Don't look at me.

I've been busy.

Thanks to all reviewers!


Four Guardians

Camp

"EARTH!" Yoru yelled.

Kaz jumped aside to avoid Yoru's attack.

"Darkness, fifth trap, activate!" he chanted. Yoru was caught off guard as a magic circle was activated beneath his feet.

"Damn it… WIND!" He chanted. With the aid of his element, he managed to 'fly' out of the trap. From above, he collected the presence of his wind element. It was harder to control two elements at the same time, so he had to ignore his earth side for a moment.

"Slash." He ordered. Kaz gritted his teeth as he called upon a shield from his light element. Dark elements were effective and fast to react, but collecting the energy for it took too much time.

Lightning struck the ground between them.

"Sound."

Thunder roared louder than possible, causing a huge explosion. Yoru, unable to cling onto his wind any longer, fell. He gathered the stronger plants around him to catch him. Kaz tried to look through the dust from behind his barrier. Undoubtedly, Zai stood there in the middle.

"What the-?!"

"Time's up!" the teacher called out. Yoru growled as he landed unceremoniously on the ground.

'These are the kind of things for Yume…' The term had ended a week ago, and the camp started three days after that, meaning that they had been here for four days already.

"What were you trying to do? Kill me?" Kaz muttered as he made his way toward Yoru and Zai.

"Depends on who you're talking to." Zai replied, looking upon the burned area where he had dropped his lightning.

"The both of you."

"You're the one who said not to go easy on you, idiot."

"Yeah, I also said not to take your anger out on us just because Yume told us sooo much later that she was gonna train with sensei." Kaz replied as he stepped out of the ring that was about a kilometer in diameter.

"Koizumi Kaz, Yoshiro Yoru and Ikari Zai." Zai told the teacher who regarded them cautiously with a clip board.

"Okay, stand there. After this group you can all go for your break." He told them. Zai nodded while Kaz and Yoru continued bickering, mainly about Yume.

"Fighting over a girl?" Ryo, another student from a different school, asked.

"Yes."

"No we're not!" Yoru hissed at Kaz. Ryo raised an eyebrow and looked at Zai who seemed more interested in counting the number of clouds in the sky.

"Is she cute?" Akira questioned. He was from the same school as Ryo.

"Hell yeah." Kaz confirmed.

"Can you not talk like that?!" Yoru groaned.

"C'mon, Yoru! So how would you describe Yume?"

"Intimidating." He replied bluntly. Ryo and Akira sweat dropped.

"Uh… So what's the connection…?" Akira asked.

"Twin sis for him, girlfriend for me."

"Your what?!"

"I'm just kidding, Yoru." Kaz sighed. "You can really be so gullible at times…"

"Playing the over-protective brother, huh?" Ryo asked, smirking. "So how does she look like?"

"Me." Yoru grumbled, sitting down angrily, but soon backed away as Akira and Ryo's faces came uncomfortably close. "Uh…"

"You're pretty much a pretty boy." Ryo murmured.

"A really pretty boy." Akira agreed, nodding.

"Making your sis a pretty girl!" Ryo butted in cheerfully. A vein popped on Yoru's head as he tried to contain his anger.

"Don't-…"

"Time's up!" the teacher called out again. Yoru toppled forward at the sudden announcement.

"They've barely been there five minutes…" Kaz murmured as he turned around to see the terrain in the ring grow smooth once more. (Before it had been a mixture of… funny things due to everyone else's element thrashings…) Zai walked up next to them.

"That's not it." Ryo said softly as he turned his head. The rest followed his gaze. A heavily cloaked figure with an escort (presumably one of the masters he had yet to meet…) watched them, but for some particular reason, Yoru felt that…

"Wanderer." Zai breathed.

… the stranger was looking straight at Zai.

But it only took a few seconds for the word to register in his head, and by then the Wanderer had left with his escort.

"Like sensei?" Kaz asked. Zai reluctantly nodded. Ryo and Akira looked between the three in obvious confusion.

'But… what's a Wanderer doing here?'


Yume uselessly tried to conceal her harsh breathing against him, but it was useless. Not against him, anyway. Normal people wouldn't have even heard her walk.

"Found you."

"Dammit…" she cursed as she blocked his attack with her short sword. She sensed his kicked before she saw it, and quickly removed her scabbard to confront it. It lessened the wounds on her body, but it didn't reduce much of the impact and she was thrown away. Her feet found the ground, and she skidded on the forest floor.

"You're really weak, aren't you, Yoshiro?"

"Oh, shut up, Hisagi." She muttered. They both heard a shrill whistle, and Yume tried her best to suppress another curse, failing miserably. Hisagi Raijin gave her an amused look.

"You weren't all that bad."

"Takes a while to get used to losing to the same guy time and time again just because I lack strength and experience…" she muttered as she stalked pass him, sheathing her short sword back. Her strength had always lied with her speed and skill – something Raijin proved far more than compatible for. As for strength? Women - although she had always hated to admit it – definitely were not a match with men in this segment. It was her own gift that she could run fast, but…

'The least sensei could have done was inform me earlier that I wasn't going to be the only student instead of a day before I left… not that it would have made much difference…' she thought to herself, and then shook her head. Other than her, there were two other, but they were both also guys. 'Kaz, Zai and Yoru all over again…'

"Yoshiro? Yoshirooo…" Raijin droned on. She scowled.

"I heard you the first time." She replied as twisted to look behind sharply. Her period had come at a bad time – a very bad time. Having her period meant that she had to rein in a portion of her elements – an inner dam also held it back. That 'dam' was her period. "Dammit…" she muttered. Her cramps had returned.

"So this is what it's like to be a girl?"

"Shut up…" she growled to him as she continued on, taking her own time. If sensei was going to prattle about her taking a stroll back, she would allow him to waste his breath.

"You don't mind being different?" Raijin suddenly asked. Yume frowned and stopped in her tracks.

"Meaning?" she asked, looking at him. He waved a careless hand.

"Oh, you know. Not having the light element and all." He said. Yume raised an eyebrow but just turned on her heel.

"Don't have much time to mind." She mumbled before sprinting off. He watched her back casually, noting how easily and swiftly her legs pumped and hardly touched the ground. Wind might not have been her element, but she possessed the speed of one who wielded it. He stayed there for awhile.

"I know you're there, Kai." He announced after a moment. A figure jumped down next to him.

"There's no hiding from you, eh?" Kai asked, following his gaze. "Interested?" he asked. Raijin shook his head casually.

"She's interesting, but I'm not interested. What do you think about her?" Raijin asked. Kai smirked.

"Same as you. Although… I thought that sensei would have chosen someone more…" he fought for the word.

"Masculine?" Raijin suggested. "Yoshiro's got plenty of that." Kai smirked.

"I know. But… I just thought that sensei would choose a guy instead of a… girl."

"You don't find her formidable?" Raijin asked.

"Satisfying." He replied truthfully. "And she has potential. Although…" Kai stopped. Raijin watched his friend closely.

"You've noticed, huh?"

"Just. Rare, but not unheard of. Although in her case, I don't blame her much." He replied, shrugging.

"Why not?" Raijin asked. Kai sighed as he gestured for his friend to walk on.

"Think… she was born with elements that she and more than many didn't accept, it tortured her in the early stages of her life, though they probably didn't mean to – and has been the biggest drag of her life. Moreover, she knows that it will be the source of her -…"

"Okay, okay, I get it. But… for that small thing to obstruct her way…" he sighed. "Her end will come sooner than she expects it to be. After all, since her greatest weakness is her fear of her own elements…" he left his sentence hanging. Kai gave him a sideway glance and chose to remain quiet. To them, although they had only known Yume for a few days, compared to the years they had spent together, she already felt like a sister.

But…

"I won't forget what happened. I won't forgive her." Raijin said. Kai sighed.

"Let it go, Rai. There's nothing you can do about it back then, and there's nothing you can do about it now either. Even then-…"

"Don't you think I know that!?" he hollered before angrily walking off. Kai watched his back as it faded off into the distance before shaking his head.

"Get over it already." He murmured.