It was pretty late at night, but Tsutomu headed over to Yusuke's house anyway. It was about a fifteen-minute walk from where Tsutomu lived to where Yusuke lived, and he would need that time to think. Think? About what? Was he accusing his friend of kidnapping? Assault? Or something worse?
Could Yusuke really do something like that?
No, Tsutomu reassured himself, He knew Yusuke better than that. He'd known Yusuke for a long time. And he trusted him.
But that sister… It had been bothering him ever since Takashi had first disappeared. He didn't know anything about her. In fact, she seemed very suspicious. Where had she come from? Yusuke didn't seem to want to talk about where abroad she had been living. How was she connected to Koine and Takashi's disappearance? Was she connected? And How?
Those thoughts gnawed at the back of Tsutomu's head as he walked towards Yusuke's house. He was halfway there. But bigger thought had been bothering him since he'd talked to Kaoro.
After Takashi disappeared, why didn't he talk to Koine? Takashi had been chasing after her, after all. Why didn't he think of talking to her? If she was missing, of course he wouldn't have been able to talk to her, but why wasn't he informed sooner of her disappearance? And why was Kaoro not told of Takashi's disappearance?
There were a lot of questions, and very few answers. Tsutomu didn't have any thoughts as to where his two missing friends might be, or why, but he did have an answer to his question about Yusuke's mysterious sister. Or, at least, Yusuke did. And this time, he wouldn't be shoved aside.
He had to act bold. Assertive. Take control. In order to find his missing friends.
It was past midnight when a hard knock rumbled through the quietness of Yusuke's house. At first, Yusuke tried to ignore it, but it continued. Hard and firm.
"Alright, alright," Yusuke grumbled as he got out from under the covers and headed for the door. The insistent knocking didn't seem to be bothering Rouge. She was sleeping soundly in her bed, undisturbed.
Yusuke flung open the door and saw Tsutomu standing in front of him, and raised and prepared to knock again.
"What are you doing here?" Yusuke asked grumpily.
"We need to talk," Tsutomu said coldly.
Something was strange about him. His face. There was something different about him. He had a sense of determination on his face that surprised Yusuke. He didn't usually act like that. To him or to anyone.
"Don't get me started on the inaptitude of our local police," Tsutomu replied. "I just found out that Koine was missing, and Kaoro just found out Takashi was missing. Don't ask me why we didn't find out about it in school, but anyway, Since they were both heading over to see why you didn't meet us after school, I thought you may have seen them before they disappeared."
"Iie," Yusuke replied. "I told you I didn't see them."
"Alright then," Tsutomu said, turning to leave. "Are you going to be in school tomorrow?"
"Yeah," Yusuke replied. "I'll be there."
"Sayounara," Tsutomu said.
"Sayounara," Yusuke said as he watched his friend leave in the darkness. "Sayounara."
"Omega," Master Raiga said from his throne room deep in the depths of the castle of the Underworld. "Have the two captives that Telra brought back from Earth been completely influenced by my power?"
"Yes, Raiga-sama," Omega replied, kneeling in respect before Raiga's throne. "As long as they wear the bands around their wrists that I have given to them, they will be completely loyal to you."
"Good," Raiga replied. Omega was the last general he had left. Vega. Regulus. Telra. Each had been destroyed by one of the royal princesses. Princess Rouge had destroyed two. Princess Kaige had destroyed one. Princess Meige had not destroyed any. In fact, she had been injured in the last battle. And Raiga knew that he had to attack while he had the advantage. While one of the powerful Princesses was recovering from the last battle.
That is why he had ordered the attack so soon. There had been at least a week in between attacks previously. But he did not know how long it would take Meige to recover. And with one princess down, he could capture Rouge much more easily.
Raiga bent his head back and laughed. Victory was his.
As soon as he was out of sight of Master Raiga, Omega let out a loud sigh. Raiga was a bastard. He had overthrown the royal family and took over the throne. Some people were already on his side. Specifically, certain members of the army, including Lt. Telra, who had led the revolution.
Omega watched as his family was brutally slaughtered at the order of Master Raiga. They had stayed loyal to the royal family to the end. It was only his cowardice that kept him from being executed as well. He had betrayed his family, betrayed the royal family, and betrayed himself, by serving that evil bastard.
Well, he would make things right. He would try and regain some of the honor that he lost from his cowardice. He would betray Master Raiga. Betray Master Raiga, and go to the Princesses. Tell them Raiga's plan. The real reason for the revolution.
He just had to play the loyalty game a little longer.
A few days later, Meige watched as Kaige left the shed that she and her sister were staying at courtesy of Yusuke. She was still bedridden, and it would be up to her sister to protect Rouge if someone from the Underworld attacked. She just hoped her sister would be able to handle the task.
A sudden surge went through Meige's body. Someone's aura. A strong aura. Maybe her sister would be engaged in battle sooner than she thought.
Kaige closed the door to the shed and headed for a nearby tree. She needed some time to think. Think about her current situation. Her family's current situation.
She sat down at the trunk of the tree.
It wasn't long until she felt a sudden tingle throughout her body. Someone's aura. She too, like her sister, recognized it as someone's aura. A strong aura. She quickly transformed out of the clothes that normal humans wore, into her battle gear. She drew her sword, and prepared to fight whoever it was that was coming.
Kaige had her sword drawn. She had sensed that he was coming. Omega knew that she would. But there would be no need to fight. At least, he didn't plan to fight. He had to talk to Kaige first.
He appeared in front of Kaige in a flash of light, startling her. Omega watched as she blinked, trying to get the spots out of her eyes, no doubt.
When she regained clarity in her eyesight, which only took a few moments, Kaige gasped.
"Omega!" She exclaimed happily, then realizing what he must be doing there, pointed her sword at his throat. "Don't move."
"Kaige," Omega said. "You are correct. I am currently in servitude of Master Raiga. However, I do not want to fight you."
"You don't?" Kaige asked. It was obvious from her tone that she didn't believe him. "And why is that?"
"You may now believe me Kaige," Omega began. "But I am not loyal to Raiga. I watched as my family was brutally murdered right in front of me. The only reason I am still alive is because of my cowardice. I betrayed my family. I betrayed myself. And most of all, I betrayed your family, Kaige-sama."
With that, Omega got down and kneeled on one knee before her. "Kaige-sama, I beseech you. You don't have to trust me, but I do ask that you listen. I have valuable information for you. Information that could help you in your battle against Raiga."
"What is it you have to say, Omega?" Kaige asked the man kneeling before her. "I am listening."
"Lady Kaige, as you know, your late mother, the Queen, hid the key to the seal of the sword of Gaia within Princess Rouge," Omega began.
"Yes," Kaige replied. "We knew that already."
"Yes," Omega said. "But you may not know that the only way to defeat Raiga is to release the seal. You will need the Sword of Gaia in order to slay that evil bastard."
"I figured as much," Kaige replied, her tone losing a little of the edge that had previously been present while talking to him. "Why else would Raiga be after the key to the seal of the sword of Gaia?"
"With it, he will become unbeatable," Omega said. "No one will be able to oppose him. He will be even stronger than he is now! Kaige-sama, you don't have much time. There is a reason why I am named Omega. And in that reason, a reason Rouge should hurry and remember her past."
Class was quiet. It seemed strange, without Koine and Takashi. They had last been seen heading towards his house. A couple of days ago… He had forgotten to meet his friends for pizza. He had gone home to see Rouge instead. And that man attacked them… That man!
What if his friends came across that man when they were heading over to his house? What if they had witnessed the fight that had taken place between Rouge's sisters and that man? But then, where were they now?
Yusuke pedaled his bike home slowly after school. The realization that hit him during class had been bothering him all day. He'd stayed at his desk during the ten minutes they had between classes. Tsutomu and Kaoro tried to get him to talk, but he pushed them away.
Takashi and Koine. Where were they? Were they dead? A human couldn't live in the Underworld without those rings under his feet, the demon had said. Could they have been taken to the Underworld? No. That man had been killed. He didn't have time, right? No.
Kaige! Kaige and Meige could find them. They could track their aura! They would be easy to find! Except Meige was still wounded from the battle with that man. But Kaige would help him right?
Ugh. He was still afraid of Kaige. Maybe Rouge could convince her to help him.
Yusuke arrived home a few moments later. Kaige was out, talking to someone under a nearby tree. She had her sword pointed at him, but they seemed to be engaged in heavy conversation. She was in her battle gear. Maybe it wasn't the best time to talk to her. He should probably wait until later.
Yusuke got off his bike and walked to the house. Behind him, the bike clattered to the ground.
"Hey Rouge!" Yusuke called out as he opened the door and walked into the house. He slid open a screen, and stepped inside.
"Why are you called Omega than?" Kaige asked the man whom her sword was being pointed at, as he kneeled before her.
"Omega. The last letter of the Greek alphabet. The twenty-fourth letter. It means, in a simplified definition, end," Omega replied. "I am the last of Raiga's four henchman. There will be no more minions coming after Rouge after me. The next person to come after the Princess will be Raiga himself."
"What?" Kaige exclaimed, dropping her sword.
Tsutomu walked over to Yusuke's slowly, looking for any signs of his two missing friends. He would find them. They had to of left something that would be a clue to their whereabouts, right?
"It won't be long until Raiga realizes I have betrayed him," Omega continued. "As soon as the two humans we have captured are released from my spell, he will know. However, I will guard you and your sisters with my life, Kaige-sama. So you don't have to worry. I will protect you."
"What two humans?" Kaige asked him.
"Two friends of that boy Rouge-sama is interested in," Omega replied. "Before he died, Telra sent them to the Underworld, where Raiga told me to put them under his spell. I have, but I can also remove it. And I will, at your command, Kaige-sama."
"You may release them," Kaige responded.
At that moment, Yusuke walked outside to ask Kaige for help in finding his friends, but he stopped when he saw her still talking to that man.
Yusuke watched as the man stood up, raised up his hands to the sky, and then, white. A flash of light blinded him. When his eyesight returned to normal, he gasped in surprise.
Takashi and Koine! They were floating above the strange man Kaige was talking to. As he lowered his hands, they came closer to the ground, until their feet actually touched it.
The first thing Koine saw when she opened her eyes was Yusuke. Or did she? Wasn't it just nighttime? Hadn't a man just come crashing through the bushes as Yusuke's sister expelled some great power?
"Koine!" Yusuke cried out as he started running towards his friends, "Takashi!"
"Yusuke!" Koine exclaimed, "Where are me? What happened?"
"Yeah," Takashi replied to him as Yusuke arrived within earshot. "What happened?"
"You don't remember?" Yusuke asked them. "You've been missing for days!"
"We have?" Koine asked. "I don't remember…"
"But Yusuke," Takashi said. "You have a more serious question to answer."
Yusuke gulped as he thought he knew what was coming. Who Rouge really was. The fight. Answers to those questions.
"We'll just be leaving now," Kaige said as she dragged Omega away, towards the shed.
"Bye!" Omega called out.
"Why didn't you meet us for pizza?" Takashi exclaimed. "You made Koine cry!"
Yusuke facefaulted but jumped to his feet a moment later. "That's what you had to ask me! No questions about where you've been? Nothing?"
"Were we've been?" Takashi asked. "Koine had just ran out of the pizza place in order to check on you, and I followed her… I arrived here… and… and… I can't remember. It's all blank!"
"I can't remember what happened after I got to Yusuke's house either!" Koine cried out.
"Well," Yusuke began, "You should probably head home. "You two have been missing for days."
"We have?" Takashi cried out. "Uh… We'd better be going then. Ja ne!" Takashi and Koine ran off towards their homes.
Yusuke gave a sigh of relief as he watched them run off.
However, he didn't see Tsutomu watching the entire scene from a distance.
"Omega," Raiga's loud, booming voice could be heard ringing through the halls throughout the Castle of the Underworld. "He has betrayed me. But it does not matter. I always knew I couldn't count on those weaklings to capture what I need."
Raiga lifted his body out of the large throne, on which he sat, and slowly moved to a square section of the wall behind the throne. He reached up and pushed a piece of the molding on the wall. A grinding noise could be heard as the wall that stood before Raiga was pushed to the side, revealing a hidden alcove.
Before Raiga stood a alter, a black slab of stone, with the imprint of a key on it. On this altar, Raiga had placed a photograph. Raiga had found this photo in one of the rooms of the castle, no doubt created by that magician Omega.
But it was not the fact that Omega created the photograph that Raiga kept the photo. For it was the photo of someone Raiga knew very well. Someone whom he needed the support of. Wanted the support of. Which is why he needed the key to the seal of the sword of Gaia. To impress this person.