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[FONT="Tahoma"][SIZE="4"][center]The Adjutants: Chapter 1 - The Trial[/center][/SIZE]

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[b]"Mr. Takeda! Are you paying attention?"[/b] Hidemori-sensei yelled out, startling the dozing Hiro from his state of semi-repose. The other students turned to him, mostly confused at the uncharacteristic behavior of a student who normally paid attention in class despite not being the most active. Hiro made a habit of correcting others when they were wrong, which at times earned him annoyed stares, and other times adoration.

Hiro shook his head and assured his teacher that he was fine with a nod and quickly turning to the correct page by glancing over to the girl next to him to see which page she was on. [b][i]'Man...ever since Berith showed up I have been getting less and less sleep...I've never felt this tired before. He always returns to his spirit form at night though so it doesn't make any sense. Ugh...'[/b][/i]

The bell rang, indicating the end of the period. Hiro stood up and slid his book into his bag, and hurried to the door. His mind was wandering around, after all...today was supposedly the day.

[b][i]'The master will have chosen all eight representatives by the end of this month. You are the first, the last one will be chosen on the 30th of November...no later, no earlier. When that time comes, you must be prepared to return to the master and receive the instructions for the trial.'[/b][/i]

Berith's words from the second day after receiving the book. Hiro disregarded them for the most part...until he was reminded yesterday. He glanced at his cell phone and checked the time, twelve noon. He walked toward the front door and went outside, his next class was in a half an hour, which was just enough time to get a snack from the vending machine and put a stop to the incessant growling in his stomach. He walked over to the machine infront of the school, but before he could insert his money, a hand draped over his shoulder from behind.

[b]"Hiro, you ok?"[/b] a soft female voice asked. Hiro turned his head to see a red-headed female student standing behind him.

[b]"Kagami, yeah...I'm fine."[/b] Hiro responded. He inserted his money and made his selection.

[b]"Didn't seem like it...you didn't return my call yesterday either."[/b] Kagami added. Hiro took a bite out of his candy bar, and turned his body toward his classmate.

[b]"I know, my bad about that...but i was really bus..."[/b]

Before Hiro could finish his sentence, the candy bar dropped from his hand and his eyes grew wide at the sight he saw behind Kagami.

[b]"G...gah! Hey!"[/b] Hiro yelled out. Kagami jumped a bit, startled by Hiro's sudden change in tone.

[b]"W...what's wrong!?"[/b] she asked, looking around her general vicinity only to see other students walking back and forth.

[b]"N...nothing! Look, I'm really sorry I didn't call...we'll do something next weekend, I promise! I'm really hungry though so i'll see you later, ok?"[/b] Hiro said frantically. Kagami stood there with a confused look on her face but sighed and agreed. She walked away, back into the building for her next class while Hiro let out a sigh of relief. He turned his attention back to where she was standing.

[b]"Why did you freak out like that? I've already told you, unless we choose to let other people see us, we are invisible to all those but the chosen."[/b] Berith reminded his master. [b]"If she could have seen me, so could everyone else...and one of the other students would have already said something."[/b]

[b]"Yeah, well what do you expect? It may have been a month since we've met but i'm still getting used to a normally visible only to me knight following me around all the time, ok?"[/b] Hiro retorted, walking passed Berith casually.

[b]"Hiro, it's time."[/b] Berith spoke once more, stopping Hiro in his tracks. He turned his head back toward his adjutant.

[b]"You're kidding, right?"[/b]

Berith shook his head, walked over to Hiro and took hold of his wrist. [b]"Nope, the eight have been decided. Let's go."[/b]

[b]"W...wait! I still have another class, and I can't just leave..."[/b]

Before Hiro could finish, he was gone in a flash along with Berith. They emerged moments later in a room similar to the lair Hiro had his first encounter with the man Berith called The Master. He always put the emphasis on "The" so not to give off the wrong idea, because Hiro was indeed Berith's master. The Master seemed to indicate something else...but Hiro didn't know what.

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The lair was bigger, but decorated very much the same. Hiro looked around at his surroundings. The thone, this time in the middle of the room, was empty still. However, surrounding it he saw seven other people. They ranged from japanese to other nationalities, and in age as well...though they all looked relatively young. Four females, three males...four including himself. Beside each of them...their respective Adjutant. The various different looking appearences captivated his attention for a few moments, as Berith took his place beside Hiro.

[b]"Berith wasn't kidding...there's seven more."[/b] Hiro said quietly to himself.

Hiro attempted to walk forward but notices that hit foot would have only plunged him into a narrow stream of water that served as a ground divider. He caught his balance and backed up.

[b]"He's here, you'll soon learn everything."[/b] Berith assured Hiro.

As if on cue, the man who bestowed the books to the chosen and his eldery assistant appeared in a cloud of smoke on the center piece where the throne was located. The eight chosen turned their full attention to the middle.

[b]"Welcome. I must thank those who received their book much earlier for waiting as long as they did. Your patience is quite the virtue, but now that you are all here...it's time to first learn the truth of the power you all now hold."[/b]

[b]"About damn time."[/b] one of the males exclaimed, he stood three sections over from Hiro's left. Behind him was a giant armored Adjutant holding a version of a maul. Hiro turned his head back slowly and noticed one of the girls standing directly to his left. She had long dark hair, a very calm and pretty face. Behind her, a black and silver haired Adjutant with a short sword sheathed inside a small shield. The man's voice brought Hiro back to attention though.

[b]"The first thing you should all know, is that since the first day your Adjutant has been summoned...the page you read off of has changed from it's original text to the name of the adjutant's master. This book is proof of your bond, and should never be carelessly misplaced. Your Adjutants are now summoned by your will, and not by your books. Do with them what you wish, keep them on you or in safe keeping...but when you are not in battle, your Adjutant may take what is known as a "spirit form". When the time comes, you must summon them to your side using your mental bond with one another."[/b]

[b][i]'So looks like I did the right thing by putting that book in the locked safe. He mentioned...battle though, didn't he? What kind of battle is he intending to put us in?'[/b][/i] Hiro thought to himself.

[b]"Everything else you must come to know, can only be learned in battle. Hence why you are all here, this is your trial. In thirty minutes time, you will all be sent somewhere for your Adjutants to test their skills, and for you all to test your skills as their masters. You must all work together to best the obsticles that will be in your way. Though it is a trial...it is very real. Be on your guard at all times. Now, if you all wish to converse with one another or do anything else you may wish before you are teleported, you may do so now. I shall see you all on the field."[/b] The man spoke before dissapearing with his assistant from his throne.

[b]"Remember what I told you about this, Hiro. Because if you mess up, there's only so much I can do to save your ass."[/b] Berith reminded. [b]"For now, why not do what The Master suggested."[/b]

[b]"What about you, Berith. The other Adjutants are your friends, aren't they?"[/b] Hiro inquired.

[b]"Ha, I wouldn't use the word "Friend" to describe how we all know each other. Or atleast how I know them. I know them yes, but it's imperative for us Adjutants to not formulate those types of relationships...you will discover why after this trial."[/b] Berith explained. Hiro just shrugged, figuring Berith knew more about what was going on then he did. The ground evened out, connecting everyone's section to the main section. They were free to mingle as they saw fit until they were summoned.

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OOC: Jus as said, take this time to conversate with whomever, do what ya want. The Trial will start after a few posts, and we can get to the action ;).[/FONT]
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[FONT="Tahoma"][SIZE="1"][COLOR="DarkSlateBlue"][B]"Everything else you must come to know, can only be learned in battle. Hence why you are all here, this is your trial. In thirty minutes time, you will all be sent somewhere for your Adjutants to test their skills, and for you all to test your skills as their masters. You must all work together to best the obstacles that will be in your way. Though it is a trial...it is very real. Be on your guard at all times. Now, if you all wish to converse with one another or do anything else you may wish before you are teleported, you may do so now. I shall see you all on the field."[/B]

And with that, the man dissapeared as well as his young assistant into thin air, letting the eight chosen look around confusingly yet talked amongst one another.

Aiko placed her hands in a shy position in front of her cream-coloured sweater as her long sleeves covered the gleam sweat on her pinkish flesh. She looked around anxiously, trying to find someone to talk to, but... everyone seemed already occupied with one another that she was already aiming herself to lose at meeting anyone.

[B]"I... might not be cut out for this,"[/B] she replied meekly yet softly, causing only Ery to hear her nervous cry. She fidgeted around and started gripping on her sweaters sleeves, trying to at least keep herself occupied while she was being ignored.

Sure she had a lot of friends at school and was okay with meeting new people, but... this was totally different. Bizarrely different.

Though she was lost in her thoughts, a light touch of a warm hand was placed on her right shoulder. Aiko looked up and saw Ery smiling at her nervousness and lightly touching her sweaty hands with his other hand.

[B]"Don't be worried, Ai,"[/B] he replied smoothly, his voice calm and sweet. [B]"I know you're nervous, but everything will be okay... no one's going to hurt you while I'm around."[/B]

[B]"I... I know, Ery,"[/B] she sighed, still tightly gripping her right sleeve, [B]"I'm just... anxious, I guess."[/B] She looked up into his deep blue eyes and laughed nervously, wanting to let him know that she would be okay.

Her Adjutant chuckled and kept holding her, letting her know that everything was okay. Ery knew that she wanted to stand on her own and be stronger, but... in all selfishness, he actually liked it this way. Knowing how fragile and soft-spoken she was, he didn't want anything to happen to her. Meaning that in any case, whatever was right or whatever was wrong, he protect her... no matter what.
"Ery... is there anything wrong?"[/B] A nervous Aiko softly spoke as she looked up at him.

He stared at her for awhile, then smiled and nodded, ruffling her brown hair with his armor-clad hand as she smiled. [B]"I'm fine, Ai,"[/B] Ery smiled, then looking a little above her head and pointing in the direction behind her as he lightly placed his hand on her shoulder, lightly turning her around.

[B]"Huh?"[/B] she replied shyly, turning around and seeing a slender yet tall boy wearing a darkish-green hat that covered the top of his head, dirty-blonde strands of his delicate hair flowing under. His left ear pierced with a cross earring and his clothes a comfortable fashion, he didn't seem like the type to care about what other people thought about him.

His right hand was in his pants pocket while his left was lifted in greeting position, a smile escaping from his lips. Aiko blushed slightly, covering her cheeks with her hands as she felt the warmth rush to her face, not understand what it was all about. Though her not know, Ery knew what it was, and he chuckled a bit... whether it was in happiness or jealousy was anyones guess.


The slender boy finally spoke slightly, his voice smooth yet slightly deep. His Adjutant was right behind him in a calm position, yet her claws, wings and her height slightly made Aiko anxious. But, with Ery right behind her and pushing her to meet this new person, she tightly gripped her hands on her sweater and summoned whatever strength she needed to answer back to the boy's greeting.

[B]"H... hi,"[/B] she responded in her light, shy voice, her small smile and red cheeks causing her to be more embarrassed than ever. The boy however, chuckled a little and whispered something to his Adjutant, causing her to feel even more uneasy than ever.

He then looked at her up and down with his gray eyes, then smiling a little bit wider. Aiko blushed a little bit more, causing him to chuckle and blush a little. [B]"You know,"[/B] he finally said, looking around at the others and then back at her, [B]"you don't have to act so nervous around me, I only think it's cute every time you do it.[/B]" The boy smiled once again and lifted his hand towards her.

[B]"My name's Ryuu. Tanaka Ryuu."[/B]
"Nice to meet you,"[/B] she smiled, then taking his warm hand. [B]"I'm Aiko Niwa."[/B]
"Heh, Aiko...doesn't the characters for that mean 'beloved'?"[/B] he responded, already acting as if they were good friends.

[B]"It does,"[/B] she responded, smiling a little brighter.

[B]"Well,"[/B] he answered, slightly rubbing his chin and thinking roughly, then smiling again. [B]"If that's the case, mind if I just nickname you Ai?"[/B]

Ery chuckled for a brief bit, knowing where Ryuu was going with this, but also at the fact that Aiko was blushing even more brighter than before. No one had ever asked her to call her Ai besides Ery, but, here he was, Ryuu... a boy who didn't even know her, but was almost flirting with her. Hitting on her, even. She laughed softly and smiled at him, nodding in a girlishly manner.

[B]"Okay, Ryuu,"[/B] she laughed, [B]"but, that means you'll have to let me nickname you 'Kawaii,' because I think you're pretty cute yourself."[/B]

Ryuu's eyes widened a little and blushed at the random spur of girlishness Aiko had just emitted, only causing her, Ery, and even his own Adjutant to chuckle a little. He turned around and fumed a little at his partner, still slightly blushing.
"Reith! Shut up, shut up, shut up!"[/B] He tried to rant at her, but she only continued to laugh even more.

[B]"So your Adjutant's name is Reith?"[/B] Aiko suddenly spoke as she walked over to the half-naked woman that stood next to a flushed Ryuu. He nodded in slight anger as she looked up at the tall woman, smiling and nodding in good mannerism. [B]"Nice to meet you, Reith."[/B]

[B]"Pleasure to meet you, Aiko Niwa,"[/B] the winged-woman replied, her golden eyes smiling and her body slightly bowing towards her. She then stood up, nodding at Ery and speaking with him. [B]"It's been awhile, Ery."[/B]
"Hasn't it, Reith? You haven't changed much,"[/B] he chuckled and nodded back, then ensuing a small conversation between the two. Aiko smiled as Ryuu still blushed and frowned a little, the two watching on as others continued to mingle.

[B]"By the way,"[/B] Aiko whispered as she leaned her head towards Ryuu, causing him to lean his head towards hers as well.

[B]"Yes? What is it?"[/B] He whispered back, his golden-kissed dirty-blonde hair mixed with her dark-brown strands.

[B]"...What did you whisper to Reith earlier when we were talking?"[/B]

He chuckled a bit more and looked the other way as he put his right hand on his forehead for awhile. Ryuu pushed up his bangs and let out a little embarrassed sigh.

[B]"Oy,"[/B] he replied, nervously, [B]"I told her that, well..."

"Yes?"[/B] she smiled, encouraging him to finish.

He looked at her again and crossed his arms, sighing yet again.
"Well... I told her that you were cute and that if we ever get back to the real world, that I would like to ask you out sometime."[/B]

Aiko blushed yet chuckled, causing him to scratch the back of his head and laugh nervously. She thought he was so cute: his aloofness, kindness and sweetness. She didn't know, but he roughly reminded him of Ery.

She leaned towards him and whispered in his ear.

[B]"Well... if I had to answer now, I'd have to say yes."[/B][/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
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[size=1][indent]Ryuu watched as Mei, a girl he had been dating for a few weeks, stormed off in a huff out of the restaurant, leaving him to deal with the stares of the other customers, the bill, and a rather smug other worldly being. Reith, who was invisible to any eyes other than his, took the seat previously filled by Mei and started to chuckle.

[b]?I bet that hurts,?[/b] she grinned, indicating his puffy, red cheek where he had been slapped prior to the departure of his date. His blank expression didn't falter, and he instead resumed eating his lunch, not wanting his money to be spent on a [i]complete[/i] waste. [b] ?Honestly, I don't understand you sometimes. Girls seem to like you quite a bit, but you always say things so bluntly, like you just did, and it doesn't bother you in the [i]least[/i] when they walk out on you. Are you really that confident that you'll find another one so soon??[/b]

[b]?It disturbs me how amused you get at my suffering. I thought you were supposed to be loyal to me or something,?[/b] he mumbled through his chewing, finally breaking his silence. He didn't want to be too loud, or he'd attract even [i]more[/i] attention from those around him.

[b]?I [i]am[/i] loyal to you, Ryuu. And compared to-- well, lets just say this isn't suffering. Though I'm impressed at that girl's strength. The mark seems to be darkening instead of fading. And you didn't answer my question!?[/b] Looking up from his plate, which was now cleaned entirely, he scowled at the demon he had somehow been convinced into allowing to follow him around everywhere. Well, that's not true. He had never [i]allowed[/i] anything, but he couldn't get rid of her. And whats more, she was always so pleasant whenever things weren't going so well for him.

Avoiding her eyes and attempting to hide a slight frustrated blush in his cheeks, he called the waiter over for the bill and began picking at what Mei had left behind on her plate. He was surprised at the low price, and paid a rather generous tip to apologize for the commotion he had unintentionally presented. Walking out of the restaurant, he grimaced as he heard the same annoying voice float through his ears.

[b]?Ryuu... Are you ever going to answer my question??[/b] she asked, now genuinely curious instead of just searching for a way to mock him.

[b]?What question??[/b] he lied.

[b]?How confident [i]are[/i] you??[/b] Ryuu stayed silent for a moment as he strode down the sidewalk, his other-worldly companion whom only he could see walking beside him, contemplating her question seriously for the first time. He never had been asked questions like the ones Reith did, so it took him a while to answer truthfully.

[b]?... I guess you could say I'm--?[/b] he began, but only to be interrupted when Reith stopped, grabbing his arm. [b]?Hey, I was about to answer your--?[/b]

[b]?Time to go,?[/b] she smiled, though her voice was more serious than anytime he had ever heard her speak, except, perhaps, for the time when she was explaining everything that first night two weeks ago. Before he had a chance to ask her to elaborate on her vague statement, he suddenly found himself standing in a room with familiar markings along the walls and seven other slightly bewildered teens, each with what Ryuu assumed were their own Adjutants standing behind them. In the center of the room appeared two men, one of whom looked very familiar.

Reith's tail was unintentionally wagging about on the floor behind her as the man spoke, and Ryuu didn't notice until it hit him in the back of the legs a couple of times. Each time he attempted to alert her of the activities of her tail, she'd impatiently shush him, her eyes never leaving the man that stood speaking in front of them. While what the man said [i]did[/i] reach his ears and register in his mind, Ryuu felt himself growing tired. Not much of what he was saying sounded interesting, though he was quite surprised at the devilish expression that crossed Reith's face when he began talking about battle.

When he had finally finished, Reith turned to him with a look of excitement he had never seen her wear before, and was, quite frankly, pretty damn scared. Noticing the sudden tensing of his face, Reith's expression faded from bloodthirsty to worried, and he relaxed slowly. [b] ?Something wrong, Ryuu??[/b]

[b]?You like fighting, I take it??[/b]

[b]?There's nothing better,?[/b] she beamed, most likely reminiscing about the last time she cut someone's head off, Ryuu assumed. [b] ?Anyway, it's best you listen to The Master, so start mingling. How about her? You'd consider her attractive, right? Oh! You never answered my question, did you??[/b] She was speaking so fast it nearly made his head spin. He had to take a second to sort out everything separately so he could respond.

[b]?I was [i]going[/i] to answer you, but you stopped me to bring me here instead. If you want an answer so damn bad, I'd say I'm really confident, okay? It's just never been difficult, and I don't see it being so in the future. Okay? Okay. And who are you talking about??[/b] he asked, looking around. He was surprised at how fast she caught his own eye, and startled himself when he blushed a bit. The oncoming drowsiness that he was so used to suddenly disappeared, and he found himself being gently pushed forwards by Reith towards this girl.

Their conversation was rather cutesy, he would say. Well, [i]his[/i] half of the conversation was just cheesy, but she seemed very genuine, and he was intrigued. He learned her name was Aiko, though he was given permission to call her by her obvious nickname, Ai. The entire time he spoke with her, Reith's question and his own answer continued floating through his mind.

[i]'How confident [b]are[/b] you?'

'It's just never been difficult, and I don't see it being so in the future.'[/i]

In truth, he didn't think he was confident. He rarely, if ever, attracted girls on purpose. He would just bump into them at school or at the book store, or a friend would introduce them. He wasn't searching for relationships, but they managed found him, and he had always been genuinely interested by them and enjoyed their company. The reason their leaving him never bothered him was because they had come to him without him needing to use any effort.

And now, here he was, asking a girl out, essentially, despite never having done it before and the fact that this was the first time the two had ever spoken.

[b]?Is he always this flirtatious??[/b] Ery asked Reith in a wary tone, the two watching from afar. Reith seemed puzzled, not used to seeing Ryuu act like this. Maybe this was what he was like after getting dumped? Maybe she shouldn't have pressed and teased him earlier, she wondered. She eventually shook her head at the other Adjutant's question and sighed.

[b]?No. He's normally very out of it. Sleepy, even. I've never seen this side of him before. Well, I've only been with him for two weeks. I guess I couldn't have learned [i]everything[/i] about him in such a short time.?[/b]

[b] ?Well... if I had to answer now, I'd have to say yes,?[/b] came the girl's reply whispered in his ear. [b] ?Shouldn't we go speak with some of the others now??[/b] she suggested in her quiet tone. Ryuu smiled wide, ignoring the slight blush in his cheeks, and draped his arm around her shoulders, as if he had known her for ages and did it regularly. He looked over to his right to see Reith and Ery eying them curiously.

[b] ?Gone and found yourself a new girl, eh??[/b] Reith muttered into his ear as the four of them began walking towards the next nearest person to introduce themselves to. Ryuu eyed her warily, not wanting to lose Ai after having just gotten her. By the sounds of it, this group of eight teens would be seeing a lot of each other, and having an ex-girlfriend among them did not sound like an attractive idea.

[b] ?She's not just to replace Mei, if that's what you're thinking,?[/b] he whispered back angrily, irritated that she would jump to such a conclusion. Given, it wasn't such an outlandish idea, seeing as how she was present for his afternoon's events and didn't know him very well yet, but he was still upset. However, before he could explain this to her, she stopped, a very dangerous grimace spreading across her face.

[b] ?... [i]Berith[/i].?[/b] Her voice oozed hatred, and if looks could kill, she'd have dissolved him and his armor into a pool of liquid metal and flesh. Ryuu looked away from Reith and this 'Berith' person she seemed to despise so much, and saw a young man around his age staring with a worried expression at the two Adjutants.

[b]?Reith,?[/b] the armor-clad being replied coolly. He was obviously much more level-headed than Reith, and Ryuu was a bit bemused to see a side of her that seemed so rash when she was normally much more composed, if a bit annoying. [b]?It's pleasing to know the mere sight of me ruffles those ungroomed feathers of yours.?[/b] Reith's lip raised a bit in a snarl, showing several pointed teeth Ryuu had not noticed before. He reminded himself quietly to never make her truly angry at him, or else he feared, no matter what 'bond' they shared, he'd be in some pretty big trouble.[/indent]

[b]ooc:[/b] Hope that last part was something you had in mind BK. And no, Ryuu's not a playboy. He just comes off as one sometimes. >__>;; *can't explain him very well* [i]Anyway[/i], lets see some more posts people! (:[/size]
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[COLOR="goldenrod"]Risha was annoyed. There was no getting around it. When she had found that damn book and ended up with two bizarre people referring to themselves as Adjutants calling her master, she had not expected to have one of them virtually tagging along with her at all times. At first she had thought that they were kidding but as time went by she found that they were not and as she closed the door to her apartment, she didn't even have to look around to know that Yuliya was still there. With a sigh she walked over to the sofa and sat down.

"[B]Don't you have something better to do? After all you both said I would be summoning you and since I acquired that damn book I haven't consciously summoned either one of you. So why are you here? Neither one of you have given me an answer to that yet.[/B]"

"[B]It's too soon to tell you that. For now think of it as strengthening the bond between us. The bond will exist regardless but for all intents and purposes we are bound to you.[/B]" Yuliya leaned back a bit against the chest as she often did. "[B]Besides, I know you haven't forgotten that unless Victor or I choose it, no one else but you can see us.[/B]" A comment that was followed by Yuliya vanishing as if made from smoke.

"[B]Exactly,[/B]" Victor spoke up as he took Yuliya's place. "[B]It's not like you have anything to be ashamed of.[/B]" He walked over and took a seat next to Risha reaching up with his right forefinger, placing it under her chin, making her look directly at him until with a blush she pulled away.

[I]Damn him! [/I]With a snarl of irritation she got up and stalked over to the window and looked out. Still unconvinced by his statement that if he had known it would bother her to realize he was in the same room when she took a shower, then he would have turned his back. Not to mention that even though since then both of them had stayed just outside the door, it still made her blush hotly just to think about it. Or how she had screamed at the surprise of it all, bringing others in the apartment complex to her door alarmed that something was happening to her.

Risha took a moment to get herself back under control before turning back to face Victor, but he was gone and Yuliya was in his place. [I]I wish I understood why they keep switching like that, or why they can't be here at the same time. [/I] It was the oddest feeling since this whole mess with the book had happened. Even if only one was there at any given time, she could always feel the other as if they were somehow connected to her.

"[B]It's time Risha,[/B]" Yuliya said with a formal bow.

She opened her mouth to ask her just what she meant when without warning she found herself in a room quite similar to the one where she had gotten her book from. Too startled to say much of anything other than to wonder just what this trial was that was being hinted at. There were others there and it seemed that like her they too were bound to an Adjutant.

Risha wanted to say something, she wanted to at least try to understand what was going on. Even if most of them looked like teenagers. One looked more like he was her age with blonde hair and blue eyes and a hint of a British accent when he spoke. But something inside her snapped. A feeling she was well acquainted with as she felt herself withdraw into herself.

"[B]Excellent,[/B]" Yuliya whispered from behind. "[B]You can't afford to be distracted by others or getting to know them. Your trial will require the up most concentration. You can get to know them later. Perhaps.[/B]"

"[B]Are you saying I shouldn't trust them.[/B]" Risha asked softly, to keep her voice from carrying.

"[B]Not at all.[/B]" Victor said as he took Yuliya's place. "[B]Only that you will need to be focused on what will come next.[/B]"

She turned to face Victor but he was gone and Yuliya was in his place. "[B]I really wish you two wouldn't do that so much, switching all the time. It's very annoying.[/B]"

Yuliya just looked surprised. "[B]Haven't you realized it yet? You're the one who determines just which one of us is here at any given time. It's your own indecisiveness that results in us switching all the time. Remember, you summon us, not the other way around. Besides perhaps you should talk to one of them. It just might calm your nerves. A bit.[/B]"

Risha turned back to face the others, several of them already having broken off into groups to talk to one another.[I] I want answers, not idle conversation.[/I] She thought stubbornly as she stayed put. If only the one who had said they were here for a trial hadn't disappeared. She would have liked to ask him a thing or two. [/COLOR]
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[SIZE="1"][B][I][COLOR="YellowGreen"]sorry I took a bit, >< pease forgiveth me matt, bit brain dead when I wrote this ><;;[/COLOR][/I][/B]

Conner paced up and down the same patch of grass near a tree in a large open park, chewing the end of his glasses and occasionally glancing over to his right. Sitting on a park bench no more than a few feet away was his Adjutant, Athar, looking quite amused with the whole situation, if it could be called a situation. Conner hadn?t stopped asking her questions since she appeared. At first he thought he may have smelt a chemical in the air by accident, a gas leak, maybe he was even dreaming this up, but alas Athar didn?t just go away like he thought she would. She answered his questions with truth and honestly, not once getting angry with him if she had to explain something twice. In fact she seemed quite impressed with his thirst for knowledge and everything that he knew already.

Conner stopped pacing and took his glasses out of his mouth, he stood motionless for a few moments staring at a spot on the ground and squinting, screwing his face up in thought, suddenly he turned towards Athar and pointed the end of his chewed glasses at her and raised a blonde eyebrow before talking. Bits of his blond bangs were obscuring his face; his long jacket blew in the warm breeze. The sun was out and it was a rather beautiful in the park, not to many people seemed to be around though, better for him because apparently no one else could see Athar unless she wished them too, besides himself of course.

[B][COLOR="darkcyan"]?So, you were saying before, there are others like you, do you know them??[/COLOR][/B]

Athar?s faint red lips parted into a slight smile, her appearance never changed, her clothes never changed, well they might, but not in the space of time that he had known her. Sometimes he saw her with a staff and sometimes not, that was the only thing that appeared to change about her. The way she spoke, he got hints of something, like she knew what was coming before it did. Athar nodded nonchalantly and her smile disappeared, she was the most mysterious thing he had ever met.

[COLOR="darkcyan"][I][B]?Yes I know them but we don?t hold any sort of bonds, except of maybe hatred or vague tolerance towards one another? that was going to be your next question wasn?t?? [/B][/I][/COLOR]

[COLOR="darkcyan"][B]?Well, heh, yes it was.? [/B][/COLOR]He put his glasses back on his face and brushed some of his hair out of the way, he wondered how long Athar was going to stick around for. He would probably get used to her and then she would up and leave, not like it would be the first time a woman had done that to him though, a spirit that only he can see or no. Conner walked over the bench and sat down next to Athar, hunching over and running his hands through his hair. He stifled a laugh remembering the day after she had appeared and he wanted to check himself into a mental hospital, especially after the weird looks he had received in a restaurant talking to absolutely nothing in the chair across from him. Despite her appearance and everything, he didn?t regret taking this holiday, not yet anyway.

All of a sudden Athar stood and looked to the sky, her gaze hardened for a moment and she looked back a Conner.

[B][I][COLOR="darkcyan"]?We must go, its time.?[/COLOR][/I][/B]

[B][COLOR="darkcyan"]?Time for what??[/COLOR][/B]

[B][I][COLOR="darkcyan"]?You shall see momentarily.?[/COLOR][/I][/B]

[B][COLOR="darkcyan"]?I hate it when you?re all mysterious like?? [/COLOR][/B]

Within a moment?s time, the park around him seemed to bend again and before he knew it Conner was back in the room where he first met Athar only this time he wasn?t alone, about eight or so other people were there too with their partners as well. He looked over the group as the man spoke, the other spirits varied in looks and size, presumably with their own respective strengths but none exactly the same.

[B]"Everything else you must come to know, can only be learned in battle. Hence why you are all here, this is your trial. In thirty minutes time, you will all be sent somewhere for your Adjutants to test their skills, and for you all to test your skills as their masters. You must all work together to best the obstacles that will be in your way. Though it is a trial...it is very real. Be on your guard at all times. Now, if you all wish to converse with one another or do anything else you may wish before you are teleported, you may do so now. I shall see you all on the field."[/B]

Conner paused and though over what the man had said when he had finished and everyone began to talk to one another. The man said the trial was very real, so did that mean that they could get hurt or even die if they failed? It seemed that way to him, Conner raised an eyebrow as he looked over the various people present, all were extremely unique and very young looking, he guessed that the average as would have been somewhere in between 17 and 19, only one other person looked to be as old as he was. She was standing off to the side and not talking to anyone, he noticed she had two Adjutants, one male and one female. Everyone else only had two, what was so special about her? This was most curious.

Conner stepped across the room; not having began talking to anyone and approached the woman. ?Maybe she doesn?t want to talk to anyone else bright spark.? He thought but it was to late because he was already standing in front of her. He pushed his glasses back up his nose and scratched the back of his head with a smile before talking.

[B][COLOR="darkcyan"]?Hello, I?m Conner, pleased to meet you.? [/COLOR][/B]He smiled again and extended a hand. He was usually this friendly so he didn?t have much of a problem but this whole situation could end up becoming quite awkward very quickly for both of them. He watched the woman for a while, not too sure how she was going to react to him.

[B]?Hi??[/B] she said.

Conner smiled again backed off a bit. He really didn?t like the idea of this impending trial, his Adjutant wasn?t exactly friendly, at times she could be quite arrogant he felt like she had a superiority complex. As of yet he couldn?t see any justification of why she would act like that, as if she was better than all the other spirits or whatever they were. [/SIZE]
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[FONT="Georgia"]Yuki, although usually so outward and sociable, hung back from the little groups beginning to form. After all, this wasn't exactly a normal social situation, so should her "normal" socializing rules apply? She looked to her Adjutant for encouragement. Aeryndyll gave her a slight smile and a nod. That was pretty affectionate, for him, she realized. Yuki appreciated this small gesture, as it gave her some confidence. The two had grown close. He had been by her side virtually every second since that day, when she'd got home and opened the book and summoned Aeryndyll to her side once again. They still had much to learn about each other, but she was sure their bond would continue to strengthen, day by day.

Yuki noticed a sullen looking young man to her left, the one that had spoken out earlier. He too was not talking to anybody. He simply kicked at the ground while his Adjutant looked on, blankly. They didn't seem to have a good relationship, or perhaps it was just a different one from herself and Aeryndyll's. She hoped that was the case, as she couldn't imagine fighting a war with someone she didn't even care for. Yuki stood up straight and confidently walked over to the young man. She smiled brightly and extended her hand to him.

[B]?Hi.? [/B]She said [B]?I?m Yuki Nakamura.? [/B]The boy looked her up and down, scrutinizing her. He did this for a few moments, before extending his own hand to shake hers.

[B]?Jamie.? [/B]He replied.

[B]?Nice to meet you, Jamie. This is my Adjutant, Aeryndyll.? [/B]She tilted her head in his direction. Aeryndyll simply nodded a greeting.

[B]?This is Kite.?[/B] Jamie indicated, jerking his thumb back to point at his Adjutant, who merely looked at her and her Adjutant with no expression. Yuki nodded, and the two stood there awkwardly for a moment while Yuki searched for words to keep the conversation going, as it seemed highly unlikely that Jamie would.

[B]?So? What were you doing when that green light flashed across the sky??[/B] She finally asked. She hated people that were unresponsive to her when she was friendly. She was determined to make him talk to her; at least a little bit, anyway. Jamie smirked. He loved when people tried so hard to get him to talk; he loved watching them get frustrated when he offered the absolute minimum response even more.

[B]?Nothin?.? [/B]He answered, hardly containing a chuckle. Yuki arched a delicate eyebrow.

[B]?Really?? [/B]Jamie shoved his hands into his pockets and exhaled a little breath, before meeting her eyes again.

[B]?I was smoking a joint in the park near my place.? [/B]He studied her face, searching for that disgusted look he was so accustomed too. It didn?t come. A smile came instead.

[B]?You must have thought that someone laced your weed when you ended up in the place with the book then, huh??[/B] Yuki laughed. Jamie was surprised by her reaction, but he grinned.

[B]?I thought I was trippin? balls.? [/B]He replied. She laughed again. [B]?What about you??[/B]

[B]?I was walking downtown, to go meet my friends at the bar.? [/B]Yuki replied. She was not only smiling outwardly, but inwardly as well. She was surprised that he had told her so easily. Jamie nodded. [B]?So what do you think about all of this, anyway?? [/B]she ventured. Jamie only shrugged.

[B]?I don?t care, I guess. I?m indifferent to it all. If it involves fighting, I?d certainly rather be here than at home where shit all happens.?[/B]

[B]?Let me guess? And all the shit that does happen, you tend to be the center of?? [/B]Jamie pulled a cigarette out of his pocket, and popped it into his mouth before patting his back pocket, looking for his lighter.

[B]?You could say that.? [/B]He said, as he fished the lighter out of his pocket, and lit the cigarette. [B]?Did you want one??[/B] Yuki shook her head.

[B]?I don?t smoke.?[/B]

[B]?Of course you don?t.? [/B]Jamie took a long drag of his cigarette. [B]?You should start.?[/B] He seemed to tack on, as an afterthought.

[B]?And why is that?? [/B]She looked at him, slightly confused.

[B]?All hot chicks should smoke.? [/B]He responded, looking her directly in the eye. She didn?t reply; Jamie wondered if he?d freaked her out. It certainly wouldn?t have been the first time. He expected her to blush, maybe make an excuse or something, and walk away. But it wasn?t the first time that this girl had done quite the opposite of what he thought she would do. Yuki strode up to him, plucked the smoke from his mouth and put it to her own. She took a drag (albeit a much smaller one than Jamie had taken, she really didn?t smoke, she just wanted to throw him off guard) and then put it back in his mouth. She leaned forward and breathed out the smoke in his ear.

[B]?I?ll seriously consider your suggestion, then. Thank you for your input.?[/B] She whispered, before straightening up. ?Come on Aeryndyll; let?s go meet the rest of our comrades.? Yuki smiled at Jamie. Jamie looked more than a little bit confused. ?I?ll see you in the trial.? She added, before turning her back to him and wandering off in the direction of the other groups.

[B]?What the hell??[/B] Jamie muttered exhaling the smoke he?d forgotten was in his lungs.

[B]?This just got a little bit more interesting."[/B][/FONT]
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