Taylor's face was hidden in darkness as he watched Yuki and Alec cuddle. The feelings he had suppressed for the mission's sake were let loose again, circulating his system; burning and burning.
What's so special about him? Taylor asked. He has totally useless social skills, and he can't hold his own against me in any match ...
I'm better looking.
But was he? And did looks count for everything? Alec's golden locks were painted green by the glowsticks, her face crinkled into a smile as she shared the last square with Yuki. And Yuki?
Taylor studied the usually impassioned face, now in one of its rare smiles. He studied the black hair, the wrinkled at the side of those very asian eyes; the fair, gothic face.
He realized the venom pulsing within his veins was jealousy. You have Callie, he told himself.
She's in it for the sexuality.
Taylor tore the chocolate wrapper in his hands, squeezing it into tiny balls. As he did so, the first booms reverberated from afar.
"Freeport's being attacked." Kyioshi said. He had the most chocolate squares and was still munching as he contemplated this. "It'll survive."
Nobody had anything to add to that statement. Alec, however, untangled herself from Yuki with a questioning look on her face.
"What's hidden in the school, Kyioshi?" she asked, green glow playing at her features. Taylor scowled.
"What made you wonder?" Kyioshi replied, leaning back and examining his bandages.
By now everyone was listening intently. Taylor noticed Jason, Milo and Kierra were frowning, but they made no sound.
"Just the fact that eight relatively new members were sent to try to retrieve you guys," Alec replied, "And in the process set off a grand war."
Kyioshi chuckled. "Gillian had to make sure the academy survived any attack launched on it."
Taylor chose to watch Yuki, ears still trained on the conversation. Yki was tapping the ground with a stick.
"Then what was it protecting?" Alec asked again.
Taylor looked away from Yuki in time to se a jolt of understanding passing amongst the four shinobi. Jason had quietly tilted his head down - the smallest of nods, and Kyioshi lowered his head.
"Very well," Kyoshi said. Tell me first: what do you know of Oragi?"
Silence. Then -
"Something to do with being like Magisters?" Jean ventured, "Gillian didn't tell us much."
"Nothing about how people become Oragi?"
"Hmm," Kyioshi stretched out his limbs, and then winced as one of his bandaged arms came into contact with a root.
"Careful - you don't want to worsen that -"
He waved her off. "A long time ago," Kyioshi started, "Some high ranking magisters discovered a seal, deep in White Sun forest."
Yuki was paying full attention now, and in spite of himself Taylor turned to watch Kyioshi speak.
"They had no idea what it was. It wasn't magic, but it also wasn't something natural. It didn't belong to the forest; didn't fit in. They knew it was man made-"
"How does it look like?"
"What? Oh. You mean the Janus. It's sort of -"
"The Janus. That's what its called. Looks like a box, metallic, except it feels like rock. Not cold at all."
Kyioshi gave an involuntary shudder. Taylor wondered why.
"At any rate," he continued, "They quickly found out it wasn't to be messed with. The first magister that touched it died on the spot. Heart attack. When they finally brought it back to the city the magisters began a through research project, trying to find out exactly what it did."
Like any good storyteller, Kyioshi paused and surveyed the group. Then he looked at the sky. "Nice, clear night, isn't it?"
"Don't change the subject!"
Kyioshi shrugged and ploughed on, "Their discovery was quite by accident. One of the magister's sons, a child who happened to be a Hapkido student, touched the Janus and came away with abilities that far surpassed magisters."
Alec was deeply contemplating this, realization dawning upon her.
"Do you mean to say," she started, slowly, "That the very reason there is a martial arts stream in school is to create O-"
"Oragi. Yes." Kyioshi cut in. "Both magisters and Oragi are supposed to be of equal importance in or war machine, but magisters outnumber us and besides, they control the parliament."
But why martial arts students?" Ceri asked softly.
Kyioshi shrugged. "The Janus only gifts those who is of a certain calibre. Martial arts seems to be one of the easiest tests - early on the magisters experimenting managed to convert an entire school of Kung Fu to Oragi." Kyioshi, paused, coughing, "But not neccessarily so. The second and third Oragi were farmers."
"And how about the Nobu? Where do they get their Oragi?" Jean asked.
"I suppose they found anotehr seal." kyioshi said, yawning. Taylor flicked his eyes around, moving from face to face. To his surprise Yuki had a look of discomfort written all over him and had continued tapping the ground with a stick."
"Time to sleep, i think." said Kyioshi, as further booms and distant explosions echoed in the night air.
Taylor turned away to find a comfy spot. Oragi meant power, didn't it?
Hmm. Doesn't sound bad at all.