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CHAPTER EIGHT

     "Unbidden quests are often welcomed when they are gone"  
                         -King Henry VI,  from 'Henry VI' by William Shakespeare


   Ryo ran wildly, not knowing in the least where he was going.  Every hall looked the same... for
all he knew, he was going in circles.
   He heard a pair of frantic feet running down the hall behind him.  "Crap!" he breathed.  "I 
gotta  get out of here!"  He looked left and right ... and a bucket of water caught his attention.
   "You come back here, Wildfire!!!" Sarjenka slid around the corner, temper blazing.  She raised
her hands when she saw him, preceding to freeze him on the spot.
   Ryo hauled off with the bucket of water, launching it out immediately when he spotted her. 
Sarjenka was caught totally off guard by the flying liquid, and it hit her square in the face.  
   Sarjenka screamed.  The water froze instantly in her skin in a shivering crackle, burning her
pale skin as it froze.  She fell back a few paces, nervously banishing the unwanted ice that had
formed in her skin.
   "That's it!" Ryo said to himself softly.  "The water's her weakness."
   Sarjenka raised blood-shot green eyes to him and Ryo threw the now-empty bucket at her,
turning and running off in the opposite direction.   Ryo slid, out of breath around another corner
as Sarjenka's enormous voice floated up to his ears.
   "YOU'RE A DEAD MAN, WILDFIRE!!!"
   Down the hall as he ran for all he was worth, a small window spilled gloomy light into the hall. 
He found strength to pick up the pace, despite his growing fatigue, and pressed on.  He had no
clue what waited beyond the window, but it had to be a better fate then what Sarjenka had in
store for him.  He ducked his head behind his arms and leapt at the windowpane.
   Shattering glass erupted from the window of the tower and Ryo flew out.  Thankfully, a green
moat lay under him as he sailed through the sky.  Ryo held his breath as he felt his body begin to
plunge downward at phenomenal speeds.  He hit the dense moat like a rocket.
   The moat was thick and gooey, and he sank under a good ten feet before he was able to pull
himself to the top.  He surfaced and nervously wiped the foul smelling gunk from his face and
hair.
   He could hear Sarjenka screaming in the castle behind him as he pulled himself onto the bank
of the moat and took to running.

    Sarjenka slid around a corner and noticed the broken window down the hall.  "Damn you,
Wildfire!" she hissed and took off for the window.  Yuki followed calmly behind and
watched as her master slid to a halt and leaned out the window.
   Sarjenka surveyed the terrain under her.  The dead foliage, nearly waist high covered all
traces of the escaped Ronin below her.  She hoisted herself into the window sill and took a great
leap.
   She floated through the air like a bird on an updraft, watching the moat move out from under
her.  Rapidly she descended, meeting with the ground about three feet from the edge of the moat.
  There were green, wet footprints leading into the dead, waist-high grass beside her.   "I'll kill
him if I find him ... kill him with my bare hands!" she cursed.  She took her sai in hand and
began through the grass.

    Ryo fought to catch his breath as he stumbled through the grass.  His legs threatened to give
way underneath him if he did not find a place to hide.  He was in the middle of a dead field.  It
would be easy enough to hide in the tall grass, but it wasn't a sure hiding place.  
   Off in the distance he thought he saw the gates from the Dynasty.  They had to be a good two
miles off ... hovering patiently.   “Looks like that's my best bet”  he thought to himself.

   "I think I know where we are," Kale said, glancing around at the dead field.  "Talpa's castle 
is 2 miles that way," he pointed as Daes, the last of the company, met with the ground behind him.
   "We better move quickly then," Sage said, adjusting his golden hair.  "There's no telling what
that crazy maniac will do to Ryo to get at us or the White Armor's secrets.
   "Funny," Kento started.  "You didn't seem to think she was such a crazy maniac at the
hospital."
   "Shut up, Kento!" Sage yelled.
   "Come on, you guys," Mia refereed.  "We need to find Ryo."
   Behind her, White Blaze growled his agreement, Yuli sitting comfortably on his back.

   Ryo collapsed, out of breath onto his knees.  His hand clutched his aching chest as he struggled
to fill his lungs with air.  Off in front of him, a lonely rock stuck out of the grass just enough 
to be seen.  For a moment, he thought about hiding there.  "That's to obvious," he wheezed.
   But would Sarjenka think that?  He got to his feet and took his shirt off, walking steadily
towards the rock.  Behind him about half a mile, an entire portion of the field erupted into huge
bursts of flames and slowly died out.  The smell of burnt, musty grass blew by Ryo's nose as he
tossed his shirt behind the rock and began off toward the Dynasty gates.

   The terrain smoked in a black ash before her as Sarjenka banished the Wildfire armor.  Her
arms and hands were red and cracked from Ryo's attack with the water bucket.  She rubbed them
gingerly, scanning for any sigh that she may have toasted Ryo.
   But she found no such sign.  She pulled her long sai out to her defense and began at a quick
run through the charred region until she reached the edge of the circle of destruction she had
made.  
   A huge, lonely rock peeked out over the tall dead grass.  She stared at it for a while.  A cold
breeze kicked up and bent the tall grasses down enough for her to see over them.  Through the
blown down grass, a piece of red cloth fluttered in the wind.  "Ah ha!!" she yelled, slicing
through the air with her blizzard sai.  The section of grass from her to the rock turned a rigid
silver.  She sliced once more through the air and the field patch, including the rock shattered 
into a million pieces.
   The frozen fragments quickly thawed as they rained back down to the earth, along with pieces
of the red cloth which she recognized as Ryo's shirt.  She poked at the pieces with her sai,
bringing a large scrap up.  "Looks like that's the end of you, darling!" she laughed slightly.
   She raised her eyes and noticed that there was a set of Dynasty gates off in the distance,
hovering obediently over the rolling terrain.  "Kayura, you fool.  You're going to bring the
Ronins and Warlords to try to rescue Ryo ... but I'm afraid you're too late.  He is but a memory
now ... which is what you'll all be shortly."

  "It will probably be close to night fall by the time we reach Talpa's castle," Anubis announced,
gesturing to the barely visible sun sinking in the distant west.
   "And that's where you think Sarjenka's taken Ryo?" Cye asked, tugging at his light blue
sweater.
   "It would be the only place that would provide decent cover.  The Dynasty is pretty much in
ruins now.  Talpsa' castle was the only thing that survived the catastrophe of Talpa's defeat."
   "Catastrophe, Anubis?" Rowen asked with a sneer.  "You're saying our bringing Talpa down
was a catastrophe?"
   "Maybe to you it wasn't Rowen," Kayura spoke up.  "It was for me.  Talpa's realm was the only
home I ever had."
   "Look, can we remember old times later?" Sekmet let out in quickly, his spikey green hair
falling down before his eyes as he brought his helmet up.  "Let's get a move on it before we're
out here when the night creatures come out."
   Anubis' staff chimed in his armored hand, drawing everyone's attention.  He banished the
Armor of Cruelty to be dressed in the tattered robes of the Ancient One.  "Someone is coming. 
Make sure the Ronin's are safe."
   Anubis stepped forward, striking the staff on the hard earth underneath him.  "Show yourself!"
He called into the dead grass.
   The grass rustled about 20 yards from them.  The magic staff chimed again and both Anubis
and Kayura regarded it with a look.  The two ancients looked to each other, and in one voice
declared, "It's Ryo."
   "Ryo!" The Ronin's took off across the field and dove under the grass.
   Ryo sat gasping for breath as Sage and Kento hauled him to his feet, hugging their lost friend
at the same time.  Ryo wheezed, trying to thanks his friends as they helped him across the field. 
Mia, the Warlords and Kayura rushed to his side, each helping the shirtless Ryo in their own way
   "Ryo, what happened?  How'd you get away from Sarjenka?" Cye asked as Sage and Kento set
him down to rest on the ground.
   Ryo took a second to catch his breath.   He reached up and laid a hand on Cye's shoulder.  
"We have to get your armor back, Cye.  Sarjenka can't take water."
   Cye looked at his buddy through confused eyes.
   Ryo continued.  "But Sarjenka isn't our only problem."

   Lord Serenbo plopped his heavy frame into the throne once reserved for Talpa.  His
expressionless face mask smiled down to the tattered piece of red cloth Sarjenka handed him. 
"Can you confirm he's dead?"
   "No one could have survived that frost blast," Sarjenka smiled triumphantly, twirling her sai
playfully around in her hand
   "But can you CONFIRM that Ryo of Wildfire is dead?  You now posses his armor, you should
have felt something."
   "I didn't feel anything."
   "Fool!!" he boomed, rising to his feet.  "Then he's still alive!  Go out there and finish the
job!!"
   "You go finish it!" Sarjenka shot back.  "Or do you forget, YOU work for ME!!  *I*  posses
the power of the Inferno, not YOU."
   "You dare challenge me, child?"
   Sarjenka threw back her head and laughed.  "Imbecile!  Hariel's White Armor defeated you
once, what's to stop it from defeating you again?"
   Sarenbo steamed with anger, and he seemed to rise even higher above her on the throne.  
"Only I control the solders of the Dynasty.  I can easily put you under, child, and claim the 
White Armor for myself."
   "The soldiers?  HA!  They couldn't catch a cold.  And your empty threats don't scare me.  If
you want to make sure Wildfire's dead, then you check it out for yourself!" and she disappeared
into a flurry of snow flakes.
    Sarenbo plopped back into his throne.  "Djinn!  Indra!!"
   In a flash of blinding lightning and searing heat, two more women popped into view.  Each
wore light armor, almost like Sarjenka's own Kryos Armor.  They each regarded Sarenbo with a
frustrated sigh, the one in the gold armor being an exact likeness of Sarjenka.. "Yes Lord
Serenbo," they both said flatly.
   "Javana ... Rhan ... I want you two to search out a Ryo of Wildfire and have him killed.  And 
if there are any other unwanted guests, do away with them to!"
   "Yes, Lord," and the two girls disappeared.

   The sun had just sank into the west when the Ronin's and Warlords reached Talpa's castle.
   "This is almost too easy," Kento said.  "There should at least have been some Dynasty goons
here to welcome us."
   "I agree," said Daes.  If Sarenbo really IS back, he'd have the castle fortified."
   "Perhaps it's just a trap," Anubis said, wearing the Armor of Cruelty now.  "We should sneak in
through the sewers."
   The company let out a collective groan.

Javana of Djinn stood aside from Sarjenka's twin sister, Rhan of Indra, sighing heavily at the
destroyed field before them.  "Yup.  Sarjenka was here, alright."
   Rhan turned her brilliant green eyes out to the field.  "One things for sure ... Sarjenka's 
always thorough.  This is a HUGE waste of time!"  She huffed heavily, crossing her arms over her
chest.  "If Sarenbo wants this Ronin dead, he can do it himself!  He can get of his fat ass for a
change!" and she disappeared in an enormous flash of lightning.
   Java sighed slightly and looked back out to the field.

  Rhan popped into existence behind Sarjenka in a flash of lightning and wind, immediately
grunting her discontent.  "So there you are, Sarjenka," she said deeply, her white hair tangled
behind her as the wind died.  "You must have given old Sarenbo a piece of your mind, because
Lord Serenbo is really pissed off at you."
   Sarjenka turned, her white hair fanning out behind her, staring back at her identical twin. 
"Sarenbo can just stuff himself for all I care.  He's nothing but a worthless old man who should
have never been given a second chance  in this life."
   "Well, we do agree on something ... but Sarenbo's in charge now that Talpa's gone."
   "Things are about to change, Rhan," she huffed.  "If Sarenbo can't realize the awesome power I
have now, then I'll just have to kill him!"
  "Hariol's Armor was never made for us, sister, and you know that.  I warn you to not rely too
heavily on it.  At least not until we have all finished the Ronin Warriors."

   The sewer grate slid back from the stone floor of the dungeon's and Kento's unkempt ragged
hair poked out and looked around.  "All's clear," he called back down.
   "I still don't like this one bit," Ryo said, leaning a hand down to hoist up Mia and Yuli.
   "Well, at least we know to stay on our guard," Sage said, popping up into the dungeons.  "What
I'm more worried about is how we're going to get our armors back from Sarjenka.
   "Not to worry, Ronins," Anubis said.  "Hariol's White Armor obeys the call of the Ancient
One's staff.  As I was able to for the White Armor from Rowan's Armor of Strata once before, I 
can break the armor from her as easily."
   "Then what are we waitin' around here for in this dumb dungeon ... let's go find her and get 
our armor's back!" Kento yelled.
   "SSSSSSSHHHHHHH!!!"

   Javana of Djinn surveyed the field once more.  She had called up the power of Djinn, the power
of heat and flame, and laid the dead field flat.  She could not find any sign of intruders, or the
one called Ryo of Wildfire.
   She blew air roughly out of her nose and vanished in a rush of fire ...
... and appeared in her room in Talpa's castle.  She banished the armor of Djinn and fell back
onto her bed, quickly drifting off into sleep.

    Sarjenka pushed past her sister and entered out into the dim halls.  She was going to find
Sarenbo and finish him off for good.
   She ran through her plans in her head as she stomped down the corridor and into the throne
room.  "Sarenbo!" she called.
   "What do you want now, child?  I'm busy!"
   "I want your head, Lord.  And I've come prepared to fight."
   A deep laugh sounded through the throne room, rolling and echoing in the stone throne room. 
"YOU?  Defeat ME?"
   Sarjenka raised her sai to the air.  "Armor of Inferno!!"

   The Ronin's all slid to a halt.
   "What is it?" Kale asked swiftly.
   "It's the armor," Ryo said.  "It's right above us!"
   "I feel it too!" Cye said.
   "Come on then," and Anubis took off.

   Sarjenka stood before the Warlord in blazing, white glory, bringing the Fervor Soul Swords
before her.  "The last thing you will see will be ME ... laughing over your broken body!!"  She
readied herself to strike ...
   ... and behind her, the large iron door burst open across from Sarjenka and Sarenbo, deflecting
their attention.
    .... and silence filled the room.  The door hit the stone wall in a dull 'thunk' , deep 
shadows hiding whatever it was that threw open the door.
   Something glinted in the door way, sparkling into existence for only a moment.  A figure in
tattered robes carrying a golden staff walked slowly into the room out of the shadows.
   "Perhaps you know me, " the figure spoke.  "Perhaps not."
   "The Ancient One?" Sarenbo stood to his feet.  "No, it can't be ... Anubis?"
   Anubis stepped fully into the light and stood patiently.  "This reign of terror on the people 
of Earth WILL come to an end, Sarjenka of Kryos."
   Behind him, the Ronin's and Warlords stepped out of the shadows.  "Long time no see,
Sarenbo," Kale laughed.
  "Good lord, don't you guys ever give up?" Sarjenka reeled back, unsheathing her rage.  "Armor
of Inferno!"
   Anubis brought the tip of the staff down hard on the stone, sending it chiming throughout the
throne room.
   "Rage of the INFERNO!!" she finished.  A white fire surrounded her as the chiming of the
Ancient's staff came to the armor.  For a second, the Armor of Inferno faltered, stopping her in
mid strike, the white-hot fire eagerly trying to eat through the unseen barrier.
   "Wh ... What's going on here!!" she screamed.  
   Wildfire was the first to break from Inferno, sending searing jolts of heat through her body. 
She broke off the attempted attack and landed keenly on the floor, quickly using her own power
to cool her body.  The armor no longer glowed white, but had instead taken on a sickly grey
color as she struggled to her feet.  "You can't do this!!  Impossible!"
   She watched as Wildfire joined with Ryo, armoring him in dazzling red before her.
   Anubis chimed the staff once more.
   Halo broke free in a whine of twisting metal and quickly joined with Sage, surrounding him in
the brilliant green armor.  Sarjenka stumbled back from the sudden loss of Halo.
   "Curse you, monk!!" Sarjenka leapt at Anubis and tackled him to the ground, pinning him under
the still burning remains of the Armor of Inferno.  The metal singed his clothing and burnt his
skin as he struggled against her, forcing his jaws together to keep from screaming out in pain.
   "Kayura!  The staff!" Anubis yelled, tossing the magic staff from Sarjenka's grasp.
   Lady Kayura banished her armor and reached out for the staff.  "Torrent!!" she chimed the
staff once, breaking Cye's armor from Sarjenka.  "Hardrock!!" Again she chimed the staff. 
"Strata!!"
   The last of the Armor of Inferno broke from Sarjenka, leaving her only in the shoulder and
breast plates of the armor of Kryos.  She shouted curses at Anubis and gathered her energy for a
blast of freezing snow.
   "Cye!  Do it now!!" Ryo yelled.
   Cye called on the Torrent spear and held it at the ready behind Sarjenka.  "Super Wave
Smasher!!" he rallied his cry.  From the tip of the trident spear, sea water began to churn in a
violent whirlpool. 
   Sarjenka whirled around just in time to see the spear explode with un-numbered gallons of sea
water.  "NNOOOO!!!" she yelled, and rolled off of Anubis, only to be hit dead on by the tidal
wave.

   A deathly scream carried through the halls of Talpa's Castle to the ears of the Warriors of
Chaos:  Aleizia of  Titan, Deizia of Shiva, Rhan of Indra and Javana of Djinn.  They all jumped
to their feet in their respective parts of the castle, each feeling Sarjenka's life force 
separating from their armor.

   Sarjenka's body shattered under the seawater, turning into snow and quickly disappearing in a
deafening crackle.  The throne room fell silent as the last of the snow vanished before the ten
warriors.  Cye stood wheezing for air behind his armor, theTorrent spear still aimed toward the 
spot where Sarjenka last stood.
   "Way to go, buddy!!" Kento yelled, breaking the silence and running over to rough up his 
little friend.
   "I ... I ... " Cye looked up at Kento.  "I killed her…  I killed her…!!" he paniced.
   "At least that gets her off my hands," Sarenbo laughed.
   Ryo drew a Wildfire sword and began across the room to Sarenbo.
   "This must be my cue to exit," Sarenbo said, and disappeared into a thick mist.
   "Try to take it easy, Cye," Sage was trying to comfort.
   "BUT I KILLED HER!!!"
   "OH my God, you killed her!!!" a female voice rang through the throne room.
   All eyes turned to see four young girls, about the same ages as the Ronins, leaning down over
the pile of Kryos armor that was left of Sarjenka.
   One girl, streaming white hair lifted her face.  "You killed her!!  You killed my sister!!" 
She stood briskly to her feet.  "Which one of you bastards killed my sister?!"  Rhan of Indra 
turned her green eyes out to the Ronins and drew out a long, golden bo.
   "Uh ... " Kento started.  "I did!"
   "Kento!" Cye began, receiving a shove in the face from Kento.  He walked forward, a hand
positioned on the Hardrock staff, swiftly and proudly approaching the woman.
   "How could you do this!!!" sShe yelled
   "She brought it on herself, lady," Kento started.  "She tried to kill me and my friends ... 
she's sent her Dynasty goons to take over the Earth and she was just an all around pain in the 
butt!!"
   The girl, Rhan, let the shoulder piece clatter to the ground and looked up to him.  Seering 
green eyes proved that she was indeed Sarjenka's sister.  A single tear left her eye and rolled 
down her cheek.  Kento's hard facade softened as he looked down into the sad, green eyes, and 
moved to comfort her, but was stopped by a firm grip on his shoulder.
   Cye rounded Kento.  "He didn't kill her, I did.  She was going to kill us and a very dear friend
of ours if I didn’t do something."  He threw a glance over to Anubis  who was leaning heavily 
on the magic staff.  “I had no idea that my attack would actually kill her…”
   "If anyone's to blame, it's all of us," Ryo put in.  The Ronin Warriors soon stood in a 
defensive line across from the Chaos Warriors.
   "I knew it would come to this someday," one of the women spoke.  All eyes turned to a woman
in a light blue armor.  Deizia of Shiva sighed heavily.  "Sarjenka was just too power-mad."  She
rose steadily to her feet.  "And you all must be those Ronin Warriors, right ... of Talpa's Armor
of Jin?"
   "Uh, yeah," Rowen answered.  "But who are you?"
   "There's no time for that.  We need to stop Sarjenka's forces before they completely destroy 
the Earth!"

   The hoodlum dropped the flowery bag and took of into the alley,  a handful of Dynasty
soldiers hot on his tail.  "Somebody help!!!" He yelled.  "Geeze, where are the cops when ya
need 'em?"
   He burst out into the sunlit streets, right into the middle of traffic, arms flailing like a 
lunatic.  "Somebody call the police!! They're after me!!!"
   Cars screeched to a halt and began with a chorus of honking as the hoodlum ran panicked 
down the middle of the road.  "Hey idiot, get outta the road!!"
   The hoodlum looked back to the alley where he had just run from.  
   A stray alley cat sauntered out of the now sun-lit alley, sat down and licked its paw before
continuing on.
   "Just what in the name of Christ just went on here?"

   The Parisians all stood dumbfound, each staring at the French national monument where only
seconds ago, vast hordes of green-armored soldiers had been.
   "Mon Dieu!  My God!" one breathed.
    The two Prisians just looked at each other, each as dumbfound as the other.

   Mia cautiously poked her head around the front door.  Her house seemed just as it should  
have been... neatly kept and quiet, as if nothing had ever happened.  The balcony sliding-glass 
doors were whole again and the living room seemed in perfect order.  "How odd," she 
whispered, stepping into the ranch house.
   White Blaze sniffed the air as Yuli climbed down off of him, and sent a confirming growl.
   "It's as if the Dynasty was never here!" Cye said.
   "Would you have rather had the place demolished?" asked one of the Chaos Warriors.  She
smiled simply.
   "Maybe we should all sit down and find out who you all are," Mia said.

THE END.  Copyright 1996, Jiminy Cricket Presses

I wish to deeply thank fellow Ronin fan Spooner for playing editor for this fan fic.  Her help was
greatly appreciated

Written by Genshi no Korogi
Programming Director
Editor-in-Chief
PAIN TV

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