There was a general misconception about Kai. This was the idea that his ‘lone wolf’ thing was out of arrogance or hate for mankind, which he didn’t see as up to his level. This was, to some extent, true. But, then, he would probably argue it was hard for anyone to not feel like they were surrounded by imbeciles when you were in a sport based off of children’s spinning tops, and most of the players of said sports were, well, children. Course, there was an explanation to that as well, and there were some adults that played, and the generation that had gotten involved with Beyblade was finally growing up. Not to mention the left out fact that guns were banned by the entire world, and so Beyblades were sort of an outlet for aggression and….I digress.
The real reason that Kai often went off on his own was because he was shy. At least, that’s the coquettish word for the mess of social anxiety and general social ineptitude that often left him frustrated, and therefore angry, at the world.
People just had too many hoops they needed you to jump through in order to get the desired result. Though they often lawded truth, truth was more often than not considered offensive. Most didn’t want to change, and almost all feared hard work. Only an ounce had any ambition or real desire to have control over the world around them, and whenever faced with someone with said ambition—aka, everything they were not—they, well…how would you feel around someone who made you feel bad about yourself just by their existence?
Perhaps that was arrogance. But for now, standing a street down from where his team had got caught up in some street brawl in a filthy alley, Kai only knew that, when it came to Tyson and the others, the tables were switch. He became the common rabble. For it was only with them, with his self-proclaimed friends, that he began to see just how little and depraved he was.
“Why have you led us here? Don’t tell me you’re one of those creeps who are after our bits beasts!” shouted Tyson.
“Yeah, because it’s really getting old!” added Max, who’s voice had finally dropped at 16, albeit not by much.
“More or less,” said the wry, feminine voice of a woman who could have been in her late twenties and thirties. “Either way, it’s probably not the best idea to leave your precious blades hanging by your belts. Here.”
Kai heard the chink of the metal blades against the leather of someone’s fists. He leaned his hands on his knees in breathless relief. After all, ‘lone wolf’ or not, he was still their captain, and nobody stole from his team.
“If you want Drigger, however, you must battle me.”
“Fine! I’ll scrape the floor with you!” cried Tyson.
“Wait, Tyson, shouldn’t we think about this? We have no idea why she’s led us here.”
Thank you, Ray, for once more being the only other member of the team with an ounce of common sense.
Ray’s voice continued. “How about you hand over Drigger and I won’t mess you up.”
Kai grinned. Common sense indeed. So many of their problems in the past would have been fixed, even avoided, with just a good punch. Freaking do-gooders.
The woman laughed. “Beating up a woman for a top? I’d love to hear you explain that to the police.”
And the reason why said punch was never delivered. Good guys always had to follow the rules. It was part of being the good guys.
Again, Kai wanted to barf in his mouth. Somewhere, out there, there was a bunch of children watching them like a Saturday morning cartoon with snot hanging out of their noses as they learned about good and evil and friendship and how to never give up on your dreams because the damn planet works that way said no one ever.
Albeit, they had had their share of diabolical villains. Maybe he was part of a children’s show. Ugh.
“Fine, then hurry up, you thief. There’s a BLT with my name on it I had to ditch because of you.”
Tyson’s ever heroic reasoning.
The woman started the countdown. At “let it rip!” and the familiar sound of blades churning at the air, Kai stepped out from around the corner and started his way towards the ally. The street which connected the two had to be the poster child for ‘slums,’ and he once again wondered why they kept finding themselves in these sorts of situations.
A spit of metal. A hiss of rebuttle. Max and Ray gasped.
“She didn’t even flinch!”
Of course not. How often did ‘the bad guy’ go down nice and easy so they could move on with their lives?
Why was he here again? Oh yes, his team. His…friends. Just in case. And it was their get together—another homemade tournament among themselves to see who was the best. Another attempt on his part to become better so he could cease feeling so inferior.
But just as he stepped into the allyway to see the backs of his teammates, and the dark haired bitch who he had chased along the rooftops just behind his team, the most curious sound came to his ears.
At first, he thought it was some sort of enhanced violin, its strings vibrating almost painfully too hard. Then, a second later, when Tyson’s blade stopped in its tracks to glow a brilliant blue, he realized it was a voice. A human voice, singing.
He watched in dawning horror behind his teammates as the nebulous blue light of Tyson’s Dragoon extracted itself from his blade without his command. The woman, a wiry, athletic type with plain features and utilitarian wear, pulled out a blue…marble of sorts about the size of a tennis ball. At the same time, Tyson gave a startled shout, his hands clapping to the sides of his head as though to block out the voice.
But the smirking she-man wasn’t singing. She only held out the marble. Dragoon sucked towards it like matter towards a black hole. Along with it went what looked like to be strands of Tyson’s hair, though it was hard to tell in the gray light of the overcast day.
The marble stopped glowing. All traces of Dragoon vanished. Tyson’s blade stopped spinning. And Tyson fell to the ground along with it.
As Max and Ray rushed to Tyson’s side, Kai dashed for the woman. Screw what was appropriate, he was not going to let this happen again.
He didn’t bother going for his launcher. He pulled back his fist—
And missed as she lithely dodged him.
“Ayah!” she cried.
With trained instincts and years of combat training in the Abbey, he turned his momentum into a pivot, twisting his body to hit her, just as she was ducking. His fist nicked her, throwing her off just enough to fall to her knees. He pulled back his leg—
But a piercing shriek sent pain spiking through his skull. His muscles seized up. His bones turned brittle and cracked. He started to fall backwards. Just as his numb head rolled back onto his shoulders, his gaze went up to the fire escape stairs still attached to one of the old brick buildings that made up the alley.
And he saw what had to be the singer. Wide blue eyes met his beneath the too big hood of a dark gray hoodie, almost the same color as the stormy sky above.
He didn’t make out much more than that before the figure scaled the fire escape and vanished along with the woman who now had Dragoon.
At least the screeching had stopped. He sat himself up, half surprised none of his bones had broken…and that his ears still worked since he could hear Max repeating Tyson’s name.
“Give him a moment,” said Ray, who had taken Kai’s sudden appearance in stride like the rest of the team. “You know what it’s like…losing your bit beasts.”
“But it’s not that.” Max’s tenor reached a new high. “There’s something wrong. There’s something missing, something’s not right—Tyson! Please man, I’m freaking out here, just groan or say something!”
“Why does he just keep staring like that? Tyson, I know it hurts, but you got to say something.”
By now, even Kai’s concern had been incited. He made his way to where Max and Ray shook the shoulders of Tyson, who hadn’t budged from where he had fallen on his knees. Max and Ray moved aside for him as he crouched down to get a better look at the annoyance of his life through his bangs.
“Oy, Tyson. Put on your big boy pants and stop worrying your teammates for drama’s sake. We got to track her down before she tries getting to the rest of us.” Per usual. His life as the guardian of a sacred bit beast was like shampoo. Rinse, lather, and repeat.
When Tyson didn’t spark up, as he always always did whenever Kai talked to him like that, his concern grew to unease. He dared to reach out and give the boy a nudge, but still he didn’t respond.
“His eyes,” squeaked Max. “Look at his eyes!”
And he did.
And they didn’t look back.