standing up.
Ryuichi looked at Yuriko as she stood. By the look in her face he could tell she just told Cye and Tama everything. "Yeah, Kento. Let's go downstairs."
Tama felt Cye move away from her and panicked. "Don't leave me," she cried out.
Cye looked at Tama and laid next to her. "I'm going to stay here," he said softly. He pulled her into his arms and sighed. "I'll stay here all night if you want."
She placed her head on his chest and closed her eyes. "It was all lies," she whispered. "I am a freak."
"I love you just the same," Cye said running his hands through her hair. When Tama looked at him, he kissed her lightly. "Let's try to get some sleep, okay?"
She looked into his eyes and saw how exhausted he was. He was fighting sleep to make sure she was okay. "Okay," she lied as she laid her head back down on his chest. "And I love you, Cye."