After getting their butts whipped by the Meta-Morphic Five, Andrew and Mark are about to embark on a training journey to the planet Macu. But they won't be alone: Mark's cousin, Shanta, is also tagging along.
On a nearby rooftop, Shanta watched the black sedan drive away from the school. Quickly, she transformed and followed. Leaping from roof to roof was nothing for her as she stealthily tailed the sedan. Suddenly, a nearby neon sign
began shining brightly. Shanta shielded her eyes from the intense light. The light faded. Shanta looked down at the street. No sign of the sedan.
They sensed my presence from this distance? Looks like I’m up against some strong people.
“Head to my place ASAP,” Madam Renee said. “Now’s the time to meet the other members. You all must train in order to beat this man.”
Shanta nodded and headed for the Fortune House.
Mark woke up to the sound of Andrew’s voice. He sat up and looked around the gym.
“What happened?” he asked. “And where’s Tracy and Rosa?”
“They…got captured…” Andrew answered in a low voice.
“Aw, hell na!”
“I know, but there wasn’t anything we could do. Sparks was too strong.”
“I hear ya. I still can’t feel my legs.”
“How are we suppose to kick their asses, if they kick ours first?” Andrew asked looking up at the ceiling.
“I can help you with that,” a familiar voice said.
“It’s the old lady who gave us our powers,” replied Mark.
“Watch your mouth!” Madam Renee exclaimed angrily and then calmed down. “You need training. Those guys you fought are four times stronger than you two. You boys need to train in the Inter-Dimensional Gateway.”
“What the hell is that?” Andrew asked.
“You’ll know soon enough,” she answered.
Her voice vanished. Mark and Andrew stared at the ceiling for a moment and looked at each other.
“I guess were going back to that shop of hers,” Andrew said and looked at his watch. “It’s eight now. We should reach there by nine.”
“Great, just what I need, to go back to her little pet shop of horrors,” Mark said sarcastically.
Andrew chuckled and said sarcastically, “Do you want me to hold your hand?”
“I ain’t scared, a’ight,” Mark replied.
“C’mon fierce warrior, let’s go the Fortune House,” Andrew said helping Mark up from off the floor.
The Meta-Morphic Five drove up to Hidishi’s hideout with both Rosa and Tracy gagged and blindfolded. The security guard let the guys in and quickly phoned Hidishi of their arrival.
“Excellent,” Hidishi said smiling.
He put down the phone and waited for them to walk in his office. A few minutes later, the door opened and the Meta-Morphic Five formed a straight line in front of Hidishi.
“We have defeated those kids sir,” Big C said. “And, we brought you guests.”
“Well, this is great news,” Hidishi said smiling.
“Uh, what should we do with them?” Big C asked.
“Lock them up for now,” he answered and looked at Rosa and Tracy with an evil grin saying, “I have big plans for them.”
Mark and Andrew arrived at the Fortune House. They walked in, looking like two bums begging for money. Their clothes were torn, their bodies ached and they were tired. Madam Renee gave Mark and Andrew new clothes: similar to the ones they had on and fed them food. As they ate, Madam Renee explained to them what the Inter-dimensional Gateway was and why they had to use it.
“So, we’re going to another planet to train?” Andrew asked trying to understand all of this. “What, are we in some kind of Anime cliché?”
“No,” she answered. “But you will train there for six months.”
“SIX MONTHS!” Mark shouted. “We don’t have that much time to train. By then, Rosa and Tracy would be dead.”
“Six months in their time is equivalent to two days in ours,” Madam Renee explained. “You will have plenty of time to rescue the girls.”
“Where is this place?” Andrew asked.
“On the planet Macu, thirty light years away from Earth,” she answered. “The planet is divided into five huge regions. You will stay with the Nebtans in the central region of the continent. They are a strong friendly race that live like the Ancient Japanese. Even their language is exactly like the Japanese, except for their dialect. A good way to view their dilect is a New Yorker speaking Japanese. They can teach you how to master your powers. Also, I have taught them many of our Earth customs. You might be surprised to see what they have learned.”
“What about our parents?” Mark asked. “They’re going to know where gone.”
“Not to worry, I have already taken care of it,” Madam Renee answered.
“Hope so,” he said folding his arms.
“When do we leave?” Andrew asked.
“In four hours,” she answered. “Get some rest, you guys need it.”
Madam Renee led them upstairs to her spare rooms, in a huge attic. Mark and Andrew picked a room, jumped into the bed, and drifted off to sleep. Four hours later, Madam Renee woke them up and quickly prepared the gateway. The gateway was a huge stony circle with zodiac symbols that hung a few inches above the ground. Madam Renee had to place a small ramp in front of the gateway, in order for Mark and Andrew to walk through it. As they came downstairs into the
basement, they saw another person standing next to her. Mark’s eyes widened as he realized who it was.
“I can’t believe she’s here,” Mark said smiling.
“Who is it?” Andrew asked.
“Shanta, my cousin,” he replied.
“Sup, Cuz!” Shanta exclaimed as she hugged Mark.
“Nothing,” Mark answered. “You?”
“I’m chill’n,” she replied and looked at Andrew asked, “Who’s this guy?”
“Oh, that’s Andrew.”
“So I heard you two can meta-morph. And here I thought I was the only one in the family who could.”
Mark and Andrew’s mouths dropped.
“You…can meta-morph?” Andrew asked.
“Yeah, I meta-morph into Kicune, the Japanese fox,” she answered.
“Does your parents know?” asked Mark.
“Yeah,” Shanta answered. “My mom was there when I received it, but she doesn’t like it, even to this day.”
“Enough with the chitchat, you guys have work to do,” Madam Renee said staring at the open gateway.
“She’s right, we have to train hard in order to defeat those punks,” Andrew said.
“Let’s kick some butt!” Mark shouted as he walked through the gateway.
“Wait up yo,” Andrew said following behind.
“I’ll take care of them,” Shanta said to Madam Renee and walked through the gateway.
“We have to get out here,” Rosa said staring at a small window in a large room.
“Don’t worry,” replied Tracy, “Andrew and Mark will save us. I know it.”
Rosa smiled a little and stared at the floor. She thought about Andrew for moment and how she nearly kissed him. She blushed and a small smile came upon her face. Rosa couldn’t believe she was falling in love with Andrew, the guy who used to take baths with her and always needed her protection as kids. She stared at the crescent moon from the small window for a moment.
Please be safe.
Mark, Shanta and Andrew arrived on planet Macu within seconds. They stood there in awe looking at their surroundings. This was a beautiful planet. It was similar to the rainforest on Earth, but lusher. There were unknown animals of
different sizes, colors and species. The water was crystal clear and was filled with sea life. Even the fruits here were various sizes.
“So where do we start?” Mark asked looking for a clear path.
“Over there,” Shanta answered pointing to a path going into a forest.
As they walked through the dense forest, red eyes popped everywhere. Even though they were scared, they kept their faces composed. Suddenly, a huge creature jumped in front of them.
It was a creature that was part reptile and part human. It had a Komodo Dragon’s head, green scales, bulging muscles and a tail with spike at the end of it. If you thought his red eyes were scary, wait till you saw his tongue.
“What the hell is that?” Mark asked with his eyes wide open.
“I don’t know and I don’t want to find out,” Andrew answered with his eyes wide open.
Shanta shook her head. “Boys… Guess I’ll get rid of it.”
White light illuminated the forest. Even the creature had to shield his eyes. The light faded. Both Mark and Andrew’s mouths dropped.
Shanta jumped into the air. She crossed her arms over her chest and smiled.
“NEEDLE STORM!!!” she shouted as she stretched out her arms.
A hailstorm of white energy came crashing down onto the creature. A smoke cloud filled the air. Shanta landed onto the ground thinking the creature was destroyed. The smoke cleared, but the creature was still standing. The creature opened his mouth and lashed out his tongue at Shanta. Shanta dodged and attacked. Mark and Andrew knew she was in trouble. They both transformed and gave her a helping hand.
“STRIKING CLAW!!!” Andrew shouted.
“SHADOW FANG!!!” Mark shouted.
Both of their attacks knocked the creature backwards. They slapped fists. The creature got up and lashed out his tongue at them. They all dodged and watched as a tree turned into dust.
“We have to cut that tongue,” replied Shanta.
“How?” Andrew asked.
“Someone has to be a decoy while the other two cuts the tongue,” she answered.
“You ain’t getting me to do it,” replied Mark. “You know my people don’t mess with animals in the wild.”
Andrew raised his eyebrow. “You are so pathetic.”
He sighed and dashed towards the creature. He punched him in the face. It stepped backwards and smacked Andrew into a tree. The creature opened its mouth and lashed out its tongue at him. Andrew shut his eyes. SLASH! The sound sliced
tongue filled Andrew’s ears. The creature screamed in pain. Andrew opened his eyes and stared at the decapitated tongue.
“Hey Andrew, wanna finish the job?” asked Shanta.
“Oh yeah!” Andrew exclaimed as he rose to his feet.
He dashed forward to wounded creature with his glowing claw.
“STRIKING CLAW!!!” Andrew shouted as he opened a huge hole through its body.
Blood squirted everywhere. Andrew pulled his claw out of the creature’s body and watched the creature fall to the ground. Andrew de-transformed and walked over to them.
“That was tight Drew,” Mark said slapping fists with Andrew.
“I agree, but we have to find the Nebtans,” replied Shanta.
Suddenly, a small giggle echoed in the trees. They looked around trying to pinpoint the sound. Out of the trees, came a small boy wearing a dark blue sleeveless garment. He had a small face with huge eyes, a small nose and an
innocent smile. His black hair was in a ponytail with small bangs that covered his forehead.
“Aw, he’s so cute,” replied Shanta waving at him.
“Yeah, but what’s up with the spots on his cheeks and arms?” asked Mark pointed out. “He trying to be a cheetah or something?”
The small boy ran towards Mark and hugged his leg.
“Aw, he likes you,” Andrew said sarcastically.
“I see,” Mark mumbled.
“Maybe he can help us find the other Nebtans,” Andrew replied looking at the small boy.
The small boy spoke to them in Japanese. Andrew didn’t know what he was saying, but the small boy kept on pointing towards the path.
“I think he wants us to follow him down the path,” Andrew said looking at both Mark and Shanta.
The small boy grabbed Mark’s hand and signaled him to follow.
“Lead the way kid,” Mark said.
As they walked down the path, the forest started to clear. Rays of sunshine poked through the dense trees. They exited the forest. Their mouths dropped in awe.
“This place is beautiful,” replied Shanta with a smile.
Standing in front of them was a huge stony temple with an area of about 80,000 acres. Suddenly, a crowd of Nebtans surrounded them. Some stared at them while others talked amongst themselves.
“Welcome friends,” a voice said from the crowds and stepped forward.
“Wow! He’s hot!” exclaimed Shanta with her eyes wide open.
“Down girl,” Mark said trying to act cool.
“My name is Ching, I’m King of the Forest Region,” he replied. “Welcome to my kingdom.”
“Say what!” Andrew exclaimed.
Ching was a handsome young man. He was an inch taller than Andrew and was toned. He had short black hair with small bangs, a long face, dark brown eyes and a smile that seems to twinkle whenever he smiled. Ching wore a black garment similar to what Ancient Japanese Buddhist priest used to wear. His crown was thin
and circular, with a large red diamond in the center. Andrew almost felt like he was in Ancient Japan.
“I know I’m young, but I’m the only male in my family to take the throne,” he said.
“You know why we’re here?” Andrew asked.
“Yes, Madam Renee told me everything,” said Ching. “We will help you in every way we can.”
He smiled. Instantly, his mouth twinkled.
“Is his mouth supposed to do that?” Mark asked looking at Andrew.
“I don’t know,” Andrew answered shrugging his shoulders.
“Thank you for your kindness,” Shanta said holding Ching’s hand.
Mark grabbed Shanta’s ear and pulled her away.
“You’ll have to excuse them,” Andrew said feeling embarrassed.
Ching lead them into the temple, where the Nebtans lived. Many of Ching’s servant-girls, who were wearing short-sleeve kimonos, smiled at Mark and Andrew. They giggled amongst themselves. Of course, Mark was enjoying the attention.
“Yo Drew, these cheetah girls love us man,” he said grabbing Andrew’s shoulder.
“Don’t you have a girl?” Andrew shot back. “Remember her?”
“I do remember Tracy. What, are you afraid of losing Rosa to a girl from another planet?”
Andrew blushed. “Rosa and I are just friends.”
Mark gave Andrew a look that said he was lying.
“These are the guest rooms, you are welcome to choose any room you would like to stay in,” Ching said. “My servants will call you for lunch in an hour.”
Ching left. Mark and Andrew chose the rooms next to each other while Shanta chose the room across from them.
The rooms were amazing. Every bed was made from oak trees and draped in silk cloth. The floors were made of black marble and huge bronze tub stood in the corner of the room. There was a closet on the upper right-hand corner filled with garments of different colors and over the bed was a huge tapestry of a dragon. The walls were made of stone and a small window stood on the left side of the bed.
Andrew went into the closet and pulled out a blue garment from off the rack. He noticed a drawer on the bottom of the closet. He pulled it open and found several pairs of moccasins. Andrew changed his clothes and put his “Earth” clothes into the closet. Suddenly, a knock came upon the door. Andrew opened the door and saw one of the servant-girls standing before him. She signaled him to follow
her to the dining hall. She kept on looking back at Andrew, smiling and giggling as they walked. This girl was hot, but Andrew couldn’t stop thinking about Rosa.
They arrived at the dining hall. Both Mark and Shanta were already eating.
“What took you?” Mark asked and ate a piece of meat.
“I was just admiring my room,” Andrew answered as he sat down next to him.
Another servant-girl came out of the kitchen and brought Andrew his food. Even though Andrew didn’t recognize anything on his plate, the food smelled good. He grabbed his fork and knife and dug in. His eyes widened as the taste reminded him of steak and chicken. Andrew wolfed down his food since he hadn’t eaten for nearly half the day.
“The food was delicious,” Andrew said rubbing his stomach.
“I’m glad you like it,” replied Ching.
“Uh Ching, I got a question,” said Mark.
“What is it?”
“Why do the children and servant-girls have spots on their cheeks and arms?”
“With our race, every child, boy or girl, is born with spots all over them. The spots symbolize our connection with animals and how we are one in the same. Unlike your planet, we do not see ourselves as superior beings. We treat everything with respect and equality. I believe you call it Animism.”
“So, what happened to your spots?” asked Shanta.
“My spots vanished when I turned sixteen,” he answered. “Males lose their spots around the age of sixteen while females keep theirs. Their spots change from black to blue at age fourteen. When that happens, the males must find a bride. Many of the females here have changed their spot color, but not one I like.”
“I don’t want to marry someone that I don’t love or understand.”
Maybe I have a chance with him, Shanta thought smiling.
After lunch, Ching showed them around the temple. There are so many rooms within the temple even Ching didn’t know what some of the rooms were. What caught Andrew’s attention was the courtyard. It was about the size of three football fields. There were trees planted everywhere and the grass was lush and green. The courtyard reminded Andrew of Central Park, only it was cleaner and no muggers.
As Ching continued the tour, Andrew noticed two young girls, one was wearing a purple kimono and the other was wearing a light blue kimono. They were
walking towards the courtyard. Ching ran towards them. Minutes later, he brought them over to Mark, Shanta and Andrew.
“These are my sisters, Hibika and Aiya,” he said introducing them.
Hibika was Ching’s older sister, by a few months. Even though Andrew just met her, her face and smile reminded him of Rosa. She was the same height as Andrew, had long black hair, dark brown eyes and wore the purple kimono.
Aiya was Ching’s younger sister. Even though she was fourteen, she looked like she’s in middle school. Aiya was two inches shorter than Andrew, had long black hair in pigtails, dark brown eyes and a small nose. Of course, Aiya was wearing the light blue kimono.
“My name is Andrew,” Andrew replied introducing himself, “and this is Mark and next to him is Shanta.”
“It is nice to meet you all,” Hibika said in a sweet voice.
“Would you like to join us with our tour around the temple?” asked Mark.
“I’d love to,” she answered sweetly.
“Ching, did you show them the garden yet?” Aiya asked in a babyish voice.
“Not yet,” Ching answered. “We’re heading over there now.”
“You’re going to love our garden,” Aiya replied to them.
Mark, Shanta and Andrew were amazed at the size of the garden. The garden was in a dome-shaped greenhouse behind the courtyard. Most of the males worked here in order to keep the temple’s food supply in stock. Inside, were trees filled with fruits, various plants, and vegetables. One Macuan tree was filled with blue-green swirled fruit that tasted like apples. Of course Mark was interested in the Macuan vegetables, particularly the orange lettuce.
“As you can see some of our fruits and vegetables taste like yours,” replied Ching picking up a fruit and looked at Shanta. “Would you like to try it?”
“I’d love to,” answered Shanta taking the fruit from Ching’s hand gently.
Shanta bit into the fruit and began to blush.
“This is the best fruit I’ve ever tasted,” she said with her hands on her cheeks.
Ching smiled. Another twinkle came out of his mouth.
“Wish my mouth could do that,” Mark whispered to Andrew.
The tour concluded with dinner. Once again, Andrew didn’t recognize anything on his plate. Hungry, he wolfed it down and asked for seconds. Even Hibika was amazed. Mark, on the other hand, tried to eat his food but felt a pair of eyes staring at him. He looked through his periphery and noticed Ayia silently gawking at him. Nervous, he managed to finish his plate. Of course, Shanta continued to talk to Ching, asking him about Macu and his people. Dinner time was sure lively.
That night, Andrew decided to take a bath. According to Ching, there was a private hot spring in the temple for Ching, Hibika, and Aiya. Andrew walked down
the hall with a towel wrapped around his waist, holding his clothes, a washcloth and soap bar in his hands. For five minutes, he searched aimlessly for the hot spring. Finally, Andrew found it located near the dining room, on the east side of the temple. There were two doors, one for the males and one for the females. Both were written in Japanese. Andrew looked at both doors, walked into the nearest door and found the place to be empty. He took a moment to look around.
The hot spring stood in the center with tiled floor surrounding it. Just above him was a very high glass ceiling and the stony walls added a nice touch. Andrew set his things down on the floor and approached the steamy water.
Suddenly, the water began to bubble. With a splash, Hibika rose out of the water. Her voluptuous body exposed every blue spot she had to him. Andrew’s nose bled.
“Oh…my…God,” Andrew managed to say.
Hibika screamed and covered herself in the water. “Get out, you pervert!”
“I didn’t mean…” Andrew started but was hit in the forehead with Hibika’s soap bar.
Andrew fell backwards, crashing to the ground with a huge red lump on his forehead. Hibika clapped her hands, calling for the servant-girls. They came and immediately carried Andrew, who was still dazed, back into his room.
A shadowy figure sneaked down the hall and picked the lock in Mark’s room. They got into Mark’s bed with Mark sleeping in it. Mark turned over and held the person in his arms with a smile on his face.
The next morning, Andrew woke up in his bed and with a headache.
“That girl can throw,” he said rubbing his bruised forehead.
Andrew got out of bed and went to Mark’s room. Andrew rapped on the door. The door slowly opened with each rap.
That’s odd, thought Andrew as he looked around the room.
Mark slowly woke up and saw Andrew standing by the door.
“How’d you get in here, Drew?” he asked rubbing his eyes.
“The door was unlocked,” answered Andrew.
“That’s impossible,” replied Mark placing his right hand on the other side of the bed. “I know I…”
Mark gently tapped the bed with his right hand and felt a body. Mark jumped up and held onto the chandelier. Andrew looked at Mark funny and pulled the covers off of the bed. Andrew freaked when he saw Aiya sleeping in Mark’s bed.
“I didn’t do nothing,” replied Mark, who was still hanging onto the chandelier. “I don’t do kiddie love, yo!”
Suddenly, Aiya woke up. “Good morning Andrew. Where’s my lover?”
Andrew pointed to the ceiling.
“How the hell did you get in my room?” Mark asked.
“I picked the lock,” she answered with a smile. “Nothing can come between us.”
“Dude, she’s got a major crush on you,” replied Andrew and started to crack up.
“Not funny, Drew,” said Mark.
Suddenly, Hibika entered the room. “Aiya! What are you doing in here?”
“I wanted to stay with my lover,” answered Aiya.
“Why do you want to stay with him?” Hibika asked pointing at Andrew.
“Not him,” replied Aiya and quickly pointed at Mark. “Him. Mark is the sexiest guy I’ve seen in my life and I want to marry him.”
“This is what I get for being sexy,” Mark said sarcastically to himself.
“Aiya, Mark is an Earthling who probably has a lover on Earth,” replied Hibika. “You can’t marry him.”
“So what!” Aiya shot back. “It is destiny that brought us together. You can’t defy destiny. If you will excuse me, I’m going to take a bath.”
Aiya winked at Mark and headed for the hot spring.
“That child has some serious issues,” replied Mark.
“Poor Mark,” said Shanta, who came out of her room, “can’t even handle a little crush.”
“Shut up Shanta!” Mark exclaimed.
The chandelier hinges came apart and he crashed onto his bed.
After breakfast, Ching told Shanta, Mark and Andrew that today began their training and they would be trained under Master Dao. Ching said he would teach them Animism. Learning it would take months, but they were ready for the challenge.