A/N: Thanks to my latest reviewer RYTwinDemon, who's writing a story about the Eastern Zodiac's Western counterparts! It's called ZodiaX, I recommend it! On with the story.

Episode 5: Hop to it! Enter Amami Yuki

The girl was flying, floating in the air. As she soared above her school, over houses and parks, she felt peaceful and safe. She knew deep down that she wouldn't fall, even though she had no wings to hold her up. It was dark, and the moon shone brightly. Yuki had always liked the moon, and had been lucky enough to see both a solar and lunar eclipse in her relatively short lifetime. She could fly; why shouldn't she visit the moon? Rising higher and higher until the sky grew thin, she could see stars glowing and marvelled at their beauty. However, she couldn't let them distract her now. Accelerating until the stars were now trails of light, she finally reached the moon. Lowering and finally landing on the ground, dust rose from her feet.

"Amami Yuki, do you know of yin yang?" Suddenly the dust rose and coalesced into a necklace. The talisman on the necklace was a circle divided into a white and black section, and Yuki recognised it as the symbol that depicted yin and yang, the notion that powered various Chinese traditions, science and even medicine. The two parts of the talisman snapped, and the dark yin part fell into the dust. The light yang part fell next to it. "It exists in that form you saw, a medallion. Now the parts are broken, there is nothing to balance life, and the world will slowly be consumed by imbalance." Yuki knelt down, picking up the parts. They both melted in her hands, turning to the same moon dust she knelt on. Then a human appeared before her- this was no normal human. She had the ears of a rabbit and instead of fingernails on the end of her slender digits, there were claws. "You know much about tradition Yuki- you're a scholar born and bred. Now, do you know about the Chinese zodiac?" With a Chinese mother, most of this knowledge was clear to her. "Yes, you do. The animals are real; they aren't just myths and personality signs. Each animal is responsible for maintaining the balance of yin yang, and now they must join together with humans to repair that medallion." Yuki smiled- this was quite possibly the strangest dream she'd ever had. She was aware she was asleep, but the moon still looked amazing. "You have been chosen because your inner animal corresponds to the sign of the Rabbit- you were born in the monthly span that the Rabbit rules over. Do you understand?" Yuki nodded blithely. If this was going to be a dream where she had special powers (just like her favourite manga), she'd have fun. The rabbit-woman looked solemn. "Listen to me, Yuki. This is not a dream. Don't be afraid…when you wake up, I'll be talking to you."

Something was on top of her bed; Yuki woke up to see her pet rabbit Tu sniffing the duvet. Sitting up and petting Tu, she reached out for her glasses with her other hand and put them on. The world grew clear and she picked up her pet.

"Come on, Tu, it's breakfast time."

Yuki, it was not a dream. She froze, looking at her rabbit. Animals couldn't talk…but in the context of her dream, the sudden voice would make sense.

"R-rabbit?" She asked tentatively.

Yes…I'm sorry I scared you. Rabbit sounded less confident than she did in the dream, and Yuki wondered if the sign's personality traits applied to the Zodiac animal itself. I thought that if I started off with something gentle like a dream, it wouldn't bother you… Yuki frowned.

"So is it all true about yin yang and joining together to protect the world?"

Yes…I have gifts for you. Rabbit sounded relieved that Yuki wasn't losing her head in fear. Powers. You get one that's like a tool for you to use, and one that's used in the case of fighting. Yuki swallowed nervously,

"Fighting?" Rabbit didn't sound enamoured of the concept either.

Yes, unfortunately…it was a person who broke yin yang, and that person is probably dangerous…anyway, your tool-like power involves influencing emotions. A rabbit person instinctively brings peace and calm to the atmosphere, and in times of heightened tension, you'll be able to defuse it and avoid fighting. If, however, the tension is too great, that's when your fighting power will be used. A rabbit person hates to take risks, and prefers to avoid danger. So, you'll have the power to create invisible shields to protect from weapons and fist fighting. Yuki perked up,

"Really? Wow, this completely does sound like something out of manga…do you think that I could also get a transformation sequence and a cool costume if we have to fight?" Although she was joking, her inner child jumped with joy at the thought of becoming just like the magical girls from the manga she read in her spare time. Rabbit giggled,

If I figure out how to do that, I don't see why not.

"…Right…um, how can I be sure this isn't all part of my dream? Or even hallucination?" Rabbit sounded defeated,

You can't be sure. But if you get a chance today, try and use the powers I told you about! Remember, you'll automatically bring calm. I think that you'll summon a shield without thinking about it, it'll become just like your other reflexes. Um, I'll leave you to eat breakfast. Yuki blinked, looking up at the analogue clock. She was slightly behind schedule, and adjusting her hold on Tu so she wouldn't drop him, she hurried down the stairs. Putting on her slippers hurriedly, she went outside into the garden and put Tu down. The rabbit hopped around slowly and began to eat grass ravenously. She watched her pet and wondered what today would hold.

Yuki entered the classroom to see that it was empty, and she was the first to arrive. This didn't bother her as it gave her a chance to continue reading a book she'd brought to school. Sitting at her place and withdrawing it from her bag, she mused that despite being slightly late, she was still earlier than everyone else. She was just glad that she'd avoided being caught up in the rush of students trying to arrive in good time. Turning a page, she read slowly.

"Yuki-san, good morning." A cool male voice made her jump, and she almost dropped her book. Turning to the door, she saw a member of the grade who always made her feel uneasy. He brushed his dyed-black hair out of his eyes, and she mumbled,

"Good morning, Kurokawa-san." Kurokawa often socialised with people in the other class, most of whom liked to dress as gothic fashion dictated and listen to screeching music. He intimidated her, as well as a lot of the class, and between him and the group of girls that liked to gossip, she was stuck in-between the two. Kurokawa smiled as she turned back to her book, turning red out of sheer anxiousness, and walked over to her. She didn't notice his proximity and her eyes continued to scan the page.

"English?" He spoke softly into her ear. She jumped again, dropping it onto the desk.

"Wah! Don't get so close!" She almost shrieked, and he stepped backwards with a teasing expression.

"Do you like your personal space?" He then tried to step in closer. However, something stopped him, and he looked confused, almost leaning against the air. Yuki blinked- what was he doing? She just wanted him to leave her alone. As she thought that, he suddenly wobbled as if pushed, and retreated further. He looked as baffled as she did, and suddenly she noticed the air shimmering around her. It was almost like a force field, and she smiled with relief. "Alright, I'll go away." He sounded offended, but Yuki was just happy about his attention turning somewhere else. Picking up the book, she continued to read.

Yuki watched a bunch of girls gossip with growing discomfort, and stood up, deciding to go and eat lunch before anything else happened. Kurosawa was paying no attention to her thankfully, and as she passed the other classroom, someone called her,

"Wait, Amami-san! May I go to lunch with you?" She looked into the doorway to see a boy she'd seen around before, but didn't know his first name.

"Um…if you want. You don't need to ask…" She mumbled, and he grinned,

"Sorry for imposing on you, it's just that it's getting slightly awkward in here." In the middle of his comment, raised voices almost drowned him out, and she approached the classroom.

"What's going on?" She asked, and he replied, grimacing,

"Well, Shounen Furyou-san just insulted Ijiwarou Tsubari-san, and it's slowly going downhill from there." The names were familiar-

"Wait, they're both motorcycle enthusiasts…oh!" Yuki remembered why she knew them, "Shounen-san belongs to one of those illegal motorcycle gangs…and wasn't there a rumour that Ijiwarou-san was involved with the yakuza?" As she said it, the boy's face fell and he nodded. Her hands began to shake, and she entered the room to see what was happening.

"Delinquent? I'll have you know I'm the leader of 'em. Have you murdered anyone yet?" Shounen spoke loudly, flexing his muscles. Ijiwarou's response was menacing.

"Keep insulting me and you'll be the first on my list." Shounen bristled, swelling up like a puffer fish,

"You wanna watch your mouth. I know where you live, and so does my gang." Yuki appeared in the doorway, and Ijiwarou looked at her,

"Hn. Even the geek from the other class has come to watch our fight." Shounen looked over at Yuki, who was blushing, and turned back to Ijiwarou.

"Ijiwarou, you idiot. Did your dad never teach you to respect girls? Next thing I know, you'll be telling me he taught you to hit 'em." Ijiwarou's eyes narrowed,

"I have never hit a girl. What're you trying to say?" Shounen folded his arms.

"Right. So it's not okay to hit a girl, but you can name call all you like?" Ijiwarou looked at Yuki again, and his glare melted into a frown. Turning back to Shounen, he conceded at last,

"…No. Even though your motorbike has more brains than you…I suppose you're right." Shounen grinned, and a split second later he caught the back-handed compliment.

"Hey, wait a minute-" Ijiwarou cut him off, looking over at Yuki,

"I apologise…" He didn't know her name, and she muttered with embarrassment,

"Amami Yuki. Nice to meet you…" He nodded,

"I apologise, Amami-san." Ijiwarou seemed to be waiting for something, and the boy next to her nudged her with his elbow,

"Oh! It's nothing, don't worry about it." Ijiwarou seemed content, and said mockingly,

"Hey, Shounen, you look strong. How about we go eat lunch and see who's the best at arm-wrestling?" Shounen accepted equally rudely,

"Whatever you say, pansy." They walked alongside each other, pushing past the rest of their class and disappearing. The boy looked at Yuki in awe,

"I've never seen them so civil. I've never seen them apologise either!" Yuki recalled Rabbit's words about defusing tension, and her eyes widened.

"R-really? Wow…um…" She trailed off, and the boy shook his head,

"Must be something in the air today. Shall we go to lunch?" She nodded,

"Alright, Shimizu-san." He grinned, his azure eyes glowing in the sunlight streaming through the window.

"Please, call me Kaitou." Yuki nodded,

"Okay, Kaitou-san. But you can call me Yuki too." As they walked to lunch, Yuki recalled exactly where she'd seen him before- on the football pitch most lunchtimes. Shimizu Kaitou was a keen soccer player and he was predicted to be the new captain of the team once the current captain's term was over. She'd heard he was kind, friendly and respected everyone, regardless of their popularity in the school. Since Yuki enjoyed learning and teaching herself, she didn't find friends easily, but Kaitou seemed nice enough.

"…and then I tripped over it and fell into the mud. Sato couldn't stop laughing and it took three washes to clean the football kit." Kaitou finished the story and Yuki dissolved into laughter, clutching her sides.

"Hahaha! I can't believe that your friend did that." Kaitou smiled ruefully, rubbing his spiky brown hair sheepishly.

"Nor can I…I got him back though." Yuki listened, riveted by his many tales. He began to explain how as they walked towards her house. Eventually they reached it, and Yuki thanked Kaitou,

"You didn't have to walk me home, Kaitou-san. Thank you!" He shook his head,

"No, no, I felt like it. Besides, my house is this way too. I guess I'll see you tomorrow then." Yuki waved as he left, and as she entered the house, her mother greeted her in Chinese.

"Hello, Yuki. how was your day?" Yuki replied in kind,

"It was good." Her mother then smiled sneakily,

"Good because you met that boy? Or just good generally?" Yuki coughed,

"W-what? No! He's j-just someone from the other class. Just a friend." Her mother folded her arms,

"If you say so." She then left, and Yuki walked through to the garden. Tu was in his hutch and she opened the door, letting him roam.

"I think Yuki has made a friend." Yuki's mother smiled softly as Yuki's father read a book.

"That's good…I worry about her sometimes." He didn't look up, answering.

"She's like you, Hiro. Studious and clever." She replied, and he smiled.

"I'm just glad she's found a friend."

Yuki placed Tu back in the hutch carefully, and as she locked the door, a familiar voice greeted her,

Hello, Yuki! Yuki blinked.

"Rabbit! It worked, the powers you told me about!" She said with excitement, and Rabbit chuckled,

See! Now you know how to use them, we need to find the other eleven Zodiac animals. Yuki frowned, lost in thought.

"…Do you know where any of them are?" Rabbit sounded uncertain,

Well, in the east somewhere…in the west, they have their own zodiac. Yuki nodded and started to think.

"Alright, so that narrows it down to a few continents. You're the…fourth animal in the Zodiac?" Rabbit nodded in her mind's eye. "Alright, so if I'm the fourth and I'm in Tokyo…does that mean the first three are also here? Is there a pattern to your destinations?" Rabbit shrugged.

I don't know, but you're clever, so I'm sure we'll find the other animals somewhere. More specifically, we need to find the other five yin animals. All twelve animals are governed by either yin or yang- six of yin and six of yang. The Rabbit is a yin animal. Yuki tapped her chin, musing,

"So first I need to find the other five animals, and then eventually join with the other six…then we'll go searching for the medallion. Well, I don't see why I couldn't do both- try to find the other animals and see if there are any leads on the medallion." Rabbit seemed satisfied,

That's a good idea. Just be careful…who knows what you could encounter on the path to the medallion. Stick to finding clues, okay? Yuki smiled,

"Of course!" She stood up, entering her house and proceeding straight to her room. Her dark red fuku was becoming uncomfortable and she wanted to change into some less itchy clothes.