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Chapter 17

The...thing stood there. Rika tried covering herself, even with her bracelet protecting her, she could still feel the evil black energy all around her. Oozing, seeping, destructive, dark, to put simply, pure evil. She felt naked under this onslaught of darkness. But, she took on look at Chaz. They had been through hell together. This whole battle, this whole onslaught. It had all boiled down to this moment. And then it moved, changed, and warped its shape into something that looked almost....feminine.

"She's almost beautiful."

Then she moved and the first onslaught of energy came at them, the evil seemed to seethe into her, and tear into her very soul. She feel back from the onslaught.....and woke up screaming.

The Master ran into Rika's room, "What is it?"

"I...can't remember. It was horrible. I...I'm not sure I want to remember whatever it was."

The Master comforted her as best he could, "Don't worry my dear, it was just a nightmare. The clouds will soon clear, and soon you'll be able to see the sun shining brightly."

Rika embraced the Master, "Thank you Chaz, I don't know what I'd do without you. It would tear me apart if something happened."

The Master had to hold in his laughter at that, thinking of what Chaz must be going through. "I'm here. I always will be."

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Neifirst looked in the mirror, "Yuk! I hate red."

"But," said the Dark Esper, Joseph, "If you are to play the part of Rika..."

"I know, I know. But, why can't I just where a wig?"

"Wigs fall off."

"So what? We need to kill these people anyways. Besides attacking now while they're moral is low, would..."

"Would be a mistake." They both turn and find the Master standing there.

"How's the girl?", asked Joseph.

"Leave." ordered the Master.

Joseph bowed and left.

"It's a valid question. Why not kill her now?"

"She will be useful later. Now, are you ready?"

"Yes." she said with an evil grin.

"Good, tell Joseph to make everything ready."

Neifirst nodded, "Let's do it."

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Chaz woke up and the first thing that he noticed was that noone was there. He looked around, or tried to, but he couldn't move his neck, but after glancing down, he saw that some kind of brace was on his neck. Then he remembered Derren's words. He was paralyzed. Maybe forever. Chaz growled, "No. I don't know who you are, but you aren't going to win. I faced worse than you. And haven't been defeated yet." Chaz concentrated on his hand, and concentrated, and concentrated. It took a lot of effort, but he moved a finger, then he moved a couple of fingers, then, they formed into a fist. "I shall never give up."

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Nei nodded once, "That is the story. I put Neifirst in Cryofreeze, and then put myself into a Cryo chamber in a more secluded area, for I feared that someone would try and wake her, instead of me. A wrecker showed me a few things about computers, and so I was able to link both of our chambers together, and was able to set it so that if hers was activated, then mine would be too."

Rune nodded, "Just like I remember, uh, sort of."

Nei gave Rune a curious look, "Huh?"

"Uh, nothing. It's probably better that you don't know."

Nei decided not to press the issue. "Everything that effects me, effects her. When she tried to kill me, she seriously injured herself in the process. In fact, I'm sure she knows that I'm alive, otherwise, she wouldn't be. But, I can almost sense her. I've felt a weird connect to her, ever since our birth. I've felt a connection to this Master. I believe that he and my alter ego are intimate."

"You mentioned something about Lassic." said Rune.

"Yes, he has kept himself out of history's records, but he has been the center of everything. He was actually the mastermind behind Lassic, he led the Earthmen a thousand years after that, and who knows what else."

"And you were able to get all of this out of this connect with Neifirst?"

Nei laughed once, "No, I have been behind the scenes. I...wasn't able to stop her from taking the Ashley baby, but I was at least able to save the life of that professor that she attacked."

"You saved Hahn's life?" asked Kyra.

Nei nodded, "I haven't been able to get into their base, because Neifirst has been there, but I have been able to squeeze some information out of some of their soldiers."

"So, what this Master person planning anyways?" asked Derren.

Nei shook her head, "Noone knows. Only this Master person knows. And what's worse, he seems to be immortal like Lassic was. Only stronger. And he isn't confined to the Ice Castle like Lassic was to his own castle."

"Wow." said Rune, "That's a lot of useful information, where did you get all that info?"

"Some guy named Forsha."

The room was suddenly very quiet. Kyra got up and said in a cold voice, "I'm going to check on Chaz." and left.

"D..did I....say something wrong?" asked Nei.

Sarah put a comforting hand on Nei's shoulder, "No. Forsha...he is Kyra's ex-husband. He recently attacked us, and he teleported away...with my Tom."

Nei nodded sadly, "I'm sorry."

Sarah nodded, "Don't be. We'll get 'em back."

Derren nodded, "Yeah, you can't keep a good man down."

Just then Kyra screamed.

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Rika woke up suddenly, there were alarms going off, everywhere. She got up and started to move towards the door, when a Dark Esper came in, "Madam Rika, are you all right?"

"Yes, what's going on?"

"The Mas...ah, Chaz sends his apologies, he forgot to tell you that the Guild Hunter's would be running some drills today, but you MUST obey the doctor's orders and stay in bed."

Rika curled her lip at that, "I feel fine." she then sighs and says, "Your right, I guess. Fine, tell Chaz I'll be a good girl and stay here."

The Dark Esper smiled and left saying, "Good. I'll be just outside this door, if you need anything."

Rika nodded, "OK."

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Neifirst was holding the limp, and nearly broken form of Tom. Neifirst shook her head, as the sirens triggered by their escape made. "The Master was nearly complete with your training" she thought, "Unless...he was done with his training. Then, he could be ready to make an return to their friends." She laughed at that. It was so simple, why didn't she see it?

"There they are!" shouted Joseph, and two dark Espers rounded the corner.

Neifirst smiled, as she knew something that the Master didn't tell them. "Over my dead body."

"That can be arranged." said Joseph.

"Well, for a couple of bad guys, you certainly have the corny sayings down pat." spit out Tom.

Neifirst set Tom down, and in the kindest voice she could muster, "Take it easy Tom, I have to take out the garbage."

"Take your time." mumbled the weak Tom.

Neifirst then moved with lightning quick reflexes, and stuck her claws into the first dark Esper, causing him to cough up blood, he fell back from the unexpected assault, espically since, he thought they were going to act out this little scene. She then caught the second Esper off guard and stuck one claw in his eyes, and the other in his throat, then tossed him around into the first Dark Esper. The second Esper was dead before he hit the first one, the first one died soon after. Joseph stepped back, shocked at what he just saw, then out of anger, he hit Neifirst with a blast of magical energy, pinning her against the wall. Neifirst cried out in pain, but then the blast stopped, as Tom cast a Flaeli at Joseph's face, Neifirst then charged kicking Joseph right in the ribs. This resulted in three of his ribs breaking, he doubled back in pain, then Neifirst rammed her claw into where his ribs where broken. Without the protection of the ribs, the claw dug into his flesh, lung, and into his heart, he was dead instantly.

Neifirst helped Tom up, "I'm glad that's over with, I don't like..."

"It's OK," said Tom, "You had no choice, no lets find a ship and get the hell out of here."

Neifirst nodded, smiling at the fact that The Plan was now officially underway and working perfectly.

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